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Old 05-16-2012, 05:32 AM   #1
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1st time 5th wheeler

Hi everyone!
I have a couple of questions from my fellow seasoned 5th wheelers. We are finally decided on our new 5th wheel, a Wildcat Sterling 35LS. The dry weight is 10770# and gross weight is 13925#.
I am asking a question about tow vehicle. Should I buy a 2500 or 3500? We are between a Chevrolet Silverado Ext. cab or Dodge Ram Quad cab. Both would be 2WD and long bed, auto. trans.
The weights would be: 2500-14,200trl./20,000 gross for Chevy
3500-14,000trl./20,500 gross for Chevy
2500-13,700trl./20,000 gross for dodge
3500-17,100trl./25,000 gross for Dodge
These weight are for 6.0 gas,auto. trans for chevy and 5.7 gas, auto for dodge except 3500 Dodge is dually. The diff. for gas engines is 4.10 and 3.73 for diesel. I know the diesel is best for power and economy but I am asking if I should buy 2500 vs. 3500 for such a small weight difference? I can use some help on this one.
Secondly, would anyone suggest a tankless hot water heater over DSI water heater? Can you run the DSI on strictly electric and save on the propane? Not sure on this one either. I am about to learn from seasonal travel trailer camper to full time permanent 5er.
Thanks everyone for the help. navypoppop
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:09 AM   #2
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I am partial to Dodge so I would lean towards the 3500 diesel 4wd &4:10 rear end. Reason; road stability, pulling ability when you get a larger 5er. Some may say its over kill and be right. However I like to feel safe when traveling down the road, knowing I can pull something safe is important to me.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:26 AM   #3
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I am also bias, driving a Cummins Turbo Diesel in a RAM 2500.
However, if I had it to do over again, I would have gotten a 3500 Dually 2 wheel drive.
My 2500 handles my fiver new fiver OK, but when shopping for a new fiver, I was limited on my selections.
The dually will feel more stable when towing. Stick with a diesel as they make a big difference over a gasser when towing. As mentioned, a 3500 is over kill for your fiver, but you'll be happier down the road.
Can't help you on the water heater as I run mine on electric, even with my generator.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:33 AM   #4
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You need to find out what the pin weight of the trailer is, and find the payload of the trucks in question. So far all you've done is account for the towing weight of the trailer and trucks. With that big a trailer, it is going to have a decent pin weight. While calculating the payload of the truck, be sure to include that pin weight, the weight of the hitch, and passengers and gear that will be hauled in the truck. That is where you will find the decision to go with a 3500 over a 2500. The towing capacities for the 2500/3500/250/350 trucks today seem to be very close anymore. But the payload is still different enough to make the decision to go heavy when you need the extra capacity.

As for you water heater questions, most of what I read about the tankless is that people have a hard time regulating the temperature. Once they get it figured out they seem to be generally happy with it. And yes, you can run strictly on electric for a standard water heater, as long as you have electric/battery available. The DSI is only used to ignite the gas, so you won't even use it on electric. For gas, I believe the DSI actually ignites using 12 volt, so you have to have the battery charged. We use our gas as a "booster" for electric (quick recovery). Otherwise, electric mostly.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:07 AM   #5
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I pull a 5er of 9,850 lb weight rated with a 2011 F250, CC, long bed, diesel, 2WD, if I were to pull a 14,000 lb 5er I would want the 350/3500 with a diesel!!! I would not want to pull it with gas. I base this on my experience pulling 5er's. Many buy trucks that are not suited to pull the 5er's that the have or are going to buy, but not many get trucks the are more then they need.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:26 AM   #6
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I don't know much about towing or trucks but I can tell you that we bought a Chevy 3500 diesel dually yesterday and are picking up a 13,000 lb 5th wheel toy hauler which will hold our full size trike & bike tomorrow. My husband debated over a 2500 or 3500 and decided that with a 3500 we would be able to haul anything we want.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navypoppop
Hi everyone!
I have a couple of questions from my fellow seasoned 5th wheelers. We are finally decided on our new 5th wheel, a Wildcat Sterling 35LS. The dry weight is 10770# and gross weight is 13925#.
I am asking a question about tow vehicle. Should I buy a 2500 or 3500? We are between a Chevrolet Silverado Ext. cab or Dodge Ram Quad cab. Both would be 2WD and long bed, auto. trans.
The weights would be: 2500-14,200trl./20,000 gross for Chevy
3500-14,000trl./20,500 gross for Chevy
2500-13,700trl./20,000 gross for dodge
3500-17,100trl./25,000 gross for Dodge
These weight are for 6.0 gas,auto. trans for chevy and 5.7 gas, auto for dodge except 3500 Dodge is dually. The diff. for gas engines is 4.10 and 3.73 for diesel. I know the diesel is best for power and economy but I am asking if I should buy 2500 vs. 3500 for such a small weight difference? I can use some help on this one.
Secondly, would anyone suggest a tankless hot water heater over DSI water heater? Can you run the DSI on strictly electric and save on the propane? Not sure on this one either. I am about to learn from seasonal travel trailer camper to full time permanent 5er.
Thanks everyone for the help. navypoppop
Read introduction to 5th wheels in the faq forum.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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I would buy a 1 ton in whatever brand you like. A dually would be better, but it's more than you need for this 5er. Don't buy a gas burner. Only buy a diesel. It makes a huge difference.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:49 AM   #9
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One yon for sure. SRW or dually is a personal preference for your current selection. I would opt dually. I like my 6 cylinder. Lots of power. I generally tow with cruise on. Something I could not do with my last diesel.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:42 PM   #10
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I have a silverback 20re 10400 dry gross 13600. I tow with a gmc 2500 crew cab diesel. I do not even know the trailer is back there. I agree with what some said about pin weight. There is not that much difference in the tow capacity but if your pin weight starts out at 2100dry I would consider the one ton truck
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