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Old 08-22-2014, 12:52 AM   #15
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There are 1/2 ton trucks, and there are also heavy duty 1/2 ton trucks.

There are some heavy duty 1/2 ton trucks that can handle lighter fifth wheel trailers.

Grand Design has just come out with two lightweight models of fifth wheels in their Solitude lineup specifically designed for 1/2 ton tow trucks. They're also very nice trailers.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:29 AM   #16
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I am convinced we will be much happier pulling a 5er. Now the decision rests on moving to a 3/4 over the half now so we don't wind up with a trailer too small and wind up upgrading again. We are on our 3rd trailer now but it has been fun spending time at the camping shows especially in the winter when its cold. Besides we met lots of great people there just like here. Now hopefully we find a first class dealer that stands behind the products they sell. That is always an interesting game. Sometimes worse than the car business. Thanks again for all the feedback------
Happy Camping
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:10 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=texascowboy;2192975] In easier terms you will "feel" the trailer back there pushing, pulling and tossing around a whole lot more in a 1/2 ton vs. 3/4 ton or 1 ton.[QUOTE]

Having had all three, a properly matched 1/2 ton truck and fiver doesn't "feel" different than heavier setups.


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not to mention bigger brakes because its fine to get 'em moving but if ya cant shut it down it will scare the heck out of ya! Just my 2 cents.
The classic 'bigger brakes' reason, but if you look at UNLOADED stopping distances for 1/2 ton and larger trucks from the same manufacturer, they all have about the same number, meaning those bigger brakes are needed just to stop the heavier, empty truck. Besides, if a manufacturer sold one vehicle with significantly better stopping distances than required by law, guess what, that would become the new standard for all vehicles. Finally, it is actually unsafe to have the tow vehicle brakes providing most of the stopping power because the trailer is then pushing the tow vehicle with possible loss of steering control.
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:50 AM   #18
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I trade my MH to a fifth wheel 31' it weighs 7515lbs empty so I started looking into trucks.. I currently own a 2011 gmc 1500 withe the max package 6.2 motor 373 heaven duty rearend. And what I discovered is a early 2000-2003 Ford F250 or a 2500hd chevy does not have a heavy tow rating as my GMC. SO DONT let the half ton haters discourage you from a fifth wheel.....
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:00 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
There are 1/2 ton trucks, and there are also heavy duty 1/2 ton trucks.

There are some heavy duty 1/2 ton trucks that can handle lighter fifth wheel trailers.

Grand Design has just come out with two lightweight models of fifth wheels in their Solitude lineup specifically designed for 1/2 ton tow trucks. They're also very nice trailers.
Those 1/2 ton 5'ers are in the Reflection line up and not really 1/2 ton 5'ers. With dry pins at 1500lbs and dry weights of 8000lbs+ they'll be 9000lbs+ loaded and have pins at 1800lbs. add in 150lbs for a 5th hitch and you're at 1950lbs on the pin. That's more than all but a couple of 1/2 tons can carry with out adding a driver and passengers. Not all 1/2 tons are equal. You have to get an F150 with the HD payload to handle those 5'ers. Even Fords Max Tow only gives a payload around 1800lbs. Toyota can't, Ram can't. Only Ford can do it safely. I'm not sure what GM offers but unless they have a 1500 with at least a 22-2300lb payload rating then they're out.

So yes they're 1/2 ton towable, but only by as far as I know the F150 HD.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:44 AM   #20
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[QUOTE=dayle1;2193451][QUOTE=texascowboy;2192975] In easier terms you will "feel" the trailer back there pushing, pulling and tossing around a whole lot more in a 1/2 ton vs. 3/4 ton or 1 ton.
Quote:

Having had all three, a properly matched 1/2 ton truck and fiver doesn't "feel" different than heavier setups.




