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Author Topic: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel  (Read 3336 times)

rcwitt

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1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« on: March 19, 2018, 05:33:13 PM »
Hi all, We are new to this forum because we decided it's time to hit the road so the research begins.
I am hoping to get some help on 1/2 ton towable 5th wheels.We are looking at a 2009 Dutchman 245 GVWR 8800#.
The trailer salesperson says no problem towing it with a 1/2 ton truck. Doing some reading I am finding that the pin weight ( using 22% of 8800 )
is over 1900 lbs. To me that seems to be maxing out a 1/2 capacity.
Can anyone enlighten me as to this setup really working or does it just work on paper ?
I know some improvements can be done to trucks such as air bags and post extenders for the overloads etc. But what I don't know is
are you killing the trucks engine , tranny and brakes when your puling grades or descending a 2 1/2 % , Have people out there done it this way
and were you happy with the setup ? What sort of issues did you have if any ?
I will need to buy a truck to haul it with so some insight as to what option packages work better or worse would be helpful.
Thanks in advance and we look forward to joining the community. We've run into folks around Maine that have been doing the circuit
for a while and you all make life look good,

SeilerBird

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 05:42:21 PM »
You can't reliably tow a fiver with a 1/2 ton, and not even with most 3/4 ton trucks. You need a one ton. The salesmen would lie to their own mother to sell her an RV. Don't believe anything they tell you.
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Larry N.

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 06:05:52 PM »
Tom's right -- a half ton won't safely do the job, and it would wear out waaaaaayyy early if you were to tow that with it for very long. When you consider that the pin weight alone is almost a ton, and then you have people and goodies in the truck, in addition to the pin weight -- since a half ton is 1,000 lbs. the math is pretty clear.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 07:27:59 PM »
Do your own arithmetic and don't trust the sales guy.

First of all, there no single answer for "a half ton truck". Regardless of the truck manufacturer, each configuration of their half-ton class of truck will have a different tow rating and different payload. Even installed options like the trim level have an effect, so you have to talk about a specific half ton truck year, model & configuration.   Second, the load you place in the truck, passengers and gear & trailer hitch, also play a role by reducing the payload (cargo capacity). Once you have that figured, use the trailer GVWR as the probable towed weight and 20% of the GVWR as the probably pin weight the truck must carry.  If those fit within the particular truck's capability, you should be OK. If not, it doesn't make any difference whether the RV manufacturer or the sales guy says it is "half ton towable".  Cause it ain't.

Only a few half ton truck configurations have the capacity to tow even the smallest 5W, mostly because they lack cargo capacity (payload) for the pon weight + passengers & gear.   And most fifth wheel trailers labeled as half ton towable aren't towable by most half ton trucks, though I'm sure they can find one truck somewhere that passes muster.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 07:31:09 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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scottydl

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 09:26:11 PM »
The trailer salesperson says...

And that's where you should stop believing anything that comes next! :P  Okay I'm exaggerating, but RV salespeople have an incredible record of giving poor/uninformed advice, especially when it comes to towing.  If it will make the sale, they'll say "sure you can!"  They are salespeople first, and... I would say RV owners second, but usually they aren't RV owners at all.  So keep that in mind.

You're doing the right thing by seeking advice now, before buying or committing to buy.  Take heed of all the advice above.  You might be able to tow some of the smallest 5W's available, but that might not fit your needs.
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kdbgoat

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 05:51:27 AM »
Have the salesman sign a liability voucher.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
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Oldgator73

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2018, 06:24:42 AM »
Way back in 1998 when we purchased our 5th wheel we were driving a new 1 ton, crew cab Chevy diesel. RV salesman said we would have to sign a waiver if we purchased our desired 5th wheel and intended to pull it with that truck. Ended up trading that truck for a Dodge 3/4 ton, single cab, 2wd, Cummins diesel, Dana 80 rear, 5 speed manual.  Lost about $5,000 on that mistake. Pulled the RV cross country and N-S several times with minimal problems.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2018, 08:37:09 AM »
Quote
Lost about $5,000 on that mistake.

