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Author Topic: 1/2 ton towable fifth wheel  (Read 29408 times)
br9
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« on: November 04, 2010, 07:19:17 AM »

Looking for opinions on 1/2 ton towable fifth wheels. I know they are out there.Don't need bunks. Just the wife and I. Any sugestions would be apreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2010, 07:27:35 AM »

Does your truck owners' manual recommend towing a fiver?  Our Avalanche's book specifically states it can't be used to tow a fiver, although come to think of it, I'm not sure exactly why.

I'm no help about which models might be workable, but I've seen some smaller fivers with low profiles, so maybe visiting RV shows, websites, and dealerships might be helpful.  Good luck in your search!
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2010, 07:57:36 AM »

Looking for opinions on 1/2 ton towable fifth wheels.

Your biggest issue trying to tow pretty well any 5th with a 1/2 ton will be the truck's (lack of) payload capacity.  I've never owned a 5th but as I understand it pin weight should be as much as ~ 25% of the trailer's gross weight ... so let's say you were able to find a relatively small, lightweight 5th that grossed out at 7000 lbs fully loaded and ready to camp that means your pin weight could be as much as 1750 lbs.  That chews up the payload capacity of pretty well any 1/2 on the market and doesn't even take into consideration the weight of the hitch itself or even passengers in the truck.  Another issue for you might be box length ... if your truck has an ultra short 5.5' box then I suspect it may not be sufficiently long for towing any 5th.  A third issue is wind resistance which will be quite significant with a 5th, even so called "compact" ones, that will sit higher than a similar travel trailer ... all wind resistance that the truck has to overcome, especially when towing at highway speeds.  Frankly, I suspect you'll find your choices awfully limited, even for just two adults ... you really want to go 3/4 ton or more.

FWIW, we've owned a KZ Spree travel trailer for three seasons now that we're quite happy with and I know KZ also offers the KZ Durango 1500 series of 5th wheels that are suggested to be 1/2 ton towable but I'm not so sure I'd be comfortable towing any one of these 5ths with a lightweight 1/2 ton.
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2010, 12:19:15 PM »

Probably not what you're looking for but the fiberglass "egg" style campers come in a 5th wheel version:

http://www.scamptrailers.com/About.aspx
and
http://escapetrailer.com/
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willingtonpaul
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2010, 03:19:10 PM »

keystone's OUTBACK line of trailers has two 5'ers that are "half ton towable".  pin weights are in the 1200lb range for trailers in the 7000lb range, IIRC.  check out the outback area on keystone's site.  both these floorplans are geared to a couple......

again, they will tow them, but the truck is at the wall, to be sure.  and i would not want to be in the rockies with a half ton with a 5'er behind it.....

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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2010, 04:14:40 PM »

keystone's OUTBACK line of trailers has two 5'ers that are "half ton towable".  pin weights are in the 1200lb range for trailers in the 7000lb range, IIRC.  check out the outback area on keystone's site.  both these floorplans are geared to a couple......

Both the Outback 282FE and Outback 285FL are way too much for a lightweight 1/2 ton truck, both having a GVWR of 9500 lbs.  Those listed pin weights are DRY, as the trailer sits at the factory, and will be much greater once the rig is loaded and ready to camp.
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2010, 04:41:39 PM »

you have to remember that the load in a 5'er translates to the pin very differently than a travel trailer, and the location of the pin over the drive axle of the truck distributes the load very differently.  so although the pin weight is listed as a dry pin weight, even if you put 1500lbs. of gear/water in the trailer, it won't drive pin weight up in the same ratio, and the load is centered over the springs.  these outback floorplans put the slides behind the axles for a reason, and the position of the fresh water tank is very different from a travel trailer.   

i put "quotes" around half ton towable for a reason.  i have towed 5'ers before, and they are quite a bit different.  an F150 with the big towing package and the biggest GVWR package will pull these fivers.  but as we all know, pulling them is one thing, and being happy with your overall towing experience and being able to go anywhere is another thing altogether.  like i said, the OP would be at the wall, but it will do it and be within specs.  we can debate all day long about whether it is safe, but again, that is in the eye of the beer holder.....

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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2010, 03:23:13 AM »

you have to remember that the load in a 5'er translates to the pin very differently than a travel trailer, and the location of the pin over the drive axle of the truck distributes the load very differently.

