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Old 04-05-2014, 04:39 PM   #1
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Clarify towing capacity - what would you tow with this truck?

I posed this question on RV.net and didn't get many helpful responses (although one usually does over there...). We currently have a Surveyor Sport 220 TT but are considering a 5th wheel for full-timing (or at least part-timing) next year when I retire again. The tow vehicle is a 2013 GMC Sierra 2500HD crew cab 2WD SRW with the Duramax diesel and Allison transmission. From the stickers and manuals, the ratings are (including results from driving across the scales this week - and please pardon the attempt at a table... I've not found an easy way to do it in this forum editor):

Rating Spec Scales* Reserve Capacity
GCWR 24,500 7,520 16,980
GVWR 10,000 7,520 2,480
GAWR FRT 5,200 4,440 760
GAWR RR 6,200 3,080 3,120
Tires 6,390 3,080 3,310

The scale weights include 225# of fuel, 208# of driver, and a 90# tonneau cover. I estimate removing the tonneau and installing a 5th wheel slider hitch will net about another 160# and I'll need to add in some more for my wife and misc. stuff we'll throw in the truck (we won't get into exactly how much for the wife right now...).

To me, it seems the real limitation will be the GVWR (for the pin weight on the trailer). Would you be comfortable getting close to the 2,480 remaining (minus the unmentionables discussed above) for the GVWR for pin weight or would you go with 20% below that (or some other safety margin). If we looked at fivers that stayed below about 13K gross with 2,000# pin weight, would we be safe as far as truck capacities are concerned? I have towed for over 40 years, but even large boats on a frame hitch require much less of a tow vehicle than a fifth wheel does - the boats are more streamlined and have less tongue weight. I would appreciate any and all input.

Thanks,

Rob
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:01 PM   #2
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I would not hesitate going right up to the payload maximum (GVWR). It is the most conservative number, and all your other ratings will be well with in spec. I have an 07 Cheppb 2500 dura Alison with a 9200 GVWR and I pull at max with no problem. I put a Roadmaster active suspension kit in to reduce the sag a bit. My 9200 lb (scale wt) 5er brings me right up to the limit (and over depending on what I load up where).

Another consideration is to make sure you get a 5er with loads of payload capacity and put as much of your stuff in the trailer and keep as much as you can out of the truck.
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:15 PM   #3
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Just my thoughts...but a 13k lb 5ver can have a pin weight from about 1950 to 3250 lbs (15-25% of the 5ver GVWR). I'd not be happy with those numbers and the payload rating of the TV in question.

I like to have a 10% margin of safety as a goal, but as that's not always possible...I pretty much refuse to overload a TV based on its rated payload. IMO the TV will suffer earlier break downs based on being overloaded, may not stop as desired/needed, and will put the cargo & more importantly, the passengers, into a potentially unsafe situation.

I tow a lot in the mountains of Colorado and my backseat passengers are most often my grandchildren...so I might be a little more cautious at my age. But, I know I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I didn't do all I could to keep them as safe as possible.

Safe travels!
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lefty59 View Post
Just my thoughts...but a 13k lb 5ver can have a pin weight from about 1950 to 3250 lbs (15-25% of the 5ver GVWR). I'd not be happy with those numbers and the payload rating of the TV in question.

I like to have a 10% margin of safety as a goal, but as that's not always possible...I pretty much refuse to overload a TV based on its rated payload. IMO the TV will suffer earlier break downs based on being overloaded, may not stop as desired/needed, and will put the cargo & more importantly, the passengers, into a potentially unsafe situation.

I tow a lot in the mountains of Colorado and my backseat passengers are most often my grandchildren...so I might be a little more cautious at my age. But, I know I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I didn't do all I could to keep them as safe as possible.

Safe travels!
You can go real safe and just get a hotel room also.

OP, you asked the question "what would you tow with this truck?"
I personally would have a problem putting another 3,000 on it from your current numbers. My comfort level may be way off from yours though. I will tell you that your truck will handle a fifth wheel better than it will a heavy TT.
It's all going to be about your comfort level, not mine or anyone else. You will just have to remember that the more weight you get the more you will have to drive accordingly.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:21 PM   #5
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You can go real safe and just get a hotel room also.
Not sure that a hotel room is any safer these days ...but I sure wouldn't stay in one that I was certain had structural issues or or that I knew was a fire trap.

Just saying, that avoiding known hazards makes good sense to me.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:30 PM   #6
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For the typical 2,000ish pound pin weight 5er I wouldn't worry about it. There's no magic number when suddenly parts start to break and wear out quicker than normal. Would I go straight to 1,000lbs over payload? No. Would I worry about exceeding payload by a few hundred pounds? No.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:46 AM   #7
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I have a 2006 dodge 2500 that I pull a 38 foot 5th wheel with. My pin weight loaded is 2700 pounds. Like transam said, it's all about comfort level. And I think he meant he would not have a problem putting the 3000 pounds on it. He tows heavier than me. I also added air bags to help with the weight.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:57 AM   #8
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I have a similar truck as yours, although it's a 2008 and 4x4. Fully loaded with my wife and 2 daughters I'm 700 lbs over gvwr. Until I weighed everything last summer I would not have guessed I was that far over gvwr...the truck pulls and handles fine without airbags or suspension modifications.

I'd probably opt for a dually for my next truck, but I'm in no rush to swap trucks as I am comfortable with the pulling and handling characteristics of this current setup.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:15 AM   #9
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here are my #`s 2006 SW SB 4x 2500HD dura/ally

GCWR 22k, 19440, +2600
GVWR 9200k, 7100, +2100
GVW, 9200, 9600, -400
GAWR FRT 4670, 4440, +230
GAWR RR 6084, 5160, +924

as you can see I am over but care not. you will be fine IMO but as said before how comfortable are you??
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