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Author Topic: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?  (Read 13721 times)

Francine

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Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« on: May 02, 2005, 02:24:21 PM »
Hi All, we've been dreaming about owning an RV for quite awhile now and are finally ready to buy one.  We're also ready to trade my car in for a tow vehicle and want to stick with something small since it will also be my everyday vehicle. 

We're considering a Dodge Dakota ST extended cab 4X2 with a 4.7L Magnum v8 and a 3.55 axle ratio and a 6 speed manual transmission.  According to the Dodge website that configuration would give a towing capacity of 5500 lbs.

The RV we're considering is a super lightweight 5th wheel, Rockwood 2320, it's 7.5 foot wide, 24' 4" long, dry weight 4106, GVWR 5146.  We will mostly be taking this on short trips around Georgia and down to the beaches in Florida.  Mostly the roads will be flat or a little hilly, no big mountains or anything.  Does the Rockwood and Dakota sound like a good combination?  If not, is there another truck that might be better suited that would still be on the smaller side that would pull the Rockwood? 

Also, we're not set on the RV, what we're looking for is a small one that would be light, relatively short and very easy to tow for a beginner.  I've heard 5th wheels are a little easier so that's why we're looking at this Rockwood.  We like that it has a sofa, dinette, and queen bed and is under 25 ft, the price is also quite good.  Is there something else in this size range that we could pull with the Dakota?

So many questions!!  ???  We're open to any suggestions, advice, etc.

Thanks in advance for your help,
Francine

Francine

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2005, 10:01:54 PM »
Was wondering if anyone might know if the Dodge Dakota would work to pull an ultra lightweight Rockwood 5th wheel?  Or did I post this question in the wrong place.

Thanks in advance.

DonJordan

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2005, 10:29:24 PM »
Was wondering if anyone might know if the Dodge Dakota would work to pull an ultra lightweight Rockwood 5th wheel? Or did I post this question in the wrong place.

Thanks in advance.

Francine, Hi and welcome to the RV Forum.  We're happy to see you here.  Unfortunately I don't have the knowledge to answer your question - I'm a motorhome guy  ;D.  Yes, I would think that you have posted your message in the right place and I'm puzzled that you haven't had any responses from the 5er group.  Hang in there.  Someone should respond soon.
Don Jordan.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2005, 09:04:19 AM »
I towed a similar sized 5W with a Dakota (V8, 3.73 rear axle) for a couple years and it performed well.  You will need the model of Dakota configured for hauling heavy loads, though. The standard V6 engine, economy axle and regualr load capacity will be a bit light for what you plan. That 5W will likely place a 1500 lb weight load on the bed of the truck and you need to be able to carry that load as well as pull (and stop) the total weight.

If you already own the truck, check its towing capacities, as determined by the model, engine, axle and such. If you don't know the specs, a dealer can look them up based on the VIN.  You need to find out the GCWR (combined truck and trailer weight capacity), rear axle GAWR (weight carrying capacity), and GVWR.   Do NOT rely a the "towing capacity" typically loisted in sales brochures - they are generic and usually refer to towing with a bumper-type hitch anyway. The fifth wheel tow capacity will be different (usually greater).
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Francine

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2005, 07:33:35 PM »
Thanks for the welcome Don!  And I appreciate the reassurance, I wasn't sure if I should have posted in the new member section instead of going straight to this section.  Glad I'm in the right place.

Francine

Francine

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2005, 07:48:24 PM »
Gary, thanks for the information.  I will find out the various weights you mentioned.  I didn't realize the complexities of picking out a good RV/Tow Vehicle combo until we started looking at them.   :o  Now that we're actually looking to buy, my head is spinning with all the choices available!!  I just want to be careful and be sure to buy a safe combination to start us off with. 

Thanks again for the info.  When I get the numbers I may need help deciphering them.  I feel like such a dummy with all this stuff!

Francine

Francine

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2005, 08:41:00 PM »
Hi Again,

We don't own a Dakota yet.  Here are the specs on it:

Dodge Dakota ST extended cab short bed 2WD with a 4.7L Magnum v8 and a 3.55 axle ratio and a 6 speed manual transmission.

