I have an aluminum fifth wheel tailgate made by Husky (the liner & floor mat people). It's a little pricier than the plastic ones, but it is stronger and looks better. It also has an OEM style locking rotary latch. I got it because with my long bed, I didn't have a lot of room between the truck and the front of my trailer when the tailgate was down. Now I don't have to lower the tailgate to hook up. Do the vents help with mileage? Probably not, but they do make it lighter and easier to raise and lower.
Mount yourself and convex mirror, like the ones they sell for side view truck mirrors, using a right angle bracket (a shelf bracket will work nicely), using two sided 3M tape (auto parts store), to the top of the pin box. You can then see both the pin and hitch in the mirror for less than $10. I would also stick with the long bed for a lot of reasons, not the least of which will it will be easier to see your hitch alignment.
I noted with interest in this month's "Trailer Life" that Good Sam has lent its' name to a GPS "powered by Rand McNally." PLEASE TELL ME THAT SOMEONE FROM GOOD SAMS ACTUALLY USED ONE OF THESE IN A TOW VEHICLE BEFORE JUMPING ON BOARD WITH THIS DEVICE.
I have used a Rand McNally GPS for two years and it does everything they say it will, and technically it a great unit. Unfortunately, unless you are driving at night, or can pull over and shade the screen, you can't see the display during the day because they use an LCD screen instead of a LED screen. Now it might be possible to see it in a large motor home where the display is mounted down low below the dash, but in a tow vehicle (did mention I saw it advertised in Trailer Life?) all you see is glare, even with the optional extras they sell (anti-glare screen and sun shade).
Good Sam makes a big deal about Member product testing, so how did this one slip by before Good Sam put their name on it?
The 2007.5 models marked a change in body styles, and a 2 inch rise in bed heights. It doesn't make the trucks look better, only increases the cubic capacity of the truck bed, but screws anyone with an "in the bed hitch". This is why you have less clearance with your new truck. You can probably get by with five inches, just be careful off road, like when backing into a parking spot. The usual solutions have already been posted, just be careful that you don't get the nose of your trailer too high while trying to gain bed rail clearance, as this will create a whole set of new problems related to weight distribution and overhead clearances.
The cost of a goose neck adapter is only about 25% less than the cost of a 5th wheel hitch, so for now I would look for someone with a fiver hitch to move it for you. On down the road, when you get your truck, buy a fiver hitch, it will be the same money, or maybe a little less, than purchasing a goose neck hitch AND the adapter.
I agree that moving the hitch 2" forward will not make much difference in your backing skills. I have a long bed GMC with the B & W and mine is set all the way forward.
One thing you have not been cautioned about is that on your truck, moving the hitch forward MAY create a clearance issue with the rear corners of your truck. Make sure they will not make contact with your trailer in tight turns. Also make sure you will still have enough room to lower your tail gate.
Before you start spending money on all these ideas, except for getting your rig weighed, I would try putting more weight on the pin buy either adding nose weight (water tank or move weight from rear of trailer forward) or drop the front of your trailer, if possible. If these fixes don't work, then, and only then, start spending money.
I have found that most cruise line parking facilities are very secure because they are inside a Homeland Security area. However, most of them are "parking garages" which may create a clearance issue for you. Call the cruise line and ask them. I'm sure they get this question 1000 times a year and they should have an answer for you...
There are several "plug & play" wiring harnesses for fivers & goose-neck trailers and run about $60 (etrailer or Tweety's), so $100 seems a little pricey, unless it comes installed. Go to the Reese web site to ascertain if the hitch you want is available without the wiring harness.
Like several mentioned above, we carry a 6' aluminum folding ladder that we hang on a bike bracket from the rear trailer ladder, and hold it in place with bungee cords. It's light, very portable and you don't even know it's back there until you need it. I purchased the ladder at Wal-Mart and the bracket at a local RV center. Total cost for both: $60. So, if someone needs it more than I do, I'm not going to be out a lot of bucks...
Another vote for the ONE TON, as it gives you many more options. Keep in mind that a one ton DOES NOT have to be a dually. We have a single rear wheel (SRW) one ton (GMC 3500) and tow a 12K trailer with no issues. Given the weight of your rig, it will be no issue for you as well.
There may be some NOT SO OBVIOUS coverage differences. Some policies replace at "Stated Value", some times referred to as "new for old". What you insure the rig for is what you get if there is a total loss. Others will depreciate the value of the rig as it ages and they will only pay the current book value in a total loss. Obviously the Stated Value policy premiums will be more costly. Another item to check are the exclusions (what is not covered). The more exclusions, the lower the premiums.
First of all, that tow rating of 10,800 applies to a "properly equipped" rig, which in you case may require some form of load distribution device to get some of the weight off the rear wheels, which will probably overload as you descend and decelerate. Down shifting is an excellent choice. Try not to allow your rig to exceed 45 to 50 mph. Work your brake so that you can slow to about 35 mph, then release the brake and allow it to coast up to 45 or 50 and then brake back down to 35. Continue to repeat the process as needed. This pattern allows time for your brakes to cool. Lastly, make sure you have a good trailer brake controller for those electric brakes on the trailer. Remember, the setting on the brake controller will be higher for a loaded trailer than it will be for an empty one, so test it out both ways. This system works well for me, however there may be others who have systems that work well for them. Find one that works for you.
I have recently noticed what I can only refer to as a rip-off. Many times, an RV'er may wish to top off a propane cylinder before leaving for a camping trip.Be aware that may facilities now charge a flat rate for "topping off" your cylinder.I hope westernrvparkowner sees this. I'll never forget his story about how wonderful it is to have to have to spend time "topping off" Ma and Pa's RV with 85 cents worth of propane.Dang right. You forgot, however, that they seem to only want to top off the tanks on the coldest, rainest, nastiest day of the year, and the tanks were alway permanently mounted so the only way you could get to them was lay flat on the ground. Be heck, We did make nearly a quarter, since we usually had propane marked up around 25%. In the 6 years or so since we quit selling propane, I have rued the day we made that decision exactly never.
I can understand and sympathize with what Western RV Park Owner is saying. My point was that when a person takes their propane cylinder to a propane "filling station", where there is little or no labor involved, they should only be charged for what they need, be it a 1/2 or 3/4 fill, and not the flat rate for a full cylinder. After all, who in their right mind would pay for a full tank of fuel for their car or truck, when they only needed a half tank to fill up???
I have recently noticed what I can only refer to as a rip-off. Many times, an RV'er may wish to top off a propane cylinder before leaving for a camping trip. Be aware that may facilities now charge a flat rate for "topping off" your cylinder. Weather it's empty or half full, the charge is always the same, based on an empty cylinder assumption. Make sure they charge you by the weight or volume, NOT by the flat rate, which could leave you paying for twenty or thirty lbs. when you only got ten or fifteen lbs. ALWAYS ASK FIRST...
Another vote for the ramp. I have used this method for years on my fiver and horse trailer. It is fast, easy & efficient. Crawling under a trailer on the side of the road with semi's blasting by is not my idea of safe. Like someone earlier stated, if it doesn't get your rig high enough to raise the other flat tire & wheel off the ground, a block of wood added to the ramp will do the trick. To the person who said he would never use a ramp because he doesn't want all that weight resting on one tire, WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT WEIGHT SITS WHEN YOUR OTHER TIRE IS FLAT?