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Old 07-31-2015, 09:36 PM   #1
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Trailer Length

This my first post here. My wife & I took a 17 day vacation, recently. She missed the dog. Long story short, we plan on getting a 5er, when we retire, in 5 years or less. My DW & I have certain wants, king bed, washer/dryer, & maybe a dish washer. We looked at a 35 footer, last weekend, & it looks like the minimum length to be comfortable in & nothing less has a king bed. We won't be full timers, more like 2 or 3 long vacations a year. So much for the back story.

Some of the floor plans we like are in the 38 - 40+ foot range. Other than fuel milage, what is the difference between pulling a 35' vs. a 40'? Is there a point where there's a big difference, or have I already reached that point at 35'? We plan on pulling it with an F350, diesel, DRW, or equivalent truck, so I'm thinking it would be adequate for either.

TIA,

Jeff
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:58 PM   #2
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Your DW , will have final say on the floor plan, but don't go getting a truck before you find out your trailer weight, once your up to 40', a 350 might not be enough. Remember , moving the weight and controlling the weight are two different things.
Friends had to go up to a 450, to handle their new 37' Mobile Suite when their 350 just wouldn't handle it, and the 350 had done fine with the 35' they traded off.
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:22 PM   #3
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We used an F350 to pull our last 5vef that was a 42 foot Road Warrior and it did just fine.

I would recommend adding Airlift air springs to help out the overloads and keep the truck level when loaded.

Also I found heavy duty shocks would be a big plus when when encountering wash board roads.

You don't notice much of a differance between 35 to forty accept for the weight. Our truck is a crew cab superduty, and we didn't need a sliding fifth wheel. If you have the standard cab, you will need the sliding fifth wheel to back the trailer away from the cab more for clearance. I can't comment on the handling of the standard cab truck vs the longer crew, but I've seen the shorter ones used by others.

To be honest, The above comment about moving up to the F450 is a good point. If I were to ever go back to a big fiver toy hauler, I would prefer the f450 or higher over the F350. No mods would be needed, and less work on the larger model.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I just did an option for option build, on the Ford website, & came up with less than $3,000 difference, between the F350 & F450 Super Duties. For the extra tow rating, I'd call it a deal.

Jeff
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:10 PM   #5
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What I was more concerned about was maneuverability, like city driving. I'm thinking on the straight & level, there wouldn't be much difference & up & down hills would be different, because of the weight. I know that 5th wheels have to make wide turns. How much difference will the 3 to 6 feet make? Are the wheels "centered", on the extra length, making it 1 1/2 to 3 feet, on each end or more to the back, making it less of a problem?

Jeff
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:27 PM   #6
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It will make a difference, but nothing that you will not get use to after a couple trips. When you make your turns just check your mirrors to see where you are. You'll get the feel of it.
I sold our 32' 14000lb Alpha in 2006. Had a truck camper for 7 years. Then DW wanted her 5th wheel back. Ended up with a 39' 19000 lb 5th wheel. After one trip I had it nailed. So I wouldn't worry too much about it. We ended up with the 39' because of the floor plan. Dishwasher wasn't important, but the washer dryer was.
BTW, our 3500 RAM has no problem towing our rig. You should be just fine with a 350.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:49 AM   #7
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It will make a difference, but nothing that you will not get use to after a couple trips. When you make your turns just check your mirrors to see where you are. You'll get the feel of it.
I sold our 32' 14000lb Alpha in 2006. Had a truck camper for 7 years. Then DW wanted her 5th wheel back. Ended up with a 39' 19000 lb 5th wheel. After one trip I had it nailed. So I wouldn't worry too much about it. We ended up with the 39' because of the floor plan. Dishwasher wasn't important, but the washer dryer was.
BTW, our 3500 RAM has no problem towing our rig. You should be just fine with a 350.
Thanks rskeans. When we retire, we will be moving out of Los Angeles, to Riverside county. It's a desert area, a lot of wide open spaces and less traffic. We'll be "reverse snow birds". When it gets too hot, we will head north, to cooler places. I can make shorter, more local trips, before hand. to get used to it, before it heats up. We're really looking forward to it.

We'll just keep the F350 thing, between us, & not let my DW find out. I was getting excited about getting the biggest, baddest pick-up truck, known to mankind. LOL

Jeff
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:45 AM   #8
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It used to be that a 40 ft trailer wasn't the norm but anymore they aren't unusual. As for towing or backing into camping sites you won't have a problem. We had a 40 ft 5th wheel for 3 years and loved it. Also keep in mind, the longer the trailer, the easier they are to handle.

As others have already posted, buy the trailer first and then the truck. #1 it's easier to finance this way #2 even if you have a rv custom made (as we did) it came out of the factory weighing more than expected.

I've never heard of someone complaining about having too much truck
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:52 AM   #9
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Jeff, when you get ready to buy the truck take into consideration the rear end differential ratio. I have owned both an F350 and an F450. The F350 will need a 4:10 ratio in my opinion with a 35' or larger fifth wheel. My present F450 has a 4:30 ratio and does an excellent job with our heavy fifth wheel. Also consider the difference in wheel/tire size and braking (size) capacity. Even though a fifth wheel has brakes, it is still the tow vehicle that determines the ability to stop it quickly and to manage a long downhill descent. A "jake brake" or exhaust brake is also a benefit on the truck. Even though I have been a Ford guy for many years, I would take a hard look at a dodge F3500/4500 with the cummins engine and the ASIN transmission. Good luck in your new adventure.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:19 AM   #10
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Jeff, truck advancements have been astronomical the last dozen years. The power and load increases have been staggering.

I do advise getting the trailer first, then matching with a truck. Most likely what you originally planned is more than adequate. We pull 15k and with a stock 13 350 DRW and I can accelerate going up steep hills with it. The newer engines are even more powerful. I have to say that I think a 3.73 gearing is adequate with these powerful engines.

The larger the 5th you get the more restrictions you will find in getting into some campgrounds. These are generally problems in Federal campgrounds (do some research of where you want to go and what size trailers they can handle).

Some State campgrounds can have problems too. In Michigan, we have yet to find a campground we cannot fit in, but there can be limited numbers of sites available for our 40 ft.

But I wouldn't let that scare you off a bigger 5th. If you are willing to make allowances that you cannot camp everywhere, then get what you want and you will find a private campground somewhere near where you want to visit, that can accommodate you.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:52 AM   #11
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Jeff, I am very familiar with the Riverside County desert areas. I'm just North of there in San Bernardino County (Running Springs). We have a 2nd home at Lake Havasu, AZ where we keep our 5ver.

Your 5th wheel will most certainly exceed 15,000lb GVRW. In CA you are required to possess a Class A Non-Commercial drivers license. I have some very specific suggestions to make life easier in that regard. PM me and I can give you some suggestions on how to make life easier. You'll need an appointment to get into a DMV office to take the written test. The wait here in my area was 3 months! I drove to Blythe so I could just walk in and take the test. Then you need to make an Appt with a CDL test center. This is where I can help.
Bob
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:06 AM   #12
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We have a 2015 Dodge dually with the 4:10 rear end and the Aisan transmission and we tow a 17k 5th wheel. It is a towing machine! We also have hydraulic brakes on our 5th wheel which we feel is an essential component. All the big 3 truck manufacturers have amazing trucks to tow with.
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