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In few words trailer weight capacity and stability. You don't "need" a dually unless you are near capacity. Our 5th wheel weighs about 16,500 lbs. Our 350 dually has a capacity of around 23000 lbs, with a 25000 lb capacity hitch. I like that margin between weight and capacity for safety.

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When the weight of the fifth wheel carried on its pin, combined with the weight of the fully loaded pickup, exceeds either the GVWR or RAWR of an SRW pickup, plus whatever safety margin you are comfortable with.

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All the above reasons. Plus a dually is far more stable, especially in cross winds. If anything near the limits of the truck then I would for sure go dually.

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If I had it to do all over again, I would have started with a used HDT instead of a new dually. But back in 2011 I didn't know what I didn't know. Today I am looking at HDTs so I can carry a RZR. Toy haulers just don't offer the comfort of a "regular" 5er. Plus an HDT will tow any 5er you could ever find.

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Assuming you don't mind using the HDT as a daily driver or loading/unloading something off it as a daily driver, don't mind climbing in and out, don't mind lifting laundry and groceries in and out. We like our low to the ground two wheel drive dually. Different strokes for different folks. Greg

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An HDT is not for everyone. Personally, I don't recommend an HDT unless you NEED one.

 

There are lots of things you can do to set up an HDT as a daily driver. I replaced my F550 with a "small form factor" HDT (Volvo 610 set up for a short wheelbase and as a daily driver). It excelled as a replacement for the 550, even in the daily driver mode. Was it the "same" driving around town? No, but typically it was better. It was not better if you wanted to go through drive-thru's though. Something we NEVER do. It was NOT better if you have knee or hip problems because there is no getting around the floor height.

 

But other than that it was better. Parked better, rode better, got better mpg, etc.

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If I had it to do all over again, I would have started with a used HDT instead of a new dually. But back in 2011 I didn't know what I didn't know. Today I am looking at HDTs so I can carry a RZR. Toy haulers just don't offer the comfort of a "regular" 5er. Plus an HDT will tow any 5er you could ever find.

As we've been discussing over on another forum, take a peek at the DRV FullHouse. It's a 38RSSA on a 45' frame with a 10'garage.

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I've done the toy hauler route. Hated it. Granted it was a Cyclone, but the loss of "real" living space for a garage is just not worth it to me. My Alfa Gold 3905SHMC is PERFECT for my single motorcycle use. The only way I can include a RZR is on the back of an HDT.

 

But back to the topic of this thread...

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Very interesting discussion. Thanks everyone for posting.

 

@ Jack Mayer - not knowing any about the HDT world, what is the mileage difference? I am sure that the transmission and axle ratio on the HDT is better than any of those currently offered in the "passenger" dually lines. When you purchase diesel - is it the kind for over the road diesels or the same as that found at the local gas station?

 

@Allie & Jim - we looked at the DRV Full House online (unable to find one in the area) and like the look but DH thinks 10' garage is too small for both of our HD touring bikes to fit into if we wanted to put any tools in the garage also.

 

@ remoandiris - we know a couple with an Alfa Gold and like it - wish is came in a two bike configuration.

 

I really appreciate the time every take to post on these forums - we are looking forward to full timing in the very near future and have a bunch of questions. DH thinks I am over analyzing (probably) but this is a big investment and not as easily modified (i.e., stick & brick) if you really don't like something.

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Unless someone is just absolutely against it for whatever reason, once you tow with a dually (close to max rating or not) you will not want to tow with anything else. More rubber on the road for stopping, greater stability in high winds or passing traffic, safer with rear end blowout. Stability is what you will notice the most, if you get a heavy 5er you will regret not getting a dually. HDT...well like said its not for everyone but dually X 5. I found it was 1/3 the cost of buying a newer but still used dually pickup (I love my Dodge but it is just not up to the task). Brakes, power, stability, ride, lack of worries....no comparison.

Edited by Darkhorse

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Unless someone is just absolutely against it for whatever reason, once you tow with a dually (close to max rating or not) you will not want to tow with anything else. More rubber on the road for stopping, greater stability in high winds or passing traffic, safer with rear end blowout. Stability is what you will notice the most, if you get a heavy 5er you will regret not getting a dually. HDT...well like said its not for everyone but dually X 5. I found it was 1/3 the cost of buying a newer but still used dually pickup (I love my Dodge but it is just not up to the task). Brakes, power, stability, ride, lack of worries....no comarrison.

