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Old 12-13-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Do I have the right tow vehicle??

I'm very new to this so I'm hoping some of you folks that have been doing this a while can give me some advice. I'm considering the purchase of a 41 foot 5th Wheel so my family and I can travel cross country - it's something we've been wanting to do for a long time and also have it for vacations from now on. Both of the campers we're looking at weigh around 13000 pounds empty and have a GVWR of around 15500 which is right around the upper limit for my 2010 Ford F350 Diesel (Single Rear Wheel). Technically I can pull either camper according to the vehicle specs but, having not done this before, am I taking a risk by placing that much weight on my truck as I drive from Virginia to California and up through Tennessee, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, and Oregon? Would it be wiser to get a Dual Rear Wheel and if so, those of you who own DRWs, what is it like to drive them around town to work etc. when you're not hauling the camper? I'm not necessarily wild about driving the DRW around for daily use but I don't want to struggle pulling the camper either whenever we travel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 12-13-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
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I think you will be much happier and MUCH safer with a DRW truck. I towed a Redwood 36 footer with a F-450 DRW 4:30 axle and it did great. It was a little hassle in some parking lots but I could use the exercise anyway. Just park out a ways and take two spots if they're smallish.

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Old 12-13-2013, 05:16 PM   #3
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I too believe you would be safer with a DRW, however many people pull campers of that length with SRW trucks. You should watch your pin weight. With a 13000 pound camper, you will have a PW of around 2600-2900 pounds EMPTY. I have always pulled this heavy with a dually and I find that driving them daily is not that big of a chore. Just park a little farther out in the parking lot and watch the drive thru's and you'll be fine. I love the stability of the DRW.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:52 PM   #4
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I drive my F350 DRW to work daily in Washington DC traffic. The DRW does not add much stress. Parking is somewhat complex requiring forethought. The biggest issue is length with a Crew-Cab Long Bed. The stability is worth the trade-off to me. Good luck.
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:35 PM   #5
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Sounds like you want to go though every mountain range in the USA. look for a drw with big brakes.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:23 PM   #6
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To pull those trailers, don't risk it and get a DRW. So much nicer.
I DD a DRW. I can park almost anywhere and go through almost any drive through. Just have to learn.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:28 PM   #7
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In 2011 all three trucks (Ram, Chevy, Ford) were all improved. I tow 15,000lb 5er with a 2012 F-450. I go down the road and up and down mountains probably as well as a 500plus HP tag axle motorhome.

I would say you need a dually. After a short time you will actually like driving it.

Now if you can wait a bit Ford will have a new heavy duty truck I would say late in 2014. I would then compare that truck with the Ram and Chevy.

If you can not wait I would say Ram has the best truck right now (Ram 3500 Dually) with one that can be optioned to tow 30,000 lbs. It has an advertised 850 ft. lbs of torque. In 2013 Ram has an improved frame.

I would expect Ford and Chevy to be doing the same thing soon. (adding high strength steel to their frames).

Spend a few hours watching youtube 'fastlanetrucks'. If I remember correctly the Ram slowed the load going down the mountain the best while the Ford pulled the load going up the mountain the best.

On the flip side - why so big? Maybe look at a smaller 5er that your current truck could pull easily. Smaller is easier to tow, store, clean, find places to stay etc.

Have the dealer switch out the coach battery from a small group 24 to a group 27 or better yet group 29. And for your trip I would upgrade the tires to help avoid blowouts.

Good luck.
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:36 PM   #8
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You didn't say which engine you had nor did you define family - How many people ? and size DOES matter
if you have 3 boys 6'2" and 200 lbs each plus you and the wife... you've already taxed your srw...

gvwr is not the only place where you will have issues, the rear gawr will more than likely be exceeded as every 5th I have had has had more pin wgt than advertised...

