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Do you pull a Toad behind your 5th wheel


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I have towed a couple of different things behind a couple of different 5th wheels.  The biggest issues are the hitch and wiring at the back of the 5th wheel.  I have beefed up the receivers at the back of both my 5th wheels to handle towing a fairly heavy toad (5k LB Jeep).  I also added wiring to handle all the connections to the toad (including sense wires for the the invisibrake in my Jeep).  None of this was particularly difficult, but was necessary to make it safe.  Some fifth wheels framing isn't sufficient to support the weight of dragging a toad around, so that should be a consideration on your specific fifth wheel.

The next considerations are licensing requirements and state regulations.  You need to check with your home state to determine if you need a special license to tow doubles.  Some states require a higher class of license or a special endorsement and some do not.  Your license needs to be legal in your home state and then is good in all states.  Towing double, however, is a state by state regulation.  Some states allow it and some do not.  Just because your home state allows it doesn't mean you can do it in all states.  It is up to you to know where it is legal to do and where it is not legal.  It is legal in most of the western states (with Oregon and Washington being the exceptions).  Some states allow commercial doubles, but not recreational doubles also so be aware of the distinctions in the states.  The final consideration for towing doubles are length laws.  Each state sets their own length laws.  Towing doubles will put you up against many of these length limits, so again it is up to you to know the applicable length laws in each of the states you may travel in.  You might be legal in one state, but illegal as soon as you cross the border to the next state.

I also always had a camera mounted at the back of my fifth wheel to monitor my toad as I traveled.  The toad is narrower than the fifth wheel so it is next to impossible to see in the mirrors of the tow vehicle.

Finally, be aware of your route when towing doubles.  It is very difficult to back up with a doubles rig.  You can do it for a few feet in a pinch, but don't expect to be able to back up for any real distance.

Towing double is not for everyone, but it can be done safely.  Your tow vehicle needs to be sufficiently rated to tow the additional weight of the toad behind the fifth wheel as well.  I have double towed a lot of miles with my set up, but my tow vehicle is a Kenworth T2000 that can handle the weight and the stopping needs of the weight.  I don't think I would double tow with a standard pick up (even the new HD series pick ups), but that is just me and my personal choice to have lots of safety margins in my towing.

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I do not triple tow, as my wife drives the toad behind me.  She blocks lanes so I can lane change and will take a different lane if I need to take a wide turn.  Plus if I would ever blow a tire or something happens, she can get over the walkie to let me know.

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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Yes, there are length laws.  Yes, there are DOUBLE TOW laws.  I considered DOUBLE towing years ago.  I read up on it.  A LOT.  Found a bunch on internet rumors and such, but NEVER found a SINGLE verifiable, first hand account of someone being cited for double towing or over length.  

To be clear, this was in relation to towing a motorcycle behind a 5er.  I have seen it done MANY times.  I have also seen boats and golf carts towed behind 5ers.  I do not recall seeing a vehicle towed behind a 5er.  

This topic kind of flows with the HDT carrying a Jeep and towing a 5er with regard to length.  Virtually every HDT carrying a vehicle lengthwise on the bed and towing a 5er is WAY over length...many times by 10 feet.  Yet again, NEVER seen a single, verifiable, first hand post of someone cited for length it.  

What I have seen are a number of posts by people who have towed with HDTs and double towed their 5er say that LEOs are much more interested in speeders and careless drivers than someone in an expensive coach pulling doubles or who MIGHT be too long.

Whatever you decide to do, you're not wrong.

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I normally just read the post, but decided to reply to this question. My friends and I travel from southwest Louisiana to Colorado every year to ATV ride. A toyhauler doesn't work for us because we need a utility trailer when in Colorado. I started pulling with a 2012 Chevy 3500, 29' fifthwheel, 14' tandem utility  trailer. I was 64' 6" long. Never has a issue. Had all types of police pass me with no second look. I have gone through many speed traps in the small towns too. I now have Ram 5500, 38' fifthwheel, 12' aluminum trailer with RZR 1000 on it. I am now over 70'. I am over the limit in Texas for sure. There it is 65'. I still have had police just wave at me. My riding buddy did get a ticket in Wichita Falls for being over length. It was a weights and measurement officer. He pulled out a tape and measured rig.  It cost him $265. The officer told him he needed a permit and was going to have to unhook and leave utility trailer on side of road because it was dangerous. Buddy told him that  it was not an option. Buddy's wife pulls up Texas website to  find out how to get the permit. Asked officer for help on their website and he couldn't figure it out either. Officer then says its end of his shift and drives off. Buddy drives on to Colorado. Next day they called to find out about permit, but found out only for commercial use. A year later going through Wichita Falls I saw officer measuring mini freightliner pulling long horse trailer with golf cart trailer on back. Don't know if he got a ticket.  I now bypass Wichita Falls takes about 1.5 hours longer.

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I know a guy who double tows.  From what he tells me, you need to be registered in a state that allows it.  He has not been pulled over for it yet.  But he also only does this twice a year from Washington to California.

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9 hours ago, rynosback said:

I know a guy who double tows.  From what he tells me, you need to be registered in a state that allows it.  He has not been pulled over for it yet.  But he also only does this twice a year from Washington to California.

