Ok, I'm new to 5th wheels, but here is my question. I have a 2001 Ford F150 SC with 4.56 gears and was wondering if I could pull a 1989 35" Jayco 5th wheel with it? I can get a heck of a deal on it right now from my grandpa, but not sure if my truck will do it....please help.
Probably not. 1/2 ton pickups are not really great at towing anything significant, and a 35' trailer is pretty significant. You can find out for sure by finding out what your GCVW for the truck - the total weight of the truck and trailer, and then subtract the curb weight (loaded for travel) of the truck from that to find out the maximum weight of the trailer. Find out the GVW of the trailer (usually on a plate on the side or a sticker inside the kitchen cabinet and you should know right away if it is acceptable. Even if the GVW of the trailer and the curb weight of the truck is <= the GCVW of the truck, be aware that 10 to 20 % of the trailer weight is applied to the truck as pin weight, and this often exceeds the maximum rear axel weight of many 1/2 ton trucks.
Exceeding any of the truck weight limits may seem to work, but you could find yourself being dragged backwards down a hill, or worse, rolling down a hill, spending a lot of time with the truck in the shop, or really scary, having an accident and facing a horde of ravenous lawyers.
Hertig is absolutely right! I have personally seen all of the scenarios that he listed, as I spent many years as a Tow-Truck Operator. These dangers he listed aren't may happens, these are WILL happens! The only question mark in it, is when & where they happen.He gave you the correct formula for finding the proper weight you can safely tow. I can tell ya now that a 35 ft. fifth-wheel built in 1989 is much heavier than what you can tow safely with a half-ton. I too use a half ton tow vehicle, a 2004 F-150. After weighing my truck at the truck-stop scale with my wife and I both in it, I only had 6640 lbs. left to work with in order not to exceed my GVWR as well my GAWR. When looking for the right trailer to buy I found that fifth-wheels generally weigh more than travel trailers of the same size range. While I would be the first to agree that they tow better, I felt that they give up alot of floorplan room in their design, in other words a 26 ft. TT felt much bigger inside to my wife & I than a 26 ft. fifth-wheel, ( just our personal opinion). I understand you can get a great deal on this perticular fifth-wheel as it is your Grandpa's. I would suggest you either find a lighter trailer to buy, or buy a big enough truck to handle that trailer. Good Luck in whatever you decide.
Mark, yes, 5th wheels generally 'tow better' than a TT using standard hitches. However, there is one hitch (the PullRite) which claims to make a TT seem like a 5er by having a rigid connection to the trailer and putting the pivit point over the rear axel of the truck. Should be easier to hitch up too, as I would think you could move the hitch end to compensate for minor misallignments with the trailer.
John, yes I've heard good things about the PullRite as well as the Blue-Ox. Unfortunately they were both out of my price range at the time.I did however find a good system that I could afford. Started out with a standard weight distributing hitch with a friction bar sway control, didn't like it at all! The friction bar doesn't work very well, is a hassle to adjust, & if you get it locked down tight enough to get any sway control out of it then it doesn't let you turn well. I now use Reeses weight dist. hitch with their dual cam high performance sway comtrol, and this thing works! Once you have it set up & properly adjusted you never have to mess with it again. Got real lucky too in that the trailer store I bought the husky set-up from took it back, gave me full credit & ordered me the Reese. With the dual cam set-up, & my prodigy brake controller my new trailer tows like a dream! :approve: