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Old 02-27-2012, 08:50 AM   #1
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Need opinions on a truck for 39' 5-er

Hubby and I haven't purchased a truck yet, but we have finally decided on the 5th wheel. All of my towing experience was pre 13 years old. His towing experience is limited to Uhauls. Needless to say, we have a lot to learn and we're getting a lot of conflicting information. I consider you guys the experts (and I'm pretty sure that one of the sales guys at a dealer we visited had never towed anything in his life.)

So here are the numbers:
5th wheel GVWR is 16250 (from their brochure)
Hitch: 2700
39 1/2 feet long

Our tow vehicle will also be our family car so in order of preference, we'd like diesel:
250/2500
350/3500 SRW
350/3500 DRW

We don't have a preference as to brand or 2x4 or 4x4. We do however need a crew cab because our large dog will be riding with us. The 5-er has the special 88 degree turning cap (which I believe means a standard six and a half foot bed would not be a problem.)

After reading several of the forums here I'm worried that we need a dually. Hubby says we don't have to load the trailer to its max 16250. I don't plan to. The point of all this is traveling light, so to speak. But I'd rather be safe than sorry. I don't plan on taking the 5er anywhere near big mountains. Highways are our friend as far as I'm concerned. We will be full timing for several years, if that makes a difference.

When you guys start talking about hitch weights and engine sizes I get confused, but I'm trying to follow along. LOL

So given the above, what would you buy? (Used is fine.) Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricandAlice View Post
So here are the numbers:
5th wheel GVWR is 16250 (from their brochure)
Hitch: 2700
39 1/2 feet long

Our tow vehicle will also be our family car so in order of preference, we'd like diesel:
250/2500
350/3500 SRW
350/3500 DRW
See signature. Our 5th wheel has a 16,000 lb GVWR, and it will scale close to that on any given trip - closer to the GVWR than the unladen weight! The 3500 DRW in the configuration shown below was specifically ordered by us as it has enough GCWR and GVWR to handle our rig.

Brand is up to you, but do the math whatever you select - and DON'T ignore the truck's GVWR by just looking at the fictitious "manufacturer's trailer tow rating".

Rusty
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:03 AM   #3
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Generally speaking your actual pin weight will be 18-25% of your fivers ready to camp weight. lacking that information most people recommend 20% of the GVWR as your pin weight. So 20% of 16,250 is 3250 pounds. So adding another 3200 pounds to a truck that already can scale 8000 pounds will put you in a truck weighing over 11,000 pounds. With me so far?
The GCWR of a truck can be anywhere from 22,000 to 25,000 pounds. Meaning that the truck trailer combination is rated at a maximum from the manufacturer. If you add 8000 for the truck and 16000 for the trailer ready to camp you come up with 24,000 pounds GCWR. Sadly that number is going to be right at the top of all 1 ton duallies. IMHO you are a good candidate for either a MDT or a 450/4500 class truck. You might find a MDT a better bargain used than a new 4500 series truck. And that is a truck that will tow your monster easily.
I am sorry to say this, but in this case YOU are correct. The 3/4 ton is totally out of the question as are all of the 1 ton SRW trucks.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by 450Donn
Generally speaking your actual pin weight will be 18-25% of your fivers ready to camp weight. lacking that information most people recommend 20% of the GVWR as your pin weight. So 20% of 16,250 is 3250 pounds. So adding another 3200 pounds to a truck that already can scale 8000 pounds will put you in a truck weighing over 11,000 pounds. With me so far?
The GCWR of a truck can be anywhere from 22,000 to 25,000 pounds. Meaning that the truck trailer combination is rated at a maximum from the manufacturer. If you add 8000 for the truck and 16000 for the trailer ready to camp you come up with 24,000 pounds GCWR. Sadly that number is going to be right at the top of all 1 ton duallies. IMHO you are a good candidate for either a MDT or a 450/4500 class truck. You might find a MDT a better bargain used than a new 4500 series truck. And that is a truck that will tow your monster easily.
I am sorry to say this, but in this case YOU are correct. The 3/4 ton is totally out of the question as are all of the 1 ton SRW trucks.
Thanks! That was very helpful. Anyone want to volunteer to break the news to my husband?

Just out of curiosity... When you say pin weight, do you mean the downward weight into the bed of the truck? Does that have anything to do with the truck's payload capacity? Or do I have my terms mixed up...again?
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyJC

See signature. Our 5th wheel has a 16,000 lb GVWR, and it will scale close to that on any given trip - closer to the GVWR than the unladen weight! The 3500 DRW in the configuration shown below was specifically ordered by us as it has enough GCWR and GVWR to handle our rig.

Brand is up to you, but do the math whatever you select - and DON'T ignore the truck's GVWR by just looking at the fictitious "manufacturer's trailer tow rating".

