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The short version is that I believed in the hype and it was probably my own danged fault that I didn't read the "fine print" when it comes to towing capacity.


The wife and I started looking at travel trailers (5th wheels specifically) about a year and a half ago. Knowing the limits of my '04 Titan we looked at mostly the new so-called "lite" trailers that were 1/2 ton towable. I'd been following the XD project and once some specs were released (12,300 pounds of towing capacity), I started thinking this might be the perfect thing for towing the "lite" versions of RV's.


So.....our local dealer gets in a Platinum Reserve, we drive by and I say, "Oh look - there's a new XD. Let's go look". Two hours later and we're buying!! Now.....all along, I'm telling the sales guy about our (future) towing needs/wants and the sales guy says that when he went to truck training at Nissan, the folks there said the truck would do this and would do that and it had plenty of poop and more for our needs. I know, I know......I shoulda done my own research.


Ok - I'll get to my quandary. One doesn't really know what the capacity is until they either: a) actually buy one b) actually weigh their trailer c) download the on-line owners manual and d) actually weigh their truck. Now, after reading all the "calculations" Nissan wants to you to go through, I'm not sure how in the blue blazes one is suppose to weigh their truck when you haven't bought it yet? More importantly - how in the Sam Hills is one suppose to convey to a RV sales person what towing capacity their truck has because this elusive capacity is based on actual weights?? And the reality is that even if they show an XD crew cab all gussied up in the ads with the "12,300 pounds towing capacity" proudly boasted, that ain't the case. Because the fine print says essentially, YMMV. And I'm not even gonna go into hitch/king pin weights or the fact that RV sales folks and a guy who's business has been installing Reese products for 50 years looks at you like you have two heads when you tell them you have a Titan XD!!


Maybe I'm over-thinking this like I do with everything else (hey - I'm an engineer. It's an affliction / disease). I just want some peace of mind that what I wanna tow is within the limits of the truck's ability.


I guess what I want is something I can't have and that's someone that looks at the manufacturers shipping weight of an RV (which should be a true weight) and say, "Yep - you're good-to-go".
 

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Why don't you take the RV to a scale and see what's the real number is?
You can do the math and estimate the whole thing with people in the truck and luggage in the RV...

If you're 20% below max (payload and towing), that should be safe enough.
If you're less than 5% below, or over max, you will have 2 choices: buy a smaller RV or get a 3/4 tons...
 

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Weights listed on RV's are typically Dry Weight. This is the weight of the basic RV before adding any options or accessories. It does not include battery, propane tanks, awnings etc. Maximum towing capacities are for the base model without any extra's and typically only the drivers weight in the truck. It is all about marketing unfortunately. What you need to know is the Maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). And unfortunately to determine this you need to weight the truck and trailer. This is also something you may need to know to determine if you are actually properly licensed to drive the combination.
I often wonder why people say you should be 10 or 20 % under your maximum ratings. The maximum ratings are what the manufacturer has determined are safe numbers based on testing. The Titan was tested towing 18,000lbs. As much as the marketing department would love to advertise this number, the engineers, warranty and legal departments all have input hence a 12,000lb max towing limit or less depending on model.
 

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Weights listed on RV's are typically Dry Weight. This is the weight of the basic RV before adding any options or accessories. It does not include battery, propane tanks, awnings etc. Maximum towing capacities are for the base model without any extra's and typically only the drivers weight in the truck. It is all about marketing unfortunately. What you need to know is the Maximum Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR). And unfortunately to determine this you need to weight the truck and trailer. This is also something you may need to know to determine if you are actually properly licensed to drive the combination.
I often wonder why people say you should be 10 or 20 % under your maximum ratings. The maximum ratings are what the manufacturer has determined are safe numbers based on testing. The Titan was tested towing 18,000lbs. As much as the marketing department would love to advertise this number, the engineers, warranty and legal departments all have input hence a 12,000lb max towing limit or less depending on model.
New campers typically have the actual weight of the camper with installed equipment on a sticker on the camper. My camper I bought new in 2010 had this sticker (it obviously doesn't include water or propane). The part about being 20% under payload may be confusionto about 5th wheel recommendations of loading 20% of the 5er on the pin in the bed.

