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Old 05-15-2014, 11:01 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle question

I posted here recently about towing capacity of my 1999 F250 Super duty and it's towing capacity I found out that I like many other newbies into the 5er market, made the mistake of buying a vehicle that wouldn't work for my purposes. After I received my education about GVWR and GCWR and rear axle ratings, I realized that I could not safely tow what I want to get in a 5er.
I want to get a 5th wheel that is 32-36 feet with at least 2 and preferably 3 slides, so that I can live in it for a few years until I retire, pay it off and then do a lot of traveling. I want to keep it in the $15-20,000 range. I have looked at a lot of units, including Montana, Nu Wa, Excel, etc. Those in my price range, seem to range in year from 2000 to 2007. They also seem to weigh in at 10,000 to 12,000 empty which I equate to 12-14,000 loaded.
It would appear that I need at least a 1 ton vehicle to tow this. I understand the superiority of diesel in many ways, but I also understand the higher maintenance costs. I want to keep the cost of the truck under $15,000 and as been pointed out in these forums, a diesel in that price range is usually very high mileage and although the engine may last, a lot of other mechanical parts won't. The issues with gas, is that sometimes the towing capacity is less. Also, I will towing very little for the next couple of years and mostly just need a vehicle to do short hops and not long hauls. When I get ready to do lots of traveling, I'll get a diesel for sure.
I'm looking at a 2006 Silverado 3500 with the 8.1 gas engine, but having a real hard time finding GVWR and GCWR on this vehicle to find out how heavy a 5er I could tow with it? The GVWR and GCWR on the Durmax diesel seem to be 11,400# and 23,500#. I'm not too concerned about the GVWR, because I don't think the pin weight even loaded will go much about 3000# and the payload for this truck is 4584# and the real GVW is around 7400#. If I've calculated my figures correctly that should give me about 4000# to load on the truck and up to 16,000# towing before I hit GCWR limits. (I realize that I need to take into account stuff that I put in the 5er and the real test of the pudding are the CAT scales.
The diesel vehicles I have looked at are mostly the F350 with the 7.3 because I've heard about it's reliability. I'm having trouble figuring out if an older one (2000-2003) has the capacity to handle that much weight? The Trailer Life towing guide seems to indicate that it's 5er towing capacity is 12,500-13000# if it has a higher ratio rear end like a 4.10.
So if any of you can steer me to better information about the Silverado (I went to the Chevy dealer and theyor the older F350's, I'd appreciate it.
I already am going to take the financial hit selling my 99 F250 that I just bought, so I don't want to make the same mistake twice. I also don't want to limit my ability to purchase a 5er I like because it's too heavy.
Thanks for any help you can give. Rod
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:01 AM   #2
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Was the Silverado , 2wd, 4x4 , SRW or dually, box length 8' ? , and rear end ratio if you can find out. An old neighbor of mine still works for GM. Maybe he can find out the #s for you.
5ers handle best , with a minimum of 15% of their total weight on the pin, 18>20 % even better if the truck will handle it, so I think if you keep the 3,000 lbs pin weight in mind when looking at RAWR you should be fine . Somewhere , I have a book with all the weights from my last 5er, and even though the hitch is placed forward of the rear axle of the truck when installed , only 2% of the pin weight shows up on the front axle.
Remember the weight of the hitch has to figure into your load on the truck.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by gottular1249 View Post
They also seem to weigh in at 10,000 to 12,000 empty which I equate to 12-14,000 loaded.
Faulty logic. It may be about right for a weekend camper, but most full-timers load the trailer to the GVWR or more when moving from one location to another. So plan on the trailer grossing about the GVWR of the trailer.


Quote:
The issues with gas, is that sometimes the towing capacity is less.
2002 Ford F-350 DRW:
with v-10 gas engine and 4.30 axle ratio, 11,200 GVWR, 20,000 GCWR,13,500 tow rating
with 7.3L diesel engine and 3.73 or 4.10 axle ratio, 11,500 GVWR, 20,000 GCWR. 13,000 tow rating

The tow rating is optimistic by at least 1,000 pounds, so that's not enough truck for your dream full-timer 5er without being overloaded.

2006 GM 3500 DRW with 8.1L gas engine:

Almost identical specs to the older Ford, so that's not enough truck for your dream RV either.

Ford pumped up the towing specs for 2005-up F-350 DRW to 13,000 GVWR and 23,500 GCWR, so that would be barely enough truck for your trailer - if you didn't try to haul everything in the truck when moving locations.

For an "affordable" tow vehicle" within your budget, you need at least an F-450 or GM or Ram 4500 chassis cab truck with an aftermarket tow body. A "tow body" can be as simple as a flatbed with a 5er hitch, or as fancy as a Western Hauler or Herrin Hauler. Yes, they made lots of them, and a few of them are on the market today, but they're hard to find. Also an MDT truck conversion such as an International 4300 or 4700 with a tow body. They made lots of those too.