Rusty
Fictitious trailer tow rating?

In the 2012 Chevy booklet the crew cab maximum trailer weight for the 3500HD big dually long box 2WD is 22,800. It says the GCWR is 30,500. That's with the Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8/Allison 1000 6-speed.

Which part of that is false?
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricandAlice View Post
Just out of curiosity... When you say pin weight, do you mean the downward weight into the bed of the truck? Does that have anything to do with the truck's payload capacity? Or do I have my terms mixed up...again?
Precisely. The pin weight is the weight placed on the truck by the pin box of the 5th wheel. It counts against the truck's GVWR or (again, a fictitious number) the "manufacturer's payload capacity".

The "manufacturer's trailer tow rating" and "manufacturer's payload capacity" are calculated using a base model truck with no options or accessories (such as, for example, a 5th wheel hitch!!) and with only a 150 lb driver. If you compare the truck's curb weight used by the manufacturer with the actual weight of a truck with options and accessories (e.g., the 5th wheel hitch, bed-mounted toolbox, spray-in bedliner, etc.), cargo, real world driver, passengers, pets, etc., you'll find that the actual laden curb weight of the truck can be 1000 lbs or more greater than the manufacturer's curb weight. All of this additional weight must be subtracted from both the "manufacturer's trailer tow rating" and "manufacturer's payload capacity".

Rusty
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricandAlice View Post
Hubby and I haven't purchased a truck yet, but we have finally decided on the 5th wheel. All of my towing experience was pre 13 years old. His towing experience is limited to Uhauls. Needless to say, we have a lot to learn and we're getting a lot of conflicting information. I consider you guys the experts (and I'm pretty sure that one of the sales guys at a dealer we visited had never towed anything in his life.)

So here are the numbers:
5th wheel GVWR is 16250 (from their brochure)
Hitch: 2700
39 1/2 feet long

Our tow vehicle will also be our family car so in order of preference, we'd like diesel:
250/2500
350/3500 SRW
350/3500 DRW

We don't have a preference as to brand or 2x4 or 4x4. We do however need a crew cab because our large dog will be riding with us. The 5-er has the special 88 degree turning cap (which I believe means a standard six and a half foot bed would not be a problem.)

After reading several of the forums here I'm worried that we need a dually. Hubby says we don't have to load the trailer to its max 16250. I don't plan to. The point of all this is traveling light, so to speak. But I'd rather be safe than sorry. I don't plan on taking the 5er anywhere near big mountains. Highways are our friend as far as I'm concerned. We will be full timing for several years, if that makes a difference.

When you guys start talking about hitch weights and engine sizes I get confused, but I'm trying to follow along. LOL

So given the above, what would you buy? (Used is fine.) Thanks!
I am a little confused. If you are planning to spend a lot of time traveling you probably will not be traveling light. Having said that I think the minimum would be a one ton dually diesel. There are many 16,000 pound toyhaulers pulled with a one ton dually in our part of the country. An MDT would be better, of course. Twenty percent pin weight is 3200 pounds in the bed plus all the rest of the stuff you carry in the truck and the dog and people.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jmtandem

I am a little confused. If you are planning to spend a lot of time traveling you probably will not be traveling light. Having said that I think the minimum would be a one ton dually diesel. There are many 16,000 pound toyhaulers pulled with a one ton dually in our part of the country. An MDT would be better, of course. Twenty percent pin weight is 3200 pounds in the bed plus all the rest of the stuff you carry in the truck and the dog and people.
When I say traveling light I simply mean that our house and all our belongings will not be coming with us. In other words, my craft room won't be joining us, lol. We're taking this as an opportunity to downsize for a while.

Last year we rented a class A and at the RV park saw several comparable 5th wheels being towed by 350/3500 duallies. In fact, I noted there was a Chevy parked next to us, I was eying a Dodge down the way, and a lady in a humongous Ford stopped to compliment our dog. The Chevy was hauling a Raptor. So are these folks crazy/ dangerous or did they perhaps order a truck that specially meets their needs?
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #9
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Unfortunately, most believed the salesman at the RV lot who said "Sure, your truck can tow anything I have on the lot" or the truck salesman who said "Why, certainly, this truck can tow a 5th wheel RV with no problem." They never did the math or (at best) looked beyond the brochure weights and ratings of the RV and truck.

Rusty
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:14 AM   #10
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... (and I'm pretty sure that one of the sales guys at a dealer we visited had never towed anything in his life.)
Probably a safe guess.

