Jump to content
Mark Coleman

Looking for our first 5th wheel

Recommended Posts

My wife and I will be starting to travel this year and have bought a 2500 Ram Diesel long bed to haul a 5th wheel 19,500 Max towing capacity with 2495 hitch weight. We are looking for a 5th wheel approx. 34-36 ft with certain amenities. Any ideas on how to decide on model and style. I have some info already, such as Drop Frame. Z style, Alum steps, Azddel composite material, but I have no idea how to determine which model has everything I need. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 3/4-ton truck may be your first issue. A 2,495 payload capacity is not much and isn't going to get you anywhere near your 19,500 combined weight rating (that's not your max towing capacity, I'm certain). Fifth wheels typically put about 23% of their loaded weight on the pin. If you have only 2,495 lbs. payload (and that's after fuel, occupants, the weight of the hitch, etc.), you are limited to a fifth wheel with a GVWR of about 10,800 lbs. You are not going to find a drop-frame fifth wheel with a lot of amenities in that weight range. Diesel 3/4-tons are notorious for having low payload ratings.

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be aware that 3/4 ton trucks are often severely limited by their rear axle capacity, and that will restrict the size of fifth wheel that you should consider. Fifth wheel trailers generally carry 20 - 25% of their weight on the pin, so with a 2500 pound pin capacity you will be looking at around a 10,000 - 12,500 pound fifth wheel.  Very difficult to find a 34 - 36 footer in that weight class. 

Sorry for the unpleasant news, but 3/4 ton truck owners are often surprised by this "gotcha". 

Wow. Second Chance and i wrote the same thing at about the same time. Spoookkkky!

Edited by mptjelgin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

Wow. Second Chance and i wrote the same thing at about the same time. Spoookkkky!

In our family, we used to say, "Great minds run in the same gutter..." 😉

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once you come to terms with the 5th wheel size the next item will be selecting an RV. Unless you go custom you don't have much choice what materials are used in an RV. The more important thing is floor plan. Questions to ask yourself: can I access the bathroom and at least the refrigerator when the slides are in(ask dealer to bring in slides), how big are the tanks, what happens if it rains for 3-4 days and we are stuck inside the RV, where are you interested in camping(commercial or state and national parks, this will affect your size), solar and generator if thinking about boondocking(plus enough batteries).

Answer these questions and then there will be more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the heads up on hitch weight. So far I haven't had to much of an issue finding trailers that are in the length range I'm looking for that fall below the 2500 hitch range. I may not, as you both have suggested, be able to buy one with the Z frame, but I'll keep looking. SWharton, thanks for the ideas. Those are all good suggestions to keep in mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also remember that 'Hitch Weight" is likely the total amount of load that can be added to the truck.  So consider that the weight of the hitch itself, tool box, firewood, even passengers above the assumed driver, fuel, etc. will subtract from that. 

Good luck on your search!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, wasn't there once a "rule" you should be at 80% hitch weight? I have no idea why I think that.

You will probably be more comfortable with a 30-32' 5th. You don't want the trailer pushing you down the road and having difficulty stopping. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do the math as outlined above, and add in a safety factor of at least 10%.  Stay well within the guide lines for you tow vehicle, with fuel, gear, and passengers included.  Get it weighed. 

You might have to set your sights a bit lower, or get a bigger truck.  Too much truck is just right.😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a bigger truck or smaller camper.  My 32' camper would max you out.  We have no problem spending lots of time in it with just the 2 of us but it is an older model, has a busted slide shear pin at the moment.  I once bought a 3/4 diesel to pull an RV with and after doing some digging/checking on weights, that truck went away and I bought what we now have.  We plan on a much heavier camper in the near distance.

Your truck will pull a bigger camper with no problem, the real problem is, you don't have enough truck to stop a heavier camper safely.

As far as deciding on make/model, visit lots of show and dealerships, all brands.  Read here and other sites, go to sites dedicated to specific brands, etc.  Not everyone likes the same.  All I will say, the cheaper the model, well, you get what you pay for.

Edited by NDBirdman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Mark Coleman said:

Thanks for the heads up on hitch weight. So far I haven't had to much of an issue finding trailers that are in the length range I'm looking for that fall below the 2500 hitch range. I may not, as you both have suggested, be able to buy one with the Z frame, but I'll keep looking. SWharton, thanks for the ideas. Those are all good suggestions to keep in mind.

Mark,

Those "hitch" weights (referred to as pin weight with a fifth wheel) advertised by the manufacturers are empty weights - NOT loaded weights. Use the math provided by me and others in this thread (20 - 25% of the trailer's GVWR) and don't be fooled into a false sense of security.

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark,

You’re getting good advice on payload.  Pin weighs spec’d are empty and without options.  A good example is my situation: 35ft Vilano (nice 5er) has 2600lb “pin weight spec” and about 12,500 overall weight.  After adding a few options, and stuff we carry to travel our 35ft 5er weights about 15,500lbs and has a true pin weight of 3500lb. 
 

With a 3/4T I suspect you’ll need to look at 5ers in the 9,000-10,000 range empty and no more than 12,000lb fully loaded...even that might be iffy if you want to stay within weights...

Good luck,

Ron

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

RVAir The cleanest air in RVing!

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

AGS Now Hiring

RV Pet Safety

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...