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Old 01-24-2014, 11:12 AM   #1
M2D
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250 vs 350

I have just finished reading with great interest the comparison between the 150 and the 250 for quality of towing of the price differential.

I am curious how those of you with experience with both the 250 and the 350 feel about comparisons between the two and the price differential.

We have only ever owned a 150 when we had a truck. We want to stick to a smaller fiver but am wondering whether the factors between the 250 and the 350 may cause a greater interest in the 350.

Do they differ a great deal in bang for the buck? I read so often here how we should buy a truck to suit our next trailer as most want a larger trailer further down the road.

I can't tell you all enough how much I appreciate your taking the time to provide so much information here. I try to search the archives as much as possible to save my asking questions that have been answered many times before so I hope that I am not in error asking this one.

Poor husband is going crazy at his job (hoping to retire soon) and also appreciates the very solid answers I have obtained here. We both feel that asking a vehicle salesman is not likely to give us the answers we need.

You can't imagine the run around we had with getting a tow package and making sure what was included in it for your Toyota minivan. We tow a smallish boat a low speeds with it. It goes from our yard to the town wharf once and a year unless there is a huge storm coming and we take it out to be safe.

Thank You,

Michele
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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If you are thinking about a 250, then just get the same body/options in the 350. It won't be much more and you can handle more trailer with it. You should never notice the ride difference between the 2 models--I couldn't.
Just be reasonable in the fiver you choose to put behind either one you get...
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:58 PM   #3
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It all really depends on how big the 5th wheel is??? A 250 should only be used to tow ultra-light 5ers because the rear suspension is too soft to handle all the extra pin weight. You should also select one with the lightest pin weight for the size you want. Depending on floor plan, the pin weight can vary from floorplan to floorplan significantly.

Also, are you getting a gas F250 or diesel F250??? If you are getting a gasser, i'd consider the GM 6.2L or Ram 6.4L over the ford 6.2L. The ford 6.2L gas is already dated, while the GM and the RAM have cylinder deactivation and much higher torque and power ratings.

Personally i don't see a reason to get the 350 with single rear wheels(SRW) in the back. You are pushing the limit of the tires in a 350 SRW, and are more likely to suffer a blowout which could be catastrophic when pulling a very large trailer. If you are pulling that much trailer which requires a 350, i would go for the dual rear wheels (DRW) in the back. It's a much safer to have 4 rear tires for a large 5th wheel.

If you are doing extended travel in your 5er for retirement. I'd consider a 4 season camper unless you plan on traveling south for the winter, and north for the summers. 4 season campers have underbelly insulation which keep your tanks from freezing, and dual pane windows as well as added insulation. This usually adds extra weight so you should consider a 350 DRW.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:48 PM   #4
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Thank you, I was being generic in my use of 250 vs. 350. We are really looking at the 2500HD diesel vs. the 3500HD diesel. I had mentioned the 2500 diesel in an earlier post. We are looking at crew cab models.

Thanks to iRV2 we have a much better understanding of what is required in a tow vehicle.

We are planning on a small fiver. We have friends who are quite happy in their 2003 27 foot Jayco Eagle. Our friends have a 2500.

We hope to travel quite a lot the next few years but will likely avoid extremes of temperature as much as possible. We are in favor of an all season type of trailer or something close to it. Of course I understand that such fivers tend to be heavier so a larger tow vehicle is necessary.

We started out four years ago with being fascinated by the Casitas. We have several single women friends who travel to dog events in them with their small dogs. They are neat little trailers but a little too small for my husband and me.

We are learning so much here and are open to all suggestions.

Michele
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:52 PM   #5
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Personally i don't see a reason to get the 350 with single rear wheels(SRW) in the back.
If a potential buyer is absolutely committed to a SRW truck, then the higher GVWR of the 350/3500 as compared to the 250/2500 will enable the truck to handle more pin weight and, therefore, a heavier 5th wheel than the 250/2500.

