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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have the 2021 Ascent Limited and interested in purchasing our first travel trailer. After some insight provided by some of you on this forum about weight, I’ve been eyeing the Keystone Bullet Crossfire 1700BH. Dry weight is 3,377lbs with a tongue weight of 375lbs. Anyone have experience towing this model? Any reason I should have reservations? Any other model recommendations for 2 adults and a toddler?

Thanks!
 

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Looks like it should be fine with one potential caveat. The tongue weight needs to be verified with a full load of propane and the battery(ies), assuming they're on the tongue. If the tongue weight assumes battery(ies) in place and full propane, you're golden. If it assumes empty propane tanks but battery(ies) in place, you're still in the clear. If it assumes the tongue is completely empty (unlikely), you're in trouble.

I'd ask the dealer to show you a real tongue weight (they must have a scale) as delivered and you can do your own math to make sure you're fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looks like it should be fine with one potential caveat. The tongue weight needs to be verified with a full load of propane and the battery(ies), assuming they're on the tongue. If the tongue weight assumes battery(ies) in place and full propane, you're golden. If it assumes empty propane tanks but battery(ies) in place, you're still in the clear. If it assumes the tongue is completely empty (unlikely), you're in trouble.

I'd ask the dealer to show you a real tongue weight (they must have a scale) as delivered and you can do your own math to make sure you're fine.
Really appreciate your response! Calling now to verify.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Looks like it should be fine with one potential caveat. The tongue weight needs to be verified with a full load of propane and the battery(ies), assuming they're on the tongue. If the tongue weight assumes battery(ies) in place and full propane, you're golden. If it assumes empty propane tanks but battery(ies) in place, you're still in the clear. If it assumes the tongue is completely empty (unlikely), you're in trouble.

I'd ask the dealer to show you a real tongue weight (they must have a scale) as delivered and you can do your own math to make sure you're fine.
Spoke to Keystone directly and the gentlemen said the 375 is the assumed weight of the battery and propane in place.

However, I’m confused because he also mentioned that the weight distribution of the tongue accounts for a total of 11.1%. Which means, dry weight of 3,377lbs would equal a tongue weight of 374.8lbs. If it was packed to the max weight capacity of 4,700lbs (which I doubt I would even get close to), then we’re talking a tongue weight of 521lbs.

Unfortunately, the dealer I’m working with gave me the same numbers from the website I already know.
 

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Spoke to Keystone directly and the gentlemen said the 375 is the assumed weight of the battery and propane in place.

However, I’m confused because he also mentioned that the weight distribution of the tongue accounts for a total of 11.1%. Which means, dry weight of 3,377lbs would equal a tongue weight of 374.8lbs. If it was packed to the max weight capacity of 4,700lbs (which I doubt I would even get close to), then we’re talking a tongue weight of 521lbs.

Unfortunately, the dealer I’m working with gave me the same numbers from the website I already know.
Your tow weight and tongue weight can be varied based on how you load the trailer. What you can't really adjust is what it weighs with propane and batteries in place.
 

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Good comments above on tongue weight. The actual tongue weight when towing depends on where you load your stuff in the trailer. Stuff that you store in front of the trailer's axle will increase tongue weight. Stuff that you store behind the trailer's axle will decrease tongue weight. It's like a seesaw.

Where and how full your white/grey/black tanks are also affect tongue weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for your responses. I believe I went down a rabbit hole there. But, I’m understanding better. It appears I’ll be just fine on the tongue weight, barring I pay attention to the overall distribution.
 

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The passthrough storage is in the front of the trailer. You'll need to limit how much weight you load there.

You might want to check out dual-axle trailers in the same size and weight class. It's counter intuitive but they carry a lot of the heaviest components over the axles and generally more stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The passthrough storage is in the front of the trailer. You'll need to limit how much weight you load there.

You might want to check out dual-axle trailers in the same size and weight class. It's counter intuitive but they carry a lot of the heaviest components over the axles and generally more stable.
I was thinking about that very specifically. I was considering something with a tandem axle for a few different reasons but wasn’t having a lot of luck keeping the price down.
 

