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Old 04-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
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Hi Everyone,
I am curious to know what the most popular vehicle is to haul a 30' rig? Buying a new truck or SUV. Should we go with a 5th Wheel or travel Trailer. There are so many choices and we are new to RVing and decided to be fulltimers for a while, we are going to travel the USA for a year or so and wondering if anyone had some good advice! We are also resurching the Outback Sydney by Keystone. Please, any comments would be appreciated! Thanks and wish us luck!
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:45 PM   #2
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I do motorhomes, but what the heck, I'll bite.

30 feet is solidly fifth wheel territory, TT's that big are made to be parked next to a permanent deck.

And to tow a 30ft fiver, you will have a 3500 series 1 ton dual rear wheel diesel pickup.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:18 PM   #3
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I also have a MH 34ft gas. If I was full timing and had the cash to do it, I would go with either a nice fifth wheel 3-4 slides and a four door truck or since we love the MH would look at a newer 34ft with at least 2 opposing slides and probably another in the bedroom. Plus a little 4x4 to tow behind. We tend to like urban sprawl more space means more peace and places for the kids- human and fur.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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A crew cab pickup has lots of dry, secure storage and you can tow either type of RV.
A Suburban = more inside space = TT.
Are you taking - canoe, kayaks, bikes, scooters, lots of tools, etc? Maybe a pickup is best.
A low profile TT (like ours ) will be easier to tow on the smaller highways and side roads that we plan to travel. Some TT's are pretty tall and Fivers are generally even taller.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:12 PM   #5
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30' is not too long for a TT and does not necessarily push you to a 5er. We had a Avion (silver) that was 34'11" from nose to tail. It was a triaxle with torsion suspension and towed great.

For a 30' trailer, I'd go ahead and get a 3/4 ton tow vehicle and not consider a 1/2. There are 1/2 tons that claim some fantastic weights, but I would not do it.

Ken
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TXiceman
30' is not too long for a TT and does not necessarily push you to a 5er. We had a Avion (silver) that was 34'11" from nose to tail. It was a triaxle with torsion suspension and towed great.

For a 30' trailer, I'd go ahead and get a 3/4 ton tow vehicle and not consider a 1/2. There are 1/2 tons that claim some fantastic weights, but I would not do it.

Ken
I agree that 30'+ is not too long. I would recommend a 3/4 or larger. Do not need DRW. Many do report happily towing a longer TT with a 1/2 ton. I had a 30' FW and now a 34' TT. Both towed about the same. The biggest difference is backing.
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SandiLaws View Post
I am curious to know what the most popular vehicle is to haul a 30' rig? Buying a new truck or SUV. Should we go with a 5th Wheel or travel Trailer.

Depends on the definition of "30 foot". If it's a travel trailer, the usual definition is the overall length including hitch. The box is about 4 feet shorter. So a 30' TT would have only a 26" box. And a 30' fiver would be about 4 feet more useable trailer than a 30' TT. So to compare apples to apples, the TT needs to be about 4' longer than the TT to be approximately the same size inside the camper.

So I'll assume a 30-foot useable camper space, or a 30-foot 5er compared to a 34' TT.

The big difference in towing a 5er or TT is hitch weight. The 5er will have about 17% hitch weight while the TT will have about 12%. That difference in hitch weight means the big TT can be towed by a three-quarter-ton pickup with single rear wheels, but the 5er needs a one-ton pickup, and probably with dual rear wheels (DRW).

Full-size SUVs can tow that much TT only if there is no weight inside the SUV other than a skinny driver and his skinny sweetheart. GVWR of the tow vehicle is the limiter, and if you use that weight capacity for people and stuff inside the SUV, then you cannot also use it for hitch weight.

The only three-quarter-ton SUV is the Chevy Suburban and it's GMC brother. Ford, Toyota and Nisson make only half-ton full-size SUVs. The Chrysler entry is not even full size, although it's been growing lately. The three-quarter ton GMs have more GVWR than the half-ton siblings and rivals, but still not enough to haul a car full of people and stuff as well as a 34' TT without being overloaded.

Other than the hitch weight problem, most experienced RVers prefer the 5er to the TT, even though it requires "more turck" to tow it. It has more room in the "basement" and other storage areas. The 5er tows a lot better than a TT with an ordinary weight-distributing hitch. However, if you connect the TT to the tow vehicle with a Hensley Arrow or ProPride hitch, the TT will tow as good as any 5er. The price of a 5er and TT of the same quality and features and box length will be about the same if you include the higher cost of the ProPride hitch for the TT. A good 5er hitch is around $1000, but a ProPride will cost about $2,500. That's just about the difference in price for a 5er and TT of the same box size and quality.

For estimating purposes, use the GVWR of the trailer as the probable wet and loaded weight of the trailer in the middle of your third long RV trip. "Stuff" tends to accumulate as you go on down the road.

