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Old 09-10-2014, 10:55 PM   #1
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Novice Questions to make you guys LAUGH

OK for what its worth I did try to find some post on this but no luck so far. Also, we just sold our Class A to convert to a 5er, currently between a 32 ft National at 11k weight and a36 ft Jayco at about 10 k UVW numbers.

So, when I first started driving our 39 ft gass Class A I had a lot to learn. Wide turns, caution at gas stations so my big rear end didn't take out the pump. Bumps, and movement. Roll, pitch, yaw - all were unfamiliar and had to get used to it.

So here I am, about to buy a 5er and have NO experience driving one. By the way, no truck yet. Will get a used one, probably Ford, undecided between 250 & 350 but diesel for sure.

So:
What does it feel like to drive this rig?

Are gas stations a challenge?

Are wide turns as necessary as on a Class A? (no articulation there).

DW would not drive Class A. You think she'll be more open to 5er since she sits in the truck?

If truck suspension is appropriate, is rig suspension always ok as well or are there upgrades advised?

What would be a nerve racking situation? Or are there any?

No hitch purchased yet. Does the brand matter or do they all perform about the same? Will get long bed so no slider needed.

Thanks,
Comments welcome and you can laugh or joke me as much as you wish. Go for it.

take care
PS I do reply on the other forums I know a bit about
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:05 PM   #2
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No laughing as we all were in the same boat at one time or other.

Lots of questions and some are too vague to give answers.

Driving a 5er will take a bit of getting used to. Having the right combination of truck and trailer will make the towing easier.

As always take it easy when you start out and gradually increase speed etc as your skill level and confidence increase.

If you can take the unit to an empty parking lot and practice turns and backing the unit up. The 5er will have more swing than the ClA.

Good luck with your new unit.

Wave as you pass by. We will recognize you by the big grins.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:07 PM   #3
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John , a few answers from my VERY limited experience . You have to watch your height in the gas stations . 5ers don't back up like a bumper pull does so it takes some learning . You do have to take corners wider , but I could not tell you if they need to be taken wider than what you did in your coach . I don't notice a whole lot of pitch and yaw when going down the highway , but our rig is only a 28 footer. I have a reese hitch and like it , but I don't have anything to compare it to . As far as your wife being able to drive , I am sure she is capable of it , question is , is she comfortable with driving it . Maybe let her drive a bit on a highway through Kansas or somewhere similar where it is just flat and straight . Might build a bit of confidence and set her at ease . We like our 5er , hope you like yours as well.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:02 AM   #4
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One of the many great things about diesel is fuleing up at truck stops and using the trucker lanes. No worries about manuvering around autos and fule pumps. I find that the Flying-J's are kept the cleanest and you don't step in a pool of diesel when you get out of your truck. Plus the DEF is 1/3 price at the pump than buying boxes at Walmart.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:22 AM   #5
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The first single thing that can skunk the punk or screw the pooch is the pin weight of the unit. Lots of trucks can tow a load, but cannot handle the pin weight of the fiver.. Knowing this may put you into a 3500 (or 350). These come in single wheel and dual wheel models. Know before you buy anything.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:59 PM   #6
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I agree and understand BUT where the heck can I get pin weight capacities for a truck.
I have looked online a lot, and I have found many truck towing capacity charts and lists. They all give the towing capacity, but ONLY one number, the total weight. So for a given truck it may say you can tow 12,000 or 16,000 pounds. But NOWHERE can I find a chart / table of "PIN WEIGHT capacities.

I have read its on the door of the truck, but we will purchase both a truck and a 5th wheel over the next month and I need data to be informed and safe in our travels. So I can't look on a door. I need to know if I'm looking at say a 2006 Ford F-350 SRW what will that handle and do I need OR Not need a DRW.


Any ideas? Anyone?
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:05 PM   #7
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Get a truck bigger than you think you'll need, preferably a dually. You probably won't have to make as wide a turn as with your class A, but as another said, watch your height. You still have rear-end swing to deal with. For me, I had a Chevy crew cab dually and a Jayco 30 foot Designer Series. Well under the weight for my truck, but it was nowhere near as fun to drive as my Class A and a lot harder to back than a TT. It served its purpose for the time.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:15 PM   #8
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I have a question for the OP, any insight on why you are making the switch? We have been thinking the opposite (going to a 36' class A). After getting close to pulling the trigger I got stage fright on the repair costs (ie, freight liner /cummins/etc). The repair costs to keep my 3500 cummins dually and 35' trailer running are pretty small by comparison.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:32 PM   #9
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There is no pin wgt chart... MOST of the time the rear axle rating and tires are the limiting factors...

look at the rated rear GAWR and the 'carrying capacity' of that axle...

Say a 350 has a RGAWR of 6200 lbs,
say you weigh the truck ready to tow and the rear scale says 4200 lbs,
that means you can have a pin wgt of 2000 lbs MAX.

for sure, get a 350 or 3500 with the max gvwr you can afford because you WILL be upgrading rv's

good luck !
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:39 PM   #10
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I did exactly what you are considering years ago. I never wanted a Class A and the extra maintenance, insurance, repairs, etc. Then, I realized I had a truck who's sole purpose was pulling my 5th wheel. When I added up the cost of both the truck and 5th wheel, I found I could afford a really nice Class A for the same money.

