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Old 05-25-2010, 10:39 AM   #1
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Smile 2010 Half Ton Towing Fifth Wheel

I have a new 5.2 L Silverado Z71 4x4 standard bed that is rated to tow 9600 lbs . Payload is 1812 lbs.
We really want to tow a light fifth wheel. Research indicates almost all use 3/4 ton or higher. But I believe with my new set up I can accomplish the task. I have a built in factory brake control and the ability to change gear shift points while towing. I am not concerned about go power rather I am concerned about whoa power. I would like some comment whether I am wasting my time thinking about towing a fifth wheel. I do not want a trailer.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:10 PM   #2
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The problem towing fifth wheels with almost any pickup that's less than a one-ton dually is neither "go power" or "whoa power"; it's exceeding the truck's GVWR. As an example, I looked at the three smallest "lite" fifth wheels on Jayco's website and all of them had 1,500+ pin weights. So, if you attached one of these Jaycos to your truck, you'd have less than 300 pounds remaining of the 1,812 payload (which makes up part of the truck's GVWR). You'd be overloaded just putting two 150 pound passengers in the truck.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:07 PM   #3
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Welcome to iRV2, Benicia. We're glad to have you. You've come to the right place to ask questions & you will get great advice.

As to your question, I would highly advise against a 5th wheel for your half-ton truck. Just a quick check of several mfr websites, even the smallest light 5th wheels I could find were over 10,000 lbs. You will be over your GCWR, over your payload for the hitch & over your truck's towing capacity. You would not tow safely & should you ever be in an accident, the lawyers would have a field day when they discover your numbers.

Several years back, Titanium fifth wheels (mfrd by Glendale RV) boasted they had units towable with half-ton trucks. That pitch didn't last long & I see by their website, their smallest is nearly 13,500 lbs. The same goes with Keystone Cougar fifth wheels. They, too, touted "half-ton towable" units...even to the point of putting stickers on the rv's themselves saying so. I haven't seen any of those lately either.

I'm sure, somewhere, there is some tiny fifth wheel you might be able to tow, but it might be very hard to find. Heck, there's an old video running around here & on the internet showing a WV Beetle towing a fifth wheel. I suppose it can be done, but, IMO, I would not want to do it.

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Old 05-25-2010, 08:11 PM   #4
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Towing a 5er with a 1/2 truck limits the pin weight you can carry. Your 1812# payload is a MAXIMUM and based on the empty truck, no passengers, a 150# driver, no options, no accessories, no cargo and no hitch. Add all of these and you reduce your payload pound for pound. So you need to weigh the truck with your normal cargo, passengers and full fuel. Add 200# for the 5er hitch.

The 9600# is also a MAXIMUM like the payload capacity.

Now look up the trucks GVWR and GCWR in the owners manual for your cab, engine and axle ratio.

GVWR - loaded truck = Max loaded pin weight
GCWR - loaded truck = Max loaded trailer weight.

A typical 5er will have a loaded pin weight close to 20% of the trailers GVWR. Ignore the brochure weights. A trailer can easily weigh 1000# more than the brochure dry weight and then you add your stuff.

Practically, most 1/2 ton trucks will limit out on pin weight with a 22 or 23' 5er, well before the GCWR is reached.

Also plan to add an axillary transmission cooler, HD shocks and LT itres if you don't have them already.

Happy hunting.

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Old 05-26-2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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We started with a Chevy 1/2 ton 350 cu, 373 gears, tow package, pulled a 24 ft fifth wheel Jayco with a super slide, it did fine in Nebr, Iowa, as soon as we hit Wy and a little wind,,we found out that there was no substitute for HP and tork.
We then moved to a 1,ton srw Ford diesel, it did a fine job, save your self time money having to put air bags on, and still not having a truck that can do the job, I would go with a Chevy diesel. good luck.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:27 PM   #6
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Towing a 5th wheel is OK with your truck as long as it is this brand of 5th wheel. http://www.scamptrailers.com/

If you really want to tow a 5th wheel then get a real truck to do it with. 3/4 ton or larger. No matter what they tell you, your truck is not set up to really tow a 5th wheel. You will be over weight (payload) just by installing a hitch and loading passengers and hooking up the 5th wheel.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:19 PM   #7
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Looking at GM 5th wheel/GN towing chart for the '10 1500 truck shows the recommended tow ratings from 6200 lbs to 9600 lbs depending on truck configuration.