GCWR:10,000
GAWR Rear: 3806
GAWR Front: 3100
GVWR:  6010
Payload: 1660
Base Curb Wt.: 4345
Maximum Trailer Wt: 5500

And here are the specs on the fifth wheel we are considering:

Rockwood 2320 Fifth Wheel

Length: 24'4"
Exterior Width: 90"
Exterior Height w/o AC: 121"
Hitch Weight: 746
Axle Weight: 3360
Unit Dry Weight: 4106
GVWR: 5146

I'm not sure how to add the numbers up to see if this will work. Also do I need to consider the size of the truck bed?  Is a short bed big enough for a fifth wheel hitch?  We are open to considering a lightweight travel trailer instead of a fifth wheel.  I've been getting mixed info on whether a fifth wheel is easier to tow, some sales people have told us the lightweight travel trailers aren't any harder than a fifth wheel if you get the right hitch.  But others have told us the fifth wheels are a lot easier.

Thanks for any advice.

Francine 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2005, 12:55:39 AM by Francine »

DonJordan

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2005, 11:23:35 PM »
Francine,

AS I mentioned before, I'm not a 5er person but am a motorhomer so my kowledge of the requirements for the tow truck to use with a given 5th wheel trailer is pretty limited.  Unfortunately several of our trailer gurus are off line while on the road so it may be a while before you get anything definitive.  :(

We don't own a Dakota yet.  Here are the specs on it:

Dodge Dakota ST extended cab short bed 2WD with a 4.7L Magnum v8 and a 3.55 axle ratio and a 6 speed manual transmission.

GCWR:10,000
GAWR Rear: 3806
GAWR Front: 3100
GVWR:  6010
Payload: 1660
Base Curb Wt.: 4345
Maximum Trailer Wt: 5500

And here are the specs on the fifth wheel we are considering:

Rockwood 2320 Fifth Wheel

Length: 24'4"
Exterior Width: 90"
Exterior Height w/o AC: 121"
Hitch Weight: 746
Axle Weight: 3360
Unit Dry Weight: 4106
GVWR: 5146

I'm not sure how to add the numbers up to see if this will work. Also do I need to consider the size of the truck bed?  Is a short bed big enough for a fifth wheel hitch?  We are open to considering a lightweight travel trailer instead of a fifth wheel.  I've been getting mixed info on whether a fifth wheel is easier to tow, some sales people have told us the lightweight travel trailers aren't any harder than a fifth wheel if you get the right hitch.  But others have told us the fifth wheels are a lot easier.

Thanks for any advice.

Francine 

Just looking at the numbers, it appears that you would not be overloading the truck with this trailer.  You don't have a whole lot of carrying capacity in the trailer (GVWR-Dry Weight= 1040 Lbs.).  Water is heavy (8.3 Lbs per gallon) so depending on the water tank size, black water tank size, and grey water tank size you may be using a large part of the NCC (Net Carrying Capacity) before you put any food, kitchen ware, dishes, clothes, personal effects, etc. aboard.  If you only intend to use the trailer for vacation trips of a month or less it is probably adequate.  For full timing it definitely is not.

I can't advise you on the hitch.  I don't have the expertise there.

I'm hoping that we get some more of the denizens to join in on this thread and give you the info you are looking for.

Regards,

Don
Don Jordan.

Francine

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2005, 12:58:25 AM »
Sorry about that Don, I meant to address that last note to Gary or another 5er.  Thanks again!

Francine

Barb

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2005, 07:32:10 AM »
When our daughter had a dakota, we could not find a hitch the would fit in the bed of the truck.

Barb
Barb
2003 NRV Tradewinds LTC
2011 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited

Herm J

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2005, 09:57:13 PM »
I don't claim to be an expert, but I have some experience that might be worth something.

First, in regard to a light trailer vs. a 5th wheel, we pulled a light travel trailer with a Ford Ranger super cab which gave us a fairly long wheelbase.  After an experience involving a crosswind and a semi which set the trailer into some fishtailing that I was very fortunate to survive, we traded for a lightweight 5th wheel.  What a difference in terms of stability!  We have a F-250 now and a bigger 5th wheel now.  I would never consider going back to a trailer.

Regarding the size of the truck, as someone has stated, you will probably be OK, but you don't have a lot of extra capacity to play around with.  Think light in everything you do.  Pack the minimum you'll need.

As far as the hitch goes, you should be able to call around or go on line and get an answer.  I feel sure that there are a number of hitches available.  You might want to get out your tape measure and do a little geometry work to see how your 5th wheel clears the truck when turning.  Sliding hitches are available for use when towing with a shortbed truck. I've always towed with a shortbed and  I had a sliding hitch at one time and traded down to a regular Reese 15K when I discovered I never used the slide aspect of the hitch.  The sliding hitches add a bunch of weight.

