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Fifth-Wheels Towable with Half-Ton Truck?


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My boy pulled a 5th wheel alumilite 30 ft. with his 1/2 ton Ford 150 ecoboost pulled like it wasn't there better then my dodge diesel even though mine was at least 2000lb more. handled well the only issue was the front brakes seemed to get hot.

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Scamp makes a fifth wheel that is supposed to be towable by a 1/2-ton truck:

 

http://www.scamptrailers.com/showroom/19-deluxe-trailers.html#!Scamp_19ft_Deluxe_LayoutA_01

 

Jayco also makes a small fifth wheel that they *say* can be towed by a 1/2-ton truck (I haven't looked at the specs to see if this is really true):

 

http://www.jayco.com/products/fifth-wheels/2015-eagle-ht/

 

Here's another one made by Escape in Canada:

 

http://escapetrailer.com/trailers/the-5-0-escape/

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Keep in mind that being able to tow the particular RV is only part of the issue. The key is to be safe in doing so and that means that you find the weight ratings of the truck and get an RV to stay under those ratings for safety. Better yet, for best handling and comfortable driving you would be wise to stay at 80% or so of those ratings since the rated weight says that it can do so safely but in reality the truck was not intended to operate at the upper weight limits all of the time. Those are upper limits and not suggested loading.

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Totally agree with the numerous "safety" related comments above.

 

It never ceases to amaze me, when traveling on the interstate highway to the coast (about 2.5 hours away), the number of 150/1500-series trucks that I see towing 5th wheel trailers and other towables that are CLEARLY way too large/heavy for them to be towing safely. The RV's aren't riding level, the trucks are squatted on the rear tires, no towing mirrors, etc., etc.

 

It's not what you can "start", it's what you can stop!

 

Safety first, y'all!

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...find the weight ratings of the truck and get an RV to stay under those ratings for safety...

With a 150/1500 class truck and even a 250/2500; the ratings that are often first exceeded by a 5th wheel are the truck's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the Rear Axle Weight Rating (RAWR). A 5th wheel usually puts 20-25% of its weight on the pin. Even a relatively light 5th wheel of 10,000# can put up to 2500# on the truck which may well put a half ton truck over its weight ratings if it is carrying much in the way of passengers, a full tank of fuel, etc.

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Trailers have brakes and should be able to stop themselves if properly set up so that is not the issue. The issue is overloading the suspension of the truck not to mention that the transmissions on those trucks.....mine is a 2008 but same drive train.....dont seem to hold up very well. Another problem can be the light weight of the truck compared to the weight of the trailer you are towing. You dont want the trailer handling the truck and by that I mean sway issues and wind issues. The more truck you have the better.

 

I personally would not pull much with my truck .....its just too much of a lightweight.

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A 1/2 ton truck is limited by the trucks GVWR and the rear axle GAWR. The pin weight on a typical 5th wheel trailer runs 18% up to as high as 25% of the trailers GVWR. The payload capacity listed for the 1/2 ton truck is based on a stripped base model with only a 150# driver on board. A typical 5er hitch will be 150# more plus your passengers and cargo which reduces the payload capacity and towing capacity.

 

When the trailer manufactures state a trailer is 1/2 ton towable, they use a stripped base trailer weight. Once loaded with options and accessories, a 5er can be 1000# more than the base or dry weight.

 

Ed G, I have a hard time believing he can tow a 30' 5er with his EcoBoost "like it is not back there" and it out pulls your diesel unless the poor old Dodge is severly overloaded. Has your son weighed his rig to see where his weights are and if he is withing the trucks GVWR and GCWR?

 

Ken

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A 1/2 ton truck is limited by the trucks GVWR and the rear axle GAWR. The pin weight on a typical 5th wheel trailer runs 18% up to as high as 25% of the trailers GVWR. The payload capacity listed for the 1/2 ton truck is based on a stripped base model with only a 150# driver on board. A typical 5er hitch will be 150# more plus your passengers and cargo which reduces the payload capacity and towing capacity.

 

When the trailer manufactures state a trailer is 1/2 ton towable, they use a stripped base trailer weight. Once loaded with options and accessories, a 5er can be 1000# more than the base or dry weight.

 

Ed G, I have a hard time believing he can tow a 30' 5er with his EcoBoost "like it is not back there" and it out pulls your diesel unless the poor old Dodge is severly overloaded. Has your son weighed his rig to see where his weights are and if he is withing the trucks GVWR and GCWR?

