DRW vs SRW 1 Ton

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motojavaphil

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I have always towed with a 3/4 ton, SRW, LB or SB depending on what truck I owned at the time.  We enjoy off roading and just driving around town the SB, SRW trucks have been fine for the towing/regular use.  We are going to be transitioning to F/T in about a year.  Our new 5r will be heavier than our current rig and hence the need for a 1 ton.  My dealer states why use a DRW setup when the SRW will do it.  He claims the DRW will have a penalty in MPG, tire expense and driveability.  Others have told me the safety margin is dramatically increased with the DRW setup.  My ideal truck would be a 4X4, SB, SRW 1 ton, TD.  Is this an unsafe configuration even tho we are within GVWR?  I recognize the SB will give us a more harsh ride but that seems to be about it as long as you have the appropriate hitch.  Sure appreciate any feedback on this.
Phil 
 

2006F350

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If your new fiver will be heavier than your current toy-hauler, my gut feeling woud be to go with the DRW. I've seen many SRW trucks pulling fivers and have pulled a trailer myself with a SRW. You couldn't pay me enough to go back to a SRW. The DRW is much more stable.

Dealer mention loss of milage - if you do, it is small enough not to worry about. As you see in my signature, I drive a F350 Dually, and have a close friend that has a F250. Same engine and transmission. He has 3.73 gears to my 4.30, and we are virtually neck-in-neck in MPG in the city, he has me by maybe 1/2MPG on the highway as his engine is turning a bit slowier at 65MPH.

Tire expense, I have to agree, you will have 6 vs 4, but then again, you don't replace tires every week either, so to me it's a non-issue.

I'm not sure what the dealer is talking about concerning driveabliity issues - ya, a DRW is about 18" wider than a SRW, but you learn to compensate. I have learned to back in to most parking spots, and if at all possible, I park where others don't (and have lost 50+ pounds walking from the outskirts of Walmart parking lots). In town, it drives just the same. Most  roads are at least 10' feet wide, and a DRW is just under 8', so you learn to keep to the center of the lane.  The only issue I have with a DRW, and after 1+ years, I still have on occasion - I turn to short, and the outer wheels run up over the curb, the only thing that hurts is you ego.

You mentioned you want a 4X4. Make sure that it doesn't sit so high that you don't have the proper clearance between the bed rails and bottom of the trailer overhang - I believe you what a minimum of 6".

There are actually 3 figures you need to be concerned about. GVWR of the truck, GVWR of the trailer, and the combined weight of both so you don't exceed the GCWR of the truck - example Truck: GVWR 13,000Lbs, but weight curb weight + traveling items (wife, dog, tools, 5w hitch, etc) weights just over 8,000Lbs plus 2,205Lbs fiver pin weight still brings me under the 13,000 for the truck. Trailer: GVWR 13,900Lbs, but I weigh only to make sure I don't exceed the GVWR of the trailer, not for calculations. So 8,000 for the truck and 14,000 for the trailer comes out to 22,000 which is under the 26,000 the GCWR of the turck allows.

Larry
 

BruceinFL

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Here's another opinion. I use an F350 SRW and have been pulling my 5er alll over the country with no problems, stability or otherwise. Calculated that the SRW would handle the weight OK or I would have had to go with a dually. When I'm unhooked, the SRW is much easier to get around, especially in parking spaces.

When you are unhooked, which will probably be most of the time when fulltiming, your truck will be your chariot. Do you want to spend the time driving around with a dually or an SRW?
 

Carl L

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Our new 5r will be heavier than our current rig and hence the need for a 1 ton.  My dealer states why use a DRW setup when the SRW will do it.

Do not buy the truck before you have nailed down the exact 5er you are going to buy.  Then buy the truck that hand has the both the overall tow rating to haul it where you want to go, AND the rear axle weight rating to handle pin weight of the trailer.    You may find that an F-350 may not suffice and you will be in medium duty truck territory.  Or conversely you may find  that SRW unit will do just fine. 

Rule No. 1:  If the trailer is important, nail it down and then buy the truck to tow it.  If the truck is important, nail it down and then buy the trailer that it will tow.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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He claims the DRW will have a penalty in MPG, tire expense and driveability.

He's right, but it's not a big deal. Tire expense is probably the biggest factor, though the extra width can be a nuisance in some situations too.

Others have told me the safety margin is dramatically increased with the DRW setup

Dramatically? That strikes me as hyperbole, but there is a modest increase in stability in cross winds and an extra margin in carrying pin weight.

Is this an unsafe configuration even tho we are within GVWR?

Not at all, as long as you stay within your GVWR and your rear axle GAWR. The extra capacity of the DRW manifests itself as GAWR on the rear axle and you may need it to carry the pin weight of a big fiver.

