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Old 12-16-2013, 11:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wantahertzdonut View Post
I've been living and traveling full time in my first trailer, an 01 FR All American Sport 28FB. I tow it with a 97 F350 dually 7.3TD regular cab. It does ok but am looking to downsize my whole mess at some point, and I have a few ideas in mind.

A lot of people tell me how much easier 5th wheel trailers are to tow. I'm passed regularly on the highway by 3/4T or SRW 1T trucks towing massive 5th wheels (toy haulers and regular campers alike). I keep it under 60 for fuel consumption reasons, but traveling around the western US sucks at that pace, and again I'm quite jealous of the guys blowing by me with longer 5th wheel trailers and lighter duty trucks. It makes getting anywhere a bigger chore than it needs to be.

I have the toy hauler because I have 3 motorcycles in the back, but will shrink that to two when traveling in the future after I find a job and get into another house. It's only my girlfriend and I so we only need one bed and don't need much living space.

So I wonder, would a 5th wheel trailer of equivalent size truly be easier to tow, and allow me to carry a higher highway speed without murdering my fuel consumption? Would such a trailer be heavier or lighter than what I currently have?

Also, what is the shortest 5th wheel toy hauler on the market? I'd love to have one that is under 30' overall and doesn't have a super tall roof like most on the market. I'd even be happy with a side entry TH with the living space separated and in the back. Does anything like that exist?
I have had 3 campers, 2 of them toy haulers, one of them (the curent one) is a 5th wheel. I too had all the same concerns as you. My first camper was a toyhauler basicly a big square box bumper pull. Althought it was not that heavy, around 4000 lb dry, my mileage sucked. At that time I had an excursion with 7.3. it was like I hit a wall at around 65 mph. I blame the wind resistance but just to try and go another 6-10 mph I had to push the petal down a lot! and I was getting around 10mpg average.
One should note - the 7.3 with 373 gear starts to climb boost pressure above 5psi at around 70-72mph so keeping it 65 and under helps mpg a lot.
My next rig was not toy hauler - a V-nosed 31 ft bunk house at about 7000lb dry. My same 7.3 now got about 13mpg on flat ground at 65-70mph. So even though it was heaver the v-nose shape helped improve wind resistance considerably at crusing speeds. I sold the 7.3 and got a dodge 5.9 while owning the same v-nose camper - and mileage was slightly better yet. Now I could cruse the v-nose at about 70 and still get 13-14. But I wanted another toy hauler again. So now having some experence I knew that I wanted arodinamic shape (not many 5th wheels in that catagory) I also knew that weight is a factor so I wanted to stay under 7500 dry. I purchased teh ultru light "UL27" fifteh wheel from work and play. It has a rounded (horse trailer like) front end so it slips through the wind well and it was within my weight.
Now I am getting 15-16mpg at 65-70mph. How is that possible? Well as you pointed out hight is also a factor, this trailer is lower than my v-nose, and since it is 5th wheel it fits up closer to the cab than the bumper pulls did. I think this combanation allow the wind to go up over the trailer easy with out having to drop back down in bed infront of a trailer. This is the only explanation I can find but I am not complaining.
Just pointing out the considerations and concerns you brought up.
It tool me 3 trailers to figure all this out.
Low, arodynamic, light weight, all factors to consider!

To address your other questions, yes there are 5thwheels under 30 feet. And if you keep it under 10K lbs you can tow with SRW and regular 373 gears and still get decient mileage.

My rig:
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:30 AM   #12
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A lot of good points have been mentioned. One thing that I didn't see mentioned, was the age of your truck. Don't get me wrong, the 7.3 was/is a good motor, but today's diesels have about 2x the HP and another 3-4 hundred ft/lbs of torque over your specs. This goes a long way explaining why trucks with big 5ers are passing you with ease. They have virtually 2x the truck.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:19 PM   #13
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I had a 27 foot TT and pull at 55-60 mph with my 2008 f250 diesel 373 gears and got 10-11 mpg. I now have a 41 foot fiver and get 10-11 mpg going 55-60 mpg. go figure..... I allways keep my boost as low as I can when I take off from a dead stop. I allways keep my speed down due to all the things that can go wrong, ie tire, someone cut me off, etc. when the speed limit is 65 , I still do 60 frustrating people behind me, but its my family in there with me and my $ for fuel. I feel the speed limit is just that a "limit" the owners manuals all say to never go more than 55-60 mph. when I go camping I try very hard to NEVER be in a hurry.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:45 PM   #14
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I have 4.10's so boost comes on hard much above 55. If it stays below 5psi my mileage goes up a bit.

