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Old 10-13-2019, 06:12 PM   #1
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Experienced Fifth Wheel Help Needed

Seems there are a million RV calculators on the web and I am curious if I need to go to a CAT scale to get the actual front and read axle ratings to complete these calculations?


I have highlight below just about every piece of information I can find looking for advice on where I should safely target a fifth wheel pin weight using an 18-20% pin to gross trailer weight.


What do I have - 2018 Chevrolet 3500 HD Diesel SRW Crew Cab and Standard bed.


Curb Weight - 7548lb
Passenger/Pets - 500lb
Maximum 5th Wheel Tow Weight - 17,200lb 3.73 axle
GVWR - 11,500lb
Payload (door sticker) - 3,600lb
GAWR (front) - 5600lb - max 5600lb

GAWR (rear) - 6200lb - max 7050lb

GCWR - 25300lbs


Is it as simple as finding a trailer that has a gross weight rating of 15000lbs to stay under 20% (3000lb tongue weight)?


3,000 + 500 passengers = 3,500 (100 lbs under max cargo per door sticker?
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:35 PM   #2
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I think 3k pin weight will be cutting it close. Don’t forget you still need a hitch at 150-225 lbs. I also have a loaded bed box and a loaded Yeti cooler when we travel, plus a grill , extra propane bottles for the grill & firepit , etc. , all in the truck. It adds up before you know it. Our Solitude is right at 14k the way we have it loaded , but pin is 3100. And that’s with another 1000 lbs. of cargo available.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:43 PM   #3
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That is cutting it too close IMHO. With a SRW 3500 Truck with 3,600lb cargo capacity there are a lot of Rockwood and Flagstaff 5th wheels you can tow. I would try to pick a 5th with pin weight of 2,500lbs as the front storage area adds to the pin weight. Then if you get a front bedroom under the bed and closet storage adds to pin weight. You can add a lot of weight to the pin weight of 5th wheel because that is typically how the storage is set-up.

I have a 2017 F-250 with occupant / cargo capacity of 3,496lbs. I would not want to tow a 5th wheel with a GVRW of more than 12,000lbs. That way my truck would not be maxxed out.

My previous truck was a 2012 F-450 and I towed a 16,000lb. 5th wheel. SRW trucks just lack the cargo capacity to tow a big 5th wheel. Now the new 2020 GM 3500 probably has the capacity to tow mid sized 5th wheels but not the previous models.

I am waiting for the 2020 Ford Superduty trucks to be reviewed and tested. I kinda want a 2020 F-350 SRW with the gas 7.3 litre engine to pull a 14,000lb 5th wheel.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:55 PM   #4
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Thanks for the recommendations. I have my eye on under 35' Jaycos, Montana High Countrys, or GD Reflections. If I stay in the dry pin range of 1900-2100 what are your thoughts?
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:58 PM   #5
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In reality the 5th wheels GVWR has not much to do with pin weight. Forget manufacturers advertised pin weight.

It has everything to do with what you put in the trailer and how you load it.


For example, my old 2011 Montana 3665RE 5th wheel had an advertised GVWR of 15545 lbs and pin weight of 2045 lbs.
By the time you add options like a 4 door fridge, washer/dryer, dual pane windows 4 6v golf cart batteries personal possesions, tools, food e.t.c. e.t.c like mine was equipped, my real pin weight was 3420 lbs, close to the 20% yes, but, I knew other owners with the same model with a pin weight over 4000 lbs, including about the same options as mine, but including a built in generator in the very front compartment and other "stuff".


It all depends on how and what YOU put in the trailer.


Hope this helps

PS, my truck was similar to yours but a 2011, also SRW and my door sticker CCC was just shy of 4000 lbs, 3954 IIRC (Mine was and LTZ, you must have more heavy options than I had) and I was JUST under all the weight limits, as per 2 different BC government weigh scales.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:34 PM   #6
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Pin weights

You will need to go to the cat scale. Manufacturer specs are usually light and not ready to camp.. I bought a Sierra 375RKS. Specs were 11300 lbs ulw and 1900 lbs pin. I took it to the scales and it weighted ready to go camping and it was 12900lbs and 2500lbs pin weight. I was towing with a 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 mega cab 4x4 srw. Gcrw was 21000lbs. I was at 20900lbs. That included 350lbs for my B&W companion 5th wheel hitch. I added air bags but after hitting the scales I was 100 lbs under rear Gawr. I bought the 5th wheel believing the specs. I was at 100lbs of rear tire load. You need to weight it to ensure you are not overloaded. I now have a 2017 F350 daully. First thing I did was weight it.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:03 AM   #7
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If you can stay with a pin weight of around 2,000lbs that would be good but the 5 wheels you are looking at will probably be more. And like mentioned above you can load a lot of additional wright to the pin by the stuff you pack.

