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Old 02-27-2013, 07:44 AM   #1
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Fifth wheel towing with a F150

My brother-in-law is thinking about getting a fifth wheel camper that weighs approximately 7000 pounds and wants to tow it with his F1 50. Any thoughts or suggestions if it is feasible. He currently tows an 8000 pound travel trailer, gets a lot of sway and is not comfortable towing it. He is wondering if towing a fifth wheel that is a little lighter would be better.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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He needs to be thinking about getting a bigger truck.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:41 PM   #3
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You'll get some naysayers who repeat the old mantra that 1/2t trucks can't tow anything. I'll say it depends on the 1/2t truck and depends on the FW. Generally FWs will pull without the sway associated with TTs, although some folks say a properly set up TT will not sway. If your friend's F150 is rated to pull X pounds, then pulling less than X is okay, unless the pin weight exceeds the rear axle rating. That's where most 1/2t trucks are at their weakest. The only way to determine is to get all the weights and examine the door plaque to see what's possible. Remember to include the weight of the FW hitch in the truck bed, the driver and all passengers, and the little dog, too.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:19 PM   #4
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Are the weight numbers dry weights, actuals or GVWR? If they are dry weights the 1/2 T most likely is well over it's capaticity. Most people add 1K to 2K to the dry weight. Our 27' TT had a dry weight of 6.3K and 10.4K GVWR. The actual traveling weight is about 9K. There is no way we have 3k of stuff in it. IMHO a 1/2T just does'n have the weight, suapension or tires (rubber on the road) to handle that much trailer well.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:21 PM   #5
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Another vote for the larger truck.

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Old 02-28-2013, 07:39 AM   #6
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Thanks all
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #7
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What year of F-150? And, which one? There are a lot of different F-150's out there. And, it's no so much how much it can tow as it is how much weight will be on the truck. How far he going to go? How many time is he going to tow it? There are a lot of variables. He needs to take the pickup to his local dealer and ask.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:08 AM   #8
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A 5th wheel puts about 20% of its weight on the pin, so for a 7,000 lb 5th wheel, the truck would have to carry 1,400 lbs of pin weight as payload. The simplest way to tell if his F-150 has the required capacity is to load it up exactly as it will be when he goes out on the road - passengers, pets, full fuel tank, firewood, toolbox, etc. - and go to any truck stop that has a set of scales (look for a CAT scales or similar sign). Get the truck weighed with the front axle on the forwardmost platform and the rear axle on the center platform. He will get a weight ticket that gives steer (front) (GAWf) and drive (rear) (GAWr) axle weights. Add 150 lbs to the rear axle weight to allow for the weight of the 5th wheel hitch that he would add - this becomes the corrected rear axle weight (GAWrc).

Now, check the sticker in the driver's door jamb. There will be a rating for GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) and rear axle GAWR (gross axle weight rating).

To be able to carry 1,400 lbs of pin weight:

GVWR - (GAWf + GAWrc) must be 1,400 lbs or more. If not, he'll be exceeding the truck's GVWR.

Rear axle GAWR - GAWrc must be 1,400 lbs or more. If not, he'll be exceeding the truck's rear axle GAWR.

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:28 PM   #9
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!/2 tons can pull anything on a dealers lot!! Some can do it on flat ground. Most of the problems come when you get into the hills and Mountains. Been there, tried it,won't do it again.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:49 PM   #10
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thanks so much everyone. Very helpful. I will pass info on to my brother in-law
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:25 PM   #11
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He needs to take the pickup to his local dealer and ask.
Everytime I have asked at a dealer, what a vehicle will tow or what the pin or hitch weight limit rating is, they are clueless.

I get the trailer Life magazine, and once a year they have a "Guide to Towing" which under the Ford vehicle listing they don't even list the F-150 for 5th wheel towing. Just conventional towing for the F-150.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:53 PM   #12
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With a 5th wheel trailer it is not just the weight involved, which is the main factor though. You are pulling a wall behind the tow vehicle, which is in the form of frontal area of the trailer that is above the truck cab; that is wind resistance.
This 5th wheel towing calculator will accurately, and safely match your BIL's pickup to a 5er.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:21 PM   #13
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More and more 5th wheel manufacturer now make good quality lightweight 5ers made for 1/2 tons pickup, my 5th wheel was made and design to be tow safely with 1/2 tons pickup , very convenient for people like me that prefer a fifth wheel over TT but don't want to drive a 3/4 tons every day .
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:24 AM   #14
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Thanks once again folks
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