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Old 08-16-2020, 01:48 PM   #1
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How to load a 5th wheel for first timer!

Headed out soon for our 1st trip in our 5th wheel. Truck is 2013 Chevy 2500HD with Duramax, payload is 2800#. Hitch is B&W Patriot slider. Trailer is 31' long, dry wt. is 9100, GVWR is 11000#. With my bumper pull I would load a little heavy in the rear of the trailer to reduce tongue weight. Is there a certain way to load for a 5th wheel.

1. Load some extra weight in the rear of the trailer (to reduce pin weight so payload is better)?
2. Load anywhere (ie front storage) since hitch is over truck rear axle (would this INCREASE pin weight)?
3. Load some heavy stuff in truck bed in front of hitch near rear window (to reduce trailer weight which should reduce pin weight)?

My neighbor says it doesn't matter, all the weights equal out. He actually said it will tow better with about 1/2 tank fresh water but that would sure add a lot of extra weight (about 300#). I got some chucking while driving it home from the dealer so hoping that gets better with the trailer fully loaded. Thoughts? I plan on getting to a CAT scale on this trip.
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Old 08-16-2020, 02:15 PM   #2
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You really canít answer that question without a trip to the scales. You should just load it however is most convenient for you to get to the stuff that you are storing.
Unless you load it really heavy in the rear, I bet it pulls just fine. Loading heavy in the rear of a trailer will cause sway and isnít a good idea.
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Old 08-16-2020, 02:43 PM   #3
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A 5th wheel tows different than a travel trailer. I would just pack it were things go and see how it tows. Clothes in the drawers and hangers and dishes in the kitchen for example.

Anything you load in front of the trailer axles will increase pin wright. To what ratio I do not know. A calculus person could figure that out with a few distances, like distance from the axles to the hitch and exactly where weight was added. But if you get that detailed you need a GM 3500.

My thought is you will be fine and don't over think this. I carried a gallon of bug killer in my 5th wheel but did not worry where I stored it.
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Old 08-16-2020, 03:20 PM   #4
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I’ve always just loaded it where I wanted thing and never had a problem. Been across weight scales both loaded and unloaded and never made much more than a 100lbs difference on pin weight.
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Old 08-16-2020, 03:27 PM   #5
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I'm with Tuffr2 and Jayco19 - it never became that much of a big deal with the 5th wheel. Kitchen stuff went into the kitchen in the back, clothes and stuck in the front. Everything else inside where it seemed right.

In the big storage area up front - I put the chairs, the big Camp Chef grill and parts, the two dutch ovens, the king pin tripod, the dump stuff - everything you didn't want inside.


Now the Jayco travel trailer - that one I had to put heavy stuff in the back. Kitchen was up front, 1200 lbs empty on the hitch. We'd put the heavy can's and such under the bed in the back.
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Old 08-16-2020, 11:05 PM   #6
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You really canít answer that question without a trip to the scales. You should just load it however is most convenient for you to get to the stuff that you are storing.
Unless you load it really heavy in the rear, I bet it pulls just fine. Loading heavy in the rear of a trailer will cause sway and isnít a good idea.



X2 Knowing how much of that listed payload you have left is important. If you are close to weight, move stuff from TV to 5er.
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Old 08-17-2020, 03:18 PM   #7
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with 5th wheels is not so much where the weight is , Its more how much weight your adding. You need to know your truck rear axle weight when its pulling the 5th wheel and you need to know how much weight is on the axles of the 5th wheel. Some trailers 5th wheel and travel trailers have very limited cargo weight once they have propane , water , battery's . Bottom line know what you have and keep and eye on how much your loading. My 5th is loaded mostly from the axle to the pin and its heavy on the back of the truck , but I cant move where the basement storage is.

We have Morryde IS 8000 lb axles and I have just under 13,000 lbs with water on the trailer tires , my pin weight is right around 3600lbs right over the rear axle of the truck.
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Old 08-18-2020, 06:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by LanceKeys View Post
You really canít answer that question without a trip to the scales. You should just load it however is most convenient for you to get to the stuff that you are storing.
Unless you load it really heavy in the rear, I bet it pulls just fine. Loading heavy in the rear of a trailer will cause sway and isnít a good idea.

Do i need to take 2 readings hitched and unhitched or will hitched give me the info i need?
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Old 08-18-2020, 07:04 AM   #9
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Your chucking issue will be mitigated some if you use your basement for the heavy stuff and load weight forward. My trailer has almost identical specs and I try to get my pin weight at 2,000#

Unrelated to towing, I'm not a big fan of loading the slides heavy.
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Old 08-18-2020, 04:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Texdan View Post
Headed out soon for our 1st trip in our 5th wheel. Truck is 2013 Chevy 2500HD with Duramax, payload is 2800#. Hitch is B&W Patriot slider. Trailer is 31' long, dry wt. is 9100, GVWR is 11000#. With my bumper pull I would load a little heavy in the rear of the trailer to reduce tongue weight. Is there a certain way to load for a 5th wheel.

1. Load some extra weight in the rear of the trailer (to reduce pin weight so payload is better)?
2. Load anywhere (ie front storage) since hitch is over truck rear axle (would this INCREASE pin weight)?
3. Load some heavy stuff in truck bed in front of hitch near rear window (to reduce trailer weight which should reduce pin weight)?

My neighbor says it doesn't matter, all the weights equal out. He actually said it will tow better with about 1/2 tank fresh water but that would sure add a lot of extra weight (about 300#). I got some chucking while driving it home from the dealer so hoping that gets better with the trailer fully loaded. Thoughts? I plan on getting to a CAT scale on this trip.
My belief is that the only style 5th wheel where loading matters are toy haulers, especially those that carry heavy vehicles way out back.

Most 5th wheels have 1.5 to 2 times the pin weight (by percentage) a bumper pull has. It's hard to make a difference on pin weight on a 5er but always wise to get a proper whel-by-wheel weigh-in if you feel you are at the RV's limits.
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Old 08-21-2020, 03:25 PM   #11
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I have heard that a heavy toy in the back of a toy hauler can lighten the pin weight by a couple hundred pounds.
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Old 08-21-2020, 03:46 PM   #12
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Iím with the ďjust throw your stuff in and get it weighed sometimeĒ crowd. Starting out, Iíd be more concerned with checking wheel torque, tire pressures, and getting it hitched properly.
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Old 08-27-2020, 09:36 PM   #13
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Well, finally got to a CAT Scale today. Didn't get a 'truck only' weight so not sure how much good these numbers are other than to know that I am not 'over' on my axle weights:


Steer Axle 4500 (truck sticker 5200 max)
Drive Axle 5580 (truck sticker 6200 max)
Trailer Axle 8020

Gross weight 18100


Would like to know the pin weight but we didn't want to unhitch. Any comments on these figures?
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Old 08-29-2020, 01:24 PM   #14
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The whole front/back loading thing to decrease pin/hitch weight is one of the more overstated things on these message boards. If the axles were a pinpoint fulcrum it may help but they are not. They are two (or three) points located a couple feet from one another. Sure, if you are loading your anvil collection and you have a choice, put it in the back or over the axles. But in most cases with regular camping stuff it's just not going to make much of a difference. Basically, if you're so close on weight that you are using the loading front/back method you probably need a bigger truck.
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