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Old 10-11-2011, 07:39 PM   #1
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Looking to purchase a 5th wheel need some advice

Have been camping for many years and have owned several models of TT. Looking to move now to a fifth wheel and have lots of questions??? We are looking at a 2012 Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite 8281WS. 2012 Model 8281SS is basically the same 5'er except the new model features a third slide out in bedroom (wardrobe). This we know will increase the weight in the bed but not sure how much since specs are not available for this model yet. We are planning to pull with a 2007 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Gas engine with 2 1/2" receiver and 6 and 1/2 foot bed. I am estimating the GVWR to be approximately 9600 lbs and was wondering if any of you could give me your thoughts on whether this truck would be adequate to pull a 5'er of this weight. The length of the model is approximate length of 31' 2". I was also thinking of putting toppers on the slides and upgrading the AC to 15K. Are these a good ideas? Any suggestions/thoughts etc on the Rockwood Signature models etc would be greatly appreciated!! Look forward to hearing from you knowledgeable owners out there.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:47 PM   #2
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The wardrobe slide makes the camper a bit heavier on the hitch, but should be no problem whatsoever for your 3/4 ton. I assume you have the 'big' gas engine? Our F250 has absolutely no issues pulling ours.
The slide toppers are very nice to have, and cost little when ordered on the camper. The big air conditioner is also a good choice.
But check out the atrium windows in the superslide, as it is amazing how much it lights up the interior and makes the camper feel so much larger.
I don't think you would be disappointed with that camper!
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:15 PM   #3
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There must be nearly a thousand posts asking this exact question. The answer depends on two things. One, the scaled ready to camp weight of your truck plus 350 pounds for a slider hitch if you do not already have one installed. And two, the trucks GVWR. Subtract one from two and you will have your real world ready to camp cargo carrying capacity. Generally speaking a fifth wheel will have approx 20% of it's ready to camp weight as pin weight you can then calculate how much fifth wheel you can generally get and not feel overwhelmed. Lacking a ready to camp weight of the proposed fiver use the fivers GVWR and you should be pretty safe in determining whether your truck will be sufficient or not.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:04 PM   #4
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From the original poster, "Gas engine with 2 1/2" receiver and 6 and 1/2 foot bed". The hitch you have is useless to a 5th wheel, you'll need a 5th wheel hitch. Also need to look at slider hitches with that short bed, if you plan on making many tight turns.
As for the weight, read post #3.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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Well donn, that is about the most useless reply I have seen yet. Saying that "a fifth wheel will have approx 20% of it's ready to camp weight as pin weight" is worthless, as the pin weights vary greatly. A rear-kitchen model has far less weight on the pin than ones with the kitchen mounted over the axles.
Besides, the guy has 3/4 ton truck, so the weight isn't the issue. Heck, others pull these same fifth wheels with 1/2 tons, even though I wouldn't recommend that. But I would hope he has the big gas engine, as the smaller one would definitely struggle a bit.
I am not sure of the horsepower ratings of Chevy motors, but guys with hemis and the Toyota guys claim to be happy, so that might be used as a guideline, as a minimum baseline.
As for windrider's mention of a slider hitch, that may not be necessary as the pin box on these campers extends out in front of the camper's nose. I doubt if one would ever get the unit jackknifed that far for it to become an issue.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:30 AM   #6
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Experienced 5er owners here could give you better guidance if you include the specs on your TV (GCVW) and pin capacity. Looking at the weights on the 5ers I would not think you will have any problem.

As far as upgrades, I have ordered my TT w/ the 15K a/c and the toppers. I also suggest the Thermopane windows. Since summer camping may mean 100+ degree days I was concerned with keeping the unit cool. I felt these upgrades were reasonably priced and important for the type camping we might encounter.

FR has also added a new Diamond Pkg that includes a taupe color finish, solid surface counters, upgraded hide-a-bed, shielded awning covers, slam latches on most ext storage doors and other upgrades. Be sure your dealer has all the new updates just released at the dealer expo so you can make informed decisions.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:22 AM   #7
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Thank you for the quick responses. I have the 6.0L gasoline engine with a 3.73 gear ratio. The only reason I mentioned the hitch size is I thought it indicates a heavier duty trailering package that is on the truck. It also has the computer integrated braking system installed. I hope the true specifications for specific 5'er I am looking at will be out soon to fill in a lot of the blanks still out there. Any more suggestions or recommendations on anything trailering wise will be greatly appreciated. Is the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite series a good series to look at? Anyone else recommend other 5'ers and why? Thanks for your suggestions...keep them coming
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:48 AM   #8
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The 2500hd 6.0 should not have a 3.73.
I believe they all came with 4.11
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:10 AM   #9
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I have a 2007 2500HD 6.0 with 3:73 locking diff. Pulls my 2012 Flagstaff 8528RKWS fifth wheel with no problem.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:46 AM   #10
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My 2007, Chevy 2500HD has the 6.0L, 4/w drive & 3.73 gears, thanks for all the help, please keep it coming.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:52 AM   #11
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I would second Crocus suggestion on the 15 k AC, Slideout toppers, atrium windows and I would add the Reese revolution king pin. This negates any requirement for a sliding hitch in a short bed. I own a Flagstaff 8528CKWS and love the layout. Very spacious LR. Also comes with wardrobe slide and huge basement storage. The rear bumpers are weak, so don't plan on carrying any bikes attached to the rear bumper. I would even keep an eye on it with the spare tire attached. As far as you truck is concerned, your laughing. Good luck.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:29 AM   #12
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I pull a 32 bhok-6 sabre with almost the same specs as what your looking at with my 2005 2500hd 6.0
But I have 4.11 gears.