There is no way an XD PR is going to pull a 5er at 20% under the max cargo rating.... That would limit you to a 5,000 ish pound trailer by the time you add the 5th hitch (assuming you follow the 20% pin weight guideline)
 

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The short version is that I believed in the hype and it was probably my own danged fault that I didn't read the "fine print" when it comes to towing capacity.


The wife and I started looking at travel trailers (5th wheels specifically) about a year and a half ago. Knowing the limits of my '04 Titan we looked at mostly the new so-called "lite" trailers that were 1/2 ton towable. I'd been following the XD project and once some specs were released (12,300 pounds of towing capacity), I started thinking this might be the perfect thing for towing the "lite" versions of RV's.


So.....our local dealer gets in a Platinum Reserve, we drive by and I say, "Oh look - there's a new XD. Let's go look". Two hours later and we're buying!! Now.....all along, I'm telling the sales guy about our (future) towing needs/wants and the sales guy says that when he went to truck training at Nissan, the folks there said the truck would do this and would do that and it had plenty of poop and more for our needs. I know, I know......I shoulda done my own research.


Ok - I'll get to my quandary. One doesn't really know what the capacity is until they either: a) actually buy one b) actually weigh their trailer c) download the on-line owners manual and d) actually weigh their truck. Now, after reading all the "calculations" Nissan wants to you to go through, I'm not sure how in the blue blazes one is suppose to weigh their truck when you haven't bought it yet? More importantly - how in the Sam Hills is one suppose to convey to a RV sales person what towing capacity their truck has because this elusive capacity is based on actual weights?? And the reality is that even if they show an XD crew cab all gussied up in the ads with the "12,300 pounds towing capacity" proudly boasted, that ain't the case. Because the fine print says essentially, YMMV. And I'm not even gonna go into hitch/king pin weights or the fact that RV sales folks and a guy who's business has been installing Reese products for 50 years looks at you like you have two heads when you tell them you have a Titan XD!!


Maybe I'm over-thinking this like I do with everything else (hey - I'm an engineer. It's an affliction / disease). I just want some peace of mind that what I wanna tow is within the limits of the truck's ability.


I guess what I want is something I can't have and that's someone that looks at the manufacturers shipping weight of an RV (which should be a true weight) and say, "Yep - you're good-to-go".

You definitely are not over thinking it. Have you bought your trailer yet or are you just looking?
 

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I guess it depends on the manufacturer. Our travel trailer is a 2011 and lists the weight on the sticker as dry weight.
The maximum towing capacities are adjusted down for the increased king pin weights in the towing guide. I have seen people say this on camping forums for hitch pull trailers as well. I think they just feel it is not safe to pull at maximum weights.
 

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My 31' Airstream is placarded at 8600# maximum gross weight. The one time I weighed it, chock full of everything, ready to camp it was just under 8000#. I have towed it over 65000 miles with my 2004 Titan SE. With a Titan XD, well, towing would be a dream.

So maybe you could check out some of the "bumper towed" RV's.

Because Airstream's are aerodynamic they tow beautifully and efficiently. If you really want that 5th wheel towing "feel", buy a Hensley or ProPride hitch and off you go!

In Airstream's, new is very pricey, so you might give a thought to "gently used" a nice place to graze the listings is

Air forums.Com. In the classifieds.

Mike
 

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First - thanks for all the input, suggestions, opinions, etc. I appreciate the responses and the "tone" of the responses. Honestly.....I kinda shy away from "Forums" cause I've been dragged into or witnessed flame wars once too many times. To tell you how ancient I am, I was on the internet before there were even Bulletin Boards!! Anyhow......


To answer some questions.....yes, I've read the owners manual (please don't tell anyone or my man card will be revoked) and in particular the section on towing. No - we haven't bought an RV yet, but have put a deposit down on a unit with the stipulation that: a) the truck will handle the RV's weight and b) there is a hitch pin box conversion available. On that last comment - I've been in contact with an engineer from Reese and have sent him dimensioned photos to evaluate if their Goose Box (http://www.reeseprod.com/products/pin-boxes/goose-box/uW9rVuV4JAj75t!ZHQnotJoVbxIFMqvl) will fit the XD. I'll let you know what they say if anyone is interested.


The dealership (specifically the manufacturer) has agreed to weigh the actual trailer. I'll know a number soon.