The classic 'bigger brakes' reason, but if you look at UNLOADED stopping distances for 1/2 ton and larger trucks from the same manufacturer, they all have about the same number, meaning those bigger brakes are needed just to stop the heavier, empty truck. Besides, if a manufacturer sold one vehicle with significantly better stopping distances than required by law, guess what, that would become the new standard for all vehicles. Finally, it is actually unsafe to have the tow vehicle brakes providing most of the stopping power because the trailer is then pushing the tow vehicle with possible loss of steering control.
Good point, but the classic "bigger brakes" reason isn't just to use the truck to stop the coach. The coach should have good, well adjusted brakes of its own, BUT with a loaded RV (no one I know carry's 'em unloaded) there will still be "push" on the truck. Where the bigger brakes come into play is less fade when they heat up and less chance of warped rotors. In no way am I arguing because you are correct, but your tow vehicle's braking system suffers massive amounts of heat under heavy braking with a load, sometimes resulting in less braking force when you need it most. That is the reason on my F-450 the brake rotors are larger than the 1 ton's brakes, simply to help control the heavier loads the truck is capable of hauling. Not saying I don't believe a half ton can do it, I just personally would rather have something that doesn't have to work as hard to get it done. There are plenty of half tons that can handle large loads i am sure, I see them hauling 5'ers out in west Texas occasionally also, but usually much smaller coaches. I guess it just boils down to looking at your load vs. the capability of your truck and picking something that you feel comfortable with.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:26 PM   #21
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The confounding factor in your question is the tow vehicle. A 3/4 or 1 ton will tow more confortably than the 1/2, since any decent FW will by necessity be towed by the bigger truck. Since some of the gain in "towing comfort" is due to the truck, you may first want to invest in the bigger truck.

My experience is going from 1/2 to 3/4 pulling the same trailer was a monumental difference in ride comfort and control. That 3/4 is a rough ride when empty. But that was ok for me because I don't use it as my daily transportation. I've done three long trips this year, with the TT + 3/4 truck combo, where I drove back-to-back 700-800 miles/day (15-18 hours) and I wasn't beat up/exhausted at the end of the day.

Consider also the depreciation of the truck is much better than a TT/FW. Meaning, you lose less money buying the wrong truck and having to get a new one, versus buying the wrong TT/FW and having to get a different one.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:01 PM   #22
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[QUOTE=texascowboy;2193791][QUOTE=dayle1;2193451]
Quote:
Originally Posted by texascowboy View Post
In easier terms you will "feel" the trailer back there pushing, pulling and tossing around a whole lot more in a 1/2 ton vs. 3/4 ton or 1 ton.

Good point, but the classic "bigger brakes" reason isn't just to use the truck to stop the coach. The coach should have good, well adjusted brakes of its own, BUT with a loaded RV (no one I know carry's 'em unloaded) there will still be "push" on the truck. Where the bigger brakes come into play is less fade when they heat up and less chance of warped rotors. In no way am I arguing because you are correct, but your tow vehicle's braking system suffers massive amounts of heat under heavy braking with a load, sometimes resulting in less braking force when you need it most. That is the reason on my F-450 the brake rotors are larger than the 1 ton's brakes, simply to help control the heavier loads the truck is capable of hauling. Not saying I don't believe a half ton can do it, I just personally would rather have something that doesn't have to work as hard to get it done. There are plenty of half tons that can handle large loads i am sure, I see them hauling 5'ers out in west Texas occasionally also, but usually much smaller coaches. I guess it just boils down to looking at your load vs. the capability of your truck and picking something that you feel comfortable with.
Here is the way I look at it, every trailer axle has brakes fully capable of stopping whatever the axle is rated for. What the truck has to stop is weight not carried by the trailer axles, i.e. the pin weight. In general terms, that is no different than what a solo truck carrying a load has to do as well. It is tempting to think in an ideal setup, truck and trailer would decelerate at the same rate, each braking system handling the weight it is carrying. But again, it is not safe for the trailer to ever "push" the truck. Good brake controllers and good electric trailer brakes can stop the trailer weight just as fast as the truck can stop, except maybe under conditions requiring anti-lock capability. Anyway, any time I apply my brakes, I can always feel the trailer dragging on the truck, not pushing it. When I replaced my 10 yr old tow vehicle that had 90k miles on it, the brake pads were still original pads with acceptable thickness remaining, so the truck brakes were not stopping the trailer. I do agree that higher mass rotors will heat up slower (and cool down slower) and be more resistant to fading, but if the vehicle is also heavier, then it really isn't better. And you are right, match the load to the truck, set the controller right and maintain all brakes in good working order and any setup can be safe and reliable. My 1st tow vehicle was an '89 Chevy 1/2 ton, did lots of towing for 11 yrs and it is still on the road today.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:36 PM   #23
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[QUOTE=dayle1;2193879][QUOTE=texascowboy;2193791]
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Here is the way I look at it, every trailer axle has brakes fully capable of stopping whatever the axle is rated for. What the truck has to stop is weight not carried by the trailer axles, i.e. the pin weight. In general terms, that is no different than what a solo truck carrying a load has to do as well. It is tempting to think in an ideal setup, truck and trailer would decelerate at the same rate, each braking system handling the weight it is carrying. But again, it is not safe for the trailer to ever "push" the truck. Good brake controllers and good electric trailer brakes can stop the trailer weight just as fast as the truck can stop, except maybe under conditions requiring anti-lock capability. Anyway, any time I apply my brakes, I can always feel the trailer dragging on the truck, not pushing it. When I replaced my 10 yr old tow vehicle that had 90k miles on it, the brake pads were still original pads with acceptable thickness remaining, so the truck brakes were not stopping the trailer. I do agree that higher mass rotors will heat up slower (and cool down slower) and be more resistant to fading, but if the vehicle is also heavier, then it really isn't better. And you are right, match the load to the truck, set the controller right and maintain all brakes in good working order and any setup can be safe and reliable. My 1st tow vehicle was an '89 Chevy 1/2 ton, did lots of towing for 11 yrs and it is still on the road today.

