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Old 06-10-2019, 10:38 AM   #1
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All these numbers....

First of all, I want to say thanks in advance for the community's help and patience as us newbies figure things out. I hesitate to post my question as it seems the answers may lurk elsewhere, but I have searched and have yet to find the appropriate information. Unfortunately, yes, this is yet another "what can I tow" question...but I have some specifiecs in mind. There are some known specifics at play here, so I will start there.

We are in our late 40's, still tend to work full-time, and get around well...most of the time. My profession allows me to move to a chosen location approximately every 3 months and time in between assignments. Due to housing difficulties, we have decided that full-timeing in a 5th wheel allows us the best flexibility and value as price is always a concern. Expenses between assignments is unacceptably high if forced to reside in motels and such. We enjoy hiking and such, so being in nature rather than near it appeals to us. With that said, we are now at the point of purchasing the 5th wheel for our needs and have decided a true 4-season rig is the way to go...since we plan to travel in the northwest quite a bit. Being from the south, we are trying to take steps to keep warm. With this in mind, we have been leaning toward the Northwood Arctic Fox M-27-5L... but more on that in a moment. Below are the specs on our truck, which I will consider to be etched in stone at this point in time. The idea of purchasing a different truck is not on the table for a variety of reasons...even if that seems the most logical solution. Much of this information had to be obtained from the web our truck had been repainted by the previous owner and the door sticker removed.

2001 Ford F250 Superduty XLT 4X4

7.3L Powerstroke Turbo Diesel
Automatic transmission
Axle Ratio 3.73
Curb Weight ( 5224# )
Curb weight front( 3389-3502# ), rear( 2276-2394# )
GVWR ( 8800# )
GVWR springs front( 4700# ), rear( 6084# )
GVWR axles front( 6084# ), rear( 6084# )
Gross Axle wt rating front( 5200# ), rear( 6830# )
Max Towing ( 10,000# ) - does not apply
5th Wheel Hitch max trailer wt ( 14,000# )
5th wheel hitch weight ( 3500# )
Payload Base ( 5224# )
Tire Size front & rear ( LT/265/75R 16E )
Tire Capacity front & rear ( 3415# )
Gross Combined Weight Rating ( 20,000# )

I do not profess to fully understand why some of these values seem to vary and how to employ them to my real towing capacity.

The 5th wheel I am most considering is a 2006-2009 or 2012 Northwood Arctic Fox M-27-5L. This appeals to use due to the size, weight, and reputation. I understand the manufacture dry weight value of 8560# is ultimately useless and I hope that some of you out there may have some real-world weights to help determine my ability to safely tow this 5'er before I pursue it further.

Any insight and/or information with this scenario would be welcome and appreciated. Thanks.

Blue
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:59 AM   #2
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You'll have to wait until you get the truck back from the painting .
Then fill it with fuel and everything you expect to to travel with in the truck , and get YOUR weights . Front and rear axle weights.
The variance in the weights online is more than likely due to factory options and would not include dealer installed items.
In the mean time can you find the trailers GVWR?
That # is of the biggest concern when doing calculations ; because you can expect the pin weight of the trailer to be approx 20% of loaded weight.
The truck's ; Payload base # would be for a BASE truck the XLT package could take a BIG bite out of that.
Sorry but without your actual weights , guessing is all we can do and when it comes to towing safely , never guess.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:05 AM   #3
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Take your VIN to a Ford dealer and see if the Service Dept can get you a the sticker. Or call Ford Customer Service and see if they can. Or maybe a reputable body shop?

I started writing out a bunch of other stuff and realized it wouldn't be nearly as helpful until after you know what your actual payload capacity is. Also, your probably going to need to add airbags to the rear suspension to keep the back of the truck from sagging under the pin weight.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:20 PM   #4
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I will say you have what some old timers say is a very good diesel engine and Artic Fox the best insulated.

I prefer trucks with a better frame and stronger, more refined diesel engine.

