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Old 04-20-2013, 11:24 PM   #1
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New to 5th wheels - question about double towing

After years of slide-in camper camping my wife and I are probably going to trade in and get a 5th wheel. The convenience and accessibility are just too enticing.

I know this subject has been beat to death and I apologize for bringing it up once again but I wanted to solicit some advise regarding double (or triple???) towing with a 5th wheel. I have a boat I would like to pull behind my 5th wheel. I have thoroughly researched the laws, regulations, licensing requirements, etc. (at least I believe I have) for the states I will be traveling in (TX, NM, CO, WY) and understand what is legal and what is required.

My question really has to do more with the competency of the 5th wheel to handle towing the boat. In order to stay within length restrictions we are looking at fairly short 5th wheels - 26 to 28 feet in length. We have looked at the Forest River Rockwood 8244WS and really, really like it. It fits all of our needs perfectly.

Understanding that this is an "Ultra Lite" 5th wheel I would like to ask for any experience, knowledge or advise concerning towing behind this rig. I have a 2001 Ford F-350 Superduty dually with a GCVWR of 20,000 lbs. The truck, 5th wheel and boat/trailer will be around 16,500 lbs. The boat/trailer combination weigh ~2,500 lbs.

I have read that putting a hitch on the 5th wheel will void the frame warranty. Since we haven't purchased yet I don't know what the frame warranty is (i.e. what is covered, terms, condidtions, etc.). Can anyone enlighten me?

Aside from the warranty I would like to know if anyone has, does or knows of anyone double (triple) towing with a Rockwood 5th wheel and their experience(s). Finally, if anyone can recommend a hitch installation facility that might be familiar with the Rockwoods I could contact them to discuss.

Thanks in advance for your assistance. It is greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:33 PM   #2
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Do not tow anything with a lightweight fifth, period.
The frame is simply not strong enough.
You have the towing capacity, so look for a camper with a real I-beam frame, and a solid plywood floor.
The lightweights use a frame fabricated out of three pieces of tin, welded together to make it look like an I-beam. And you can just imagine how weak the frame around the pin box would be.
A heavier camper with a hot-rolled I-beam frame, and a solid 5/8ths inch plywood floor would have an all-around heavier structure, and would be able to handle the added loads of pulling your boat.
And I own a lightweight!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:36 PM   #3
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Double towing is illegal in many states and some of them will give you a fairly expensive ticket and escort you to their border if you have the cheek to invade. It doesn't matter if you're legal in your home state in many cases.

I think Washington State Patrol will escort you to the state boundary if you show up with a double tow.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:43 PM   #4
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Thanks Bakken. Much appreciated. I was not aware of the differences in frame fabrication. When I challenged the dealer on the lightweight's ability to tow he took me to the back to show me the I-beam frame (not much of which is exposed at the back of the coach). It didn't seem very substantial to me but it did "look" like an I-beam. Any way to know what uses the hot-rolled I-beam frame and 5/8ths inch plywood floor? Most of the time when I ask questions of this caliber to the dealers I get vague answers that don't fill be with confidence. Finally, any suggestions as to 5th wheels that use this frame/floor construction that are in the 26-28' length?
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:46 PM   #5
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I used to double tow with my last 5er, I only had a 10 foot utility trailer that I towed behind. I had a 28 foot Cardinal and I did have a frame hitch, that was there when I purchased it. Yes, it does void the warranty. Most of the frame warranties are only for 1 year so if you are going to do it wait until after the year before you put it on or see if you can order one when you buy your camper. Most important do not put one on an Ultra Lite, the frames aren't made to handle this.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:56 PM   #6
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The real I-beams are easy to spot, as they are much thicker material, and the top and bottom flanges get thicker yet toward the center, as they blend into the verticle web.
The "tin" I-beams are just three pieces of 1/8 inch metal, so they are a uniform thickness, and you can see where they are welded together.
As for the floor, the reason you get "vague" answers is because their campers do not use real plywood in the floor. If you check out the web sites of the different manufacturers, the ones who use plywood in the floor will advertise it clearly. If the website is vague about the construction, you know it is much less substantial.
The quickest way to weed out the inadequate campers is to simply look at their dry weight. The Rockwood you mentioned has a dry weight of about 6400 lbs. Look for a similar sized camper that weighs another 1000-1500 lbs, and it will likely have a good frame and floor.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:52 AM   #7
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Nobody designs their 5er frames to do what you're talking about doing. Since they're not designed for that, it's dangerous to do it, not only for you but for the people on the road near you.

It sounds like you want a Class-A that can tow a toad.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:04 AM   #8
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My brand new wildcat came with a 300/3000 capacity hitch from the factory, so it does not void my warranty. I am planning on towing a small trailer with it this year.
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jevanb View Post
My brand new wildcat came with a 300/3000 capacity hitch from the factory, so it does not void my warranty. I am planning on towing a small trailer with it this year.
Just finished looking at the Wildcat web site, and the Wildcat Maxx has an option for a receiver hitch it says 1 1/4 " receiver, that's a class 1 hitch I believe. We have a class 1 hitch on a Silverback and was told by a factory rep not to tow anything behind the trailer!
Does your owners manual say it is OK to tow behind your trailer, just curious and asking, because that is exactly what I wanted to do!!
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:02 PM   #10
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prairi,,, it came with a 2inch reciever I asked wildcat chris about it and he told me 300/3000 nothing in the manual about it. has also said no longer offered in the 2013.
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