who can help us - we are beginners

Discussion in 'Towables' started by sven, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. sven

    sven New Member

    Hi all

    I'm writing from Switzerland and my English is really bad. Hope you can understand me. We are two families and we would like to buy a 5th wheel plus truck in the USA.

    Here our questions:

    Do we need a special license to tow a 5th wheel with 35 feet and a gvwr of about max. 15'000 lbs with a dodge Ram 3500?

    What's happen, if we drive in a state or maybe to Canada with different regulations?

    We would like to get a carriage cameo f35 (sb3 or similar) - Total dry weight 12'000 lbs, load capacity 3'000 lbs.

    Can we also tow this 5th wheel with a dodge Ram 2500 or do we need the 3500. Do we need a dually?

    Many thanks for your help!!!


  2. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    Hey sevn, welcome to the forum. First off you will not need a special license to tow a 5th wheel trailer. Second, I would suggest the Dodge 3500 to tow the size and weight trailer you are thinking about purchasing. You could probably get by with the Dodge 2500, but would be pressing your luck. My 2003 Dodge 2500 pulls my 30 foot, 13,000 lb 5th wheel just fine, but is actually only rated to pull 12,000 lbs. Like some folks like to say, it's not the getting started that's hard, but stopping the big monster after you get up to speed that is hard.
    Crossing over to Canada should not be a problem. Their rules and regulations are pretty much the same as in the U.S. Actually the metric system is used in Canada, so it will be easier for you to figure out the road signs, purchase fuel and groceries in Canada than it will be in the good old U.S.A. Good luck.
  3. sven

    sven New Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    Many thanks for your help!

    I can imaging how difficult it can be to stop this tons.. What's happen when I drive down hill. Does the ram 35oo has a special break system or is this an extra i would need?

  4. Steve H

    Steve H Senior Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners


    It's difficult for me to know what towing experience you have so please don't be offended by my comments...

    Remember, your 5th Wheel also has brakes to help stop the rig. The trick is to not burn them up on long downhill runs! I don't know about the new Dodges but I had a 1999 CTD 2500 and added an exhaust brake which really helped here in the North Cascade Mountains.

    Our 5th Wheel is smaller and lighter than what you are looking atbut the Allison transmission in "Tow/Haul" mode does an excellent job braking our new Chevy.

    A 3500 dually wouldgive you less to worry aboutIMO. Never hear people complain about having "to much truck". Looks like your set up would have a pin weight close to 3000lbs. Two families also means more passenger weight etc.

    Best of Luck and Happy Camping!
  5. sven

    sven New Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    Many thanks also to you!!!
    You wrote from the dually one. Is this a big different in driving? Does a dually model is not just more expensive at all? More expensive, more gas needed, more weight, more "wheels" to renew etc...
  6. Charles T

    Charles T New Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    The dually would be much more stable on the highway while towing. I'm assuming you are considering a 3500 Dodge dually with a DIESEL engine. I know an exhaust brake is available with this engine and to the best of my knowledge comes as standard equipment on the 2008/2009 models.

    The 3500 is the absolute minimum to be considered for towing the size and weights you are considering. However, in my opinion, the total weight ( truck, 4 passengers and a trailer this size loaded close to GVWR) may be over the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight. You may want to consider a 4500/5500 series truck for its increased capability and safety.
  7. bpe

    bpe Junior Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    exhaust brake also standard on Dodge 2007's with the 6.7 engine, mid year change.
  8. sven

    sven New Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    Many thanks for your answers.
    so I will need at least an 3500 dually with Diesel.

    But Charles, please help me with the calculation. The 5th wheel might be max. 15'000 lb. plus the Truck of (curb weight) 7000 lb plus 4 passengers etc. 1000lb = max. Total 23'000. the GCVW is 24'000. So I should be on the save side with about 1'000 lb different? Or does I'm wrong?

    Many thanks for your help. Sorry, does I have to ask back...
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    we need hertig on this one ,, and BTW anybody seen from him lately ????? jsut a thought ;) :)
  10. Charles T

    Charles T New Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    I don’t know how much knowledge you have concerning weights so I guess I’ll start with the basics. Since we are using some manufacturers declared weights and some estimates, the results will only be a starting point for shopping.

    There are several different weights to be considered and NONE of these should be exceeded.
    GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) - the maximum the vehicle could weigh when loaded
    GAWR (gross axle weight rating) - the maximum the axle could weigh when loaded
    GCWR (gross combined weight rating) - the maximum the truck and trailer could weigh including load
    Pin weight – the weight resting on the hitch when hooked up

    Calculating safe weights.
    First you will need to know the front and rear axle weight of the loaded tow vehicle before hitching to the trailer. This weight will include full fuel, passengers, hitch and other miscellaneous cargo. Add the axle weights for total truck weight. If you use the curb weight listed on the manufacturers web sites add weights for the other items listed above. This will probably be close enough but could be off by a few hundred pounds when actually weighed.

    Now, subtract truck weight from truck GVWR. Subtract rear axle weight from rear GAWR. The smaller of the two numbers will be the maximum pin weight allowed.
    Now subtract the truck weight from GCWR, this will give you the maximum trailer GVW.

    Example using my truck:
    GVWR – 12,200, Actual weight of my 05 Dodge HD Dually long wheel base 4X4 is 8500 lbs.
    GAWR front/rear 5200/9350. Actual axle weights front/rear 4200/4300.
    GCWR - 23,000
    GVWR minus actual truck weight = 3700 lbs
    GAWR rear minus actual axle = 5050 lbs
    Maximum allowable pin weight = 3700 lbs
    GCWR minus actual truck = 14,500 GVW trailer

    (Your weights will be a little different. A 4X4 is a little heavier than a 2 wheel drive. You will have 4 passengers, I have 2 but I'm a BIG person. I have a heavy hitch. On the Dodge web site one page listed GCWR for the 2009 model as 24000, another page listed GCWR as 23000.)

    CAMEO LXI - Fifth Wheel F35SB3
    Approx. Exterior length 35' 11"
    Approx. Dry Axle Weight 9,830
    Approx. Hitch Weight (lb) 2,135
    Approx. Total Dry Weight (lb) 11,965
    Approx. Average Load Capacity (lb)* 3,034
    GVWR 14999
    Fresh Water Capacity w/ water heater 82 Gal.
    Black/Gray Holding Tank Capacity 45/45 Gal

    Generally 5th wheel Pin weights are 18/20% of trailer weight. On this particular trailer it is about 18%. Dependant on load distribution and construction (placement of water and holding tanks) the pin weight percentage could change. Based on this percentage pin weight could be 2135 empty to 2700 fully loaded (trailer GVWR *18%).

    The dry weight and load capacity – options will increase dry weight and decrease cargo capacity. Propane @4.25 lbs per gal., fresh water @8.3 lb per gal will decrease cargo capacity for personal items – clothing, food, cooking gear etc.

    My opinion: keep the weights well below the maximums and you will be safer, more relaxed and have better control while traveling.

    Hope this makes sense and hope it helps. Any more questions – just ask.
  11. sven

    sven New Member

    Re: who can help us - we are beginners

    Dear Charles

    Many thanks for your exact answer. It was very helpful and I was calculating the last days. Actually I found a god 5th wheel calculator in the internet with an explanation of all this different weights. With this calculator my combination was also at the limit.
    Thank you again!

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