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Old 10-05-2016, 03:06 AM   #1
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Is a 5th Wheel Possible for me?

I am looking at a Keystone Passport 5260RL 5th Wheel to tow behind my 2013 Ram 1500.According to Ramtrucks.com my Extended Cab Ram (coming equipped with the 5.7ltrEngine, the 8 Speed Transmission, and a 3.92 Axle Ratio) should have a Towing Capacity of 10,100lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs (GWVR 6800, GAWR Front 3900/Rear 3900, GCWR 15650).The Keystone 5th Wheel has a Dry Weight of 5965lbs and a Hitch weight of 1060lbs.
There is much talk about towing 5th Wheels with Half Ton Pickups, but not a whole lot of actual examples or experience in my area.While the Weights alone appear to support the combination there are some strong Opinions and Web Based Calculators out there that suggest otherwise.
I do not believe Towing Capacity is a limiting factor here, it is the Payload Capacity that worries me. Half Ton Trucks can vary in capacities but my Truck appears typical.With a Hitch Weight of 1060lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs, this would appear to leave 370lbs for Cargo and Passengers on the axle.This 5th Wheel is one of the Lightest I have found out there, if it can’t be towed safely by my Half Ton, which 5th wheel can (if any)? Keep in mind that not “all” Passenger and Cargo weight will be felt at the rear axle, some would be transmitted to the front axle.
Travel Trailer Counterpoint – Typical like sized Travel Trailers (such as the Keystone 26RLS) have a Tongue weight of 840lbs. That weight being suspended further back on the truck should equate to roughly the same at the Axle.There should be a Algebraic formula for this, figuring a 4ft span from Axle to Tongue (the further the distance from the Axle the more weight felt at the axle). How much Travel Trailer is safe for my truck?
I do not want to be “That Guy” you see on the side of the road in a ditch!
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:37 AM   #2
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I towed fivers with 1/2 ton trucks from 1989 til 2003. Heaviest fiver weighed 5000 lbs with 950 lb pin weight, trailer GVWR was 6550 lbs. My truck was less capable than yours and I also had a 40 gal aux fuel tank in the bed. That setup worked fine even though I was over the truck's GVWR but still under the truck's rear axle GAWR.

Your payload of 1400+ lbs is calculated from GVWR. You need to get actual rear axle weight vs rear GAWR and do some calculations. LT tires are also important.

Only you can decide if you want to exceed GVWR, many will say don't do it. But many 3/4 ton diesel equipped trucks are towing above their GVWRs every day. I personally would prefer towing a fiver and be slightly over GVWR than tow a TT and be under. Oh yeah I did that for 15 yrs with a 1/2 ton and another 10 yrs with a 3/4 ton diesel.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:27 AM   #3
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If you want to travel at or above the legal limit for your truck and be weighing everything you put in it and placing things to get the right balance, you will be just fine. Don't forget to add the weight of the hitch, propane, and batteries.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpo View Post
I am looking at a Keystone Passport 5260RL 5th Wheel to tow behind my 2013 Ram 1500. According to Ramtrucks.com my Extended Cab Ram (coming equipped with the 5.7ltrEngine, the 8 Speed Transmission, and a 3.92 Axle Ratio) should have a Towing Capacity of 10,100lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs (GWVR 6800, GAWR Front 3900/Rear 3900, GCWR 15650).
Ignore the GCWR and towing capacity. You cannot get close to those numbers without being overloaded over the payload capacity of your pickup.

The GVWR (and resulting payload capacity) of the pickup is your limiter). 1,430 pounds of max payload capacity is not much.

My half-ton pickup has payload capacity of 1,566 pounds, and I'm overloaded with my 19' TT that grosses only 4,870 pounds with 570 pounds tongue weight when wet and loaded on the road. Just me, DW, 70 pounds of dogs, toolbox, and a camper shell.

Quote:
The Keystone 5th Wheel has a Dry Weight of 5965lbs and a Hitch weight of 1060lbs.
Those are dry weights. Your actual wet and loaded weight on the road will be a lot more than those dry weights. If you load it very lightly, then you an expect a wet and loaded trailer weight of at least 7,500 pounds. Pin weight will be about 17% of that 7,500 pounds, or about 1,275 pounds. Subtract that from your payload capacity and you can see there's not enough payload capacity to haul anybody or anything with you when towing.


Quote:
I do not believe Towing Capacity is a limiting factor here, it is the Payload Capacity that worries me.
Right. You don't have enough truck to tow any 5er without being overloaded. And there's nothing you can do to increase payload capacity except jack up that half-ton pickup and run a 2500 or 3500 chassis under it.


