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Old 02-18-2015, 07:19 PM   #1
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Towing a fifth wheel with a 1/2 ton?

We are selling our Class A motorhome and thinking of getting a small fifth wheel to tow behind my 1/2 ton pickup. I have a 2007 Chevy Silverado, 4wd, club cab with a 5.3 L engine with 3.73 gears. I am looking at a Rockwood 8244 that has a dry weight of around 6,600 lbs. My truck towing capacity is rated for 7,500 lbs. I have never towed a fifth wheel and wonder if my truck is suitable for the job. I would hate to trade my truck because it only 50k miles on it and looks like new. I would appreciate hearing from people that has had experience towing with a 1/2 ton.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:43 PM   #2
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2 questions

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Originally Posted by jadtif View Post
We are selling our Class A motorhome and thinking of getting a small fifth wheel to tow behind my 1/2 ton pickup. I have a 2007 Chevy Silverado, 4wd, club cab with a 5.3 L engine with 3.73 gears. I am looking at a Rockwood 8244 that has a dry weight of around 6,600 lbs. My truck towing capacity is rated for 7,500 lbs. I have never towed a fifth wheel and wonder if my truck is suitable for the job. I would hate to trade my truck because it only 50k miles on it and looks like new. I would appreciate hearing from people that has had experience towing with a 1/2 ton.
What is the pin weight of the 5th wheel? Now what is the hauling capacity of the truck?NOTE hauling not towing...
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:22 PM   #3
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Keeping in mind previous models have lower ratings, this will be of interest: How much can a 1/2 ton truck tow without exceeding ratings?
Use this fifth wheel weight calculator to insure you do not exceed yours.
Note the weight limit differences between a 5er and TT. This is because around 20% of the 5ers weight is on the trucks rear axle, and you're towing an 8' X 12' wall behind your truck, which places further strain on the drivetrain.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:12 PM   #4
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Take your pickup and load it up as if you are going camping. This includes full fuel, passengers, hitch and any other items you carry. Go weigh your vehicle at a scale and take that number and subtract from your door sticker GVWR. That will tell you what you can have for pin weight for a fiver. Looking at some online specs for your unit and using 20% pin for a fully loaded fifth wheel the pin weight comes to about 1600 lbs.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:59 PM   #5
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Good advice from Ray and Kbaerg, except it's not really a full 8x12 wall. Assuming the front of the FW is curved it's "streamlined" to an extent and the TV will break up some of the airflow. Regardless, the pin weight is the limit. When I towed 8,400lbs of loaded FW with my F150, the pin weight was nowhere near 20%, or 1,680lbs, and that was good since I didn't have that much capacity in the bed. So, the answer to your question is maybe. If you don't overload the FW or your truck, and the pin weight comes in at 1,200-1,300lbs, you might be okay. I can tell you from experience you will notice reduced gas mileage going into a strong headwind (the wall thing) and if you plan to do a lot of mountainous driving, you might want to consider a stronger TV.
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Old 02-19-2015, 02:30 PM   #6
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Without even getting into the “How Much Weight Can My Truck Carry”. You state the RVs dry weight is approx. 6,600 Lbs, so real world normal load will put you near 7,500 Lbs and probably more. Your TV is rated for 7,500 Lbs, so you’re already at max or over. You have the numbers and they don’t add up good to me.
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Old 02-19-2015, 02:57 PM   #7
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I have a 2002 F 250 5.4 gas. When we had our fifth wheel it was a load on my truck. it was close to the same dry weight. One reason we bought the lake lot. May not be a problem with your truck.
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Old 02-19-2015, 05:48 PM   #8
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My last 1/2 ton setup was a 2000 Silverado, 5.3, ECSB, 2wd with 3.73 axle ratio. Truck was also fitted with a fuel/tool combo box with an extra 40 gal, so 65 gal. total capacity. Fiver was a light unit, 5000 lbs dry, dry pin of 950 lbs and GVWR of 6550 lbs. I had no issues with the setup, I towed at altitudes up to 9000 ft., but avoided the steepest grades. My longest trip was 4500 miles and three weeks.

The '07 is a slightly more capable tow vehicle and the Rockwood is slightly heavier, but in my opinion it would be a reasonable match. The Rockwood/Flagstaf line is probably the best available today that is suitable for 1/2 trucks. Again, my judgement, but I would never opt for a lighter TT as opposed to a fiver, the fiver is just much more stable and easier to tow.
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:00 PM   #9
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Looking at Rockwood web shows the 8244 has a 8200 GVWR with a 1485 ccc and a 1181 lb dry pin weight.
That dry pin weight will be closer to 1500 lbs by the time the trailer is loaded. Most 5ers carry most of our "junk" in front of the axles close to the truck.

My wife has a '06 1500 chevy 7000 GVWR 4000 RAWR crew cab 4x4 5.3 with a 7400 lb tow rating. The trucks weights will be similar. I keep scale tickets in all of my trucks so I'll use hers as a estimate.

