What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by aussie Keith, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    My wife and I currently live in Sydney Australia but plan to retire early and hit the road in the USA and see as much as we can. Our daughter lives in Vermont so we can call in now and again, but not wear out the welcome mat.
    We want to buy a 5th wheel and would like some advice on what to use for towing. I was thinking of getting one about 1-2 years old to save a bit of cash but still be under warranty. Diesel (automatic)is the preference and the 5th wheel would be around 30ft (another topic will be what to buy etc).
    We would appreciate anyone's help and apologise in advance for all the other questions that will be posed in the future.
     
  2. odonnks

    odonnks New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    A modern Diesel automatic would be a good choice. Pulling a 30 footer with one of these is a breeze. I'm not sure I'd go with a dualie or not. Depends on your budget.
    You did not mention what time of year you'd be traveling. I prefer a four wheel drive since it opens up the options of when I can travel. If your thinking about travel in the NE between October and April, I recommend a 4x4.
    The diesel will about double your fuel economy.
    Good luck
     
  3. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Thanks for the input. We plan to spend at least a year, or as much as immigration will allow. Also, we'll follow the warm weather, otherwise it takes too long to get dressed in the morning.
    The question is, what's best, Ford F250, Dodge Ram, any others? I don't know the vehicles, but had a look in the car yards when we were in Vermont in September. What's a duellie?
     
  4. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    duellie is a truck with 2 wheels on each end of the axel (the truck has 6 wheels instead of 4). Some people like them, some don't. They do give you more weight capacity, but do have some negatives, particularly with regards to maintenance.

    If you won't be in snow or mud, it might be better to avoid the 4WD. It will add to the cost of the vehicle, need more maintenance, and reduce the amount you can tow. Get it only if you will need it.

    If you want a 30' trailer sturdy enough for 'full timing', a 3/4 ton pickup (F250) might not be heavy duty enough. Perhaps the 'heavy' 3/4 ton (GMC 2500HD or equivalent) or even a 1 ton might be a better choice.
     
  5. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Thanks John. I'll take a look at the market for the heavy duty. The GMC 2500, is that a different vehicle to the Ford F250? As I said, I'm not familiar with american vehicles. The only large pick ups we can get in Aus is the F series (which are imported from Brazil and cost US$60,000) and after this year they are not bringing in the 7.3L diesel with no plans to upgrade to the new 6L. Is the Dodge Ram an option?
     
  6. alwarner

    alwarner New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    My choice would be the Dodge One ton, auto. ( single rear wheels ) 2003 or 2004 QUAD CAB. With the 5.9 diesel engine. I sure like my 2003 pulling a 35 ft. Crossroads 5th wheel. " I won't get into the duallie subject. "
     
  7. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Thanks very much Al. That was a very positive response. I don't think that I really want the extra cost and maintenance of the additional wheels. Also, my wife is going to find it hard enough to park the pickup in the mall car park as it is - add the extra width, don't want to even think about it!
     
  8. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    There are 3 major U.S. manufacturers of large pickups. Ford, GMC/Chevrolet (General Motors) and Dodge (Chrysler/Daimler). They all rate their trucks as 1/2 ton (too small for most 5th wheels), 3/4 ton and 1 ton.

    The GMC 2500 is similar to the Ford 250. The 2500HD is GMC's and Chevy's heavy 3/4 (nearly a 1 ton). I don't know what Ford's equivalent to the 2500HD is. SuperDuty perhaps? Also there is the 3500 (GMC/Chevy) and F350 (Ford), which are true 1 tons. It is likely that Dodge has equivalent models for some or all of these as well.

    Having an extended cab on whatever truck you get is worth considering. Not only can you carry additional people in a pinch, but it is great for storing stuff which should not be in the back due to weather and/or thieves. It also allows the front seats to incline.

    Have you looked into buying the truck in the US and shipping it down under? $60,000 for a truck you ought to be able to get for around $30,000 here seems a bit much.
     
  9. Shadow

    Shadow Senior Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    You may want to consider a long bed truck in your search also. You won't need a slider hitch, and the extra room in the bed is a plus.
     
  10. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Thanks Hertig,
    I will look into the idea of shipping down under, but in that I have to consider the cost of conversion to Right Hand Drive, otherwise it gets a bit chancy passing the rest of the traffic. It can be done, but it will limit the choice to the Ford as that is the only large ute (pickup) that we have down here, therefore parts would be hard to find for the others. On top of that there's the shipping cost and I'm sure there will be taxes upon taxes etc. etc.
    The latest idea I have is to tour for the year as I think that is all the visa will permit at one visit, then leave the truck and 5th wheel at my daughters place when we have to go back. The main part of this is that, maybe, I can advertise it as a "swap" for someone who has a similar set-up in Australia so we can do what they call the "Wallaby Trail" round Aus with all the other grey nomads. Possibly get the best of both worlds. Is there anything already set up this way that you have heard of? I know the house swap idea is picking up speed, so I can't see why it would not work for RV's.

