A larger RV (Recreational Vehicle) is often referred to as a motorhome. No matter what the size of your motorhome or RV is, it is possible to require towing if your vehicle breaks down or gets damaged.
You can find a lot of towing companies willing to tow larger RVs, but knowing how the towing process works can save a ton of trouble. It is a good idea to simply drive a motorhome into a flatbed trailer with the front wheels neutral and above the ground.
Today, we shall look at the various options and methods used for successfully towing an RV/motorhome using a pickup truck or trailer. We shall also look at how a tow bar is used and how Class A RVs are towed. Let’s get straight to it!
Possibilities of Towing an Rv/Motorhome Using A Pickup Truck?
Large pickup trucks have a greater weight capacity and a powerful engine that enables Class B and Class C motorhomes to be easily towed. Most Class A motorhomes weigh around 30,000 lbs which is greater than what most tow trucks can handle. Dodge Ram 2500/3500 and Ford F-350/F-250 can handle 23,000 lbs to 24,000 lbs. The table below defines the towing capacity of some common towing trucks:
|Truck Model/Type||Towing Capacity (Pounds)||Motorhome Type That It Can Tow|
|Dodge Ram (1500)||12,750 lbs||
|Ford (F-150)||14,000 lbs||
|GMC Sierra (1500)||13,200 lbs||
|Nissan Titan (XD)||11,070 lbs||
|Chevrolet Silverado (1500)||20,000 lbs||
|GMC Sierra (2500/3500)||20,000 lbs||
|Ford (F-250/F-350)||24,200 lbs||
|Dodge Ram (2500/3500)||23,000 lbs||
It is a common assumption that a truck’s towing capacity is deduced based on the braking function of a vehicle that is being towed. The RV brakes and tow truck brakes are electronically connected to ensure both vehicles brake together during conveyance. This is because the weight of a motorhome is often going to be greater than the weight of the tow truck itself so this measure ensures safety.
Below we have a table with popular RVs that fall into the Class A, B, and C categories. Note that we have listed specific models and that different model variations can vary in category and weight. Contact the manufacturer or check the user manual if you are unsure.
|RV Model/Type||RV Type||RV Weight|
|Newmar Bay Star||Class A||22,000 lbs|
|Coachmen Freelander||Class C||22,000 lbs|
|Airstream Interstate||Class B||11,030 lbs|
|Jayco Redhawk||Class C||14,500 lbs|
|Winnebago Adventurer||Class A||22,000 lbs|
|Thor Compass||Class C||13,500 lbs|
|Forest River Berkshire||Class A||47,000 lbs|
Now that you have a basic idea of motorhome weight and the pickup trucks that can tow various RVs, it is time to go over some facts about a towing truck that can help you make the right pick.
You need to know about the GCWR rating (Gross Combined Vehicle Rating), size, and weight of your motorhome so you can make the right decision when you opt for a pickup truck. This GCWR rating is the maximum mass of any motorhome.
Always opt for a 2-wheel truck with a powerful engine, a powerful suspension system, and a sturdy frame. Even though most people think that a 4-wheeler is ideal, it is actually not. A 4-wheel truck has a lower towing capacity because it weighs a lot more. The heavier the pickup truck is, the lesser its towing capacity, and vice versa. However, it is important that the towing capacity of the pickup truck should not exceed the weight of your RV. Not taking care of this can result in tire failure, brake fade, and an overheated truck engine.
Opt for a truck with automatic transmission as these have high tow ratings. Since they are automatic, they are also a lot easier to drive and maneuver. Make sure to weigh the truck and RV/motorhome using a certified scale or a weighing station.
How To Tow A Class A Motorhome?
Flatbed trailers are your best bet if you wish to tow a Class A vehicle. Class A motorhomes with front-wheel drive can be towed with front wheels above ground level while those with rear-wheel drive need to be towed with back wheels above the ground. Make sure to disconnect the driving shaft before lifting any set of wheels above ground level.
Most Class A motorhomes are rear-wheel drives and are a whole lot larger in size. They usually weigh around 16,000 lbs to 30,000 lbs and can be as tall as 20 ft to 45 ft. These figures make it obvious that towing a Class A vehicle can be quite tedious. The towing truck must be the right weight, should be powerful enough, and should offer enough torque to enable successful towing.
A towing truck that can disperse the weight of a Class A motorhome uniformly is best which is why flatbed trailers are a perfect choice. A flatbed truck with a pre-installed electric brake is even better.
How To Tow A Class C Motorhome?