Example - my 1st trailer I used paper plates, paper cups and bowls and plastic ware. Well on my 5th wheel I switched to corelle ware, silverware, real pots and pans and heavy skillet. My wife had the under bed storage packed solid with a heavy sweeper, brooms an heavy cleaning items.
I packed stuff in the basement storage like weed killer, bug killer, rake, shovel, lawn chairs etc. I weighed at a CAT scale and we were 200lbs shy of the trailers GVWR.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:34 AM   #8
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As a good rule of thumb use 20% of the trailers GVWR. Does that number fit over or under your real available load carrying capacity? You may never hit the trailers GVWR but guaranteed you will never see the advertised pin weight.
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddie780 View Post
Is it as simple as finding a trailer that has a gross weight rating of 15000lbs to stay under 20% (3000lb tongue weight)?
Tongue weight is for travel trailers, animal trailers, and other "bumper pull" trailers. Hitch weight (weight of the kingpin on the fifth-wheel hitch) is called "pin" weight when discussing fifth-wheel RV trailers. But I knew what you meant.

No, any weight you haul in the truck also counts the same as pin weight. You're assuming factory-proclaimed curb weight plus "Passenger/Pets - 500lb" will be your tow vehicle's wet and loaded weight ready for towing. Does that 500 pounds include tools, toys, soot-covered Dutch oven for cooking over the campfire, stand for the Dutch oven to raise it above the fire, campfire wood and fire starter, generator and fuel for the generator, anything that weighs more than a handkerchief?

Also, the factory-proclaimed curb weight is probably understated.
So yes, you need to weigh the truck before you buy a trailer.

Quote:
I am curious if I need to go to a CAT scale to get the actual front and read axle ratings to complete these calculations
Use the CAT scale to get actual weights, not weight ratings.

You can buy the truck before you buy the trailer. Base the required specs for the truck based on estimates and guesstimates and specs.

But before you decide on the trailer,

[1] load the truck up with everybody and everything that will be in it when towing, including the fifth-wheel install kit and hitch.

[2]Then drive to a truck stop that has a certified automated truck (CAT) scale, and fill up with fuel.

[3] Then weigh the truck without a trailer but with everybody and everything in it.

[4] Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GVWR of the truck. The answer is the payload capacity available for pin weight.

[5] Then shop for a trailer that will not result in your exceeding the payload capacity available for pin weight.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:14 PM   #10
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Sureline makes a tongue/pin weight gauge.....looks like a bottle jack......
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Sureline makes a tongue/pin weight gauge.....looks like a bottle jack......
Yep, here's mine: https://www.etrailer.com/Tools/Sherline/5780.html

To use it on a 5er, you need to build a sturdy platform to get the top of the jack up close to the kingpin, then lower the landing gear (front end jacks) until the kingpin is resting on the scale.

On a tag trailer, place the scale under the coupler, then just lower the tongue jack until all the tongue weight is on the scale.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Yep, here's mine: https://www.etrailer.com/Tools/Sherline/5780.html

To use it on a 5er, you need to build a sturdy platform to get the top of the jack up close to the kingpin, then lower the landing gear (front end jacks) until the kingpin is resting on the scale.

On a tag trailer, place the scale under the coupler, then just lower the tongue jack until all the tongue weight is on the scale.
Pretty inexpensive if it's accurate. The problem is at 2000 lbs tops most 5th wheels will be over that pin weight. The smaller ones are not usually an issue so unless the tow vehicle is a wimpy one not much use in weighing the trailer.

I guess some larger ones are available. I wonder if one could just substitute the gauge or make one from a hydraulic press with gauge setup.
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:38 PM   #13
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Pretty inexpensive if it's accurate. The problem is at 2000 lbs tops most 5th wheels will be over that pin weight. The smaller ones are not usually an issue so unless the tow vehicle is a wimpy one not much use in weighing the trailer.

I guess some larger ones are available. I wonder if one could just substitute the gauge or make one from a hydraulic press with gauge setup.
They do have one for fifth wheels that has a 5k pound capacity. I think it was around $225 on Amazon.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:27 AM   #14
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Iíve posted before of some of the issues I went through in trying to get under the rear axle weight rating on my RAM 3500 SRW. Once I figured out my normal truck loading, and got things right on the truck scales, I started using a Sureline scale with the 5000lbs gauge to verify my fifth wheel loading prior to our extended trips. In my case I have a goosebox installed so I just use the trailer tongue weight setup with the scale on a board/metal plate setup in the truck bed to distribute the weight on the truck bed. As long as I keep under 3200lbs of pin weight, I should be under axle weight unless I load something different in the truck, and thus donít have to hit the truck scale every time to make sure.

Dry pin weight factory rating, 2500, dry trailer 12,250 GVWR of 5er, 15,500.
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