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Old 01-24-2014, 03:37 PM   #6
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If a potential buyer is absolutely committed to a SRW truck, then the higher GVWR of the 350/3500 as compared to the 250/2500 will enable the truck to handle more pin weight and, therefore, a heavier 5th wheel than the 250/2500.

Rusty
True true, and with trucks getting much more sophisticated suspension setups, the ride quality on a 3500 is not all that bad. The new ram 3500 gets airbags this year while removing a leaf from the leafspring setup this year. This should give much better ride while unloaded.

http://www.allpar.com/trucks/ram/2014-heavy-duty.html

But to go back to the OP, people bought a 250 over a 350 in the past because the 350 ride quality was too harsh while unloaded. I don't think that's the case today. You may want to drive in a few 350/3500's and get a feel for how it drives unloaded over bumps, bridge joints etc... If it's not too jarring for you, then i would get a 350/3500. If it is a little bouncy, then come back to the 250 vs 350 question.
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Old 01-25-2014, 11:03 AM   #7
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We want to stick to a smaller fiver but am wondering whether the factors between the 250 and the 350 may cause a greater interest in the 350.
Define "smaller".

The simplest way to match 5er to tow vehicle is to determine the maximum wet and loaded hitch weight of the 5er, and determine the minimum wet and loaded payload capacity of the tow vehicle available for hitch weight. You want more payload available for hitch weight than the maximum hitch weight you might ever have.

GVWR is almost always the limiter for tow vehicles with single rear wheels (SRW). So if you get enough GVWR to always handle the hitch weight of the 5er without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle, you're good to go safely. And you should also have a "safety factor" of excess payload capacity.

Assuming you and Hubby have enough sense to never overload the trailer over the GAWRs of the trailer, then use 20% of the GVWR of the trailer as the expected hitch weight of a mid-size 5er. It might vary from around 17% to 20%, but use 20% as your estimate if you don't want to be overloaded in the middle of your third RV trip. And that assumes your "smaller" 5er is not a big luxury model, which can have up to 24% hitch weight.

"Hitch" weight of a 5er is also called "pin" weight, or the weight on the kingpin. Ignore the hitch weight in the specs of the trailer, because that is the hitch weight of a "dry" trailer. And nobody goes camping in a dry trailer. So use 20% of the GVWR of the trailer as your estimated hitch weight.

If the specs of the trailer do not include GVWR, there is probably enough information in the specs for you to calculate the GVWR. GVWR = unloaded weight of the 5er, plus carrying capacity of the 5er.

I don't have the numbers handy for GM, so I'll use Ford numbers in the following examples. And I'll assume the heaviest of the pickups to estimate the weight of the wet and loaded pickups: CrewCab 4x4 diesel.

F-250 can gross up to around 9,000 pounds before you tie onto the trailer. GVWR is 10,000 pounds, so that leaves 1,000 pounds for max hitch weight. 1,000 pounds hitch weight is a 5er with GVWR of only 5,000 pounds. Nobody makes a decent-size small 5er with that little bit of GVWR, so you'll be overloaded.

F-350 SRW is only 10 to 15 pounds heavier than the F-250, so use 9,000 pounds as the max weight of the truck before you tie onto the 5er. GVWR is 11,500, so that leaves 2,500 pounds for maximum hitch weight. 2,500 pounds hitch weight is a 5er with GVWR of 12,500 pounds. Now that is a decent-sized 5er for your requirements. Stick below 12,000 pounds GVWR and you should have plenty of payload capacity to throw a few beautiful rocks in the bed if during your travels you find some that you can't live without.

Some old codgers say the GVWR of the trailer should never exceed the GVWR of the tow vehicle. Else you could have "tail wagging the dog". So to meet that old saw with an F-350 SRW tow vehicle, you could limit the GVWR of the trailer to 11,500 pounds. That's still a decent size for a "small" 5er.

