Need Fifth wheel help

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Tazmaniancowboy, Jan 18, 2004.

  1. Tazmaniancowboy

    Tazmaniancowboy New Member

    My wife and I will be in the market for a new trailer soon. We went to the local rv show today. We were talking about fifth wheels and I did'nt think I could get one for my current truck, but I found a few lighter weight ones. We are looking for one with slideout and bunks, 26-29 ft. My truck is a Ford F-150 ext cab with 6' bed. The truck is 4 wheel-drive with 3.55 rear and the 5.4 triton v-8. I know NOBODY that has one or even has a connection to somebody who does. I know NOTHING. Can anybody help me and let me know if this is possible or even any websites that I could learn from? I have a feeling I'll have to stick with a travel trailer, but I want to try a fifth-wheel!

    Thanks in advance for your help, hope to hear from you soon!
    Don
     
  2. buckbs

    buckbs New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Don,
    Unfortunately, you are limiting yourself with the truck that you have. I have a Ford F-350 turbodiesel dually with a 4.10 rear end, and my maximum allowed weight for a fifth wheel is 12,000lbs. I'm right at that amount with the 35 ft. fifth wheel that I have.

    The gas engines just don't have the torque necessary to pull much weight, and with the addition of your lighter truck, your max towing weight would probably be around 8,000lbs. Be well aware that when you go to an RV dealer, the sales rep there will tell you anything to make a sale. You need to stay within your weight limits for pulling, but even more importantly, you need to be able to stop safely. Ford has brochures that state the safe weight maximums for their trucks. Pay close attention.

    Good luck.
     
  3. skizer

    skizer New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Well Taz,
    My wife and I bought a fifth wheel for our honeymoon and having no truck at the time my father-in-law let us borrow his half ton dodge. It pulled it fine and we went up into the mountains of california and some of those mountains are PRETTY steep! Now i don't know what the pulling ratio difference is between dodges and fords but your manual for your truck should tell you what the truck is rated for as far as pulling. Our fifth wheel is right at 5 tons. Hope that helps.
     
  4. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Taz,
    You could move buckbs 35 footer with your 1/2 ton but, most of us that have been towing for years would not recommend it. We are bashed sometimes for saying we don't think it,s a good combination but it's (JMO). Does your truck have all the towing equipment? I think you should stay in the 5000 range. The 4x4 lowers the tow capacity on most trucks due to the extra weight. There are some lite weights out there that can be towed with the 1/2 tons if the truck is properly set up. I towed a 28 ft Cougar 5th wheel with a 92 ext cab 350 engine long wb 342 rear axle, trans cooler but, did not like the stopping. traded for a chev dually and would have never went back to a 1/2 ton for towing. How far and how often will you be towing? Insurance is also another factor, if over weight they may not pay if you have an accident. Check the riding hight before you buy a fiver. The ford 4x4 sits kinda high and you want the truck and rv level.
     
  5. Tazmaniancowboy

    Tazmaniancowboy New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Thanks for the replies guys. I realize my truck was smaller than most people tow with, but didn't know I was pushing the envelope that much. I don't want to kill the truck or anybody. I blew the cheap transmission that ford put in my(at the time)91 explorer pulling a 71 tt that was only 17', but the weight on it was over 4400lbs because of the old wooden framing. So I know how unpleasant it is to not have the right rig to pull. I value all of your opinions so keep them coming. It's so hard to give up though. I was looking for around a 26 - 28 footer. Doesn't anybody make any light weight oned around that size?

    C Nash, My truck has the ford towing pkg, is it safe to assume the transcooler is big enough? I never looked to see if there is an external one. Just checked owners manual and say max trailer weight 7700Lbs :disapprove: With my other trailer, I try to go out around 6-8 times a year. Usually no more than about 120 miles one way, but I want to explore a little further now. Never trusted the old camper, made 1 long trip from NJ to VA once with it. Went to Cherrystone and loved it, no problems, but always had the thought of something going wrong because of its age. Wanted to go back, but not until I get a new camper. How would I know if my stock 4x4 sits too high? What can be done about it? I ask because when I do buy a new truck in the future I wanted to go with a f250 or f350, but I know they sit much higher than my current truck. Does anybody have a 2004 f-series truck? I understand that the bed rails are higher on them. What would you have to do in that case?

    Please keep the much appreciated info coming. I'd like to learn somehow. Even when I end up with a tt, at least I will have some knowledge to buy a 5er in the future!
    Taz
     
  6. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Usually the 'max trailer weight' is for the truck with no cargo, no accessories, no passengers, a 150 driver and just a bit of fuel. Older 1/2 tons should be kept to 5000 pounds of trailer or so. 5th wheels often overload the GVWR and/or GRWR because they add as much as 20% of the trailer weight to the rear axel.

    To stay within the weight range of the 1/2 ton, you may need to look at the 25' or less trailers. These can still be quite comfortable, particularly if they have a slide.

