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Old 06-12-2005, 02:22 PM   #1
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Well, I bet this has come up before, but I couldn't get much with a search . . .

I've never owned a 5th wheel or TT, but am pondering getting one. Don't need a large one (just me and my wife). If we get a smaller unit, why wouldn't a 1/2 ton pickup with a V8 be a good choice (for example, a F150 with a 5.4 liter engine)? I've looked at the specs on some of the smaller 5th wheel and TT units and their gross weights are well within the advertised capabilities of the new 1/2 ton trucks.

We do plan on traveling in the west, so some mountain travel is likely. I can see why a Ford Ranger or a Toyota Tacoma would be poor choices, but why not a full-size 1/2 ton Ford, Dodge or Chevy?

Appreciate your advice.
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Old 06-12-2005, 02:22 PM   #2
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Well, I bet this has come up before, but I couldn't get much with a search . . .

I've never owned a 5th wheel or TT, but am pondering getting one. Don't need a large one (just me and my wife). If we get a smaller unit, why wouldn't a 1/2 ton pickup with a V8 be a good choice (for example, a F150 with a 5.4 liter engine)? I've looked at the specs on some of the smaller 5th wheel and TT units and their gross weights are well within the advertised capabilities of the new 1/2 ton trucks.

We do plan on traveling in the west, so some mountain travel is likely. I can see why a Ford Ranger or a Toyota Tacoma would be poor choices, but why not a full-size 1/2 ton Ford, Dodge or Chevy?

Appreciate your advice.
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:03 PM   #3
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It is a good point for you to be thinking about the weights first.

Yes there are several fivers that can safely be towed by a 1/2 ton PU. You will just have to be very mindful of the weight issue with each rig you look at.

Remember the weights listed are the "Dry weight" of the trailer. That means with NOTHING in it. No Propane, No water, nothing in the Grey tank, nothing in the black tank, no clothes, no food or anything else.

A "Rule of thumb" to go by I like to give folks is, take the weight of the rig and add 1,500 to 2,000 pounds to the UUVW (Unloaded Vehicle Weight) of the rig. That may be a little high (Or low) in some cases, but it will keep you "In the ballpark" after adding gear.

If you do not already have a tow vehicle, you may want to look into the possibility of getting a diesel 3/4 ton to start with. It seems like folks buy the "First rig" only to find out they really enjoy it so much, they want to go to a bigger rig. Then if they are already close to the limits of their tow vehicle they are very limited.

I know with us, we have steadily gone to larger rigs. We (My wife and I ) went on our "Honeymoon" (Twenty-five years ago) in a slide-in truck camper I had at the time. By running it trough my mind (And taking my shoes of to double check the figures) we have had two slide-ins, three trailers (Two draw type and one fiver), a Class "C" and two Diesel Pushers over the years. Heck right now we even have a "Water R.V." that we enjoy.

Good luck in yalls search for the right rig for yalls needs/wants. I am sure you will have many more questions throughout the process, please DON'T hesitate to post them. There area LOTS of folks here with lots of experience they are willing to share.

Happy Huntin!!!

Catch Yall LAter,

Don
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:42 PM   #4
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Except for the smallest of 5ers, the pin weight of a 5er will quickly overload the GVWR of even a 3/4 ton pickup. If you get a diesel 3/4 ton, you are looking at about 8800# GVWR. Of that 8800, about 7500 will be the truck with fuel, hitch and other sundries. Then add the occupants weights in. That only leaves you about 1300# for trailer pin weight. Lite weight trailers aside, a lot of trailer up to 28' will probably overload you.

For a few hundred bucks more you can get a 1 ton SRW pickup and be a lot safer. Most have a GVWR of 9900# but Ford has a 11,500# GVWR option for their F-350 SRW.


GVWR is only one consideration. Next you need to take figure out the GCWR. That number is little harder to get as most truck manufacturers like to list the maximum trailer wieght the vehicle can tow. But that is based on their unloaded, no option truck. Most 3/4 and 1 ton trucks are in the 20,000# range.
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:50 PM   #5
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SeeTheUSA,

First welcome aboard.

There are a few, and I mean very few, 5ers that can be towed by a 1/2 ton truck. The problem gets to be the pin weight placed on the hitch in the truck bed. On a 5er, the truck has to carry a higher portion of the weight than on a travel trailer (TT). A TT normally has 10 to 15% of the loaded weight on the tongue whereas a 5er will run closer to 20%. In estimating the pin weight, use 18% to 20% of the trailers GVWR. The GVWR can be found on a tag, one usually mounted on the lower left front corner of the RV. Also a printed sheet inside the trailer.

As Don stated, the dry weight on a trailer is a useless number. In addition to no cargo, on the more basic trailers, where everything is an option, the weight often will not include the A/C, the microwave or the batteries.

