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Old 03-11-2013, 05:15 PM   #1
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1/2 truck and a 5th wheel?

This question is for a friend, I know very little about 5th wheels. He wanted to know if it was safe to use his 2010 Chevy 1500 to pull a 5th wheel? The dealership said no. Explaining that the axle could not support the weight and that the GVWR would be exceeded. I have a Class C so I don't have an answer for him. Do you? If the answer was yes, does anyone have a suggestion of which brand/model to explore that would include a bunkhouse for the kiddos?
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:30 PM   #2
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The problem with a 5th wheel and a 1/2 ton truck is the trucks limited GVWR and rear axle GAWR. A 5th wheel of the size for his truck will have a pin weight close to 18% of the trailers GVWR. By the time you have the kids, dogs, camping supplies loaded in the truck, you will have surprisingly little cargo capacity with a 1/2 ton truck.

There are numerous threads on 1/2 ton truck weight limits. Bit to help your buds problem, we need some information on the truck.
Rear axle GAWR,
GVWR
GCWR based on which cab, axle and engine he has.
loaded truck weight (gas, cargo, passengers, hitch)

Practically about all the 5th wheel a 1/2 ton can handle is about a 24' lite weight.

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
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Jayco makes some 1/2 ton towables but you need a newer truck that has around 10 to 11 thousand lbs Gross combined. He won't have cargo capacity to carry much but it it doable.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:23 PM   #4
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Ignore the claims of "1/2 ton towable". Most of the ones making this claim base if on a stripped and unloaded trailer and a base model properly equipped truck to minimize trailer weight and maximize the trucks "tow rating".

You can go by the over-inflated tow ratings, provided you plan to never haul anything in the truck or trailer.

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Old 03-12-2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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Thank you

for the responses. He is going to go by himself a real truck this weekend. No joke.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JST WVR View Post
... The dealership said no.
Kudo's to that dealership &/or salesperson for knowing the towing capabilities of a 1/2t truck. Not something one finds often.

The best thing for your friend to do is to zero in on some 5-r models & THEN match the truck to the RV. Getting the truck 1st (well, unless it's a 1t diesel dually or a MDT/HDT) can still limit his choices...especially because he's looking at a bunk model (read: needs lots of CC for kids & their stuff).

Good luck.

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Old 03-12-2013, 09:21 PM   #7
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Agree. Look, modern 1/2 ton trucks (if properly equipped) can tow in excess of 10,000 lbs. That wasn't true 5-10 years ago. Set them up with a good trailer brake and weight distributing hitch, they'll do fine with an *appropriately* sized trailer.

Note, in my experience it has less to do with what the truck can pull and more to do with what the truck can stop.

Find the trailer first. Then find the truck. Ideally, the trailer - loaded, shouldn't exceed 70-80% of the truck's tow capacity.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:08 PM   #8
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cb1000rider, yes the manufacturers claim they can tow in excess of 10000#, BUT they still have the problem on cargo capacity and pin weight. many of the 1/2 ton trucks GVWR still dose not allow for much paylaod capacity above the actual loaded truck weight.

So the math still has to be done and for get how much the manufacturer claims they can tow.

Ken
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:14 PM   #9
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This question is for a friend, I know very little about 5th wheels. He wanted to know if it was safe to use his 2010 Chevy 1500 to pull a 5th wheel? The dealership said no.
The dealer is probably right, depending on exactly which 1500 and which 5er.

Very few half-ton pickups can tow a 5er with a GVWR over 8,000 pounds without exceeding the GVWR of the pickup. And there are very few 5ers available with GVWR less than 8,000 pounds. However, GM (and Ford) makes a few 1500HD (or F-150HD) pickups with more than the normal half-ton GVWR and payload capacity. Those HD half tons combined with an ultra-light 5er with GVWR less than 8,000 pounds can sometimes go down the highway without being overloaded. But that combo is very rare.

I don't have GM specs handy, so I'll use Ford for an example.

2010 F-150 SuperCab with 8' bed, 5.4L engine, 3.73 axle, HD payload pkg and max towing pkg.
GCWR 17,100 (tow rating over 11,000)
GVWR 8200 (available payload for hitch weight = 1,795)

Forget the tow rating. You'll exceed the GVWR long before you reach the tow rating.

A 5er with wet and loaded weight of 8,000 pounds will have about 18% hitch weight, or 1,440 pounds. That's well within the 1,795 pounds limit so it allows you to haul a few tools and spares and other "stuff" in the tow vehicle without being overloaded.

But that's a very special F-150. You probably won't find one with those specs for sale. Dealers didn't stock them, but they were available for special customer order. But without the HD payload pkg and the max tow package, the 2010 F150 SuperCab GVWR falls about a thousand pounds to around 7,200. So instead of 1795 pounds of payload available for hitch weight, you now have only 795, which equates to a 5er gross weight of less than 5,000 pounds. Sorry, Charlie, but they don't make 5ers that light.

