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jbenoit28 01-19-2016 11:48 AM

To Dually or not to Dually?
I've read several threads on this subject and I think I have my answer but I wanted to get confirmation. My wife and I are considering a fifth wheel in a few years. We would like to get our truck first so that it will be easier towing our current TT until we are ready for the 5th wheel. We went to the Tampa RV show and saw several bunkhouse models. Using one of those for a model I have the following specs: Avalanche 391TG - GVWR 16,000 lbs, Max pin (figure 20%) 3,200 lbs, length is 39'5". Our target truck would likely be a 2012 or newer Ford 350/450 Crewcab 4X4 DRW. I'm excluding the F350 SRW due to the pin weight being over the 2,900 lbs cargo capacity and the GVWR of the trailer exceeding the 15,700 lbs max fifth wheel towing capacity. Did I read the towing guide for 2012 correctly?

If so, would it make much of a difference between a short bed/long bed version of those trucks aside from the need for a sliding hitch on the short bed?

Thanks in advance for helping me check my homework.


drdarrin 01-19-2016 03:33 PM

I think your math is correct.
The choice between LB and SB also influences the cost of the hitch. SB will require a sliding hitch = more $, other things being equal.

cwsqbm 01-19-2016 03:50 PM

If you want a SRW, look at a newer truck. The GVWR has gone up enough to handle the pin weight. A DRW is a better choice when towing, but whether its worth it the rest of the time depends on how frequently you will be towing and where you park when you go shopping. You also don't necessarily need a sliding hitch with SB due to the design of the front of most modern mid-weight 5th wheels.

Roam America 01-19-2016 04:46 PM

I've been driving a dually for over 10 years now. I've never had a problem in parking lots, drive thru lanes, or general driving around town. And I do not park at the far end of the parking lot. In fact since going full time, it is our only vehicle so it is our daily driver. My better half drives it too without problems.The ONLY thing I have not been able to do with my dually is go thru a car wash; but then that may be a God send.

Our last 2 trucks have been F-450's. I can honestly say it pulls my 5er so nicely that at times I forget it is there.

raineman 01-19-2016 04:53 PM

Dually if you are planning ahead. Not many complain about too much truck. But there are hours of reading of people who bought too little truck and are either looking to somehow beef too little truck up or replace too little truck. Some even will argue that too little truck can do the job despite published tow ratings by the manufacturer, math and common sense. Dually.

Nana25K 01-19-2016 05:03 PM

Go dually. We loved ours for 7 years. Just like Kstar never had an issue as our daily driver. Liked the long bed as well. However we did not have 4WD and never ever missed it.

SmokeyWren 01-19-2016 05:58 PM

You need a Dooley

Originally Posted by jbenoit28 (Post 2906594)
I'm excluding the F350 SRW due to the pin weight being over the 2,900 lbs cargo capacity and the GVWR of the trailer exceeding the 15,700 lbs max fifth wheel towing capacity. Did I read the towing guide for 2012 correctly?

I read it a little differently.

2012 F-350 4x4 SRW CrewCab shorty diesel
GCWR 23.500
Tow rating 14,900 (means the truck weighs 8600 pounds)
GVWR 11,500
3,086 max weight of a truck camper or hitch weight of a trailer (means the truck with all passengers weighs 8,414)

I would estimate the weight of the wet and loaded F-350 XLT SRW CrewCab 4x4 PSD at 9,000 pounds, resulting in a max "real world" tow rating at about 14,500. (23,500 minus 9,000 = 14,500). That includes Mom and Pop and two kids and at least one big dog, along with a toolbox full of tools and maybe the first night's campfire wood.

With trailer GVWR of 16k, you'd have to pay attention to keep the gross weight of the trailer down to 14,500 or less.

However, exceeding the GCWR is not a show stopper unless you plan to spend most of your towing in hills and mountains. GCWR tells you the most combined weight your drivetrain can pull over the hills and passes without overheating anything in the drivetrain, and without being the slowpoke holding up traffic. If you stay out of hills and mountains, then GCWR is not a big concern.

But the show stopper is you'll be exceeding the GVWR (and payload capacity) of the SRW. 11,500 minus 9,000 = 2,500 pounds available for hitch weight. Your hitch weight will be closer to 3,000 pounds. So for me the SRW is a non-starter for dragging that trailer. You need a Dooley (yeah, spelling borrowed from Tom Dooley). ;)

450Donn 01-19-2016 06:04 PM

If I had thought ahead back in 2004 I would have bought a dually then and saved thousands in mistakes. If your going large fiver a dually is really the only smart choice. Needing a 4500 series? Naw! My current fiver has a scaled pin of 3500 pounds and I do just fine with a 3500 dually without exceeding any of the numbers

jbenoit28 01-21-2016 08:11 AM

Thanks for all of the good info! We'll look for a Dually 350/450 for our next TV. Gotta start saving my pennies now. :) I'd expect the Dually should make it much easier for my wife to drive the rig from a stability standpoint.


