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Old 11-19-2016, 10:11 AM   #1
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unloaded vehicle weight gain of 280SR

Hi. I was wondering if anyone knows why the unloaded weight of the Solaris 280SR increased from 6075 pounds in 2001 to 6600 in 2005? The layout appears to be the same. Does the weight gain mean improved performance in some way?
Thanks.
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Old 11-19-2016, 05:12 PM   #2
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I can't see how more weight would help performance! Heaver axles?
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Old 11-19-2016, 06:05 PM   #3
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We have the chance to buy either a 2001 or 2006, both in excellent condition, and are wondering if the extra money for the heaver 2006 is worth it.
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Old 11-19-2016, 06:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j-dog42 View Post
Hi. I was wondering if anyone knows why the unloaded weight of the Solaris 280SR increased from 6075 pounds in 2001 to 6600 in 2005? The layout appears to be the same. Does the weight gain mean improved performance in some way?
Thanks.
Up until the early 2000's, Sunline used smaller rails in the frame and A-frame and, in some models, slightly smaller capacity axles and springs. My '99 T-2453 had 4" frame components and 3,500# axles.

Newer Sunlines had 5" or even 6" frame components and beefier axles. The later SR's certainly had similar increases.

AFAIK, there weren't any other changes that would account for a 10% increase in dry weight.

That accounts for the higher dry weight. I didn't look at any of the 2000 or newer brochures, but I am guessing you'll find an increased GVWR at some point in time after 2001. That would indicate the year that they upped the frame & axle sizes.

You didn't mention how much more the '06 would cost. Given what I understand about TT construction, I'd opt for the heavier frame. And it's 5 model years newer.
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:15 PM   #5
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The price difference is about $5,000.
Interestingly, the 2001, with unloaded weight of 6075, has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000. The 2005 has unloaded weight of 6600 and gross vehicle weight rating of 8600.
Our tow vehicle has a tow capacity of 7200 so it can tow either but obviously we'd have a bit more capacity with the 2001.
Steve, would you still recommend the newer trailer?
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Old 11-19-2016, 08:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by j-dog42 View Post
The price difference is about $5,000.
Interestingly, the 2001, with unloaded weight of 6075, has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000. The 2005 has unloaded weight of 6600 and gross vehicle weight rating of 8600.
Our tow vehicle has a tow capacity of 7200 so it can tow either but obviously we'd have a bit more capacity with the 2001.
Steve, would you still recommend the newer trailer?
None of those numbers look good with that tow vehicle capacity...

We like to recommend finding a tow vehicle with a towing capacity where the trailer GVWR is about 75% of the vehicle's towing capacity. Any weight added to your vehicle (people too) detracts from towing capacity.

In this situation, I wouldn't recommend either trailer, but if you had to pick one, I'd go with the lighter of the two.
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Old 11-19-2016, 09:58 PM   #7
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Thanks. This has been very helpful.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by j-dog42 View Post
The price difference is about $5,000.
Interestingly, the 2001, with unloaded weight of 6075, has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000. The 2005 has unloaded weight of 6600 and gross vehicle weight rating of 8600.
Our tow vehicle has a tow capacity of 7200 so it can tow either but obviously we'd have a bit more capacity with the 2001.
Steve, would you still recommend the newer trailer?
I'm with Jon on this 100%.

If you look back through the Towing section threads, there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of discussions of exactly this issue with lots and lots of information about towing weights. There are several different ways to determine proper tow vehicle capacity for a trailer or proper trailer GVWR for a tow vehicle, but they all end up within a few pounds of each other.

For your vehicle, you have to know it's towing capacity for flat towing. But check the receiver hitch on the vehicle. It, too, has weight limitations. On your vehicle, it will likely line up pretty well. On heavier capacity tow vehicles like my F250, the weight rating of the truck far outstrips the ratings of the standard 2" receiver, both for weight carrying and weight distribution towing. But don't take my word alone on this, check the hitch for yourself. There should be a label on it from the hitch manufacturer. If not, you may be able to determine the manufacturer and even the part number of the hitch. It's usually stamped on it somewhere. Armed with that info, all the hitch manufacturers have specs for all their products available on their websites.

For the safety of your family and others who share the road with you, the proper GVWR for your tow vehicle is about 5,400#. If you found a trailer that is rated a few hundred pounds more, you' be fine, but I certainly would not recommend going over a GVWR of 5,800#.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:50 AM   #9
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I have a Toyota Tacoma it is rated 6500#. Frankly that is just nuts meaning the load would out weigh the truck by 1 ton. The limit on mine should be more like 3,000#
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Old 11-20-2016, 11:54 AM   #10
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We have a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 with Hemi 5.7l engine. The published towing capacity is 7200#. I am not sure why Steve is saying the towing capacity is about 5400# unless that is just an example. If we didn't load the trailer anywhere near the GVWR, that is only traveled with a couple of hundred pounds of extra weight over that of my hubby and me , would we be ok with the trailer with unloaded weight of 6075#?
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:41 PM   #11
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We have a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 with Hemi 5.7l engine. The published towing capacity is 7200#. I am not sure why Steve is saying the towing capacity is about 5400# unless that is just an example. If we didn't load the trailer anywhere near the GVWR, that is only traveled with a couple of hundred pounds of extra weight over that of my hubby and me , would we be ok with the trailer with unloaded weight of 6075#?
Read Sunline Fan's post again. He stated clearly that proper towing capacity should be calculated at 75% of the vehicle's max towing capacity utilizing the trailer's GVWR rating. 75% of 7,200# = 5,400# That gives you adequate safety margin for changes in temperature, altitude, inclines, and more. Towing at the edge of your vehicle's rated capacity is dangerous under normal conditions, let alone adverse ones.