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Have the 2021 Ascent Limited and interested in purchasing our first travel trailer. After some insight provided by some of you on this forum about weight, I’ve been eyeing the Keystone Bullet Crossfire 1700BH. Dry weight is 3,377lbs with a tongue weight of 375lbs. Anyone have experience towing this model? Any reason I should have reservations? Any other model recommendations for 2 adults and a toddler?

Thanks!
We have a very similar trailer, Coachmen 194 BHS. What we learned in summary: heavily grease the 2 joints in anti-sway bars and the ball for smooth turns, be aware of your trailer weight distribution is even for proper tongue weight (I want to buy a ball scale), drive no faster than 55mph to save on gas - a HUGE difference between 55mph and 65mph, keep very low liquids when traveling - load when you arrive and dump before you go, don't go over 3500 RPMs for long periods as you climb or you'll get Rear Differential Temperature light on - pull over and wait 10 minutes until the light turns off... Happy travels!
 

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The tongue weight is definitely the limiting factor when searching for a camper our Ascents can pull. I just sold my hybrid Jayco X18D which had a "dry" weight (Unloaded Vehicle Weight or UVW) of 3,400lb and a hitch weight of 390lb so very similar in weight to the 1700BH.

I can guarantee that none of the tongue weights the manufacturer and dealer quoted are totally dry, fresh off the factory line. None of the campers I have looked at ever come with a battery or propane tanks. Those are always dealer-provided so there is no way for the manufacturer to make that claim. With a full size marine lead-acid battery (65lbs), two propane tanks (80lbs) and electric tongue-jack (installed by previous owner) the X18D's tongue tipped the scale at 530lbs , which as you know, is beyond the limit of our Ascents. We don't use propane when we camp so that was an easy 80lbs to get rid of and I got a much smaller battery. By packing heavier in the rear of the camper I managed to get the tongue weight between 390 and 410 for each trip. Because I like to know the tongue weight and have plenty of safety buffer, I weight the tongue before every trip with a bathroom scale trick.

As to the tow-ability, there was no issue. The Ascent will handle that load very well as long as you are prepared for decreased acceleration performance and all the other things that come along with towing, increased braking distance, reduced fuel efficiency (I averaged about 12MPG in NJ and Eastern PA). If this is your first time towing, I would suggest you peruse all the other towing/trailer threads on this forum. You will need to know much about brake controllers and the proper way to hitch the trailer. Get to know all the weight-related acronyms GVWR, UVW, GVW, CCC, etc. When you decide on a trailer, join the forum (or FB group) for that model to get model-specific insights.

I must admit that I do not know much about the Keystone brand and this model but have been in the market for one very close in size and layout. I have similar criteria: 2 adults, our 6yo son, and two dogs. My next camper had to be hard-sided so we looked first at the Coachmen Apex Nano 194BHS and were almost ready to purchase until I came across this post from our fellow forum member, MJF, in which he introduced me to the Forest River Salem FSX 178BHSK aka the Wildwood 178BHSK. We really loved the layout, the new fully flat countertop, and value. Definitely take a look at those two for comparisons and do a search on this site. The topic has been covered thoroughly and there are other models you may want to investigate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We have a very similar trailer, Coachmen 194 BHS. What we learned in summary: heavily grease the 2 joints in anti-sway bars and the ball for smooth turns, be aware of your trailer weight distribution is even for proper tongue weight (I want to buy a ball scale), drive no faster than 55mph to save on gas - a HUGE difference between 55mph and 65mph, keep very low liquids when traveling - load when you arrive and dump before you go, don't go over 3500 RPMs for long periods as you climb or you'll get Rear Differential Temperature light on - pull over and wait 10 minutes until the light turns off... Happy travels!
Thank you for this info! I was looking into purchasing the weigh safe hitch to monitor the tongue weight.
 

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The passthrough storage is in the front of the trailer. You'll need to limit how much weight you load there.
Good advice, the front pass-through storage area is pretty much off-limits to heavy cargo given its forward placement and huge impact on tongue weight when loaded.

You might want to check out dual-axle trailers in the same size and weight class. It's counter intuitive but they carry a lot of the heaviest components over the axles and generally more stable.
Hard-sided dual-axle trailers under 5klbs will be very difficult to find. My X18D was a dual axle but it was a hybrid. The two axles did lend themselves to increased stability but I found the 7-1/4 brakes on the 2.7klb axles to be sub-par compared to a standard single-axle 10" brake system. I had assumed 4 brakes would stop better than 2, but I was wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
The tongue weight is definitely the limiting factor when searching for a camper our Ascents can pull. I just sold my hybrid Jayco X18D which had a "dry" weight (Unloaded Vehicle Weight or UVW) of 3,400lb and a hitch weight of 390lb so very similar in weight to the 1700BH.

