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Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > Basic 5th wheel towing questions.

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Gjac

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Posted: 07/17/19 01:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have owned a Class A MH for the last 14 years and have been looking at small 5th wheels. I don't know much about them and have been noticing there are different hitches to tow with. Some trucks have a 2 in ball right in the bed of the truck some look like big plates that the hitch of the 5th wheel attaches too, and some look like they slide so you don't hit the front cap on tight turns. For a 24-27 ft 5th wheel that weighs lest than 9000 lbs 1,What would be the right type of hitch? I see a bunch of add on's that people buy to add to the 5th wheel to reduce bouncing. 2, Which affect the ride more the suspension on the truck or the 5th wheel itself? Which leads to the last question. 3, If the truck has a greater influence on the ride, is there a proper match between the truck and 5th wheel? Said another way for a very light short 5th wheel would a 350 or 450 HD truck cause a worst ride(more bouncing) that a 150 or 250 truck?

RobWNY

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Posted: 07/17/19 01:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your questions can't be answered properly. What kind of truck do you plan on using? Long bed? Short bed? How much truck you have is also going to have lots of opinions. I have a 34' 5th wheel that has a loaded weight of just under 10,000 pounds. I tow it with a Ram 3500 SRW gasser with the 6.4L Hemi. It does just fine. I can get up to around 4,000 RPM's going up steep inclines and for some that's annoying but for me it's no big deal. I don't lose any speed and I'm not always going up steep inclines! Don't even consider a half ton pickup with a 5th wheel. You'll have payload issues. Yes, 3/4 ton, 1 ton and bigger trucks have stiff suspensions and have rougher rides but they aren't terrible. You get used to it quickly. Many more will chime in and give their opinions. Provide a little more information so they will be able to give you better information in return.


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Allworth

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Posted: 07/17/19 02:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Also keep in mind that to keep a 27 foot fiver under 9,000 pounds loaded (dry weight means nothing) some compromises in quality of fittings (cabinets, furniture, etc) will have been required. While not absolutely true in EVERY case, light weight like low cost doesn't necessarily mean value.


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laknox

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Posted: 07/17/19 02:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First off, there are very few FWs being produced in that length, right now. IMO, and a lot of others', a TT of that length might serve you better. For the life of me, given the number of people I read about wanting FWs <30', I can't figure out why the mfrs don't make more of them. As for trucks, a 3/4t would easily handle that size FW. If you go long bed, you wouldn't need a slider; a short bed...maybe; depends both on the FW and the truck. If this is a "starter" FW, then look for a SRW 1t as it would allow you to go to a bigger FW, if you so desire, and they're not a lot more than a comparable 3/4t. Another thing to consider, is all the "anti-shock" stuff you put in place, =will= reduce your payload, as most of it's not light. With FWs the =key= thing to remember is it's not how much you can tow, but how much you can =carry=, i.e. payload. The common sense opinion seems to be that if you stay under your rear axle rating and your tire rating on your payload, then you're pretty well likely to be OK. There are plenty of people who are over on combined weight, but well under on axle and tire ratings. Then, there are the ones who are totally opposite and won't go a lb over =any= rating and likely give themselves ulcers trying to figure out how to do it. [emoticon]

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BB_TX

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Posted: 07/17/19 03:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The hitch with the big flat plate is a standard 5th wheel hitch and what virtually all 5th wheel trailers are factory built to use.

The ball in the bed is for using a gooseneck type hitch. Common on stock trailers and construction trailers. You can buy a gooseneck adapter to convert a 5er to use that type hitch but some manufacturers will void your warranty if you do.

Some people use sliding 5th wheel hitches to prevent the trailer from hitting the cab on tight back in turns.

Trailers have total weights and hitch weights to consider. Trucks have tow weight ratings and payload weight ratings. The truck numbers should equal or, preferably, exceed the trailer numbers.

kuziwk

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Posted: 07/17/19 04:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gjac wrote:

I have owned a Class A MH for the last 14 years and have been looking at small 5th wheels. I don't know much about them and have been noticing there are different hitches to tow with. Some trucks have a 2 in ball right in the bed of the truck some look like big plates that the hitch of the 5th wheel attaches too, and some look like they slide so you don't hit the front cap on tight turns. For a 24-27 ft 5th wheel that weighs lest than 9000 lbs 1,What would be the right type of hitch? I see a bunch of add on's that people buy to add to the 5th wheel to reduce bouncing. 2, Which affect the ride more the suspension on the truck or the 5th wheel itself? Which leads to the last question. 3, If the truck has a greater influence on the ride, is there a proper match between the truck and 5th wheel? Said another way for a very light short 5th wheel would a 350 or 450 HD truck cause a worst ride(more bouncing) that a 150 or 250 truck?


In a nut shell there are three types of hitches im aware of
-Autoslide, designed for shortbox trucks which has a gear that pushes the mechanism further back when steering to avoid hitting the truck cab
-manual slide, like it sounds...you have to get out of the truck to us it

both types of sliding hitches dont actually pivot the fifth wheel hitch, they have locking peices that hold the kingpin and spin the whole hitch in the truck bed. They also allow you to hitch a bit of an angle

-standard hitch, only used on longbox trucks. These need to be exactly straight to the fifth wheel (not at an angle).

now there are different features on hitches that you can get within these three types...air bags ect. I have never tried them, i use an autoslide with a shortbox for reference.

as far as suspension there are only two main mods that i hear make a difference. Equaflex which improves ride and makes it possible to safely tow with the nose pointed a little higher due to taller trucks (my 5th has these installed from factory). The other option is coil springs instead of leafs...i dont know how these would work if you ran a bit unlevel...but i imagine not great.

regarding the truck, in my experience the heavier trucks and springs you go the worse the ride is. A 1 ton will have a more harsh all around ride than a 3/4 ton with the same weight. You would have to weigh down the box in a heavier truck to get it to ride better...and even than it would likely still ride worse. Think about it...heavier ply tires, heavier front suspension ect. Not to mention you can get air suspension in a ram 2500 but not in a 3500. The ram 2500 without airbags in the back rides like a lumber wagon when unloaded, i cant imagine how a 3500 would ride. A ram 2500 with factory air ride suspension rides much smoother.