    Back to the choice of the pickup, as I am currently looking on the web, is the GMC 2500 called anything else, also the Chevy heavy? I've been looking at the Dodge Ram 2500, which I take it is the 3/4 ton. Is there a popular choice between all, or much of a muchness.
     
  11. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    I appreciate the response Shadow.
    I had thought that the longer the bed the more room I'd have for storage the better, along with the idea for a "quad cab" for the same reason, as mentioned by Hertig..
    But now you have brought up the subject of the "slider hitch" which is another pointer to my limited knowledge of what I am getting into. I thought that there was just the normal hitch, like the articulated trucks.
    Could you explain for me please.
     
  12. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Forgot to ask - any web sites you could recommend to find a vehicle 1-2 years old?
     
  13. Shadow

    Shadow Senior Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    On a short bed truck your hitch will be closer to the cab than on a long bed. The slider hitch will allow you to slide the hitch back when trying to maneuver into a tight parking spot.(keeping the nose of your fifth wheel from hitting the cab of your truck.)Go to the top of the page and hit search, and type in hitches. There is some good post on the subject there. And explained a whole lot better than I ever could. :)
     
  14. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Shadow, thanks mate, clear as a bell, but I'll check the previous post. I've spent a lot of time looking back over the early forum pages and there is a lot of good advice to take in and a good deal of funny stuff as well.
    Thanks again
     
  15. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Both Chevy and GMC have the 2500 (3/4 ton) and 2500HD (heavy 3/4 ton or 'lite' 1 ton). I have the 2500 HD, and I wouldn't go any lighter to tow a 5th wheel. With the gas engine, it had trouble getting a 6500 pound trailer up the hills. Rock steady though; I bet with a diesel I could tow 9000 pounds or more without breaking a sweat.

    Dodge Ram 2500 is almost certainly a 3/4 ton as well.

    As to weight, I don't know of any other indication other than 2500 and 3/4 ton, and 2500HD and heavy 3/4 ton. As to model, the Chevy is known as the 'Silverado' and the GMC as the 'Sierra'. This is equivalent to Dodge being known as the 'Ram'.
     
  16. we-wants-it

    we-wants-it New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Hi Aussie Keith, We have a 2004 Dodge 2500 with the Cummins diesel and automatic transmission pulling a 29ft 5th that weighs about 11,000 lbs loaded and wet. We are very pleased with this rig. I believe that you can buy a Dodge for $2000 to $4000 less than a comparably equipped Ford or Chevy/GMC. The other trucks will certainly do the job too, but why pay more for one of them? If you get to southern Idaho - contact us - we'll show you around and go camping with you. Phone - 208-461-1178 Take care
     
  17. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Thanks We Wants It (wants what?). I must admit I do like the look of the Dodge, just wanted to find out the local knowledge was so that I was not flying completely blind.
    I don't really know where Southern Idaho is, without looking at a map, but we do plan to get everywhere and appreciate your invitation and will certainly get back to you sometime next year after the trip starts.
    Thanks again.
     
  18. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Thanks We Wants It (wants what?). I must admit I do like the look of the Dodge, just wanted to find out the local knowledge was so that I was not flying completely blind.
    I don't really know where Southern Idaho is, without looking at a map, but we do plan to get everywhere and appreciate your invitation and will certainly get back to you sometime next year after the trip starts.
    Thanks again.
     
  19. aussie Keith

    aussie Keith New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Hertig, thanks for the detail. I'm starting to feel more qualified now and need this sort of detail before going into battle with the car dealers. I wouldn't want to look like a turkey, ready for plucking!
    I'm comfortable that diesel is the way to go even if it is a bit more costly at the beginning. Always like to have a bit of "grunt" in reserve.
    Hope to meet up on the road.
     
  20. we-wants-it

    we-wants-it New Member

    What kind of vehicle to tow a fifth wheel

    Hi Aussie Keith, The term "we-wants-it" is from the book amd movies of the Lord of the Rings. One of the characters has a dual personality and desires the "Ring" so he keeps repeating "we-wants-it". My wife and I collect Lord of the Rings stuff because "we-wants-it". Idaho is a mountain state in the Northwest part of the country. It is sparsely populated compared to the Eastern US with wide open spaces, farms, ranches, and beautiful mountains. You better not visit here - you'll never be happy anywhere else. We're looking forward to hearing from you.
     

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