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Old 08-12-2016, 06:35 PM   #1
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Fifth wheel hitch capacity

Hello everyone!

Forgive me for posting a question I'm sure had been asked time and time again, but I can't find the answer.

What percentage of a tow vehicles hitch capacity should be the maximum hitch weight of a fifth wheel? And, how does the way you load the fifth wheel affect hitch weight?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:51 PM   #2
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The hitch weight should be around 20% of the total weight. I have found for everything forward of the trailer axles it seems to just about split the weight between the truck and trailer depending on how close it is to the trailer axles. Hope that makes sense.


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Old 08-12-2016, 08:27 PM   #3
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Thank you! @Tfort 😊👍
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2015 Days Camped = 24 / 2014 Days Camped = 23
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:52 PM   #4
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If I understand your question correctly, you're referring to some arbitrary "rule of thumb" that one should not exceed a certain percentage of the tow vehicle's maximum capacity. I don't subscribe to that "rule" as I believe the maximums stated by the TV mfgrs. are the maximums, period.

For example, if you have a max tow rating of 15,000lbs you should never exceed 15,000lbs, and it's not necessary to use some arbitrary "rule" about using only 80% of your allowable weight. Likewise, you should never exceed a hitch weight that puts you over on your rear axle. Lastly, if you load stuff unequally, front or rear, it will affect your hitch weight in some manner, but you'd probably have to be an engineer to figure out the effect. In the alternative, load your items where you want them, and take a trip across the scales to determine your weights and move heavy things around if necessary.
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Old 08-12-2016, 10:50 PM   #5
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Yep, ultimately well have to go to the scales. We've decided to upgrade (bigger tow vehicle and bigger trailer) and we're trying to figure out what to get. Besides, doing math makes my head hurt 😣😁
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:42 AM   #6
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IMO on truck tow rating. The manufacturer sets the tow rating with a buffer. They give a safe tow rating to protect from lawsuits. So if they say it will tow 15k that's what it will do. They are not going to set it up so that if you go over by a a few pounds you are now in an unsafe situation. Mine is at the max and it tows like a dream. Bottom line, try to stay within the recommended numbers and most of all, stay in your comfort zone. If you are uncomfortable with it, make some adjustments.


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Old 08-13-2016, 09:51 AM   #7
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I appreciate that perspective. We found a combo we like very (very) much and everything is within specs for a good match. The pin weight of the trailer is just under 20% of the tow vehicles hitch capacity and the trailers dry weight is about 1500 lbs under the trucks max tow weight, which is plenty for us for our typical vacay trips.

The trailer can carry more cargo than that but we would make sure to not exceed the trucks limits when towing. There's a possibility that we will have to spend more than a month at a time in the trailer (non vacay trips) and I appreciate the trailer having more cargo capacity for those times where I would follow in a separate vehicle with other cargo, if needed, to ensure we don't exceed weight limits and to give me my own set of wheels while we're at our home away from home.

Could we buy a bigger truck to go well outside the range of ability. Yes, but we don't want a diesel or a dually for our own reasons and both trailer and truck combo keeps us within our budget too.

There is so much to consider when making these decisions and I think my dear husband will feel better once he knows what it feels like to drive this new combo, the unknown can be unnerving 😊

Thanks again!
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2016 Days Camped = 5; Reserved = 14 so far
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Old 08-13-2016, 01:27 PM   #8
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If you haven't picked a hitch yet, suggest you look at the Andersen Ultimate Aluminum fifth wheel hitch and also consider buying your upgraded truck to have an in-bed goose ball. The Andersen weighs 32 pounds and is easy for a single person to put in and take out of the bed. Check out some of the many youtube videos.

Since you are not considering a diesel or dually, I'm kinda guessing your fifth wheel trailer will be on the lighter side and the Andersen is a good match in that arena.
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Old 08-13-2016, 01:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbillsmith View Post
If you haven't picked a hitch yet, suggest you look at the Andersen Ultimate Aluminum fifth wheel hitch and also consider buying your upgraded truck to have an in-bed goose ball. The Andersen weighs 32 pounds and is easy for a single person to put in and take out of the bed. Check out some of the many youtube videos.

Since you are not considering a diesel or dually, I'm kinda guessing your fifth wheel trailer will be on the lighter side and the Andersen is a good match in that arena.
Would this work with a 6.5 short bed? Also, the fifth wheel we're interested in is an older model not designed for short beds so we will definitely need a slider hitch of some type. I do like the idea of a hitch that is easy to put in and out of the bed
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Michelle Evans
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2011 Carriage Cabo 341
2014 Wildwood 231RBXL - Traded Her In
2016 Days Camped = 5; Reserved = 14 so far
2015 Days Camped = 24 / 2014 Days Camped = 23
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Old 08-13-2016, 01:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs Evans View Post
Would this work with a 6.5 short bed? Also, the fifth wheel we're interested in is an older model not designed for short beds so we will definitely need a slider hitch of some type. I do like the idea of a hitch that is easy to put in and out of the bed
My truck is a double cab with a 6.6' bed and my trailer has a sculpted nose that does help with clearance. Without seeing your trailer's nose I can't really comment on the need for slider but I can say that with the Andersen you can have up to 12 inches of adjustment. If you install the kingpin adapter block with the ballmount hole in front, you get 8" additional clearance for the cab vs. installing the ballmount hole behind the kingpin which is 8" less. Either position is approved by Andersen. Then you can increase the clearance another 4" by changing the truck's inbed ball to a Reese 4" offset ball and that gives you another 4" clearance.

In my case, I have the combination of the Andersen ball mount behind the kingpin (8" closer to the cab) and I have the Reese offset ball (4" further away from the cab). The net is I tow with my nose 4" (-8"+4") closer to the cab. No slider ever needed.
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2016 Wildcat 295RSX - 2015 GMC 2500HD DblCab Duramax/Allison 4x4 Z71 6.6' Bed
Maxxis 16" E; Ride Rite AirBags w/AirLift 1 wireless compr; Adv.Folding 4 Cover
Andersen Ultimate II Aluminum 5erhitch on Reese Flipball w/Curt 4" offset ball
LCI Ground Control 3.0 4pt + 2pt Elec.Rear stabilizers; 3 Slidecovers; 10ft. Portabote
6000# Dexters; mor/Ryde CRE3000 w/HD Wetbolts; King Dish Tailgater; 5hp Outboard
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