Quote:
With a Hitch Weight of 1060lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs, this would appear to leave 370lbs for Cargo and Passengers on the axle.
Wrong. Your pin weight is probably going to be closer to 1275 pounds, and then you have to add the 150 pounds of the installed 5er hitch to get total hitch weight of about 1,425 pounds. So now you have only 5 pounds of payload capacity available for passengers, tools, jack, campfire wood, or anything else you might want to take camping with you.

Unless you were standing behind the door when they passed out the brains, you don't want to be overloaded over the GVWR or payload capacity of your tow vehicle.

With your miniscule payload capacity, you cannot even tow a small TT without being overloaded. So consider pop-up trailers with GVWR less than 4,000 pounds if you want to go camping with that pickup. Or if you really want to tow that small 5er without being overloaded, then trade for a heavier-duty truck.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpo View Post
I am looking at a Keystone Passport 5260RL 5th Wheel to tow behind my 2013 Ram 1500.According to Ramtrucks.com my Extended Cab Ram (coming equipped with the 5.7ltrEngine, the 8 Speed Transmission, and a 3.92 Axle Ratio) should have a Towing Capacity of 10,100lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs (GWVR 6800, GAWR Front 3900/Rear 3900, GCWR 15650).The Keystone 5th Wheel has a Dry Weight of 5965lbs and a Hitch weight of 1060lbs.
There is much talk about towing 5th Wheels with Half Ton Pickups, but not a whole lot of actual examples or experience in my area.While the Weights alone appear to support the combination there are some strong Opinions and Web Based Calculators out there that suggest otherwise.
I do not believe Towing Capacity is a limiting factor here, it is the Payload Capacity that worries me. Half Ton Trucks can vary in capacities but my Truck appears typical.With a Hitch Weight of 1060lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs, this would appear to leave 370lbs for Cargo and Passengers on the axle.This 5th Wheel is one of the Lightest I have found out there, if it can’t be towed safely by my Half Ton, which 5th wheel can (if any)? Keep in mind that not “all” Passenger and Cargo weight will be felt at the rear axle, some would be transmitted to the front axle.
Travel Trailer Counterpoint – Typical like sized Travel Trailers (such as the Keystone 26RLS) have a Tongue weight of 840lbs. That weight being suspended further back on the truck should equate to roughly the same at the Axle.There should be a Algebraic formula for this, figuring a 4ft span from Axle to Tongue (the further the distance from the Axle the more weight felt at the axle). How much Travel Trailer is safe for my truck?
I do not want to be “That Guy” you see on the side of the road in a ditch!
Thing to remember is that the hitch weight quoted is based on the dry weight of the trailer. It's been my experience that most of the camping/travel weight is added in the cargo areas which is reflected more in added hitch weight. Like you, I was more concerned with the limiting factor of payload weight. Here's how I approached it.
Factory spec has your trailer at 8300# GVWR. That makes the potential hitch weight around 1660#. Add people and the weight of the hitch and … Well you get the picture.
IMHO you'd be pushing it to go 1/2 ton. Truck payload numbers are based on a number of engineering factors including the ability to safely carry and control the vehicle and load. That being said, only you know where and how you'll be using your outfit.
Best of luck with your decision
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:22 PM   #6
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Thank you all - I have had enough feedback (across a few forums) that my initial fears have been correct – there is NO way my Half Ton Truck can pull a 5th Wheel safely (or at least within the limits of the given numbers).There has even been some feedback challenging my trucks capability of pulling a Travel Trailer.Can Half Tons be that far off when it comes to trailering (my Ram can’t be THAT much less capable than the others)?I see them all the time, out there doing their thing, with far larger Trailers than I am even considering.
Well to my fallback position, a Travel Trailer in the 32’ Range. This size Trailer is comparable to a 5th Wheel while keeping the general interior dimensions/floorplan.The Overall Length (Truck and Camper) is worrisome now - that is a considerable “Length” Penalty going to a Travel Trailer.
I had already mentioned the Keystone Hideout, which comes in at 31’-6” and a Dry Weight of 5610lbs and a Tongue weight of 840lbs. On the longer side there is the Jayco Whitehawk 30DSRE that peaks my interest.That one comes in at 33’-11” a dry weight of 5990 and Tongue weight at 585lbs.For some odd reason the Jayco while being longer and heavier has a lighter Tongue weight.While I listed just two, there are actually MANY comparable Trailer options from various manufacturers (give or take a foot).
So please, keep the feedback coming (Towing capability as well as target Trailer).
Curious - One reply stated that while a 5th Wheel might exceed the capabilities of the truck, it would probably tow better than a Travel Trailer falling within the Capabilities of the truck. Nothing is easy!
I have some time to work this out, so I will continue to follow the Forums for advice.
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Old 10-08-2016, 07:58 PM   #7
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I think you are expecting too much from your 1/2 ton pick. You should be looking at something with a dry weight around 5,000 lbs and 26 feet or less.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:43 PM   #8
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I think you are expecting too much from your 1/2 ton pick. You should be looking at something with a dry weight around 5,000 lbs and 26 feet or less.
That is exactly what I towed with my 1/2 ton truck and it worked out fine both on long trips (4000+ miles) and in the mountains (up to 9000 ft). But the truck's GVWR was 6200 lbs, it had a 4 spd auto and it was a 2000 model. Truck's have improved substantially over the past 16 yrs and are more capable.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpo View Post
Thank you all - I have had enough feedback (across a few forums) that my initial fears have been correct – there is NO way my Half Ton Truck can pull a 5th Wheel safely (or at least within the limits of the given numbers).There has even been some feedback challenging my trucks capability of pulling a Travel Trailer.Can Half Tons be that far off when it comes to trailering (my Ram can’t be THAT much less capable than the others)?I see them all the time, out there doing their thing, with far larger Trailers than I am even considering.
Well to my fallback position, a Travel Trailer in the 32’ Range. This size Trailer is comparable to a 5th Wheel while keeping the general interior dimensions/floorplan.The Overall Length (Truck and Camper) is worrisome now - that is a considerable “Length” Penalty going to a Travel Trailer.
I had already mentioned the Keystone Hideout, which comes in at 31’-6” and a Dry Weight of 5610lbs and a Tongue weight of 840lbs. On the longer side there is the Jayco Whitehawk 30DSRE that peaks my interest.That one comes in at 33’-11” a dry weight of 5990 and Tongue weight at 585lbs.For some odd reason the Jayco while being longer and heavier has a lighter Tongue weight.While I listed just two, there are actually MANY comparable Trailer options from various manufacturers (give or take a foot).
So please, keep the feedback coming (Towing capability as well as target Trailer).
Curious - One reply stated that while a 5th Wheel might exceed the capabilities of the truck, it would probably tow better than a Travel Trailer falling within the Capabilities of the truck. Nothing is easy!
I have some time to work this out, so I will continue to follow the Forums for advice.
Best thing to do is assume the worst. Throw the advertised dry weights out, they're virtually meaningless, Work the numbers from the trailer's GVWR and figure 13% of that as your Hitch weight. My 30' TT has advertised weights of 10,000 GVWR, 5,997 Dry and 756 Tongue, but wet and loaded for travel it actually scaled out at 7,360 and 1,020.