Not clear what the "mistake" was.  Believing the salesman?   Buying the Chevy 1-ton in the first place?   :P   Curious minds want to know what the Dodge did that the Chevy could not?
Gary
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JustKeepMoving

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2018, 09:31:02 AM »
Welcome to the forum, we were just asking about this. See thread http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,112502.0.html

Roy M

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2018, 11:51:55 AM »
I have a 25' Prowler that at 5600# gross would push the limits of most 1500/F-150 trucks due to the payload. A properly equipped 2500/F-250 will easily handle that Dutchman but for a few dollars more you could get a 1 ton that would allow you to upgrade later. We tried pulling our first fiver, an 18-1/2' Vanguard with a truck the specs suggested would do the job but two trips in BC mountains told us otherwise.

RGP

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2018, 01:27:50 PM »
Congratulation to the OP for doing his home work. The operative word is "towable". Yes my lowly 2010 F-150 can "tow" the 8800# fifth wheel with 700#s to spare!! It just can not carry the hitch pin weight without exceeding my max cargo limit by 500#s. It would also exceed my max axel rating.

I can drag a 9500# boulder, just don't try to put more than 1400#s of rocks in the bed. That is why they say it is half ton towable.

If I recall Ram advertised one of their 2019 "mild hybrids" 1/2 ton pickups with a motor/generator to boost power, had a cargo capacity of in 2300#s. I was also told that Ford had an F-150 with over 2000#s of cargo capacity, but I have not confirmed that.

So yes, if you have this specific factory equipped super whiz bang, gonzo-matic pick up; you too can proudly display your half ton doing what an F-350 does on a normal day.

Shame on the Salesperson that tries to foist these off on an unsuspecting public.


 

Oldgator73

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 02:40:29 PM »
Not clear what the "mistake" was.  Believing the salesman?   Buying the Chevy 1-ton in the first place?   :P   Curious minds want to know what the Dodge did that the Chevy could not?

The Salesman that sold us the Chevy said it would pull anything we wanted. We found out differently when we went RV shopping. So, to answer your questions: Yes, yes and everything. The Chevy did not have enough CCC or power to handle the 5th wheel. We called it the CPS truck (Can't Pull S**T) truck. The Dodge, partly due to being a single cab two wheel drive and partly due to the beefy suspension had a CCC of 3900#. The Cummins was also a factor. It handled our 37', triple axle 5th wheel with no problems.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 02:46:56 PM by Oldgator73 »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 02:52:20 PM »
I owned a 1988 Wilderness 5W that weighed a mere 4500 lbs loaded and towed it with my baby half ton (a Dodge Dakota V8 automatic).  Not overloaded and worked like a champ!  That was 20 years ago, though, and these days it's hard to find a 5W with an empty weight of 4500. For example, Keystone's "Cougar Half-Ton" weighs in at 5500 lbs empty and that's a 22 foot floor plan (26'8" overall).
Gary
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2018, 02:59:36 PM »

Quote
The Salesman that sold us the Chevy said it would pull anything we wanted. We found out differently when we went RV shopping. So, to answer your questions: Yes, yes and everything. The Chevy did not have enough CCC or power to handle the 5th wheel.

Yeah, the 6.5L turbo-diesel Chevy used back then was a dog, to be sure, and some of them were rated for as little as 8000 lbs towing (most were 10k-11k).   Oh well, water over the dam now.  It's crucial to get the actual specs and not take it on faith it can "pull anything".
Gary
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currinh

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2018, 10:25:37 PM »
Hi all, We are new to this forum because we decided it's time to hit the road so the research begins.
I am hoping to get some help on 1/2 ton towable 5th wheels.

You might consider an Escape 5.0TA. It has an empty weight 3885lb and a GVWR of 5500lb. Don't know if your pickup can handle it or not, don't know enough to say. But it is a nice, small, light 5W. It's a lot smaller than what you think of when you say 5W, but it's a lot lighter also.

We have a 19' trailer from them and are quite pleased.