Being registered in a state that allows doubles does not reciprocate into states that do not allow it. Only drivers licenses are reciprocal, not equipment requirements. Every year my former NY truck shop gets 5-10 boats, cars, utility trailers, etc., that are stored until the owner gets back to pick them up after the police made them drop the second tow unit. The shop crew even runs a pool on how many there'll be each year.

Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
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15 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Being registered in a state that allows doubles does not reciprocate into states that do not allow it. Only drivers licenses are reciprocal, not equipment requirements. Every year my former NY truck shop gets 5-10 boats, cars, utility trailers, etc., that are stored until the owner gets back to pick them up after the police made them drop the second tow unit. The shop crew even runs a pool on how many there'll be each year.

He said that he has gone by many police double towing and they have never pulled him over.

Edited by rynosback

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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16 hours ago, rynosback said:

He said that he has gone by many police double towing and they have never pulled him over.

I'm sure he has... I have no idea under what circumstances the doubles that ended up in our storage lot were directed there, but in all cases they came in with a police escort. Then again, since the shop is on a popular recreational access route, I've also seen non-commercial doubles passing by with no interference. 

Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F-53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/brake system

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  • 2 weeks later...

"My friend (uncle, cousin, neighbor, etc.) does it all the time from point (state) A to point (state) B with no problems!

Location, location, location!!

As in the post from NY, the California Hwy Patrol will cite for double tow  - UNLESS the tow and the operator meet the requirements for same:  Length, tow vehicle - AND correct DL.  The DL requirements are a CDL.  The tow vehicle must be at least a one ton.  Overall length not over 65 ft.

Are the requirements ever ignored in CA? -   Sure..... however a double tow is a red flag - especially in locations such as Pismo and Glamis dunes!  Vehicles (single) towing toy haulers are regularly stopped to see if the operator has a NON-Commercial Class A license for a trailer with a GVW over 15K.

Also - the combination is required to stop at scales. See:  CA DOT:  "Who must stop at scales"  - for specifics, which *does* include "pickups" over certain GVWR  - and/or with a flat bed or utility body - even though signage states "No Pickups".

http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/trucks/weigh-stations.html 

("Weigh Stations - Enforcement Facilities") -  - Scroll down to: "Do these vehicles have to stop at scales" for surprising? "pickups" details!

In more urban areas - the CHP "usually" has (or "may have") other higher priorities. 

Note:  "usually" - and "may have".

Folks (single) towing boats to the Colorado River (popular location) are also stopped for speeding violations (55mph for towing) - and then req's for a Non-Com Class A DL  - if boat & trlr weight req's same.

Soooooo - know the law (and reciprocity) for the areas where you plan to double tow, etc.

~

 

 

Edited by Pappy Yokum
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15 minutes ago, DesertMiner said:

Doesn’t CA also require first trailer to be 5th wheel connected?  Is length on the “first trailer” restricted? What about the “second trailer” only allowed to be a boat trailer? Heard from a friend.....LOL

 

Yes on the first Q.  Won't make an attempt on the other Q's - but see the link I added to my post - and be sure to see the dark print in the (scroll down to) section - "Do these vehicles have to stop at scales".

Chances are if "your friend" tows with a vehicle falling into the GVWR listed -  he may find out the answers "first hand", LOL. Although (IMO) the CHP, who operates weigh stations, won't bother to "chase down" a pickup driver who failed to stop at the scales.......that being said - maybe back to the DOUBLE tow "red flag".

IMO - I would ask at a CHP office - and make sure whomever is on the desk is "up to speed" on commercial regs.

Best of luck to "your friend".

 

~

Edited by Pappy Yokum
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On 4/4/2019 at 3:14 PM, remoandiris said:

Yes, there are length laws.  Yes, there are DOUBLE TOW laws.  I considered DOUBLE towing years ago.  I read up on it.  A LOT.  Found a bunch on internet rumors and such, but NEVER found a SINGLE verifiable, first hand account of someone being cited for double towing or over length.  

Come over to the HDT forum. There are several. The one that stands out the most to me was the HDT and NewHorizon cited for something like 3ft over length. I have personally spoken with both the driver and the deputy, who is a co-worker of mine. I also spoke to one HDT owner who was forced to separate the toad before being allowed to proceed, in Kansas. Of course, I've written a "carny" for being 76ft long. That's kind of a grey area between commercial and non. His truck, his trailer and I couldnt shake his story that he's not using it commercially. Does that count as first hand knowledge?

Edited by Big5er

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We double towed a fair amount.  When I would check with highway patrol offices in various states I received conflicting answers.  It seemed it depended on who answered the phone.  Some of the answers were not at all correct.  Others were or seemed to be based on the law and a few actually said if they enforced the law or not.  The best answers seemed to be from DOT enforcement officers such as the previous post. Lots of people get away with over length and illegal double towing because of a number of reasons.  Including some officers may not be intimately familiar with EVERY law.  Just be prepared when the time comes or you are involved in an accident.  Each state has their own laws and these vary a lot.  Someone earlier stated that virtually all HDT's that carry a car length wise are WAY over length.   We carry a car length wise on an HDT and are we are not over length in the states we typically travel in.

