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Old 05-17-2008, 11:11 PM   #1
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How many of you guys out there are towing your 5th wheel trailer or 5th wheel Toy Hauler with a lifted truck? I have a newer Chevy truck with 6" of lift and 35" tires. Depending on who I talk to, some say that it's too tall to safely tow a 5th wheel behind, and that I'm limited to a bumper pull, while others say no problem. So I have a 28' Bumper Pull, which actually measures more like 33' from tongue to bumper, and that's pretty long! I'm kind of wishing I could pull like a 30' 5th wheel, which would be like a 25' bumper pull. What do you guys think? I want to be able to pull this down the highway at 65 mph with no worries, and be able to get it around in tight areas also. Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:11 PM   #2
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How many of you guys out there are towing your 5th wheel trailer or 5th wheel Toy Hauler with a lifted truck? I have a newer Chevy truck with 6" of lift and 35" tires. Depending on who I talk to, some say that it's too tall to safely tow a 5th wheel behind, and that I'm limited to a bumper pull, while others say no problem. So I have a 28' Bumper Pull, which actually measures more like 33' from tongue to bumper, and that's pretty long! I'm kind of wishing I could pull like a 30' 5th wheel, which would be like a 25' bumper pull. What do you guys think? I want to be able to pull this down the highway at 65 mph with no worries, and be able to get it around in tight areas also. Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:45 AM   #3
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Ryan,

It would depend on the trailer's overhang height and how much bedrail clearance you'd have using the lifted truck. You'll need 6-8" of clearance and will want the trailer fairly close to level while towing.

Take some measurements and do a little figuring before buying the fiver.
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:26 AM   #4
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If you don't have enough adjustability in the factory suspension (assuming the 5th wheel has a typical Dexter-type solid axle and leaf spring suspension), you may wind up having to construct a 2"x6" rectangular tubing subframe to go below the existing frame and to which the suspension would be attached. This would raise the 5th wheel 6" to match your truck's lift. A qualified trailer fabrication company could handle the construction and installation of such a subframe.

Having said that, the center of gravity of the 5th wheel will now be 6" higher which could have some handling implications (i.e., roll in turns, etc.) In addition, the overall height of the 5th wheel needs to be considered - our 13'2" 5th wheel would be 13'8" after the mod, so some overpasses, bridges, etc. could present a problem. Also, you might have to change out the entry steps - go from 3 to 4 steps - or use some sort of portable step to get from the ground to the bottom step of the 5th wheel.

Lifted trucks aren't the ideal tow vehicle for a 5th wheel, but with some work, it can be done. A short bed truck presents another potential set of problems with cab-to-5th wheel clearance that could require a sliding 5th wheel hitch, but that's another subject.

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Old 05-18-2008, 07:45 AM   #5
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As noted above, height and center of gravity will become an issue. The last thing you need to do is to make the rig less stable by farther increasing the height.

While the lift on the truck may look great, you may want to consider taking it back to stock height and tires to get the maximum capacity when towing. The lift and larger tires will usually lower your towing capacity.

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Old 05-21-2008, 10:03 PM   #6
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Well that's certainly not going to happen!!! I spent alot of money to get my truck where I like it. It pulls my bumper pull TH fine, I was just curious about my options with pulling a 5th wheel as I've heard mixed opinions.
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:43 PM   #7
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Yes Ryan, that's the reality. If you want to pull a fiver then you need to set up for doing that. Lifted trucks do not do that well. Not to say you can't do it, just not as well as you might like to.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:18 AM   #8
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I've heard different people say it's as simple as just flipping the axles - run the leaf springs over the axles instead of under - and easy process - gain an extra few inches in height - and everything is great. I understand then that the trailer's center of gravity is a few inches higher, I'm just trying decide if that's really going to make that much of a difference - some people say you don't even notice it, others say you do. So that's my delima I'm pondering. Lowering the truck back down and putting tiny tires on it is definitely not going to happen ever!!! So I'm just trying to do my homework to decide what I'm going to do. Worst case scenario is I just keep my big new bumper pull Desert Fox.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:48 AM   #9
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Lifted trucks and fifth wheels are a major accident looking for a place to happen. Typically a lift kit changes the rear springs, and those springs can be softer thereby lowering the load carrying capacity of the truck. Adding a fifth wheel to the mix places 20% of the fivers GVWR onto the truck directly over the rear axle. That is if you are actually able to get the fiver high enough in the air to have it ride level. This generally requires adding a sub frame to give you the required added lift. So now you have a fancy new fiver with a welded on sub frame and the frame breaks. Who to blame? Fifth wheels are high enough off the ground now, raising them an additional 6 inches or so is not a real good option. Pulling a TT with a lifted truck because of the excessive drop hitch is a pain enough. Why would you want to submit yourself to more punishment?
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:26 AM   #10
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i pulled a 33' 5'r with my F350 (4x4 so it has the 4" blocks in back as versus 2") although it wasn't lifted as much then as it is now. My tires are 33". I have airbags in back so that pushed the bed up another 1" or so. Trailer had flipped axles.

