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Old 12-07-2013, 04:02 PM   #1
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Truck to pull fifth wheel?

Since there is Ford, Dodge, and GMC I am sure everyone has a certain company/brand they prefer. What I am looking for is what brand, size, motor truck dually or not, 4WD or 2WD you use to pull your fifth wheel. I plan on purchasing a truck within 18 months and would like any input you can offer. Why did you purchase it over the others? What kind of fuel mileage do you get?

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Old 12-07-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Zeus661 View Post
Since there is Ford, Dodge, and GMC I am sure everyone has a certain company/brand they prefer. What I am looking for is what brand, size, motor truck dually or not, 4WD or 2WD you use to pull your fifth wheel. I plan on purchasing a truck within 18 months and would like any input you can offer. Why did you purchase it over the others? What kind of fuel mileage do you get?
too bad we cant take all the good from all three units and make one good tow vehicle? My choice would be the GM Silverado with the duramax
definitely dually and 4x4.now that's assuming your talking a large fiver and not a little 27ft type unit

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Old 12-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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My choice would be a Chevy/GMC 3500 with the Duramax diesel and Allison trans

In my opinion it has the best ride quality, best interior finish, and reliability

The ford equivalent did seem to have more power but I did not like the interior fit & finish

3500 to provide most capacity & safety when towing

2wd or 4x4 would depend on how often it would be needed. I only needed to use 4x4 once
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Old 12-07-2013, 07:58 PM   #4
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In 18 months all the trucks can change. The new Dodge Ram has a larger percent of high strength steel in the frame. That makes the frame much stiffer and able to haul more weight.

I read Ford will have a new heavy duty truck out in 2015.

I liked the Ram and the Ford dually trucks. In my area I could not find a Chevy dually.
I ended up with a Ford dually. I pull a 15,000 lb. 5th wheel with a F-450 and depending how fast I tow I get between 9.5 and 10.5 mpg. Once with a tail wind and towing 63mph I got 11mpg.

The dually truck really controls the trailer. I just towed 975 miles with zero white knuckled or close calls. What my truck does is increases turbo boast instead of downshifting...it will downshift from 6th to 5th if the grade is long and steep.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:21 PM   #5
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For the most part, a one ton dually diesel is the average, and MPGs loaded will range from 8-12. Those are realistic numbers. 15MPG and up towing is not. 16-18MPG unloaded is average.
Also, you can not be cheap on maintenance on these type of vehicles, and the trailer too.
Now, depending on the trailer, you may need/want a MDT or more.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:41 PM   #6
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So, how big a trailer and how often do you tow and where do you go and how high are the hills and how steep the downgrades and how much urban towing and how long are the trips in miles and time.

I currently have a 15,500 gross 39' 5th pulled with a 2012 Dodge Diesel dually. Why Dodge? It has a Cummins engine with the same design scheme found in all those over the road heavy haulers. It does not use DEF. It has a decent load carrying ability. It has a flat torque curve. It is comfy to drive and ride in. It has 4wd, but most folks would be fine with an anti-spin differential.

We range from the Arizona desert to Alaska every year. We are gone on a trip for 4+months at a time, and typically cover 5000+ miles on that trip. Annual mileage is running around 10,000. Grades are usually 6% and go on for miles, and some can exceed 10% in sections. The Tow-Haul and the variable vane turbo control the speed quite nicely on the downhill usually requiring a slight touch to the accelerator to maintain a safe speed. The roads are not freeways and a few mean what they say about the speed on curves. We expect snow at least part of the trip, and usually get it. The 4wd improves turning and traction, but does nothing for braking. It is a dually because that increases lateral stability tremendously. It is also my daily driver.

Lots of folks would turn up their nose at my choice for a variety of reasons, and they are happy campers. I wanted an engine that would outlast me based on a solid design. I did not want to fool around with DEF. I needed the low-end torque to get it moving. The 4wd is cheaper than a tow when it is over 100 miles just to get the tow truck there, assuming it is not a total wipeout and just a minor wet grass or mud issue. Cab comfort is important, and wife has a bad back. She says it is the best ride she ever had. We stop about every hour or two to walk around and such. The dog really appreciates it.

