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Old 12-03-2020, 08:42 PM   #1
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Standard bed or 8' bed

Guys,
My wife and I are looking at getting into RVing and am getting ready to purchase a new truck. Will be towing a 20k gross trailer weight fifth wheel. Looking at a GMC 3500 with either a standard 6' 10" bed with a pullrite superglide 24k or a 8' bed with a simple 24k B&W hitch. I like the standard bed for everyday driving but am unsure of the slider being much more mechanical in nature (ie more to go wrong) versus the simple standard fifth wheel hitch and the longer 8' bed which would be a little more difficult for normal driving and parking especially. Any thoughts on either direction as I'm all ears and looking for help in selecting the right truck. Any help or comments are greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Art
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Old 12-03-2020, 10:23 PM   #2
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LOL, not long ago Standard=8ft, 'short bed' was 6.5ft.

This one comes down heavily to preference. I like 8ft because:

-longer wheel base handels trailers better, reduces sway, smoother ride.

-more room for stuff like a tool box

-don't need complex slider 5th wheel hitches

And most importantly... they look better

IMHO, the only advantage to a short bed is a slightly tighter turning radius due to the shorter wheel base. Both short and long beds need big parking spots.

Parking lots... I have learned to park in the boonies, it's not worth the headaches and door dings caused by all the other impatient drivers to park close. I need the exercise anyways .

I'm sure others will come along with differing opinions.
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Old 12-03-2020, 11:23 PM   #3
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Well it is personal preference to bed length, but I prefer an 8' bed, better ride, more room for stuff.
You are really jumping in feet first, starting with a 20K 5er, I hope that 3500 is DRW, as a SRW will not have enough payload to carry a 20K 5er pin weight.
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Old 12-03-2020, 11:46 PM   #4
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Well it is personal preference to bed length, but I prefer an 8' bed, better ride, more room for stuff.
You are really jumping in feet first, starting with a 20K 5er, I hope that 3500 is DRW, as a SRW will not have enough payload to carry a 20K 5er pin weight.
Hitch weight is 3600 while the payload is almost 4100. What am I missing? TIA
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:47 AM   #5
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A 5th wheel with a GVWR of 20,000lbs. really needs a dually truck with an 8' bed. You are at least semi crazy for thinking a SRW truck can be used.
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:41 AM   #6
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Hitch weight is 3600 while the payload is almost 4100. What am I missing? TIA
That leaves you 500# for passengers and gear. You need to check the door sticker for each vehicle you are considering. Options can significantly reduce the max advertised payload. Also, hitch weight may be "dry" meaning empty tanks and no stuff. If you are starting from scratch, no reason to put yourself in an iffy situation.
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Old 12-04-2020, 06:54 AM   #7
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As a rule I tell folks the standard bed is just fine for towing a fifth wheel without a slider hitch as long as the trailer has an extended pin box and a curved front end cap. But if you are going to tow a 20K trailer, I'd recommend a dually and they are only in long box trucks. I have a 3500 SRW and I wouldn't go over 16K with it. Way too easy to over load the axle and tires.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:13 AM   #8
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Hitch weight is 3600 while the payload is almost 4100. What am I missing? TIA
Very unlikely that a 20K gross 5er is gonna have a 3600lb pin weight at gross.

Those marketing numbers are based on empty weight.

Expect 22-25% of gross.....

As a very rough rule of thumb, here is what I came up with while making my choices:

< 12,000 gross - 3/4 ton SRW
< 16,000 gross - 1 ton SRW
< 20,000 gross - 1 ton DRW
< 24,000 gross - 1.5 ton DRW

Obviously actual sticker ratings also must be considered as they vary greatly between makes, models and options.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:15 AM   #9
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You can find dozens of threads on this topic as it comes up almost weekly. I suggest you read through them to really understand towing capacity and payload. We did and made the right call with our new setup this year. Itís in the signature but we got the 3500 DRW to haul our 19,000 lb 5th wheel. It only comes in the 8í bed. The brochure said pin weight was ~3,100 dry. Loaded up for camping our pin is ~4,000 lbs (we do have a generator). I tow at 70-75 mph, depending on conditions, and in no way did I want to be running at tire limits for weight. If the specs on your trailer are ~3,600 dry and you get a gen set you will likely be around ~4,500 loaded up. No genny probably ~4,100.

The other factor for us in getting the DRW and 8í bed was to carry more fuel. The stock 36 gallon tank means getting fuel every 3 hours. With a 50 gallon transfer tank we go a full day without stopping at truck stops by having a ~650 mile range with 1/4 tank reserve. We can disconnect and get fuel at the local stations where fuel is alway 20 cents less too! This adds over 400lbs of weight to the bed, although not all carried by the rear axle since it sits forward.

The truck is not a daily driver but a 3rd vehicle. I would never drive a dully full time, just my opinion. For the 8-10 weeks per year driving it when traveling itís okay. You have to park in big lots and often take up two spots. We have never been unable to go anywhere but I have dropped off the family and parked a hike away to find a spot.

PS: We had a 3500 SRW short bed before going the 5th wheel route (had a DP prior). Our plans were to get a Grand Design 36í model with an estimated loaded pin weight of 3,000 lbs and tow it with the current truck. This was before the used but basically brand new Riverstone showed up on a trade while getting our DP serviced.

3,200 mile round trip MI to TX drove like a dream w/ cruise set 70-73 following the class 8 trucks even with high winds through IL and MO. Love the dually...
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:46 AM   #10
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20k lbs unit likely have at least 4000 lbs pin weight if not more. With hitch and passengers and cargos, you are looking north of 4700 lbs. You probably need a MDT to move that thing safely. Definitely not 1 ton SRW.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adilione View Post
Hitch weight is 3600 while the payload is almost 4100. What am I missing? TIA
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicky8668 View Post
20k lbs unit likely have at least 4000 lbs pin weight if not more. With hitch and passengers and cargos, you are looking north of 4700 lbs. You probably need a MDT to move that thing safely. Definitely not 1 ton SRW.

That 3,600# pin weight is DRY, and will only go up, in addition payload is EVERYTHING added to the TV besides a 150# driver and full fuel tank.
The pin on that 20,000# GVWR 5er could easily have a pin well exceeding 4,000#.


The current 350/3500 DRW diesel trucks will have a payload north of 5,500#, even the very plush models.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:23 AM   #12
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Guys,
I greatly appreciate you taking the time to respond to my question and pointing out some obvious things to you that were not apparent to me. I was going by the manufacturer's info and now realize that from a practical standpoint those numbers will only go up and to be safe, will bump me to a DRW. Thanks for responding and not allowing me to make a very costly mistake. mea culpa
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:24 PM   #13
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Welcome to the forum. If the truck you are considering is the newest generation GM product you may find you can tow a fifth wheel without a slider hitch. The bed is longer than other short bed trucks plus GM positioned the hitch attachments so the hitch rides 2" aft of the axle giving you more cab clearance. Neighbor has the new truck with a puck mount Companion and tows a Grand Design Solitude with no problems.

If you are sold on the heavy trailer, a dually with an 8 ft. bed is certainly the better towing choice.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:16 PM   #14
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As everyone stated there is no way to safely tow that size and weight 5er with a SRW truck.

My buddy overloads his and went through thousands in modifications, but he will go through a set of rear tires in 15 000 miles hauling anywhere from 16k to 17k pounds on a SRW truck.
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