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Old 12-12-2015, 06:14 PM   #1
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Travel Trailer vs. 5th Wheel - Old Truck/New Truck

well, I'm finally ready to take the plunge. It's time to make some memories with the family and have some great camping trips. So, now I just need to figure out what it's going to be - 5'er or TT.

I currently have a 2003 Chevy Silverado Z71 (5.3L V8, shortbox - 6.6ft L).It can tow up to 9,000 lbs, but I'm going to keep the trailer I buy to 7000 lbs tops. My truck has about 150K miles on it, so I have two questions.

1) I've heard some concerns about towing a 5th wheel with a shortbox truck. Would that be a concern with my truck?

2) Is it worth it to put in a 5th wheel hitch in my truck with the amount of mileage. If so, can I transfer the hitch to another truck if I end up buying a new one?

I could just go with a TT, but I feel the 5th wheel is safer, and easier to maneuver, which would be good for my first trailer (I'm adept at towing - towed a boat for 6 years). Or I could just get some really good anti-sway bars for the TT...

Any and all thoughts are appreciated!
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Old 12-12-2015, 06:28 PM   #2
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I've been doing some research on moving to a 5th wheel. This is what I think?

You can use a short been truck but you'll probably have to put in a slider type hitch. This gives you the ability to move the hitch back if you are trying to maneuver into tight spots at a tight angle.

From my understanding most of the 5th wheel hitches can be removed and moved to another truck.

Looking at 5th wheels and there are a limited number that weigh ~6K assuming you'll put 1K worth of stuff in it if you are limiting your total towed weight to 7K.
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Old 12-12-2015, 06:32 PM   #3
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Welcome to iRV2.

There is a difference between between a short box standard cab and S/B extended cab, the longer wheelbase of the extended cab is a big plus, when it comes to control.
I towed 4 different 5ers with 2 extended cab short box 4X4s. Both equipped with manual slider hitches, that were moved 3 times, for clearance, in 9 years of towing.
Just my opinion, track down the trailer your interested first, and get the weights, be it TT or 5er, before you spend $$ on a hitch and install , because your probably going to need more truck, no matter what you choose.
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Old 12-12-2015, 06:35 PM   #4
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Check your weights on the door pillar and weigh your truck. You may be surprised when you do the numbers and find what you can really tow.

Towing capacity is a manufacturers dream with a bare truck, no options other than towing options and a jockey for a driver. Any options take away from the capacity.
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Old 12-12-2015, 06:49 PM   #5
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7O00 pound TT will have around 800 pounds tongue weight
7000 pound fifth wheel will have around 1400 pounds pin weight.
Your truck, unless its totally stripped with one 150 pound driver and 1/4 tank of fuel will be pushing the limits with a TT.
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Welcome to iRV2.

There is a difference between between a short box standard cab and S/B extended cab, the longer wheelbase of the extended cab is a big plus, when it comes to control.
I towed 4 different 5ers with 2 extended cab short box 4X4s. Both equipped with manual slider hitches, that were moved 3 times, for clearance, in 9 years of towing.
Just my opinion, track down the trailer your interested first, and get the weights, be it TT or 5er, before you spend $$ on a hitch and install , because your probably going to need more truck, no matter what you choose.
yeah, i'm kind of thinking the same thing too about a bigger truck. i actually would love a bigger truck, so maybe this is a good thing
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:57 PM   #7
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7O00 pound TT will have around 800 pounds tongue weight
7000 pound fifth wheel will have around 1400 pounds pin weight.
Your truck, unless its totally stripped with one 150 pound driver and 1/4 tank of fuel will be pushing the limits with a TT.
good to know...i'll take that into account. thank ya
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:58 PM   #8
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i've got an extended cab 4x4 with a 5.3L and feel like i've seen other similar 1500s towing fifth wheels and travel trailers. Safety is my ultimate concern, so i'm thinking either a bigger truck or a smaller TT
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Old 12-13-2015, 01:10 AM   #9
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I've got a 2004 long bed, reg cab with the same motor. Bought a new 28 ft TT and after the first short trip I went and bought a new truck. Just did not feel very safe going down the road.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:22 AM   #10
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You will need more truck, yes you can do it with your current truck but you will be over weight and pushing your truck to the max most the time. I have towed many different campers with may last truck, it was a 2003 chevy 4 door, short bed 4x4 diesel and never had an issue with the short bed when towing a 5th wheel (non slider) just pay attention.

I agree with what was said above, find the trailer you like and within your budget then get a truck to pull it, depending on how often you will tow and the terrain (i.e. hills or mountain) you could just get the gas engine, be sure to get 4x4 you will use it even if just for the low range gears. Or have you considered if you like your truck to buy a nice used MH, it may be with in the same price range.

Good luck with your search and enjoy the ride and memories to be made.
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:12 AM   #11
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Open Range makes a lite 5th wheel that is half ton towable, plus the hitch is extended forward and the front of the 5er is tapered in order to work better with short bed trucks. The biggest thing with a short bed truck is not getting the front corner of the camper into the rear quarter of the cab. Sharp turns are not the only reason for this, a combination of a shallow turn and a dip in the road or a sudden change in road incline will cause you problems too. I can take pictures of my neighbors truck to show you but it makes him mad when somebody brings attention to the crease in the corner of his cab. A half ton truck is sufficient for short hauls but a 3/4 ton will make the job much easier, more power, more cooling, and better brakes. If I were buying anything over 25' , it would be a 5th wheel regardless of the tow vehicle.
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:36 PM   #12
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I pulled a 5th wheel with a 2000 Ford short bed and had no problem with handling, etc. I then went to a 2003 Dodge 4X4 dually long bed. The heavier truck with longer bed seemed to be better on the highway. Just my opinion.
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