A well insulated trailer will still get cold as even the best still are not even close to being in a house. You will use a lot propane to stay warm. Best place to buy propane is Tractor Supply at usually $2.50/gallon.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:46 PM   #5
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All of the truck specs listed were based on the VIN, but accuracy is always suspect. The truck was painted some time back by the previous owner, so that sticker is long gone. I'm hoping somebody with the 5'er I'm interested in can clue me in on rolling weights ( although I understand everybody will pack differently ) to shed some light on things. I'm sure it is a work in progress, just don't want to head down the wrong path too long if there is an obvious problem. Thanks, folks!
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:06 PM   #6
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Your Rear Axle is what will 'carry' the pin weight of 5th wheel


Your 2001 F250 has a RAWR of 6084#
You will reach that easily once you have all passengers, all stuff inside truck cab (bags/stuff in door pockets, f under seats etc), stuff in bed plus hitch AND 'wet' pin of 5th wheel

2001 F250..........12,000# GVWR 5th wheel



So when shopping forget any dry weights etc......pay attention to trailers GVWR
Stay at/under 12K
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:57 PM   #7
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I would just like to add another suggestion to get to some local CAT scales and weigh your tow vehicle. You can find them at most major truck stops. Regardless of what you end up doing, that information is good to have. It costs less than $10 if I remember correctly.

https://catscale.com/how-to-weigh/
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Note View Post
... we have been leaning toward the Northwood Arctic Fox M-27-5L...
https://northwoodmfg.com/arctic-fox-2/arctic-fox-27-5l/

Dry weight = 10,455

GVWR = 13,400

Probable minimum wet and loaded trailer weight for a full--timer move = 12,500

Pin weight for a 5er loaded to 12,500 pounds = 2500 pounds

Quote:
Below are the specs on our truck, which I will consider to be etched in stone at this point in time.
2001 Ford F250 Superduty XLT 4X4

7.3L Powerstroke Turbo Diesel
Automatic transmission

GVWR ( 8800# )
Facts: You'll be a full timer. Full timers must haul everything they own that's not in storage somewhere every time they move from one jobsite to another. Apparently you don't have another vehicle that your wife would drive to haul some of your stuff.

I had a '99.5 F-250 XLT 7.3L PSD Crew Cab 4x2 with 8' bed, dragging a 5er that grossed 9,000 pounds when wet and loaded on the road. Nothing in the bed but a toolbox that weighed abut 200#. Two old retired folks and a small Pomeranian dog traveling all over the lower 48 and putting about 10,000 towing miles per year on the PSD for 10 years. For most of those miles, the F-250 with 8,800 pounds GVWR was overloaded by a coupla hundred pounds. For one leg from west Texas to upstate New York the F-250 was overloaded by several hundred pounds.

And that was with a 5er that grossed about 9,000 pounds and had about 1,600 pounds pin weight. The Artic Fox 27-5L is going to have closer to 2,500 pounds pin weight when loaded to 12,500 pounds gross trailer weight for a full-timer's move. So your pin weight is going to be about 900 pounds more than mine was, plus your 4x4 weighs about 400 pounds more than my 4x2, so you'll have about 1,300 pounds more payload than I had.

Prediction: If you buy that trailer, you're going to be overloaded for every change of location, and probably severely overloaded.

Since you cannot upgrade the tow vehicle, then you need to re-think the trailer. Forget the Artic Fox 5er until you find more resources to upgrade your tow vehicle. 5ers average 20% pin weight, but travel trailers (TTs) average only 13% tongue weight. So a 10k 5er would have 2,000 pounds pin weight, but a 10k TT would have only 1,300 pounds tongue weight.

But I don't think Artic Fox has a 10k TT. Their 22G has GVWR of 7,500 pounds, which should be tongue weight of less than 1,000 pounds

Ignore those folk that state a 5er tows better than a TT. That's true only when you tow the TT with a cheap hitch. Don't do that. Invest in a ProPride 3P hitch, and your TT will tow as good as a 5er. Even an affordable Equal-I-Zer 4P or Blue Ox SwayPro hitch will probably be all you need, and you can buy those online for less than $700.

The Nomad 196S in my sig is a TT with abut 19' floor length, and I tow it with a ProPride hitch
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
https://northwoodmfg.com/arctic-fox-2/arctic-fox-27-5l/

Dry weight = 10,455

GVWR = 13,400

Probable minimum wet and loaded trailer weight for a full--timer move = 12,500

Pin weight for a 5er loaded to 12,500 pounds = 2500 pounds



Facts: You'll be a full timer. Full timers must haul everything they own that's not in storage somewhere every time they move from one jobsite to another. Apparently you don't have another vehicle that your wife would drive to haul some of your stuff.

