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Old 06-11-2019, 12:39 PM   #1
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Unlifted Ram 3500 4x4 too tall for 5th wheel?!!!

I posted this question in another thread but got no replies, so I'll try a broader audience.

I'm looking at trading my Ram 1500 4x4 for a 2019 Ram 3500 4x4 (single rear wheel) so I can upgrade the TT to a 5er. These newer model trucks are TALL! With 20" wheels it's close to 59" bed rail height. Been looking at a Coachmen Chaparral 30RLS and like just about every other 5th wheel on the lot it's 60" from ground to the bottom of the overhang. In order to get the 6" clearance between bed rails and overhang I'll need to either:
- run it ridiculously nose high
- lift the trailer (which has it's own set of thorny issues)
- drop the truck suspension

None of these options is appealing.

Seems like RV manufacturers and truck designers are not paying attention to each other :-(

Are you driving a 1-ton 4x4 with 20" wheels with your lightweight 5er?
Interested to hear how you solved this dilemma?
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:47 PM   #2
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why get a 1 ton truck for a 9k trailer? do they all come with 20 wheels or just certain models? my 2500 has 18 inch wheels. Is there not adjustment at the pin box? I would be more worried about the truck fitting under a 7 foot garage door (if you park inside) my 2500 barley fits under my door
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:04 PM   #3
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I'm probably the wrong person to give advice on new vehicles because I avoid them like the plague, but don't most newer trucks have load leveling suspensions? Another question would be was the ground level enough to provide you with accurate measurements on the truck bed height? Suspensions are built a bit softer for ride comfort now, perhaps some squatting could be taken into account?
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:30 PM   #4
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>why get a 1 ton truck for 9k trailer?...

Despite the fact that many of these "lite" fifth wheels are designed to be able to be towed with a half-ton, in reality it would be a bad idea. Even a 3/4 ton is pushing it if you have a diesel engine. A Ram 2500 with diesel has payload rating of 2100 - 2500 lbs depending on options. Same tow rating as the 3500 (since same engine and transmission) but way lower payload. So with a lightweight 5er that has a pin weight of only 1500 lbs dry, you are already over the max payload once you add 4 passengers, fuel & 5th wheel hitch and that doesn't include water and gear!

Also, if I get the 3500 I have FAR more options in terms of which models I can tow - not limited to just the light ones.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutd0g View Post
I posted this question in another thread but got no replies, so I'll try a broader audience.

I'm looking at trading my Ram 1500 4x4 for a 2019 Ram 3500 4x4 (single rear wheel) so I can upgrade the TT to a 5er. These newer model trucks are TALL! With 20" wheels it's close to 59" bed rail height. Been looking at a Coachmen Chaparral 30RLS and like just about every other 5th wheel on the lot it's 60" from ground to the bottom of the overhang. In order to get the 6" clearance between bed rails and overhang I'll need to either:
- run it ridiculously nose high
- lift the trailer (which has it's own set of thorny issues)
- drop the truck suspension

None of these options is appealing.

Seems like RV manufacturers and truck designers are not paying attention to each other :-(

Are you driving a 1-ton 4x4 with 20" wheels with your lightweight 5er?
Interested to hear how you solved this dilemma?
The Factory 20" Wheels and tires have the same outside diameter as the Factory 18" Wheels and tires so that is not an issue (larger wheel, shorter tire). I sure see a lot of Dodge trucks pulling 5th wheels so it must not be a huge issue. When you drop the 5th wheel on the back of the truck it will settle some. I have a Chevy 3500 and the 2500 lb tongue weight on my trailer drops the truck so that it is about level front to back, about 3-4 inches.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:58 PM   #6
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I currently tow my Wildcat 5th wheel with a 2018 Ram 3500 Dually 4x4 and have no problems. Until November I towed same 5er with. 2016 Ford 350 4x4 single wheel no problems.
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Old 06-12-2019, 11:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for the proof points - i have no doubt that people are pulling 5th wheels with these tall trucks - what i'm specifically interested in is what accommodations or modifications were necessary to do so in way that the trailer is sufficiently level while towing.

With your Wildcat, do you have to raise the front support legs (well above level) on the 5er to allow the truck to back up and connect? How nose high is it while connected? Any issues with fridge operating if its out way out of level? How low is the rear bumper? Etc.

I'm specifically interested in 5er's that are 30-34'. Longer units will have smaller angles when raised 4-6" above level. They'll also be heavier and cause more squat when lowered onto the truck.

Pics of connected rigs would be great.
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutd0g View Post
Thanks for the proof points - i have no doubt that people are pulling 5th wheels with these tall trucks - what i'm specifically interested in is what accommodations or modifications were necessary to do so in way that the trailer is sufficiently level while towing.

With your Wildcat, do you have to raise the front support legs (well above level) on the 5er to allow the truck to back up and connect? How nose high is it while connected? Any issues with fridge operating if its out way out of level? How low is the rear bumper? Etc.

I'm specifically interested in 5er's that are 30-34'. Longer units will have smaller angles when raised 4-6" above level. They'll also be heavier and cause more squat when lowered onto the truck.

Pics of connected rigs would be great.
My 2019 Ram 3500 SRW has 20inch wheels, and my 5th wheel is certainly not a lightweight 5th wheel, but it sits and rides very nice as shown.

