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Commercial / RV use with same tractor


KD4UPL
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Hello all,

I'm new to this forum but not RVing or trucks. I used to drive an 18 wheeler for a living and I still have my class A CDL. I'm an electrical contractor and I use my dually pick-up to pull a flatbed with materials and equipment on it. I can't pull a GN or FW because of the ladder racks. My dually is an '05 with over 260,000 miles on it and needs to be replaced soon.

I currently don't have an RV but was thinking of getting a FW for our family of 5 to travel all over the country. I began to wonder about getting a used road tractor to pull it with for the additional power, braking, and room. I then realized I could use the same truck to tow a GN flatbed for hauling equipment around for the business. This would allow me to buy a gas work truck instead of a diesel, saving nearly $10,000 on the purchase price.I thought about even leaving it a tandem axle with the real fifth wheel in case I ever wanted to pull a real semi trailer for some reason.

I realize I would have to leave the truck a commercial vehicle, keep my license, and run a log book which I cam fine with doing all of those things. Can anyone see any problems with this plan? Can you use the real fifth wheel hitch to tow an RV? If not, can you have both the real one and an RV style hitch on the same truck?

I would want windows in the sleeper and a bench seat for my 3 children. I know that can be done but it's probably not that common.

Thanks for any advice you can give.

 

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Welcome!  Yes, it's possible to do as you outlined, but with some downsides.  First is the cost of insurance and license of a commercial v. Private or rv registered truck.  You can find out how this applies in your state by reading the HHRV guide listed at the top of this forum.

Like you, I found I could use a lesser truck for my business after I bought the hdt. I now use a half ton with a gas engine, and love it.  Trailers are relatively cheap and haul more than a pickup.

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Its easier to buy a truck that has windows in it already. I recently ordered a 2021 KW t800 for the farm. It only cost a few hundred bucks to add 3 sleeper windows.

If you are buying a used truck you will have to look a little harder to find one that had all the options you want. Fleet trucks are plain like my Freightliner Columbia. I had to add windows my self. Its not too bad a job. It sounds like you are good with your hands. You should have no problem doing it yourself.

As far as the 5thwheel is concerned I have seen some people add a RV 5thwheel behind the commercial 5th wheel. They just remove it when they are working.

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Two variables that affect what you want to do are the state you live in, and whether or not you need to leave that state in a commercial capacity.

I live in ND and the state doesn’t really care if I use the truck commercially or for personal use. Registration is the same either way, just need to buy enough weight. ND does not require a USDOT number. Some states do. If you want to cross state lines in a commercial capacity, then you will need the full deal to meet federal regs. The insurance that I have, I can use for what could be considered commercial, just not to haul for someone else. IE I can move my own equipment to a job site.

MrDiWRAl.jpg
 

s8MTBCnl.jpg

 

Edited by Moresmoke
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You can tow a fiver with the commercial hitch, same pin size, but it will beat up the fiver as there is not enough pin weight to activate the truck suspension.  I suppose you could mount an air hitch behind the commercial fifth wheel. Mine is on a stinger behind the smart deck. One advantage of having it so far behind the rear axle is that it backs like a flat tow.

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19 hours ago, Moresmoke said:

Two variables that affect what you want to do are the state you live in, and whether or not you need to leave that state in a commercial capacity.

I live in ND and the state doesn’t really care if I use the truck commercially or for personal use. Registration is the same either way, just need to buy enough weight. ND does not require a USDOT number. Some states do. If you want to cross state lines in a commercial capacity, then you will need the full deal to meet federal regs. The insurance that I have, I can use for what could be considered commercial, just not to haul for someone else. IE I can move my own equipment to a job site.

MrDiWRAl.jpg
 

s8MTBCnl.jpg

 

Moresmoke- is your fifthwheel on under that flat bed?

Nice dgn and mms on it.

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There is a member here who uses his work truck to pull his fifth, cannot remember his handle, he has a red cabover  

he would know about weigh stations fuel taxes and logs while on vacation.

only issue is hassle of insurance, logs and registration as a truck, but that would all be part of your business.  Some neighborhoods will allow rvs but not commercial trucks  

 

some campgrounds might not appreciate a commercial truck coming in, but i have no direct knowledge on that part, they might not know or care the difference 

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56 minutes ago, Exile said:

There is a member here who uses his work truck to pull his fifth, cannot remember his handle, he has a red cabover  

he would know about weigh stations fuel taxes and logs while on vacation.

only issue is hassle of insurance, logs and registration as a truck, but that would all be part of your business.  

beyerjf  It’s been a while since I’ve seen him post. 

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I had been wondering if the commercial fifth wheel would work for the trailer. Sounds like that is a bad idea, particularly with a mid size rather than huge RV.

My commercial travels would occasionally take me to WV from VA so I guess I would need to keep everything right for multi-state commercial travel. I guess I'd better talk to my insurance agent and see if it makes any difference to them.

What would be really nice is if I could find a way to haul my boat on the tractor and still pull an RV. VA won't allow double tow so I would otherwise have to make two trips to the lake.

