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Old 01-08-2010, 01:05 AM   #1
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MPG Diesel Towing & 5'er Fun ?

Been Rving and making all the wrong moves for the last 17 years. Last one was selling 34' gas MH and downsizing way to much to a 18' TT towed by a Toyota 4 Runner. Actually towed pretty well but we weren't nearly as tough as we thought we were! 3 months in that little dude was enough to make us think about quitting again as we did for about 2 weeks after selling the MH. Looking at motel, condo and cottage prices (if you can find one that will take a pet) makes you forget about the bad RV days pretty quick.

So in probably our last stab at getting it right, I am thinking about and looking at used 5th wheels 31' and under. I was first thinking 3/4 ton but now am convinced I will go dually 1T (right back to 1992 only it was a 460 gasser and a 35' 5er). I'm thinking if I take my time and find the right trailer at the right price, and a good truck (gotta be a quad or crew for the cat and and occassional freinds)- not too make any one mad but the diesel shop I intend to use for a pre-buy inspection suggests Dodge 5.9 only ,05, 06 and early 07 or Duramax 06 or 07., the biggest disappointment I might expereince is in the towing MPG.

I guess I should be realistic about this as the best of 2 diesel motor homes I had and probably should still be driving was a 1999, 36 ft that weighed around 22,000# and basically had the 5.9 engine of the Dodge and probably a little better Allison than the Duramax. Although I never was organized enough to keep really good records, I'm guessing there were more 11mpg fillups than those with bigger numbers. The MH being about as aerodynamic as a billboard should give some room for maybe a liitle hope? What are some long term MPG numbers from some of you organized types?

I'm sorta thinking out loud here and will welcome input on '03 and up 5th wheels that are good choices for 2-5 month outings. Room for 2 recliners seems to dictate size and floor plan.

Terry & Nancy
Green Valley, AZ
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:45 AM   #2
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We're quite satisfied with our rig (see signature). Although you're looking at the HPCR (high pressure common rail) variant of the ISB (5.9L) Cummins, our VP44 injected Cummins yields 9.5 to 10.5 MPG towing, albeit with larger aftermarket injectors and a "box" - in stock configuration, it was about 0.5 to 1.0 MPG better, but with 150 BHP and 400 ft-lb less output. The truck hasn't had anything but routine maintenance since we've owned it (43,000 miles, almost all of that towing the 5th wheel), and the only major problem we ever had with the Mobile Suites 5th wheel was a broken gear in one slideout drive gearbox about 6 months after we bought it new - Doubletree changed out the complete slide drive assembly, and the problem has never recurred; 2005 and up have hydraulic slides, so it's a non-issue with the later ones.

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Old 01-08-2010, 01:07 PM   #3
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You will definitely find the Cummins will yield better fuel economy than any of the others. No matter what towing economy, which should be of no concern to you, will be around 9-12 depending on a whole lot of factors. Unloaded the 5.9 Cummins have reported mileage anywhere from 18 to 22 on the road. the only drawback to the 05-07 5.9 is the lack of a factory EB and strapped with a 4 speed automatic. The EB can be added and the four speed has never been a real problem for most folks. That is one reason to really consider an 08 6.7L too.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:08 PM   #4
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You might want to take a look at this '06 model on eBay. It appears to be a clean unit and might be a fair value if the seller hasn't set the reserve too high.
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:38 AM   #5
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You might want to take a look at this '06 model on eBay. It appears to be a clean unit and might be a fair value if the seller hasn't set the reserve too high.
Way too, way too even if! What a sweet looking coach!

I think even thinking about a buying a product like this on E-bay over 1/2 the country away probably merits a thread of its own.

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Old 01-09-2010, 01:03 AM   #6
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You will definitely find the Cummins will yield better fuel economy than any of the others. No matter what towing economy, which should be of no concern to you, will be around 9-12 depending on a whole lot of factors. Unloaded the 5.9 Cummins have reported mileage anywhere from 18 to 22 on the road. the only drawback to the 05-07 5.9 is the lack of a factory EB and strapped with a 4 speed automatic. The EB can be added and the four speed has never been a real problem for most folks. That is one reason to really consider an 08 6.7L too.
Well, I am pretty close to contradicting myself already. Found a 2007 5.9 2500 Quad Long bed today with the EB installed, airlift bags, 20K Reese hitch (had a 16K slider due to a tool box which is already history if i buy it-nice box but not worth the hassle of a slider hitch) and brake controller. Under 26K miles and 3 months of factory warranty. Appears from car fax and dealer story to be one owner traded in a local RV dealer on a MH. I have small deposit on it and a diesel mechanic scheduled to look at it next week. I don't think I will ever find a cleaner truck and am taking the responsibilty of limiting our 5th wheel purchase to under 32' and 13K max gross loaded. I think the Mrs is signed on to the program as she loves the 3/4 and understands (sorta) why the dually is more stable. If the purchase goes forward, we may have the discussion again when we hit the first big windy day.

I'm surprised I haven't seen more discussion on the Cummins Blu-tec (which I think is the 6.7L you refer to) but what I read and what the diesel mechanic tells me- and I figure he has absolutely no axe to grind- is that the particulate filter is a nightmare. This may all be just an urban myth but the 5.9's seem to be very popular (and not cheap) for some reason.

