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Old 04-26-2011, 10:29 AM   #1
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Question Long bed -vs- short bed

In the short while left before we go full time I am trying to nail down the perfect rig for us. Definitely going with a 5er. Next step is what am I going to tow with. I am leaning toward a GMC Diesel, single rear wheel, crew cab, short bed. My reasoning being the truck would still be small enough to drive most places without the trailer, and the short box would reduce the overall length (which I have read can be a problem in some states).

OK... Finally I get to the point... What is everyone's opinion on long vs short bed trucks? With the 5th wheel in place is there enough extra room in the log bed to make much difference? Will the short box have any surprises for me when I hook up?
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorfinn View Post
In the short while left before we go full time I am trying to nail down the perfect rig for us. Definitely going with a 5er. Next step is what am I going to tow with. I am leaning toward a GMC Diesel, single rear wheel, crew cab, short bed.
With all respect, if you're going to look at a serious, full-time 5th wheel, your thoughts regarding a tow vehicle are diametrically opposed to what you're likely to need. Because full-time 5th wheels are heavy and transfer 20% or more of their total loaded weight to the truck as pin weight carried by the hitch, you'll likely need the higher GVWR (weight carrying capacity) of a dual rear wheel truck. Also, unless you want to go with a sliding 5th wheel hitch, you may well have a clearance issue between the front cap of the 5th wheel and the rear of your cab if you go with a short bed.

Without specifics as to the 5th wheel you're considering, no one can say absolutely what's going to be required, but you certainly deserve a heads-up before you get too far down this road. Check the configuration of the truck in my signature.....


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Old 04-26-2011, 11:14 AM   #3
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You don't choose a truck first.... You choose the 5th-wheel you want first and then the truck needed to pull it.

It it always a good idea to get a long bed because it is simply less hassle when towing. You don't have to waste money buying an expensive slide hitch and never have a concern when making a sharp turn. Parking is rarely a concern. You just have to park to the back of the parking lots with the other trucks and new cars. Besides, the longer walk to the store is good exercise....
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:06 PM   #4
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This is the kind of input I'm looking for. The loaded weight of the one we want, an Open Range Residential, is 18,000. The GMC dually is rated 21,000, but the SRW is only 17,000, so it looks like there is a dually in my future! It is rather hard to sort out hard facts from the myriad of ways they twist data points to try to look superior to each other. I have seen claims of 20,000# towing capacity on a half ton truck which is ridiculous.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:45 PM   #5
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Hi Don,
I would like you to review this chart from Dodge Body Builders . Com web site. I have posted the link to a Dodge 3500 DRW Crew Cab Long Bed truck. http://www.dodge.com/bodybuilder/2011/docs/ram/rammlup3500.pdf

I would have provided you information for the Chevy, but I have never found a chart like these from GM. As you can see, if the trailer you are looking at has an actual total GVW of 18,000 lbs. You are only 750 LBS from the maximum trailer or right at the maximum trailer you can tow. This depends on the trim level of the truck. Another point is that you will either place 20 % to 25 % pin weight on the rear axle. This will be at almost the maxium weight for a 3500HD diesel truck also. You maybe going into the C & C style truck, which is a 4500HD or 5500HD truck with a 5er bed, with this size 5er. Especially if you are looking at being a full timer.
I know a lot of others may disagree, but I would rather have too much truck then just a little over or not enough.
Just my $0.02
Jim W.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Thorfinn View Post
This is the kind of input I'm looking for. The loaded weight of the one we want, an Open Range Residential, is 18,000. The GMC dually is rated 21,000, but the SRW is only 17,000, so it looks like there is a dually in my future! It is rather hard to sort out hard facts from the myriad of ways they twist data points to try to look superior to each other. I have seen claims of 20,000# towing capacity on a half ton truck which is ridiculous.

