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Old 08-30-2016, 10:23 PM   #1
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towing 5th vs trailer weight limits?

I have a good friend ask this question which I simple have not considered.

When you town a 5th wheel vs a bumper pull can you have a heavier
5th wheel. While I understand gross weights of towing with a trailer
I never looked or considered a 5th for me.

With my truck I can town 12,700 with trailer and equipment. With a payload
of 4100 on my model. How does or at all does the payload play with the
consideration of the 5th wheel.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:30 PM   #2
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Your tuck had a yellow payload sticker of 4100 and only a tow rating of 12700? What truck do you have?
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:31 PM   #3
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The pin weight of the fifth wheel goes against your payload. Total weight of the fifth wheel would be used as a guide against your max tow rating, keeping in mind the gcwr of your truck. With pin weight, need to watch the rear axle rating as well
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:25 AM   #4
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Answer is in the details. Frequently with modern trucks, max trailer weight is not limited by the drivetrain. TT limits may be limited by the capacity of the receiver hitch. Fifth wheel limits are almost always limited by the truck's available load capacity to carry the pin weight. I.E. The truck will exceed either GVWR or GAWR before exceeding GCWR.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:23 AM   #5
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The simple answer is no, weight is weight. You trucks weight ratings, GVWR, GAWR, and GCWR are exceeded at your expense. The primary difference between 5er and TT weighT differences is which vehicle is carrying it. 15-25% of a 5ers weigh is carried by the TV, for a TT, it's more like 10-15%. If your TV is up to the task, including any additional you throw in, great. If it isn't, it isn't.

Forget the BS numbers manufactures throw out called "towing capacity". They only apply to that perfect situation contrived by marketing groups and seldom if ever exist in the real world.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by drdarrin View Post
The simple answer is no, weight is weight. You trucks weight ratings, GVWR, GAWR, and GCWR are exceeded at your expense. The primary difference between 5er and TT weighT differences is which vehicle is carrying it. 15-25% of a 5ers weigh is carried by the TV, for a TT, it's more like 10-15%. If your TV is up to the task, including any additional you throw in, great. If it isn't, it isn't.

Forget the BS numbers manufactures throw out called "towing capacity". They only apply to that perfect situation contrived by marketing groups and seldom if ever exist in the real world.
If your answer was right, then a specific vehicle could always tow a heavier TT than fiver. Yet towing limit for a TT is equal to or LESS than the rating for a fiver. Reason is the hitch limitation which is real and not "contrived by marketing".
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:30 AM   #7
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How does or at all does the payload play with the consideration of the 5th wheel.
The limiter for trailer weight without being overloaded is almost always the payload capacity of any tow vehicle that has single rear wheels (SRW).

So hitch weight is often the limiter. Kingpin weight of a 5er is a lot more than tongue weight of a travel trailer (TT). Around 17 to 18 percent pin weight for a 5er that is light enough to be towed by an SRW pickup, and 13% tongue weight (TW) for a TT. So a big TT that grosses 10,000 pounds would have TW of about 1,300 pounds, while a medium-size 5er that grosses the same 10,000 pounds would have pin weight of about 1,700 pounds. That 400 pounds or more additional hitch weight of a 5er is significant for most SRW tow vehicles.

Plus a popular 5er hitch with above-bed rails weighs about 50 pounds more than a good weight-distributing (WD) hitch for a TT. The Reese Strait-Line WD hitch has shipping weight of 113 pounds. The Reese 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch - Dual Jaw - 16,000 lbs with the above-bed rails install kit has shipping weight of 164 pounds. 50 pounds may not sound like much, but it can be the difference in exceeding the payload capacity or not, especially if you are trying to tow too much trailer with not enough tow vehicle.
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Old 08-31-2016, 11:10 AM   #8
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Often times we just think of what a truck can tow. But there are two different parameters - what it can carry and what it can haul. What it can carry is the payload and payload is the most common number to run up against before hauling capacity (technically known as the GCWR - combined weight of truck and trailer). So, most times you can actually have a heavier travel trailer than 5th wheel just because of the way they are setup. 5th wheels put roughly twice the weight on the truck than a TT of the same weight.
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Old 08-31-2016, 02:33 PM   #9
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If your answer was right, then a specific vehicle could always tow a heavier TT than fiver. Yet towing limit for a TT is equal to or LESS than the rating for a fiver. Reason is the hitch limitation which is real and not "contrived by marketing".


