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Old 01-15-2015, 09:55 PM   #1
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Truck to pull with?

A few of you have followed my Teton fifthwheel rehab project and I have it about 60% finished. Yet I seem to always get the question from those who see it in person "how am I going to pull it" ?
I thought that answer was going to be a 1 ton ford dually or something in comparison. Truth is, I bought a truck from one of my customers witch is a 2001 7.3 6 spd. standard shift with the banks kit and 6 gun programer.
He pulled a 38' toy hauler with little to no trouble. Last weekend I went out to the Teton and hooked up and took off for a short drive to see how much better it would be.
In short it was a disaster. It handled awful and speed was limited to 55, I am not worried about speed but it was uncomfortable. Nothing felt safe about the tow. I tow boats and RV's often but this had me thinking I was a fool.
So things to know would be that my pin weight is supposed to be 6000 lbs and camper total on tag is 19.999 weight. I took it to the scales and without the interior in the living and kitchen it was 21.678 . (truck off) Finished it will easily be 23,000 lbs dry.
It is a 1992 Teton Tampa 40 2 slide . With winter -40 pkg.
Now I am wondering if I shouldn't think bigger truck? Like a Cat powered type of class 8 truck? I see some do and what are the benifits of doing that or am I just panicking ?
I followed up last Monday by connecting a friends 2015 Dodge to it, he thought I was being a girl about it and he returned with white knuckles.
It is in a scale of 1-10 about a 6 on flat ground. I live in Texas. Downhill I am not sure should happen.
What is a good solution here? Thanks, Cant wait to hear the ideas.

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Old 01-15-2015, 10:10 PM   #2
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The other question you should ask is; "how am I going to stop it when going down a 7% grade?"

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Old 01-15-2015, 10:17 PM   #3
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Yes sir Doggy,
First of all, I see you are Army retired. Thank YOU for your service!

That is where my problems are. I drove this trailer home from New Orleans to Houston
with my 3/4 ton 7.3 automatic. I knew then that wasnt the tow vehicle.
And I must say I dont have a destination in mind when it is finished but this is America and we have mountains. I want to be sure the sink isnt the last thing through my mind at the bottom of the hill.
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Old 01-16-2015, 02:32 AM   #4
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You are absolutely right, you need more truck. I am really glad you took it for a test run and recognized the problem before killing yourself or someone else. If you keep this beast a class 5 or maybe a 6 tractor would be a a good choice, a class 8 would be massive overkill and require a cdl.
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:51 AM   #5
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You need to look on this website:Home | Heavy Haulers RV Resource Guide There are MANY people pulling with class 8 trucks and it doesn't always mean you need a CDL, there are many options out there,
Terry and Eleanor
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:13 AM   #6
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At a minimum you need a F450 or better yet get a F550 to tow such a heay trailer.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:56 AM   #7
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I have just one piece of advice for those who feel the need for MORE POWER in their tow vehicle (Humm, anyone hear from Tim Allen lately) (Actually I have a card from him here somewhere).


Shop there, and do not ask "Can my truck tow this" ever again.

On edit: I verified the URL but they are having server issues just now.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:07 AM   #8
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Do a bunch of research on HDT's. The Escapees forums have a very active section for HDT's. HDT - Escapees Discussion Forum The Heavy Haulers resource cited by Harley1994 is great. There is a HDT Rally every year that I have been to 5 of the last 6. I think anybody towing a larger 5th wheel should attend the Rally before finalizing their tow vehicle choice. The HDT owners have figured out it's usually cheaper to buy and outfit an HDT than it is to buy a F450/550, or just about any medium duty truck.
MN is home for now.
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:48 AM   #9
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jonbrown, I mentioned braking because I had white knuckle butt sphinctering experience going down a mountain in a different RV with shoe brakes.
My current RV has disc all the way around and 6 speed transmission.
If your 92 Teton has shoe brakes, you may want to upgrade to disc or wider shoes and drums now instead of later.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:05 AM   #10
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Besides needing a bigger truck, is the trailer's suspension up to the task, and is the weight balanced side-to-side? An overloaded trailer would flop around regardless of what's dragging it.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:01 PM   #11
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At 23,000# and 6,000 pin weight you are in Class 7 or 8 Tractor territory, also called HDT. For an RV, consider that the part of the tow with the greater mass tends to be in control. An HDT will weigh in around 19,000#, plus the pin weight will put it around 25,000#. Weight on the trailer axles will be closer to 17,000#.

