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RVing message boards => Trailers & Fifthwheels => Topic started by: iheartvols on May 13, 2018, 07:16:30 PM

Title: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: iheartvols on May 13, 2018, 07:16:30 PM
I am in the market for a truck to tow a 12k pound (dry) fifth wheel. We only expect to pull the trailer 3-5 times per year, therefore some have advised me that no more than we'll be towing the additional cost in a diesel, and in particular, the additional maintenance costs aren't justified. That being said, I'm strongly considering a RAM 3500 gas burner.

Does anyone have any opinions? TIA.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: donn on May 13, 2018, 07:25:09 PM
Since the advertised "dry" number is totally useless, look at the fivers GVWR for your baseline.
No one has or will ever tow a "dry" trailer.
Instead using the trailers GVWR and build your truck to handle that.  You may never tow at the GVWR,  but better safe than sorry in my book.
Use the following as a basic rule of thumb.
2500 up to approx 12,000 GVWR
3500SRW to to approx 13,000 GVWR
3500 dually up to about 15,500 GVWR.
This will of course vary a bit, but is a good guideline.

Guaranteed you will absolutely HATE towing that much with a gas motor.  Can it can be done?  Yea, maybe in the flat lands.  First real hill you come to you could expect to be down in first gear at 25 MPH.  The only gas motor that could handle that would be the V10 Ford.  Of course then you can expect 5-6 MPG.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: kdbgoat on May 13, 2018, 07:30:41 PM
The out front cost of a diesel will be returned at trade or sale a a later date, so that's a wash. Fuel mileage will be better, but diesel fuel costs more. Cost of proper maintenance is costlier than a gasser. The extra weight of the diesel cuts into the payload of the truck. Diesel pulls up mountains better. Gas engine will lose power at higher altitudes. Gas engines pull hills but rev pretty high doing it.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: iheartvols on May 13, 2018, 07:36:08 PM
Any guess as to the difference in annual maintenance costs?
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: donn on May 13, 2018, 08:04:54 PM
Not enough to think about
My Cummins takes a 10 dollar oil filter and gets a change of full synthetic once every 10,000 miles.  Oil cost me about 30 dollars for 5 quarts. Or 60 dollars in oil.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: grashley on May 13, 2018, 09:58:43 PM
Where do you plan to travel?  If you plan to run around the flat midwest, a gasser is fine.  Major hills is another matter.   The gasser will do fine for most towing, but they give top power at 3000 or 4000 rpm.  The diesel gives equal or more power at 2000 rpm.  As said, the diesel extra cost will come back in full, or close, when you sell it.

As for which truck, if you pick the FW first, start calculations with the FW  GVWR, NOT dry wt, for the reasons stated above.  Take 20% of the GVWR as estimated pin wt.  Add 200# for a FW hitch.  Add the weight of ALL passengers, pets firewood, toys and cargo carried in the truck.  This is how much weight you expect the truck to carry.  When you go truck shopping, make sure the payload for THAT TRUCK, according to the yellow placard on the driver door latch pillar on THAT TRUCK is greater than what you expect to carry.

As a general rule, 2500 models have a 2200# payload.  3500 SRW, about 3500# and 3500 DRW about 5,000#.  More options or higher trim level, less payload.  Fewer options or lower trim, higher payload.  The advertised payload is a base model, buck naked truck with max tow option only.  The yellow placard applies to the truck to which it is attached.  They have been required since 2009.

Do your homework and be safe and properly equipped.  Never believe the salesman.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: roy67ss on May 13, 2018, 10:31:31 PM
Any engine will pull you up hill but,don't forget that the diesel is far better at slowing/stopping the whole arrangement as a rule. Engine/tranny braking for a gas engine is almost non-existent. Going downhill is a far greater concern than going up!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: BIG JOE on May 13, 2018, 11:11:37 PM
A 1 ton Diesel Dually with 3:73 rear end gears. You may only pull that 12K + 5r 4-5 times a year.. but when you do.. it will pull it with the Safety of You & Yours.. in Full control.

Joe
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: kdbgoat on May 14, 2018, 06:06:13 AM
Any engine will pull you up hill but,don't forget that the diesel is far better at slowing/stopping the whole arrangement as a rule. Engine/tranny braking for a gas engine is almost non-existent. Going downhill is a far greater concern than going up!!!!!!!!

