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Old 12-03-2020, 11:17 AM   #1
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Tongue weight question

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I just went to a 2020 Ram 2500 6.7 diesel (from a 1500) and even though my trailer is new, I am tempted to upgrade to a larger 5th wheel because the truck can handle it - I think. My research shows the tongue weight should not exceed 20% of the weight of the 5th wheel mostly. The weight capacity of my truck if i understand correctly is just under 2300 lbs. However, looking in the manual - see pic - it looks like the tongue weight it can handle is 3750 lbs!? Can one of you experts help and guide me a little here please. Thanks!

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Old 12-03-2020, 11:50 AM   #2
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I just went to a 2020 Ram 2500 6.7 diesel (from a 1500) and even though my trailer is new, I am tempted to upgrade to a larger 5th wheel because the truck can handle it - I think. My research shows the tongue weight should not exceed 20% of the weight of the 5th wheel mostly. The weight capacity of my truck if i understand correctly is just under 2300 lbs. However, looking in the manual - see pic - it looks like the tongue weight it can handle is 3750 lbs!? Can one of you experts help and guide me a little here please. Thanks!

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The tongue weight (pin weight for 5th wheel) that your truck can handle depends primarily on the amount of payload your specific truck has.

Look on the driver's side door pillar for the yellow/black/white tire and loading sticker. You will see a line on it that states 'the combined weight of occupants and cargo should not exceed.....' This figure is your specific vehicle's payload.

Your payload is used up by the following:

You, any passengers in the truck, any cargo in the cab of the truck, any cargo in the bed of the truck, the hitch.

Whatever is left over is what you have to accommodate the pin weight of the 5th wheel (or tongue weight of the travel trailer).

For example: If your sticker's payload is 2500 lbs we will deduct you (200 lbs), the wife (125 lbs), the dog (50 lbs), tools and other misc. (100 lbs), the hitch (125 lbs.). This totals up to 600 lbs.

2500 (original payload) - 600 = 1900 lbs.

This is what you have left over to carry the pin weight of the 5th wheel. To determine a particular 5th wheel's typical pin weight, use 20% of that trailer's GVWR. Do not go by a published brochure or website pin weight as this will be based on a totally empty trailer.

So, if the 5th wheel you are looking at has a GVWR of 13000 pounds, that equates to a likely pin weight 2600 lbs - putting you over your payload capacity in this example by 700 lbs.

Do the math above substituting your data and see where you stand.
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Old 12-03-2020, 12:04 PM   #3
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since you are in a fifth wheel forum, note that the correct term is "pin weight". tongues are for travel trailers :-)

the only way to get past the marketing numbers is to use a scale. for most 2500 trucks the limiting factor is pin weight which will be determined by the gross vehicle weight rating of the truck -- not the weight rating of the hitch itself.

look on the door sticker to find the gross weight rating of your truck. it will likely be in the 9,000 to 10,000 lb region for modern 2500 trucks. many are 9,900. this refers to the weight of the truck with passengers, cargo, fuel, bedliner, blocks of wood in the bed, the hitch that is in the bed- water bottles in the cab, kids in the back, the dog, and also including the pin weight of the fifth wheel resting on the hitch that is in your bed. most likely when you add everything up (except for the pin weight) you will be close to 8,000 lbs. to be certain, load her up and head to the nearest highway weigh station or a pay-per-view CAT scale and learn the real weight of your truck. your GVWR minus actual weight is what you have left over to support a fifth wheel pin.