How about comparing apples to apples which is not comparing a high mileage older HDT at 1/3 the cost to a newer dually. You should consider the resale price of a old older HDT to a used dually, which most dealers will gladly take as a trade in. Also, consider the maintenance cost of the HDT, you won't get a $80 starter from Autozone. A newer vehicle, whether HDT or dually usually has design improvements and safety features over older year models. I do understand what Darkhorse is saying that some outfits need a HDT based on what they are hauling, but for the average RV'r, a HDT is excessive. What's next, a rubber tired locomotive?

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I was not trying to convince the OP of going HDT. I could give lots of comparisons to your point but again I wasnt trying to convince the OP of going HDT or derailing his thread. I just attached my personal opinion at the end...I get carried away sometimes :)

A rubber tired locomotive? I like the way you think...I'm in! :D

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Very interesting discussion. Thanks everyone for posting.

 

@ Jack Mayer - not knowing any about the HDT world, what is the mileage difference? I am sure that the transmission and axle ratio on the HDT is better than any of those currently offered in the "passenger" dually lines. When you purchase diesel - is it the kind for over the road diesels or the same as that found at the local gas station?

 

 

To answer your questions to Jack, here is our opinion. As with most vehicles a lot depends on the HDT and the truck you are comparing to.

1) We got anywhere from 8-10 MPG pulling our trailer with our Chevy Diesel Dually. We get between 7-9 MPG pulling the same trailer with our HDT. I believe Jack gets better MPG with his and his is a heaver trailer and he has a newer HDT. With the small number of miles most RV'ers drive in a year, difference in MPG does not mean a lot.

2) HDT's are available in many different transmission and axle specs. If ordering new you can have it specified the way you need it and the engineers will even help you decide. Unfortunately many of the HDT's are converted over the road tractors so we get whatever ratio and or transmission is in the truck that we pick. We purposely wanted a 2 pedal truck just like an automatic car would be for ease of driving but was not concerned on the ratio as again the difference in MPG because of the ratio does not make a lot of difference.

3) The diesel used in HDT's is the same on road diesel used in a dually or pickup. You cannot use Off Road diesel in either of them legally. There may be differences in cost at the pumps due to taxes and if using a car pump it may take awhile to pump the 100-200 gallons that the HDT might need. That is why we use the Truck pumps at a truck stop which have high speed nozzles and typically have a slave pump to fill the passenger side tank while filling the drivers side tank.

 

 

How about comparing apples to apples which is not comparing a high mileage older HDT at 1/3 the cost to a newer dually. You should consider the resale price of a old older HDT to a used dually, which most dealers will gladly take as a trade in. Also, consider the maintenance cost of the HDT, you won't get a $80 starter from Autozone. A newer vehicle, whether HDT or dually usually has design improvements and safety features over older year models. I do understand what Darkhorse is saying that some outfits need a HDT based on what they are hauling, but for the average RV'r, a HDT is excessive. What's next, a rubber tired locomotive?

 

We actually did the comparison that you suggest and based it on putting 200000 miles on both in 10 years (20k miles per year) which is what we were averaging at the time we bought the HDT. Now it would be closer to 15k miles per year. We also compared it to a new dually in the same spread sheet along with a couple of other HDT's and tractors that had not yet been converted to HDT use.

 

At an additional 200000 miles the used dually (and even a new dually) would be possibly be needing major work (our dually we had was at that stage). The HDT in our case had 450000 miles on it and at 650000 would still be way under its million mile rebuild number. We compared tire cost, oil changes, & normal maintenance costs. The HDT won out.

 

If you used a new HDT, even though the initial cost would be much higher say $125k to $70K for a new dually, you would still be breaking the truck in at 200000 miles. The warranty on a new HDT is 300k miles but you would time out in years before you used up the miles. So you actually are not comparing apples to apples if you use new to new.

 

On top of that, the repair costs so far on our HDT have been much cheaper that the dually plus the Freightliner dealers both parts and service are open late in the evening and on weekends including Sundays in every major city in America (Show us a dealer or repair facility for a dually that does that in every major city in America). This means parts are actually more easily available for an HDT than it would be for a dually. True the parts can be bigger and most likely you would have to take it in to a repair shop but if you are full timing you most likely are not going to be doing any repair work in the campground anyway in either case.