Pulls it fine and handles fine.
what you have to look at is the only way to get a higher tow capacity is with a diesel or a 8.1 liter with an allison in a 3/4 ton.
but that's the only difference. Suspension is the same.
Its the matter of taking it easy on the 6.0 with the 4l80e trans
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:45 AM   #13
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I would also recommend the 15K AC upgrade. These units are not well insulated. We upgraded to the 15K AC on our 8281SS when we purchased it and am glad we did. If it is in the sun, once the temperature is above about 95 degrees, even with the 15K, the AC will be running continuously. It will keep it comfortable inside, but I don't think the 13.5K could keep up with the need.

Just my experience. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:17 AM   #14
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Crocus in my manual it states that for optimum towing king pin weight should be 20% of trailer weight up to 3000 lbs
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkcloud View Post
Is the Rockwood Signature Ultra Lite series a good series to look at? Anyone else recommend other 5'ers and why? Thanks for your suggestions...keep them coming
Rockwood owners on this forum have lots of good things to say on the line.

What is your criteria? Price range? Weight Limits? Seeing the floorplan you are looking at one would guess a bunkhouse w/ the extra toilet is a buying criteria. You may want to track down a Crusader 355BHQ, to walk thru but not sure if it pushes the weight limits of your TV. Any RV shows in your area to walk thru lots of models?

Prime Time Manufacturing, Manufacturers of travel trailers and fifth wheels
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:17 PM   #16
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Just so all of you know I looked up a 1 ton dually with a 6.0 liter and it has the same exact tow rating as my 2500hd 6.0 liter.

so its not that the 2500 hd wont handle it in terms of handling its limited solely on engine capacity and transmission .

In my trucks case with my unit I am slightly over tow capacity ONLY being limited to my engine size and transmission . not suspension or brakes .

My camping trips are limited to 200 miles or less round trip since I can drive less than an hour to get to 20 + cg's . And I am fine with that . The person that should be concerned is the one towing what i tow weight wise for extreme distances at 65 miles an hour and steep grades and traveling thousands of miles at a time .
I live in a very mild terrain so others may not be able to do what I am doing . Re mountain hills
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:10 PM   #17
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We have lived 181 days in our 8280ws we store it for the winter in 2 days time. We love it and have no complaints. The only mods I did was to install extra bolts in the suspension mounting flanges, there are threads on here to explain why and how. Also to open up and seal correctly the airconditioning passages, again threads on this.

Insist/negotiate D or E rated tires when you place your order!

We didn't bother with slide toppers someone said they flap when its windy and keep you awake at night and just one more thing to go wrong. I just check to make sure there are no broken branches lying on there before closing, 30 campsites later no problem.

As for your truck I spent months doing all the calculations and any three quarter ton has bed capacity IMO not sure about gas engines though as I was always going to go diesel, I went 1 ton in the end as I got a great deal from Northland Dodge BC (plug for them).

I have a short bed and bought a Reese Sidewinder, which I have never used thanks to RV Wholesaler's incompetence, so its for sale $600, I have a slider which gets used occasionally in tight places/
Bang for buck you cannot go wrong with your choice!
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:44 PM   #18
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Good Choice with 8281WS

I can't say for sure since our new 8281WS is currently being built with a roll off date of 2/28/12, but I did some extensive research and the 8281WS (or SS) was the best package I could find for the money. Originally, I was planning to TRY tow it with my 2008 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew (5.3L 3.73 gears), but decided to upgrade to a diesel before even installing my fifth wheel hitch.

I agree with others that the following options are a must-have:
Slide Toppers
Thermopane Windows
Ceiling Fan
15k A/C
U-Shaped Dinette
Diamond Package

Like I said, I can't say for sure since this is our virst RV and FW, but I'm fairly certain that we'll enjoy years of RV'ing with our young kids. I plan to have a receiver hitch installed on the back of the FW to tow our boat (hence the decision on the diesel) which weighs 3,200 lb. on the road.

Keep in mind that the 8281's come standard now with the Sidewinder king pin, so you won't need any special fifth wheel hitch to accomodate. I talked to the dealer today to ask if I could forego the Sidewinder since I'll have an 8' bed in the diesel and he told me that it can be used as a standard (non-Sidewinder) hitch with the normal pivot point right over the hitch instead of back towards the RV.

I am glad that we waited for the new 2012 models since they now offer the Diamond Package. I really like the exterior color, Corian countertops, upgraded aird bed, and frameless windows. I also ordered the Thermopane windows and I was told that they will be frameless like the standard windows (I have my fingers crossed that this is actually the case!!).

Does anyone have an hands-on experience with the Diamond Package yet? I would be interested in hearing your feedback if you do.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:08 AM   #19
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We bought our first 5er and our 1st TT last march,we bought the Prine Time Crusader 260RLD. We use our mother in laws chevy diesel 1 ton dually to pull it with. the dealer told me my little 1/2 ton would pull it but I don't think it would pull it very far. 3/4 ton trucks do better with the 5ers than the 1/2 ton trucks do so I don't see any problems with your tow vehicle. When you get up in the higher mountains you will see the little 1/2 tons on the side of the road overheating. The 1 ton gets between 9-13 MPG depending on who is driving it. my wife sets the cruise and lets it go. I don't use the cruise control and let it make it's own power. Bottom line is the truck will be fine just thirsty. And you will enjoy the 5er.....It just follows you down the road......Happy Camping!
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:26 AM   #20
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ehannesson, you might want to think twice about pulling that heavy of a boat behind your fifth, as the frames on these lightweight campers are, well, LIGHT! There is a very good chance you might bend the camper frame, and you most definitely will void the warranty.
I am considering putting a hitch on the back of mine, but only to pull a small quad trailer with maybe a 200-pound hitch weight, and only if I beef up the camper frame first. The I-beams on the camper are frighteningly thin.
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