I had a '99.5 F-250 XLT 7.3L PSD Crew Cab 4x2 with 8' bed, dragging a 5er that grossed 9,000 pounds when wet and loaded on the road. Nothing in the bed but a toolbox that weighed abut 200#. Two old retired folks and a small Pomeranian dog traveling all over the lower 48 and putting about 10,000 towing miles per year on the PSD for 10 years. For most of those miles, the F-250 with 8,800 pounds GVWR was overloaded by a coupla hundred pounds. For one leg from west Texas to upstate New York the F-250 was overloaded by several hundred pounds.

And that was with a 5er that grossed about 9,000 pounds and had about 1,600 pounds pin weight. The Artic Fox 27-5L is going to have closer to 2,500 pounds pin weight when loaded to 12,500 pounds gross trailer weight for a full-timer's move. So your pin weight is going to be about 900 pounds more than mine was, plus your 4x4 weighs about 400 pounds more than my 4x2, so you'll have about 1,300 pounds more payload than I had.

Prediction: If you buy that trailer, you're going to be overloaded for every change of location, and probably severely overloaded.

Since you cannot upgrade the tow vehicle, then you need to re-think the trailer. Forget the Artic Fox 5er until you find more resources to upgrade your tow vehicle. 5ers average 20% pin weight, but travel trailers (TTs) average only 13% tongue weight. So a 10k 5er would have 2,000 pounds pin weight, but a 10k TT would have only 1,300 pounds tongue weight.

But I don't think Artic Fox has a 10k TT. Their 22G has GVWR of 7,500 pounds, which should be tongue weight of less than 1,000 pounds

Ignore those folk that state a 5er tows better than a TT. That's true only when you tow the TT with a cheap hitch. Don't do that. Invest in a ProPride 3P hitch, and your TT will tow as good as a 5er. Even an affordable Equal-I-Zer 4P or Blue Ox SwayPro hitch will probably be all you need, and you can buy those online for less than $700.

The Nomad 196S in my sig is a TT with abut 19' floor length, and I tow it with a ProPride hitch
My 2004 Arctic Fox 31W has a GVWR of 11700#. My floor plan has the optional bunk beds, which i need. But many may not have had them in which case you would get the full rear bath. I was just at my trailer yesterday where i keep it at a storage lot outdoors. It was 90 degrees outside, no shade and it was 70 degrees inside at about 2pm. The hitches listed above are very nice, especially the propride. Personally i have an anderson hitch and have had no issues with it. It hitches up nicely, pulls very nicely with no sway and itsnt all that heavy.Click image for larger version

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Old 06-12-2019, 09:16 AM   #10
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No fair using a dually truck and saying no sway...

Nice rig
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:53 PM   #11
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Thanks for the inputs and breakdowns. My head has been wrapped around understanding the different values and how they can be best used to "predict" the weight 5'er to hunt out. The manufacture capacity limits of 8800# GVWR, the roughly 6000# curb weight, the 14,000# 5th wheel trailer and 3500# kingpin weight (25% trailer) just doesn't seem to add up. I was looking at those alone as specified by Ford for my truck (per VIN) and it would seem that the truck completely empty (curb weight) with the allowed 3500# kingpin weight would already exceed the GRVW. Is that just blatant misrepresentation? My avaition and hiking history has taught me to pack light, so I was looking at dry and optimum weights and working backward with some expectation of cargo and wet weights.

To clarify other comments, the wife will be in a chase vehicle and can carry some cargo. Full-timing will actually be parking 3 months at a time, traveling for about a month and then parking for another 3. We plan to return home to Tennessee about every 7-8 months and stay for 2...then back on the road. All of this adds some flexibility to our scenerio, we just want to be as safe and trouble-free as possible. I was trying to match a similar generation 5'er to my truck. Northwood widened the Arctic Fox in 2013, and thus the weight increased accordingly. The years listed are reported 8560-8860# dry with 1560# on the hitch. (Again realizing this is stripped and empty.)

No matter what 5'er I may shop for, I just want to clarify the numbers ahead of time. I understand the argument about the TT, and do not necessarily disagree, but my personal experience and history inclines me to still the 5th wheel attached to the nice hitch I already possess and have installed on the truck. I WILL see about getting a current and accurate weight if my TW, just realize I may need to look at other models. The target weight of the base models is what I am trying to decipher.