As has already been said any SRW truck is out of the question for that load and you would even be near the maxiumum of most DRW 3500-class trucks (although often around here it seems that towing at the limit of a SRW courts disater but towing at the limits of a DRW truck... not so much )

At the kind of real (meaning loaded, ready for the road) weights you're talking about and if you want to observe manufacturer's limits exactly then you may well be into MDT range, and that may be more than you want to deal with or pay for, not to mention they don't make a very good family car. If that is the case since you haven't purchased the trailer yet you may want to consider downsizing a bit. Smaller trailer is often an overlooked alternative to bigger truck.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyJC

Precisely. The pin weight is the weight placed on the truck by the pin box of the 5th wheel. It counts against the truck's GVWR or (again, a fictitious number) the "manufacturer's payload capacity".

The "manufacturer's trailer tow rating" and "manufacturer's payload capacity" are calculated using a base model truck with no options or accessories (such as, for example, a 5th wheel hitch!!) and with only a 150 lb driver. If you compare the truck's curb weight used by the manufacturer with the actual weight of a truck with options and accessories (e.g., the 5th wheel hitch, bed-mounted toolbox, spray-in bedliner, etc.), cargo, real world driver, passengers, pets, etc., you'll find that the actual laden curb weight of the truck can be 1000 lbs or more greater than the manufacturer's curb weight. All of this additional weight must be subtracted from both the "manufacturer's trailer tow rating" and "manufacturer's payload capacity".

Rusty
So when the manufacturer measures the truck, they essentially do it dry...? I wonder how much the options in say a chevy LTZ package weigh. I suppose the weight of the hitch would be easier to find out. And a hundred fifty pounds of driver?? Yay. My dog will be able to drive. I'm sure he'd hit every McDonalds between here and Maine.

So let's say the truck weighs 10,000 and the trailer is somehow maxed out at 16,250. Above some percentages were mentioned (obviously weighing the trailer and truck would get a more accurate number.) I saw the number of 3,200 for the pin weight.

So am I understanding correctly that I should add the 3200 to the 10,000? And if so, do I subtract the 3200 from the 16,250 trailer weight?

Pin weight is something that none of the dealers (rv or truck) have discussed with us even though we ask a lot of questions. I want to make sure I'm asking the right questions and able to do my own math. We've met some really nice guys (and that one girl) but I can't help but feel like they'd sell us anything if they could convince us to buy, regardless of whether it'd be the safe/smart choice.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:18 AM   #12
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When I say traveling light I simply mean that our house and all our belongings will not be coming with us. In other words, my craft room won't be joining us, lol. We're taking this as an opportunity to downsize for a while.

Last year we rented a class A and at the RV park saw several comparable 5th wheels being towed by 350/3500 duallies. In fact, I noted there was a Chevy parked next to us, I was eying a Dodge down the way, and a lady in a humongous Ford stopped to compliment our dog. The Chevy was hauling a Raptor. So are these folks crazy/ dangerous or did they perhaps order a truck that specially meets their needs?
Are they crazy? Who knows! Do they have modifications to the one ton dually that helps carry the load? Many add air bags, sway bars, better shocks, overload suspension bumpers and all the mods will help carry the load, not necessarily increase any load carrying capacity, however,

Do those hauling 16-18,000 pound toyhaulers live in them full time or nearly so like you will be doing? Or do they drive 100 miles to the beach or desert and home again once a month? The only thing that matters is what you will be doing with your fifth and truck. Take the fifth's gross weight and use it as your guide for a tow vehicle, thinking you will be at a weight significantly less than that is only false assumptions and even if you really are less than gross it will then give you a little safety cushion. Brochure weights as mentioned before are so underestimated as to be unreliable. In many cases options, batteries, propane and water will add more than 1000 pounds to the brochure weights. And that is before you put anything in the fifth! Then match the truck to the gvwr. As the cowboys of old used to say "you cannot have too much horse".
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by EricandAlice


In the 2012 Chevy booklet the crew cab maximum trailer weight for the 3500HD big dually long box 2WD is 22,800. It says the GCWR is 30,500. That's with the Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8/Allison 1000 6-speed.
I saw a link somewhere to a list of tow ratings from previous years, but I can't find the link right now. I guess what I need to know now is the numbers for the previous years so I can do the math on them and see if any of the big duallies will work and if I can find one. Option two is obviously buying or ordering new. And option 3 is something bigger. There's a 2008 ford f450 at the local lot. At the time I said that's too much truck and kept walking. And yes, option 4 is find a smaller trailer. I seriously don't want to open that can of worms again if at all possible. It's taken us 9 months to get to this point. I want to get on the road.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:29 AM   #14
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Here are the equations I'd keep in my pocket:

Maximum total weight of loaded trailer = Truck's GCWR minus truck's actual laden curb weight (LCW)

Maximum pin weight of loaded trailer = Truck's GVWR minus truck's actual laden curb weight (LCW)

A conservative approach is to use the RV's GVWR for the total weight of the loaded trailer and 20% (for a 5th wheel) or 12% (for a bumper pull - TT) of the RV's GVWR for the pin or hitch weight of the loaded trailer.


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