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Old 01-13-2013, 07:34 PM   #1
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Towing capacity

I find this interesting. And am just curious to why...I see some manufactures list the maximum towing capacities for their trucks, and then list a maximum fifth wheel capacity, and that number is higher. So my question is why? Does some of the pin weight count as payload, and let you tow more? Just curious , since I'm looking at a fifth wheel, I really don't want to buy a new truck, and all the fifth wheels I am looking at are all about 1400lbs over my trucks maximum capacity, and that is with the fully loaded weight of he fifth wheel. Dry weight is all under what I can pull...

Just a curiosity I guess, as I was looking at weighs at the show yesterday..
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:53 PM   #2
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To my knowledge, only Ford seems to rate conventional and fifth wheel towing separately...don't know why.

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Old 01-13-2013, 08:57 PM   #3
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Me neither. The only thing I can think of is it has something to do with the pin weight being counted as payload perhaps? But that should still factor in to the GCWR..
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:15 PM   #4
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Try this link.

Trailer Towing Guides | Trailer Life Magazine
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:24 PM   #5
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Frame mount and control of trailers is completely different with each settup. Loads handle competely different from either point too- pysics basicaly. Gm has had different hitch ratings for years too. I've got a chevy brocure from '04. With the tow ratings for each.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:28 PM   #6
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Oh and the manuf. has to think how the loads handle, for braking and in event of a collision. That is where the real liability is.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:43 PM   #7
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You posted earlier about your truck's towing capacity, right? Have you inquired about the cost to change the ratio from 3.73 to 4.10 as that would increase your capacity by 2000 lbs. It'll be expensive but much cheaper than swapping trucks.

What do you think the weight of the loaded 5W would be?

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Old 01-13-2013, 10:37 PM   #8
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wouldnt the computer need to be reflashed when the rear gear ratio changes? still cheaper than a new truck, but just something else to pile the expense on.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by kozzy View Post
I find this interesting. And am just curious to why...I see some manufactures list the maximum towing capacities for their trucks, and then list a maximum fifth wheel capacity, and that number is higher. So my question is why? Does some of the pin weight count as payload, and let you tow more? Just curious , since I'm looking at a fifth wheel, I really don't want to buy a new truck, and all the fifth wheels I am looking at are all about 1400lbs over my trucks maximum capacity, and that is with the fully loaded weight of he fifth wheel. Dry weight is all under what I can pull...

Just a curiosity I guess, as I was looking at weighs at the show yesterday..
Good question...I don't have the answer to that one but do know my Chevy list two numbers also.
IMO, find out your GCWR and this number will dictate what size 5'ver you can handle. Make sure you have true weight numbers on your truck "fully" loaded with gear & people plus do the same weight of a potential fifth wheel fully loaded and add those two numbers and compare to your GCWR.



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Old 01-14-2013, 08:57 AM   #10
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I think there's more to it than just GCVW. There are limits on the pin weights that are important too. Refer especially to the foot notes on page 10 of this Trailering Guide:
http://www.chevrolet.com/content/dam...ring_Guide.pdf
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:58 AM   #11
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Just remember manuf. Are not thinking strictly about towing rvs. Most people that tow will never tow an rv. And on these trailers you can position your load so your truck is under payload. Like hauling a tractor on a 30' trailer, you can park it on the very front, where your trucks ft wheels are almost off the ground, or you can move it back ovet the trailer axles and the truck is level.
I have been over max for trailers a lot of times and not once been over payload. There are a lot more goosenecks used everyday than there are rvs.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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Me neither. The only thing I can think of is it has something to do with the pin weight being counted as payload perhaps? But that should still factor in to the GCWR..
Pin weight is ALWAYS payload.

Maximum trailer weight varies by manufacturer, engine options, suspension options, rear axle ratio options, wheel and tire options, and what ELSE you put in the truck besides a 150 pound driver (all of which counts against maximum payload). This pillar payload is based on your truck AS IT LEFT THE FACTORY. Dealer and your installed options (like a 5th wheel hitch, those cool wheels and tires you had them put on, and the step bars) are subtracted for your available payload. Anything you load to go camping gets subtracted too. (like the family, spare gas, etc).

You will find out quickly that truck payload will be the primary limiting factor determine the maximum weight of trailer you can tow, and not tow rating.

Since you are talking about a 5th wheel trailer, for safe handling the pin weight MUST fall between 15 and 25% of the total camper weight with the optimum pin load being 20%. 20% gives the best handling and even tire wear.

Heavier pin weights make the camper "tail light" while making the truck more stable it increases that jackknife risk in a hard stop. Lighter than 20% pin weights make the truck harder to steer and you need to be on the wheel all the time and the constant "sawing" back and forth results in higher front tire wear.