I towed a 11,000 lb fiver with an SRW long bed Ford (F250 Superduty diesel) and ended up 300 lbs over on the rear axle. We carry a lot of stuff in the truck bed too, and I could sneak back to max GAWR if I kept the bed empty (fat chance!). We were under the GVWR by 700 lbs. Climbed all over the western mountains, crossed the continent twice and endured bad cross winds from time to time, but never thought we were threatened or losing control. Had to slow down in the winds a few times, but that's pretty much common sense.

[Oh oh. Now Carl knows I violated his 20% western towing margin. And even the 10% eastern margin.  Well, I always said a diesel can be relied on to actually deliver the full rated tow capacity. I think we have agreed to disagree on this point!  ;D ]
 

Carl L

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[Oh oh. Now Carl knows I violated his 20% western towing margin. And even the 10% eastern margin.  Well, I always said a diesel can be relied on to actually deliver the full rated tow capacity. I think we have agreed to disagree on this point!  ]

Had to slip in that paid political announcement didn't you.  ;D

I have agreed with you on the immunity of turbo diesels which I realize is the standard diesel configuration.  A turbo/super-charged engine does not sacrifice the 3% per 1000 feet of elevation that a normally aspirated engine suffers.  For folks buying gassers the 20% is I feel a prudent safety factor in the west.  The rest is transmission, suspension, and brakes -- especially brakes with a diesel.

Hell, I drove conventionally hitched lab trailers all over CA in the early 1960 with pickups.  No WD, no anti-sway, just a ball mount and a overloaded trailer.  Fortunately for me, most gas and oil drilling is down on the flats and I survived.  However, I can remember some interesting moments on that hill on 101 just north of San Luis Obispo.

However, I ain't EVER going to do that again, and I ain't ever going to recommend the experience to others. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Yeah, I too have towed some undersized rigs up (and down) some Eastern grades that I would not choose to ever do again, nor would I ever tell somebody "it's OK". Eastern mountain grades may not be as long and high as Western ones, but the Appalachians have plenty of sharp climbs, often twisty ones that never allow you to build up engine power when climbing and force you constantly brake into the curves when descending. Small block, normally aspirated engines just aren't up to it, nor are the brakes typical of light duty vehicles. We also had a travel trailer flip over on us once, and let me tell you THAT will make a believer out of anybody!
 

Carl L

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Eastern mountain grades may not be as long and high as Western ones, but the Appalachians have plenty of sharp climbs, often twisty ones that never allow you to build up engine power when climbing and force you constantly brake into the curves when descending.

Oh the west has those rascals too.  I rememeber taking a 'shortcut' into Torrey Utah last May.  The route was a numbered state highway that went over a piece of the southern fingering of the San Rafael Swell.  At one point I was at the bottom of a switchbacked upgrade, debated whether or not to shift my Bronc from 2wd to 4wd low range to make the climb.  I gambled and made it in 2wd, 1st gear, wide open.  That rascal was paved cowpath at 7000 feet.  1000 foot higher than the summit of Mt. Washington back in the Appalachians. 

I would remind folks that my Bronc has a rating of 6600 lbs for towing and my trailer weighs 4650 lbs. 
 

FSheare

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Once you've towed with a dually in the wind or down a winding mountain road, you'll NEVER go back to a SRW again. The difference IS very noticeable. As for regular driving, a 1 ton truck is a 1 ton truck, you'll hardly notice a difference.
 

Yak

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I am a full timer.  I have owned both and have pulled the same 5th wheel with both.  No comparison.  The Dually is much more stable.  Also most people seem to upgrade later,  something to consider.  The SRW is certainly easier to park but that is the only real drawback.
 

Yak

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Just in general Gary.  Both were heavy duty diesels but the dually is much more stable.  Plus the extra walking from distant parking keeps me younger.
 

Frank B

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Yak and others:

I'm looking at making a choice on the very same thing.  I had only been considering a SRW as our 5th is very small (under 5,000 lbs).  However, I am thinking for the future as well.  At what point will the weight of the rig make the dually an advantage?

We can never afford to updrade rig and truck at the same time, so we leapfrog.  Two years ago we replaced the 5th.  This year we need to replace our 94 gas Chevy 4x4.  Now I'm wondering how far to go with the truck for 'future considerations'.  I have no idea if or when we'll upgrade the trailer again.

The reason I ask is that I've come across an 04 Chev Silverado 3500 with all the toys, Durmax and Allison 5 speed for a price that we can squeak.  However it is a dually, and is far more truck than we need at the moment.  I won't be able to back the trailer into our garage with those extra-wide hips (have to keep it well over so that my wife can get the van in later), but might put the trailer in a bit sideways, put the trailer legs on a couple of platforms equipped with rollers, and then push the trailer straight in the garage.

If I go for a dually, am I buying myself an aggravation in the short term?

Any thoughts?

Thanks.

Frank.
 