OK - maybe sleeping on it or my meds have kicked in, but I'm having some clarity. So today, I went to a salvage place (don't get ahead of me) 'cause that's the only place I know that has weigh scales. Ok kids here it is......my XD PR with a full tank of fuel, four 12 foot sticks of crown molding, and my fat @ss weighed in at......drum roll please......7320 pounds! And **** no.....I'm not gonna include the wife's weight. Don't even wanna go down that road. Anyhow......subtract that from the 19,500 pounds the Nissan Engineers stipulate (after they've run their factor of safety numbers and the lawyers numbers) and we get 12,180 pounds. The RV we've got money on has a shipping weight of 10,533. So I'm pretty sure we're good-to-go.


Now....FWIW.....we live in south Georgia and have no intentions of ever towing to the Rocky Mountains. The only mountains we'd ever consider would be either the Smokies or North Georgia. Remember - the wife still has to work. That is a mandate from her.......well.......never mind. And this won't be our end all RV for we have plans to move to a class A when the wife retires or the MIL kicks off - which ever comes first. I say all of this to say that I've noodled through what we'll be doing and won't be doing in order to factor in what the XD will be called upon to do. I told you engineering is a disease. LOL......


Tom
 

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First - thanks for all the input, suggestions, opinions, etc. I appreciate the responses and the "tone" of the responses. Honestly.....I kinda shy away from "Forums" cause I've been dragged into or witnessed flame wars once too many times. To tell you how ancient I am, I was on the internet before there were even Bulletin Boards!! Anyhow......


To answer some questions.....yes, I've read the owners manual (please don't tell anyone or my man card will be revoked) and in particular the section on towing. No - we haven't bought an RV yet, but have put a deposit down on a unit with the stipulation that: a) the truck will handle the RV's weight and b) there is a hitch pin box conversion available. On that last comment - I've been in contact with an engineer from Reese and have sent him dimensioned photos to evaluate if their Goose Box (http://www.reeseprod.com/products/pin-boxes/goose-box/uW9rVuV4JAj75t!ZHQnotJoVbxIFMqvl) will fit the XD. I'll let you know what they say if anyone is interested.


The dealership (specifically the manufacturer) has agreed to weigh the actual trailer. I'll know a number soon.


OK - maybe sleeping on it or my meds have kicked in, but I'm having some clarity. So today, I went to a salvage place (don't get ahead of me) 'cause that's the only place I know that has weigh scales. Ok kids here it is......my XD PR with a full tank of fuel, four 12 foot sticks of crown molding, and my fat @ss weighed in at......drum roll please......7320 pounds! And **** no.....I'm not gonna include the wife's weight. Don't even wanna go down that road. Anyhow......subtract that from the 19,500 pounds the Nissan Engineers stipulate (after they've run their factor of safety numbers and the lawyers numbers) and we get 12,180 pounds. The RV we've got money on has a shipping weight of 10,533. So I'm pretty sure we're good-to-go.


Now....FWIW.....we live in south Georgia and have no intentions of ever towing to the Rocky Mountains. The only mountains we'd ever consider would be either the Smokies or North Georgia. Remember - the wife still has to work. That is a mandate from her.......well.......never mind. And this won't be our end all RV for we have plans to move to a class A when the wife retires or the MIL kicks off - which ever comes first. I say all of this to say that I've noodled through what we'll be doing and won't be doing in order to factor in what the XD will be called upon to do. I told you engineering is a disease. LOL......


Tom
Tom, something to keep in mind is the actual cargo weight load on the king pin of the 5th wheel. According to the towing guide here: https://owners.nissanusa.com/content/techpub/ManualsAndGuides/Titan/2016/2016-Titan-owner-manual.pdf Section 10 Page 25 (page 474) there is a Towing load specification chart — Gooseneck Hitch. This chart lists a PR 2WD max king pin weight of 1,423.6 lbs. So if you add in a 100 lbs 5th hitch you get a max 5er pin weight of 1,323 lbs.

Now keep in mind, different 5th wheels have different king pin weights based upon the models, but as a general rule of thumb, most people recommend 20% of the total trailer weight to be loaded on the king pin. 20% of 7,000 lbs is 1,400 lbs.

So, if you do go with a 5er, other peoples comments on here saying you will be fine is not entirely accurate. Page 11 will give you a little in site on dry weights and hitch weights on new rockwood ultralite 5ers http://www.forestriverinc.com/brochures/2016/2016rockwoodbrochure.pdf
 

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Short and sweet. Rv over 10K dry weight. You need a minumum 3/4 ton. Your truck may suffice on flat land., but just maybe in the future, you may want to tour this great country. Will your truck keep you from doing it?
 

