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charlyhors

Downsizing rig

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We've been travelling full time for the last 3 and half years.  Driving a big F350 dually and first pulling a 32' Hitchhiker and now a 32' Open Range.  We've hit that point in our journey where we want to park our Open Range permanently in Southern Arizona, and get a Smaller 5er and smaller truck for summer and occassional trips, as well as some mild 4 wheeling.  We want to get a 28' or smaller fifth wheel - to fit more easily in state parks and to park more easily.  Most of the smaller 5ers are somewhat older, but there are plenty in the 2000's.  Several we've considered only have the half high bedroom, and we even like that for travelling.  So my question is not so much what 5er to buy as what Trucks to consider.  

I would prefer a short bed, four wheel drive, SRW, gas engine, capable of hauling a small 5er- we always rip out furniture and go with lighter stuff - easier to stow, etc.   So far, I've just checked out Ford - my fav - and the only thing there seems to be a F-150, with a large gas engine and perhaps a high axle ratio, but they have a standard 6.5' bed. 

I'm just starting to investigate Nissan Frontier, some of the Toyota Tacomas, Chevy Colorado, etc.  Just wondering if anyone has suggestions for the truck at this early point?

Edited by charlyhors

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32 minutes ago, charlyhors said:

I would prefer a short bed, ...... but they have a standard 6.5' bed. 

 

If you want a full size pickup then a 6.5' bed is going to be pretty much what they all are. Most compact pickups will have a 5' bed but then you may not be able to pull even a small 5er.

 

Edited by Chalkie

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A standard pickup bed is 8 ft. long, sized to permit a stack of full plywood sheets or sheetrock to lay flat in the bed with the tailgate up. 

Most truck campers are similarly designed to fit an 8 ft. long bed.

For a 5th wheel, you need at least 4 ft. between the rear of the cab and the hitch point to turn the truck sharply without having the trailer collide with the cab.

Since the hitch is mounted over the rear axle, this means either having an 8 ft. bed (the rear axle is at the bed's midpoint) or getting a slider hitch, which adds another step (sliding the hitch back) before attempting sharp turns.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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I would prefer a short bed, four wheel drive, SRW, gas engine, capable of hauling a small 5er- we always rip out furniture and go with lighter stuff - easier to stow, etc.   So far, I've just checked out Ford - my fav - and the only thing there seems to be a F-150, with a large gas engine and perhaps a high axle ratio, but they have a standard 6.5' bed. 

I always thought a 6.5' bed as a short bed.  The long bed always has been the 8' bed. 

If, what you are thinking of is a 5' bed, you may have a serious problem maneuvering the trailer w/o the cab of the truck hitting the corner of the trailer on sharp turns.  A 6.5' bed is hard enough to maneuver w/o a sliding hitch. 

Will the mid sized trucks, you mentioned, have enough carrying capacity as well as GCWR for a small 5th wheel?  

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From specs I've seen so far the Toyota Tundra with a 6.5 ' bed can tow up to 9000lbs.  The other 2 candidates appear to be an F-150 and Ram 1500 which are both 6.5' beds I believe, in the crew or supercab types.  I've been towing with a 8' box till now.  What has been the experience of those of you towing a 5er with a 6.5' box.  I can sort out the weights and towing/payload ratings myself, but just wondering about the difference in handling/parking a small 5er with a 6.5 box vs 8'.  Does it limit your sharpness on turning?  Would a sliding hitch make up for that?  What think you?  And Merry Christmas!

How troublesome is it to use a sliding hitch?

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3 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

For a 5th wheel, you need at least 4 ft. between the rear of the cab and the hitch point to turn the truck sharply without having the trailer collide with the cab.

Since the hitch is mounted over the rear axle, this means either having an 8 ft. bed (the rear axle is at the bed's midpoint) or getting a slider hitch, which adds another step (sliding the hitch back) before attempting sharp turns.

Or you can get a 5th wheel that is designed to be towed with a short bed truck. Ours has a rounded front cap and I could turn the truck 90 degrees to the trailer with our short bed truck. I did have a slider but in truth did not need one and did not use it as much as I could have.

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On 12/25/2017 at 1:57 PM, charlyhors said:

We've been travelling full time for the last 3 and half years.  Driving a big F350 dually and first pulling a 32' Hitchhiker and now a 32' Open Range.  We've hit that point in our journey where we want to park our Open Range permanently in Southern Arizona, and get a Smaller 5er and smaller truck for summer and occassional trips, as well as some mild 4 wheeling.  We want to get a 28' or smaller fifth wheel - to fit more easily in state parks and to park more easily.  Most of the smaller 5ers are somewhat older, but there are plenty in the 2000's.  Several we've considered only have the half high bedroom, and we even like that for travelling.  So my question is not so much what 5er to buy as what Trucks to consider.  

I would prefer a short bed, four wheel drive, SRW, gas engine, capable of hauling a small 5er- we always rip out furniture and go with lighter stuff - easier to stow, etc.   So far, I've just checked out Ford - my fav - and the only thing there seems to be a F-150, with a large gas engine and perhaps a high axle ratio, but they have a standard 6.5' bed. 

I'm just starting to investigate Nissan Frontier, some of the Toyota Tacomas, Chevy Colorado, etc.  Just wondering if anyone has suggestions for the truck at this early point?

I have a toyota tundra. It has a 5.7 v8 gas engine. It pulled my 31 ft camper no problem at 10,000 pounds. hope this helped.

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2 hours ago, GlennWest said:

Pulling isn't the answer. How good it handles the weight is. Heavy enough brakes, etc.

Agree completely.  Towing white knuckled is not fun so why do it..

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