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Old 02-17-2017, 10:07 AM   #1
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Who's towing their fifth wheel with a gas truck?

Who's towing their fifth wheel with a gas truck?

We are really get close to decision time between a trailer and fifth wheel. The fifth wheel is winning in all categories right now (Grand Design Reflection 303RLS - GVWR 11995lbs) but we REALLY want to stick with a gas truck -specifically a Ford F350 CC SB 6.2 gas. We will be towing approx 5-7K miles annually all over the US including the mountains out west. When not towing for 8-9 months a year the truck will be driven short distances in town - 1-3 miles typically. It also may sit idle for weeks on end. All this points to a gas truck. I know there will be some days I wish I had a diesel, but we have been dragging a car behind a Ford V10 class C for years and understand the limitations of a gas rig at altitude. But that really happens 2-4 days a year and for only a few hours of actual climbing those days anyway.

Anyone towing a fifth wheel in that 12K or under range with a gas truck like the Ford 6.2 and how's it going for you?



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Old 02-17-2017, 01:34 PM   #2
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Hi there. We have a 2011 F250 Ex cab short box 6.2 gas, and are towing a Cougar 5th wheel at 10000 lbs loaded. We live in Alberta Canada so pull through the mountains of British Columbia in summer and down to Arizona and California in winter where we are now in Mesa. I would advise you get the 4.30 axle ratio which is what we have. Has no problem at all with this weight. Will go up hills at speed limit if you want to floor it but I don't. Whats a couple extra minutes to get to top, so I limit myself to about 4000 rpm, however the real power in this engine is above that. Gets 8 to 9 mpg (US gallon) pulling and we are getting about 13 driving here in Mesa, have seen 17 on highway solo at about 60 mph. Pull mostly in 5th, but can in 6th if no head wind and level. Love the transmission which has M position which allows holding that gear so doesn't downshift on small hills and gives you manual control going up or down like a manual transmission. If you are buying new the 2017s have the torque peaking lower at 3800 rpm vs 4500 for the older ones. Most important advice would be get the 4.30 axle, hard to find unfortunately used or new on lot.
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:50 PM   #3
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I am pulling my 34' 5th wheel which is not much lighter than yours with a 2500HD. I too owned a gas motor home and I too know the limitations of gas as well as the positives, which you don't hear often on this board. ( watch the negative comments I will receive). Being life time campers my wife and I know what overloading does to gas mileage etc. we made the decision to go super light as much as we could as far as carry ons with our new camper. A couple nice kitchen settings and coffee mugs and the rest are lightweight plastics dishes, cups, cook ware etc. I went with the lightweight Andersen hitch, don't travel with any water in tank we stop at rest stops to bathroom on trips and a few bottles of water are carried too if needed. We take nothing we will never use. carry nothing in the truck. Have no more than a very limited amount of groceries and will buy at our destination . I am 5'7 and wife is 5'3" so we are not big people and it's only us two. Bought a 1 year old Truck in 2015 for several thousand less than a comparable diesel and yes It does fine going over some pretty steep byways and I also use the M feature with my transmission. Also another thing is we plan on towing ours pretty much in the winter only to a nice warm spot and parking it. We own a cottage on a lake in New York and spend summer weekends there. We wanted a cottage like experience in the winter too so the 5th wheel gives us that feel. If I were planning many long trips and traveling I might think twice about the truck but for how I am using the camper I feel fine with my choice.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:52 PM   #4
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I pulled a 14,000 lb 5ver with a '99 "Ford V10 for years. Drove from SoCal to Montreal and got 8.1 mpg, 8000 miles. Problems were - -
After 200 miles had to start looking for gas.
Twice on steep mountain grades I couldn't get enough revs to get up on the torque curve. But had no problems with the truck or engine. Cheap maintenance on the truck.
With the diesel I have plenty of torque, fuel mileage, and could install a 70 gal fuel tank. So if you are sensitive to the limitations then make the choice that suits you.
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Old 02-17-2017, 10:11 PM   #5
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We pulled an 11,000# Cougar 5th wheel with a 2007 Chevy HD 2500 2WD with a 6.0L and 4.10 gears. It did a great job pulling that trailer and got 8-9 mpg towing over the Blue Mtns in OR. It got about 13 empty and we might still have the truck except that we purchased some land in the mountains and had to buy something with 4WD.