GVWR - actual weight = weight left over for the fifth wheel pin

example: 9,900 - 7,800 = 2,100 pounds. thats how much your fifith wheel pin weight can be (hypothetically). That rules out most medium sized fifth wheels and why most of us with single rear wheel trucks have learned that a 2500 won't do it, so we sold our 2500s and got 3500s :-)

you can read fifthwheel specs and find some with pin weights under 2100 lbs but that is a marketing figure and not a real one, and represents DRY weight of the trailer -- without anything in it. to find the REAL pin weight you have to weigh the actual trailer while it is fully loaded. for example, stuff in the basement will contribute directly to the pin weight and all of a sudden you are over 2100 lbs.

to go to the next level of estimation detail you can look at the gross vehicle weight rating of the trailer itself -- suppose it is 15,000 lbs. a properly loaded fifth wheel will have 15% minimum on the pin, so 15% of 15,000 is 2,250 lbs, which is more than the above hypothetical truck is rated to carry.

you can see that with a 2500 it takes some very careful weight watching!
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Old 12-03-2020, 12:24 PM   #4
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Phooey!!!!! the weight max is 2291. I guess i should have used my crystal ball and done more homework. oh well, I did buy it to make towing what i had easier, and it sure does that. I guess no 5th wheel for us. I am guessing we would have 1900 lbs max to work with. Is there much to do with that? thanks!!!
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Old 12-03-2020, 12:32 PM   #5
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Phooey!!!!! the weight max is 2291. I guess i should have used my crystal ball and done more homework. oh well, I did buy it to make towing what i had easier, and it sure does that. I guess no 5th wheel for us. I am guessing we would have 1900 lbs max to work with. Is there much to do with that? thanks!!!
That's the problem with 3/4 ton diesels. You've got the power to pull anything, but the 800+ pounds of extra weight of the engine (over gas) holds you back some by killing the payload availability. That is why you see many people on the forums recommending going straight to a 1-ton. The engine doesn't weigh any less but the higher GVWR of the 1-ton means a higher payload value.

The tongue weight of your current 9100 GVWR travel trailer is likely around 1100-1200 pounds. Add to this all the other stuff and people you travel with when camping and you probably only have a few hundred pounds to spare as is. I don't know the specs on your 1500, but it's quite possible you only gained 300-400 lbs of payload capacity with the upgrade. I know my '19 F150 max tow had 1873 lbs of sticker payload.

As mentioned above, the best way to determine your true available payload is to load up completely as you would for camping, including all people that will be riding in the truck and hit the CAT scale and weigh it. Subtract this from your truck's GVWR (on the other sticker on the door pillar) and that is what is left for pin weight....but don't forget you will be adding a 125+ lb fifth wheel hitch as well....that will also need to come off the final number.

Once you have this final number, go look at the GVWR of various 5th wheels....I would calculate 20% of this figure. If it's lower than the figure you achieved above, you are not overloaded. I think you will see that you will be restricted to very modest sized 5th wheels.
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Old 12-03-2020, 12:47 PM   #6
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Yes , it's all about the bottom line , as per the photo .

There is a 2500 Ram out there that will handle a 3750 pin weight 5er.

It's a two wheel drive , standard cab , gas engine , truck with no options and a 150 lb driver . Unfortunately not a real world vehicle.

Thanks for taking the time to check things out , making sure you, and your family stay safe.
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:13 PM   #7
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about 500lbs of the problem is the 4wd system and (on a previous truck, for me) the standard transmission added another 200 lbs over the automatic

I'm even approaching the limits of my 3500 short bed, due to the massive pullrite hitch I planning to put into the factory puck system. that thing is a beast.

many of us have been in your shoes though, and frankly there are a lot of 3/4 ton trucks out there pulling 5vers that are overloaded. but look at it this way -- you'll get a better ride, empty, out of a 2500 truck ,at least from a RAM -- they put coil springs in the rear! my 3500 has leaves back there...
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:33 PM   #8
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I'm even approaching the limits of my 3500 short bed, due to the massive pullrite hitch I planning to put into the factory puck system. that thing is a beast..