I did a video on going to the scales last week and it includes a height measurement before hitched and after. Truck squat is 2.5" loaded.
https://youtu.be/YlAyZDw2DX0
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:44 PM   #9
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As far as I’m concerned all the new trucks are too high for a 5th wheel unless you have one of the newer ones that are higher. I recently bought a 2015 Ram 3500. Had to order from factory to get a 2WD which is 1 1/2” lower than the 4 WD. Still my Cardinal is no longer level. Hitch is all the way down, if I adjust the king pin I would loose the 5 1:2” rail clearance.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:05 PM   #10
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Forgot to mention I also have factory air bags which lower rear end another 1 1/2” when towing.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valleyduo View Post
I'm probably the wrong person to give advice on new vehicles because I avoid them like the plague, but don't most newer trucks have load leveling suspensions? Another question would be was the ground level enough to provide you with accurate measurements on the truck bed height? Suspensions are built a bit softer for ride comfort now, perhaps some squatting could be taken into account?

Did you take this into account? Although it would be difficult to estimate the amount of "squat" for any specific 5'er unless you could actually hook it up and see.
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Old 06-12-2019, 01:58 PM   #12
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PW will lower the nose. My f350 4x4 is butt high at 59". Almost perfectly level when hooked.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:05 PM   #13
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I am pulling a Wildcat 2018 29RLX with a F350 SRW that shares similar measurements of your Dodge.
I have raised the trailer with tires (235/85R/16), springs (4 leaf to 6 leaf), and the etrailer correct track 2" lift.
The easiest raise was the springs and the price was $35 +/- each.
The tire raise was very minimal.
The correct track gives you 2" of lift and was a two day affair for me. I also welded them in place in addition to the bolts they send. When you are done you will have to check the alignment. I had to adjust it a little because it is very hard to keep them perfectly straight during installation.
This has me very near level with around 8" of bed clearance.
I like plenty of bed clearance as we boondock a lot and I have dented the top of the bed with a past trailer and truck.
For what its worth, I hear Ford is lowering the 2020 SD down 1.5 inches. Would not be surprised to see the other manufacturers do the same as these trucks are too tall for those of us that tow 5th wheel trailers.
Good Luck.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:06 PM   #14
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Towing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutd0g View Post
With your Wildcat, do you have to raise the front support legs (well above level) on the 5er to allow the truck to back up and connect? How nose high is it while connected? Any issues with fridge operating if its out way out of level? How low is the rear bumper? Etc.

I'm specifically interested in 5er's that are 30-34'. Longer units will have smaller angles when raised 4-6" above level. They'll also be heavier and cause more squat when lowered onto the truck.

Pics of connected rigs would be great.
I have a 2017 Ram 2500 with the same issue. I am pulling a 2012 32' Wildcat Sterling 5er. My Clearance is 5 1/2" between bed rails and camper. I never measured the squat, but it seems like it is about 2".
I have 400# of payload left when fully loaded. My camper's rear axle weight is 300# more than the front axle, but still well within the axle's ratings. I don't have the numbers in front of me for payload, scale weights, etc right now.
When hitched and on a level surface I am 3 inches nose high.
I have to raise the front quite a bit to get under it. My fridge works fine while towing like this, but I do not leave the front up this high except when hitching.
I have not had issues with the rear of the camper dragging anywhere.
Sorry I don't have pics of the rig hooked up.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:12 PM   #15
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I have a Ram 2500 4x4, but it's also 59" to the bed rails at the rear. I tow a Cedar Creek 33IK and have over 7" of clearance over the bed rails. I use the Andersen Ultimate hitch in the middle height setting and have the standard Lippert 1621 HD pin box.

I worried about the same issues that you are, but this setup sits pretty level and tows wonderfully. The 2500 does have the coil springs in the rear, while the 3500 has leaf springs. On mine, when you lower the trailer onto the hitch, it squats the rear to a nice level position.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:31 PM   #16
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When I had my F350, the block between the spring and axle was quite thick. The block for a F250 was about 1-1/2" thinner. So, ordered up a pair of F250 blocks and u-bolts.
Box now low enough between the lowering and sag with trailer connected.

Does Ram use a spacer block in the rear suspension?
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:34 PM   #17
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I have a 2017 4X4 Ram Duel real wheels, 8' bed pulling a Flagstaff 8528. I raised the hitch in the bed to the top position. That gives me about 6" clearance. Trailer is about 1/8th Inch out of level, nose up. works fine. And to everyone who says overkill, I say so what. I don't have to worry about overloading my truck, side winds, or fuel economy.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:46 PM   #18
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HD trucks are too tall period.
I'm Mr. Average, and it's a pain. Steps and stools and climbing. I really don't get it.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:57 PM   #19
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ok, what am I missing here? If an unloaded truck is 59 inches tall at the bedrails and the bottom of the fifth wheel hitch section is 60 inches when level and they were hooked up without actually retracting the landing gear, there would only be 1 inch of clearance. Now if you retract the landing gear and add all the weight to the truck, the truck squats down, got it. However, the truck bed does not move independently of the frame, so the clearance between the rail and the trailer stays the same. What am I missing?
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:06 PM   #20
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Comparing height from a truck I traded to the one I have now;

2017 Ram 2500 6.5' bed 4x4 crew cab,
2019 Ram 3500 8.0' bed 4x4 crew cab,

the tailgate height was identical at the dealers lot when I traded parked side by side. I don't remember the measurement. With the tailgate up and down, no difference. Tires were 20" on both trucks, the 2017 2500 had 22k miles on it.

Going to 18" wheels I'm told will not change the height, as the tire sidewall is taller on an 18" to make them equal height.

Bed rail clearance for my 3500 and Carbon 347 using the Andersen Ultimate is about 6.5" on the middle setting. Standard pin box. Great set up, pulls great.
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