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Old 08-06-2014, 11:36 AM   #1
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Location: Muscle Shoals, AL/Helen, GA
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Prepping F250 for Fifth Wheel

I've been preparing 2003 F250 truck this week to tow my new Grand Design Reflection 323BHS. It' a 2000 lb. Pin weight and 11K lb. (dry) trailer--perfect for a 3/4 ton.

Started out with Curt custom frame mounts for the cross rails. They fit well, however the holes provided no where matched the holes on my frame. It took a bunch of progressive drilling from 1/8" to 1/2". And I went to Fastenal to pickup 6 more 1/2" nuts and bolts.

I also assembled and mounted the B&W Patriot 16K hitch. Needless to say, it's an incredible piece--well engineered and built.

Then, I went to the Air Ride rear suspension. Looking at their instruction manual, I could have just as soon been reading in Russian. The manual made absolutely no sense, and I've never seen so many nuts and bolts. Air Ride installation videos are on UTube.com, and I finally followed an assembly visually. Air Ride really should assemble their kits--or put out instruction video DVD's.

Hopefully I'll finish mounting the air bags this afternoon.

Then, I've got to install D-P Tuner's F5 chip with stock, 60 hp tow mode and 80 hp econo mode built in. I'm already running the 80 hp flash, but my current transmission program won't tow more than 8000 lbs.

I also have a TruCool auxiliary tranny cooler, and it's supposed to be a quick and easy installation. They're a must on any heavy hauler.

Need to get off this computer and get to work. We're picking the new fifth wheel up noon Friday and towing it 20 miles to Pigeon Forge--nice and flat drive from Knoxville.

We're going to leave it in storage close to the dealer in case any bugs need to be worked out. It'll be kept 150 miles south in the North GA Mountains.

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Old 08-06-2014, 11:57 AM   #2
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Location: Texas hillcountry USA
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We pull our 32' Holiday Rambler fiver (about same weight as yours) with a 2002 F350 DRW four door 4x4 7.3L diesel long bed. Loaded down, the fiver scales out at 14,000 pounds.

Don't let the airbags give you the false confidence that you can ignore pin weight. Be sure and actually weigh the trailer and determine actual total weight and pin weight. Axle and tire weight limits remain the same even if you put on air bags. Air bags are good to adjust headlight aiming, they do not add GVWR to the truck.RV brochure figures often lie/only show weight of a base unit without options. Your rig may be heavier, a lot heavier!

Hope you have the 7.3 diesel and auto transmission.

I suggest you invest in some good gauges (especially exhaust gas temperature and transmission temp) Do not trust the in dash trans temp gauge.
When in hills I always drive according to the exhaust gas temp. and the trans. temp.

When we first got our rig I changed to Royal Purple synthetic transmission fluid. We now have about 170,000 miles on the truck. No engine or transmission problems. FYI our truck is NOT chipped.

Here is where I got my gauges years ago
Performance Gauges for Diesel Trucks from ISSPRO and Autometer

Forgot to add....Prodigy brake controller is one of the best.

Robert & Nancy with "Murphy the EOG"
Murphy has passed on, but Micah and Bogie have assumed the watch! 02 Holiday Rambler 5ver, 2015 Indian Chief Vintage. 98 Coachmen truck camper.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:36 PM   #3
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dry weight is useless unless you plan on never putting in the trailer which is why it is best to use the trailers GVWR for planning purposes. However, unless you are going full time, you may never get to the GVWR. i suggest you split the difference and use 20% of the trailer weight as the pin weight.

If you have a diesel, I agree with the gauges. Good to know what is going on. Make sure you have a good, high quality brake controller.
John, Joyce & Libby the Yellow Lab. - Fulltime since `08

2005 Kountry Star FW-35LKSA by Newmar
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
I've been preparing 2003 F250 truck this week to tow my new Grand Design Reflection 323BHS. It' a 2000 lb. Pin weight and 11K lb. (dry) trailer--perfect for a 3/4 ton.
You have been led down the primrose path. So you're going to be severely overloaded with that trailer on your third camping trip.

GVWR is 13,995. Dry hitch weight is 18.6% of dry trailer weight, so you can expect at least that much when loaded and on the road. Loaded lightly, the 5er will probably gross around 13,000 pounds, so 18.6% of that is a bit more than 2,400 pounds hitch weight (pin weight).

You don't give details of your pickup, so I'll assume the same as my '99.5 F-250: CrewCab 4x2 with 7.3L diesel and automatic. GCWR 20,000 pounds, which you'll exceed if you load the trailer to 13,000 pounds. GVWR is 8,800 pounds. I was overloaded over the GVWR with my 25' 5er that weighed about 8,000 pounds with 1,200 pounds pin weight. And that was with my 4x2. If your truck is 4x4, then that's another 400 pounds of road huggin' weight you'll be overloaded with.

We're picking the new fifth wheel up noon Friday and towing it 20 miles to Pigeon Forge--nice and flat drive from Knoxville.
We were there in June. Darling Daughter lives west of Knoxville, and she took us to see Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede on the other side of town. Good show.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:15 PM   #5
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Just don't overload your rear axles and tires. I am sure you will do fine.
I was asked once if I had air bags at the border, I don't have and added spring plies instead so was cleared. I tow a 15500 lbs unit with my F250. But it's an 05 with combined weight rating of 23400 lbs.
Barbara and Laurent, Hartland Big Country 3500RL. 39 ft long and 15500 GVW.
2005 Ford F250 SD, XL F250 4x4, Long Box, 6.0L Diesel, 6 Speed Stick, Hypertech Max Energy for Fuel mileage of 21 MPusG empty, 12.6 MPusG pulling the BC. ScangaugeII for display..
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