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Old 04-21-2022, 10:12 PM   #1
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New 5th wheel in our future

My wife and I are looking to move from a class A to a 5th wheel in the near future. The one thing that I'm not sure about is how I size the proper pickup.
1/2 ton? 3/4 ton? Dually? Is there a chart of information that might assist us so that we purchase the correct vehicle to match the 5th wheel?
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Old 04-21-2022, 11:13 PM   #2
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Find the fifth wheel you want and then find a truck. You might be happy in a lightweight fifth wheel or you may end up with one that weighs 16k..
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Old 04-22-2022, 05:40 AM   #3
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It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the information and misinformation out there. Once you have found the floor plan you like take note of it’s GVWR then look up the towing guide for your preferred truck brand.
For example Ford’s towing guides can be found here:
https://www.fleet.ford.com/towing-guides/
While not absolutely necessary, a long bed will provide more cab clearance and a dual rear wheel will generally be more stable. Factory equipped in bed hitches (puck system) are very nice to have also.
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Old 04-22-2022, 06:33 AM   #4
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As stated above, find the trailer that you want....or if it narrows down to two or three possibilities, use the GVWR of the HEAVIEST of the three. Using the GVWR of the trailer (not what you think you might load it to) always insures that you are figuring for the "worst case scenario" as far as the load it will put on the truck. So, GVWR of the trailer, then multiply that number by about 22%. An example of that... 15,000 lbs GVWR for the trailer x 22% = 3300 lbs. Now you need to add up all the "other" stuff. 5th wheel hitch, figure on ~175 lbs. Maybe a toolbox in the bed of the truck with tools/stuff in it..maybe 200 lbs, passengers in the truck = only you know the answer to that one, anything and everything that goes in the truck and/or on the truck. So, 3300 lbs of pin weight, plus 175 for the hitch, toolbox..200 lbs, two kids and a dog..150 lbs TOTAL weight put on the truck = 3850 lbs being put in/on the truck. So in that example, the payload number on the door sticker of the truck really needs to be over say 3850 lb...AT THE MINIMUM. At that kind of weight, there are a few Single Rear Wheel trucks with that capability, but remember, lots of folks like to have excess payload available and not be right on the ragged edge of the payload capacity.

So find the trailer you like, use the GVWR like I did in the example above, add in EVERYTHING that you think will go in/on the truck, and always figure for worst case scenario. If you end up towing with less stuff in the trailer and it's below the GVWR, win-win. You end up with a truck trailer combo that is within all the towing specs as far as capacity ratings for both the truck and trailer, AND you have a little bit of excess payload capacity, both of which are a good thing.

And just as a side note, I did buy my truck before I bought the trailer that I have....BUT....I also knew that whatever trailer I was going to buy, would work with the truck I bought. I bought a F350 Dually/diesel with 5270 lbs of payload because I knew my future trailer was going to be a triple axle Toy Hauler in the 19K-20K GVWR range........and it has worked out wonderfully.
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Old 04-22-2022, 09:32 AM   #5
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Get the trailer selected first and then buy the truck to match. DO NOT listen to the RV salesperson on tow vehicles.

When towing an RV, it is a two-part selection on the truck. Most people just look at one thing....what is the tow rating on the truck. But on a 5th wheel trailer, the LOADED pin weight becomes the prime factor. Ignore the brochure weights on the trailer. Use the weight on the sticker on the left front of the trailer. The GVWR is the maximum the trailer can weigh loaded fro travel.

Now take 20% to 22% of the trailer GVWR to get an estimated loaded pin weight. Make sure the truck has sufficient cargo or payload capacity to handle the pin weight plus the 5er hitch weight, plus passengers and cargo in the truck.

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Old 04-22-2022, 09:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcsparron View Post
My wife and I are looking to move from a class A to a 5th wheel in the near future. The one thing that I'm not sure about is how I size the proper pickup.
1/2 ton? 3/4 ton? Dually? Is there a chart of information that might assist us so that we purchase the correct vehicle to match the 5th wheel?
One school of thought is to find the 5th wheel you like first. But another is to get the truck first with this thought in mind, get a truck to maybe handle a bigger rig down the road. If you want a smaller 5th wheel, 13K size, get a dually in case you want to trade up later on and get a rig that is at 16K or a triple-axle. So, plan ahead in your truck size, go dually right off the bat in case you want to upgrade your rig.

