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Old 05-07-2011, 10:28 AM   #1
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Another weight/safety/legality question

Hi all,

I am so glad I found this forum. You have already given me lots of great advice as I am new to all of this, and the sheer amount of information available on the internet is mindblowing.

To reiterate, my wife and I are planning on purchasing a truck/5th wheel trailer to live in while we travel around with her job as a travelling nurse. After LOTS of research, we have decided that we want to take a closer look at the 2011 NU-WA 345 RESB trailer.

The GVWR is 15,500 on this trailer, with the UVW 12,380. Obviously this is before we add any options like the Bigfoot levelling system etc. We are looking at a 2011 F350 DRW 2X4 to pull this trailer. From what I have read, this seems like a good fit. However, as I am new to all of this, I want to ask the more experienced people on here their opinions of this combination.

I am not a dedicated Ford man, and I am equally open to the new Chevrolet or Dodge 3500 2X4 DRW trucks too, or even the F450 if that is what it takes to operate this trailer safely and legally.


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Old 05-07-2011, 11:07 AM   #2
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More is better IMHO. As long as you get a dually, any of the one ton trucks will be adequate.
Remember, when shopping terms like "dry" or "shipping" weights are totally meaningless. They never include things like an AC unit, awning, larger refer or any other options that may be added to the trailer. Lacking the actual trailer in hand ALWAYS use the trailers GVWR for your base line calculations. Of course nothing will substitute for an actual ready to travel weight. But by using the GVWR numbers you will always error on the safe side.
As far as legal there are apparently only two places in North America that use a trucks GVWR as law. B.C. Canada and one state on the east coast.
Remember also that a trucks GVWR/GCWR numbers are ambiguous too. Ford advertises higher numbers, but they weigh more, so in real life their actual load carrying capacity is within a few pounds of the others.
Personally I am not a hugh fan of having to add urea to a truck at additional cost, so I would shy away from Ford and GM. But it is your money, so go out drive all three, preferably on the same roads and on the same day. Pick the one YOU like the ride and handling the best and buy that one. In reality they are all so similar it comes down to personal preferences more than anything else.

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Old 05-07-2011, 11:16 AM   #3
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Hi don,

Many thanks for the great advice. I am a little confused by your statement "Personally I am not a hugh fan of having to add urea to a truck at additional cost, so I would shy away from Ford and GM.", as I am not sure what you meant.

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Old 05-07-2011, 11:48 AM   #4
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The emissions control system on the new Ford and GM trucks requires the use of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which is a urea solution. The emissions control system on the Cummins-powered Dodge pickups does not.

That difference is important to some and not to others. At the least, it's just one more factor to consider in your purchasing decision.

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Old 05-07-2011, 03:19 PM   #5
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With the current crop of truck, I'd go with a Dodge Cummins 3500 dually. I would not want to deal with the DEF.

Buy the size of trailer and the fact that you are full-timing, I would not even consider a single rear wheel, even if yo manage to sneak in under the weight limits.

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Old 05-07-2011, 03:26 PM   #6
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Since you have to go dually anyway, really, consider an MDT. If you find one a couple of years old you'll be right down in the price range of a brand new pickup, and then you'll have even more maneuverability, IMO (sharper steering cuts in many of them), and plenty of capacity, not to mention they are built to last about 10 times as long

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Old 05-07-2011, 08:58 PM   #7
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Many thanks for all the very useful replies. We really appreciate it.

I must confess that I don't know the first thing about MDT's, other than the fact that they are commercial trucks modified to tow RV's. From what I can glean, I have to find the truck and then have it modified (at a large cost I would imagine) to have a new bed installed along with the 5th wheel hitch.

Does anyone know the true cost of purchasing an MDT? The truck (used) may be similar to a new pickup truck, but then what is the cost of the conversion?

I read about the diesel exhaust fluid issues with the Ford and Chevrolet, and I agree that it would be simpler to go with the Dodge 3500 dually.

Thanks again

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Old 05-07-2011, 10:02 PM   #8
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Jim, Check out "Sportchassis" is a company that does this all the time. I'm a racer, so the only site that I know offhand that lists them forsale is racingjunk.com, but most setups there are actually MDT's with 12-18' motorhome "boxes" on them. But there are tons of them about with just the dual cab chassis on them (which is what you'd want).

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Old 05-08-2011, 09:09 AM   #9
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IMO you won't need a MDT to tow a dry 12380k trailer with a 15K GVWR unless you just want one or are into serious overkill .

Some of the newer trailers may have 3000-4000-5000 lbs of CCC. Older units like my 11200 GVWR '97 5er has a 750 lb CCC. Use the dry weight and add the options as I doubt you can load 3120 lb of stuff in your trailer unless you full time or are a hoarder.

The '11 F350 DRW 2wd 6.7 diesel has a 22000-22700 lb tow rating with payloads from 5200-5500 lbs depending on cab configuration. The '11 F450 has only one payload of 4920 lbs with a 24500 lb tow rating. Either truck will surpass the needs of a 15500 GVWR/12380 dry weight trailer.

The loaded LTZ 6.6 diesel 3500 DRW GM 2wd long bed extended cab has a 21700 lb tow rating with a 6432 lb payload capacity according to GMs weight calculator website.

The '11 RAM 2wd long bed SLT 3500 DRW has a 21000 lb tow rating with up to 4100 lb payload numbers .

You mention weight/safety/legality at the top. The only legal weight issue a private hauler/RVer has is staying under the trucks axle and tire capacities. All three trucks have a 9000-9375 lb RAWR that carries the pin load. There are no legal weight numbers for how much weight a private registered truck can pull.

However some states require weighted tags for vehicle registration purposes of a private use truck. See your states registration office.
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:33 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JIMNLIN View Post
IMO you won't need a MDT to tow a dry 12380k trailer with a 15K GVWR unless you just want one or are into serious overkill .
Don't get me wrong, I know you can do it, but with the price of F350/Silverado HD/Ram 3500's topping the 60k mark these days (and they are still a big, unwieldy truck), I was just pointing out the alternative. (And admittedly, I live on the west coast, so I assume that any traveling will involve lots of long 6% grades). I myself didn't realize that there were companies converting MDT's to a "personal vehicle" level of fitment and comfort until just a couple of years ago when I met a gentleman that towed with one... and I was very impressed. Not to mention you can pick up a couple hundred lb-ft of torque and a heavy duty Allison transmission in the deal.

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Old 05-09-2011, 07:21 AM   #11
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Another idea would be a cab and chassis truck with a 5er bed installed. You can get either a 3500/4500 or a 5500 Ram truck. These have the Cummins engine with the 6 spd Aisin automatic transmission. The gear set are either 4:10 to 1 or 4:88 to 1. These trucks are set up for towing heavy 5ers and several members on Turbo Diesel Register forum have them. Just another thought as to a truck for pulling.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:19 PM   #12
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I believe all cab/chassis Dodges have the DEF emissions on them, or at least the 45-5500 do. Only the 25-3500 pickups don't.

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