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2007 Mountaineer towing travel trailer

Discussion in 'Tow Rig Forum' started by benman, April 27, 2015.

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  1. benman

    benman New Member

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    I'm planning to purchase a 2015 Jay Flight SLX 264BHW this week (link to trailer info). We got a really good deal on it and so we're upgrading from our popup.

    I had a few questions though and am looking for opinions and experience.

    Unloaded weight is 4425
    dry hitch weight is 510.
    GVWR is 6500, but I don't plan to ever come close to that.

    I have a 2007 Mercury Mountaineer V8/AWD with factory tow package.
    Trailer weight range: 0-7020 lbs
    max tongue weight 500lb (WC), 740lb (WD)

    I'm definitely going to get the WD hitch and a brake controller (probably this one). I was also planning to have the transmission fluid flushed and changed to synthetic.

    Anyone have similar experience?

    Someone on the Jayco Owners forum pointed to a calculator that seems to indicate that I'd be OK. The main concern with this setup would be payload rather than the towing capacity itself.

    Here's what I put into the calculator: calculator results

    The Trailer GVW and tongue weight are estimates.

    It's close, but the max weights still appear to be within the vehicle's limits. Even at max tongue weight, I'd still have enough payload for passengers, but nothing else (which is OK with me).

    So it seems I have a range of 698-1267 lbs for trailer cargo. It seems from other threads on here that even 1000 lbs of cargo is high, so I would think I'd be fine. Realistically, if tongue weight ends up being around 700lbs at 13% (960 lbs of trailer cargo), I'd be somewhere around 5% under limits.

    So, unless I'm missing something, if I closely monitor tongue weight and trailer cargo weight, and don't put anything in the Mountaineer other than passengers, I should be OK, right?
     
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  3. ntex

    ntex Member

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    Being careful of what weight is placed where in the r.v. including water and food,i would think you would be good to go.
     
  4. benman

    benman New Member

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    I was thinking with a 48 gallon tank, I wouldn't haul water (almost 400 pounds). But yes, we're going to travel light and I'm going to get a tongue scale. Unfortunately, I probably won't get full use out of the front compartment either.
     
  5. thebrakeman

    thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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    benman,
    I received your PM (no problem). I thought it easier to just post here.
    We had a popup behind a Chrysler minivan for 7 years before our current rig several years ago.
    Without actual weights, 1000 lbs over dry is a good, conservative estimate. 5400 lbs, plus your 5000lb Mounty is 10,400lbs. Subracted from your 12,000 GCVWR leaves you 1600 for people and cargo in the truck. We don't carry any cargo in the Mounty. The trailer is already loaded.
    Tekonsha P2 or P3 will be fantastic. I have the original Prodigy, that has been flawless for the past 12 camping seasons on 3 vehicles for 2 campers. I highly recommend the Equal-I-zer 4-point WDH kit from RVWholesalers.com. IMO, best bang for the buck.
    I have about 750 lbs TW, and the 1000 lb Equal-I-zer gives a fantastic ride. It may seem like over-rated, but it's been great. Not too stiff. Plus, they don't make an 800 lbs unit, so...

    My camper has a published dry weight of around 3600, and an actual loaded weight sticker (in cabinet) of around 4000lbs. With my floor rebuilt and added steel framework underneath, those numbers are probably now around 3900 and 4300. I'm ashamed to say I don't have an actual loaded weight, so I can only give the same 1000 estimate over dry, or 4900 lbs. We have a rear bunkhouse, and have carried as many as 7 bikes in there. But typically, we don't load it too much.

    We live in Michigan, and so far have not camped with this rig outside of Michigan. But we did do a 1900 mile, 2-week trip around the entire Upper Peninsula (God's Country!). No "mountains", but we did make some slow treks up some steep grades at a few attraction stops (Bond Falls comes to mind). The 4.6L-6speed combo does not break a sweat in 1st gear hauling around 11,000 lbs up a hill.

    The only thing I don't like about the rig is the inability to hold 5th gear. OD lockout button locks out both 5th and 6th. Holding in 4th on the highway has the rpm higher than I'd prefer. So I leave OD on, watch the trans temps. If I get into some hills or a headwind that gets the system "hunting", I'll drop it into 4th. I have a Scangage II monitoring engine temp, trans temp, gear ratio, and convertor slip. Summer without the camper, I see 175F trans temps. With the trailer, 200-210F, which is what others with the Ford 6-speed regularly report (Explorer, Mounty, etc). On that 2-week trip, I averaged 9mpg, moving 65-70mph getting to the UP, and 55-60 between sites in the UP.

    I think you will enjoy this rig, as long as you don't expect to go into the Rockies or Smokies on a regular basis.
     
  6. jrford

    jrford Well-Known Member

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    To OP, i've got something similar; its a Heartland MPG at 3,600lbs (similar to an rPod), 400lb TW. I've got Pic's Page 10 of the trailers, if you search for my user name. Rig setup is great for this range. On a side note it tows my 1,000lb boat with ease; don't know its back there.

    Isn't that the truth. I usually run with the OD off and keep the rpm's at 3k, 60mph, 10mpg. I'm usually on I96 heading west/east, find it hunts too much between 5-6, drops to 4, then repeats.

    I wonder if a tow tune might work better? I'd like to run in 5th, . .
     
    Last edited: April 28, 2015
  7. benman

    benman New Member

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    Thanks for that reply brakeman -- it's much appreciated.

    I'm starting to feel better about the whole thing. Between your reply (I was hoping to get some specific experience like this) and talking to my mechanic, (who also tows a variety of trailers), I'm starting to feel better.

    I noticed your trailer is only about 2 feet shorter than mine (which is 29 feet). One thing I was concerned with from what I read (and my mechanic noted it too) was the increased yaw with a short wheelbase and long trailer. Has this ever been a problem at all?