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The short version is that I believed in the hype and it was probably my own danged fault that I didn't read the "fine print" when it comes to towing capacity.


The wife and I started looking at travel trailers (5th wheels specifically) about a year and a half ago. Knowing the limits of my '04 Titan we looked at mostly the new so-called "lite" trailers that were 1/2 ton towable. I'd been following the XD project and once some specs were released (12,300 pounds of towing capacity), I started thinking this might be the perfect thing for towing the "lite" versions of RV's.


So.....our local dealer gets in a Platinum Reserve, we drive by and I say, "Oh look - there's a new XD. Let's go look". Two hours later and we're buying!! Now.....all along, I'm telling the sales guy about our (future) towing needs/wants and the sales guy says that when he went to truck training at Nissan, the folks there said the truck would do this and would do that and it had plenty of poop and more for our needs. I know, I know......I shoulda done my own research.


Ok - I'll get to my quandary. One doesn't really know what the capacity is until they either: a) actually buy one b) actually weigh their trailer c) download the on-line owners manual and d) actually weigh their truck. Now, after reading all the "calculations" Nissan wants to you to go through, I'm not sure how in the blue blazes one is suppose to weigh their truck when you haven't bought it yet? More importantly - how in the Sam Hills is one suppose to convey to a RV sales person what towing capacity their truck has because this elusive capacity is based on actual weights?? And the reality is that even if they show an XD crew cab all gussied up in the ads with the "12,300 pounds towing capacity" proudly boasted, that ain't the case. Because the fine print says essentially, YMMV. And I'm not even gonna go into hitch/king pin weights or the fact that RV sales folks and a guy who's business has been installing Reese products for 50 years looks at you like you have two heads when you tell them you have a Titan XD!!


Maybe I'm over-thinking this like I do with everything else (hey - I'm an engineer. It's an affliction / disease). I just want some peace of mind that what I wanna tow is within the limits of the truck's ability.


I guess what I want is something I can't have and that's someone that looks at the manufacturers shipping weight of an RV (which should be a true weight) and say, "Yep - you're good-to-go".
Have you considered the bed height on the XD? My 5th wheel will not tow level with a new Ram 3/4 ton 4wd unless I either lift the camper (which I will not do) or lower the truck ( which I will not do) The overhang on the 5th wheel is close to 60 inches when level. I need at least 7 inch space for clearance when pulling in my driveway. It looks to me like the XD bed is as high as the Ram. So far, I believe Ford is the only 3/4 ton truck that has a bed that will give enough clearance for MY 5th wheel overhang. Ford also has the longest (short bed) I do not really care for the Ford and was hoping the XD would give me another choice: but in spite of the build in gooseneck hitch, it looks like the xd may not work for MY 5th wheel. Hope I am wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry for not responding to you guys - I've got a lot of balls in the air right now. So here's where I'm at. I've spoken to the folks at Reese and Andersen and to the tech department at Grand Design RV. The bottom line is that the company LCI (which makes 99% of the pin boxes on 5th trailers) has only certified one product that will not void the warranty of the frame/pin box - and that is the Reese Goose Box.


I still might give a call to the LCI folks to see if they will do some cert testing of the Andersen product because I like the idea of their king pin to goose ball conversion system - especially the height adjustable ball.


Again - thanks to all of you for your comments suggestions. I'll post updates and pics once things have finalized.


Tom
 

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I've been looking at a lot of trailers with my dad and have a new pop up but looking to sell it or trade it in, and I don't really see what the problem is on knowing the trailer weight. Yeah they list a dry weight, but every single one we looked at also has a max gross weight, meaning the heaviest you can load the trailer which is generally not easy to surpass with full fluids and a reasonable amount of extra cargo. Why would you be worried about the dry weight? Just make sure you can tow the max gross weight rating of the trailer. It doesn't matter if you have a vehicle that can tow 25,000 lbs if you overload the trailer itself, so the only number you need to worry about towing is max gross weight of the trailer. There's no need to go out and weigh it.
 