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15 hours ago, Exile said:

There is a member here who uses his work truck to pull his fifth, cannot remember his handle, he has a red cabover  

he would know about weigh stations fuel taxes and logs while on vacation.

only issue is hassle of insurance, logs and registration as a truck, but that would all be part of your business.  Some neighborhoods will allow rvs but not commercial trucks  

 

some campgrounds might not appreciate a commercial truck coming in, but i have no direct knowledge on that part, they might not know or care the difference 

I pull both commercial trailers and our fiver, with separate hitches. I've been into campgrounds in multiple states and they never give me a second look. I was initially concerned about that, but not any more. Most are just interested in our setup and don't care about our commercial designation. Jay

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  • 4 months later...
On 3/3/2020 at 8:49 AM, Jaydrvr said:

I pull both commercial trailers and our fiver, with separate hitches. I've been into campgrounds in multiple states and they never give me a second look. I was initially concerned about that, but not any more. Most are just interested in our setup and don't care about our commercial designation. Jay

Hi, i'm a newbie here and trying to learn as much as i can about HDT and 5th wheels.  I'm an Owner Op with my own Semi that i use for work and plan on using it for pulling my 5 as well. One thing i have learned is, it is NOT a good idea to use m standard 5 wheel that's on my truck already.   

So what i am trying to find out is what is a good 5th wheel hitch to use and How do i mount it on my semi that must be kept in working order for me to be able t pay for everything at the same time?

I've seen some mentions of the dual mounting but nothing specific that is telling how. Can anyone give me specifics or point me to who or where i can get info or have it done? I will also need the wiring done or info on how to, as i know my plug won't work.

Also as a 30 year O/O driving semis for a living, i can answer most questions about  road, routes, legal, weigh stations etc...

 

 

 

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cBW7p8Zl.jpg

http://rvhlifestyles.com/

https://comfortridehitch.com/our-products/model-308/

https://ethitch.com/et-products/jackalopee/

This how RVH mounted my hitch. The Comfortride 308 is used in this application because it is the only hitch suitable that has an easily removable head. I take the head off and leave it in my camper. I have Henry's Jackalopee mounted in a stand-alone box to handle the wiring. It's a durable and inexpensive solution. Jay

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Guys I have an ET Hitch. Works great no problems. But I have seen lots of people towing 5thers with commercial Hitch. I am no way recommending it but they don't seem to have issues. Have always heard will beat it up, I believe it. They braver than me but campers look good. 

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2 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Guys I have an ET Hitch. Works great no problems. But I have seen lots of people towing 5thers with commercial Hitch. I am no way recommending it but they don't seem to have issues. Have always heard will beat it up, I believe it. They braver than me but campers look good. 

The ET Hitch is great and that's what I would rather have installed. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an easily removable head system, which I need so I can continue to work while using my commercial hitch. Jay 

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12 minutes ago, Jaydrvr said:

cBW7p8Zl.jpg

http://rvhlifestyles.com/

https://comfortridehitch.com/our-products/model-308/

https://ethitch.com/et-products/jackalopee/

This how RVH mounted my hitch. The Comfortride 308 is used in this application because it is the only hitch suitable that has an easily removable head. I take the head off and leave it in my camper. I have Henry's Jackalopee mounted in a stand-alone box to handle the wiring. It's a durable and inexpensive solution. Jay

and you have no issues with hooking or dropping your "Commercial" trailer?   what to do pull for work?

I have a 53ft Dry van and i know she has scrapped the rear rails a few times. So wouldn't she catch on this? and no interference with the landing gear on the work trailer?

it also looks like you have a single screw and not a twin screw?  Mine is a twin, with my regular hitch sitting in between the axels.

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, wheelman666 said:

and you have no issues with hooking or dropping your "Commercial" trailer?   what to do pull for work?

I have a 53ft Dry van and i know she has scrapped the rear rails a few times. So wouldn't she catch on this? and no interference with the landing gear on the work trailer?

it also looks like you have a single screw and not a twin screw?  Mine is a twin, with my regular hitch sitting in between the axels.

 

 

 

 

I pull a step deck and have no problems doing that. You get enough clearance after you remove the head, but you DO need to be careful. Based on the dry vans I've seen, I suspect my trailer has more clearance than yours. Single vs. twin screw shouldn't be an issue in any way that I can think of. PM sent. Jay

Edited by Jaydrvr
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11 minutes ago, rpsinc said:

Would adding a quality cushioned pin box help or perhaps eliminate the issues with the 5er being towed with a commercial 5th wheel plate hitch?

I dont have any experience so asking from this group of experienced truck operators.

It would help, but doesn't address the problem of the non-articulating hitch, which is a significant issue. Jay

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2 hours ago, wheelman666 said:

I have a T680 that i use for "Work" and from everything i have been reading, you want 5th Hitch and NOT use the Regular hitch

I think the first question to ask is how far are you going to travel with the RV? The full timers here that move frequently, there is no doubt they need the suspended hitch. Once or twice a year to a not to distant spot over decent roads, you may get by with the commercial hitch just fine. There are folks out there that do it.

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1 hour ago, GlennWest said:

Seems I remember someone posted there are some commercial hitches that do move side to side. 

There are hitches like that, for tankers, etc., but remember they're rated for 80,000 and would still be pretty brutal on a light duty camper.  Jay 

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