SrFox 01-21-2016 08:14 AM

Smart choice going with the dually! We love ours! :)

tuffr2 01-21-2016 09:52 AM

I have the 8' bed and love it. It allows me to back into spots worry free plus will carry lots of other stuff from firewood to kayaks.

Cummins12V98 01-21-2016 11:33 AM

"Max pin (figure 20%) 3,200 lbs" sorry but if using a 5er for full time use the pin can hit 25% no problem. So that 3,200# pin can easily be 4,000#. Best to plan on the higher number.

SmokeyWren 01-21-2016 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by jbenoit28 (Post 2908594)
We'll look for a Dually 350/450 for our next TV.

Understand that the F-450 pickup comes only as a CrewCab diesel with 4.30 limited slip axle and the 8' bed. If you want a shorter F-450, or a gasser, then you have to find an F-450 ChassisCab and add a bed of some sort that will accept a 5er hitch, or at least a gooseneck hitch. The F-450 chassis cab comes with any of the three cabs, but the shortest cab-to-axle length is a couple of inches longer than a longbed pickup.

The F-350 DRW has a lot more choice in configuration - regular cab, SuperCab or CrewCab, gas or diesel engine, and your choice of open or optional LS axle.

Just for grins, I built a 2016 F-450 chassis cab SuperCab gasser on If I wanted a SuperCab gasser, this is it:

o $42,820 base MSRP for 2016 Ford F-450 Chassis Cab XLT SuperCab, 162” Wheelbase, 6.8L 3-Valve SOHC EFI V10 Engine, TorqShift® 5-Speed SelectShift Automatic® Transmission - O/D, 4x2, 4.88 Limited-Slip Axle Ratio, DRW

$42,820 Base MSRP
$3,180 Total of Options
$1,195 Destination Charges
$47,195 Total MSRP ($42,476 cash price, minus any Ford rebate, plus bed and TT&L)

Options added:
Equipment Groups
o $795 XLT Interior Package
o $405 rear backlight Power Sliding w/Privacy Glass and Defrost
o $350 Spare Tire & Wheel (no, a spare is not standard on a Chassis Cab)
o $165 PowerScope® Trailer Tow Mirrors (power glass, fold and telescope) Std tow mirrors are not power fold/telescope.
o $370 6" Angular Black Molded-in-Color Running Board
o $1,095 19.5" Forged Polished Aluminum Wheels with Bright Hub Covers
o $0 225/70Rx19.5G BSW A/S (6) Tires std
o $0 Steering Wheel Audio Controls
o $0 Cloth 40/20/40 Split-Bench Seats
Standard Features
Interior Features
• Air Conditioning – Manual Temperature Control
• AM/FM Stereo with Single CD, digital clock and four speakers
• SYNC® Communications and Entertainment System
• Power Equipment - door locks and windows with one-touch up and down driver and passenger window, power glass in tow mirrors
• Cruise control
• Steering Wheel Audio Controls
• Tilt/Telescoping steering wheel
• Upfitter switches located on instrument panel (4)
• Windshield wipers – interval control
Exterior Features
• Window - flip-open rear quarter (SuperCab)
Power and Handling
• Engine - 6.8L 3-valve SOHC EFI V10 engine
• TorqShift® Heavy-Duty 5-speed SelectShift™ Automatic Transmission
• Alternator - 175 amp Heavy-Duty (6.8L gas engine only)
• Axle - Mono-beam front axle with coil spring suspension – ( F-450 )
• Brakes – 4-wheel power disc brakes with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS); Hydro-boost (DRW)
• Engine-Only Traction Control (EOTC) (DRW)
• 40 Gallon aft-axle (F-450)
• Stabilizer bar – front
• Steering – power
• Steering damper
• Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
• 225/70Rx19.5G BSW A/S (6) + optional spare

jbenoit28 01-22-2016 11:20 AM

When we move to the truck, we will need the CrewCab and 4X4 anyway so the F450 will be fine. I never thought I'd need 4 wheel drive until last March. I would have been in a serious pickle without it. Very tight and steep ascending turn on gravel road...back tires gave up even at a very low speed. Glad for that switch on my dash :)

This is a little off topic, but I noticed several of the Bunkhouse 5th wheels we liked had twin axles rated at 7K each. The trailer had a GVWR of 16K. So they don't give you any extra on this? Doing the math, the trailer depends on the truck carrying the extra weight. That seems like a bad situation if you find a few compression dips in the road that will overstress the axles for an instant. I have a feeling someone is going to reply with "that's how they build them to save money" or similar. Bummer.


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