Randy

2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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I towed a jeep TJ behind a 38ft 5th wheel and a dually for 5 years going back and forth between Oklahoma and Colorado, through Texas and New Mexico without any issues, my overall length was 78 ft. After my wife decided she had to have a 4 door jeep I told her she was going to drive it, just too heavy and too much length. The TJ was just over 3300 lbs, the 4 door was a bit over 5000.

Tom

2016 Ram CC dually, 2011 HitchHiker DA 349 RSB, 2014 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon

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The bottom line is your can probably tow about any combination through about any state and maybe not get stopped if you are an RV.  How many of us might exceed the speed limit on occasion?  The problem comes in when you actually do get stopped and they won't let you continue until you get legal.  Opps.

Joe & Cindy

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Pulling 24' enclosed (Mini Cooper, Harley, 2 Kayaks)

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11 hours ago, Big5er said:

Come over to the HDT forum. There are several. The one that stands out the most to me was the HDT and NewHorizon cited for something like 3ft over length. I have personally spoken with both the driver and the deputy, who is a co-worker of mine. I also spoke to one HDT owner who was forced to separate the toad before being allowed to proceed, in Kansas. Of course, I've written a "carny" for being 76ft long. That's kind of a grey area between commercial and non. His truck, his trailer and I couldnt shake his story that he's not using it commercially. Does that count as first hand knowledge?

You know very well what first hand means, and no, you telling us you've talked with someone is NOT first hand.  I've been on the HDT forum.  I don't recall seeing any first hand accounts of anyone being stopped and cited for double towing.  I do remember several first hand accounts of folks who said they doubled for years to every corner of the country and did not have any problems.  Same with being over length, which many HDT owners hauling a Smart and pulling a 5er are.  

Do some get stopped?  Likely.  Is that a reason to NOT do it?  Each person must answer that question for themselves.  

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First hand account.  I was stopped in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We were not cited but did have to disconnect the toad as we were 83' long.

Michigan does allow double towing but the length limit at the time was 70'.

Double towing is an option for the state your are in not your registration state.  Likewise, overall length is a function of the state you are in, not your registration state.

For the record we double towed for 10 years and that was the only time stopped.  We were only 65' without the toad and that is the RV limit in most states.  So dropping the toad was always a simple option for us.

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I double tow and am very long. I go from Sacramento down to Arizona annually. I don’t go through scales as my Kenworth is registered as a RV. I get passed by a lot of officers and I pass a lot sitting in the median. No problems yet. If I get a ticket, I will consider it a housing expense as I am a full timer. I have a theory that may be true or wrong. The commercial officers don’t want to mess with us RV’s as there is no money it. This is especially true in those states that need the revenue. The non co recital officers don’t want to stop us because they are not familiar with the commercial laws and don’t know what to do with us. I wa stopped once between Plainview and Lubbock in my home state. His first question was who do you drive for. I brought my book to his suv and showed him my documents that proved I was a Rv and I owned it all. It helped that all three vehicles have the same license plate. He gave me a warning for the rv registration being expired and told me to tell any one else who stopped me that I had received a warning and was on my way to renew the registration. Very pleasant stop over all.

Ron C.

2013 Dynamax Trilogy 3850 D3

2000 Kenworth T2000 Optimus Prime

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Hi ya Mark. I wasn't gonna throw your name out there but since you did, there is one of my stories. The carny I issued a ticket to is 2 and if the other folks speak up that will be three, although I havent seen them online much lately. Since you weren't issued a citation I guess maybe yours doesn't count. Oh well, I'm with everyone else. The odds are slim but you can't say it never happens and if it does, it does. You knew it when you took off over length so pay it and keep on going. 

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1 hour ago, Big5er said:

 The odds are slim but you can't say it never happens and if it does, it does. You knew it when you took off over length so pay it and keep on going. 

I agree with you on this, whether an over length HDT and 5er or doubles .  Same with those who double tow in states where it is illegal.  I saw double towing often in Fla.  Only time I saw a double pulled over was on I-95 S somewhere around Daytona.  It was a 42+ ft DP (tandem axle) towing a full size pickup, towing a BIG boat.  Easily over 65' and obvious as hell.

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sad but one can double tow in washington and oregon states. (in fact all of the western stats allow this) i have done so many a time. with a small trailer, or a auto carrier with a cj-7 on it. i am far from over length. and not quite over weight. yes i checked it on a public cat scale.

3/4 ton pu, 25 ft 5er, and trailer.

never a second look from any state, city, county leo. not even the tribal cops care.  some times just how you look can make a difference.

but then my truck (by state law) is reg as commercial, i have a class A dl with doubles/triples endorsement.

 

but from reading some of these posting. some guys cousins friend heard about a problem, says nothing. i just know from doing myself. and checking out the laws and by asking the leo's who enforce them. some of whom rv them selves.

sometimes the leo is on a power trip, (yes they do exist) dumb, (not all leo's are all that smart) or maybe bored, or trying to keep awake till the end of his (her) shift. maybe just interested in what you have going. other reason?

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