Originally Posted by wantahertzdonut
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.