Hi Fellow Campers,
I'm new to the site. I recently (September 2015) took delivery of a 2015 Salem 26DDSS 5er, and I'd like to get your opinions on my TV/Trailer combo. Firstly, i would like to let you know that my maiden voyage was picking up my new 5er and driving it almost 2000 miles home in 3 days (Minnesota to Los Angeles). My trip took me south through IOWA, then west through Nebraska, Denver, Utah, Las Vegas, and finally back home to Los Angeles. The only time i noticed some "sway" was in UT, because those big rigs are doing almost 80 MPH when they pass you!
My TV is a 2011 Ford F350 XL, 4x4, CC, 6.7 Diesel, Long Bed, with B&W Companion hitch. This is my first 4x4 truck, and I'm really impressed with the capabilities of this truck. The truck is quiet and doesn't smell like the diesels from my childhood. Overall, this truck is completely stock (except for an aggressive BFG trail tire--smaller overall diameter than the 18" or 20" stock wheel) and it's been much more refined than expected from a diesel, one-ton truck. It's been a very positive experience with the truck. Towing the 5er was very good too. The truck has plenty of power/control for my trailer, even up/down I-70, west of Denver. I thought that the truck might struggle, or become a handful when going through the Rocky Mountains, but the tow/haul mode really impressed me. Hardly had to use the brakes, even on those steep grades. Temp climbed a little only on the steepest parts of the climb.
My trip home was a success. There were no roadside emergencies, and I stopped at KOA's for two overnights...getting back on the road in the morning to continue my way home.
My only issue that I have is that the truck seems to be too tall for my 5'er. I am concerned that the rear of the truck is too tall, and it leaves the nose of my trailer sitting high. My concern is that I might be putting extra stress/load on the rear tires of the trailer. The equalizer links between front/rear trailer springs seem to favor the rear tires. I won't be using the trailer until next spring, so I'd like to use the winter in order to get my rig dialed in so that I won't need to worry about blowing out a tire or two in my first camping season.
(see images below)
I didn't really think that a modern 5th wheel would be too "low" for a newer truck. I got a great deal on the trailer, so i bought it without actually knowing what the kingpin height was on my 5th wheel. It didn't seem so obvious to me before I bought the 5er that it could be an issue, but it looks like i may have too much truck for this RV. I've already lowered the B&W Companion to the lower-most holes...so those arms can't go any lower. The kingpin does look like there are at least 2 more bolt holes that it could possibly be raised, but then i would worry about clearing the bed rails...since the hitch would be at lowest position and kingpin at highest.
Now, i'm left with trying to figure out the best way to "fix" my truck/trailer combo. The GVWR on the truck is 11,200 lb, the truck (full fuel & companion installed--no passengers or cargo) is a hair over 7,700 lb (which leaves me with approx 3,500 payload capacity). I haven't had the trailer on the scale, but Forest River specs in the image below:
My question for all my fellow RV'ers out there that tow a 5th wheel is twofold:
1. Do you agree that the trailer is sitting too high for extended towing? I realize that I don't have the experience to know whether this setup is too high, or if it's acceptable to tow this way...but it just looks wrong to me (like it should be level).
2. If you agree it's nose-high, then what would you do to fix the issue? I don't really want to buy a new Tow Vehicle, and I also don't want to sell my new 5th wheel, so i'm looking for suggestions on what to do to either the truck or the trailer.
I've read on other forums about a service bulletin from FORD on older model trucks (basically replacing the stock 4" rear blocks with shorter 2" blocks from f250--and possibly changing shocks & drive shaft carrier angle in some applications), but i took my truck to the dealer, and they said the TSB did not apply to my year truck.
On the other hand, i've also read about some people "lifting" their trailer, either with blocks, or with a welded in sub-frame, and then re-attaching the stock trailer suspension.
I would like to get opinions on whether you think i may end up damaging my trailer if i continue to tow with it "as-is seen in the pics". I've done my best to research this forum (and other Ford or Diesel forums), but at some point, you just need to post and get suggestions from fellow forum members.
Thanks in advance for all your suggestions.