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Old 01-15-2014, 05:44 PM   #1
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General Tow Vehicle Question

We are going to be towing a 5th wheel trailer here soon.

We should be looking at an 8 ft truck bed correct?
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
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Most people would recommend an 8 ft bed for 5th wheel towing. There is no need for a slider hitch with the 8 ft bed.

The best way to go about the truck/5th wheel purchase is to find the trailer you want and then find a truck capable of towing it. I was not that smart and I have a F250 that can not tow the trailer DW wants.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:00 PM   #3
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I agree - buy the 5th wheel 1st. Make sure DW really likes it. Then buy a truck that can tow the max the trailer can weigh.

I would recommend a 2011 or newer Chevy, Ford, or Ram. For 2011 all 3/4 ton and 1ton trucks were improved.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:06 PM   #4
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You do not need a 8' bed but it sure makes towing life a lot easier. Most 5th wheel manufacturers now cut out the bottom corners so they work better with 'short bed' trucks.

Correct - with an 8' bed you do not need a slider hitch. With a 6'6" bed you 'probably' don't need one if you are careful all the time. One mess up can be really bad.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:51 PM   #5
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Once you decide on a 5er trailer, shop for the truck based on the trailers GVWR and forget the brochure or dry trailer weights. As for the trucks tow rating, be sure and read ALL of the footnotes. The manufacturer will provide a tow rating based on a stripped base model truck....no cargo, no passengers other than a 150# driver, no accessories and not even a hitch.

What the manufacturer fails to tell you (it is in the footnotes) is the 5th wheel will typically put 20% of the loaded trailer weight in the bed of the truck. SO a 15,000# 5er will place about 3000# in the bed of the truck, so check the trucks cargo carrying capacity. Again, they base this on a base model truck.

Number one rule is NEVER BELIEVE THE RV (OR TRUCK) SALES PERSON.

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dTardis View Post
We are going to be towing a 5th wheel trailer here soon.

We should be looking at an 8 ft truck bed correct?
No, you can buy a hitch system that will allow you to tow a 5er with a 6.5' bed with no problems. Those are heavier, and they cost more than an ordinary 5er hitch, but they're available.

With an 8' bed, you can tow the trailer with any 5er hitch rated for at least the GVWR of the trailer. That's the sensible thing to do. But a CrewCab body with 8' bed is about 22' long, and that won't fit in most garages, so lots of folks insist on a shorty bed.

But with a shorty pickup and a normal 5er hitch, you can easily have cab to trailer contact when backing the trailer. So for a shorty pickup, you should buy a "slider" hitch, or a pin box that will stick the trailer farther away from the cab of the truck, or both.

Personally, I have nightmares about turning into a blind alley or trail and going a mile or so before I run into a dead end, with no place to turn around. With a non-sliding 5er hitch in a shorty bed, you're screwed. You must back the trailer out of the alley without jackknifing the trailer, and that's a real challenge. Been there, done that, then traded for a tow vehicle with an 8' bed. With a slider hitch, you can back into a 90 jackknife, then disconnect and drive around to the other side of the trailer, hook up and be on your way. No backing out of a crooked, steep, mountain trail.

The best 5er hitch for a shorty pickup is the fully-automatic Pullrite SuperGlide. Not cheap, but works great. The normal SuperGlide has it's own mounting system, but they also make them to fit in the normal Reese "industry standard" above-the-bed-floor rails, as well as a different model that will work in the Reese Elite under-bed rail mounting system that is optional on some new trucks, such as the Ford SuperDuty 5er/gooseneck prep kit. Disadvantage? A SuperGlide is heavy!
Traditional Series SuperGlide - For Short Bed Trucks | PullRite Hitches

A lot less expensive than a SuperGlide is an ordinary 5er hitch with a manual sliding mechanism. With a manual slider, you must be wide awake so you never put the truck into reverse gear until after you have slid the hitch back. You probably cannot turn sharp enough when going forward to result in cab to trailer contact, but when backing up you can jackknife the trailer and result in a CRUNCH in a heartbeat. The Reese 16k 5er hitch with Kwik-Slide is available in the old design I used for years, as well as a more expensive new design that meets the more stringent SAE J2638 requirements. Here's the less-expensive old design:
Fifth Wheels - Reese

A relatively recent development is the Reese "Sidewinder" pin box replacement. Instead of the hitch sliding away from the cab, the pin box extends to move the trailer farther from the cab.
Pin Boxes - Reese Sidewinder

A variation on the Sidewinder theme is the 5th Airborne pin box, which adds air bags to the extended pin box. I know almost nothing about that option.
Pin Boxes - Reese 5th Airborne/Sidewinder
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
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We are going to be towing a 5th wheel trailer here soon.

We should be looking at an 8 ft truck bed correct?
Along with the above info many 5th wheel trailers today have the rounded/notched front corners that can be used with a short bed truck without a sliding hitch.

Also many GM trucks have a longer dimension from the back of the cab to the trucks rear axle which eliminates the need for a sliding hitch.

There is no generic yes or no for a long bed. I have both and one has its advantages over the other.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:48 AM   #8
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Just look here:http://www.trail-hauler.com
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:38 AM   #9
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Just whatever you go with, make sure it is of the 350/3500 variety. Lots more payload capacity for 5th wheels. You may not need a DRW, that would depend on the weight of your 5er, but to me, they are a bit more stable. Some find that they are harder to drive around town and park, but that too is owner specific. Any of the Big 3 have very good trucks now. Any would serve you well.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:57 AM   #10
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Thank you

I want to thank all of you for your responses.

I guess I should have said that we do already have the 5th wheel trailer. We are just in the process of finding the right truck.

We have been most closely looking at the F-350 and the Ram 3500, but the Axle to cab measurement seems to be hard to find.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dTardis View Post
I want to thank all of you for your responses.

I guess I should have said that we do already have the 5th wheel trailer. We are just in the process of finding the right truck.

We have been most closely looking at the F-350 and the Ram 3500, but the Axle to cab measurement seems to be hard to find.
Axle to cab is not a common measurement. Bed length, however, should be available.
Back in 2000s-late 2000s, I think Dodge had the longest bed, then Ford, then Chevy. Not sure if it's true still.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:13 PM   #12
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We have been most closely looking at the F-350 and the Ram 3500, but the Axle to cab measurement seems to be hard to find.
For a Ford, it's easy to find. Go to any Ford dealer and ask to look at their "Truck Source Book" for the year you're interested in. Pickups and chassis cab trucks are different.

Chassis cab trucks, regardless of brand, all have industry-standard cab-to-axle (CA) of 60", 84", 108", or 120", depending on wheelbase.

CA of pickups varies with cab and bed. For 2007 Ford F-350 pickups, all cabs, all wheelbases, all 4x2s and 4x4s, dually or SRW:

With 8' bed, CA = 56.2"

With 6.75' bed, CA = 40"

I'm pretty sure those CAs for pickups haven't changed for 2005-up SuperDuty pickups.
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