Advice on light, low (height) used 5th wheel (24-29ft, 20k budget)

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naisan

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Aug 12, 2006
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Hi!  First time post - have read a lot recently so thanks for sharing your wisdom as I've learned quite a bit. So I'd love to hear your wisdom on if there are any brands, model years, or advice on getting a lower, lighter, used 5th wheel.

Most of the corporate websites list only the latest fivers which seem long, tall, and heavy. I'd love to find something shorter, even at the cost of low ceilings.

I and my wife and child are young, so we're able to crawl into beds etc. . . but wonder if what I am looking for just doesn't exist? 

I've already decided on a 5th wheel for the towing stability and ease of single-handed setup and operation, I already have a 2000 F250 V10 SRW with manual 5-spd and 4x4, and have figured that since I want to be able to tour in the west and mountains that I will need something that weighs about 7500-8000 dry, with no more than 2500 on the pin. Since I have 3.73 gears, this means that my 5th wheel weight capacity is rated at 9600lbs or so, but since they rate the exact same vehicle at 13k+ with the 4.1 gears, I am guessing that driven with attention to power band etc I will have some headroom on the weight. That said, for liability reasons I will stick to manufacturer rating.

So I am guessing that I can have probably a 29ft max (or so) depending on make, features, etc.

I won't be fulltiming - just vacationing, and possibly camping every other weekend.

In looking around, I see older Alfas, Alpenlites, newmars, hitchikers, and like those, but would love to get some advice from those who've been there and done that!!!

Thanks,

Naisan
 

Carl L

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west Los Angeles
You seem to be right about the height -- 12' + seems to be the rule with A/Cs adding more.  The height of luxury seem to be the rule, nowadays.  ;D


Trailer life lists your rig at 10,500 lbs (4WD, V10, and SRW).  By my usual mountain and Pacific west discount of 20%,  that truck should pull a trailer with a GVWR of 8,400 lbs.  You can substitute an actually scaled weight of the trailer packed and ready for travel.  Dry weight is not a good number to use in evaluatiing towability -- too subject to kidding yourself.  ("Gee, I'll just pack light and not carry too much water... etc.")

If you are really concerned about height for whatever reason (ie lots of trees around) consider TTs -- even the big ones sit lower.    Otherwise scour dealers' lots with a good big tape measure.
 

naisan

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Joined
Aug 12, 2006
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Carl Lundquist said:
Trailer life lists your rig at 10,500 lbs (4WD, V10, and SRW).  By my usual mountain and Pacific west discount of 20%,  that truck should pull a trailer with a GVWR of 8,400 lbs.  You can substitute an actually scaled weight of the trailer packed and ready for travel.  Dry weight is not a good number to use in evaluatiing towability -- too subject to kidding yourself.  ("Gee, I'll just pack light and not carry too much water... etc.")

Yeah - as an aside it breaks me up that changing the differential, with no change in anything else on the truck, will lift the capacity to 13,500 according to Ford. I have taken the very rigorous route with the weights, and will have to evaluate on a scale with the axle weghts etc. . .

It's even funnier to me because I have hauled -- on the regular hitch no less -- up and down our local 6-10% grades, a trailer load of 20k lbs (excavator on a 3000 lb flatbed) with no problems either going up or down (could only maintain 30mph going up the 6% with that load though).

But I want to be safe here, as the cargo will be my family rather than somebody else's insured excavator.
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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west Los Angeles
Shoot, I remember hauling a 26' lab trailer hitched conventionally to an 1/2 Ton pickup back when I was a well logger up and down US 101 and 99.? This was before the invenition of weight distributing or sway control.? That was fun.? Yeah.? Sure.

A trailer you haul for days and days, and like you say, the tow vehicle is full of family.? ?And since you specified the far west some of those grades will be up at 8,9,10, 11,000 feet above sea level.? ?A normally aspirated engine loses 3% of its rated HP for every 1000 feet of alitude.? An 8000 foot pass will cut your HP 24%.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At our Silver Springs FL home
You aren't likely to find too many high end  29 footers with "crawl-in" or "duck-in" bedrooms - they will be mostly "stand-up" height in that size range.  You can probably find some older and low end models like that, though. Here's a "duck-in" example, a Fleetwood Wilderness Lite 24

A similar new model is the Wilderness 255BHS, which is 11'6" in height. The 275CKS might also work for you - a 2 footer at 11'8" in height.
 
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