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Old 02-28-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
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Total Confusion

I am planning to buy a small 5er in the range from 24-1/2' to 27'. The units I am looking at have a GVWR between 8,100 lbs. and 11,200 lbs. First, I need to buy a truck - thus the confusion. I have read a bunch, and only get more confused.

I would expect to be driving it up to 15k miles a year, with a lot of the miles in the mountains. With these light units, would a gas engine be suitable, or should I stick with diesel? If I do go with diesel, do I need to add an exhaust brake?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Joel
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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I would recommend a diesel engine in any major tow vehicle. I did tow three times on flat land with a gasser. A 2001 2500 Chevy extend cab with the 6L gas engine and tow/haul on the automatic Trans, 3:73 gears. I told the wife after the last time we towed to WI, never again either the camper goes or we get a new truck with a diesel engine.
What you need to consider are your needs for the future, will you grow out of the 5er in the near future. I know we did after two seasons we bought a bigger unit my truck can still tow the new unit that we bought.
I would suggest that you look at a 1 ton SRW truck or dually with a 6 spd auto and 4:10 gears. All of the big three Dodge, Chevy, and Ford now offer exhaust brakes as standard with their diesel engines. Dodge was the first; this was back in 07.5 with the introduction of the 6.7L Cummins.
Here is a PDF booklet to help you review a diesel truck and how to buy a used or new one.
http://www.turbodieselregister.com/magazines/buyersguide.phtml
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:51 PM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestions, although I think that a 1 ton is probably overkill for the small 5er. We are moving up from 12 years in a 19' class B. I don't
think that we will ever go bigger than a 27' unit. Even that size will make it tough to get into some of the more remote locations that we like.

Joel
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:58 PM   #4
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Are you looking for a new truck or used. It can mke a huge difference especially between a '01 gas engine truck and the new gen same gas engine truck. Apples vs oranges in pulling ability and tow ratings.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:21 PM   #5
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I've been thinking in terms of a roughly 3 to 5 year old used truck.

Joel
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:20 AM   #6
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J Birder..........

Just returned to Iowa from New Orleans (Mardi Gras) with our 35' fifth wheel that states a dry weight of 9100 Ibs. We use a 2005 Chevy 2500HD crew 4X4 with the 6.0 gasser, 410 rear end. The only times I wished I had a bigger truck was when the wind is blowing. Most of our travels are on relatively flat roads and if the wind is not an issue I am able to use the cruise without major downshifting. When the wind is blowing I just quit using cruise and motor on. Just could not justify the extra dollars for a diesel when most of our travels are close and when we're not camping the truck only makes very short trips around our small town. I also did notice that diesel was roughly .40 to .45 cents higher then gas from Iowa to Louisiana.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:42 AM   #7
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I too recommend going with the diesel. There is no such thing as over kill in my opinion. Having a bigger truck with a diesel just gives you a lot more control over what you are hauling, its not always what weight you can pull but what weight you can stop, especially in the mountains, breaking systems on diesel trucks are usually built a lot more rugged. If your looking at that 27' at 11,200 lbs you will also appreciate the extra torque that diesel will give you.

I used to have a F150 with a 5.4 and towed a 5000 lb TT, when I moved up to the diesel F350 with the 6.4, WOW what a difference. Now I have a 28' 5vr weighing in at 11,400, I have way more performance and control than I did with the old rig, don’t get me wrong, the old setup was great and handled OK, but the new setup is so much better.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:52 PM   #8
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A properly equipped 3/4 ton diesel would work fine. Watch the trucks GVWR and rear axle GAWR and the trailer pin weight. A typical 5er will have a loaded pin weight around 20% of the trailers GVWR.

Ken
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:09 PM   #9
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A 3-5 year old 2500 diesel will work. Also in those year models the Ford V-10 and GMs 8.1 gas big blocks were power houses although fuel thirsty compared to a Cummins or Dmax of that era.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Birder View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, although I think that a 1 ton is probably overkill for the small 5er. We are moving up from 12 years in a 19' class B. I don't
think that we will ever go bigger than a 27' unit. Even that size will make it tough to get into some of the more remote locations that we like.

Joel
Joel;
The difference between a diesel engine 1 ton SRW truck and a 3/4 ton SRW truck is very slight. Were you get the added ability is GCVW and the GVW of the 1 ton truck.
As an example for what is different between the 2500H/3500HD truck, I used a 2008 Ram diesel truck as an example, both are Ram Mega cabs with 6 spd auto, 3:73 gears, 4X4.
The GVW of a 25000HD is 9,000 LBS and the GCVW is 20,000 LBS for the 3500HD the GVW is 10,100 LBS and the GCVW is 21,000 LBS. This added ability to carry/tow more maybe the difference of towing whatever trailer you buy.
Jim W.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Birder View Post
Thanks for the suggestions, although I think that a 1 ton is probably overkill for the small 5er. We are moving up from 12 years in a 19' class B. I don't
think that we will ever go bigger than a 27' unit. Even that size will make it tough to get into some of the more remote locations that we like.

Joel
An 11k 5th wheel is not 'small,' especially when you can plan on around 20% as pin weight. I think I said something about "don't think we'll go bigger" a number of years ago and an number of RVs ago!
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