I can guarantee that none of the tongue weights the manufacturer and dealer quoted are totally dry, fresh off the factory line. None of the campers I have looked at ever come with a battery or propane tanks. Those are always dealer-provided so there is no way for the manufacturer to make that claim. With a full size marine lead-acid battery (65lbs), two propane tanks (80lbs) and electric tongue-jack (installed by previous owner) the X18D's tongue tipped the scale at 530lbs , which as you know, is beyond the limit of our Ascents. We don't use propane when we camp so that was an easy 80lbs to get rid of and I got a much smaller battery. By packing heavier in the rear of the camper I managed to get the tongue weight between 390 and 410 for each trip. Because I like to know the tongue weight and have plenty of safety buffer, I weight the tongue before every trip with a bathroom scale trick.

As to the tow-ability, there was no issue. The Ascent will handle that load very well as long as you are prepared for decreased acceleration performance and all the other things that come along with towing, increased braking distance, reduced fuel efficiency (I averaged about 12MPG in NJ and Eastern PA). If this is your first time towing, I would suggest you peruse all the other towing/trailer threads on this forum. You will need to know much about brake controllers and the proper way to hitch the trailer. Get to know all the weight-related acronyms GVWR, UVW, GVW, CCC, etc. When you decide on a trailer, join the forum (or FB group) for that model to get model-specific insights.

I must admit that I do not know much about the Keystone brand and this model but have been in the market for one very close in size and layout. I have similar criteria: 2 adults, our 6yo son, and two dogs. My next camper had to be hard-sided so we looked first at the Coachmen Apex Nano 194BHS and were almost ready to purchase until I came across this post from our fellow forum member, MJF, in which he introduced me to the Forest River Salem FSX 178BHSK aka the Wildwood 178BHSK. We really loved the layout, the new fully flat countertop, and value. Definitely take a look at those two for comparisons and do a search on this site. The topic has been covered thoroughly and there are other models you may want to investigate.
Wow, thank you for your response. I am certainly nervous about the tongue weight. I looked in to it further and what I was told by the dealer and the Keystone rep was incorrect—the “shipped dry weight” does not include propane or a battery. That will certainly push me over the limit. But, as you suggest, I should be fine managing the weight like a “teeter-totter”?

As far as the propane is concerned, we don’t intend to cook inside—have an outdoor cooker we intend to solely use. However the propane is also used for the refrigerator, heat, and shower, right? What do you do in that situation?

I’ve towed several different trailers (never a travel trailer) throughout my lifetime—but with very capable vehicles. That’s not to say the Ascent isn’t capable, but it has its limitations—that is certainly not an area I’m completely comfortable with.
 

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I have the Winnebago 1700BH. Similar weights and similar but not identical floor plan. I’ve gone from Texas to Maryland and back (through the Appalachians) with no trouble.
You are wise to get a scale. I have the Sherline scale, but am looking at Weighsafe too. Front passthrough storage can put you over the 500lb tongue weight if you are not careful. Also be careful about front storage above the bed.
 

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Wow, thank you for your response. I am certainly nervous about the tongue weight. I looked in to it further and what I was told by the dealer and the Keystone rep was incorrect—the “shipped dry weight” does not include propane or a battery. That will certainly push me over the limit.
You're very welcome, that's what this forum is all about. I don't blame the dealer or rep because they most likely do not encounter such low tongue weight limits as most of their customers are driving way more capable pickups so another hundred pounds on the tongue never matter. The safety burden falls on you so I wanted to make sure you did not just take their word for it. For the battery weight, I dropped the full-size battery in exchange for a much smaller 12AH. It fit my needs and exceeded the 5AH minimum size to actuate the trailer breaks in case of separation.


But, as you suggest, I should be fine managing the weight like a “teeter-totter”?
I grew up calling them "See-Saws" so I had to look that up. Thanks for adding to my vocabulary.

