Towing tips

Discussion in 'Towables' started by nomadmom, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. nomadmom

    nomadmom New Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Ok, folks, here is another question:

    Given the lower point of gravity on a TT and assuming we were still willing to navigate our way through rear view mirrors, cameras and reference points to hitch a TT, would the reduced wind resistence on a TT improve gas mileage when towing vs. a 5er that is high above the truck cab?

    Plus we are planning on having an extended cab, that is a must for the size of our family, it sounds like hitching a 5th would make it that much harder.

    bty, Grandview Trailer, I just got the brochure on Sunnybrooks Travel trailer and short 5th's that offer Bunk house floor plans. There is one 5er that was quite short with bunks, would that make it easier to tow? We were quite impressed with that. Where could we find out about the R-values on those models?

    Thank you once again for the advice.

    Heather
     
  2. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    The Sunset Creek walls have an R-Value of about 8 1/2. The standard insulation is R-7 and with the Foam Core on top of that it boosts to about 8.5.

    Like I said before, a Fifth Wheel will tow better. I have an extended cab myself and I can see the hitch just fine. A little harder in my Crew Cab, but I can still see it. I understand the people with problems turning and twisting might have some issue with doing that. Luckily I don't, Yet!

    One area that no one has touched on is the Load Leveling Bars and Sway Controls. Hitching up a TT is not just dropping it on the ball. You then have to put the load leveling bars in the "Head" and attach the other end to "Snap-Ups". To make this easier, you usually use the jack to raise the trailer and truck together after you hook the ball. After the chains are in the "snap-ups", you have to lower the jack again. Then, depending on the hitch you have, you need to hook up the sway control bar. Sean's hitch probably has sway built into it, I am referring to most folks hitch. The Reese at $450.00, instead of $2,500.00.

    Now as far as a Fifth Wheel, you back into it, lock the hitch, raise the jacks and tailgate and your off. It will go down the road easier too.

    Now before someone points it out, I left out hooking the elec. wire, the brake-a-way cable and raising and lowering the trailer for alignment. You have to do that will all hitches.
     
  3. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Thanks Kenneth, for being PC/nice about my aging body and inability to look over my shoulder. One point I think we are ignoring is that there is more room for storage in the truck bed if you are towing a TT. However, the 5th Wheel usually has more compartment storage.

    nomadmom, generally speaking the 5th Wheel is easier to align and hookup whether or not you have an extended cab or not. There are only 2 of us so we don't need the extended cab and it is easier to see the hitch in my rear view mirror with the small cab. However, most 5th wheel owners don't have much problem looking over their shoulder to align the king pin and the 5th wheel hitch receptacle in the bed of the truck.

    I have heard that even though the 5th wheel has a higher cross section exposed to the wind, it actually has less wind resistance do to the dynamics of how the wind flows over the truck and 5th wheel. It may have to do with the 5th wheel being much closer to the truck cab.
     
  4. Sean Woodruff

    Sean Woodruff New Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Heather, A 5th wheel will have more wind resistance towing it down the road. That will equal less mgp than a tt.

    The reason people say a fifth wheel tows better is because the pivot point is over the rear axle. With a pivot point projection hitch, the pivot point is also at the rear axle. To be exact it is 52" forward of the ball. Any forces on the trailer, the effective pivot point is near where a 5th wheel pivot point is. That is where the stability comes from. Price of hitches can be debated all day but a TT hitch with sway control isn't the same thing as eliminating the sway by projecting the pivot point.

    Also keep in mind that if your extended cab pick-up is a short bed you'll need a slider hitch.

    If you're looking at apples to apples in stability and comparing the economics of the whole deal try this...

    Take the cost of a 5th wheel you like. Add the cost of the 5th wheel hitch. Add the cost of the slider if you need one. Add the cost of a mpg less (could be more or less) in towing.

    Now, take the cost of an equal travel trailer. Add the cost of a pivot point projection hitch.

    Which package is less expensive?

    Now, if you take any sway control hitch by itself it is going to be less expensive than a pivot point projection hitch. However, you wouldn't be comparing equal stability with the 5th wheel.

    Before anyone thinks I am only advocating travel trailers, let me say I'm not. There are different floor plans and designs for everyone. The only problem I have is everyone saying the 5th wheel is more stable. I have towed thousands of miles with both a tt and a 5ver and they are equally stable if the tt has a pivot point projection hitch. It's just a fact. And, then someone will say, "well it's a $2500 hitch." Yes, it is, but compare it with the equal 5ver set up if we are talking about towing stability. Don't compare it with something that only damps sway until the sway gets to be too much to handle and then lets the trailer control the whole rig.

    Anyway, I'm ranting now. Sorry about that.
     
  5. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Don't really know the answer on mpg tt vs 5th wheel. The tt will be lighter therefore should get better mileage. Most weekenders go for the tts. Less overall cost involved. Also the tts can be pulled with family SUV's. Back in the North East almost all the weekend campers have tts.

    Most retired RV'ers go for the 5th wheel or motor home. I still would prefer to have my hitch centered over my rear axle for stability, but then I do many miles per year towing. Short trips probably on weekends it probably doesn't matter as much.
     
  6. Grandview Trailer Sa

    Grandview Trailer Sa Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips



    The cost of the Reese 15K Pro Series slider hitch would be no more than $600.00 if you were buying a trailer from me. There are other models and yes they cost more, but the hitch I am talking about will tow anything a 3/4 ton truck can tow. We also have installed them in a lot of ton trucks. After all, it is rated for 15,000 pounds.