When looking at 5ers, note there are three heights. Low profile means about 4' floor to ceiling in the bedroom. Sweetheart has to crawl around on the bed to make the bed. Mid-profile means about 5' floor to ceiling. She has to stoop, but can getter done without crawling around on the bed. Full profile means a 6' 4" man can walk around in the bedroom without having to stoop. My mid-profile was about 11.5' tall. It would barely clear my 12' high barn door. Full profile 5ers are heavier and are about 13' tall or more.

Become familiar with GVWR, GCWR, and actual wet and loaded weights of tow vehicles. The manufacturer's "tow ratings" are useful only if you understand that they are all overstated by about 1,000 pounds, and they ignore GVWR limits of the tow vehicle. The tow rating on my '99.5 F-250 CrewCab diesel was over 13,000 pounds. But my 8,000-pound 5er overloaded that pickup over the GVWR of the pickup. So tgake the manufacturer's tow ratings with a grain of salt. Learn where your nearest CAT scale is, and use it frequently.

For trailer specs, the only weight you care about is the GVWR. Ignore "dry" weight, hitch weight and any other weight. Hitch weight percentage of total trailer weight will vary from about 11 to 15 percent for TTs, and 15 to 25 percent for 5ers. But most TTs in the 30-foot range will have about 12 percent hitch weight. And most comparable-sized 5ers will have about 17 percent. So compute hitch weight of a 34' TT as 12% of the GVWR, and compute pin weight of a 30' 5er as 17 percent of the GVWR of the trailer.

To be certain you have enough tow vehicle for your wet and loaded trailer, you might want to use 15% of the GVWR of the TT as max hitch weight, and 24% of the GVWR of a 5er as max pin weight. {"Pin" = kingpin, the knob that sticks down from under the front of the 5er and fits into the 5er hitch in the truck.}

What do I do? Darling Wife and I had a 25' 5er with one big slide for over 10 years. We spent several weeks at a time touring the lower 48 states, visiting kids and grandkids and friends, but never considered ourselves "full timers". We towed it with an F-250 diesel pickup. We were usually overloaded over the GVWR of the F-250 by a few hundred pounds, although at 16K GCW we were well below the 20k GCWR of our tow vehicle. So ours was one of those where the "tow rating" was based on the GCWR, but our limit was not the GCWR - it was the GVWR of the tow vehicle.

Last year Darling Daughter needed our 5er to live in, so we "sold" it to her for a pittance. We didn't expect to be doing any more RVing, so we sold the diesel tow vehicle pickup too. But a few months later we decided that we really wanted a small camper trailer, so I did the math and ordered a 2012 F-150 with an 8,000-pound tow rating. I knew about the 1000-pound overstatement of the tow rating, so I went shopping for a TT wth a GVWR less than 7,000 pounds. I was delighted when I found one that met our needs (and wants) with a GVWR of only 5,600 pounds.


[quote]We are also resurching the Outback Sydney by Keystone. [/QUOTE]

Here's a 2007 31' with 4 bunks for sale by Camping World in FL.
Travel Trailers - 2007 - Keystone Outback Sydney - Midway, FL - TAL40188 - RV Sales - Camping World
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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SmokeyWren,

Very well put and the explanation is very factual and understandable. Nice job.

Frank
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:44 PM   #10
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I vote for a class A with toad, mainly because of the bathroom within walking distance!
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:14 AM   #11
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Smokey Wren,

Every time i read one of your explanations of TT or 5th wheels, it is easier to understand the Weights GVWR and GCWR truck and trailer GVWR including the King Pin and how to figure them out. To ensure i am safe pulling my 5th wheel when i buy mine. Great explanation. Thanks

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Old 04-20-2012, 06:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty14 View Post
Every time i read one of your explanations of TT or 5th wheels, it is easier to understand the Weights GVWR and GCWR truck and trailer GVWR including the King Pin and how to figure them out.
Thanx for the flowers, Scott. Us old retired fly boys have to take care of the old retired swabbies, ya know?

But I suspect many folks' eyes glase over when dealing with the numbers required to get a close estimate when matching trailer to tow vehicle without using a CAT scale to get actual wet and loaded numbers. And the manufacturers don't make it any easier, with the trailer manufacturers understating trailer and hitch weights and the tow vehicle manufacturers overstating towing and payload capability.

I wish I was a better writer so I could make it easier to understand to the math-challenged. But I'm not, so I hope you wind up down the road with your rig that isn't overloaded over any of the manufacturer's weight limits when you hit the CAT scale with your wet and loaded rig.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:11 PM   #13
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I have towed a TT that was over 8800 lbs max weight with a SRW tow vehicle before I traded trucks to the DRW. It is ok in most conditions, but I found that there were several things that happen such as crossing bridges in a cross wind, towing at night, or sometimes even a rough bridge that upsets that applecart. If the camper GWR is over 8800 lbs, I would never reccomend a SRW tow vehicle due to stability issues. A DRW is a different tow vehicle. The stability is amazing with the 4 rear tires.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:31 PM   #14
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All I can say is if you go for a one ton, turbo diesel (Dodge, Ford, GM) you will always have enough power, even in the Rocky Mts. There is no substitute for power, and few things worse than pulling with not enough. AND, Few things worse or more dangerous than pulling with not enough.
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