I am on the limit with just the two of us with as heavy duty a srw as can be had... tows and stops fine for where we go.... but anymore load or grades and I would go dually...

better to have too much truck ( and these new ones are NICE !!!!)
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:41 PM   #9
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My Infinity is the same weight/length rig, I pull it with my F250 here in CO & it does just fine. You'll be ok with your F350...
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:02 PM   #10
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A 15,000 trailer will have a pin weight of around 3000# and you need more than a SRW truck. You might as well decide that you will need a 1 ton DRW (dually) with a diesel engine.

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Old 12-13-2013, 08:23 PM   #11
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My previous TV was an F350 SRW with the highest GVW available for 2005. It did and adequate job towing a 40 foot Titanium 5th wheel that was actually fairly light for a 40 footer (14,500 pounds with the Harley in back and 2400 pounds pin weight). New trailer is a 41 foot KZ Stoneridge that is 16,000 pounds loaded with about 2800 pounds on the pin. New TV is a Ram 3500 DRW that is much more stable and has much better brakes than the Ford. IF you were only going to travel locally for weekends, MAYBE your SRW Ford would be OK. You state that you'll travel around the country on an extended tour. That alone should tip you towards the dually. Day to day driving is not a problem after you get used to to the added width. You can go through most drive throughs as long as there's a straight shot in and out.
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:58 PM   #12
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Your '10 F350 can be a 5.4 or 6.8 gas or a 6.4 diesel. The 6.8 gasser or the 6.4 diesel will have no problems pulling 14k-16k trailer according to Fords Fleet service specs.

Now how much weight your F350 SRW can carry depends on how the truck is configured.

Ford has over a dozen GVWRs from 10k to 11.5K and three different RAWR up to 7000 lbs.

The 11500 GVWR/7000 RAWR package have up to 4000-4400 lb payloads.

All this depends on what your loaded trucks separate front and rear axle weighs. Example is many one ton SRW may have a unladin rear axle weight in the 2800-3000 lb range which leaves 4k-4.2k payload.
your SRW is doable with the right 5th wheel trailer.

I owned and operated over a dozen DRW trucks and am comfortable driving them in town BUT they will not go where I need to go when in town. Its physically impossible.

Now having said all that lets talk about trailer length. A 40'+ RV trailer can have lots of leverage as in fighting strong sidewinds or the bow wave from a passing semi in strong head winds. Going down a hill on wet pavement on a twisty winding road down the mountain can push the back end of a SRW truck around and even push into a jacknife situation. This is where the DRW is preferable..

I would stay around the 34'-35' range for your SRW truck. IMO it will be a better tow.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by txdutt View Post
My Infinity is the same weight/length rig, I pull it with my F250 here in CO & it does just fine. You'll be ok with your F350...
I'm sure it does "fine" but is no where near legal. Wonder if your tires are overloaded on the truck.
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Old 12-13-2013, 09:21 PM   #14
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You asked about a truck, and a DRW i in order for the pin weight and for the lateral stability. An 8'bed eliminates turning problems and sliding hitches. You just need to make wider turns. Mine is a daily drive, but I don't do drive-thrus.

Also consider the trailer suspension and tires and wheels. Most trailers come with tires barely rated to carry the load. (Gross trailer weight minus the book pin weight.) The choices are a G or higher rated tire, which really means new wheels to handle the air pressure, or 17.5" tires and rims, basically the same tire diameter and size but 4850lbs per tire carrying capacity. You want to get to about 60% load, or the tire weight on the trailer will be about 60% of the rated combined tire carrying capacity.

Your trailer will have electric brakes. The wires are run thru the axles. They will abrade against the axle tube and will go to ground, resulting in no brakes. Not fun. The two options are to cut out the wires in the axle and replace with heavy duty duplex wire secured either in the underbelly or behind the axle, It is spendy but worth it. The other option is to go to hydraulic brakes. Also spendy, but even more worth it. The failure point on the wire in the axle seems to average 12,000 miles, but could be more or less.

You can have too much trailer, but you cannot have too much truck.

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