Originally Posted by Sloopygirl
I've talked to a couple sales guys at a couple places and they claim that people usually add about 1500 lbs of stuff and as long as you don't go over 11,000 lbs for the whole unit - then an F150 will be OK to pull it. What I'm seeing here is that they're giving me a line and there's no way - I'll need at least an F250 (or equivalent, depending on the brand). I know that sales people just want to sell the units, but does this mean I shouldn't trust ANYTHING they say??
When it comes to towing, if a sales dude's mouth is moving he's either lying or else he doesn't have a clue as to what he's talking about. Do your own research and determine the minimum truck you need to tow the weight of the 5er, and ignore the salesman's pitch.
For that 5er with GVWR of 8,400 pounds, expect the hitch weight to be ~18% of GVWR of the trailer, or 1500 pounds. So you need a pickup with enough GVWR to haul 1500 pounds of hitch weight in addition to whatever weight is in the truck. A decent estimate of the weight of a late-model F-250 CrewCab 4x4 diesel with 8' bed, 5er hitch, wet and loaded for the road with driver, one adult passenger, a dog or cat or two, a toolbox full of tools, and a full tank of fuel is 9,000 pounds. Add 1,500 pound hitch weight to that, and you need a tow vehicle with GVWR not less than 10,500 pounds. So F-250 with 10,000 GVWR is not enough.
When looking at pickup specs, ignore the "tow rating", which is extremely optimistic. The tow rating of my F-150 is 8,400 pounds, but my travel trailer that grosses only 4,870 overloads that F-150. Go by the GVWR of the pickup, minus the wet and loaded weight of the pickup, to determine the max hitch weight that pickup can haul without being overloaded. Divide that max hitch weight by 0.18 (18%) to get the max GVWR of any 5er you should look at.
You need an F-350 with single rear wheels (SRW) to be able to tow that wet and loaded 5er with no worries of being overloaded. The F-350 SRW has GVWR of 11,500 pounds and still weighs around 9,000 wet and loaded for the road. So your choice of 5er goes up to a hitch weight of not more than 2,500 pounds without exceeding the GVWR of the pickup. 2,500 pounds pin weight (hitch weight) of a 5er with 18% pin weight is a 5er with GVWR up to around 13,500 pounds. So you can choose from among a bunch of different 5ers with GVWR around 10,000 to 12,000 pounds without being concerned with overloading your tow vehicle. No, you still cannot tow an 18k toy hauler with an SRW pickup, but a 12k 5er is a lot more roomy than an 8.4k 5er.
Back to your salesman: NOBODY
makes a half-ton pickup that can tow an 11,000 pound 5er, or even a 10,000 pound 5er, without exceeding the GVWR of the pickup. Which means you'll be overloaded
. There are a very few half-ton pickups that, without being overloaded over the GVWR of the pickup, can tow a 5er that has a GVWR of the 8,400 pounds you're looking at - or maybe even up to 9,000 GVWR. But they are very few and very far between.
For a Ford F-150, it has to have the heavy duty payload package with 8,200 pounds GVWR, and only a tiny percentage of F-150s have that package. For a GMC or Chevy pickup, it has to be the 1500HD model, with more than 8,000 pounds GVWR. Those are rare too. I don't know about Dodge, but maybe they make a 1500 with GVWR over 8,000 pounds. I don't think Toyota or Nissan makes a pickup with over 8,000 pounds GVWR.
Right now I'm looking for a used F-150 with HD payload package in the $12,000 price range, for my barrel-racing granddaughter to use to tow a 2-horse trailer to rodeos. I found only one so far, and it was near Miami, hundreds of miles away from her home near Knoxville. So unless she can convince her Mom to drive her to Miami to buy the pickup, I suspect she'll wind up with a used F-250 with the V-10 gas engine, which are plentiful and almost the perfect pickup to tow a 2-horse trailer.
Even a three-quarter-ton pickup may not be enough for a 5er with GVWR of 8,400 pounds. I owned a '99.5 F-250 diesel CrewCab 4x2 for over 10 years, and used it to tow a 25-foot 5er with GVWR of 7,900 pounds over 100,000 miles all over the USA. Plenty of power to pull that 5er over the Rockies, but the pickup suspension was often overloaded over the 8,800 pounds GVWR of the F-250. Beginning in 2005 model year, Ford increased the GVWR to 10,000 pounds for diesel or gas F-250 CrewCabs, so they can now tow more than my 7,900-pound 5er without being overloaded. But before 2005 model year, your 8,400-pound 5er will probably overload the F-250, especially if it's a diesel CrewCab 4x4.
I don't have the 5th wheel or truck yet, I'm just deciding what I need/want. So far, the only thing I've decided on is a 5th vs a TT or Class C.
If you can afford a 2011-up tow vehicle, then I'd recommend the Ford F-350 SRW diesel. Great drivetrain with gobs of power, and enough payload capacity to handle the hitch weight of any 5er with GVWR less than about 13,500 pounds. The "tow rating" of more than 13,500 means you won't be overloaded over any of Ford's weight limits.
If your budget requires you to back off a few years, then look for a 2005-up F-350 SRW with the V-10 gas engine.
I don't know much about GMC and Chevrolet, except they went bankrupt and are now Government Motors (GM). I don't know much about Dodge except they went bankrupt and are now FIAT-Chrysler. Toyota and Nissan make great half-ton pickups, but they don't make a pickup that can handle 1,500 pounds or more hitch weight without being ovrloaded. So I'll stick with Ford.