Well put sir!! I wish I would have explained it that well to begin with!! Lol. Im a goof ball sometimes!
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:40 PM   #24
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I've got to agree with MC Jones on upgrading the TV first and getting a bigger FW Many others are also correct about a 1/2 Ton truck as a TV. You've got to think 3/4 or 1-Ton Diesel HD for a proper FW TV. Also the problem with the lightweight FW units you could tow with a 1/2 Ton is the weight reduction comes at the expense of quality and durability. Lighter gauge metal especially on frames, thinner panels for floor, roof, cabinetry etc. The the high end FW's are heavy for good reason.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:57 PM   #25
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You need to 1st check the door sticker for payload on your 1/2 ton. Some are pretty low on payload ratings. As to the TT/5'er tow debate. Night and day IMO. I went from an F150 towing a 7300lb TT to a 2500 towing the same TT. Big difference. Much more solid feel. However when then went to a 5'er and the towing experience got even better. I do have a diesel and when towing it's just a one hand on the wheel, set the cruise and sit back and relax. I've always been of the opinion that if something were to happen to me and I couldn't drive, would my wife be ok driving? With the current 5th wheel set up she could definitely drive it. Would she be ok with the last TT? Maybe. If she had to drive the F150 and the 31' 7300lb TT, I think it would be nerve wracking. 5'ers are much more stable behind a truck because the pivot point is right above the axle as opposed to 4' behind. Only way to get the same 5'er experience with a TT is to use a Hensley Arrow or Pro Pride hitch. The design cancels out the pivot point. I guarantee if you used one you would love towing that TT.
The above is your answer..

Let's see...$30,000 for a new 5th wheel and $50,000 for a new 3/4 ton because you find out your 1/2 ton can't do the job; or $3000 for a new Hensley? Which sounds best to you?


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Old 08-22-2014, 02:00 PM   #26
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Rule of thumb: buy the BIGGEST TV you can afford and still find space in your garage for. A fifth wheel pulls significantly better, more stable than a TT or MH in crosswinds and gives you the max living space per road footprint. Just remember, when pulling a 5th wheel, the trailer tracks inside the truck path, so keep your turns wide....
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:42 PM   #27
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Here is my 2 cents. Might be long. I have owned 1ton duallys for most of my 35 years of driving. Towing 5th wheels the big horse trailers. When we got out of rving and showing horses, there was about 3 years of owning a half ton truck. Decided to start camping again, bought a fifth wheel and a 3/4 ton diesel. Well within my weight limits. Truck does its job, but once you tow with a dually, you will never want to tow with anything else. I am in the process of dumping my 3/4 ton for a dually
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:42 PM   #28
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I towed travel trailers for 12 years with a Hensley. No sway, no problems. One handed towing.

I now have a 5th wheel. I prefer it to the travel trailer. The 5th wheel is easier to hitch and the ride in the truck is smoother and less "bumpy".

You could upgrade your hitch to a ProPride or Hensley for a lot less money than trading your current truck and trailer and taking a massive depreciation hit to upgrade both. Either hitch would eliminate your problem with sway and stability.
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