FYI
Hugh
Klamath Falls, OR
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2018 RAM 2500 diesel
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rcwitt

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2018, 04:52:35 AM »
Well, thank you to everyone for their advice and insight. It is clear that we will go with a towable. We just don't need the 3/4 ton for daily
use when not towing .If we were full time on the road it would be differant. I don't think there are too many " factory equipped super whiz bang, gonzo-matic pick up's" out there for us to latch on to.
So now we start planning our trip.
Thanks again and we look forward to future involvement in this whiz bang, techno-matic web world ,RV Forum

steveblonde

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2018, 07:18:14 AM »
Well, thank you to everyone for their advice and insight. It is clear that we will go with a towable. We just don't need the 3/4 ton for daily
use when not towing .If we were full time on the road it would be differant. I don't think there are too many " factory equipped super whiz bang, gonzo-matic pick up's" out there for us to latch on to.
So now we start planning our trip.
Thanks again and we look forward to future involvement in this whiz bang, techno-matic web world ,RV Forum

Just wondering what your reservations are driving a 3/4 or 1 ton truck are as a daily driver? Fuel ecomony is only slightly worse than a 1/2 ton not much and the ride is really quite nice. Before you say no go test drive a couple you might be suprised. Ive driven trucks as a daily driver for years, its just now that i picked up my little escape as a daily driver because it was dirt cheap as i got a smokin deal i couldn't pass up
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SeilerBird

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2018, 07:19:43 AM »
Just wondering what your reservations are driving a 3/4 or 1 ton truck are as a daily driver? Fuel ecomony is only slightly worse than a 1/2 ton not much and the ride is really quite nice. Before you say no go test drive a couple you might be suprised. Ive driven trucks as a daily driver for years, its just now that i picked up my little escape as a daily driver because it was dirt cheap as i got a smokin deal i couldn't pass up
:)) :)) :))
I was wondering the exact same thing.
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scottydl

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2018, 08:35:19 AM »
Yeah, the 6.5L turbo-diesel Chevy used back then was a dog, to be sure, and some of them were rated for as little as 8000 lbs towing (most were 10k-11k).

I ran across the 1990's turbo diesel Suburbans when I was shopping for our tow vehicle... and was pretty excited at the thought until, like you said, I realized that their pulling power was nothing special.  Capped at 7500-8000# like you said, barely more (if any more) than the 1/2 ton gas options, and well under the 10k# (7.4L gas) or 12k# (8.1L gas a few years) 3/4 ton max.  And that 6.5L diesel engine apparently had some other longevity/maintenance issues too.

Just wondering what your reservations are driving a 3/4 or 1 ton truck are as a daily driver? Fuel ecomony is only slightly worse than a 1/2 ton not much and the ride is really quite nice. Before you say no go test drive a couple you might be suprised. Ive driven trucks as a daily driver for years, its just now that i picked up my little escape as a daily driver because it was dirt cheap as i got a smokin deal i couldn't pass up

I've even turned my 3/4 ton Suburban into my daily driver now (3-4 days/week typically when my wife doesn't need the Traverse, our more "economical" SUV ;))... and while the 7.4L fuel economy is deplorable, it's a pretty comfortable ride for being 22+ years old.  I'm sure the newer generation trucks are light years ahead of mine, in terms of ride quality and non-towing economy.
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Oldgator73

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2018, 09:01:11 AM »
I have vacillated between the Ford F-150 Eco Boost and a Chevy/Gmc 1 ton cargo van. Both have about the sam towing capacity. The F150 has better gas mileage. I mentioned this to my wife and to my surprise she said she would still,rather go with the van. We are looking at something like a Prius as our daily driver.
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UTTransplant

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2018, 10:58:56 AM »
Just wondering what your reservations are driving a 3/4 or 1 ton truck are as a daily driver? Fuel ecomony is only slightly worse than a 1/2 ton not much and the ride is really quite nice. Before you say no go test drive a couple you might be suprised. Ive driven trucks as a daily driver for years, its just now that i picked up my little escape as a daily driver because it was dirt cheap as i got a smokin deal i couldn't pass up
We have a 3/4 ton diesel truck, and it is a very comfortable vehicle. Mileage isnít great, but it isnít dreadful. The key to being comfortable in our truck is to lower the rear tire pressure to 60 pounds. It is still safe, but the ride is oh so much more comfortable than the 80 pounds needed for towing. The disadvantage of the truck is in urban areas. We have had parking garages we donít fit into, and it is a bear to park in a parallel parking spot in a city. I donít have any problems in suburban areas. That being said, we will be selling the truck (and trailer) when the motorhome is built. For a toad we have a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk that is an easy ride.
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kdbgoat