EndurRdr- That's the exact profile trailer I had in mind. Nice to see something like that is out there. I may have to start shopping.

About truck power, I foolishly didn't take a modern diesel's extra power into consideration. An extra 100hp would make a big difference, but I would have assumed the extra size of the trailer would level the playing field.

I wouldn't want to go over 65 anyway, I assumed trailer tires were limited to that and don't need the hassle of a blowout on the highway or worse. I have seen 2 guys who flew by me on the side of the road sometime later with a shredded tire. I felt justified those days!

I'd like to keep my truck. An extra mpg would take a long time to pay down a difference in purchase price. I got mine rust free with 117k on it for $8k. I couldn't find a Duramax truck with anything less than double the mileage for double the price. I know they're good trucks but couldn't afford something like that. Or I didn't want to afford something like that, I should say.

I think when this trip is over I'd like to keep my truck but think the trailer will most definitely go. This has been a learning experience and have a better idea what I'd like to go with next.

Oh, my truck does have a raised cap on it too. I'm sure that helps a bit. Would mounting a flip-up spoiler help?
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:17 PM   #15
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I think with the new nosecones and V fronts have made the spoilers obsolete. The truck cap definitely helps.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:26 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by wantahertzdonut View Post
I have 4.10's so boost comes on hard much above 55. If it stays below 5psi my mileage goes up a bit.

EndurRdr- That's the exact profile trailer I had in mind. Nice to see something like that is out there. I may have to start shopping.

About truck power, I foolishly didn't take a modern diesel's extra power into consideration. An extra 100hp would make a big difference, but I would have assumed the extra size of the trailer would level the playing field.

I wouldn't want to go over 65 anyway, I assumed trailer tires were limited to that and don't need the hassle of a blowout on the highway or worse. I have seen 2 guys who flew by me on the side of the road sometime later with a shredded tire. I felt justified those days!

I'd like to keep my truck. An extra mpg would take a long time to pay down a difference in purchase price. I got mine rust free with 117k on it for $8k. I couldn't find a Duramax truck with anything less than double the mileage for double the price. I know they're good trucks but couldn't afford something like that. Or I didn't want to afford something like that, I should say.

I think when this trip is over I'd like to keep my truck but think the trailer will most definitely go. This has been a learning experience and have a better idea what I'd like to go with next.

Oh, my truck does have a raised cap on it too. I'm sure that helps a bit. Would mounting a flip-up spoiler help?
I don't blame you for keeping it. I loved mine but I am on the road year round and efficiency(or lack of) was killing me. I still prefer the OBS Fords over any other. I miss her :-(
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:59 PM   #17
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Agreed - the newer aerodynamic trailers probably no gain from the spoilers. I tried to find a profile pic of my rig to show the hight relationship of trailer to truck roof. Mine is not way up there like other 5th wheels (where you can stand in the over hitch bedroom) so I think I am catching less wind to start with but I think the shape of the nose is the real reason my mileage is that good. In any case I am real happy with the mileage which is a good thing as we tend to take long trips hundreds of miles away from home.

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Old 12-17-2013, 10:15 PM   #18
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We went from a 21' TT to a 39' 5er with very little tow training needed. It's smoother on the bumps, tows easier, doesn't sway, backs easier.
On the open road, I maintain no more than 65 MPH, which gets me 11.2 MPG. I don't care how many pass me. There's no hurry.
IMHO, air bags are necessary for SRW in order to maintain a more stable, level 5er and to keep your headlights shining on the road.
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