I moved from the F150 to an F350. We found this guy on the lot. We got a sweet deal on it and loved it as far as the towing/camping features....5th wheel prep, carpet delete, ultimate trailer camera pkg, blah blah blah. The only issue was it also came 'equipped' with the payload de-rate 'option'. This dropped my stickered GVWR from approx. 11K to 10K. As a result my sticker payload is only 3271 when it should have topped 4K. While this is a paper only derating (no physical component difference) for vehicle registration purposes, I'm still legally bound to fall within this limit. I was aware of this when we bought it, so no surprise, but it will still limit me to a more modest RV should we want to upgrade in the next several years. I don't know if Chevy or Ram offers this, as Ford does, but it's also something to be aware of if ordering or purchasing off the lot.
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:36 PM   #9
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Per Ram's Towing Guide for any given Ram truck for the 2020MY. These two foot notes should be observed. 5. Payload and Trailer Weight Rating are mutually exclusive.
6. GAWRs, GVWRs and GCWRs should never be exceeded.

So, the only items that you should concern yourself with are the Gross Rear Axle Weight, Gross Vehicle Weight and the Gross Combined Weight ratings for 2020.

Depending on trim level and what type of truck either a 4X4 or 2X4 with the 3:73 axle gearing, the following numbers should be maintained. These are for vehicles sold in the US. GAWR= 6,000 LBS (some trucks do allow a 6,040LBS) GVWR= 10,000LBS and the CGRW depends on trim level, between 14,550 to 19,680 LBS.

I have included the 2020 FCA towing guide for your reference.

https://www.ramtrucks.com/content/da...Chart_MY20.pdf

Everything else is just fluff!
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:49 PM   #10
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thats the bible for sure! As a practical matter, for todays diesel 4wd TVs, the rear axle weight rating will never be exceeded if GVWR is respected. but for a 2wd gas std cab -- that could very well be a factor.
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Old 12-03-2020, 02:12 PM   #11
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thank you all for your input! Maybe I will look at slightly larger trailers with more than one slide. After three long trips i can say the whole ride/drive experience with the trailer I have is great, no complaints. But, i do like the roominess of 5th wheels for the same overall length.
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Old 12-03-2020, 02:20 PM   #12
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...the payload de-rate 'option'. This dropped my stickered GVWR from approx. 11K to 10K. As a result my sticker payload is only 3271 when it should have topped 4K. While this is a paper only derating (no physical component difference) for vehicle registration purposes, I'm still legally bound to fall within this limit.
thats a new one for me, but yes especially when the 3/4 and 1-ton trucks came with identical axles (including the brakes) there was/is a set of folks that would blow of the NHTSA stuff and justify loading up the 2500 because "it has the same rear end as the 1-ton". I believe todays F250/350s do that, and not long ago the RAM 2500/3500s did that as well. But legally, while I have yet to learn of an fifth wheel accident in which more blame was assigned due to exceeding GVWR, it can be a factor. I certainly wouldn't want to be in an accident where the opposing counsel argued that I should have part of the blame because I couldn't stop as fast as I should have -- due to overloading.

pretty sure all of this has been discussed ad nauseum in other threads, but I wanted to make one other point: the trailer's brakes are not designed/rated to stop the entire weight of the trailer, except in an emergency break-away situation. for the purpose of analyzing brake capacity, the trailer is designed to stop only that portion of its weight that sits on its wheels (so not the pin weight). the truck's brakes have the capacity to stop the weight of the pin, which is why GVWR is important.

personal vehicle registration is another matter. For example, my 3500 SRW is registered for 26,000 combination weight which makes me legal to pull that much, but doesn't make it safe to do so, or within the NHTSA limits that that the manufacturer had to demonstrate via qualification testing, which is reflected in the truck's actual GCWR rating.
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Old 12-04-2020, 05:22 AM   #13
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The numbers you need to pay the most attention to are the tire weight capacities at the correct tire pressure and the rear axle gross weight rating.
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:55 AM   #14
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I just looked at my sticker because i knew it came all set up for a 5th wheel and THERE IS A $495 CHARGE ON FOR "5thwheel/gooseneck towing prep group"!!!!!!!!!!!!
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