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Open Roads Forum  >  Towing

 > 5th wheel or TT?

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Big_steve

SW Florida

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Posted: 05/23/19 05:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Question for folks who've towed both 5th wheels and travel trailers.

Greenhorn here. Wondering which you prefer to tow? And why? I'm looking for opinions about hooking up, driving, unhook, backing, cornering etc... Not so much about the size or comfort of one coach over another.

Thanks!

TenOC

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have had both. First TT was in 1980's. Get a GOOD TT hitch like an Hensley or a ProPride. Sure they cost $ but not much more than a 5er hitch.

With a cheep TT hitch and a poorly loaded TT (yes I have had each) there will be lots of White Knuckle Events while towing.

With a good TT hitch there is really no reason to choose between a 5er and TT. They tow about the same. Each takes about the same time to "learn" how to hook up and back up.

On one trip with my Hensley Arrow a wheel can off my TT while I was driving 70 MPH. I did not know it until a car pass me and flagged me down.

Some people like Ford some like Ram and some like Chevy.


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Hannibal

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I prefer a travel trailer for backing into spots. They respond to steering input from the truck with its leverage point 5’ aft of the truck’s rear axle. A 5th wheel trailer responds to the position of the truck making it much slower to respond. This leverage also is what can cause sway with passing trucks or crosswinds with a travel trailer. With a proper TV and hitch, and a properly designed and loaded travel trailer, sway should not be a problem. I prefer a travel trailer.


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MFL

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If your TT hitch is set up right, with trailer level, to slightly nose-down, it will tow nicely. It is easier/quicker to hookup/unhook with a FW, due to not having a WDH with bars, and no safety chains to deal with. It is easy to see your FW hitch and pin to line up, and just back into it. A FW is more forgiving, if not towing level.

Size does matter though, as a FW usually requires more awareness as to what is above you, like tree limbs, in most campgrounds. A FW will usually require a bigger, rougher riding truck.

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rhagfo

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well as TenOC posted "Some people like Ford some like Ram and some like Chevy. "
We are 5er towers, naturally more stable, more storage space, shorter towed length for same length of trailer.
The drawbacks;
loss of some TV bed storage, need larger TV, more steps.
There are other differances, but these just come to mind.


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RobWNY

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've owned both also and both were approximately the same length. I prefer a 5th Wheel but both have advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, 5th Wheels are easier to hook up and unhook, provide a much better towing experience, they don't sway, and generally there's a lot more storage area and interior height. Backing for me was easier with a travel trailer. You wouldn't think that there would be that much difference but there is. Most campgrounds that I've been to have you backing in to your site on the blind side which means your mirrors are of less help and you don't have the advantage of sticking your head out the drivers window to get a better look. Because the nose of a 5th wheel is close to the truck's back window, you lose that line of site too. Having a spotter or rear camera is more critical than with a travel trailer. Cornering is about the same. With both types of trailers, you do need to make a somewhat wider right hand turn like a Tractor Trailer needs to do, just not as severe. The longer the trailer, the wider you make the turn to clear. Weighing the pros and cons of each type of trailer, I'm taking the 5th wheel every time. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages for me. With that being said, there are many people that prefer a travel trailer over a 5th wheel. Everyone has their own reasons and there is no right answer. Like TenOC said....Some people like Ford some like Ram and some like Chevy.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just for towing, there is no comparison. 5th wheel is better in every consideration you listed.

As far as backing into a site, it's just different...once you are used to it, it's just as easy.

That said, a properly set up bumper pull shouldn't be scary or a problem.


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IdaD

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Backing up a TT is easier. They respond quicker and you don't need to worry about swinging the front of the truck around as much. For towing a fifth wheel is better, there's just no getting around the fact that your setup will be more stable when the actual hitch point is over the rear axle. I think the extra pin weight helps too, but the real key is not being hitched up 4' or 5' behind the rear axle where the TT can apply leverage.

Aside from those points, a FW gives you more trailer in a shorter overall combined package but does so at the expense of space in the truck bed. A FW is also generally taller and has interior steps to deal with, which are negatives to some.


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camper1013

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Posted: 05/23/19 06:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hands down a 5th wheel pulls better. The backing is more difficult at first going from a TT to 5th, but once you learn how they react it is not much different. A 5th wheel reacts much slower than a TT but you can get a much tighter turn when backing. It is also quicker to hook the 5th wheel up compared to the Equalizer I had on the TT. As far as turning and cornering they do track a bit different, but either one you have to allow for wider turns, so that is not a huge deal.

I had a 2017 TT. 7200 pounds loaded, 32'. My new to me 2015 5th is 14 gross (have not weight it loaded yet) and 38'. I had an Equalizer hitch on my TT. While it pulled good most days, the windy days are what makes pulling interesting for sway. With the 5th that is taken care of.

For those that say bigger trucks take care of that, I disagree. I pulled the TT with a 2016 Chevy 1500. I was within my ratings. I now have a 2019 3500 Duramax. I have pulled the TT with that as well on a windy day. While the sway was handled better by the bigger truck it was still definitely there and just as uncomfortable in the bigger truck on the interstate.

The cost of owning a TT and half ton is less than a 5th wheel and one ton diesel. Now that I have had both, in my opinion, I would never pull as long of a 5th wheel that I have as a TT simply because of the sway issues. To me the 32' TT was as long as I would go.

As long as your set up is good, your within your ratings (If you care about that) get the trailer and floor plan you like. That is the most important.

ford truck guy

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Posted: 05/23/19 07:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With a Properly set up and matched TV and trailer, I still feel there is a better experience with the 5th wheel....

Having owned and towed both, the edge (IN MY EYES) has to go to the 5th wheel... for stability when trucks pass... for ease in setting up and breaking camp...

As far as backing, once you get the hang of the pivot change on the 2, I found that the fiver was easier, BUT I also drove a BIG RIG for many years before my RV's . .

Either way, were ALL CAMPING ! ! ! ! [emoticon]


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