Dually F-350s weigh around 400 pounds more than SRWs, so call it 9,400 pounds wet and loaded and ready to tie onto a 5er. They not only have extra tires, wheels and hubs and brakes, they also have a different, heavier, rear axle (and differential). New ones have GVWR of 14,000 pounds, so that's a whooping 4600 pounds of payload available for hitch weight. If GVWR is the limiter, then 23,000 pounds max GVWR for the big 5er. But Oops! New rule. This is not an SRW truck, so GVWR may not be the limiter. You must also consider GCWR. GCWR is 30,500, minus 9,400 truck weight = 21,100. Yep, GCWR is the limiter on that dually.

Using 12,000 pounds as your max trailer GVWR, how much 5er is that? Well, you cannot tow a Montana or even a Montana High country, but you could tow a Keystone Sprinter Cooper Canyon model 292 FWBHS that has GVWR of 11,905. FWBHS model number means Fifth Wheel Bunk House with Slide(s).
Sprinter Copper Canyon

That's a lot bigger than what I would define as a "small" 5er, but it should give you an idea of your upper limits of a 5er towed by a newer F-350 SRW without being overloaded.
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Old 01-25-2014, 01:24 PM   #8
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Define "smaller".

The simplest way to match 5er to tow vehicle is to determine the maximum wet and loaded hitch weight of the 5er, and determine the minimum wet and loaded payload capacity of the tow vehicle available for hitch weight. You want more payload available for hitch weight than the maximum hitch weight you might ever have.

GVWR is almost always the limiter for tow vehicles with single rear wheels (SRW). So if you get enough GVWR to always handle the hitch weight of the 5er without exceeding the GVWR of the tow vehicle, you're good to go safely. And you should also have a "safety factor" of excess payload capacity.

Assuming you and Hubby have enough sense to never overload the trailer over the GAWRs of the trailer, then use 20% of the GVWR of the trailer as the expected hitch weight of a mid-size 5er. It might vary from around 17% to 20%, but use 20% as your estimate if you don't want to be overloaded in the middle of your third RV trip. And that assumes your "smaller" 5er is not a big luxury model, which can have up to 24% hitch weight.

"Hitch" weight of a 5er is also called "pin" weight, or the weight on the kingpin. Ignore the hitch weight in the specs of the trailer, because that is the hitch weight of a "dry" trailer. And nobody goes camping in a dry trailer. So use 20% of the GVWR of the trailer as your estimated hitch weight.

If the specs of the trailer do not include GVWR, there is probably enough information in the specs for you to calculate the GVWR. GVWR = unloaded weight of the 5er, plus carrying capacity of the 5er.

I don't have the numbers handy for GM, so I'll use Ford numbers in the following examples. And I'll assume the heaviest of the pickups to estimate the weight of the wet and loaded pickups: CrewCab 4x4 diesel.

F-250 can gross up to around 9,000 pounds before you tie onto the trailer. GVWR is 10,000 pounds, so that leaves 1,000 pounds for max hitch weight. 1,000 pounds hitch weight is a 5er with GVWR of only 5,000 pounds. Nobody makes a decent-size small 5er with that little bit of GVWR, so you'll be overloaded.

F-350 SRW is only 10 to 15 pounds heavier than the F-250, so use 9,000 pounds as the max weight of the truck before you tie onto the 5er. GVWR is 11,500, so that leaves 2,500 pounds for maximum hitch weight. 2,500 pounds hitch weight is a 5er with GVWR of 12,500 pounds. Now that is a decent-sized 5er for your requirements. Stick below 12,000 pounds GVWR and you should have plenty of payload capacity to throw a few beautiful rocks in the bed if during your travels you find some that you can't live without.

Some old codgers say the GVWR of the trailer should never exceed the GVWR of the tow vehicle. Else you could have "tail wagging the dog". So to meet that old saw with an F-350 SRW tow vehicle, you could limit the GVWR of the trailer to 11,500 pounds. That's still a decent size for a "small" 5er.

Dually F-350s weigh around 400 pounds more than SRWs, so call it 9,400 pounds wet and loaded and ready to tie onto a 5er. They not only have extra tires, wheels and hubs and brakes, they also have a different, heavier, rear axle (and differential). New ones have GVWR of 14,000 pounds, so that's a whooping 4600 pounds of payload available for hitch weight. If GVWR is the limiter, then 23,000 pounds max GVWR for the big 5er. But Oops! New rule. This is not an SRW truck, so GVWR may not be the limiter. You must also consider GCWR. GCWR is 30,500, minus 9,400 truck weight = 21,100. Yep, GCWR is the limiter on that dually.