    In order to match the truck and trailer heights, in some cases you can replace the spacers in the truck suspension, lowering it a bit, or 'flip' the axels on the trailer to raise it a bit. If you are buying new, consider custom ordering your unit; you can usually specify a particular height option.
     
  7. Cheyenps

    Cheyenps New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Even Ford's towing package trans coolers are built in to the radiator. It's been my experience that they are marginal, at best.

    You'll be money ahead to install the largest aftermarket cooler you can find. The trans shop I use bypasses the factory cooler, but you'll have to see about warranty issues if you do that.

    As for the choice of trailers, your best bet is to follow the recommendations in the Ford manual compared with the gross weights listed for the trailer, and allow at least 10% extra capacity for safety. I can remember pulling heavy old trailers with station wagons that got the job done, but I also remember times when towing those trailers was a harrowing experience.

    Best to err on the side of safety. Comfort isn't a bad goal, either.

    Enjoy!
     
  8. FREDDYBEE

    FREDDYBEE New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    SIR: YOUR TRUCK WILL NOT PULL A 30' FIFTH WHEEL AND BE SAFE ON THE ROAD. IN A WIND OR CURVY ROAD YOU WOULD CRASH AND BURN. CALL JERRY AT JOHNNY WALKER RV SALES IN LAS VEGAS, NV. 800-879-7782. HE WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN SAFELY PULL. I AM FREDDY BEE AND I WORK IN LAS VEGAS AND HAVE SEVERAL TRAILERS THAT YOU CAN SAFELY PULL SOME SLEEP UP TO 8 PEOPLE. GO TO MY WEB SITE WWW.FREDDYBEE.NET TO VIEW PICTURES AND GET THE DETAILS. WITH A LONG BED X CAB YOU NEED TO STAY CLOSER TO 4000 LB OF TOW WEIGHT. CALL FREDDY BEE FOR MORE INFO. 800-559-8228 IF YOU WANT A 5TH WHEEL TALK TO JERRY AT JOHNNY WALKER THEY HAVE LOTS OF LIGHT 5TH WHEELS.
     
  9. kingrv

    kingrv New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Don,
    I have the exact setup that you have and recently purchased a used 92 Prowler 5th 29' length. The weight of the trailer was 7100lbs dry loaded it with everything I would take traveling including 10 gals of water and went to the scales. I came in just under Fords Total combine weight. SO I bought it, and pulled it from Colorado to Texas. I kept the speed around 65 so I would at least pass one gas station before I filled up, and really it wasn't that bad, I averaged 10.5mpg. When I pushed it to 70 it dropped to 8.5mpg. Took it out of overdrive, set the cruise and away we went. It's a long lonely road down Hwy 287 out of Kit Carson CO. so I had the opportunity to do some varied speed braking to see how well it would track when braking, tried it at 55 and she stopped a lot sooner that I thought it would, tried it again at 65 and the results were about the same.
    I really debated buying this 5th wheel because I knew the weight was border line to max towing weight but I liked the layout with the front living room over the hitch, that if I didn't feel comfortable with it I would trade for a 3/4 ton truck later. If you are sure you want a 5th buy the hitch with a slider have it installed and go pull a few 5th wheels around and see how you like the feel behind your truck. If you don't like it, get a larger truck and have you 5th hitch moved to the new vechile.
    Perry
     
  10. orbital

    orbital New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    I just bought my 5vr last weekend and have not picked it up yet. My concern is that i have a short bed truck, the 5vr has a short pin on it. Will I have trouble
     
  11. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    If you ever need to turn sharply, probably, but you can reduce or even eliminate the trouble by getting a sliding hitch.
     
  12. we-wants-it

    we-wants-it New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Hi Don, My wife and had a truck similiar to yours and pulled a fifth wheel for years. Our truck was a '99 F150 extra cab 5.4L 2 wheel drive with a short bed. The fifth wheel was a '98 26' Kit Sportmaster that weighed 5500 lbs dry and actually measured 28' in length. The whole rig weighed in at 12k lbs when loaded and ready to go. We had no touble pulling it through the mountains of Idaho and Oregon. Be sure to get an extended pin on the fifth wheel or a "slide" type hitch. Happy camping.
     
  13. turnipbwc

    turnipbwc New Member

    Need Fifth wheel help

    Don,
    I know you said you wanted a 5th wheel with a slide out but you may have to settle for a 5th wheel without one. A good starter for you and your truck would be either the Rockwood or Flagstaff by Forest River. They make these two for the smaller pick-up truck. They are only 7 1/2 foot wide instead of the 8 foot. They both are 22'4" long, 121" high, hitch weight 749, axel weight 2,991, unit dry weight 3,740, GVWR 5,149, tires 14". Wouldn't hurt to check them out. Someday you could trade up on both the truck and 5th wheel.
    turnip42
     

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