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Old 04-27-2010, 11:17 AM   #1
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Define 5th Wheel Trailer Length

OK what am I missing? Looking at the State Towing Laws, I've noticed that many states show a 40' maximum length for trailers but an overall length of anywhere from 60 to 70 feet. Does the overall length rule when you have a fifth wheel? (A 40' 5'er plus a crew cab p/u is only in the neighborhood of 58' according to my quick calculations)


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Old 04-27-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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The overall length rule should apply to length of your combined TV and TT when connected as towing down the road.

The 40' maximum length on a 5th wheel should be the length of the floor, not the overshot, however this may be up for discussion.

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Old 04-27-2010, 01:42 PM   #3
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As for the trailer length, my 5th wheels is listed as 35feet from the mfg. Now the total footage is way different. The mfg does not include the front or rear cap in the total length. They do not include the lenght of the king pin nor the ladder in the back. So when I add all that up I am way over the 35 ft. For the total lenght TV and 5th wheel, once you hook up measure the distance from the front bumber of the tv to rear of the 5th wheel.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:00 PM   #4
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I think many of the newer 5th wheels (and TT's) are measuring from the front of the kingpin (or tongue) to the rear of the bumper, if equipped. However, as cardinal4fun noted, that is not set in stone, and the only way to know for sure is to measure yourself. I don't believe there is a standard for that.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:21 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. The question came up while we were perusing Trailer Life's big directory last night looking at length restrictions in campgrounds. I decided to read the material in the front of the book explaining the abreviations, etc when I came across this chart showing the towing laws in all of the states. I was shocked to see that many states had a maximum trailer length of 40' which is a foot or so shorter than the length of the trailer that we are considering (ouch!). I wondered if a fifth wheel trailer was measured differently since part of it overlapped the tow vehicle.

After I posted this question, I called several state DOT's. The only definitive answer I got was from Florida. They said that as long as I did not exceed the maximum combined length I would be OK. Theirs is 65' so we come in about 7 feet shy of that. Seems strange that almost all of the major manufacturers make trailers that are longer than "legal". However, the guy I talked with from Florida said as long as it wasn't a commercial vehicle, we didn't have to worry. Some states such as Georgia and Colorado do not state a maximum trailer length; only a maximum combined length. Oh well, I guess we'll see...

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TV: '07 GMC 3500 D/A DRW
5'er: Sierra 35LOFT "Tree House"
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:50 PM   #6
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I think that the length Law is for Commercial vehicle but if you was over on your weight and unsafe they probably would Frown.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:06 PM   #7
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I have a 2010 8285WS (Rockwood). Officially it is 28.5 feet long. As measured from the front edge of the king pin to the back edge of the spare tire it is 33 feet. Go figure. PS: I am 50 feet from the nose of my 2009 GMC Sierra Crew CAB, short bed to the back of my 5er spare tire.

When making reservatins at a CG I tell them I my 5er is 33 feet and I total 50, especially for an overnight pull thru.
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by OldSoldier View Post
I have a 2010 8285WS (Rockwood). Officially it is 28.5 feet long. As measured from the front edge of the king pin to the back edge of the spare tire it is 33 feet. Go figure. PS: I am 50 feet from the nose of my 2009 GMC Sierra Crew CAB, short bed to the back of my 5er spare tire.

When making reservatins at a CG I tell them I my 5er is 33 feet and I total 50, especially for an overnight pull thru.
Same here. I tell them I'm 31'.
They appreciate that and I like that I get a bigger spot (usually a pull through)

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Old 08-01-2010, 11:00 AM   #9
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I know this thread is getting kind of old but I have always wondered about this myself as you can see in my signiture.

Our 28' Sierra is 31 feet from the back wall to the front cap not counting the pinbox or rear bumper.

One way it was explained to me was usuable floor space since we have a rear kitchen. That doesn't make any sense either as Sierra has this same trailer in a rear living room and it is still listed as a 28 footer.

I just know the thing is freaking huge for a 28' fiver.
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Old 08-01-2010, 01:36 PM   #10
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I just take it as approximate lengths and go from there. No big deal.

This is where I found the true length of my rig.

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