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Old 12-06-2008, 06:10 PM   #1
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Just curious as we are currently looking into buying a fifth wheel. Mainly because I'd like to eventually tow my 17' boat behind it. Anyway the question I have is: How closely do I need to be to my trucks rated tow weight? I've got a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 QuadCab. The tow limit is 7400 lbs. w/20" wheels, which mine has. The weight limit for the same truck w/17" wheels is 8500 lbs. The 5th wheels dry weight is just shy of 7500 lbs. Should I start shopping for a different fifth? Or would this model be alright as long as I don't pull my boat? I figured if I can't pull the boat because of too much weight I'll eventually get a new 3/4 ton anyway. Thanks for any info.
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:10 PM   #2
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Just curious as we are currently looking into buying a fifth wheel. Mainly because I'd like to eventually tow my 17' boat behind it. Anyway the question I have is: How closely do I need to be to my trucks rated tow weight? I've got a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 QuadCab. The tow limit is 7400 lbs. w/20" wheels, which mine has. The weight limit for the same truck w/17" wheels is 8500 lbs. The 5th wheels dry weight is just shy of 7500 lbs. Should I start shopping for a different fifth? Or would this model be alright as long as I don't pull my boat? I figured if I can't pull the boat because of too much weight I'll eventually get a new 3/4 ton anyway. Thanks for any info.
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:27 PM   #3
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First, welcome aboard. You will get a lot of good advice here.
Just as general advice, you need a 1T dually to do what you want. You will need the extra tires for stabilty with 2 trailers. Next, the dry weight is worthless info IMHO. You should use the GVWR and go from there. A 5er will put about 20% of that on your tow rig so a 1/2T will probably be overloaded. You will get more advice here soon.
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Old 12-07-2008, 05:28 AM   #4
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Welcome to iRV2.

As noted above, the dry weight number is pretty much worthless. It is a approximation and does not include any item listed as an option which will include such items as A/C, microwave, awning, batteries and certainly no propane,or water onboard. The actual weight can easily be 750 to 1000# over the dry weight.

You need to start by weighing the truck and then the truck and trailer and work from the GVWR and GCWR for the truck.

1/2 ton trucks are generally pretty limited by the limited GVWR and the payload capacity.

Tow ratings and published payload capacities are maximums based on a base model truck with only a 150# driver, no cargo, no accessories and no hitch. For every pound you add over the base weight, you reduce the payload and towing capacities.

Even the 3/4 ton trucks are GVWR limited when you compare to a 1 ton truck.

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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Here's the answer I gave to your post over on the RVTravel.com forum:

Yes, you should start shopping for a different fifth wheel.

1. Keep in mind that the 7,400# tow rating for your truck is for a basic truck with no options, no gear (including the fifth wheel hitch), no passengers, a partial tank of fuel, and one 150# driver. What that means to you, is that the *real life* amount your truck can tow is going to be something less than 7,400#.

The only way to find out the proper size of fifth wheel for your truck is to load it up with all the people and gear that it will normally be hauling on a camping trip, including a full tank of fuel, and get it weighed (if you don't already have a fifth wheel hitch, add 200# to that weight...if you have a short bed truck, you'll want a slider hitch and they probably weigh more...hopefully someone here has an idea of a slider hitch's weight).

Now that you have the *real life* weight of your loaded truck, subtract that weight from the truck's GCWR (Gross Combined Weight Rating). That will be the MAXIMUM amount of *loaded* fifth wheel you should be pulling. Also subtract the truck's weight from it's GVWR...that will give you the maximum pin weight your truck should be carrying (assume 20% of the fifth wheel's GVWR for the pin weight).

2. Dry weight of a fifth wheel is meaningless. First of all, dry weight doesn't include any options...things like A/C, batteries, etc. ...so your *real life* dry weight is most likely going to be greater than the published weight. But, even if the dry weight of the fiver WAS the same as the published dry weight, so what? Unless you are planning on pulling it completely empty, the dry weight is of no concern to you. What you need to look at is the fiver's GVWR. As long as the GVWR is equal to, or preferably, less than the amount you arrived at in step #1, above (GCWR minus real weight of your truck), you'll be good to go.

I suspect that you'll need a fifth wheel with a GVWR of no more than around 5,000# (notice I didn't say dry weight).
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:59 AM   #6
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To make these recommended calculations easier, use Ken Lenger's towing weights calculator.
Towing over any vehicles maximum capacity will greatly increase maintence costs, while greatly reducing life expectancy-which BTW is cause for voiding a factory warrnaty.
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:39 PM   #7
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Good advice there. The pin weight of that 5th wheel could be around 1900 pounds, plus the weight of the hitch, passengers, and everything else would put you way over the truck's rear axle weight rating, and gross vehicle weight rating.

One other thing that hasn't been mentioned... Never trust what an RV sales person tells you about what you can legally and safely tow.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:07 PM   #8
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There's a reason why you see so many 5vers pulled by duallies. Carrying capacity.

As was very accurately pointed out, 1/2-ton trucks are severely limited in carrying capacity and that makes the lousy TV's for all but the very smallest and lightest 5vers.

The dry weight is for selling RVs and not much more. Once the RV is sold you're the one dealing with its loaded weight. The loaded weight of a 7500# 5ver is likely to be around 9,000-10,000#. 20% of that is around 2,000# pin weight which is beyond the ability of a 1/2-ton truck.
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