Subtract 200 lb hitch in the bed and your left with 1612 lbs. Now subtract other gear thats sets over the trucks rear axles and your down to around 1200-1300 lbs for a pin weight. Actual numbers will vary depending on how much you carry in a truck and actual scaled front and rear axle weights.

Now begin a search for a 9600 lb 5er with around 1200-1300 lbs max wet pin weight.

Most 5ers with 1200-1300 lbs of pin weight are usually in the 5k-6k range. Their out here now you have to search and find one. Lots of folks with 1500 trucks towing 5ers around here anyway.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:34 PM   #8
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Like noted, you can tow a 5er within reason with your truck. Be very cautious with 5ers that are advertised as 1/2 ton towable. They get to this point by using a base model truck to get a maximum tow rating and then us a dry weight on the trailer to get as big of a trailer as possible. Load up the truck as normal and trailer and you will be well over the truck limits.

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Old 05-30-2010, 06:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for many replies..all noteworthy. I am looking at several 5's that are in the 1100 to 1310 hitch range. Are considering 21 ft. to 26 ft. Dry range is 4705 for a Nomad 21 ft. to a 7390 pound Loredo 25ft. Arctic Fox has a 23 ft that is 5520 dry with a hitch wt. of 1100. Heartland has 24 ft with a 1135 hitch but has a rather high gross of 11295 but would only hit the wt if packing 4685 of fuel , liquid, passengers and gear.. In reality am not going to load more than 2000 including 200 pound hitch , fuel etc. Would be fine with the 21 to 23 ft 5's but would need a hitch extender and do not want the hassle. Keystone Cougar makes a 24 ft. unit that is 6817 dry, 10070 gross ( if totally loaded with 3253 pounds). Hitch is 1270. If one can believe the stats the math works fine. But based upon some of your comments I would still like to talk to some who have pulled with similar rig. My next task is to talk to some manufacturers engineers and see if I can track down some live ones in RV parks.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:35 PM   #10
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This Nash will work. Anything with slides may not.

Northwood: Nash 21-5R 5th Wheel

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Old 06-04-2010, 06:04 PM   #11
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Dry weights are totally useless, just like the advertised payload for your vehicle. Load it up like you will be traveling, that means everything and go to the scales for some accurate weights. Now, subtract the numbers from the GVWR and you will quickly learn how little real world payload you actually have.
You will be far better off getting a TT for your 1/2 ton. More length and more floor plan options before you run out of towing capacity.
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Old 06-04-2010, 09:31 PM   #12
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The dry weights in the brochures do not include any item listed as an option...like:
A/C
Microwave
batteries
awning
Propane,

It is real easy to have a new and empty trailer 500 to 1000# more than dry weight. To estimate the pin weight once loaded, use 20% of the trailer GVWR.

Have you weighed the truck with normal passenger load and full fuel.

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Old 06-16-2010, 02:56 PM   #13
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Remember that the tow ratings are the manufacture warranty tow ratings, not that I would tow with a Ĺ Ton truck
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:43 PM   #14
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We are ordering a 24 ft. Forest River Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite . It is by far the lightest 5th whl on the market with a 1068 hitch wt. Certified dry wt of 6402. Gross @ 8400. There are lots of 1/2 tons on the road pulling trailers of same wt. My truck's weak spot for pulling is the 3:43 rear which is allows me 17.5 MPG empty. I will overcome that at altitude by not allowing the truck to shift constantly. Thanks to all for helpful comments. I carefully considered all and definitely shied away from all other 24 footers. My quest now is to find the best slider hitch money will buy. Super Glide?
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