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Old 02-11-2008, 12:18 PM   #1
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Has anyone had there 3500lb hitch on there class "C" upgraded to 5000lb? What did it take and how much did it cost. Does it really need to be done to tow 5000lb? Thanks for any info.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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Has anyone had there 3500lb hitch on there class "C" upgraded to 5000lb? What did it take and how much did it cost. Does it really need to be done to tow 5000lb? Thanks for any info.
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:36 PM   #3
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Yeah, it really needs to be done. The possibility of the hitch failing is just too scary to risk.

The hitch receiver itself is not the only issue - the attachment to the coach is equally important. Some rigs have a relatively flimsy extension to the main frame at the rear and the hitch doesn't have much to be bolted or welded to. If that's the case on yours, the main expense will be beefing up the frame, as opposed to just getting a heavier class of hitch receiver.

Last but not least, is the GCWR of the coach sufficient to tow a heavier vehicle? Often the reason for a small hitch is that the coach simply isn't rated to tow any more weight than the 3500 lb limit.
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:17 PM   #4
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I had my hitch upgraded today. Added some gussits to hitch, and welded additional steel onto the frame. Now have the hitch labeled as a 5000lb and signed off that it will carry 5000lb by a certified welder.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:57 AM   #5
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We had a 1999 Minnie Winnie and the rear frame extension was not strong enough to take a 5000# rated hitch. Better check with Winnie to see if they would allow the increased hitch capacity. Just adding a heavier rated hitch and using a so called "certified" welder does not make the coach rated for the additional weight.

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Old 02-21-2008, 05:28 AM   #6
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There is a catch 22 here - Winnie will never "approve" a modification like that because to do so would be to accept legal liability if something ever went wrong. So no matter who makes the mods, you have to rely on their word and profession skills, both as a welder and a mechnaical engineer. Best to make sure the the welder/engineer has liability insurance as well as certification and get the name and policy number for your files "just in case".

That said, a good shop can beef things adequately for the additional hitch load. That doesn't change the brakes, suspension, tire or drive train, though, so the GVWR and GCWR remain the same.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:31 AM   #7
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The problem with the larger Minnie Winnies is the frame extemsions are much smaller than the main frame. The are welded to the main Ford frame and not welded very well on top of that. Our 1999 was a 31' on the E450 SD chassis. I know how the extensions were installed by Winnebago.


I am a registered mechanical engineer and would NEVER approve of increasing the hitch rating beyond the manufacturers rating on this frame for this motorhome. The extensions are just too small and not well attached.

I would make sure that the "cerified" welded provided a certificate and has liability insurance to cover this work at this point. If not, I'd keep the weight under the original 3500#.


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Old 02-24-2008, 06:59 PM   #8
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The 3500lbs is the towed weight is it not?

larger vehicles have a heavier tow weight like the 5000lbs. but aren't you really dealing with the tongue weight on the receiver and ball?
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:20 AM   #9
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Hitch weight of 3500#'s hitch tongue weight 350#'s 10% of hitch weight.

A 5000# hitch weight at 10% is going to be 500# hitch tongue weight.
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Old 02-25-2008, 05:52 PM   #10
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With the class C we had, 350# hitch weight would have put us over on rear axle GAWR and unloaded the front axle a bit. The E450 SD chassis does not have much room for added loads with a 31' coach.

Ken
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