The hitch is certainly a limiting factor. Manufactures publish their towing capacities based on the equipment they provide not what is available. Factory provided trailer hitches are typically 10,000 pounds and 5er hitches are around 15,000. Equip that truck with a 15,000 trailer hitch (they are available) to equalize that limiting factor and yes, you can pull a TT that is as heavy as and possibly heavier than a 5er because now your limiting factors are GAWR, GVWR, GCWR and GTWR.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:49 PM   #10
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The hitch is certainly a limiting factor. Manufactures publish their towing capacities based on the equipment they provide not what is available. Factory provided trailer hitches are typically 10,000 pounds and 5er hitches are around 15,000. Equip that truck with a 15,000 trailer hitch (they are available) to equalize that limiting factor and yes, you can pull a TT that is as heavy as and possibly heavier than a 5er because now your limiting factors are GAWR, GVWR, GCWR and GTWR.
Say the manufacturer rates their vehicle for 15k lbs fiver but only 12.7k lbs for a TT, then the owner replaces the factory receiver with a higher capacity aftermarket receiver, regardless the tow rating is still 12.7k. How is this different than an owner installing higher capacity tires and then exceeding GAWR? But not really an issue for me, I would never feel comfortable towing a TT at the same weight or higher than a fiver weight that I am comfortable with.
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:22 PM   #11
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Say the manufacturer rates their vehicle for 15k lbs fiver but only 12.7k lbs for a TT, then the owner replaces the factory receiver with a higher capacity aftermarket receiver, regardless the tow rating is still 12.7k. How is this different than an owner installing higher capacity tires and then exceeding GAWR? But not really an issue for me, I would never feel comfortable towing a TT at the same weight or higher than a fiver weight that I am comfortable with.


The difference is that by upgrading the hitch, you have removed the weak link, as you so aptly pointed out, and probably haven't exceeded any of the Gross ratings on either the truck or trailer. That is precisely why you do the arithmetic yourself with the help of a scale.

For example, the 2013 Ram Laramie Longhorn 3500 crew cab long bed DRW 4x4 with the 6.7L and 4:10 axle has a tow rating of 19,050 lbs. so you can go buy a trailer that has a GVWR of 19,050 right? I wouldn't suggest it until you know the gross ratings and do the math, including everything you plan to carry, first. You will likely find the heaviest trailer you can safely tow is a lot closer to 15-16,000 lbs or less. That's why I call tow ratings marketing hype. You won't find that number any where in your truck.
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:58 PM   #12
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If your answer was right, then a specific vehicle could always tow a heavier TT than fiver. Yet towing limit for a TT is equal to or LESS than the rating for a fiver. Reason is the hitch limitation which is real and not "contrived by marketing".


I have to admit, "towing capacity" numbers are not contrived. In the case of Dodge, "payload and max trailer weights are ESTIMATED values". Further in their footnotes the also state that "Payload and trailer weight rating are mutually exclusive."

Which explains why a Ram with GVWR of 14,000, front GAWR of 5500, rear GAWR of 9750 and GCWR of 39100 has a max trailer weight rating of 31,210 lbs. naw, I'll stick with contrived because it sounds better than B___ S___.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:13 PM   #13
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The difference is that by upgrading the hitch, you have removed the weak link, as you so aptly pointed out, and probably haven't exceeded any of the Gross ratings on either the truck or trailer. That is precisely why you do the arithmetic yourself with the help of a scale.

For example, the 2013 Ram Laramie Longhorn 3500 crew cab long bed DRW 4x4 with the 6.7L and 4:10 axle has a tow rating of 19,050 lbs. so you can go buy a trailer that has a GVWR of 19,050 right? I wouldn't suggest it until you know the gross ratings and do the math, including everything you plan to carry, first. You will likely find the heaviest trailer you can safely tow is a lot closer to 15-16,000 lbs or less. That's why I call tow ratings marketing hype. You won't find that number any where in your truck.
But you have to look at even more than that. You've goto to look at the GCVW along along with the total payload which includes the pin weight. So it may be you can pull that 19K trailer but not until you do the total math.

That why I like Changin' Gears 5th wheel weight calculator. If used correctly it gives you everything you need.
They also have a Travel Trailer Weight Calculator.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:18 PM   #14
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But you have to look at even more than that. You've goto to look at the GCVW along along with the total payload which includes the pin weight. SO it may be you can pull that 19K trailer but not until you do the total math.

That why I like Changin' Gears 5th wheel weight calculator. If used correctly it gives you everything you need.


Agreed and if you've read the whole thread, doing the the math is what I advocate.
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