 

Ken

I believe the ecoboost with tow package is good for 11,000 lb. trailer, his milage was half of mine while pulling and I assure you when my diesel is broken in at 185,ooo miles or so, his motor would be trash, if it last that long. The truck was amazing, he went to a larger 3 axle toy hauler and now has a Ford f450 dually. Just got back from a 4500 mile trip with my dodge and in never missed a beat. and will be around for a long time and with me.

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I can't quote all the techincal stuff and weights and such but I literally went through with this with a friend who would not listen. He bought the Chevy 1500HD with the same size engine you are talking about and then a 5W that according to the numbers should have worked. He spent a lot of money and did 2 trips and now has a diesel. He might have been marginally better if he had the Chev/GMC 2500HD with the 6.0L and 4:10 rearend. At least it is fairly flat in your area. My friend lives in NM. I tow a 30ft TT that is fairly light with the same Chev. 6.0L and the 4:10 gears and there are places it is fairly marginal. I just towed from Memphis to Albquerque and it worked pretty good until I hit some spots on I40 going west. All my stuff is old and paid for so I deal with it but I know there is a better way and by now I have a lot of experience. Your proposed set up should get you to most places in your area like Cedar Hill State Park or out in the area where Kirk lives like Tyler State Park but if you are pulling in heavy traffic it is good to have a little power in reserve.

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While some people will say their diesel gets much better mileage than a 1/2 ton, they sort of don't figure in the cost difference in trucks that can easily add up to $20,000 difference between a 1/2 ton gasser and 3/4 ton diesel. You can burn a lot of gas for that difference. I have pulled many, many fivers and pull trailers with a 1/2 ton. It can easily be done as long as you accept the limitations of going slower or knowing you won't go up hills or mountains like those big diesels. Stopping? I never can figure that out. If the trailer brakes are set properly the trailer should stop the truck, not the opposite. I guess I lived within those limitations for most of my Rv life simply because I didn't have the money to go big. And it worked. I now have the diesel left from our full-timing (even then many would have said I needed a 1 ton) so it's great pulling our trailer. But I wouldn't hesitate going back to a 1/2 ton. If the weights work then I say go for it. This is just another opinion and obviously totally different than the bigger is better thinking.

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Earl, It is not a problem of the trailer brakes being set properly and stopping the truck, I drive a bigger truck for those times when things go wrong. I have had a trailer brake failure and was fortunate enough to have it happen at slow speed and managed to stop our 16,000 pound fiver with a F350 dually but it took a considerably longer distance. I fixed the brakes (bad connection in the plug to the truck) and continued on but don't even want to think about that happening about 35 miles further into our trip. If it had happened on the backside of Monteagle in TN, we would have gone home in a pine box.

 

You can tow RV's for hundreds of thousands of miles safely but it only takes one kid at a Camping World pulling the umbilical out by the cord to really ruin your day.

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Earl, It is not a problem of the trailer brakes being set properly and stopping the truck, I drive a bigger truck for those times when things go wrong. I have had a trailer brake failure and was fortunate enough to have it happen at slow speed and managed to stop our 16,000 pound fiver with a F350 dually but it took a considerably longer distance. I fixed the brakes (bad connection in the plug to the truck) and continued on but don't even want to think about that happening about 35 miles further into our trip. If it had happened on the backside of Monteagle in TN, we would have gone home in a pine box.

 

You can tow RV's for hundreds of thousands of miles safely but it only takes one kid at a Camping World pulling the umbilical out by the cord to really ruin your day.

Exactly right. Trailer brakes are not nearly as fail-safe as the tow vehicle brakes. Trailer brakes rely on one wire that starts at the battery, goes thru several connections and an electronic device (brake controller) before finally reaching the magnets at the wheels. Failure is possible at any of the connection points or simply the wire chafing somewhere. Having a tow vehicle with the largest brake capacity is an investment in safety both for the RV owners and the people around them on the road.

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While some people will say their diesel gets much better mileage than a 1/2 ton, they sort of don't figure in the cost difference in trucks that can easily add up to $20,000 difference between a 1/2 ton gasser and 3/4 ton diesel. You can burn a lot of gas for that difference. I have pulled many, many fivers and pull trailers with a 1/2 ton. It can easily be done as long as you accept the limitations of going slower or knowing you won't go up hills or mountains like those big diesels. Stopping? I never can figure that out. If the trailer brakes are set properly the trailer should stop the truck, not the opposite. I guess I lived within those limitations for most of my Rv life simply because I didn't have the money to go big. And it worked. I now have the diesel left from our full-timing (even then many would have said I needed a 1 ton) so it's great pulling our trailer. But I wouldn't hesitate going back to a 1/2 ton. If the weights work then I say go for it. This is just another opinion and obviously totally different than the bigger is better thinking.

