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Old 12-14-2013, 03:55 PM   #1
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A Few General 5th Wheel Questions

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?

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Old 12-14-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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The biggest plus I can think of with a fiver is the handling. Since it hitches and rotates over your rear axle, and not 3 feet in back of it, sway is almost eliminated and turning is easier. The drawback however is since there is living space up there, you are punching a bigger hole the air so your fuel economy may suffer a bit although I don't notice it that much. Not sure on what is out there that's under 30', but since back of the rig sits 4-5 feet closer than a trailer you may feel comfortable going up to 32' or more. As far as speed goes, the handling will help reduce the white knuckles a bit, but fuel economy will only get better with a lighter rig. Just don't make it so light that you can't carry your motorcycles.

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Old 12-14-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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Forest River RV Wildcat extraLite Toy Hauler Fifth Wheels | Reviews, Floorplans, Specs, Pictures and Price Quotes
2016 F350 6.7L LB CC Reese 28K 2014 Chaparral Lite 266sab
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." 2014 19 days camping 2015 17 days camping201620 days camping
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:49 PM   #4
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Tow ratings have risen over the recent years, and RV designs have also changed and become quite a bit more light weight in stature. Which allows for wider choices in both tow vehicle and RV choices to match up.

However, just because you see a 3/4 ton truck pulling a 40' long triple axle 5th wheels down the road doesn't mean that the weight limits have not been pushed past the tow vehicles limits. Far too many people will tow well above the limits of their vehicles capabilities simply because a sales person says it could be done.

Another point to keep in mind is that most trailer specific tires are rated to be towed at speeds no greater than 65mph, so again just because you see it doesn't mean it is right.

As for handling, I agree that a 5th wheel does have the benefit of towing better, largely die to the hitch location over the rear axle rather than behind the bumper. This is also why 5th wheels will almost always have a greater carrying capacity for the owners over abundance of cra_.....stuff that gets hauled along camping. 5th wheels basements can hold a lot of stuff or a bunch of stuff and a generator.

However, a 5th wheels also sits at a higher profile thus needed to buffer more wind as it gets pulled down the road.

So in the end, both a travel trailer and 5th wheel have their own pluses and minuses when compared.

Good luck with your choice. And as far as going slower down the road, well that ain't all bad as long as your not obstructing traffic or creating a dangerous situation for others.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:55 PM   #5
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One question was weight. Yes, I was told the 5er is always heavier for the same size. I assume this is correct.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #6
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Since I just purchased my first 5th wheel I might could shed some light on the situation. After pulling a 38' TT(dry weight 8k) for 9yrs. I had a 96 F350 7.3L the first thing I did was upgrade my TV to a 3/4 D-Max(couldn't risk driving a 6.0 Ford) and love the awesome power and fuel economy(DD) from this truck. It pulled great but still had the sway/white knuckle effect but my main worry was finding huge truck stops for fuel. But after picking up this 5th wheel there is no way I would go back!!! Pulls awesome, hardly any sway, backing in/parking is a breeze, just set the cruise and relax. I haven't noticed any loss in performance when towing(11k dry weight). As far as fuel economy I don't worry about it but a newer TV will help your mpg a ton.

And any aerodynamic TT/5'ver will help. My 01 TT was flat with a slight slope so I know it was an anchor lol.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by wantahertzdonut View Post

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.

unless you are their trucks you have no idea how much pedal they are pushing to pass you.. a 97 7.3 does not have a ton of power compaired to a modern diesel, it did ok, but by todays standards a echo boost has more power.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:37 AM   #8
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Just my 2 cents I have had 2 Puma fivers a 26 ft & now a 36 ft ......Would rather pull the 36 ft fiver than my 22 ft box cargo trailer..................

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Old 12-16-2013, 10:01 AM   #9
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X2 what everyone else said with this addendum:

Yes you can get a ultralightweight 5er toy hauler that will probably meet your needs, and there is even a chance that you can tow it with a 1/2 ton P/U however...

The 1/2 Ton has to be correctly configured - any old 1/2T off the lot will not do the job!

We ordered ours custom from the factory with every heavy duty option available and a electronic 3.73 axle - Ford claims we can tow 11,300.

Our 5er + cargo tips scales at ~9,300 and we are very comfortable towing this up and down hills. Ford's electronic integrated trailer brake package is a pleasure to use - very smooth stops and serious breaking capability when emergencies dictate.

All this said, do NOT expect hybrid-like gas milage! Yes we can zoom down the road at 70+ MPH (keep in mind stock trailer tires are usually max rated @ 65MPH) But I can tell you gas economy will suffer. Here is data from my own towing experience:

65-70MPH - 8.9MPG (Truck Computer)
60-65MPH - 11.5MPG
55-60MPH - 13.6MPG

and, literally, YMMV

Even without the 5er behind us, we rarely see better than 19MPG - all that heavy duty equipment and lower axle cut into gas milage.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:58 PM   #10
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I went from a 32' double slide TT that weighed 8800 pounds to a 35' Salem 32srvp toy hauler Fw that weighs 11,000 loaded with toys. Pulled it with f250 gas v10 with no problem couldn't believe how much it towed better then TT could only drive 5-6 hours pulling TT drove almost 10 straight a few times with Fw. Looks like they may not make the 32srv or 32srvp anymore but was a GREAT size and weight for lighter 3/4 ton trucks.

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