I had a Thor Wonderer 21' low profile 5er with no slide that had a GVWR of about 6,000 pounds. We towed that with a Toyota T-100 V6. But Darling Wife had to crawl around on the bed to make the bed, so she insisted we trade up to a 25' with one slide and a mid-profile so she could stand while making the bed. That 5er had GVWR of 7,900 pounds. That was too much trailer for the T-100, so we ordered an F-250 diesel. The '99.5 F-250 7.3L PowerStroke CrewCab was the perfect match for that 7,900 pound 5er. We drove that combo about 100,000 miles over the next 11 years.
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:53 PM   #10
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No problem with either of these molded all-fiberglass 5th wheels.
They are actually made to be pulled with compact trucks.
They are very small, and not all people would like them, but they are all-fiberglass and hold their value very well when compared to conventionally built (stick and staple) trailers.

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Old 03-17-2013, 05:12 AM   #11
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1/2 tons today are like cars. 2 spring plus and underrated tires. Minimum tire required would be load range C with 50lbs pressure. Then the rear axle is not a floating type that if it breaks under torque will make the wheel fall off. Believe me I haveseen it with heavy trailers.
My limits would be 27 ft with one slide. And under 1200lbs hitch weight. Done it and found that 3/4 tons end up cheaper to operate. And they ride well loaded or unloaded with same physical dimension.
Dealers want to sell trailers and do make lighter units. To me its ploys to make more profits. Light only removes required structural elements and make the units expensive and unreliable. Get the unit that satisfies and then get the tow vehicle. Even try the 1/2 ton for short trips with carefully driving and be aware of the limitations. I have had to do it and had great success l. But at a cost.
Towed a 24ft 5th with a 1/4 ton Ford Ranger for 3 years with the same costs as I tow a 39ft unit with a used F250 programed diesel.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:20 PM   #12
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They are very small, and not all people would like them, ...
"Very small" is an understatement. No slide available. The Scamp website is broken right now, but the Escape 5er would be very crowded for two people if you actually tried to "live" in it. However, it beats a tent hands down, and includes all the essential luxuries, including a real queen-size bed, hot shower, and optional AC. Plan on adding a minimum of a memory-foam bed topper.

But even better would be to replace the cheap foam stock mattress with a much better RV-queen size interspring mattress. Maybe a Euro-Top with a layer of memory foam in the top part of the mattress. (A normal 60"x80" queen-size mattress won't fit in the hole, so do a search on "short queen RV mattress" to find sources for a mattress that will fit.) Normal short queen RV mattress is 60x74, but many mattress manufacturers will make it the exact size you want. For the Escape 5.0, the stock foam mattress is 60x78 so maybe have a 60x78 interspring mattress made? Here's one example:
Custom Made Firm Mattress Prices

Here's a 60x74 short queen eurotop:
Eurotop Innerspring Mattress - Short Queen, 60" x 74" x 8" - Parklane Mattresses PSR6074 - Bed Pads & Mattresses - Camping World

Note: The stock foam mattress is flexible enough it can be twisted and squeezed to go into the door and then up the stairs into the bedroom of that itty bitty Escape. But an interspring mattress might be a very tight fit go get it into the bedroom. I've done it in my 25' 5er and my even smaller 19' TT, but it was a chore. Not for me, but instead of an interspring mattress, maybe consider a better foam mattress, such as a memory foam like as this one:
Amazon.com: DynastyMattress Deluxe 10-Inch Memory Foam Short Mattress for RV, Camper-QUEEN Size:(H)10"x(W)60"x(L)75": Home & Kitchen

The dinette converts to a bed for two small kids, so you could even travel with two young'uns if needed. But then it would really get crowded.

Single 3,500 pound axle means it will be very easy to overload the trailer axle, so pay attention when you load camping stuff, food, clothing, linens, dishes, cookware, fresh water. Leave the heavy stuff at home. And weigh the rig on a CAT scale often to be certain your trailer axle weight doesn't exceed 3,500 pounds.

About 800 pounds hitch weight when wet and loaded for camping, so some half-ton pickups could tow it without exceeding the GVWR of the pickup. The Escape numbers show up to 900 pounds hitch weight to achieve the 4,400 pounds GVWR, but if you reach 4,400 pounds gross trailer weight you'll probably exceed the 3,500 pound limit of the trailer GAWR.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:39 PM   #13
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X2, on the good for the Dealer/Salesperson. I've delt with salespeople that didn't even know where to find the , trailer tow capacity of a truck; others that had no idea what CCC ment.
Also , X2 on find your 5th then size your truck accordingly.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:51 PM   #14
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"Very small" is an understatement. No slide available. The Scamp website is broken right now, but the Escape 5er would be very crowded for two people if you actually tried to "live" in it. .
It's also very narrow and, I imagine, my somewhat claustrophobic wife would hate to even be inside one for more than a few minutes.
That said, I know of one couple who spend six months every year traveling in a 13 foot (total length), Scamp trailer. Now THAT is togetherness!
I imagine that most of these little campers are not used to live in, but like we do with our 17' EggCamper, just for an occasional camping trip. After having it for four years, our longest trip in it has been for a week.
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