Ryan, your initial post only questions 'driving down the freeway and being able to get it around in tight areas'.
Obviously raising the COG isn't anyone's direct goal but doing those two things you mentioned is where i had the least concerns.
I became more aware when i was offroad, either getting the rig a little squirrely while in loose uneven sand (unpredictable results) or when going thru forest type fields going over unseen logs and dips (unpredictable results).
That is where the higher COG made me brows furrow.
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:53 AM   #11
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I did exactly what you are talking about (raising a 30' toyhauler).

"Flipping the axles" is a bit of a misnomer. Axles are bowed so they provide correct camber when loaded, so they need to stay right side up.

Anyway, I did that on my 30' Patio Hauler toyhauler. On some 5th wheels you can end up with a "baby buggy" effect that doesn't look right. I don't think mine is too bad that way.



I bought new spring perches, and brought the axles to a professional welder to have them welded to the top. I left the stock spring perches in place, so if it handled poorly (or if the next owner wanted it low) it would be simple to put back. It was also handy to not cut off the stock perches, so I could line up and square the new perches using the stock ones as a point of reference.

The results tow just fine. It is stable and tracks fine, lots of clearance above the bed (stock Ram 4x4) when set to tow level.

If you relocate the axle to below the spring pack, you will gain the thickness of the spring pack plus the diameter of the axle and twice the height of the spring perch.

I don't know if that would clear a truck as tall as yours probably is, though.

Yesterday I brought home a 40' Patio Hauler, but it has enough clearance I hopefully won't have to lift it.



Today is going to be spent getting the ATV's and camping gear moved into the 40, so I can get the 30 footer ready to sell.

I have to back around a 90 degree blind side corner while going through a gate to get into my back yard. With that 40 foot thing getting through the gate is hard enough without having to worry about missing the 30 footer that is also parked in my back yard.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:59 PM   #12
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I see 4 problems. In no particular order

First there's the significant effect on the over all gear ratio of the 35" tires. Those tires effectively change your axle ratio from 3.73 to 3.30. That's like making a 6% grade a 6.8% grade.

Second, a 5ver has clearance issues between the bed and the nose of the coach. A 6" lift might make those issues a real problem.

Third, any time you raise the center of gravity of a vehicle, you reduce its stability. I lifted a K2500 Suburban a few years ago for serious off-road work. It worked well off road, but the 'burb was clearly much less stable than our other K2500 'burb at stock height. Going from one to the other on a daily basis made the difference quite clear.

Fourth, is the issue of braking. 35" tires weigh about 60% more than the OE tires. This has a significant impact on the TV's braking ability. When braking, you aren't just slowing down the forward motion of the vehicle, you are slowing the rotational speed of the tire/wheel assembly. When you make large increases to the weight of the tire/wheel assembly you make equally large reductions in the ability of the braking system to slow that assembly. The last thing I want to do with a TV is to reduce it's braking ability.
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:55 PM   #13
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Granted, it isn't the ideal combination...

I didn't really notice any change in stability when I raised my 5th wheel, but then I tend to drive and corner very conservatively.
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Old 12-14-2008, 05:33 AM   #14
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Well put Steve!
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