Thanks for the input!
Having just been down the road ahead of you, take the time now (as you are doing) to learn the twists, turns and smoke & mirrors marketing done by the truck manufacturers when it comes to towing capacity. I think you will find, as I did, the big number thrown out for "towing capacity" isn't the most restrictive limitation you'll need to be concerned about. I found the "payload capacity" - printed on the recommended tire inflation sticker inside the driver door frame - is the key and most critical number in the equation. (Note that this number is not advertised nor found in any of the charts or brochures - at least not that I could find.) In short, the first limit you'll run up against is how much weight the truck can carry, not how much weight it can pull (tow).

You mentioned a "GMC Diesel, single rear wheel, crew cab, short bed" truck. Take a look at my sig line below. My new crew cab truck has a payload capacity of 2,400 lbs on that sticker - that's how much weight the truck can carry before reaching the 10,000 lbs GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) limit. That means anything I load in the fully fueled truck that weighs more than 150 lbs (that's already included as the driver's weight) subtracts from that payload amount. So by the time I installed a hitch, let my wife get in the passenger seat, and stuck two cups of coffee in the drink holders, I was now within 1,960 lbs of the limit (this is from actual scale weighing of the truck with us in it).

After carefully loading our 5th wheel (see sig), we stopped by the scales on the way out of town. I won't bore you with all the details, but the loaded trailer came in at 11,020 lbs, including 2,020 lbs on the pin, making the total weight of the truck 10,060 lbs - sixty pounds over the limit.

My point is this - no way will the truck you mention above be adequate to tow an 18,000 lb trailer. You will need something with a payload capacity (remember the door sticker) of 4,500 lbs or more.

I found this site to be very helpful: Tow Vehicle Sizing

Good luck - go big!
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jimcumminsw View Post
Hi Don,
I would like you to review this chart from Dodge Body Builders . Com web site. I have posted the link to a Dodge 3500 DRW Crew Cab Long Bed truck. http://www.dodge.com/bodybuilder/2011/docs/ram/rammlup3500.pdf

I would have provided you information for the Chevy, but I have never found a chart like these from GM. As you can see, if the trailer you are looking at has an actual total GVW of 18,000 lbs. You are only 750 LBS from the maximum trailer or right at the maximum trailer you can tow. This depends on the trim level of the truck. Another point is that you will either place 20 % to 25 % pin weight on the rear axle. This will be at almost the maxium weight for a 3500HD diesel truck also. You maybe going into the C & C style truck, which is a 4500HD or 5500HD truck with a 5er bed, with this size 5er. Especially if you are looking at being a full timer.
I know a lot of others may disagree, but I would rather have too much truck then just a little over or not enough.
Just my $0.02
Jim W.

I will check it out. The numbers I have were direct from GMC, under their what truck do I need to tow section.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:30 PM   #8
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Bear in mind that the manufacturer's numbers for towing and payload capacity are both derived using a fictitiously low curb weight - they use a base truck with no options or accessories and only a 150 lb driver, as was mentioned earlier. When using the manufacturer's trailer tow rating (GCWR minus curb weight) and payload capacity (GVWR minus curb weight), caveat emptor!!

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Old 04-26-2011, 03:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Having just been down the road ahead of you, take the time now (as you are doing) to learn the twists, turns and smoke & mirrors marketing done by the truck manufacturers when it comes to towing capacity. I think you will find, as I did, the big number thrown out for "towing capacity" isn't the most restrictive limitation you'll need to be concerned about. I found the "payload capacity" - printed on the recommended tire inflation sticker inside the driver door frame - is the key and most critical number in the equation. (Note that this number is not advertised nor found in any of the charts or brochures - at least not that I could find.) In short, the first limit you'll run up against is how much weight the truck can carry, not how much weight it can pull (tow).