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Note View Post
Thanks for the inputs and breakdowns. My head has been wrapped around understanding the different values and how they can be best used to "predict" the weight 5'er to hunt out. The manufacture capacity limits of 8800# GVWR, the roughly 6000# curb weight, the 14,000# 5th wheel trailer and 3500# kingpin weight (25% trailer) just doesn't seem to add up.
8800 GVWR is a hard limiter. Don't exceed that.

The "14,000#" 5er rating was actually GCWR 20,000 pounds minus 6500 curb weight = 13,500 tow rating. So you can tow a 13,5k trailer without being overloaded ONLY When the wet and loaded tow vehicles weighs less than 6,500 pounds, and the pin weight doesn't cause you to exceed GVWR or rGAWR of the tow vehicle.

(Don't confuse GVWR and GCWR. They're completely different animals. GVWR tells you max weight your chassis can carry on the 4 tires, GCWR tells you the max weight your drivetrain has the power to pull. For most tow vehicles, you will exceed GVWR (and payload capacity) before you get close to GCWR (and tow rating).

I don't know where the 3,500 pin weight number came from - probably out of someone's butt. 8,800 GVWR minus 6500 curb weight minus 200 pounds for a 16k 5er hitch = 2,100 max pin weight.

Quote:
I was looking at those alone as specified by Ford for my truck (per VIN) and it would seem that the truck completely empty (curb weight) with the allowed 3500# kingpin weight would already exceed the GRVW. Is that just blatant misrepresentation?
I'd have to see the context of that 3,500 number, but I doubt it's inaccurate if you consider all the fine print. Misleading yes, for the average bear wanting to buy a truck for towing. Similar to the way the GCWR and tow rating are misleading to most folks.

On edit: Maybe that 3,500 number is the max pin weight rating of the hitch, not the F-250.

Quote:
To clarify other comments, the wife will be in a chase vehicle and can carry some cargo.
Good. Be sure all tires on all vehicles are in good shape and inflated to the max on the sidewall. Load heavy dirty stuff, such as your cast iron Dutch oven, in the trunk of the car.. Load heavy but clean stuff in the back seat. Distribute the weight in the 5er to achieve about 18% to 20% pin weight

Quote:
Full-timing will actually be parking 3 months at a time, traveling for about a month and then parking for another 3. We plan to return home to Tennessee about every 7-8 months and stay for 2...then back on the road.
Same result as a "normal" full-timer. You'll be loaded very heavy in the trailer and both vehicles when towing. For example, during those three month intervals, you'll want patio carpet and outdoor furniture. And you'll want to take it with you when you move.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:07 PM   #13
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You'll have to wait until you get the truck back from the painting .
Then fill it with fuel and everything you expect to to travel with in the truck , and get YOUR weights . Front and rear axle weights.
The variance in the weights online is more than likely due to factory options and would not include dealer installed items.
In the mean time can you find the trailers GVWR?
That # is of the biggest concern when doing calculations ; because you can expect the pin weight of the trailer to be approx 20% of loaded weight.
The truck's ; Payload base # would be for a BASE truck the XLT package could take a BIG bite out of that.
Sorry but without your actual weights , guessing is all we can do and when it comes to towing safely , never guess.
Just fyi there is only 1 legal places to reprint vin stickers, http://ecsvin.com/order.php, and boy are they overpriced.

I think Ford is his best bet
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:38 AM   #14
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Agree with get the truck weighed with all the tools, fuel, dog, cat, people, you want to full time with. When I was spending a lot of time in a 5th wheel (10 months a year) I had a gallon of weed killer and a gallon of bug killer, a rake a shovel, long pruners, grill, bikes, shelter logic storage tent, 10 x 10 canopy with a heavy frame, 8' step ladder, two heavy tool bags, 4 lawn chairs, 1 large reclining lawn chair, 2 extension cords, extra electric adaptors, camping rug for under the awning, sunscreen, 2 - 25 lb dumbells to work out a little etc. etc.

Once you see how other campers are set up you start to think 'that is a nice set-up' and start adding stuff. You see ants and you think...I need bug killer. I bet I had 2,000lbs of stuff.

IMHO I am thinking your truck will weight 7,000 - 7,500 lbs. My 2017 Aluminum Alloy body F-250 gas engine 2 WD truck weighs 6,670lbs. A 4 x 4 diesel steel truck has to weigh at least 7,000lbs.

So 1st easy step is get the truck weighed at the nearest CAT scale.

Using a support vehicle will help out alot, especially if it is a mid sized SUV.
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