Her truck weighs 2440 on the rear axle. Now add a 200 lb for a hitch and another 100 lbs for gear and don't forget you and her and whoevers kids. Now the truck rear axle is at approx 2800 lbs which leaves approx 1200 lbs for a wet pin weight. I'm assuming your truck has a 3900-4000 RAWR. The 8244 model will put your truck over its RAWR and GVWR ratings

You would need to go with higher rated wheels and LT tires along with maybe air bags.
As other are saying the std duty 1500 truck (3900-4000 RAWR) simple runs out of load carrying capacity fast.
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:29 AM   #10
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Thanks

Thanks for all the good answers. It looks like my truck is limited as to what I can tow. I may have to consider upgrading my truck or getting a small TT instead. We sell our motorhome today. We are sad to let it go because we full timed in it for last 4 years. We still want to do hit the road and travel but only for a few months a year.
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:17 AM   #11
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All my friends ae experienced with gas trucks pulling trailers and the load on the engine is the limit. Any bigger truck will be heavier and will reduce the trailer capacity. Go 3/4 ton diesel in a GM and it will serve you well. Older models drive like cars and can tow well.
Had a 98 GM 4 x 4 and it was a good towing unit for the 9 years. I towed up to 14000 lbs along the eastern part of US an Canada.
All my friends own 1/2 tons and cannot do long distance comfortably but are very happy around home. Some pull 32 ft Rockwood very well. My neighbor travels south with one every winter for the past 4 years and seam to love the set up with his F150. But I do tell him he is crazy but he seam to ignore and truck on.
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:18 AM   #12
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I have exact same truck as you exept 2 wheel drive.
2007 extended cab 6.5 ft box, 5.3 motor and 3.73 rear end
My cargo capacity according to door jam is 1618 lbs.
My towing capacity according to General motor is 7500 lbs.
I got this info from GM directly, Email them with your vin number and they will get back to you with the proper info.
The info given by general towing capacity is only a guide and does not take in account all the equipment added to the vehicule such as 4x4, 4 doors, lenght of bed, air condition and any other add ons......
My 5th wheel is:
Flagstaff 8524RLS 2009
GVWR= 8053
DRY WEIGHT= 5823
DRY HITCH=1056
CARGO CAPACITY=1900
All these numbers are BS, here are my numbers after weighing.
Fifth wheel=
Front axel rated at 3500 lbs actual weight is 4070 lbs so over 570 lbs
rear axel rated at 3500 lbs, actual weight is 3550 lbs, so over 50 lbs
gvwr is 8053, actual weight is 7620 lbs so under 433 lbs witch is good

Now truck info:
Front axel rated at 3600 lbs, actual weight is 3190 so under 410 lbs good
rear axel rated at 3950 lbs., actual weight is 3860 so under 90 lbs, good
GVWR is 6800 lbs, actual weight is 7050 lbs to over 250 lbs. not good.
I added one leaf spring in the back suspension and it sits level with 5th wheel on, no sagging
You might think that +250 lbs isn't much but those weight where taken on our first outing with light cargo added, if i remember we had roughly 600 lbs of cargo added.
I know for a fact that we have added some more stuff, so now where probably 100 or 150 lbs heavyer.... When we travel i do not put anything in the bed to avoid the extra load.....
Can't carry bicycle or gene......

But where this hurst the most is that the truck is maxed out at a 13000lbs combo.
Total combo as of these weights where 14670 lbs.
So thats over by 1670 lbs.
I have pull my trailer here in Quebec on some steep hill, 10% degree and it made it fine but slow at the top, coming down since i have the tow package tranny did a good job slowing it down but had to help a little.
Right now im looking for a 2500 series truck.
Before i bought my trailer i had done research for 2 years, asking question and i was pretty confident with this trailer beeing on the right track. But now you have the real numbers.... Its now up to you...
Will it pull, yes...... Is it safe, according to weight police.... no
Do i have any problems with the unit, not at all.
But beeing concern by safety as said before i will change my truck....
These are real facts, not salesman mumbo jumbo crap....
Now the decision is yours to be taken.
I hope this will help you.
Michel
PS if you want more info, just ask.....
Tried to add a picture of the combo but dont know how it works....
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:26 AM   #13
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I have about the same truck as you, 2011 Silverado 3.73 gears, tow package, 9600lb tow rating. I thought I would not have any trouble towing a 5500lb dry toy hauler, loaded with gear and RZR in back was 7200lb. Struggles going up mountains, even on level towing it just does not seem to handle the trailer well in my opinion.
I would look for a lager truck if you can.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safari1 View Post
I have about the same truck as you, 2011 Silverado 3.73 gears, tow package, 9600lb tow rating. I thought I would not have any trouble towing a 5500lb dry toy hauler, loaded with gear and RZR in back was 7200lb. Struggles going up mountains, even on level towing it just does not seem to handle the trailer well in my opinion.
I would look for a lager truck if you can.
Its not a larger truck but a stronger truck and the only choice is going to diesel for towing comfort. Larger gas truck only will overload the engine more and tow harder. The remarks I get from F250 gas owners that tow their TT , is that its tiring to tow and they move on to diesels or motorhomes. The gas HD trucks hardly get used for towing but for company service as F250 are king with their simple design and heavy bodies that serves the industrial demands. But with diesel engines as does GM and Ram they are classy performers for towing.
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