 

As Jack says HDT's are not for everyone, but you need to do a study to see what the best truck for your needs will be.

 

Dave

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In the last couple of years, ie 2013 and up, the 1 ton dually's have come a long way in what they can tow...Mine is my daily driver and tows my 5er (loaded to 16,300# with a 3460# pin weight. They've come a long way with the "Big Three's" 350/3500 dually's. Mine with 4.10 has a GCWR of 37,500# (no I wouldn't go that high), all new frame as well as front and rear suspension. FAWR is 6,000#, RAWR is 9750# at 65 psi (E rated tires), but AAM has the 11.8 axle (with Aisin tranny) rated at 11,500#....GVWR is 14,000#...All that to say, after 2012 a lot of these trucks added vast improvements to their trucks. Mine has the medium duty ILS 6.7L Cummins strapped to a medium duty Aisin tranny and is rated at 385 HP and 850 lbft of TQ..It's not a HDT by any stretch of the imagination, but I use this truck daily with no issues , and it tows my 5er quite effortlessly through the mountains of WV, TN, NC and VA; with the B&W 3600 hitch, it'll handle well over 5,000# in pin weight and up to a 25,000# 5er....I'm looking at a TH with a GVW of 20,000# and this truck will be more than capable in handling it..

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NC Hauler.... I understand about having a newer pickup truck as I was running a new F350 Ford with the 6.7 diesel in it. It worked great for the fiver I had at that time (15,500 GVW). Fast forward to the new fiver with a 21,000 GVW that I tow with a Freightliner. I have had to make ONE pull from Chattanooga, TN to Knoxville, TN with the F350 and the new trailer and was white knuckled the entire way. It doesn't sound like much of a difference but the new trailer was 1/3 heavier than the old one and it made a LOT of difference. I only have 450 HP in my truck but it has 1650 lb-ft of torque and those lovely air brakes and, for the steep grades, that nice Jake brake. Yes the F350 has an exhaust brake but it does not compare to having a Jake....

 

A HDT isn't for everyone but once the trailer weights go over 20K, I think that most people would be better served with a F450/F550 class truck or larger with a hauler bed installed on it.

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We have a Dually, stepped up to a 18K 5er with the dually rated at 16.5#. Looked real hard at a Volvo 780 setup as we wanted and with a Smart bed. Price was better than another dually and the safety factor was way up there. My wife, (former bus driver) didnt want to have to deal with the Volvo for daily driving. So, I looked and found a IH 4700LP for the same money as the Volvo, still lots of tow capacity and safety cushion. Granted, I dont have the same number of gears nor HP, but we are, for now, satisfied with the choice and comfort. Fuel economy isnt really a factor, as others have said, it isnt a real relevant issue in this lifestyle. So, for now, this is where we sit, and are satisfied with it.

Great discussion, though. I learned alot even after after soliciting opinions from the Mayers and Buss's as I was considering the Volvo.

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If you don't need the features and benefits of a single rear wheel 3500 pickup a dually works best for hauling lots of weight in the bed and towing on good surfaced roads.

Edited by noteven

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An HDT is not for everyone. Personally, I don't recommend an HDT unless you NEED one.

 

There are lots of things you can do to set up an HDT as a daily driver. I replaced my F550 with a "small form factor" HDT (Volvo 610 set up for a short wheelbase and as a daily driver). It excelled as a replacement for the 550, even in the daily driver mode. Was it the "same" driving around town? No, but typically it was better. It was not better if you wanted to go through drive-thru's though. Something we NEVER do. It was NOT better if you have knee or hip problems because there is no getting around the floor height.

 

But other than that it was better. Parked better, rode better, got better mpg, etc.

 

Emphatically X 2!! We used our 610 as our only vehicle when vacation traveling for several of years before we bought the smart car.