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2018, 11:10:49 AM »
The F-250 we had rode very nice. Had snowplow option, so heavy springs in front, and overload springs in back too. As above, gas mileage wasn't great, but tolerable. It actually got better gas mileage than the 2001 Ram 4x4 with a 5.9 that I gave one of our sons. It has 3.55 rears. The eldest son has a same generation Ram 4x4 with oversize tires and 4.88's. Single digit MPG. Needless to say, they generally take their 2016 Ram hemi 8 speed whenever they go anywhere unless he's gonna play around in the mud a bit.
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lone_star_dsl

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2018, 11:17:38 AM »
Here are the specs for the highest rated 2017 Ram 1500 -
5.7L Engine
A6 65RFE transmission
3.92 rear gears
15,950 GCWR
10,640 "max trailer weight"

The sheet also shows a payload capacity of 1,700 lbs.

The OP mentioned concern about stress on the engine, transmission, etc. with a fifth wheel but in reality, those stresses will all be the same as towing an equivalently weighted travel trailer. The only area of difference is the pin weight.

In my opinion, a "half ton" class truck can (and often do) handle small fifth wheel trailers safely. Aside from possibly needing to add air bags, a half ton towing a fifth wheel if probably safer than a half ton towing the same size bumper pull trailer.
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sc4668

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2018, 11:47:02 AM »
We have a F250 Super Duty with V10 to tow our fiver does a good job. However I do not use for a daily driver because it is just to big for the parking spaces and getting into parking garages. The ride is not the problem for me rides great with the lower non towing tire pressure just to big to park and also for some drive trues.

RGP

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2018, 12:02:56 PM »
For those who say the 3/4 and 1 ton pick up are "just a little more", your definition of "little" differs from mine. In general the cost factor to step up one grade is about $3000.00. If you add a diesel engine tack on another $10,000.00. That number comes from the local car dealer when I asked him about trading up from my F-150.

Now take your new upgraded truck to the dealer for oil changes, tires, shocks or any service work. LTs vs. P tires, more oil, just about more heavy duty everything.

Next add to that the wife already thinks your F-150 rides like an old stage coach and thinks she needs deck hands to cast off the mooring ropes every time she backs out of the driveway or the Wal-Mart parking lot and you begin to understand some of the issues with the F-150 that turns our two car garage into a one car garage, unless you want to exit out the passenger side. 

There is absolutely no doubt that you need big to pull big and fortunately my wife thinks our 25 ft. trailer is just the right size. However upgrading to a larger truck is more than "a little more expensive".  You pay for the increase power and convenience, there is no free lunch.   

rcwitt

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2018, 06:24:39 PM »
I agree with RGP. My reservations about getting a 3/4 or 1 ton is the regular maintainance and added cost of everything heavy duty. We plan on one good 3 or 4 month road trip then mostly sticking around the northeast . The added capacity of the heavy truck would be lost in the normal driving that it would be subject to most of the time. Truth be known, I've been driving my Ford Ranger for 237000 miles now and really prefer the smaller trucks.
I spent 10 years working the oil fields in the northern Rockies and have a good number of miles under my belt in 1 tons and 3/4tons and a few 1/2 tons thrown in. 1 ton trucks do ride pretty well and the fuel mileage isn't terrible . 
I was hoping to hear from some folks that have actually pulled a fifth wheel for some substantial miles to get are real world perspective on how the truck handled the truck ruts, the steep grades both up and down , does the tranny cooler keep up with the added load , did you seem to go through rear axle bearings etc. So far there has been some great feedback but mostly just opinions.
I can't seem to make the load numbers work in favor of the 1/2 ton . I've really been on the fence on this.We fell in love with the Dutchman and would really like to go that way but don't want a 5000 mile white knuckle stress bomb.