If the truck you are looking at has an available payload (found on newer truck door pillars) of say 2000 pounds. It means that with a 150 pound driver, a 150 pound 5th wheel hitch, a full tank of gas AND NOTHING ELSE, you can tow a maximum trailer weight of (using the minimum loaded pin weight of 15%) 1850 / 0.15 = 12,3333 pounds.

Using the optimally balance camper load of 20%, the same truck can tow a maximum weight 5th wheel camper of 1850 / 0.20 = 9,250 pounds.

Why is this lower than the brochure? It is because tow RATING is ONLY based on engine, drive train and rear end ratio of the truck design and NOT your truck.

To know what you can safely tow, take your truck full of gas and your hitch of choice (or a sand bag of the same weight), your family and whatever junk you normally have in the truck to a CAT scale (or similar) and get a REAL as camped weight of your truck. Subtract that number from your trucks maximum gross weight (off the door pillar) and divide that ACTUAL available payload by 0.20 to get the maximum camper you should be shopping for.

If that is too small a camper class, you can work down in pin load (but NEVER below the dry pin weight and NEVER below 15%) to see what characteristics of handling you are willing to accept with a heavier camper. If you do this plan on weighting your camper every trip for the first few outings to get a feel for how you need to load it.

Here are some weight tags for my 2008 2500HD GMC. It has a 5th wheel max tow rating of 15,400 pounds and a gross combined weight of 23,000 pounds for my year. Yet when I put it on a scale, at a 16.5% pin load I max out my truck's payload with a 9,000 pound camper.

As you can see from my yellow tag, my camper's EMPTY weight UVW as shipped from the factory is 7,218 pounds. Who would have thought.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:35 PM   #13
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Yeah. All this is good info, and I understand all of it. The only reason I bring it up is my 3/4 dodge diesel has a max tow rating of 12,650 lbs...but I see people with my same truck towing 5th wheels that are much larger, and I know some of them have the 3.73 rear end like mine.
I know if I up my rear end to 4.10 my max will be 14,000. I opted for better gas mileage since both my boat and current TT weight 10k give or take.

Just seeing other people do it makes me wonder. The 5th wheels I have been looking at range from 13,000 to 14,000 fully loaded
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:00 PM   #14
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Like my mom used to say, "If you saw your friends jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?" But what did she know.... I was 18!
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:02 PM   #15
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Trust me I hear ya. Just makes me wonder if you can tow a heavier 5th wheel because of design
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:04 PM   #16
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Trust me I hear ya. Just makes me wonder if you can tow a heavier 5th wheel because of design
No, because some have a higher risk tolerance than others.

Would you jump off a cliff wearing a wing suit?
Jump out of a helicopter on a pair of skis and ski a glacier?

Yea, me either...
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:18 PM   #17
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Like my mom used to say, "If you saw your friends jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?" But what did she know.... I was 18!
I like that! The older I get the dumber I get, either thay or maybe my perspective is changing- no, I have an almost 12year old daughter- so I'm actually just stupid now
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:36 PM   #18
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Sounds like a WHITE KNUCKLE NIGHTMARE brewing to me. You were exactly correct MOM. I'm not going to jump, I think I'll take the long way around.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:53 PM   #19
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I'm absolutely gob-smacked by the wimpy towing limits imposed in US-market vehicles. In Eurpoe, my Kia Sedona minivan is rated to tow 3000 Kg (6600 pounds), with the same 3.5L V-6 motor and 5-speed automatic transmission.

In the US, it's limited to 3000 pounds. Why is this? Do the manufacturers think US drivers are so stupid/incompetent (compared to Europeans) or the liability laws so punitive in the event of an accident, that they deliberatly downgrade the capability?

With an F350 4x4, the Europeans would let you tow the Titanic.

Many years ago (late 1950s), I met a young couple at a CG near Southampton, England who had towed a 36' park model trailer from Northern Scotland - maybe 650 miles. It was their full-time home and he'd been laid off. He landed a new job in Southampton, so they towed the trailer - behind a 900cc, 4-speed, L-head Morris Minor, which maybe weighed 1300 pounds and got maybe 35 horsepower on a good day. I'm not sure what the trailer weighed, but it must have been at least 4x that of the car. They had two kids with them and they made it.

The "weight police" in this country would have had a corporate heart attack!

I'm certainly not advocating that extreme level of towing, but surely, the US limitations should be looked at more critically. People in Europe regularly tow 3250-pound trailers behind cars like the Ford Focus and the 4.0L Range Rover is rated to tow 8000 pounds. They also have speed limits up in the 80 mph range.

Who should we call to get the US standards reviewed so that, maybe, we can get more realistic limits for family cars to tow TTS?
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:55 PM   #20
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Probably don't have as many blood thirsty lawyer over there.
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