Edited by Dennis M

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NC Hauler.... I understand about having a newer pickup truck as I was running a new F350 Ford with the 6.7 diesel in it. It worked great for the fiver I had at that time (15,500 GVW). Fast forward to the new fiver with a 21,000 GVW that I tow with a Freightliner. I have had to make ONE pull from Chattanooga, TN to Knoxville, TN with the F350 and the new trailer and was white knuckled the entire way. It doesn't sound like much of a difference but the new trailer was 1/3 heavier than the old one and it made a LOT of difference. I only have 450 HP in my truck but it has 1650 lb-ft of torque and those lovely air brakes and, for the steep grades, that nice Jake brake. Yes the F350 has an exhaust brake but it does not compare to having a Jake....

 

A HDT isn't for everyone but once the trailer weights go over 20K, I think that most people would be better served with a F450/F550 class truck or larger with a hauler bed installed on it.

 

 

Would have thought that the Ford would have been stronger, unless it was an older model? . 5er I just traded in weighed scaled at 16,300# (GVW of 16,950), and a pin weight of 3460#...I do 99% of my towing in the mountains...WVa, TN, NC, SC and VA and have never had a "white knuckle' moment towing with this truck...and there are 7% grades on I64 as well as I77 and I26 that I travel, coming and going...and the secondary roads in WV in some places are mountainous, curvy roads that are steeper than 7%, never an issue....Now I'm going to a Jayco TH with a GVW of 20,000# and I don't foresee any issues with that either. I only have 385HP and 850lbft of TQ, but no problems whatsoever in the mountains, climbing or braking...I've towed from Chattanooga to Knoxville and it's an easier tow than Fancy Gap on I77, the New River Gorge on I64 in WV and I26 from Erwin TN to top of mountain at state line of NC...I also use my truck as my daily driver, so I don't have to spend extra money for a vehicle to drive around in...

 

As stated an HDT isn't for everyone and again, since 2013, the HP, TQ, GVWR and RAWR have risen so much on these new 1 ton dually's that now they can be considered to tow 5th wheels that needed to be towed by MDT or the HDT....My 5er, stated earlier has a GVWR of 14,000# and with a pin weight of 3460#, I'm a little over a 1,000# under that...quite a bit of room to grow and haven't even gotten into RAWR....With 4.10, GCWR on my truck is 37,500#...(no will never get there), but with a Cummins 6.7 (medium duty diesel) and the Aisin, (medium duty tranny), with4.10, this truck is a heck of a towing maching....not comparing to a HDT, that would be ridiculous, but the wife, myself, dogs and grandkids can easily get in and out of the truck and it's a solid tow vehicle.

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NC Hauler, Nice to hear that. We're looking at a Ram 3500 Cummins 6.7 with the Aisin Mega Cab dually. The rigs we've been looking at all run around 18K GVWR so we should be good to go. We need the Mega Cab so we can carry our large dogs.

 

Still have to figure out what hitch to use, slider or non slider with full air ride hitch or TrailAir FlexAir pin box. One problem is that to date I've found no slider air ride hitch combo.

 

Having the lower floor is a big deal but the one issue I have is the rear seats in that you can't take the 60% section out and leave the 40% section in.

Edited by Timon

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NC Hauler,

 

I went from towing with BIG airbrakes, a Jake brake, 450 HP and 1,650 lb-ft of torque back to depending on the trailer to help stop the dually brakes, an exhaust brake (nice but not a two stage Jake), 400HP and 800 lb-ft of torque. I could feel the trailer pushing the truck around instead of the truck controlling the situation. I have a late model 6.7 Ford (still a nice truck that I use) but once I was used to the bigger truck, it was not pleasant to go back to a dually. Mine is only 6 inches or so longer than the crew cab dually and is used as a daily driver on the road just like the Ford. It fits into the same spaces with the same limitations as the dually except for height restrictions.

Edited by GeorgiaHybrid

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I like the braking for sure, the truck not even knowing the trailer is there going down the highway, better mileage then my pickup. I have an older Dodge so of course would LOVE a new Dodge but I just could not justify 60-70k for a pickup when you can get an HDT for 1/3 of that. Leaves a lot left over for whatever else you need whether it be a toad or toys.

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I have an older Dodge so of course would LOVE a new Dodge but I just could not justify 60-70k for a pickup when you can get an HDT for 1/3 of that.

What, 1/3 of a new Dodge for a HDT? Not sure I'd be up to what it would take to keep it going. Still we'd have the height to climb in issue for us and the dogs.

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