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Switching to a 5th wheel, but what truck?


Phil Saran

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Phil Saran, on 06 Sept 2016 - 10:25 AM, said:Phil Saran, on 06 Sept 2016 - 10:25 AM, said:

We have found the 5th wheel that we want, but my question is 10470 dry weight

and 1995 hitch weight and 37'-8" length is a Dodge Ram 2500 short bed 4x4 diesel

enough?

Absolutely not. At minimum, 1 ton dually or better. If you don't want to do it right, get a smaller 5ver.

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First Dry Weight is an absolutely useless number. It usually isn't even accurate as the trailer leaves the factory. The only number to use is the GVWR of the trailer because that is near where the trailer will end up as you move in.

 

Second, 1995 pin weight is rather close to 1 ton, why would you believe a 1/2 ton pickup (F250, 2500) would be enough.

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why would you believe a 1/2 ton pickup (F250, 2500) would be enough

 

F250 or 2500 is a 3/4 ton truck. I would never tow a trailer, travel or 5th wheel with a 1/2T truck. Pretty much those are cars with a bed. Not suitable to SAFELY tow trailers we use.

The stability that a dually(DRW) provides adds a safety factor to towing high profile vehicles(travel and 5th wheel trailers) that you need to be safe. A SRW is nice but not as safe.

 

Many people get caught up into the pulling power of a particular vehicle, but that isnt where it becomes unsafe. Its in handling it in winds and braking. I towed my 13K# 5er with my dually down the I-15 from Vegas and lost the controls for braking due to the brake switch failing, so NO TRAILER BRAKES. That was exciting esp coming down the Cajon Pass. Thanks to the Allison and the Duramax braking features available on the truck, we made it safely, but a truck more near the capacity of the trailer, might not have handled it safely. I now tow with an MDT. Ahhh, peace of mind.

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Seriously look at a long bed, it will serve you well as you find stuff to carry that you don't want in the fiver.

 

A short bed will need a slider hitch and that takes away even more space that you will sorely miss.

 

Short and no slider is of course possible. First time you oopsie and do a huge amount of damage to the truck and fiver though, well that will leave a dent in your wallet.

 

 

Lots of posts here on matching truck weights to fiver weights, worth going back and reading some of them. In my opinion using 80% of the truck's rated weight (to offset the fine print in the weight rules) and 100% of the trailer's loaded weight will put you at a spot where you are safe and happy while driving it. Now if you want a silly grin instead of just happy and want to save a few bucks too go look at the HDT forum...

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Again, a 1 ton dually. Ford, GM, Ram whichever you prefer, all the new trucks are great. You mentioned a 4x4, our first one was but because we didn't use 4x4 in 7 years the new dually is a 2x4 which we like better and fits our travel style. It depends on where and when you camp. As time goes by you will find yourself adding stuff. If you want an auxiliary fuel tank & toolbox combo a long bed dually will be needed. Perhaps you want to carry some 4x4 or 6x6 blocks of wood so you don't have to extend your RV legs as much or use when in grass sites, a long bed dually will be handy. It will not take long to get use to driving and parking a dually every day. You might park farther out in parking lots.

Lots of good input in previous posts, let me add what we learned the hard way about a fifth wheel. The weak spot is the suspension system which I overlooked. My advise is to get at least H rated 17.5" tires. Consider a better suspension system such as MOR/ryde IS (Independent Suspension) which eliminated axles. Auto leveling systems (Lippert Level Up or Quadra Big Foot) makes setting up MUCH faster and easier, well worth the money. Enjoy the lifestyle! Greg

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I forgot to address the 4x4 issue, check the bed and side rail heights, you may have to have the fiver raised to get safe clearances from the gooseneck and still have the fiver reasonably level.

 

We originally had a 4x4 and had to boost our fiver several inches which made getting in and out harder but put the sewer hookups and basement at a more comfortable level for me. We were short enough the extra height didn't cause a problem. As we never had it in 4x4 other than a couple times just to see if it would work and once when we had new gravel put on our drive and had backing issues we got our next truck in 4x2 and left the fiver at factory height.

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I agree that a tow truck need not be a 4x4 if you are only going to be going from RV park to RV park on pavement. However if you are going to be boondocking its another story. We boondock a lot and I did use the 4x4 feature of the truck on several occasions. A few times for extra traction and a few times in low range so as to be able to use the extra pulling power of the truck at a slow speed. Oh and one time we were caught in a blizzard and I used 4 wheel drive at 40 mph to be able to continue as far as the next town to be able to get off the icy road as safely as possible.

I never had trouble driving the truck and can also parallel park anything on wheels but generally I found that the dually had a very rough ride and for the exploring aspect of our lifestyle a dually was not a good fit.

You need to weigh the options and explore the pros and cons of your needs .....not our needs. Both single one tons and dual wheel one tons will work and it may be that a 4x2 dually is best for you. I am trying to point out some of the things that irritated me when I owned my dually. It was a nice truck...you decide.