    Sorry, I will always feel that 5th wheels tow better. Period I too have towed thousands of miles since 1976 and selling trailers since 1986. There is simply no comparison.
     
  7. SnowbirdInFlight

    SnowbirdInFlight Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips



    Well I think a lot of it depends on the people doing the backing up to the TT and the one directing the driver doing the backing up. Over the seven years we have had our TT and hitched up, we have discovered I can back it up while the DH directs me better than the other way around. We get hitched the first try. Then he does his sway bar and stabilizer bars. This used to be a little time consuming because you do have to raise and lower the jack. However, since we got an electric jack, it solved that problem. We will be hitching up on the 6th of Feb and moving to Panama City, FL for a month. I think I'll stop-watch the hitch to give you an idea of how long it takes along with pictures showing the steps.


    Our MPG is pretty good for our set-up, which is a 3500 Dodge Ram with extended cab pulling a 38 foot long TT. We have a Reese hitch. We only go 50 MPH. We have no sway. We take it easy and enjoy the trips between CG's. We love the TT life and would not change to a 5th wheel unless we really found a floorplan we preferred over a TT floor plan because we don't want to lose the storage in the back of the truck. (After all you are stuck with the hitch set-up for a 5th wheel in the back of your truck at all times, not so with a TT.)


    Good luck with your decision. Lots to think about, that's for sure!
     
  8. Sean Woodruff

    Sean Woodruff New Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Ken, you haven't made the comparison to say there isn't one... yet. ;)
     
  9. SnowbirdInFlight

    SnowbirdInFlight Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Hey Sean just checked out your My RVTalk.com forum and I really like it! Great job. I registered there as WordsToGo with Snowbird in flight under my name.
     
  10. Sean Woodruff

    Sean Woodruff New Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Thanks. That was originally SunnybrookTalk.com but back in October we moved it to a more generic named forum to not exclude anyone. :)
     
  11. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Ken, towing with a hitch who's pivot point is at the rear bumper, will be inferior to towing with a hitch who's pivot point is at the rear axel, so 'normally' a fiver will tow better than a TT. However, there are a few TT hitches which put the pivot point at the rear axel, so these theoretically will tow a TT 'as well as' a fiver. Also, the one I'm familiar with (PullRite) moves side to side and should make hookup easier too and one imagines the other hitches in this class would ease hookup as well.

    I don't know that I would ever tow a TT, but if I had to, I'd sure look into this type of hitch.
     
  12. nomadmom

    nomadmom New Member

    Re: Towing tips

    This thread has really been informative for us. I did not realize that a fifth wheel hitch requires a permanent status in the back of the truck bed. That is a huge deal for us as we planned on using the truck for business and personal use when we were not RVing. That changes everything for us. The TT does have a lot more options in floor plans over a typical 5er and we would invest in the specialized hitch. It should just be factored in as part of the RV investment in my opinion. If you're going to do things, do them right I always say. In comparison to every 5th model, the TT with the same footage and length is considerably lower in weight. So we are going to go ahead with the TT. We are just going to have to practice and work together as a team learning how to hitch it up right. Snowbird mentioned going through the steps for us and I take that as an incredibly kind offer and much appreciated. :)
     
  13. Shadow

    Shadow Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    nomadmom, the 5th wheel hitch can be taken out when not in use. Pull four pins and just lift the hitch out. (have your husband do this) The frame mounts will still be there but you will then have an empty pickup bed. We have a crew cab truck and have no problems hooking up at all. Everything at first will seem overwhelming but with practice and teamwork it will become second nature. I prefer towing the 5th wheel over the TT, have towed both. Good luck with your search.
     
  14. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    oops, :laugh:
     
  15. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    I have taken my 5th wheel hitch out of the bed more time than I can count. Seems like every time I stop by to visit my sons in Ohio, they have all sorts of things that need to be hauled (without hitch) in my Beautiful pristine Dodge CTD. Thank Goodness for my Rhino Liner. :evil:
     
  16. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Yes, the fifth wheel hitch can be (and should be if no towing is coming up) removed. There are 2 types, 'rail types' which leave the mounting 'rails' in the bed. They don't take up much space, but it appear that every time I try to slide something into the bed, it hangs up on the rails. If I had it to do over, I'd check out the 'under bed' mounts, where the mount is UNDER the bed, and when you remove the hitch, the only thing left is 4 small holes in the bed.

    Note that the hitches can be heavy. Mine rotates side to side on a huge pin; I remove this pin and take the top part of the hitch out first, and then remove the base. Much easier to handle as 2 small pieces than 1 big one.
     
  17. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Mine (Reese) comes apart in 3 pieces thank goodness. If I tried to lift it out in 1 piece I'm sure I wouldn't be here now. :eek:
     
  18. Sean Woodruff

    Sean Woodruff New Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Does anyone here leave the hitch hanging on the king pin of the fiver and drive away? I've seen people do it but I'm not sure I would do it. Just curious.
     
  19. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Towing tips

    Not me. It weighs too much to be straining to hitchc it to the King Pin. :approve:
     
  20. Sean Woodruff

    Sean Woodruff New Member

    Re: Towing tips

    DL, I think the idea is that people just leave it hooked up and take the pins out of the rails. Then they raise the front of the fiver up a bit and drive away.
     

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