With the right gearing and the right trailer, a gas powered pickup works just fine!
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:38 AM   #6
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We had a F-250 with the 6.2 pulling a Montana High Country gross at 14,400 and it worked ok on the flats and would do just ok going up hills but going down hill got pretty nervous a couple of times and we ended up getting the F-350 6.7. the engine brake is really nice. Just me
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:57 AM   #7
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Another point, and not wanting to turn this into a gas vs diesel vs dually war, when I was determining which way to go I noticed in the case of Chevy (which I was only interested in) the payload difference between a 3500 non dually diesel and my 2500 gas is around 700 pounds and was the reason I looked at sub 34 ft fifth wheels because larger trailers and anything less than a 3500DW I would be over payload weight. Also the wife and I didn't want to spend 3 months driving around florida in a diesel dually and quite frankly it was over my budget.
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:42 AM   #8
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Our last setup was a 34', 12K 5er being pulled by a 2006 V10 short bed F350. It did just fine but the gas mileage with a 28 gallon tank forced you to start looking for the next station as you pulled out of the current fill up. With a 4.10 final drive ratio, the usual gas mileage here in the hilly Northeast was about 7.5 mpg. Ford's modular engines also work just fine at pretty high rpm so revving it to stay in the torque curve is fine to over 4000 rpm. With that said, you do need to anticipate hills a get that engine speed up to keep the mph. The Tow/Haul feature will provide down hill braking as will manual shifting using the lever mounted rocker switch (it doesn't need to be in the 'M' position). You will suffer some loss of power in the hills of the West but even my way long gone '70s 5er and F350 with a carbed 460 did OK in Colorado where we did some back roads passes at over 12,000 feet as long as I could keep the rpm somewhere in the curve.

With all that said, I do have to say that the current 6.7 diesel does it better towing, with decent mpg (12-13) and usually at normal highway speeds.

OK - I assume you have the current truck, your tow miles/year are not particularly high and it may sit for months on end off season. I suggest that you keep and use that truck as it cost less to buy and for sure lots less to maintain. If you are not happy with the way it pulls your 5er, that when it comes time to trade, that you reconsider your choice of power and if the diesel is worth 8-9000 dollars more on the next one, jump in the deep end with 440Hp/925 lb ft of torque
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:59 AM   #9
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I have a 13K trailer loaded and I have both (gas F350 SRW and diesel F350 DRW), I generally use the gas truck for most short and local trips (less than 300 miles) since it is easier to get gas than diesel as I do not need to fight the big trucks at truck stops. I do like the ease of driving around to see the sights in a SRW truck vise a DRW truck.

I think you will have no problem towing with a gas truck properly outfitted and sized.
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Old 02-19-2017, 08:37 PM   #10
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11K 5th wheel with Ram 6.4 Hemi 2500 4X4 3.73 gears. Overall, it gets the job done but I wish I had better gears. I'm looking into going to a 4.30 or 4.56 but for how infrequently I tow it's kind of a frivolous purchase. I like the increased payload the gas affords and the 6-7K lower purchase price was nice. It sounds like you're well aware of the way a gasser tows. A Ford 6.2 with the 4.30 gears would be just fine IMO.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:03 AM   #11
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I drive a 2010 F350, extended cab, single axle, V10 with 4:10 rear end. We tow a 34' Montana, 4 slides weighing close to 15,500 Lbs fully loaded. On flat roads I hardly notice I am towing it. On large hills it can tend to slow up to around 45MPH but has never over heated or failed to make the grade. My mileage is about the same as all who have posted here and I only notice about a 1-2 MPH gallon difference between towing and not. The F350 is a better choice than the F250 (have had both) due to larger axles and brakes and when purchased new is not that much more expensive. The V10 is a super smooth engine, and the transmission is velvety smooth even when towing. I have read recently where the Ford V8's have a little more torque than than V10's and I suspect it is due to cylinder size. I only tow twice a year to and from a seasonal camp site so for me the gasser works due to the initial cost of the diesel engine. However, if I were towing on a regular basis I would definitely go with the diesel. I have owned both and the diesel just hauls much better with a consistent power curve and higher torque. My suspension is fine with the single axle. I do have the extra springs that were factory installed and there no noticeable bed sag when the fiver is on. On average new diesels are about $8,000 more than a gas engine, but will definitely last much longer. Problem is (from experience) the bodies rust out just as fast.

Good luck with your decision, either way, V10 or diesel, you should be OK as long as you stay in the one ton class of truck.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:08 AM   #12
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I have pulled the same light weight 5th wheel trailer with two different trucks. One was a 6.0L gas Chevy and the other was a Ram 6.7L, Cummins diesel engine. Both had automatic transmissions with 3.73 differential gear and both were 4X4's. I only pull with the gaser truck three times and stated to my wife that we either sell the 5er (just bought it) or buy a new diesel engine truck. Why? The engine torque in moving the load from a standing start. The engine was constantly in the 3,000 to 4,000 RPM's range just to get the load moving. Fuel economy was 6 to 7 MPG on flat land when towing. Could not fill-up very easily with gas when the trailer was attached. These were my reasons for a diesel engine vehicle an I have never look back.
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:05 PM   #13
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I pulled my 38.ft 346lbq Montana mountaineer with a 2008 f250 V10 super duty 4x4 crew cab with 8 ft box in fall I put a fifth wheel in the back of the 2016 f350 gas 4x4 crew cab 6.5 ft box I've only towed it local around my home in central Wisconsin but based on my genral feel I see no trouble pulling it to Florida. Hopefully we get that chance January 2018
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Old 03-01-2017, 06:21 PM   #14
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It's not so much about GO as it is about WHOA esp on the downside of climbing up the mountains.
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