I don't know where you got your information about no engine braking on a gasser. The last two pickups and my classC that I have now will snap your neck when using the tow/haul or "manual" feature on the pick-ups. This past weekend I did a 4 1/2 mile 9% twisty grade twice and once I slowed down before the decent, I never touched the brakes once.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: Brokeass Boater on May 14, 2018, 12:15:28 PM
Have had a 1 ton gas Dually, and have a 1 ton Diesel Dually. Besides a truck camper/boat combo, we have a heavy 4 horse Gooseneck with a bed and tack/changing  room. Not even a close comparison in towing and slowing/stopping between the two trucks.  We live in Northern Ca. and hills, mountains or some type of grade is part of every trip we make. We just returned from a trip up to the Sierras Trout fishing with our Camper and towing a boat. Some Asshat in a class C was tailgating us and I was at the posted speed limit on a two lane road with curves. Once we started climbing the road split into two with a passing lane and I moved over, but he slowly dropped behind and then he was gone out of my rear view mirror, and it was a newer rig.  Get a Diesel with engine brake, I use it all the time. My 2012 Cummins has 800lbs torque, and its at a much lower rpm then my Chevy big block gas burner with lower torque. Diesel is more per gallon, but the economy is much better in the big picture. Your going to be towing a big load, match the truck to it, not what might just get you by. Even in the flat lands towing for miles into a head wind with a high profile will draw your gas burner mpg down in a hurry. There is a reason you see all the diesel trucks towing,,,gregg
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: Ghostman on May 18, 2018, 10:00:49 AM
You didnt what type Gas. If you are looking at a V10 it will have plenty torque to pull similar to a cummins. Maintenance cost will be more on the diesel I have had several. They hold a lot more than 5 quarts of oil. a cummins will hold around 12qts where a powerstroke will be pushing 16 qts. Oil change will be around $70 doing it yourself. If things break on a diesel it is twice as much to repair over a gas. I am speaking from experience. I have worked on them all. I have had the cabs off the trucks to work on the engines. Not saying that a diesel is not your best choice. Just giving you advice on cost to maintain. 
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: gravesdiesel on May 18, 2018, 10:21:46 AM
Go with the 3500 Dodge Ram with the Cummins diesel.  You will not be sorry!  As others have mentioned, the resale is much higher on the sought after diesel trucks than the gas ones and there is no doubt they pull and stop better.   The Cummins has an exhaust brake on it that when paired with the 6 speed manual or 6 speed Aisin automatic will drastically reduce wear on your brakes.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: Brokeass Boater on May 18, 2018, 12:04:51 PM
Research Torque, not horse power. Torque is the measurement of ability to work, horse power is not we use to pull/tow. There's no way to get a V10 gasser remotely close to the torque curve of a diesel, even the older diesels have torque curves far beyond a gasser. Cummins prior to 2012 have 650lbs torque, 2012 they jumped to 800lbs, the latest diesels from the big three are even more. As far as cost, that should be looked at over a period of time. And the resale of diesels, be it a pick up, RV, or boat are much higher then the same gas rig,,,gregg
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: BIG JOE on May 18, 2018, 06:25:45 PM
Research Torque, not horse power. Torque is the measurement of ability to work, horse power is not we use to pull/tow. There's no way to get a V10 gasser remotely close to the torque curve of a diesel, even the older diesels have torque curves far beyond a gasser. Cummins prior to 2012 have 650lbs torque, 2012 they jumped to 800lbs, the latest diesels from the big three are even more. As far as cost, that should be looked at over a period of time. And the resale of diesels, be it a pick up, RV, or boat are much higher then the same gas rig,,,gregg

 :)) :)) Nuf' Said... Right There.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on May 19, 2018, 10:34:18 AM
The diesel unquestionably has more low end torque and thus better acceleration and hill climbing. That doesn't make the V10 gas engine unacceptable by any means, but the diesel will outperform it and get better fuel economy while doing it.  It's mostly a matter of whether you are willing to spend the extra money upfront. That's a consideration even if you recoup much of it later when you sell or trade.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: OpenRangeBob on May 19, 2018, 12:05:21 PM
Just my 2 cents worth:

http://www.f650pickups.com/sc-1.html

http://www.f650pickups.com/f650/sc-1.html

 :))

Happy Camping!
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: Frank B on May 19, 2018, 07:23:21 PM
I'll add my endorsement of the diesel as well. 06 GMC 3500 with Duramax 6.6. Zero repair costs on engine and transmission in 12 yrs and 250k Km.  $8k CDN on truck chassis, suspension, hoses, belts, ball joints, u-joints, front diff, etc. Those items are the same regardless of engine.


For me, the diesel is just so relaxed when pulling, and that is the way I want to be as well. Would never consider a gasser for pulling a heavy unit.


Frank.
Title: Re: Advice needed on a truck to tow a fifth wheel
Post by: Lynx0849 on May 23, 2018, 04:39:46 PM
Last month i replaced my 05 RAM 1500 hemi with a 15 3500 srw Cummins. I drove it home to Boston from GA through the smokeys and pocanos and got over 19mpg for the 1500 miles.

The Hemi got 12-13 mpg and 6-7 mpg with a 14 utility trailer loaded with 2 touring bikes. Hills were red lined and the trailer jerked the truck around.

The Cummins gets 17-18 mpg and got 13mpg with that same trailer loaded to 6900 lbs. The truck barely noticed the trailer and the engine brake is great.

Yesterday i noticed several fuel stations where the diesel was only 10 cents more than regular gas. Thats a 3% increse while my mpg is a 33% improvement.
Thats why i bought it.

In my case, the used 3500 cost me close to what i paid for the 1500 gasser back in December of 04.

Anyway, that is my story.