So too however is the ratio of pin weight to gross trailer weight, the recommended range being no less than 15% of gross to a high of 25% of gross.  Either one of these Outback 5ths could easily weigh ~ 9000 lbs gross fully loaded and ready to camp so even if we averaged 20% as pin weight that would be 1800 lbs ... that's too much for a typical 1/2 ton, especially since the truck also has to have enough capacity for passengers and additional cargo it may be required to carry while towing.
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2010, 02:39:03 PM »

the positioning of the slides, holding tanks, and storage, along with the nature of the higher center of gravity will not allow pin weight to get that high on these trailers, unless they are loaded completely improperly or way overloaded.  20% is not only not likely, it might be impossible when the trailer is properly loaded.

the new F150's with the max towing packages, even with crew cab and 4x4 configurations, have payloads in the 2,000lb + range, with a 150lb driver. take off another 300lbs for the passenger (OP stated they were a couple) and the hitch, and even at 1700lbs, they are ok.....

at the wall, but still within spec.  the GCWR is 15,000lbs plus on these F150's.....





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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2010, 04:22:51 PM »

There are some out there that claim they ("fivers") can be towed with a 1/2 ton and the "numbers" may suggest that it is true.  I have seen some rather large "fivers" being towed by 1/2 tons, as well.  Two things to remember;

1) Often, those making the claims are trying to sell you something and they (nor may you) often don't take into account everything you may put into the "fiver" and the truck.

2) If you have an accident and find that your over your limits, your underwriter won't be happy and how will you feel if some one is hurt?

Just my 2-cents.

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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2010, 04:38:13 AM »

the new F150's with the max towing packages, even with crew cab and 4x4 configurations, have payloads in the 2,000lb + range ...

And that "maximum tow package" adds significantly to the cost of the truck, so much so that one might as well then just go with an F250.  All this is moot though insofar as the OP is concerned because his truck is a Dodge Ram Hemi which doesn't offer anywhere near enough payload capacity for towing a 5th, even a small one.  One can skirt around the numbers endlessly but the bottom line is that a light weight 1/2 ton truck is unsuitable for towing a 5th no matter what any salesman or fancy brochure may try to tell you.
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2010, 06:58:29 AM »

I agree with what is being in that there are some 5ers that are half-ton towable. But even in those, contrary to what the maker or slick salesman is telling you, you'll be AT THE WALL with NO payload and likely at if not OVER the RAWR or GVWR of a 1/2 ton. And if your Ram is geared 3.21, you'll be hating life soon towing a 5er.

Also, looking at 5ers with a 1/2 ton you are very limited in your selection. There are likely dozens and dozens of TTs for the 1/2 ton market but only a handful of 5ers. So why would you limit yourself so much in floor plans/design features? Is there a reason it has to be a 5er?

I will concede that a 5er will in most cases tow better given the fact the pin weight and pivot point sit over the drive axle rather than 4' behind it. But with proper attention to hitch hardware etc... a TT can tow very well and very safe, you'll be more likely in the "comfort zone" for weights, you may have some payload left to then use the box of the truck, and you'll have many many more floor plans and features to choose from. So again WHY must it be a 5er?

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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2010, 04:17:29 PM »

check this out http://www.f150forum.com/f38/5th-wheel-towing-f150-i-am-doing-52823/  very informative with pics and all the weights needed!  Gotta have the truck to pull it.  This guy has a GVWR of 7200 with a GCWR of 17100 due to the MAX tow package from ford which has heavier stuff in the back and coolers and such.  Anyway have a read.
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2010, 04:46:05 PM »

Oh ya.  Knowing what I know from my last experience I wouldn't tow a 5er with a half ton even if I were in the numbers (well maybe the Wildwood 19EX still has an 8000# GVWR and 1041# pin weight which is going to be lighter than actual).   Come to think of it a friend of mine is out looking for a new truck because his heavy chevy isn't strong enough to pull his new 5er.
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« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2010, 09:57:31 AM »

Friends of ours have been pulling a Heartland Sundance XLT 5er for just over one full season.  About 11 trips I think.  We are in the Midwest so no major hills to climb.  He is pulling with a 2006 F-150.  He did have to get the rear suspension upgraded.  He says if he was to do it over, he would go with airbags because when the truck is not loaded the upgraded suspension is VERY bouncy.  We camp with them a lot (we have a TT) and we rountinely cruise to our destinations at about 65-68 MPG.   His floor plan is no longer out there but the "dry" weight of his rig is 7120#.  He says the truck handles it just fine. He has saidhe will not do any out west trips (mountain trips) until he upgrades to a F-350.  So depending on your location, and a slight suspension upgrade or airbags, you should be able to get a 5er no problem.  They are getting lighter and lighter every year.  He also has the short 5.5' bed, so he had to get the very expensive slider hitch ($3500 I think).  His truck has the 5.4 V-8 with a 3.73 rear end.   So with your truck, I would think something along these lines would work for you as well.   Good luck in your searches. 
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