Pulling a 5th wheel RV trailer with a 1/2 ton.

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  1. straightlinespeed

    straightlinespeed Sometimes I pretend to be normal Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    I know all about payload, tow ratings, etc... Im looking for first hand knowledge from someone that has done it and there experience pulling a 5th wheel RV with a 1/2 ton truck. If so what length and estimated weight of the tongue and trailer, if you recall?
     
  2. toolmanmike

    toolmanmike FABO MODERATOR Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    How much does it weigh and how much tongue weight? Single axle or tandem?
     
  3. straightlinespeed

    straightlinespeed Sometimes I pretend to be normal Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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    Thats what Im asking. :lol: I dont have one, but tossing it around. Just looking for anyone that has done it and their experience..
     
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    • fishmens67

      fishmens67 Well-Known Member

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      If you ask me you're asking for trouble. Pure white knuckle driving with an over loaded truck. lol
      I have pulled everything with trucks, horse trailers, 33' twin engine boat, campers, 5th wheels , car haulers etc.
      I prefer a 1 ton for all towing. A 3/4 ton is workable in most situations and 1/2 ton is good for towing small campers under 25'and small boats under 20'.
      When towing you want to be safe and comfortable with reliability.
       
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      • Jadaharabi

        Jadaharabi FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        I have pulled many and all kinds of trailers with differant trucks. For 1/2 tons go for the longest wheel base you can and don't use a short bed.
        Safest is a dually. Arrive alive.
         
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        • straightlinespeed

          straightlinespeed Sometimes I pretend to be normal Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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          They make 25' 5th wheel campers, and there are a bunch of 25-26' 5th wheels for sale right now. Brand new they advertise 1/2 tow-able. I dont want to buy new, so it would be used, which Im guessing are going to be much heavier than the newer ones. I've towed larger trailers (all bumper pull and the use of WD hitches), my last RV trailer was 27' hitch to bumper. I certainly would not go any bigger than that. So I know all about the safety aspect of towing trailers. Getting into a 5th wheel style is new to me though, and with my 2012 Ram 1500 with Coil springs and air bags Im not so sure about it. Maybe if it had leaf springs it may be a different story?!?!? I've heard since the load is centered over the rear axle its much easier to pull and more stable. I would hate to buy one and dread pulling it across the country. Hence my reason for asking the question..
           
        • Jadaharabi

          Jadaharabi FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Your half ton Dodge pickup truck has a 9 1/4 rear axle. The axle bearings use the axle itself as the bearing race. I personally do not recommend that you pull a gooseneck or fifth wheel trailer using that rear axle.
           
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          • straightlinespeed

            straightlinespeed Sometimes I pretend to be normal Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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            Good to know!
             
          • SGBARRACUDA

            SGBARRACUDA ROY FABO Gold Member

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            Years ago I had a F-150 1991 and I bought a new23’ fifth wheel. Went all the way from Tampa Fl to Niagara Falls. It did ok. What I learned was the trailer was to small for the three of us. Then I bought a 40’ and had to get a new diesel F-250 to pull it. It was two damn big. Couldn’t get in a lot of camp grounds. Third one was a 28’ Carriage with a super slide and a new 95 Dodge 2500 4x4 club cab. That was the perfect combination. The best fifth wheel size for pulling and camping is 28-32’.
             
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            • 70 Buster 340

              70 Buster 340 Carbon Footprint FABO Gold Member

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              1978 Chevy Big-10 Silverado w/ a 1977 27ft Coachman. Don't remember the weight. Modern 5th wheels are built lighter for sure.
              350 4 bolt main, Built Turbo 350, 14 bolt 3:73 ratchet locker, dual fuel tanks, H pipe duals

              Pulled great. Sure miss that truck.

              IMG_0571 5th wheel.jpg
               
              Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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              • 67Dart273

                67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                This is true of a LOT of light trucks. GM did this "way back when." I'm not sure if Ford did or not
                 
              • fishmens67

                fishmens67 Well-Known Member

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                I've seen a lot of Chevy 1/2 tons on the side of the road, Broke. lol
                They were over loaded with firewood and at least one axle hanging out cockeyed. lol many trucks !
                 
              • 70 Buster 340

                70 Buster 340 Carbon Footprint FABO Gold Member

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                "C-Clip" 10 or even 12 bolt yes ... Not with the 14 bolt rear.
                 
              • SGBARRACUDA

                SGBARRACUDA ROY FABO Gold Member

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                But a 14 bolt isn’t in a 1/2 ton.
                 
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                • 70 Buster 340

                  70 Buster 340 Carbon Footprint FABO Gold Member

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                  It is in a Big-10 or GMC Heavy Half..
                  I ordered that truck new. The only new vehicle I ever sat down and spec'd out everything and ....waited.