Decide first what trailer you want and what it weighs and the length. The longer you get the tougher it is to maneuver. Somewhere around 15,000 lbs, the trailer gets bigger than the truck and the trailer is in control and it is time to look at a bigger truck.

If I were a short trip flatlander I would have made a lot of different choices.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:56 PM   #7
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According to the site rules, we cannot start a brand war. With the current trucks from the Big 3 manufacturers, all are good trucks. So drive them all pick the one you like, has the right price and is rated for your trailer.

In the older trucks, various ones had certain problems during certain years. So on a used truck, you need to do your home work and know what the problems could be.

My personal choice when I bought in July of 2012 was:
1. Ford
2. Ram
3. Chevy/GMC.

Next thing you must do is to read and understand the towing ratings, GVWR, GAWR and GCWR. DO NOT go by the manufacturers (maximum) tow ratings.


Talk to the next guy and he will have a difference preference.
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:43 PM   #8
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Agree with Ken.
All big Three manufactures make good trucks. Just depends on your likes/dislikes and how big your Fifth Wheel will be. Test drive each Truck to get a feel. Ford will be making changes starting in 2015 models.
Best of luck in your search.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:18 AM   #9
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Agreed. It may even boil down to which grille you like on the truck. All of the Big 3 will get the job done with relative ease nowadays. Go drive them all and see which one you like the most. Also, take along whoever is going to be riding with you and get their opinion as well. I have a Chevy(8.1L) and a Ford(6.7L) but have never owned a Dodge, but I love the solid axles under the front end. IFS rides better, but I like the solid ones. As you can guess, I prefer to drive 4wd trucks. I have it if and when I need it. Some prefer 2wd. Drive them all. Good luck with your decision and send us pics of it when you get it!
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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I went with the Ram 3500 6.7 diesel 4x4 for a lot of reasons. I wanted longevity which this engine/transmission combination provides with a proven track record. I was also looking at noise level, ride, appointments inside, tow capacity, engine break, tow haul, etc. For me it was the best fit and has proven to be an awesome truck that pulls great and keeps the truck with the 13,000 + lbs 5er attached going down steep hills in control and below the speed limit without brakes. I have power galore so getting up the mountains is easy.
Every few years the big 3 change designs so do your research. You need to think about what RV you will be pulling, it's weight, and to some extent overall length. Is it going to be a daily driver? If you live in or visit cold country get the 4x4. I have chains but I never want to use them again!
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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If you need 4x4 because of the climate conditions or off-road terrain, fine, but it is NOT necessary to tow a 5th wheel - how many Class 8 tractors do you see on the highway with powered steer axles? I've towed with 2WD Ram 3500 duallies since 1996 and have never needed (or missed) 4WD.

As far as personal preferences, see my signature - the main reason I like the Rams is the Cummins B-series diesel engine, but the rest of the truck is just fine for my needs as well. Size the truck not just for the weight it's towing, but also for the weight it must carry (pin weight of the trailer, weight of the hitch, payload in the bed, passenger payload, etc.) That means that for heavier 5th wheels, you'll generally need a 1-ton dual rear wheel truck.

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Old 12-08-2013, 05:27 PM   #12
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The 4 wheel drive option must be regional. All the HD trucks in the north are 4 wheel drive. I will pay attention and try to notice if I see any 2 wheel drive HD trucks at all.

I know they exist but 2 wheel drive in a HD truck is very very rare.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:40 PM   #13
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The dream truck would be a Ford with a Cummins engine and an Allison transmission. Actually the 6.7 Ford is pretty tough, but the jury is still out untl it has some years under it's belt. I loved my previous Duramax too, but the allison tranny is amazing.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:59 PM   #14
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Add the new Ram frame to that dream truck.

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