Ron

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I would say go for it.  The 3500 will handle your current 5ver better than what you got as well as give you room to grow.  Might even give you better milage.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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To sat that a dually is more stable might imply to some that an SRW is somehow unstable and that would be a mistake.  Having towed an 11,000 lb fiver all over the USA with an F250 diesel SRW, I can say with authority that stability was never an issue.  However, I will readily admit that having more rubber on the road is in most cases goodness. [The exceptions are in heavy rain, when the  rear end of a dually is  more prone to hydroplaning, and snow, where the larger contact area reduces pressure per square inch of road surface.]

As for Frank's question, I have to say yes, the dually will be somewhat of an aggravation in daily use, especially given his description of the parking at his home. Personally I would not opt for a dually unless I truly needed it to carry the pin weight of a large fiver. Frank can double the weight of his present fifth wheel (which would put him in a quite handsome rig) and still be within an SRW's carrying capacity.
 

BruceinFL

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I agree with Gary. Based on my personal experience, my 350 SRW has never been a problem with my 5er. There have also been plenty of times that I was glad I didn't have the extra width of the dually. And now that I'm getting close to getting a new set of tires and checking on prices, 4 tires instead of 6 is looking pretty good.  ;)
 

Frank B

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Gary:

I was hoping that you would comment on this, as I've long appreciated your practical wisdom.

As for Frank's question, I have to say yes, the dually will be somewhat of an aggravation in daily use, especially given his description of the parking at his home. Personally I would not opt for a dually unless I truly needed it to carry the pin weight of a large fiver. Frank can double the weight of his present fifth wheel (which would put him in a quite handsome rig) and still be within an SRW's carrying capacity.

I've sort of come to that conclusion anyway.  I repair paint on vehicles for a living, and we did a lot of big units like this some years ago when the difference in the dollar made it lucrative to export used vehicles from Canada to the US.  One of our accounts specialized in this, in fact.  During those years, we saw a lot of dually pickups, and when myself or the boys had to drive them, we had to take a lot of care because of those wide hips when bringing them into the shop.  They are an awesome truck, but quite likely a whole lot more than I need, or will need in the foreseeable future.

I guess I'll pass on this unit, nice as it is.  There are always more trucks for sale, and we're not in a hurry.  Besides all that, the truck is black, and I always promised myself that I would never buy a black truck because they are such an awful thing to keep looking good.

Thanks, all, for your much appreciated input.

Frank.
 

cougar3514v

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My 31 foot 5er has a GVWR of around 11,000 (I can't remember exactly - the documentation is at home).  Anyway, I have a 2005 F-350 SRW LB CC PSD 4WD.  I also have a 5 year old son, and the thought of having to buy a Happy Meal at the drive through in a DRW was not comforting. 

I haven't driven through the west coast mountains, but I have towed the camper across I-26 through Asheville, NC (full of pot holes and east coast mountains) and I-95 through DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, etc. (lots of rough road and traffic), and I've never felt unsafe.  I can't compare it to a DRW since I've never towed with one.  I do know that my truck I have has done exceptionally well and has never failed to do what I've asked it to do.  As for stability, I haven't driven it through really strong winds yet, although I'm sure I will one day.  I might change my mind when that happens.

It's just my opinion.  Advice freely given is freely ignored.

-Dave
 

Frank B

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Well, we did it.  Bought an 06 GMC 3500 4x4 crewcab longbox SRW with 6.6L Duramax and SIX-speed Allison.  I'm glad now that I didn't buy that 04 dually.  We had to pay about 7 grand more for the 06, but we got a newer truck with less kilometers on it, and I don't have the issues with the wide hips of a dually.

The 06 has a revised turbo (whatever that means) as well as the 6-speed Allison, which I didn't even know was available until I read a report at Edmunds.  Probably worth the additional few grand we had to pay.

Edmunds 2006 comparison test

While the test was revealing, my decision to take the GM unit was based more on practical considerations specific to our needs.  The Dodge crew/long is really little more than an extended cab with 4 doors, with the rear seat being VERY small.  The Megacab addresses that, but only comes with a short box.

The Ford is an excellent package with the biggest and best rear seat of the three, but the 6.0 Navistar diesel has been plagued with major death-dealing injector problems to the extent that Ford is suing Navistar for warranty support on the failed engines.  It also has the highest bed of the three -- some 9 inches higher than our previous truck!

The GM is also the only unit with a fully independent front-end on the 4x4, which helps the ride.  It also has the lowest bed height of the three, which was a major consideration.  I can only raise my 5th about 4" before it won't fit in the garage anymore, and the bed of the GM is 6" higher than our previous truck.  If I drop the hitch the remaining inch that is left in the hitch height adjustment, we come pretty close.

Combine that with the fact that I do a lot of work for the GM dealer, and they wholesaled a unit to me -- I just couldn't pass it up.  :)

Frank.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Sounds like a real nice truck, Frank, and you got a good deal.  The 06 GMC 3500 is a great tow vehicle, although its styling is rather mundane compared to the new Fords and Dodges. I like the GMC front end styling, though. We have an GMC Acadia SUV, which has the same "family"  styling as all GMCs.
 
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