steveblonde

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2018, 06:38:34 PM »
I agree with RGP. My reservations about getting a 3/4 or 1 ton is the regular maintainance and added cost of everything heavy duty. We plan on one good 3 or 4 month road trip then mostly sticking around the northeast . The added capacity of the heavy truck would be lost in the normal driving that it would be subject to most of the time. Truth be known, I've been driving my Ford Ranger for 237000 miles now and really prefer the smaller trucks.
I spent 10 years working the oil fields in the northern Rockies and have a good number of miles under my belt in 1 tons and 3/4tons and a few 1/2 tons thrown in. 1 ton trucks do ride pretty well and the fuel mileage isn't terrible . 
I was hoping to hear from some folks that have actually pulled a fifth wheel for some substantial miles to get are real world perspective on how the truck handled the truck ruts, the steep grades both up and down , does the tranny cooler keep up with the added load , did you seem to go through rear axle bearings etc. So far there has been some great feedback but mostly just opinions.
I can't seem to make the load numbers work in favor of the 1/2 ton . I've really been on the fence on this.We fell in love with the Dutchman and would really like to go that way but don't want a 5000 mile white knuckle stress bomb.

i live  in Alberta and owned trucks from the time i was 18 im now 55 my ex wife drove a 1/2 ton and my fiance drives my dually and 40 ft 5er ive owned trailers all my life and my dad build Scamper and Skipper in the 70,s and we do about 15000 kms a year towing

how may i help you please be specific im not that smart lol
2015 Voltage 3305 Toy Hauler - loaded
2014 F150 Ecoboost Reg cab (company truck) daily driver
2017 Black on Black F350 Diesel Dually loaded  5167lbs cargo/weight capacity
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scottydl

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2018, 06:55:41 PM »
So far there has been some great feedback but mostly just opinions.
I can't seem to make the load numbers work in favor of the 1/2 ton .

That's why you haven't gotten the answers you were hoping for... there is not a large percentage of FW owners that are using 1/2 tons, and for legitimate mathematical reasons as you have read (and calculated yourself).
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

grashley

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2018, 07:08:37 PM »
The FACTS are that a small 6500 dry wt FW will weigh 8,000 lbs loaded to camp.  That's 1600 lbs pin wt.  Now add 200 lb FW hitch, a couple 150 lb passengers and 100 lbs of other cargo, and you need 2200 lbs of Payload to haul it.  VERY FEW Ĺ ton pickups have a payload anywhere near that number.

Now, the salesman will use that 6500 lb dry wt, and 1200 lb pin wt, ignore the weight of the hitch, passengers or other cargo, and lie and say you have plenty of truck with a 1600 lb payload.
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longhaul

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Re: 1/2 ton towable 5th wheel
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2018, 09:48:57 PM »
Quote
The trailer salesperson says no problem towing it with a 1/2 ton truck.
  What the sales person should have said there are 1/2 ton truck out here that can safely tow a 8800 gvwr 5th wheel trailer. Not all 1/2 ton trucks have the same GVWR or rawr specs.
 
 Of course the new or used F150HD comes with a 7850-8200 gvwr depending on year models. More importantly it come with a 4800 rawr which is good for up to around 2300-2500 lbs in the bed depending on selections. You can get the 3.5 EB v6 engine or the very stout 5.0 v8 engine.

 The '00 to '06 GM 1500HD 8600 gvwr with 6000 rawr 6.0 engine/4L80e tranny 4.10 gears good for 3k lb plus payloads .

 Mid '00 1500 Dodge Mega Cabs with 8510 gvwr and 6000 rwar  very good 5.7 hemi  3.92 gears.

 1/2 ton GM trucks with the NHT max tow package has a 7600 gvwr and 4300 rawr can have 2k plus payloads with 3.73 gears 8 or 10 speed trannies 6.2 engine at 420 hp and 460 torque.
 So sure there are some 1/2 ton trucks can safely pull a 8800 gvwr 5th wheel trailer and safely carry its pin weight.
 Will yours and other std duty 1/2 ton truck safely tow a 8800  lb 5th wheel trailer....no.

 WE have 5th wheel trailer out here that safely fits your 1/2 ton truck  tow and load carrying specs......but they are small.