In my mind, there's really no difference as far as maintenance, costs, etc. The Class A is MUCH nicer to drive. It's like sitting in your living room with a big picture window and just cruise on down the road. It nearly drives itself, I'm just there for reassurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjlakatos View Post
I have a question for the OP, any insight on why you are making the switch? We have been thinking the opposite (going to a 36' class A). After getting close to pulling the trigger I got stage fright on the repair costs (ie, freight liner /cummins/etc). The repair costs to keep my 3500 cummins dually and 35' trailer running are pretty small by comparison.
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:28 PM   #11
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From OP:

1. Thanks. At least I can stop looking for a chart that doesn't exist, ie on pin weight ratings. Best I found was on Ford site saying to use15 to 25% of the tow rating.

2. To bjlakatos: We enjoyed our Class A. It was a 40 ft gas. Reasons to change were: DW would not drive but will drive a truck with 5er. Also, we can sell and get enough funds to buy used 5er, upgrade truck and have plenty of travel funds left over. Also never setup for towing and didn't want to. More cost to do that vs more travel cash. Lastly was PURPOSE to have it. The Class A was used to simply escape a few hours away from hectic city life when we worked. Not to travel. We load up with great food and movies, drive 3-4 hours away and hide for a long weekend. Today we are now retired, want to travel, and the 5er setup will yield a vehicle to get around in at say, the Grand Canyon. For us PERSONALLY it made sense. But wouldn't for many folks and I can respect that.

To topdownman: I understand. We had a gas unit so VERY LOW maintenance I could do myself in a few hours. You said a NICE A so I assume a DP which would have lots of power and would handle much better than a gasserr. So your choice makes sense. I'd love a great DP with a tow vehicle, but we just could not swing that.

Thanks all: Perhaps keep this post alive as it seems to have some good feedback from all you folks.

Later
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:48 PM   #12
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John I had an 06 f350 with a 6 litre engine. I would suggest you stay away from that engine. It is a problematic engine. We upgraded too a 2011 6.7 litre F350 and it is an amazing difference. If you were considering a slightly older pickup...maybe think about a ram 3500. I'm a ford guy but until they came out with the 6.7 litre engine, the trucks had problems. Good luck with getting a 5er and truck
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Old 09-13-2014, 02:32 AM   #13
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You are going to get alot of different answers as you put out alot of questions;

My wife and I just switched back to a fifth wheel after having 2 very nice motorhomes, a Newmar and our last was a Holiday Rambler 42' with a tag....

Don't let anyone tell you that they are operating a large MH for the same price as a TV and a sizable fifth wheel. There is a BIG difference. Even if you are doing most of the maintenance yourself.

I have used this example before;
2 new 315 steer tires for my last coach were $2000 CDN and it had 8! In comparision I just put 6 new Michelin on my Ram 3500 for $2200.

1. As far as payloads capacities go, have a look online. Most are available as downloadable PDF files. Get the build sheets for the trucks you are looking at and have a very close look at axle ratings, GVWR and CGVWR. Try to buy the truck that leaves you wiggle room for all of the extra stuff you may want to haul around with you OR if you want to upsize your trailer down the road.

2. For your fifthwheel try to pick a coach that has the right floor plan and the space that you need and think that you will want in the future. Depending on your budget you are going to find that they are all very similiar if you are comparing apples to apples. I suggest you buy from a manufacturer that has BONA FIDE after purchase support. This makes a big difference.
Get in as many as you can and quality differences will soon become apparent.

3. Don't worry about how they drive, fifthwheels handle nice when they are put together by a good manufacturer, loaded properly and following the correct TV. (Our first 5ver was a POS 26' that chucked and banged on the hitch worst than a 42' toyhauler we had a few years later!) Buy the best trailer your budget allows you!

4. Continue to ask as many questions as you can - we can all learn from each other.



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Old 09-13-2014, 08:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnandcaren View Post
I agree and understand BUT where the heck can I get pin weight capacities for a truck.
You have to do a bit of 8th-grade math. The GVWR of the truck is on the sticker on the door. Know the approximate weight of the truck when wet and loaded with 5er hitch but no trailer. I can give you the numbers for Ford:

For a decent-sized 5er, you want a 2011-up F-350 SRW with diesel engine. If you go for the most popular, it will be a CrewCab 4x4 with GVWR of 11,500 pounds. The wet and loaded truck will gross about 9,000 pounds, leaving about 2,500 pounds for maximum hitch weight. 2500 pounds hitch weight is a 5er with 20% hitch weight with GVWR of about 12,500 pounds. A 12,500 pound 5er would give you zero wiggle room, so I'd limit the trailer to one with a GVWR of 12,000 pounds.

If you want a heavier 5er, then forget about the single rear wheels. You need a dually. The 2011-up F-350 DRW has GVWR of about 14,000 pounds, and will weigh about 9,500 when wet and loaded for the road. So that's a huge 5er with hitch weight around 4,000 pounds and GVWR of around 20,000 pounds. Lots of nice luxury 5ers have GVWR of 17,500 to 18,000, so that's the most truck you should need.

The 2011-up F-350 DRW has GCWR of about 30,000 pounds, which is all you need for a 5er with GVWR of less than 20k.

Quote:
I have looked online a lot, and I have found many truck towing capacity charts and lists. They all give the towing capacity, but ONLY one number, the total weight. So for a given truck it may say you can tow 12,000 or 16,000 pounds. But NOWHERE can I find a chart / table of "PIN WEIGHT capacities.
Yeah, and the tow rating is overstated by several thousand pounds. For example, the CrewCab diesel has a tow rating over 22k, but the real-world tow rating is about 20k.

Quote:
Any ideas? Anyone?
I don't know much about the Fiat and Government Motors trucks. For a Ford, buy a 2011-up diesel. Earlier Ford diesels were problematic. Then if you settle for an SRW truck, keep the GVWR of the 5er down to 12k or less. If your Darling Wife (DW) insists on a trailer with more than 12k GVWR, then go for a dually.
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