If you get a 3/4 ton and during the shopping the wife sees a RV she really likes but it is too big for the 3/4 ton. She has to settle for a RV she really does not like, will you be happy??????
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Old 04-22-2022, 10:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcsparron View Post
My wife and I are looking to move from a class A to a 5th wheel in the near future. The one thing that I'm not sure about is how I size the proper pickup.
1/2 ton? 3/4 ton? Dually? Is there a chart of information that might assist us so that we purchase the correct vehicle to match the 5th wheel?
Do yourself a favor and remove the 1/2 ton truck option.....regardless of the size of the 5ver you choose.

Just about every 1/2 ton you see towing a 5th wheel is overloaded. Don't fall for the trailer manufacturer's claims of '1/2 ton towable'. It's marketing hype and the fine print will state with a '....properly equipped tow vehicle...'. For a 1/2 ton truck that would that means a long bed, stripped down, regular cab, special ordered with a heavy duty payload package...and maybe you'll be close. Without it, no chance. The pin weight alone will likely exceed your carrying capacity.

Here's a relative's rig....38' and 11K DRY. Truck and RV salesman both told him he's good to go with the F150. After a season he upgraded to a 3/4 ton gasser.

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Old 04-22-2022, 11:30 AM   #8
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If you only occasionally RV, you might get away with a half-ton truck. Unfortunately, you'd be forced into a smaller fifth wheel, with much less storage (that's why they call them Lites, they remove outside storage) and the truck will be maxed out all the time. It will also be hard on the truck if you use it often for camping, too much pressure on the smaller components.

You need to focus on a 3/4 or 1 ton diesel truck. I would also try and stay with a 6' bed and only get a dually if the trailer size absolutely demands it. Parking a dually while sightseeing can be a challenge.

I think it's obvious that you need to have some idea of the trailer size and weight before buying a truck.
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Old 04-22-2022, 03:01 PM   #9
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we had a 3/4 diesel and found a 11,000 forty foot fifth wheel that worked great. one thing to consider is many people really come to hate driving a dually for a daily driver.
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Old 04-22-2022, 03:21 PM   #10
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Rule of thumb

Forget 150/1500 (1/2 ton) truck and 5th wheel
250/2500 (3/4 ton) truck-----------14,000 GVWR 5th wheel
350/3500 SRW (single wheel 1 ton) truck-------16,000 GVWR 5th wheel
350/3500 DRW (dually 1 ton) truck --------any 5th wheel
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Old 04-22-2022, 04:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Rule of thumb

Forget 150/1500 (1/2 ton) truck and 5th wheel
250/2500 (3/4 ton) truck-----------14,000 GVWR 5th wheel
350/3500 SRW (single wheel 1 ton) truck-------16,000 GVWR 5th wheel
350/3500 DRW (dually 1 ton) truck --------any 5th wheel
250/2500 (3/4 ton) truck---------8000 GVWR if the truck is a diesel. Payload on those are anemic.
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Old 04-23-2022, 08:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
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we had a 3/4 diesel and found a 11,000 forty foot fifth wheel that worked great. one thing to consider is many people really come to hate driving a dually for a daily driver.

Seriously, a 40-foot 5er that only weighs 11,000 lb. I presume you are looking at the dry weight. A 40-foot trailer needs a larger truck. I can pretty well guarantee you are overweight on the rear axle. Please list the GVWR of the trailer and your actual weights on that rig.

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Old 04-23-2022, 10:22 AM   #13
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250/2500 (3/4 ton) truck---------8000 GVWR if the truck is a diesel. Payload on those are anemic.
I disagree. My old 2002 2500 HD Duramax had a GVWR of 9200 and was plenty capable of pulling a 12,000-14,000 5th wheel.
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Old 04-25-2022, 12:17 PM   #14
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I disagree. My old 2002 2500 HD Duramax had a GVWR of 9200 and was plenty capable of pulling a 12,000-14,000 5th wheel.
12K...that would be MAX for that year 2500

14K.....that would be overloaded on RAWR and GCVWR
That is not good.
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