The tow rating on a truck is also misleading. It is a base model truck, no cargo, no passengers other than a 150# driver and no options. So add the options, 150# for a hitch and the passenger weight over 150#, and you can easily reduce the real towing capacity by 500# or more. So as an estimate use 80% of the manufacturers tow rating. Then buy a trailer that has a GVWR (not dry weight) of less then this number. You also have to read the rest of the small print to not exceed the trucks GVWR or axle rating.

Sounds like a lot, but it is not really all that bad. Number one rule is NEVER believe the RV salesman or the truck salesman. In over 99% of the cases, they are out to only sell an RV or a truck and not what is safe for you.

We have all learned with experience and like Don, I've had a pop up, two travel trailers, two class A's a class C and now a 5er. I just wish there had been an internet and a Forum like IRV2 for information when we were starting out.

Post any question regarding a trailer or truck and you wil probably find someone on here with one.

Just jump right in and let us hear from you.

Ken
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Old 06-12-2005, 05:50 PM   #6
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SeeTheUSA,

I agree with the above posts. Here's my experience. Years back I towed a 17' TT W/1/2 Ton PU. It towed fine. A few years later I bought a new 3/4 T it (the same TT) handled so much better I said I wouldn't tow with a 1/2T if I had a choice. I've had 2 more 3/4T since & now the dually. It is the best of the bunch. The outside size of a 1/2 T & a 3/4T or 1T SRW is about the same so that shouldn't be an issue. Handling & braking should be your first concern, then power.
Good luck with your choice.
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Old 06-12-2005, 06:52 PM   #7
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See link on RV towing weights in my sig.
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:21 AM   #8
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Hi SeeTheUSA!

Everyone here is right on the mark...these are the truly seasoned veterans.

It was by pure dumb luck that we first got our 2000 F250 7.3L PSD and THEN the 1995 WW SLC3705. First I gotta say, if you're gonna have anywhere near a decent sized 5r, you'll be so pleased you went with a diesel than a gasser...trust me! Second, 3/4 tons are just beefier (1 tons absolutely the cat's meow if you're in the 10-15k range), and I agree totally with CD on the handling and braking issue- the 3/4 / 1 tons just have more in those catagories. If you don't have anything now, you're already over the first hurdle- get what you could possibly think what you'll haul, then make your trailer choice THEN your truck choice.

Good luck!

Sean
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Old 06-13-2005, 08:53 AM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">For a few hundred bucks more you can get a 1 ton SRW pickup </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Good Gravy! Where do you shop? Is it a broke down1 ton? Try a few THOUSAND bucks more.

Back to the subjuect, You'll get better fuel economy with a 3/4 deisel that a 1/2 gas. It'll help you in the long run, because your not going to be pulling every day.

There are alot more advantages about deisel. At 150K miles, your gas is going to be wore out, and the deisel will be just broke in. And this list wil go on and on for days.

Plain and simple, if there's any way you can go 3/4 deisel, do it.
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:20 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Good Gravy! Where do you shop? Is it a broke down1 ton? Try a few THOUSAND bucks more.

Back to the subjuect, You'll get better fuel economy with a 3/4 deisel that a 1/2 gas. It'll help you in the long run, because your not going to be pulling every day.

There are alot more advantages about deisel. At 150K miles, your gas is going to be wore out, and the deisel will be just broke in. And this list wil go on and on for days.

Plain and simple, if there's any way you can go 3/4 deisel, do it. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was quoting from my memory back in 1999. however, I just went to the Ford web site and a base F-350 XLT, SRW is $1,110 higher than a base F-250 XLT. DRW is certainly a much different story (more like 2 grand)
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Old 06-13-2005, 10:21 AM   #11
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Go try this....
Go to your Ford, Chevy, or Dodge dealer (whatever your favorite) and find a 1/2 ton and a 3/4 ton that have the same gas engine, options, trim, ect. and test drive both. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how comfortable and truck-like the 3/4 ton is.
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Old 06-13-2005, 11:24 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I was quoting from my memory back in 1999. however, I just went to the Ford web site and a base F-350 XLT, SRW is $1,110 higher than a base F-250 XLT. DRW is certainly a much different story (more like 2 grand) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I bought our 1st. Dually in June 2001. I had used Dodge's web page to get the retail price. When I compared a 3/4T with the Dually the price was about $1200 diff. For that little I had to have the Dually. When I compared them I added any option on the 3/4T that was standard on the 1T even if I didn't want it. I ended up at $50 over invoice which was $4 or $5K less than retail. I didn't ask about the 3/4T. 2 extra tires & wheels would eat up quite a bit of the $1200.
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Old 06-13-2005, 11:45 AM   #13
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by WWFan:
Everyone here is right on the mark...these are the truly seasoned veterans.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ahh, seasoned veterans! I knew y'all would come through Thanks so much for your help!
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Old 06-13-2005, 12:45 PM   #14
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Having been through a number of trucks and 5th wheels, I can only agree with the previous posters. Always buy more truck than you think you'll need, not less. If you don't need the additional capacity now (although it makes towing much less stressful), you will with the next 5th wheel. And there's almost always a next 5th wheel.

Rusty
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