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Old 06-04-2014, 10:26 AM   #1
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Upgrading a 5th wheel trailer tow vehicle

I currently tow a Carriage 5th wheel 13,400 lbs loaded, with a 2006 dodge short wheel bed Cummings Diesel 5.9 ltr. I also have air springs on the rear of the truck. I have been looking at larger 5th wheels and will either need to upgrade my truck or buy a new one. I have been told I could change to a 410 rear end and upgrade shocks and springs but, I don't believe this will change the legal tow rating on the truck. I have also heard a long bed or dully truck tows better. Any comments will be appreciated. thanks, Nick
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:10 PM   #2
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No matter what you do the the truck, can't change the tow ratings/capacity. At 13400, you are probably overloaded already on the rear axle or gross. And, yep, a long bed dually is more stable.
Joe
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:08 PM   #3
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There's a lot more to upgrading towing capacity than changing rear end ratio. Brakes, axles, wheels, tires, drive train, among other things effect towing capacity. In addition, your truck is a short wheelbase truck. For a larger trailer I'd think upgrading to a larger truck would be wisest for safety and cost.
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:17 PM   #4
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Even getting a truck even 2 years newer will upgrade the capacities.
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Nick View Post
I currently tow a Carriage 5th wheel 13,400 lbs loaded, with a 2006 dodge short wheel bed Cummings Diesel 5.9 ltr. I also have air springs on the rear of the truck. I have been looking at larger 5th wheels and will either need to upgrade my truck or buy a new one. I have been told I could change to a 410 rear end and upgrade shocks and springs but, I don't believe this will change the legal tow rating on the truck. I have also heard a long bed or dully truck tows better. Any comments will be appreciated. thanks, Nick

First welcome to the site.

Now I will take some flak over this statement but here goes.

Since you already own a 5er and you are thinking on upgrading than I would pick out the 5er that you want first. You can than match the truck to pull the fiver that you want.

The new Ram 3500 SRW trucks are rated to tow a 17,000 trailer proper equipped with the 6.7L Cummins engine. See attached link to the Ram Body Builders Guide which is a free downloadable PDF file.

http://www.rambodybuilder.com/year.pdf

Click on the 2014 Truck Base Weights/GCW/Payload?/Trail Tow; this takes you right to the pages you need to figure out for your towing needs.

Jim W.
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:17 PM   #6
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I am looking at upgrading my tow vehicle also. Right now I am only towing a 28' Dutchmen fiver, but am looking 'down the road'. I have found that if you are handy with tools you can get a Freightliner FL 60/70 for the same or less money than any comparable pick up truck. Just as an example I am going to look at a 1999 FL 70 with a Cummins 8.3/10 speed that the owner is asking $4000. I would need to modify a few things, but the drive train is quite a bit heavier duty than my 3/4 ton truck.
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:01 PM   #7
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You're probably at or over your limits already if it's a 2500 and there is no way a gear change would fix that.
Why not take a drw and a srw truck for a test drive and buy one new or used after you decided on a trailer that way you can get one with a nice safety margin.
Just an idea
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:06 PM   #8
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I am looking at upgrading my tow vehicle also. Right now I am only towing a 28' Dutchmen fiver, but am looking 'down the road'. I have found that if you are handy with tools you can get a Freightliner FL 60/70 for the same or less money than any comparable pick up truck. Just as an example I am going to look at a 1999 FL 70 with a Cummins 8.3/10 speed that the owner is asking $4000. I would need to modify a few things, but the drive train is quite a bit heavier duty than my 3/4 ton truck.
That would be my dream, but you know how it goes sometimes.
I would love to drive a stick again, a 10 sp. is perfect for towing an RV.
Is it a single or tandem, if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:11 PM   #9
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MnTom,
Certainly not an expert on HDTs, but $4K is awful low for anything that size. Miles? 1,000,000+? Tires--condition/age? Hope it lives up to expectations.
Joe
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:38 PM   #10
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OK, since you guys want a little info, the truck is a 1999 FL70 with the 8.3 Cummins, 10 speed, air ride, single axle, 300,000 miles, and the only pictures I saw were of the sides and rear. I tried to get more pictures of the front and interior, but to no avail. The owner claims it to be road worthy. The truck is about 3 hours south of me, and there were enough flags to make me rethink the truck. One was the price, one was the lack of pictures, one was the 8.3 that he claims to not use oil (I have a 5.9 Cummins that uses no oil between changes with 288k miles on it so I know it is possible). Also, it is an early CAPS (electronic) injection pump. With that many miles there just *may* be some problems in the near future. I just didn't feel right about this truck. Anyone that wants to look at it here is the ad: freightliner fl 70
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:52 PM   #11
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I've got a F250 diesel, and I've found that the weights of most larger fifth wheels exceed the capabilities of my vehicle.

But on the other hand, it would be easy to go out and purchase a single axle (not tandem axle) full size diesel truck to tow a larger fifth wheel, but I'd be in an overkill situation.

A vast percentage of heavy trucks on the used market are tandems--used to pull up to 80,000 lb. loads. Good single axle trucks equipped to tow lighter loads are relatively rare.

To get such a truck for $4K in reasonably good condition would be a spin of a roulette wheel. And with $100 per hour labor rates, it's too risky. And those trucks are miserable to drive, and they're miserable to ride in. Who wants 10 or 13 speed gearboxes when 5 speeds and the right engine will work?

The best bet would to find a medium duty truck, like a F650 or F750. Freightliner and Navistar also have comparable trucks. Such trucks will yank a fifth wheel RV like it's not even back there. If you look close, the F650/F750's use the great SuperDuty cab with a different front end and completely different chassis. And they can be fitted with RV beds with built in storage and tool kits, etc.--and their automatic trannys are much easier to deal with.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:58 PM   #12
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Actually, the Freightliner FL50, 60, and 70 are medium duty trucks. The FL50 does not have that much more capacity than a newer one ton truck. These are pretty much equivalent to the F650/750 trucks. If you look around you can get a Freightliner for the same or less than most diesel pick ups and have a tow vehicle that has a much more substantial driveline and suspension. Far as shifting 10 or more gears, I used to do that for a living so it would not be a problem for me.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:25 PM   #13
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MnTom,
Certainly not an expert on HDTs, but $4K is awful low for anything that size. Miles? 1,000,000+? Tires--condition/age? Hope it lives up to expectations.
Joe
For a truck that Just has a flat bed that is not a bad price. I'd hope it had air brakes. Probably does if it has air ride like it claims. of course they might call a air seat "air ride".
That 8.3L/10 speed is a good engine trans combo. Best part about using a MDT/HDT is there is almost No worry about "The tail Wagging the Dog"

HDT tandem axle trucks can be converted to single axle truck Very easy really, and no its not what many think.
The easiest I'd think are the Frieghtliners with Air Liner Rear suspensions.
You Remove the Front axle , not the rear. You will need to swap the axle housing shims from the front axle to under the rear axle install New U-bolts and get the drive shaft lengthened.
8 hour job with air tools.
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Old 06-17-2014, 03:38 PM   #14
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There is no such thing as increasing your tow capacity. It is what it is, go over it and suffer the consequences.
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