Using 12,000 pounds as your max trailer GVWR, how much 5er is that? Well, you cannot tow a Montana or even a Montana High country, but you could tow a Keystone Sprinter Cooper Canyon model 292 FWBHS that has GVWR of 11,905. FWBHS model number means Fifth Wheel Bunk House with Slide(s).
Sprinter Copper Canyon

That's a lot bigger than what I would define as a "small" 5er, but it should give you an idea of your upper limits of a 5er towed by a newer F-350 SRW without being overloaded.
Thanks for the info I'm taking notes. This is probably the most plain explaination of payload vs gvw etc srw vs drw
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Old 01-25-2014, 01:59 PM   #9
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:06 PM   #10
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Dually F-350s weigh around 400 pounds more than SRWs, so call it 9,400 pounds wet and loaded and ready to tie onto a 5er. They not only have extra tires, wheels and hubs and brakes, they also have a different, heavier, rear axle (and differential).
FWIW, sometimes this is true and sometimes it is not. In many cases the diesel 2500 HD and 3500 SRW trucks are virtually identical except for a stiffer spring pack in the rear and a '3' instead of a '2' on the badging (and of course a different GVWR on the all-hallowed sticker.) Since the difference in price between the diesel 2500 HD and 3500SRW trucks is usually very small (reflecting the minute difference in the actual vehicles themselves) then if you don't own the truck yet it usually makes sense to just go with the 3500 SRW so you can have warm fuzzies about the sticker, but just noting that in the real world that often is the only difference.

In fact in many cases the only difference between a even a 3500 DRW and a 2500/3500 SRW is two extra tires and springs, although in that case the extra load capacity of the two extra tires is very significant of course. It doesn't matter if the axle can carry the weight if the tires can't.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:39 PM   #11
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In fact in many cases the only difference between a even a 3500 DRW and a 2500/3500 SRW is two extra tires and springs, although in that case the extra load capacity of the two extra tires is very significant of course. It doesn't matter if the axle can carry the weight if the tires can't.
Be advised that is NOT the case with the 2014 Ram trucks. The 3500 trucks have an entirely different frame, suspension, etc. than the 2500 trucks. Cummins powered SRW trucks (2500 or 3500) are only available with a 3.42 axle ratio; duallies get 3.42, 3.73 or 4.10 gears with the GCWR going up as the ratios get lower (numerically higher). So, if you're considering a new Ram/Cummins, the difference is far more than a spring pack, badges or a driver's door sticker.

Just to show why one can't always assume 2500s and 3500s are basically identical, on the 2nd generation 2500/3500 Rams (1995 - 2002), the rear axles were also different. 2500 automatics got a Dana 70, 3500s (they were all duallies) got a true Dana 80. 2500 sticks got a hybrid (Dana 80 center section, Dana 70 outer tube diameters, hubs, bearings, etc.)

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Old 01-25-2014, 05:08 PM   #12
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Just to show why one can't always assume 2500s and 3500s are basically identical...
I wasn't saying that at all, just that one cannot make a blanket statement that they are not.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:39 PM   #13
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Nor can one assume that they are.

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Old 01-25-2014, 06:29 PM   #14
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Nor can one assume that they are.
Again, I'm not trying to say that, as that statement 'sometimes this is true and sometimes it is not' in my original post makes clear.

I was only trying to note that the blanket statement you made regarding DRW trucks ('They not only have extra tires, wheels and hubs and brakes, they also have a different, heavier, rear axle and differential') is not always correct, as sometimes the axles, brakes, drivetrain, and frame are identical on a HD diesel chassis regardless of 2 or 4 wheels on the back. You can't assume anything one way or the other without first checking the facts regarding a specific model run.

Anyway, I think we both agree on this so the point has been made.
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