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I've been looking at a lot of trailers with my dad and have a new pop up but looking to sell it or trade it in, and I don't really see what the problem is on knowing the trailer weight. Yeah they list a dry weight, but every single one we looked at also has a max gross weight, meaning the heaviest you can load the trailer which is generally not easy to surpass with full fluids and a reasonable amount of extra cargo. Why would you be worried about the dry weight? Just make sure you can tow the max gross weight rating of the trailer. It doesn't matter if you have a vehicle that can tow 25,000 lbs if you overload the trailer itself, so the only number you need to worry about towing is max gross weight of the trailer. There's no need to go out and weigh it.
You can surpass the max fairly easily, especially on Toy Haulers. Plus you need to know what the actual starting weight is and the only way to get that is to weigh it after it has been loaded. I had a 33' 5th toy hauler & after it was loaded I was within 500# of being maxed out of my GCWR in a 3500 SRW CTD. You'll be surprised how much a unloaded trailer really weighs from the factory.
 

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I know you can surpass it, but that's not a towing issue. That's an issue specific to the trailer, and has nothing to do with the towing vehicle.
 

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Well boys and girls........the facts are in. In the ensuing months since I first posted I was able to get a hold of an Engineer at Reese/LCI and he was kind enough to look at some photos I'd taken of the bed. Additionally, I gave him dimensions of what I thought he needed to make an educated guess. He also sent me an engineering drawing of the Goose Box (GB). In our discussions, his only real concern was during a swing, the GB might contact those side boxes that come with the Platinum Reserve edition. In the end, that turned out not to be the case as some of the photos will show.


So here's our configuration and what we've experienced so far - YMMV. We bought a Grand Design Reflection 337RLS 5th wheel. The shipping weight was around 10,500 pounds. The manufacturers stated pin weight was around 1500 pounds. Actual weights have not been determined yet. As you can see from the photos, there is a decent amount of GB mounting height options. Once we determined what GB holes needed to be used, the first moment of truth was when we dropped the RV on the ball. The measured sag (from tire to fender) was right at 2 1/4". I had them do three cycles and the results were the same sag. In hindsight, I should have determined the maximum rear suspension travel and derived what percentage of the travel was eaten up by the RV's load. Obviously, 50% would be no go and from an engineering standpoint I would hope to see something in the 30 to 35% range which would allow around 65% for available suspension travel. What the photos don't show is that when the RV was hooked up and ready to go - not only was the RV level, the Titan was dang close - maybe an inch nose high - if that.


The first thing I noticed after I dropped it in gear (Tow mode selected) was when I took my foot off the brake, the truck started moving forward with engine at idle. When I applied throttle, the turbo spooled up and the engine politely followed my command. I was almost 100% certain, I was gonna experience a certain amount of grunt/groan from the engine room and get a call from Scotty saying " Aye....that's all she's got Captain". But was rewarded with a nice smooth ecceleration up to the posted 45mph. When we stopped a few miles from the dealership for a bite to eat, we found an open parking lot for me to make some swings both forward and backing up to determine what the limitations were. As stated above the Reese GB was not a limiting factor what so ever. The only limiting factors were the electrical connector cable was short by about a foot (that's no biggie) and that due to bed/hitch box/RV nose cap size, my swing was limited to about 50 degrees before the nose cap would be dang close to contacting the cab.


The second moment of truth was the on ramp for I-295. Once again, the Cummins Gods did not disappoint. A steady increasing in pedal pressure was rewarded with some oooompf and we merged in around 60mph and a steady throttle soon had us up to a nice cruise of around 68mph. As time went on, I found that the engine really wanted to run between 1800 and 2000 rpm when steady state cruising. When it would get close to 1500 rpm, it would kick down the trans one gear. But ease on up to 1900 rpm and the trans shifted into high. Now.....lets's face it....Florida and South Georgia cannot be used in the same sentence as the word "hill". So the only data I have was going up over two major bridges on I-95. In each case I was able to maintain speed without resorting to use the throttle like some bass drum kick pedal during a Led Zeppelin song.


The end of the 160 some miles between dealership and home netted 12.9mpg. I don't think that's too shabby. The real test is when the wife loads the trailer up with all kinds of stuff that will never get used. Me? I just need my folding chair, a case of beer and a bottle of Tim Smith's Climax Moonshine.


I sincerely hope this helps someone here. The bottom line is not only am I completely happy with the RV, I'm blown away by the performance the XD and it's ride manners while towing. Finally......Tom Adams gets something right in his life - thank you Jesus!!!!


Tom Adams
 

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