Please go back and read through some of the old threads about towing, It's all laid out there.

I have a '11 Grand Cherokee with the Hemi sitting in my driveway. It's rated for max towing of 5,500#. It's an Overland model so it has the air suspension which immediately disqualifies it from any weight distributing towing. Weight distribution messes with the air suspension's sensors big time. My old Sunline was rated at 5,500# GVWR. I would have been very uncomfortable pulling it with the Jeep.

Please, don't raise the explanation that you will always travel empty with nothing the trailer. It's unrealistic and it is not possible in the real world. You're going to carry propane, clothing, camping gear, pots and pans, food, and more. It's unavoidable. It's how we all camp. And sooner or later, you're going to have to tow with full holding tanks.
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Old 11-20-2016, 01:46 PM   #12
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Ah, now I understand the post. Sorry, being a bit slow.
It seems we need to change our trailer expectations and/or tow vehicles. Or both.
I will go back now and read the old threads.
Thanks again, everyone, for patience and information!
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:31 PM   #13
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Another thing to consider is the dry weight it does not include propane, propane tanks water, battery and any thing you might put inside.
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:57 AM   #14
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Hi J-dog42,

To your first question, the difference between 2001 and 2005 models, I know a some about the T280SR as a very good Sunline friend of ours use to have one and I have helped others with theirs set up their hitch system and slide systems.

Model changes over the years. During the 2004 model year, it was design year for Sunline. Most all 2004's and newer received upgrades. Larger fresh water tanks, and other holding tanks in some cases, larger cargo doors, larger entry doors, battery disconnect switch, Shub shower door, taller head space in some cases etc. The 2005 slide room campers received a new slide floor upgrade in the 2005 model year, In approx 2001 to 2003 there was a slide system drive change in brands. These changes and others of cabinet changes etc affect the build weight. As the years go by, a model can change the way they are built. For a camper of this size, the weight change for the design upgrades is not that much.

To the frames and axles, the 2001 T280SR was set up as a 10,000# GVWR with a 6,075 dry weight. This camper has a 10" I shape main frame with 6" channel iron A frame. It has D load range 15" tires to support the 10,000#.

The 2005 T280SR, has the same 10" I shape frame with a 6" channel iron A frame and the same D load range 15" tires but only a 8,600# GVWR.

Why did Sunline change the ratings yet the frames and tires are the same? Well that is a good question and I am not 100% sure of the answer but I'll offer this guess. In the 2001 model, there is 3,925# of cargo capacity which is really insanely high for a TT. I think Sunline just de-rated the cargo capacity to a more realistic setting so someone could not overload a portion of the camper. On the 2005 there is still 2,270# of cargo capacity which is very adequate on a camper only 29 feet long.

If I was going to buy an actual T280SR and had a choice of the 2, I would pick the 2005 for the added upgrades that came in 2004.

I'll also offer this as a friendly heads up to help guide you in trying to line up a camper to your truck. Either of those 2 campers is not a good match and is beyond the stable towing ability of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. The infamous misconception of the tow rating words has gotten more good folks into not good situations before. There is more then just being able to pull a camper, the truck has to be able to control the weight and length of the camper.

The T280SR floor plan front kitchen camper has the ability to load very heavy in the front due to the weight of the kitchen up front. There is a lot of cabinets to hold "stuff". The rear bedroom has a large cargo hole under the bed which is loaded from outside and inside. The rear cargo hole helps offset the high tongue weight if it is filled correctly.

If you look in the brochures it lists "dry" tongue weight of the camper. The 2001 has a dry TW of 780# and the 2005 is 950#. Dry means bare unloaded TT with nothing in it. This includes no LP gas in the tanks and no battery mounted on the tongue. As you load the camper, the TW changes and in most cases, goes up.

I have weighed a few T280SR's for SOC members and a 1,200# loaded TW is what is to be expected when the camper is loaded with camping gear. It can even go higher, maybe only slightly lower. This camper is also 28' 11" long and a higher profile camper. Your truck cannot handle the loaded tongue weight of the camper and the length of the camper does not work well with the short wheel base of the Jeep.

In this case, your need a smaller camper or a larger truck to have the truck be inside the ratings of the truck when hitched and going camping.

This post may help. Towing a TT - Info for those new to Towing

We do not mean to discourage you, just give you a heads up and help you understand how to create a good match of camper size to your truck size to have a good time camping. There are several Sunline campers that will match up to your truck, you just need to find the right floor plan and weight class to line up with your truck.

This is the place to ask and learn about Sunline campers. We are glad to help and explain. Ask away and good luck in your search for the perfect Sunline!

Hope this helps

John
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