 

another thing to consider is that at about 170k a towing gas motor may be shot while I expect my Dodge diesel to get 350-500k, not uncommon. At 170k it is just breaking in. I have alway bought use so the difference in price is not quite as bad.

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...We have a 2014 GMC 5.3 liter V-8 with tow package. What brand fifth-wheels are recommended? ...

If the 2014 has the same capacities as the 2015, according to the GMC website the maximum payload capacity of the 5.3L models ranges from 1710-1980#. Estimating a 20% pin weight for the 5th wheel, this would mean a maximum trailer weight of 8550-9900#. Not sure what all the manufacturers consider half ton towable. I took a quick look at the Keystone website and their Cougar half ton towable models have Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) of 9,000-10,000#. So if the trailer is at its GVWR, they would put the GMC 1500 with 5.3L close to its maximum capacity before adding passengers or cargo to the truck.

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You can tow RV's for hundreds of thousands of miles safely but it only takes one kid at a Camping World pulling the umbilical out by the cord to really ruin your day.

 

 

You cant be serious on this......you would know before you even left the RV park if your trailer brakes arent working....at least I always knew as I would do a quick brake test.

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You can tow RV's for hundreds of thousands of miles safely but it only takes one kid at a Camping World pulling the umbilical out by the cord to really ruin your day.

 

 

You cant be serious on this......you would know before you even left the RV park if your trailer brakes arent working....at least I always knew as I would do a quick brake test.

 

I was serious... Went back later and watched that kid drop 4 trailers at the service department. On all 4 he just jerked the umbilical out by the cord as he didn't completely push them in to the latched position. I ALWAYS do a pull test and everything went fine for about 80 miles. The brake wire was the shortest of the wires in the plug and was evidently almost pulled out of the connector. One good speed bump coming out of our neighborhood and the weight of the cord must have finished the job. All I can tell you is that the wire was not connected in the plug when I took it apart.

 

I have also known one other gentleman that had his connector pop out of the socket. He thought he had it latched in good, passed a pull test but it came out a few miles down the road.

 

Whether you wish to believe it or not, crap happens to things that are man made. The difference here is that we both have a plan "A". I happen to have a plan "B".

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Yes, a diesel will cost more to begin with, but look at the value of a diesel and a non-diesel truck used. You will get a large portion of the difference back when you sell it.

 

I get better diesel mileage when towing an 18,000# 5er than the gas crowd gets pulling an 8,000# trailer. WE get between 9 and 10 mpg at 63 mph on relative flat/rolling hills highway. The gas crowd we talk to are getting 7 to 9 mpg and when they hit the hills, it really drops. The worst we have done was heading up to Palo Duro Canyon and had a 20 mph plus wind on the nose. 63 mph, we dropped to 7.2 mpg, but no lack of power,

 

WE had a friend that bought a 3/4 ton Ford with the 5,4 and a 27' TT. He was so disgusted with it, he was ready to sell the whole thing and forget RVing. I kept telling him to try a diesel. He finally bought a new F250 diesel and loved towing so much he bought a 33' TT.

 

SO chose your posion.

 

Ken

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At their best electric trailer brakes are barely adequate. Don't ever depend on them to stop your rig.

 

ShortyO

Why do I not have this issue and never had an issue with the electric brakes on a trailer. You do also have to adjust them periodically.

 

Ken

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Why do I not have this issue and never had an issue with the electric brakes on a trailer. You do also have to adjust them periodically.

 

Ken

How about "lucky" does "lucky" work for you?

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Fifth-wheel brands recommended are those your truck are capable of towing. Brand doesnt matter. Read the tow specs for your truck (not the sticker on your door frame) and look for a fifth wheel that doesnt weigh more than what your truck should tow.

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I would think twice about a 1/2 ton if your going to be traveling along areas with mountain ranges. One of the toughest is Vail Pass in Colorado. 11,400 feet and very long grades. The only way to safely handle these kinds of hills is with an engine brake. Conventional brake systems will be fried.

 

JohnnyB

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