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Old 02-29-2016, 04:45 PM   #1
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2500 / fifth wheel weight guesstimations

I have a 2500 with 5.7l hemi. Was window shopping at the RV show yesterday and found a 5er that DW and I both loved. Weight was 10k, my truck is rated up to 11500 if I change rear axle gear from 3.73 to 4.10 so I think that part would be ok. Two concerns, one is the website says tongue weight is 2100 which only leaves 400lbs of payload, other is will my rpms stay ramped up all the time moving that much weight whether I change gearing or not? Thanks.

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Old 02-29-2016, 04:57 PM   #2
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Just because you change the gear's doesn't mean you can tow more. Legally, you can tow what the manufacturer states on the door sticker, realistically, that's not a "huge" fifth wheel by no mean's, but with a hitch and "stuff" you will be over, should the truck pull it, I think it should. People pull fifth wheel's of that size with a half ton and actually believe they are "good to go"

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Old 02-29-2016, 05:08 PM   #3
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:15 PM   #4
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The payload limit is because of the 17" tires. You can increase the weight rating of the tires by 900lbs by changing to the 2014 Ram 3500 srw 18" rims and better weight rated tires.
Install air bags, with onboard air compressor, for the rear end. Also install a Helwig rear sway bar for towing. I have done this for my 2007 Ram 2500 2wd and tow a 1500lbs 5th wheel with a Cummins 5.9 engine.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:34 PM   #5
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Remember that is a dry pin weight. Loaded pin weight should be 20-25% of the loaded fiver weight. Try adding 1500 lbs or so to the trailer dry weight to have an idea of what the loaded weight will be. You will likely 've over on payload. Figure 150 lbs easily for the weight of a fiver hitch. Subtract out the weight of all occupants, pets and cargo that will be in the truck when towing. That is what you have left for pin weight.

Best thing to do is go weigh your truck at a local truck scale. Weigh it fully loaded with all occupants, pets and gear that would 've in it when towing plus a full tank of fuel. Get separate front and rear axle weights. Take the rear GAWR and subtract the scaled rear axle weight. Your hitch plus loaded pin weight need to be less than this number. Take the truck gcwr and subtract the total scaled truck weight to get your adjusted towing capacity. Your loaded trailer weight needs to be less than this number. Take the truck gvwr and subtract the total scaled truck weight to get your available payload. Your pin weight plus hitch needs to be less than this.

Remember changing parts on your truck does not legally change it's gvwr.
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Old 02-29-2016, 09:50 PM   #6
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I'm guessing the Weight of 10,000 is empty. Pin weight is empty.

If you tow, you will see 3,000-5,000+ rpm on hills and accelerating to highway speeds as your peak torque is over 4000rpm and horsepower over 5000.

What is the GVW of the trailer?
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:42 PM   #7
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You can best-guess the pin weight by using this tool:
Estimating Tongue/Pin Weight from Dry Weights - Towing Planner

It takes the dry weights and figured out what percentage the hitch weight is of the overall weight. Then it adds the weight in of what you'll add and spits out an estimate of what a loaded fifth wheel may run you.

It's not 100% accurate, but it's better than blindly guessing 20-25%.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:18 AM   #8
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When going to a 5th wheel it is the wind and air you will be pushing not the weight itself. Even fuel mileage drops majorly on a diesel which can tow way more then that weight. Then if you get into wind your truck is gonna struggle no matter what gears you have.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:31 AM   #9
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And thus you see the dilemma of the older 2500's (low GVWR).

While you can PULL higher trailer weights; you can't carry the pin load.
Towing capacity numbers are with an empty base model truck.

I thought I was being smart by getting a diesel with the Allison transmission till I found out what that did to "payload remaining". All that power makes towing my 9200 pound camper a breeze, but that is the heaviest trailer I can tow because the pin load of 1400 pounds, wife, dog, and hitch max out the GVWR of the 2008 GMC 2500HD with those options.

I could tow more camper with the lighter stock gas engine because there would be more payload left.

Newer trucks have higher GVWR ratings and you will most likely be able to stay with a 2500 truck if you upgraded.

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Old 03-01-2016, 10:19 AM   #10
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Thanks for feedback

The truck is 2wd, factory tow ratings state that with a gear change it goes up from 8500lbs to 11500. I know the engine will be working hard on hills with either gearing but that's normal for a gas as it does that now with a full load and a 6k lb pull behind. Biggest concern is the payload which seems like it's going to be over with empty camper, 4 passengers and hitch weight and will just get worse from there as we load the truck and the camper / fill gas tank etc. This is something for down the road when the kids aren't going all the time and DW and I are able to travel more. Sounds like with this truck I'll need to look at larger pull behinds, or upgrade to newer / heavier rated truck to minimize risk and headache. Just don't like any 5ers smaller than the 34ft/10k lb range. Only confusing thing is I know several folks who tow a 10k lb fiver with an older 2500 gas, they state no issues. Another friend has an older 2500 diesel and pulls a 13k lb monster 5er and only added airbags. Based on the paper assessment they should all be way out of bounds but all state no issues...

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