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Old 01-09-2010, 08:52 AM   #7
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Boy I hate to contradict you and or your mechanic. But here goes.
A 3/4 ton is NOT enough truck for that heavy a trailer. First the truck can scale ready to camp somewhere around 7000 pounds. The trucks GVWR will be 9000 pounds and a GCWR right around 20K So your 13K fiver will have a pin weight of at least 2500 pounds. So right off you will probably be at least 500 pounds over the GVWR. 13K and 7K adds up to 20K or your GCWR. Believe me it aint fun towing that much with that little truck.
Now on to the blue tec systems. This is the emission system that Dodge/Cummins added to the truck to meet 2010 emission standards. The basic system has been used for years in Europe. It is NOT new. It is however new to Dodge. Yes, the early production trucks did have some issues. These problems have largely been resolved with software and hardware upgrades done over the last couple of years. Now I do have one of them and while I do not have a lot of miles on my truck, it has only been back for emission problems once. Learning how to drive them has been the biggest learning curve for most owners. So IMHO your mechanic might not be as up to speed on the systems and therefore might be afraid of them? I really don't know. But Dodge has sold a ton of them and there is only a hand full with problems. Many of those due to the owners modding them.
It is at the end of the day your money. However I have been there, done that, bought a 3/4 ton first thinking I could tow the world. After loading it up and going to the scales I found that I was over both GVWR and GCWR. Truck pulled the trailer fine. but the tires were overloaded, the rear end sagged about three inches, and at 10,500 pounds on the truck was so far overloaded it was almost scary. Like I said it is your money, so spend your purchase dollars carefully.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:15 AM   #8
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I am with Don on this--get a 1 Ton, you will never regret it.

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Old 01-11-2010, 03:04 PM   #9
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FWIW, I used to tow a 10,500# GVW 5er with a 1996 Dodge CTD, 3/4T. That 5er was all the load my Dodge 3/4T wanted to pull comfortably. I wasn't fast climbing mountains but I got to the top.I was at the trucks GVW limit . I'm not saying you must buy a 1T dually, what I am saying is staying within a particular trucks towing limits is very prudent. If you both are firm to buy over a 30' 5er you are likely to overload a 3/4T truck. Towing overloaded makes for uncomfortable driving, arriving at a CG tense and tired makes for a miserable night.This website might help with safely and properly matching a tow vehicle and trailer: Fifth Wheel Weight Calculator
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:05 PM   #10
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Well, I am pretty close to contradicting myself already. Found a 2007 5.9 2500 Quad Long bed today with the EB installed, airlift bags, 20K Reese hitch (had a 16K slider due to a tool box which is already history if i buy it-nice box but not worth the hassle of a slider hitch) and brake controller. Under 26K miles and 3 months of factory warranty. Appears from car fax and dealer story to be one owner traded in a local RV dealer on a MH. I have small deposit on it and a diesel mechanic scheduled to look at it next week. I don't think I will ever find a cleaner truck and am taking the responsibilty of limiting our 5th wheel purchase to under 32' and 13K max gross loaded. I think the Mrs is signed on to the program as she loves the 3/4 and understands (sorta) why the dually is more stable. If the purchase goes forward, we may have the discussion again when we hit the first big windy day.
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Maybe someone else found out that they didn't have enough truck. I would advise getting a 410 rear axle. My first 1T Dually was just like the present except it had a 354. I didn't like having to shift when I started up a hill. The 410 isn't like that. At 60mph the rpm was about 1800 on the 354 which is too low for towing. If you are thinking the 410 will be hard on fuel, I get better.
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:19 AM   #11
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you say you are looking at a 5th wheel 31ft or less. Im new to this but I can tell you my experience. I also wanted a smaller 5th wheel, just so I could squeeze it into some tighter places we like to camp. I bought a 25' coachman 5er with a 14' slide, im amazed at all the space a slide makes. plenty of living space for the 4 of us. just got back from a 5 day camp (our second trip out) loved it!
trailer dry weight of 7300k, 8800gvwr. pulling it with a 99 f250 psd, SRW. tested my mileage twice. going up with a headwind 10.5, comming home in calm conditions got 13.4.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:44 PM   #12
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The 2500 Dodge/Cummins has a 13k + tow rating.

You will have to watch a 13000 lb 5ers pin weigh if it weighs more than 2700 -2800 lbs. That can put you over the 2500 trucks 6000 RAWR/tire capacity. Keep the 5ers pin weight under those rear axle/tire capacities.
Just to compare the 3rd gen ('03-'09) 3500 DRW Dodge/Cummins has a 9350 RAWR/tire capacity for well over 5000 lbs of hitch weight capacity.

My '03 2500 Dodge/Cummins has no issues with the 20k GCW that Dodge gives the truck.

Watch the pin weight numbers on the trucks rear axle/tires. You don't want to go over those ratings.
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:44 AM   #13
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1 ton is the best way to go, with 4.10 gears for sure. Make sure you check the Hitch weight on the 5vr. As others have said you can end up over the weight of a 3/4 ton payload weight w/o even thinking about it.
If I were do it again I would go Dually just because it opens up more 5th wheel possibilities.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:08 AM   #14
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1 ton is the best way to go, with 4.10 gears for sure. Make sure you check the Hitch weight on the 5vr. As others have said you can end up over the weight of a 3/4 ton payload weight w/o even thinking about it.
If I were do it again I would go Dually just because it opens up more 5th wheel possibilities.
did I missread his post?? he says hes looking at 5er UNDER 31ft. most weights ive seen on 25-30ft range go from 5k-11k lbs.
its funny the range of opinions on towing. folks here telling him he needs a 1 ton dulley.. and the dealers would probably tell him he can pull a 5er in that range with a 1/2 ton.
I must agree it is better to have too much truck, than too much trailer
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