Seeking some advice. We have had a travel trailer for almost 15 years. We designed our trailer with a front kitchen (that we love). We find it brings more light into the trailer and with a removable bench seat at the table allows for a nice living room sitting area. New (2012 or 2013) trailers with a front kitchen design are hard to find. Several people have suggested we consider a fifth-wheel. I have always been weary of fifth-wheels because I've heard and seen several problems with them: such as dropping the fifth-wheel on the truck bed, the king-pin not locking, turning and the trailer crunches into the cab, height misalignment). I'm sure improvements have been made over the years to solve some of these problems. Okay, I should keep an open mind. Perhaps a new fifth wheel could meet our needs. We have a 2007 Chev. Silverado 1500 pickup truck, two wheel drive, four door crew cab truck with a 315 h.p. flex-fuel engine that includes the tow package. When we ordered it from the factory, we had a 3.73 ratio rear axle installed. This gave us a tad less MPG but increased the towing capacity to 10,200 pounds. I like to keep within 2/3rds of my full towing capacity when towing because of safety and handling concerns. My truck bed is smaller than most truck beds. My question is this: What concerns do I need to address towing a fifth wheel using my present truck? Do I need a special yoke and king pin? What kind of hardware cost is involved converting to trailering a fifth-wheel? If you care to offer some opinions, I would appreciate it.I do realize that a fifth-wheel won't have a front kitchen. Just considering other options as we can't seem to find what we really want in a travel trailer.
The problem with using a 1/2 ton truck is not towing capacity it is payload. The factory payload is calculated with an empty gas tank and a 150 pound driver. You have to subtract the weight of a full gas tank, any other passengers, anything else carried in the truck and 200 pounds for a 5ver hitch. That does not leave anything much for the 5ver's pin weight which is 12% of the actual weight of the fifth wheel.
The other problem is whether or not your brakes are adequate to stop that fifth wheel in a panic stop somewhere, or down a long steep grade.
Most people don't recommend towing a fifth wheel with a half ton truck, the most common recommendation is to get a 1 ton.
Glendale Titanium 29E34TS fifth wheel
2012 Ford F-350 4WD Lariat 6.7L
PullRite OE Series Super5th 18K
With your truck you would be severely limited in size of fifth wheel you could carry. I would either stick to a TT or upgrade the truck to a 1 ton. While there are some advertised as "1/2 ton towable" fivers out there the reality of the matter is that you are restricted by your 1/2 tons load carrying capacity. which is probably in the range of 1000 pounds. Short bed truck owners usually go with a slider hitch which again will reduce your trucks load carrying capacity another 350 pounds or so. How much does your truck scale loaded ready to camp?
As mentioned, payload is the limiting factor for any truck, half or 3/4 ton when it comes to 5th wheel towing. The pin weight is typically 20% of the camper's weight, not 12%...12% is the recommended hitch weight for a TT.
With fuel, passengers, gear and sliding hitch in the truck, you'll have less than 1000 lb available capacity for the camper's pin weight.
If you stuck on the half ton, you'll find many more choices in a TT and with a hitch weight of 12%, more in the range that you 1500 can handle.
2010 Rockwood 8280WS
2008 F250 CC Lariat SB 6.8L V10
I have about that same truck I think, unless I'm missing something? Mine is a 2007, 5.3 V-8 with 3.73 rearend, 4-wheel drive and my towing capacity is no where near 10,500 but rather 7,500. I know some of the half-tons do go up to around 11,000 but with bigger motor, 4.10 rearend and other equipment. I tow a 25 ft. 5th wheel with no slide-outs with a dry wt. of 5,300 lbs. 5th wheels are great but you are very limited as to size with a half-ton truck. Research it carefully.
Forget about the Tow Rating. Look on your driver's door pillar for your TOTAL payload capacity.
That number is what you can CARRY.
A fiver will put 20% of its weight on the pin, plus you WILL need a sliding hitch for what I suspect is a 5'6" truck box.
Add up the numbers to account for everything you will load in the truck. You will soon find out you have very little payload capacity left and anything but a VERY small fiver is probably going to significantly overload your truck.
Most fifth wheels will overload MOST 1/2 ton trucks. There are exceptions (eg a Ford F150 with the HD package), but they are few and far between.
Yours is not one of them.
My recommendation - stick with a TT.
1999 Sunnybrook 27RKFS Fiver.
2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD CC/SB/DA 2WD, LLY with LBZ air cleaner, 52 gal Titan tank, Bilsteins, Line-X, Westin steps, Prodigy, Retrax cover, 16K Superglide, 5th-Airborne pin-box, Multi-vex mirrors, TST TPMS.
There are fifth wheels out there you can tow - just watch the weight. Typically a low roof design that you can't stand up in the bedroom, and around 30 total ft length with a rear or mid kitchen. They are out there.
If you let your eyes get bedazled by the bigger units (like I always do), you'll quickly find yourself with a heavier 5er than you can tow.
Just remember, the Dealer is not your friend. He will try to sell you anything.
Look for half-ton capable 5th wheels. Cougar has their High Country HE line and Jayco the Eagle Superlite HT line. Look for pin weights under 1200 pound. These will work with 6.5' beds as is. If your bed is shorter (Mine is 5'7"), you will need some type of slider to prevent hitting the rear of the cab. The Pullrite Slider is about 300lbs, so I'm using the Reese Sidewinder. This is an option on the Jayco line as the Reese Revolution.
Here is a link you may find helpful:
2011 F150 Super Crew EcoBoost, Short bed, Max Tow, Truxedo Lo Pro QT, SuperSprings, Bilstein HD shocks, Full-Race exhaust, Wagner Intercooler, Reese 16K hitch.
2012 Cougar High Country HE 299RKS 5th wheel, Reese Sidewinder pin box
Cougars lightest fifth wheel has an advertised pin weight of 1260 pounds. Since that is probably a "dry" pin weight, I would have serious doubts the OP's pickup could handle even that.
And Jaycos smallest Superlight fiver at 23 feet still has an advertised "dry" pin of 1055 and a GVWR of 9950 giving it close to a 2000 pin weight when all is done and finished.
No matter how manufacturers try to shave the numbers to sucker unsuspecting buyers in I just don't see any fivers practical for most 1/2 ton pickups. Especially a crew cab 1/2 ton Chevrolet, that can be loaded up to it's GVWR just with people and a small load in the bed.