Example: 2008 Ford F550 Xlt, Sandy UT - 111858548 - CommercialTruckTrader.com

GVWR 17,500, so that one will handle the hitch weight of even the heaviest Excel 5er, plus anything you can tie onto the bed when moving locations. GCWR 26,000 or 33,000, so even if it's only 26k it will handle an 18k Excel.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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Towing Guides | fleet.ford.com

Another option would be to look for a F350 with a 3V V10 and automatic transmission with a 4:30 gear. The V10 is very low maintenance and very reliable. The 5 speed 5R110W transmission is as bullet proof you can get. With proper care they last for hundreds of thousands of miles. It was common to see a Superduty come by the dealer with high 200K or 300K on the clock and the transmission has never been touched. There was a fleet of inner city transit vans (E450 long people movers) and they would last over 200K in stop and go city driving non stop.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:45 PM   #5
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Stick with your F250 and the 7.3 motor. (I'm in the same boat with my 2003 F250.) Remember that the only difference between your truck and a F350 single rear tire is a leaf in the rear springs.

If you'll add the following items, you can tow up to 14K lbs.:
Air suspension for your rear axle with a in cab controlled compressor.
Better air intake--preferably the Ford H.D. air box made by Donaldson.
Power programmer for your engine--I'm using a D-P Tuner 40 hp tow mode.
Set of gauges, including pyrometer, boost gauge and transmission cooler.
TruKool auxillary transmission cooler ($150), or one made by B&M

Also have your truck aligned, and have the shop carefully check out your suspension and shock absorbers to make sure that they're @ 100%. 3/4 ton trucks eat lower ball joints and tie rod ends.

With these few items, you'll be up to handling a little more weight.
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:21 PM   #6
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Stick with your F250 and the 7.3 motor. (I'm in the same boat with my 2003 F250.) Remember that the only difference between your truck and a F350 single rear tire is a leaf in the rear springs.
Misinformation.

Using 2002 specs for example, the rear spring packs in F-250 and F-350 SRW are both rated for 6,830 pounds. Overload springs were standard on the F-350 SRW but were optional on the F-250. However, overload springs do not change the weight rating of the rear spring pack.

However, the rear axles are different. F-250 rear axles are rated for 6,084 pounds @ground, while F-350 SRW rear axles are rated for 6,830 pounds@ground.

And the different rear axles is the reason for the different rear GAWR. F-250s have rear GAWR of 6,084 while F-350 SRWs have rear GAWR of 6,830.

Stock-size tires were also different. F-250 stock-size tires were rated 3,042 pounds while the F-350 SRW stock size tires were rated 3,415 pounds. And again, the F-350 SRW tires were optional on the F-250. So if your F-250 has overload springs and F-350 SRW tires, then the only difference would be in the rear axles.

You cannot "beef up" the rear axle. The only way to make it equal to the rear axle of an F-350 SRW is to replace the axle with one rated for 6,830 pounds @ground. The same axles were used in SuperDuty trucks from the early '99 thru the 2004 model year. So find a '99 thru '04 F-350 SRW in a boneyard and rescue the rear axle.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
I'm looking at a 2006 Silverado 3500 with the 8.1 gas engine, but having a real hard time finding GVWR and GCWR on this vehicle to find out how heavy a 5er I could tow with it? The GVWR and GCWR on the Durmax diesel seem to be 11,400# and 23,500#. I'm not too concerned about the GVWR, because I don't think the pin weight even loaded will go much about 3000# and the payload for this truck is 4584# and the real GVW is around 7400#. If I've calculated my figures correctly that should give me about 4000# to load on the truck and up to 16,000# towing before I hit GCWR limits. (I realize that I need to take into account stuff that I put in the 5er and the real test of the pudding are the CAT scales.
Excellent choice for a 5er up to 15500 lbs. The 8.1/Allison is one tough combo but 8.1 big block gasser awful thirsty. Your choice there.
GM uses a derated version of the 8.1 in their 4500/5500 MDT Kodiaks with GVWRs up to 19500 lbs.
Lots of large MH with this combo also.

The '06 3500 DRW chevy has a 8200-8500 lb RAWR and is good for over 5xxx lb payload. The '06 3500 SRW doesn't have enough rear suspension/tires for a 14000 lb 5th wheel trailer without beefing the rear suspension.

Sound like a good game plan but don't rule out the mighty Dmax in the same truck.
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:51 PM   #8
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Is it the older model or the SD.

If SD stick with the present and save your money. It will not depreciate and be worth the same years from now.
Those F series trucks were the tow king of the time. The transmission will need to be watched and you will do ok.
I tow a 15 k trailer within towing specs for the past 7 years, with my 2005 F2500.
Towed a 12k trailer with a 98 GM 2500 that had way less capacity then the Fords for 9 years and never hurt the truck.
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Old 05-19-2014, 02:33 AM   #9
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Ford F-250 is a very common low vehicle for 5th wheels but I think many, many times the truck is over capacity if you look at axle loads. I had a Montana High Country and it was under 10K dry and it put the F250 over its limits on rear axle. One of the many reasons I traded for a MH. I did not want to upgrade to a 1 ton truck to pull the 5th wheel but I am convinced that most 5th wheels of the size you mention will push the F250 over its stated limits. And probably no problem but I did not want to be on the wrong end of a law suit in the event of an accident.
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:37 AM   #10
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I am very confused. I have owned two F250 4X4 diesels. The first a 1993 non turbo and the second and current a 2000 crew cab 4X4. Both had/have towing packages.