As far as the propane is concerned, we don’t intend to cook inside—have an outdoor cooker we intend to solely use. However the propane is also used for the refrigerator, right? What do you do in that situation?
We're usually at 30/50-Amp sites so the fridge is always running off moving electrons. Ditto with the water heater. I have never used the propane/absorption system when I had a 3 or 2 way fridge. In fact, the latest version of the fridge in the 178BHSK is 12VDC only. Just found out the water heater is propane-only so I'm looking to convert it to electric using either a Camco or Valterra kit.

We use electric heaters when the temperature drops. For cooking we are fans of charcoal, but have used a small grill running off those small 1lb propane tanks. The 178BHSK has an outdoor kitchen in which the grill uses the 1 pounders.


I’ve towed several different trailers (never a travel trailer) throughout my lifetime—but with very capable vehicles. That’s not to say the Ascent isn’t capable, but it has its limitations—that is certainly not an area I’m completely comfortable with.
It is a great vehicle, but approaching the towing limits does make me nervous. If I was a full-time RVer, I'd have to move up to a pickup.
 

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As in a space heater? Have any particular recommendations? This seems like a great option to reduce the amount of propane needed.
Yep. We use two kinds of heaters, but only one at a time. One is a parabolic quartz heater with a low/400W and high/800W setting for chilly nights. For cold nights we use a tower heater. At an 1875W rating it uses up most of the 15A on the outlet circuit. My Kill-A-Watt reported 12A of pull. My only experience with those have been with the hybrid, I am assuming the hard-sided campers discussed here will not need that much heat to maintain comfortable temps at night unless camping in very cold weather. This is partly why we decided to sell the hybrid.

I do have to make a correction to a statement I made earlier. According to HappilyEverAndra, quoted below, it appears that some manufacturers do offer packages in which LP tanks are included from the factory. I stand corrected.

The 208BHS Outfitter is weighed with 2 empty propane tanks, as it is part of the package and is not added at the dealership. My sticker says 516, and that is with the 2 tanks, empty.
From: Camping Trip Apex Nano 208BHS

The pros and cons of this trailer coupled with the Ascent have been discussed in another thread and I don't to start that up again. For me personally, I could not get over the base 516lb tongue weight and it fell off my list of potential travel trailers.
 
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I'm really saddened, because Heartland had the Edge Series, which was perfect for our class of SUVs. Tandem axle, and low tongue weight, with the water tanks sitting in the middle, adding virtually nothing to tongue weight (which was also why it was able to carry a massive amount of water for a trailer its size).

The The Heartland Edge M18 was, in my mind, perfect. Even the bigger M21 fit within the Ascent's capabilities, easily. They show up used from time to time.
 

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A few things to consider, most rooftop air conditioners have electric heat options that can be installed separately space heaters are a fire hazard I cannot justify personally. The furnace, while it is propane, works so well you won't need it on very long at all. Hot water is only necessary if you are using your own shower, and most smaller trailers have limited grey tank sizes so it is quite impractical unless you can do some seriously quick wetting and rinsing, ours filled up in 2 rounds of super quick showers (2 adults 2 kids, 28 gallon grey tank). Luckily I tried it only because we had a full hookup. Our water heater runs off propane or electric.

Also, not all manufacturers are the same my Jayco came weighed from the factory with a battery and full propane installed and the sticker states that is how the weights were determined. So look at the fine print on the weight sticker, they are not all weighed the same, and definitely don't rely on specs found online. We searched for months for the perfect trailer for us and visited every dealer within the county and along the interstate corridor. It is not easy finding a sub 5k lb trailer to fit a family of 4 but we managed with a whole lot of patience and realistic expectations.

I use the weigh safe hitch and it is very useful, just be sure to keep it stored where it wont get too cold as temperature affects the hydraulic fluid. Take your time and you will find something that works for you. And fwiw not having to deal with a weight distributing hitch makes hooking up so easy, start to finish I am ready to go in about 15 minutes, putting stabilizers up storing wood, attaching trailer to Ascent, hooking up safety chains/wiring, running tongue jack up, checking lights and rearview camera function, storing wheel chocks, locking the doors, rolling up electrical cord and locking storage.

Take your time and find what you want and then enjoy the inherent simplicity! Be safe and happy hunting!
 
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