A Class C motorhome or RV should also be towed using a flatbed trailer. It is necessary to disconnect the front wheels in a front-wheel drive and the rear rear-wheel rear-wheel drive before lifting the tires above ground level.
Class C motorhomes are close to Class A motorhomes. Since Class C RVs are large too, they do require nearly the same effort as Class A vehicles to be towed. Class C vehicles weigh between 10,000 lbs to 12,000 lbs which is why the towing vehicle must have sufficient capacity to tow.
It is also a good idea to pick a towing truck that has a pre-installed brake system. You can make use of a tow dolly to connect your motorhome and tow truck. The tow dolly and motorhome must be properly aligned before hitting the road.
Other things you need to keep in mind include:
- There must be a 700 lbs or 800 lbs buffer placed at the front and back of your motorhome.
- The ball used for hauling should be 16 inches to 18 inches high.
- All tires should be securely strapped and rechecked every 40 to 50 miles.
Can An RV Be Towed Using A Tow Bar?
Tow bars can surely be used to tow RVs and motorhomes if the towing vehicle has the right tow capacity to handle the weight. In the case of rear-wheel drives where towing is done from the front, you may need to detach the driveshaft.
A tow bar allows the towing truck and motorhome to be connected which allows both vehicles to move independently. This allows room for easy movement over bumpy roads and ensures swift turns. You can easily find a tow bar that fits perfectly from a dedicated shop and can also get one custom-crafted if required.
Remember that the towing capacity is based on the assumption that the vehicle being towed has a brake. Therefore, it is important to connect the braking system of both vehicles electronically to ensure safety.
What Is The Smartest Way To Tow A Motorhome?
The most suitable method to tow a motorhome is to make use of a flatbed trailer. It is a good idea to hire a professional towing company that is ready to cover damages to do this. However, this does not mean you cannot experiment with a large-capacity pickup truck. Still, being careful and only taking the risk if needed is the smartest way to go.
A few things you should consider before picking the right towing vehicle include:
This is the maximum weight any vehicle can tow and is usually stated in the user manual.
This is the first thing you must consider before towing your motorhome. However, this feature is not easy to work with as there are different types of weights you need to consider like:
- Tongue Weight
- The tongue weight is the full-fledged weight exerted on a towing vehicle by a motorhome. This should be between 10% to 15% of the GTW (Gross Trailer Weight).
- Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
- This rating is the maximum weight of the vehicle. It is measured by adding the dry weight to the weight of other items in a vehicle so it can be kept within a safe range.
- Dry Weight
- The dry weight is the weight of a vehicle minus cargo, fluid, and passengers.
- Gross Trailer Weight
- This is the final weight of a trailer plus the weight of cargo, fluid, and passengers inside.
- Curb weight
- This is the vehicle’s weight with cargo, fluid, and passengers. This figure is very close to the actual weight of the vehicle.
What Are Essentials That Must Be Present In A Towing Vehicle?
A suitable towing vehicle must have an electrical connector socket, brake controller, hitch receiver, and a ball mounting kit. The hitch receiver acts as the central connection between a tow truck and a motorhome. It is a metal tube square that is placed in the rear underside of the vehicle. Most factory-installed packages come with this.
An electrical connector socket is near the hitch receiver and acts as a female socket. They come in 4-in and 7-pin designs and allow a tow truck to connect with a motorhome’s electrical braking and light systems. This too is usually provided in factory-installed packages.
The ball mount kit connects the hitch receiver to a motorhome and comprises a ball mount, a hitch pin, and a trailer ball. Lastly, the brake controller is used to connect an RV and towing vehicle’s braking system so both brake simultaneously to ensure safety.
What Is The Adequate Tow Hitch?
The right hitch is the correct maximum weight capacity and strength. There are 4 types of ball hitches:
- Class 1: Lightweight, around 2000 pounds or less.
- Class 2: Moderate, around 3500 pounds or less.
- Class 3: Versatile, between 3500 pounds and 6000 pounds.
- Class 4: Heavy-weight, between 10,000 pounds and 12,000 pounds.
Once you pick the right tow hitch, you then need to pick a compatible hitch receiver. Towing a motorhome is quite technical and not as simple as plain driving. The driver must be careful at all times because added weight and pressure can easily cause accidents. Therefore, it is always a good idea to drive slowly.
We have finally reached the end, and we sincerely hope you found this guide useful. A motorhome should be towed based on its Class while keeping the tow truck, weight, size, and other features in mind. While a flatbed trailer is the safest option, you can also use a tow bar and pickup truck if you are comfortable.
Find more about: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Towing Capacity for Campers
I love crispy fried chicken, jogging, brisk walk, and I do sleep tight at night.