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Old 02-11-2015, 02:05 PM   #1
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Bed Length for 5er

So, recently found the Forest River forum after talking with a very nice and informative dealer at a recent RV show. For background, my wife and I are new to the RV scene and doing a lot of shopping around. Have narrowed down that a Toy Hauler 5er will best fit our intended purpose of camping, hauling motorcycle(s) and being able to visit kids as they grow up and head off to college.

Anyway, top of our list use to be Keystone and Heartland, until we saw our first XLR Thunderbolt this past weekend. Granted, it was a 2013 model and finish qulaity wasn't quite up to what we have seen from Keystone and Heartland, but exterior, structural, and floor quailty much higher on the FR's than the other two. Plus, they are to be getting 2 new XLR's in soon that we will check out at next show in March.

That being said, as part of our RV search we also have tow vehicle search. I am a GM guy and my contacts at dealerships are at the Chevy dealership. That being said, it will be a 2015+ Chevy Duramax 3500HD for us. This truck will share garage space with my Impala that is my current daily driver. Once my daughter is old enough to drive the plan would be to pass the Impala on to her and the truck will become my daily driver.

While at the RV show talking with the owner of the dealership, we were talking tow vehicles. They highly recommended the 8' bed (long box) over the standard 6.5' bed. I had originally been thinking Crew Cab, standard bed, 4WD, SRW 3500HD since it will get daily driver duties in Iowa which includes plenty of snow and ice in the winter. After talking with them I am re-thinking that maybe should go with long bed. But if I go with long bed, why not just step up to a dually for hardly any more money, maybe less depending on dealership wanting to move it.

So, here in lies my questions for those with experience:

1. To tow a XLR Thunderbolt 5er, do you "need" or is it prefered to have the 8' bed over the 6.5' bed?

2. If the 8' bed is recommended and we are looking at 5ers over 35', is it worth it to go to a dually for better stability and safety along with upped capicity for both Payload and Max 5th wheel towing?

3. If we go with a dually, and upgrade to better than OEM tires, what are thoughts on winter driveability with the dually compared to a single rear wheel setup? Keeping in mind will still have the Impala around, too, until the daughter would go off to college, but that is a ways off.


I am just trying to weigh this out as we want to get the right truck or more truck than we would ever need instead of getting something less and then having to upgrade later. Figuring if we go new (or newer/Certified Pre-Owned) that we will invest more up front, but plan on keeping it for a long time to come.

All input and thoughts welcomed.
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:15 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! There are many questions about trucks, bed length etc.
My two cents: If you can, get a dually. It's a more stable platform for towing and has the bed length, cargo capacity etc. Get a one ton truck for towing capacity. The carrying cargo is what limits your towing weights.
The 8' bed provides sufficient clearance between the front cap of the camper and the cab of the truck. In the past, before the redesigning of front caps 6.5' beds needed a sliding hitch to prevent the two from hitting, denting the cap and spraying broken glass all over your passengers and truck. If you get a 6.5' bed, get a sliding hitch. There are tons of threads on both and you can read them until your eyes bleed . Others will be a long to give you more options and opinions. That's the beauty of this great forum, everyone is here to help
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric91Z View Post
So, recently found the Forest River forum after talking with a very nice and informative dealer at a recent RV show. For background, my wife and I are new to the RV scene and doing a lot of shopping around. Have narrowed down that a Toy Hauler 5er will best fit our intended purpose of camping, hauling motorcycle(s) and being able to visit kids as they grow up and head off to college.

Anyway, top of our list use to be Keystone and Heartland, until we saw our first XLR Thunderbolt this past weekend. Granted, it was a 2013 model and finish qulaity wasn't quite up to what we have seen from Keystone and Heartland, but exterior, structural, and floor quailty much higher on the FR's than the other two. Plus, they are to be getting 2 new XLR's in soon that we will check out at next show in March.

That being said, as part of our RV search we also have tow vehicle search. I am a GM guy and my contacts at dealerships are at the Chevy dealership. That being said, it will be a 2015+ Chevy Duramax 3500HD for us. This truck will share garage space with my Impala that is my current daily driver. Once my daughter is old enough to drive the plan would be to pass the Impala on to her and the truck will become my daily driver.

While at the RV show talking with the owner of the dealership, we were talking tow vehicles. They highly recommended the 8' bed (long box) over the standard 6.5' bed. I had originally been thinking Crew Cab, standard bed, 4WD, SRW 3500HD since it will get daily driver duties in Iowa which includes plenty of snow and ice in the winter. After talking with them I am re-thinking that maybe should go with long bed. But if I go with long bed, why not just step up to a dually for hardly any more money, maybe less depending on dealership wanting to move it.

So, here in lies my questions for those with experience:

1. To tow a XLR Thunderbolt 5er, do you "need" or is it prefered to have the 8' bed over the 6.5' bed?

2. If the 8' bed is recommended and we are looking at 5ers over 35', is it worth it to go to a dually for better stability and safety along with upped capicity for both Payload and Max 5th wheel towing?

3. If we go with a dually, and upgrade to better than OEM tires, what are thoughts on winter driveability with the dually compared to a single rear wheel setup? Keeping in mind will still have the Impala around, too, until the daughter would go off to college, but that is a ways off.


I am just trying to weigh this out as we want to get the right truck or more truck than we would ever need instead of getting something less and then having to upgrade later. Figuring if we go new (or newer/Certified Pre-Owned) that we will invest more up front, but plan on keeping it for a long time to come.