Hope this helps a little,
Herm

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2005, 05:26:35 PM »
I can't imagine why you would have difficulty finding a 5W hitch for a Dakota, but it is easy enough to check.  As any hitch dealer what brands he has available for that truck or start the order process with onbe of the online hitch sales places and see if it comes up with an suitable part.

The max fifth wheel trailer you can tow is one that weighs less than the truck GCWR (10,000) minus the actual weight of the truck itself, fully loaded for the road.  That means fuel, passengers, hitch and any gear you carry, but NOT the weight the trailer places on the hitch. That means it is quite a bit less than 10,000 minus your 4345 curb weight.  I would guess somewhere around 4600-4800 lbs will remain.  You will have to get the truck weighed to find out for sure, since the brochure curb weight is a generic figure and typically a bit low.

A long bed truck would be a bit better for hauling a 5W but a short bed is OK (I used a short bed Dakota).  With a short bed there is a slight chance the front of the trailer can hit the truck cab when backing in a very sharp turn (almost 90 degrees), but if you keep your wits about you it will never happen.  It can never happen moving forward.  You can get a sliding hitch if you want to have a way to gurauntee the problem won't occur, but it really isn't necessary if your trailer has what is called an extended pin box. "Extended" means the hitch pin is mounted on a bracket that projects from the front of the trailer. A few fifth wheels have the pin mounted to the underside of the 5W front overhang and those are quite likely to hit the cab of a short bed when backing.

Many people find themselves trading up in trailer size within a year or two of purchase.  The Dakota is maxxed out with this trailer, so a new trailer means buying a new truck.  If you can afford a bigger truck now, it would be a wise move as well as giving you a bigger safety margin.  A 1-2 year old 3/4 ton truck (RAM 2500 or Ford F250) would be in the same price range and be a far more capable truck and  able to handle whatever you tow well into the future.  None of the mid size trucks or even the 1500/150 models are really designed for towing heavy loads more than once in a while.

A fifth wheel is generally more stable when moving down the road, though it is true that a travel trailer with a good hitch can also be perfectly adequate.  A properly set up travel trailer will approximate the good manners that are pretty much inherent in any fifht wheel configuration.   When it comes to backing up, a travel trailer is somewhat more maneuverable than a 5W - the same geometry that works against a TT going forward becomes an advantage when backing up.  But once you gain some experience, you won't think either one is at alll difficult or scary.  I'm tempted to say it is a piece of cake, but there are a few people who have difficulty getting the knack of backing a trailer and always struggle, no matter what type it is.

Hope this helps a bit.



Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Francine

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2005, 12:24:31 AM »
Thank you all SO much for the information, it's been super helpful.  I think we will go ahead and stick with the small fifth wheel but look for a larger truck.  I had hoped to stay with a small truck but it sounds like we'd be pushing it with the Dakota.

Thanks again,
Francine

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2005, 08:11:19 AM »
I think that is a wise choice.  The Dakota would be adequate for that load, but a bigger model would be superior from the point of view of safety as well as longevity of the truck.   A 1/2 ton (1500 series) would do the job and [in my opinion] the Dodge 1500's are more rugged than the Fords F150's.  The 1500 Quad Cab is still not a huge truck and has a significantly higher GCWR and GVWR than the Dakota. The standard payload is about the same but there may be an option to increase the Payload that might help.  The Ford F150 is a more civilized vehicle and pleasant to drive, but it is the least robust of the Big Three trucks. Still, you can go with any model that has the necessary specs, i.e. GCWR, GVWR, Payload, etc.

As I said previously, a 3/4 ton (2500 series or F250) is the best choice for towing even modest trailers - they are far more robust.  But they are definitely "trucks" rather than a passenger car on steroids.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

joelmyer

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2005, 11:28:06 AM »

But once you gain some experience, you won't think either one is at alll difficult or scary.  I'm tempted to say it is a piece of cake, but there are a few people who have difficulty getting the knack of backing a trailer and always struggle, no matter what type it is.


Gary,

I resemble that remark
Joel (W4JNM) and Camille, GA

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Dodge Dakota & Rockwood 5th Wheel -- good combo?
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2005, 09:05:10 PM »
Joel,
It's just lack of confidence, Joel.  You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

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