I agree with the 8 foot box suggestion as well.

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Again thank you all for the great input.

 

If you look at my signature, we live in snow country (just outside of Denver) and the 4x4 is necessary

in the winter since the city does NOT plow our neighborhood streets.

 

The short box idea was so it would fit in the garage. We get hail here and I do not like dents in my

vehicle body panels.

 

My previous truck was a Ford F350 4x4 4 door long bed so I know all about the pain in the ass it is to

take it to the grocery store.

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New copy of "Trailer Life" came in the mail today. An article about the 2017 Ford's caught my eye. Then I did some online pricing for a 2017 F-350 DRW King Ranch. $66K+ with all the shiny bits I want. Nope. Not gonna happen. Yes, I am going to take one for a test drive, though it is a SRW, but my 2011 GMC Sierra Denali DRW that is paid for works just fine. I can't believe prices have jumped as much as they have in the past 5 yrs.

 

Based on the article, the towing capacity is really something else. All kinds of shiny bits you can add that you may not necessarily need or may already have; cameras, trailer TPMS, yada yada yada. But those new truck prices are steep.

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It's not just a question of the numbers of what it "will" tow. That's a really big tail wagging that dog. A longer wheelbase and a wider track will tow *much* better. It will drive easier, handle crosswinds better, and generally be much less stressful to drive. Me personally I wouldn't tow anything over 30' with anything less than a crew cab, 8' bed, dually. But I want something that tows like a Cadillac, not a white-knuckle drive or anything close to it. And yes, I can drive the twitchy stuff - I used to be a trailer tow durability engineer for GM - I just don't like it. Life's too short for that crap. YMMV, etc.

 

In addition, if I was towing a big 5er I'd want a 5er bed put on it.

 

All that stuff is part of why we bought a Class A. :)

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Earlier this year we were at a small private campground with a group. One of the group has a large, heavy 5'er and a 2WD truck. He had to drive onto some grass in order to get lined up with his site. This meant he had to back uphill a bit, and his 2WD 3500 couldn't do it. Finally another truck hooked on the rear of his trailer to give him a bit of help. If he had had 4WD he probably would have been able to make it on his own.

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^^ This^^. Where I park my 5er next to my house, there is an upward slope. It is possible a 2WD could do it, but every time I failed to engage the 4WD, it was a struggle. Simply rotating that knob to 4WD enabled the truck to easily move my 5er into it's parking spot.

 

No, I don't use 4WD often, but when I need it, I have it.

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A 1 ton diesel 4x4 dually with a long bed would be best. There are many who say you don't need 4 WD, which is true, until you do. Like a diesel engine, the upfront cost of 4 WD comes back to you at trade in time, so it really doesn't cost much and provides a wonderful capability, if it's ever needed. The long bed, as has been mentioned, will keep your truck cab and 5th wheel from contacting each other in very sharp turns (normally when backing up) ... but there are other reasons why a long bed is preferable. First, there is never enough room for "stuff" and an 8 foot bed give you more room, second, long bed trucks come with long wheelbases and a long wheelbase is your friend when the bow wave from an 18 wheeler hits you (and it will). The long wheelbase and dually wheels will really provide a stable towing platform that multiplies your personal safety factor when towing. A flat tire on a rear wheel in a dually is MUCH less of an EVENT than a flat tire on the rear wheel of SRW vehicle with a 5th wheel in tow. Often, but not always, long wheelbase trucks have bigger fuel tanks than short wheelbase trucks. Dually's do have their issues, but not being able to park in the front row of Walmart or go thru a drive thru at McDonalds ... at least to me ... is trumped by the safety factor. The one weight rating that is MOST OFTEN exceeded is the RAWR. You'll need the pin weight of your trailer loaded and ready to go (usually 20% of GVWR of the trailer) and then you need to know what the truck's RAW is without the trailer, but ready to travel. Armed with this you can tell if the RAWR will be exceeded. You will have the most capacity with a DRW 1 ton at be least likely to exceed the RAWR ... which is what my recommendation is based on.

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New copy of "Trailer Life" came in the mail today. An article about the 2017 Ford's caught my eye. Then I did some online pricing for a 2017 F-350 DRW King Ranch. $66K+ with all the shiny bits I want. Nope. Not gonna happen. Yes, I am going to take one for a test drive, though it is a SRW, but my 2011 GMC Sierra Denali DRW that is paid for works just fine. I can't believe prices have jumped as much as they have in the past 5 yrs.

 

Based on the article, the towing capacity is really something else. All kinds of shiny bits you can add that you may not necessarily need or may already have; cameras, trailer TPMS, yada yada yada. But those new truck prices are steep.

 

Although still not inexpensive, the 2016's are pretty aggressively priced. I just bought a King Ranch Dually that stickered for $73,200 and I paid $60,800. My trade was valued higher than KBB so I got a good deal on both ends. They are trying hard to move the 2016's out, so if new is what you want, now is a good time. It's also true for Chevy and RAM ... same deal ... big discounts on 2016's.

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