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Old 08-30-2014, 10:10 AM   #1
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Confused about 5th wheel pulling requirements

Hello everyone! I am obvoiusly new to this forum and actually this is my first forum. I was told this was the best RV forum to join. I have been RVing (vacations and weekends) in my 1996 Airstream for 19 years. I know trailers well and learning everything I can about 5th wheels. I have recently retired and have my house for sale and ready to take the big leap as a full timer. My goal is 5-10 years with my home base being my RV, hopefully 10:-)

I have been doing my homework and have my short list of 5th wheels to focus on for my adventure. My biggest challenge I am confronted with is getting straight, honest and informed advice on the truck required to safely pull the 5th wheel. I am tired of, "no problem, your truck can pull that"!

My short list of finalists full time 5th wheels all are about the same weight specifications: unloaded=14,790...MAX GVWR=18,750...Hitch weight w/o options=2,850...payload capacity=3,960. This is the specs for an Excel Limited 36GKE which is currently at the top of my list.

I have a 2011 Ford F-250, 4WD, 4 door, standard bed with a 6.7lt diesel. It has a GVWR of 10,000lbs and the vehicle weights 8,000lbs when fueled. My front GAWR is 5,600lbs, rear GAWR is 6,100lbs and cargo is rated at 1,979lbs.

If I go by Ford's 5th wheel specifications, shoot I would need a F-450 to safely pull this 36 footer. In fact, according to Ford's specs my F-250 is out of spec to even pull Excel's shortest 31 footer, loaded.

I really need some real world advice!!! I was hoping to stay away from a dually, this may be impossible, but most of my plans for travel lead me for the need to operate effectively on unimproved roads (with out 5th wheel attached) ( I go fly fishing in mountainous back roads).

I would really appreciate some help?

Thank you!
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:24 AM   #2
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Good luck with your choice.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:31 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.
You are absolutely correct, and if you consider adding a generator, more batteries and cargo your pinweight can go as high as 5000#.
There is no way IMH to avoid a dually if you want to keep it safe and have peace of mind. Our truck weighs in at 8800# + hitch + tools + pinweight = 13.600#.
The big thing is not going up the hill but going down safely on the other side and being able to manage in adverse and emergency situations.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:33 AM   #4
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Don't be afraid of the dually. I ran one over 100,000 miles, both as a daily driver and to tow the 5th wheel. They are big. But, you learn to adjust. It performed very well for us in the Lake Tahoe snow and all other conditions we encountered.

It is far better to run a truck made for the task at hand than to try to upscale a weaker product.
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:00 AM   #5
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I am starting to get the jest now. No matter how I want to do the math or listen to the sales experts about putting nuclear powered air bags etc. will fix it, an F-250 class just might be suicide, eventually?? As one response mentioned, 'it is not about going up hill, it's about the downhill ride'. I greatly appreciate this advice since much of my Spring-Fall will be up and over mountainous and large hill grades. I too believe in having a little more than that is required.

I also appreciate the comment that you eventually get use to the dually size and mention that they survived the snow of Tahoe. There is no doubt that I have a requirement for snow driving (with out 5th wheel) and have heard they can be a challenge for traction.

I guess my next question is what one ton class dually specifications that would be a good compromise for rear end ratio? One that is a compromise for towing and yet be reasonable fuel mileage as my everyday drive vehicle?

And if you really want to get into an interesting discussion, and I would love to see responses to this one: I had a 2006 Ford F-250 diesel. After that I swore to never own another Ford diesel. Well, in 2010 I bought the new generation 2011 Ford-250 (6.7 liter), I have 139,000mi). It has been a love hate relationship. Engine & turbo has been fantastic, transmission is mostly good but frustrating that I have had to take it in 2 times to be re-programmed. But, after that I have spent about $12,000 on other stuff between 105,000-115,000. Everything else just broke and talking to others with this mileage range, I am not unique.

Now that I am going to have to trade it in for a one ton class dually, any advice or experience with the new Dodge?
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:05 AM   #6
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Welcome to IRV2! It's great to have you join the gang here!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:49 AM   #7
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No doubt, a dually sucks in snow and I've seen guys take the outer wheel off in winter to get better traction (I wouldn't). Chains, shovel, tow rope and cat litter is not an option but a necessety if you go into remote areas.

Your question reg. truck recommendations just opened a whole can of worms .
I used to be loyal to GM, than had a Dodge and said never again, back to GM; then 2 Fords, one was a 2008 F450, the other a 2010 F550 and the fuel economy went from bad to worse (never had engine or tranny issues) but instrument cluster went on the 2008 and was out of comission for 2 (two) months.
Now I drive a 2013 Ram 3500 Dually, Cummins with 3.42 diff. and Aisin transmission. Payload rating is ~5.900#, tow rating is 20.900#. Real world fuel economy is ~13 l/100km hiway, ~18 l/100km city
and ~26 l/100 km towing our 18.000# trailer. I couldn/t be happier. I was really afraid to go with the 3.42 differentials but it was the right choice. I have yet to find a hiway that I can't climb at 60 m/ph in 5th gear and with the exhaus brake I rarely need to use the truck brakes.
I know this wasn't your question, but if you have a trailer 'custom built' consider upgrading to 8.000# axles, independent suspension and disc brakes, this is our 2nd 5th wheel with this setup and I wouldn't want it any other way.
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:28 PM   #8
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My dually 4x4 worked good when I went Wheelin' in Colorado.







movie: july 2014 colorado
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Old 08-30-2014, 12:29 PM   #9
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Thanks for sharing your experience. I have heard a lot of Ford guys, like me, say I would never own a Dodge but this seems to be changing with Dodge's newer trucks and trans.. But half of my $12k in maintenance, for different things, this winter was in labor. You still have to take a Ford a part to get to anything. Every part was a at least a $1,000 and labor always matching the parts cost. Plus, being down over 5 weeks total waiting on backordered parts. I appreciate the insight on the 3.42 rear end. My instinct would have put me in a higher ratio. I looked up your specs for your 36 Trilogy and they are almost identical to my specs. With disk brakes :-) of course.
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:18 PM   #10
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Glad you're aboard. Best of luck in your search and decision. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gschooley View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience. I have heard a lot of Ford guys, like me, say I would never own a Dodge but this seems to be changing with Dodge's newer trucks and trans.. But half of my $12k in maintenance, for different things, this winter was in labor. You still have to take a Ford a part to get to anything. Every part was a at least a $1,000 and labor always matching the parts cost. Plus, being down over 5 weeks total waiting on backordered parts. I appreciate the insight on the 3.42 rear end. My instinct would have put me in a higher ratio. I looked up your specs for your 36 Trilogy and they are almost identical to my specs. With disk brakes :-) of course.
Believe me, I questioned my sanity more than once between the time I handed over the check and the first time I hooked up the trailer (our previous trailer that is, which weighed even slightly more).
With the Aisin you get 850 lbft. of torque where with the Dodge automatic transmission you get 800 and with the manual only 750 lbft. and substantially lower towing capacity.
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