    The dealer installs Reese Pro hitches -- are those any good? Seems everyone likes the Equalizer. I'll have to ask him how that works if I want to get the Equalizer instead.

    Thanks again for the thought-out reply -- it really does make me feel a lot better.
     
  8. thebrakeman

    thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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    I was also a bit concerned about the length, relative to the short wheelbase. Absolutely no issues whatsoever. I have my WDH set up very carefully, with all lost front axle weight returned. You confirm this by measuring the front wheel well height before attaching the trailer. Then after attaching trailer and engaging WDH, be sure the front wheel well height is the same as original. I also am careful to check tire pressure on all 8 tires.

    I just looked up the Reese Pro WDH, and I don't see (necessarily) that it has integrated sway control. Reese sells an add-on kit (or all-in-one) called "Dual-Cam". But Dual Cam can not be added to all Reese WDH base kits. Without the ability to add the Dual-Cam, you would be forced to use a friction sway controller, which is not as good as a WDH with integrated sway control.

    Typically, the Equal-I-zer and a Reese Dual-Cam setup, are considered on par with each other, as far as cost (~$500-600) and performance. Those that tow a lot, and/or have a lot of money, opt for ProPride or Henseley (sp?) hitch kits. These are in the thousands of dollars, but are a completely different animal in the way they prevent sway. Few people start with those kits, but switch to them if/when they are not satisfied.
     
  9. benman

    benman New Member

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    Thanks -- the Equalizer definitely looks like the way to go.

    I noticed that the dealer has the Equalizer on the website (their parts store seems to simply be a rebranded front-end of some online store -- I know I've seen the layout somewhere before). Anyway, the price there is $734, but I know it's cheaper on rvtwholesaler or Amazon.

    I was looking at an installation video -- so these are just bolt on, right? No holes in the A frame? I can tell from the dealer's price on the Reese Pro (somewhere around $500) that he'd be wanting $1000 for the Equalizer with installation.

    So how does it work with the dealer for equipment like this? I can't tow it home without the WD hitch, but I don't want to pay $500 extra. Do dealers work with people at all on this sort of thing?

    Thanks again for the info.
     
  10. benman

    benman New Member

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    Interesting: It seems that rvlifestyles.com is a generic store site that is branded with a dealer's information if you go through the dealer site.

    If you go to rvlifestyles.com directly in a browser that you've never used to access it through the dealer website, it shows up unbranded and nothing is available for sale (although you can browse). If you go to rvlifestyles.com directly but you have previously gone through the dealer's site, it's branded with the dealer's information and you can purchase things.
     
  11. thebrakeman

    thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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    Remember, you are going to be towing this thing home empty, in the unloaded condition. 4400lbs dry weight will still be less than 5000 lbs empty weight, which is under your limit that requires a WDH. The biggest, for a 1 time trip at empty condition, will not be the trailer's weight, but the potential for sway. That just means you need to keep your speed down.

    I towed our camper home from a Camping World in Cleveland to Detroit area. I decided to take Rt 2 all the way, and stay off the Turnpike. I knew I did not want to exceed 50mph. As it turned out, I believe the TW was above 10% anyway, as I experience no instability.

    I would not pay $1000 for a dealer to install an inferior WDH kit that you really don't want. Sign a waiver if they insist. Get the Equal-I-zer that you want online.

    Yes, it's all bolt-on. The only tool you may not have is a deepwell socket large/deep enough for the ball-nut. For that, you can take it to any hitch shop and they will do it for $10, or maybe a box of donuts (?).

    Also keep in mind:
    If you let the dealer set it up, they will (maybe) have it adjusted properly for the empty condition. You are going to have to adjust it again after you add all your camping junk, LP tanks, battery, etc.
     
  12. benman

    benman New Member

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    Thanks. The 1000 was my estimate for an Equalizer. Quoted was 500 for the Reese pro.
     
  13. thebrakeman

    thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Buy it for $500 and install yourself.
     
  14. benman

    benman New Member

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    Update: we picked up our 264BHW on May 14 and I had no problems hauling it home. We took it out for the first time this past weekend and it towed very well.

    - Going was a little slow going up a very steep hill (average grade of 5.2% over 4.25 miles, but it varies and is sometimes steeper) and had to drop down to 2nd gear only a couple of times.

    - I traveled most of the time with O/D off, but was able to put it on when on flat areas of the interstate.

    - Experienced no noticeable sway with trucks passing on interstate.

    - GCVW was 11520 (fully loaded and all passengers) at the CAT scale (vehicle limit is 12000).

    Equipment that made the tow go well:

    - Equalizer 4-point WD hitch.
    - Tekonsha P3 brake controller
    - McKesh towing mirrors
    - Had transmission flushed and filled with synthetic.
    - Inflated TV tires to 36psi (would prob go 38 next time)

    All said and done, I'll probably look into a larger vehicle when we're ready for a new one, but I'm fairly satisfied with how things turned out -- I just hate to let the Mountaineer go. This hill has probably the steepest sustained grades of anywhere we go camping, so I don't feel like I'm going to run into something the Mounty can't handle -- I'll just have to make sure I know the terrain of my route.

    Some future mods to help:

    - Monitor transmission temperature with OBD-II monitor and Torque app (couldn't find my Bluetooth OBD-II before the trip).
    - Install rear camera and hook it up to the LCD rear view mirror already installed.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. thebrakeman

    thebrakeman Well-Known Member

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    2nd gear? Yeah, in PA, you're gonna get more significant hills than me. And with 500-600 more lbs, your working harder. But I'm glad it's stable and working for you. In the end, it was designed and tested for up to 12,000 lbs.
     

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