                  Bought in 1978 and Sold it in 1992 with 205,000 miles and the rear only had fluid changes.

                  I did get a trans rebuild at about 120k, Build by a local company called "Level 10" with a 'towing convertor'
                  After 15 salt road winters the rust got to it. The pictures above are from 87 and 88
                   
                  Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
                • oldkimmer

                  oldkimmer FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                  Like everyone says 25 ft is about the limit. If ur pulling where there is hill it will be a struggle unless u have a hemi in ur truck. I’ve towed with 1/2 tons with 318/360s and found on the hills they were weak. I built my ramcharger for towing with a 360 LA. It did good with a 24 ft bumper pull. I got a diesel in 2001 and never looked back. Oil and fluid changes, tires and brakes. Their good trucks. Kim
                   
                • halfafish

                  halfafish Damn those rabbits, and their holes! FABO Gold Member

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                  IMHO, pulling that much trailer with a half ton is asking for trouble. It might be able to pull it, but of far more importance is being able to stop it and control it downhill, on curves, or in an emergency braking event. A half ton is fine with a smaller utility trailer. But a 5th wheel with its higher wind profile and center of gravity it's likely to put you in a ditch. I'd want a 3/4 ton minimum for what you are planning. Just my thoughts from 40+ years in trucking pulling all kinds of equipment and trailers.
                   
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                  • RustyRatRod

                    RustyRatRod Bla de blizhibliz de blatde blizi bla bla FABO Gold Member

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                    I've never done it but I had a friend who did. Pulling it wasn't the trouble. Pulled it great. Stopping was another thing altogether. He ended up with an F350 Powerstroke dually.
                     
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                    • Jadaharabi

                      Jadaharabi FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      Another thing to consider is driver stress. You wount realize it untill you experance it.
                      With a light truck you are working against the wind and condition of the road and keeping your outfit safely going down the road at a safe speed. With a dually you get in the truck and the next thing you know is your there.
                       
                    • ragtopfury

                      ragtopfury Well-Known Member

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                      1st hand experience here. 97 Ram 4x4 1500 extended cab short bed - a real 6.5' short bed, not today's less than 6ft bed. 360, auto, 3.7something gears, factory tow package. Pulled a new 2006 30ft Rockwood ultra light 5th wheel for 2 years with it. Probably a total of 14 trips, ranging from 90 min to 11 hours in a day depending were we were going. The camper's loaded GVWR was 8150 lbs. It's shipped weight was down around 6950 lbs. Pin weight was 1050 lbs. So i was just about at the max rating for my truck all around. Other than 8 miles to the gallon when towing, that truck handled it great. And the 30 ft camper just "fit" . It was a very comfortable combination.

                      Since the family was growing and the extended cab was getting small, I moved up to an 05 2500 diesel 4 door short bed with plans to buy a bigger camper in the future. We now have a 35ft unit that specs out weight wise at the limit of this truck. Been towing it for 7 years. No issues and handles great, but I'd rather have a 30-32 ft camper. She needed the extra space. LOL

                      Oh, and the slider hitch "they" will try to sell you? With a 6.5ft bed, I've never had one. I can get almost 90* backing in if needed. The hitch pins are all somewhat extended on almost all newer 5th wheels.
                       
                    • Bad Sport

                      Bad Sport HALF A BUBBLE OFF Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                      We had a Dutchman 27' Bunkhouse that weighed in around 6700 pounds. I pulled it with both of my 3/4 ton trucks one with a V10 the other a Hemi. No problem pulling it, but I was glad I had 3/4 ton when it came time for a panic stop. I'm not real sure I would want to pull it with a half ton (more specifically try and stop it), if'n you had to stop quick that 1/2 ton might get squirrelly on you.

                      They do make shorter 5th wheels that may work for you though.
                       
                    • Krooser

                      Krooser Reform School Graduate

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                      Install a set of Timbren overloads on the rear and you will be fine.

                      9 1/4 rears are built just like a standard car rear axle. They do not use the axle tube as a bearing race. Not a "floater" rear by any means but strong enough with a normal load.

                      There are plenty of light weight modern trailers available...
                       
                    • Slowswinger

                      Slowswinger Well-Known Member

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                      I don't know how you will have enough brakes.
                       
                    • diymirage

                      diymirage HP@idle > hondaHP@redline

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                      here is a silly thought...5th wheels dont have trailer brakes?
                       
                    • ragtopfury

                      ragtopfury Well-Known Member

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                      Exactly - the trailer will have brakes on both axles. Install a brake controller. Go to a big empty lot and dial it in, making several stops, both hard and soft - starting with soft. You can feel when you don't have enough trailer brake, or when you have too much.
                       
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