The first truck when I went to change u joints I bought 3/4 ton u joints from the supplier and when I went to install them not even close! I went back to the auto parts store and told the guy. He said....Oh you have a towing package and that takes 1 ton u joints. Same thing with my 2000. So.....apparently the heavier F250s already have a 1 ton rear axle. Yet when you look at the trailer life towing guide the 250 & 350 have the same gvwr and perhaps same gvwr. I even looked springs on a 1ton and my F250 has the same number.

Yet according to specs I am overloaded with my 13,300lb 5th wheel.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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Yet when you look at the trailer life towing guide the 250 & 350 have the same gvwr and perhaps same gvwr.
You have typos in your post. The Y2K F-250 PSD has GVWR of 8,800 pounds and GCWR of 20,000 pounds. The Y2K F-350 SRW has GVWR of 9,900 pounds and GCWR of 20,000 pounds. So different GVWR and payload capacity, but the same GCWR and pulling capacity.

The Trailer Life towing specs quotes the Ford towing specs. They give you an unrealistic "tow rating" that's based on the GCWR of the truck with no options and nothing in the truck but a skinny driver. But they ignore the GVWR of the truck and the real-world payload capacity of the truck. You cannot tow a trailer anywhere near the tow rating without exceeding the GVWR of your F-250.

Quote:
Yet according to specs I am overloaded with my 13,300lb 5th wheel.
Yes. SEVERELY overloaded. My '99.5 F-250 4x2 CrewCab PSD had the same specs as your Y2k, and I was overloaded with my 25' 5er that grossed only 8,000 pounds. You're not too much overloaded over the 20k GCWR, so you should be able to pull the rig down the highway without too much problem, especially if you have modified the truck with free-flowing intake and exhaust mods, along with a good towing tune. But your suspension is severely overloaded over the 8,800 pounds GVWR of your PSD.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:36 AM   #12
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I'm going to add air bags, the best brake pads I can get and Rancho shocks. Then drive 60 tops
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:00 PM   #13
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OK....here is PDF I found from Ford revised in 1999. It lists every option available and configuration for a 2000 Super Duty. Here is what it has for vehicles equipped with the 7.3:

SRW Regular Cab137.0970038953800-42503800-425068306830SRW Regular Cab137.0990040203950-42503950-425068306830DRW Regular Cab137.01100048203950-42503950-425082508250DRW Regular Cab137.01120050253950-42503950-425082508250SRW Super Cab141.8970038403950-44003950-440068306830SRW Super Cab141.8990039603950-45503950-455068306830SRW Super Cab158.0970036204100-48504100-485068306830SRW Super Cab158.0990038404100-48504100-485068306830DRW Super Cab158.01100045604250-48504250-485082508250DRW Super Cab158.01120047604250-48504250-485082508250SRW Crew Cab156.2970034954100-45504100-455068306830SRW Crew Cab156.2990036204100-45504100-455068306830DRW Crew Cab156.21100044754250-48504250-485082508250DRW Crew Cab156.21120046804100-44004100-440082508250SRW Crew Cab172.4970033204400-48504400-485068306830SRW Crew Cab172.4990035404400-48504400-485068306830DRW Crew Cab172.41100042554550-48504550-485082508250

After the cab type is gvwr. So my crew cab short bed is 9700 lbs. On the scales I'm at 10,200. So that's 500 lbs over loaded.
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:38 PM   #14
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OK....here is PDF I found from Ford revised in 1999. It lists every option available and configuration for a 2000 Super Duty. Here is what it has for vehicles equipped with the 7.3:

...
SRW Crew Cab 156.2 9700 34954100-45504100-455068306830
SRW Crew Cab 156.2 9900 36204100-45504100-455068306830
...

After the cab type is gvwr. So my crew cab short bed is 9700 lbs.
You're misreading something. The specs above are for the Y2K F-350 SRW. The 9,700 GVWR is for an F-350 SRW with California emissions. All other Y2K F-350 SRWs have 9,900 GVWR.

All Y2K F-250s have 8,800 GVWR, regardless of emissions package. Look on the Federal Certification label on the driver's door jamb and you'll see the GVWR for your F-250 is 8,800 pounds. That's the sticker that includes tire size and inflation info, along with GVWR, front and rear GAWRs, paint codes and other codes.

Quote:
On the scales I'm at 10,200. So that's 500 lbs over loaded.
If the total of the weights on your front and rear axles is 10,200, then you're 1,400 pounds overloaded. Your trailer even overloads a Y2K F-350 SRW. For Y2K model year PSD, you need a dually to safely tow that trailer without being overloaded.
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