Durb

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Posted: 07/17/19 05:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm guessing you read the comment about the truck affecting your ride more than the trailer from another thread; don't believe it. Road shock from your truck has to go through the truck's tires, and is damped by the truck's shocks and springs. Your trailer will create bouncing forces (up and down) and chucking forces Fore and aft. A 9,000# trailer will have about 2,000# of pin weight bouncing around back there. A solid joint hitch (Andersen, B&W, Curt, Reese, Pullrite) will very efficiently hook that bouncing and chucking pin to the frame of your truck with no give, which is bolted to the cab, which is bolted to your seats. The truck's suspension isn't even a part of the energy path.

Consider also, due to a higher hitch angle and other factors,, shorter trailers sometimes chuck worse than longer trailers. Don't discount an air hitch because you have a relatively lighter rig. Case in point me. 9,000# dry trailer towed by a 1 ton dually. Should be a piece of cake right? Chucking nightmare with a solid hitch. I changed the shocks to Bilsteins, added air bags - nothing. Trailer Saver air hitch to the rescue - comfortable tow now.

Sad part is trailer generated forces differ widely amongst trailers and it is hard to tell until you hook it up. That is why you will get a bunch of differing anecdotal information. If you are buying a new truck and new trailer, an air hitch is a no brainer as the cost will disappear relative to the other costs. Towing pleasure will await.

valhalla360

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Posted: 07/18/19 12:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The plate with king pin (looks like a semitractor hitch) is a 5th wheel hitch.
- A 5th wheel hitch should sit over the rear axle but particularly for short bed trucks, this can limit how sharp you can turn when backing up. Some have sliding mechanisms so that you can turn more sharply when backing into a site. (these may be manual or automatic).

Then you have gooseneck (think farm and industrial equipment). There is a ball mounted right at the floor of the bed. This has the advantage of not using up a big chunk of the bed space. The downside is it creates far more leverage on the trailer pin box, many of which are not designed to handle that leverage.
- There is an oddball brand where they raise the ball up on a frame, that looks like a normal 5th wheel hitch only with a ball instead of a plate...but once you have that, may as well do a standard 5th wheel hitch.
- If you look at industrial gooseneck trailers, they usually have huge steel beams connecting the hitch to the trailer to compensate for the leverage.

Most 5th wheels will tow just fine without any special add ons (assuming the truck is suited to the trailer). The big thing to keep in mind, a 5th wheel typically has 20-25% of the trailer weight sitting on the hitch, so you typically need a 3/4 ton or larger truck for all but the smallest 5th wheel trailers.

If you do get into a situation where there is chucking or ride issues, it's pretty easy to bolt on a different pin box but most of the time, it's not needed, so don't worry about getting it ahead of time.


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lmpres

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Posted: 07/18/19 04:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just a quick point about the 150-250 ride versus the 350-450. I first started towing our 11k pound 5th wheel with a F250 with air bags. It pulled alright, but when we went over some bridges at highway speeds, both units would start to porpus. A few times at scary points. Switched to a f350 dually, not a problem now....

Gjac

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Posted: 07/19/19 09:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RobWNY wrote:

Your questions can't be answered properly. What kind of truck do you plan on using? Long bed? Short bed? How much truck you have is also going to have lots of opinions. I have a 34' 5th wheel that has a loaded weight of just under 10,000 pounds. I tow it with a Ram 3500 SRW gasser with the 6.4L Hemi. It does just fine. I can get up to around 4,000 RPM's going up steep inclines and for some that's annoying but for me it's no big deal. I don't lose any speed and I'm not always going up steep inclines! Don't even consider a half ton pickup with a 5th wheel. You'll have payload issues. Yes, 3/4 ton, 1 ton and bigger trucks have stiff suspensions and have rougher rides but they aren't terrible. You get used to it quickly. Many more will chime in and give their opinions. Provide a little more information so they will be able to give you better information in return.
Maybe I asked two many questions in the OP. The 5th wheels I an looking at are all 24-27 ft and weight lest than 9000 lbs loaded. some examples would be the Allen 212KS EXTERIOR LENGTH 24’ 6” TIRE SIZE 205/75/R15
EXTERIOR WIDTH 7’ 6” SLEEPING CAPACITY 6
EXTERIOR HEIGHT 10’ APPROX REFRIGERATOR 6’
HITCH WEIGHT 750 Pounds FRESH WATER 30 Gallon
SHIP WEIGHT 5,650 Pounds WASTE WATER 32 Gallon
CARGO CAPACITY 2,100 Pounds GRAY WATER 32 Gallon
GVWR 7,750 Pounds LPG CAPACITY 10 Gallon
AXLE WEIGHT 4,900 Pounds. At the high end would be something like the Laredo 255SRL at 27 ft UVW 7113 lbs. I want to have room in the bed to store extra water and stuff and it would appear the Goose neck set up would offer more room. I just wanted to know if this set up would be OK for such a light 5th wheel. 90 % of the time the truck would be a second vehicle so I wanted either the F150 HD or no bigger than the F250 as a truck either one can handle the pay load. I wanted to not have to remove a big hitch when not towing.

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