Escapees has a For Sale section with LOT of HDT set up for RV. Auto transmissions in two pedal (like your car) or three pedal (clutch to stop dead) are available.

I had a FL50 that carried a car and pulled a trailer. Between the two we hit 6,000# loading on the truck, plus trailer weight on the axles, so 32,000#+ on the road. It worked, shifting the manual was ok, but power was lacking uphill. Downhill the gears and the exhaust brake gave superb speed control. It had 800# torque. You can get an HDT with up to 1,700# torque, sometimes more, and around 1,400 seems pretty typical.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:32 AM   #12
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Thanks all,
I was with the guys having the beer looking into the unfinished fifth wheel when I said "guess I will buy a Peterbuilt" They all know I probably will and they started the jokes.
The I do wonder how they fit in most parks? The truck part ? I have looked at prices and you know the prices are not that bad. Ranging from 8-15,000 for a nicely used class 6-8 truck . Nicely used meaning a million mile truck although will I ever use it to tow 200,000 mi? I dont think so. I did locate a company here in Houston that refurbish these trucks and even can take a class 8 and bring it down to a class 7 out of cdl and make it a toy hauler. I am not really sure how that will work but I have time on my side to decide. And the power isnt a big deal, any of these CAT or Detroit for instance trucks will pull me up a hill and over the other side better than a 1 ton or less.

I saw Doggy and Cws ask about brakes and suspension?
The camper has 3 axle probably the heaviest I have ever seen on a fifth wheel . They are drum , 3.5 in. x 13 inch drum pad X6 . They stop really good although I wouldnt mind upgrading to disk .
You wouldn't believe I just bought a camper 2 years ago to show my daughter what my father showed me as a kid. Now I have a 40" rebuild project a semi shortly ..
Humm this could turn into a huge project... lol
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:57 AM   #13
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Oh and a P.S.
The camper pulls awesome! It is straight no wobbles and brakes good.
My comfort level is really the truck . I think the modern approach of all led lighting and newer materials have lightened the camper a few pounds but I bet it weighs out at 23-25,000 lbs when I am all done. I dont want to take away from the Teton's way of being thermal so I gave up on saving weight. You know my father bought his Royal and my uncle the Teton in 1992 and they still look new inside and out. They payed 200,000 back then for theirs. I want the same quality but modern , They always towed theirs with a 1 ton @ 50 mph. Not me!
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jonbrown View Post
I thought that answer was going to be a 1 ton ford dually or something in comparison. Truth is, I bought a truck from one of my customers witch is a 2001 7.3 6 spd. standard shift with the banks kit and 6 gun programmer.
Your 7.3L F-350 DRW has a GCWR of 20,000 pounds. The Banks hot rodding probably raises the real-world GCWR to about 22,000 pounds.

GCWR is the combined weight of truck and trailer. It tells you the combined weight you can tow on normal interstate highways (including interstate mountain passes) without overheating anything in the drivetrain, and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic on steep grades. The Ford GCWR is very accurate, so you don't want to exceed it.

With your dually wet and loaded for the road(including driver and one passenger) it probably exceeds 8,000 pounds, and 9,000 pounds is common. Add a 23,000 pound 5er and you're at 32,000 pounds GCW. Severely overloaded for a 2001 F-350 DRW.

But you don't need an HDT to comfortably and safely tow it with. A later model F-350 DRW would probably work just fine. 2011-up Ford diesel has GCWR of 33,000 pounds. Right on the limits of that trailer if you keep the trailer weight down to 24,000.

But if you want more weight capacity to give you a little wiggle room, then you probably need to go up to a medium-duty truck (MDT). Class 6 or 7 with single rear axle. If you like the big-boy brands, both Peterbilt and Kenworth make such a "tractor". So does Mack and International and others.

The HDT will probably cost less up front, but it will probably be a retired road warrior with 800,000 to a million miles or more on it. That place in Houston can remove one of the rear axles and add a tow body to result in a nice-looking RV puller.

I'm a snob, so I would probably go for a Peterbilt model 337 medium-duty tractor, add a tow body, choose disk brakes (instead of air brakes), and choose other options to result in GCWR around 35,000 pounds.
Model 337 Features & Specification | Peterbilt Medium Duty Trucks | Peterbilt Motors Company

Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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