All input and thoughts welcomed.
1) As with most 5ers built today (along with sliding hitches), you don't "need" to have an 8' bed. I prefer an 8' bed, but that's just me. You will get a slightly longer wheelbase which is always a good thing.
2)Dually would be the way to go, especially when looking at a toy hauler. The weights can get up there real fast when loaded.
3) My 2013 3500 came with Michelins, changing the tires wasn't even a thought. I live in OH, we get some snow (been fortunate this year so far), and haven't had any problems getting around. A single wheel with aggressive tread tires will always out perform a dually, but as I said, in 2 winters of snow and ice, I haven't had any problems. A little weight in the bed always helps also.
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:25 PM   #4
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I went with a 8 foot bed because I need my truck to haul stuff when not towing and I can fit my generator between the chest tool box and hitch.

I use the 250 every day back and forth to work and on long trips.
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Old 02-11-2015, 06:34 PM   #5
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You don't need either but both would add to stability. XLR Thunderbolts are lighter on the pin than the competition due to axle placement. They also have notched front cap corners to give more clearance when towing with a short bed. I use my truck as a DD in the winter and plow with it also. Neither of which lend themselves to a long bed, dually, or both. I towed my previous 5th toyhauler with the truck in my sig and it did it 100% without issue. My 395AMP that is on order will be lighter on the pin but heavier overall. That said, I have no doubt my current truck will pull it just as well as it did my last rig.

Now, if you do end up with a short bed and aren't comfortable trusting yourself with the notched cap, I'd skip the slider hitch and go with a 20k Reese Sidewinder hitch. It moves the pivot point back 18" and will make your short bed turn 90 degrees + like a long bed.
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:39 PM   #6
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Same situation

I found myself in the same situation. Made the mistake of going to the local RV show and ended up buying a Silverback 33IK. I knew the old 2500HD wasn't going to cut it. Looked at built-up 2500HD, 3500HD SRW, and 3500HD DRW (all diesel). 2500HD costs more than the comparable 3500HD's. I wanted a 8' bed to eliminate having to worry about a slider. I didn't need the extra capacity of dual wheels. Deciding factor: RV dealer asked - how you gonna drive that thing thru McDonalds? Where you gonna find a place to park it at the shopping center? SRW it is!
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:53 PM   #7
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Match the truck to the 5er. If you intend to make your truck a daily driver, a 3500 8 foot dully is is a very wide/long truck. At Walmart you will need two spaces to keep from getting all the paint banged off it. We're buying a 300x12 Thunderbolt and plan to pull it with a Silverado 2500 short bed with Duramax. Through forums like this I've found several who use this combination. Don't over spec your truck, match it to what you plan to pulling. Just my thoughts. Happy camping
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:07 PM   #8
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My 9th year of Rving and second 5er, Bought a manual slider hitch because I was told I had to have one. Have never used the slider. Have also had my first rig at 90 angles more than once. As I gained experience I learned how to turn, back up and avoid the dreaded back window bump. As said, newer rigs have rounded corner noses which will give you extra clearance. Some pin boxes are also longer than others so that will give you additional clearance.
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric91Z View Post
So, recently found the Forest River forum after talking with a very nice and informative dealer at a recent RV show. For background, my wife and I are new to the RV scene and doing a lot of shopping around. Have narrowed down that a Toy Hauler 5er will best fit our intended purpose of camping, hauling motorcycle(s) and being able to visit kids as they grow up and head off to college.

Anyway, top of our list use to be Keystone and Heartland, until we saw our first XLR Thunderbolt this past weekend. Granted, it was a 2013 model and finish qulaity wasn't quite up to what we have seen from Keystone and Heartland, but exterior, structural, and floor quailty much higher on the FR's than the other two. Plus, they are to be getting 2 new XLR's in soon that we will check out at next show in March.

That being said, as part of our RV search we also have tow vehicle search. I am a GM guy and my contacts at dealerships are at the Chevy dealership. That being said, it will be a 2015+ Chevy Duramax 3500HD for us. This truck will share garage space with my Impala that is my current daily driver. Once my daughter is old enough to drive the plan would be to pass the Impala on to her and the truck will become my daily driver.

While at the RV show talking with the owner of the dealership, we were talking tow vehicles. They highly recommended the 8' bed (long box) over the standard 6.5' bed. I had originally been thinking Crew Cab, standard bed, 4WD, SRW 3500HD since it will get daily driver duties in Iowa which includes plenty of snow and ice in the winter. After talking with them I am re-thinking that maybe should go with long bed. But if I go with long bed, why not just step up to a dually for hardly any more money, maybe less depending on dealership wanting to move it.

So, here in lies my questions for those with experience:

1. To tow a XLR Thunderbolt 5er, do you "need" or is it prefered to have the 8' bed over the 6.5' bed?

2. If the 8' bed is recommended and we are looking at 5ers over 35', is it worth it to go to a dually for better stability and safety along with upped capicity for both Payload and Max 5th wheel towing?

3. If we go with a dually, and upgrade to better than OEM tires, what are thoughts on winter driveability with the dually compared to a single rear wheel setup? Keeping in mind will still have the Impala around, too, until the daughter would go off to college, but that is a ways off.


I am just trying to weigh this out as we want to get the right truck or more truck than we would ever need instead of getting something less and then having to upgrade later. Figuring if we go new (or newer/Certified Pre-Owned) that we will invest more up front, but plan on keeping it for a long time to come.

All input and thoughts welcomed.
*ft Dually you won't regret it tidbit that duramax goes over mts. in cruise!
I have a dually 8ft more storage in bed for chairs.
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Old 02-13-2015, 07:20 AM   #10
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good question i too am a chevy man and have a quad cab with the stanard 6.5 bed
I run a superglide slider hitch and have no problems at time i wish i had a 8 foot bed by the time i pack all the fire wood extra cooler bikes for the grand kids and so on the bed is full but also using it a back up driver it's nice to be able to run to the store and not park in the north forty
welcome from iowa
PS try to make the Amana frog rally in October
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