You mentioned a "GMC Diesel, single rear wheel, crew cab, short bed" truck. Take a look at my sig line below. My new crew cab truck has a payload capacity of 2,400 lbs on that sticker - that's how much weight the truck can carry before reaching the 10,000 lbs GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) limit. That means anything I load in the fully fueled truck that weighs more than 150 lbs (that's already included as the driver's weight) subtracts from that payload amount. So by the time I installed a hitch, let my wife get in the passenger seat, and stuck two cups of coffee in the drink holders, I was now within 1,960 lbs of the limit (this is from actual scale weighing of the truck with us in it).

After carefully loading our 5th wheel (see sig), we stopped by the scales on the way out of town. I won't bore you with all the details, but the loaded trailer came in at 11,020 lbs, including 2,020 lbs on the pin, making the total weight of the truck 10,060 lbs - sixty pounds over the limit.

My point is this - no way will the truck you mention above be adequate to tow an 18,000 lb trailer. You will need something with a payload capacity (remember the door sticker) of 4,500 lbs or more.

I found this site to be very helpful: Tow Vehicle Sizing

Good luck - go big!

GMC says the payload capacity of the 3500 dually is 5905 with a crew cab, and trailering capacity of 21,000 with a dually diesel. According to the calculator at the link you provided I should have 1700 lbs to spare.

While I would love to have much more truck, more money into the truck means less in the 5er, so I want to match to the maximum trailer weight with about 15-20% to spare. The trailer is rated to haul over 6000 lbs additional over dry weight. I don't think we will be bringing along even half that amount of stuff.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:28 PM   #10
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The dually long beds aren't that bad in parking lots. They stick out a little further, but they do fit. Wherever practical, I back into a spot as it is easier to pull forward out of a spot.

I lean in the Ford direction and have had a few. If you have any uneasy feelings about weights, the F-450 is rated for 24,000 trailer. Not too many out there gonna over load that. And the F-450 is the same dimensional size as the F-350/3500 dually. But I did own a 2002 GMC 3500 and it is a great truck.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:31 PM   #11
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If you are going with a short bed get the type of hitch that automatically slides as the truck turns. This will keep the truck cab in one piece.

I would also go with four wheel drive. I have needed my 4WD several times to get out of a grass CG spot after a night of rain.

I have a long bed, extended cab, 4WD and dual rear wheels. I have utilized all features over the past 5 years of fulltiming.
The long bed has room for two tool boxes and the hitch.
4 WD is required to go onto much of the government land.
Dual rear wheels add a lot of stability.
The long bed truck is a little tight in some parking lots. I park away from the grocery store and use 2 parking spots so I can open the doors wide to put in the groceries.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:32 PM   #12
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GMC says the payload capacity of the 3500 dually is 5905 with a crew cab....
Yes, but as the well-known marketing slogan goes, "sell the sizzle, not the steak". Those numbers are meant to put forward the best case numbers for comparison against the competition and I'd be very surprised to see they are completely accurate.

Please check out the payload number on the door sticker for any individual truck you think might work before you sign on the dotted line. It can't hurt, right? Especially if you want to have 15%-20% to spare instead of having to watch carefully how much you put in the truck and how carefully you have to load your trailer. Been there, living that...
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:37 PM   #13
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From that 1700 lbs you have to subtract 200lbs for the hitch, 200lbs for fuel, extra 200lbs for passengers (2 175 lbs adults - the built in 150lbs). Then I'd subtract an additional 500 lbs for accessories of the truck such as power seats, power windows, leather, upgraded stereo, etc. So now as a very basic load you have 1700 - 1100 = 600lbs to spare. throw in a 100 lbs for a generator/fuel, another 100 lbs for tools, chocks, cooler, etc. and you are now down 400 lbs. Pile in a couple more adults and you will be over the CC of the truck.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:40 PM   #14
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If you are going with a short bed get the type of hitch that automatically slides as the truck turns. This will keep the truck cab in one piece.

I would also go with four wheel drive. I have needed my 4WD several times to get out of a grass CG spot after a night of rain.
+1 to both the above if you can fit them into the budget.
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