You're looking at an awfully lot of trailer to hook on to a half ton.
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Old 10-09-2016, 12:11 PM   #10
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I am now looking at a 28' trailer with a GVWR of 7500# (dry 5400#). And a 700# tongue. I would really hate to go any smaller.
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Old 10-09-2016, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I am now looking at a 28' trailer with a GVWR of 7500# (dry 5400#). And a 700# tongue. I would really hate to go any smaller.

Load your truck, full of fuel , and family and have it weighed , front and rear axles and compare, the weight from the scale, to the door sticker ratings ; to find out what payload you have remaining and where. I'm 99% sure you'll find the trailer tongue weight ( and WD receiver ) will put you over weight on the rear axle.

JMHO: I worked for a Dodge dealership from 75>07, and can tell you for a fact that it's possible to over load an 05 Dodge 1/2 ton quad cab , by having an adult passenger in every seat. No trailer , nothing in the truck bed , just passengers.
1/2 ton towable , is a lie by the trailer manufacturers; to sell trailers to the unsuspecting public , who won't bother to crunch the numbers, and tow safely within their trucks limits. Only a VERY small percentage of 1/2 tons on the market , will tow those trailers.

BTW: I towed 3 different 5ers with a 93 , V-8 Dakota, heaviest had a GVWR of 7,000lbs , always under the axle weight rating on the truck, but it had a 1850 lb payload package.
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Old 10-09-2016, 01:08 PM   #12
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IMO towing with a truck that is overloaded is like buying insurance.

You can purchase the minimum insurance and hope you never have an accident. However if/when you have an accident you will be left short.

A tow vehicle however will return the investment continually. You will be able to feel the difference towing with a more than adequate vehicle will give you. Increased comfort because of the extra capabilities will get you to your destination feeling more relaxed.

Added bonus if you have an 'oops' while traveling is an increase ability to weather/recover from the issue.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:53 PM   #13
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In a word..."no". I had a 2013 ram 1500 Laramie. My payload sticker was 1061lbs....verified it via cat scale as well. At the time my wife had a 2012 town and country mini van and hers had payload of 12xx! Payload on ram half tons is horribly low
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:21 PM   #14
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Talking careful what you carry in the bed....

our 2014 ram 1500 q/c 4x2 has a reasonable payload of 1643lbs per the door sticker.
my bet is there are more rv owners with 2500 series, cowboy cadillac, 4x4, diesels running down the highway overloaded, than 1/2 tons.
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