Loading and Types of 5th Wheels

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motojavaphil

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The debate between a Class A or 5er is pretty close to resolved with the 5er getting the nod due to its pricing and economy of upkeep.  We are looking at the Alpha Series and Excel.  Both seem well made and will serve as a fulltime home.  We want 4 slides and 36+ feet.  One of the problems has been hauling up to two motorcycles around.  I have a little 6X10 enclosed trailer I could attache to the rear but that seems like a lot of vehicles in a row.  Any suggestions?  Are the Excel and Alpha lines good rigs for the fulltimer?  We plan to haul with a one ton diesel pickup.  Will that be sufficient with a large 5th wheel?  I understand about weights and would definitely check them but the on-road, real life driving has me concerned.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Phil
 

Jeannine

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fastphil said:
One of the problems has been hauling up to two motorcycles around.  I have a little 6X10 enclosed trailer I could attache to the rear but that seems like a lot of vehicles in a row.  Any suggestions?  Are the Excel and Alpha lines good rigs for the fulltimer?  We plan to haul with a one ton diesel pickup.  Will that be sufficient with a large 5th wheel?  I understand about weights and would definitely check them but the on-road, real life driving has me concerned.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Phil

We are full timers towing a 40' Alfa Gold with a 1 ton diesel pickup.  You will probably want an exhaust brake, or an Allison transmission.  We have seen several medium duty trucks towing 5th wheels with the motorcycles carried on the truck.

Jeannine
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You probably should be thinking of an F450/F550 or Chevy Kodiak class  of truck for that size rig - something more than a 22,000 lb GCWR, at any rate.  You are going to be stretching it even at a 26,000 lb GCWR.
 

Carl L

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One of the problems has been hauling up to two motorcycles around.? I have a little 6X10 enclosed trailer I could attache to the rear but that seems like a lot of vehicles in a row.? Any suggestions?

Yeah, get a 5th wheel toy hauler.? ?Double tows are illegal in a number of states and a pain in all.? ?Toy haulers store the bikes inside the trailer with the back wall folding down to form a ramp.

As far as truck required to tow, use the Traler Life tow rating tables on their website to determine which truck.? Use the GVWR of the trailer to determine which trailer for the truck.  Allow at least 10% headroom in the tow ratings, 15% the mountain west.
 

motojavaphil

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Thank you all for the sound advice.  I currently have a 36' toy hauler, Idletime, and will be selling it in preparation for retirement.  I have not found the toy haulers to be good full time rigs lacking people space and a home atmosphere.  Regular 5r's seem to be more people oriented and set up for fulltime.  The toy haulers I have seen tend to be rigs designed with the weekend or vacation in mind.  Have I missed something along the way?

Using a medium duty truck seems ideal although looking at a few on line they are priced quite high.  I know they are known for longevity and an investment up front will give me many years beyond the trailer I am hauling.  Do they drive well when not towing?  What sort of fuel consumption can one expect from them?  Going to get groceries in one makes me smile but my wife sort of cringes at the the thought.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Using a medium duty truck seems ideal although looking at a few on line they are priced quite high.  I know they are known for longevity and an investment up front will give me many years beyond the trailer I am hauling.  Do they drive well when not towing?  What sort of fuel consumption can one expect from them?  Going to get groceries in one makes me smile but my wife sort of cringes at the the thought.

"Medium duty truck" [MDT] covers a lot of territory. Some are huge and some are overgrown pick-up trucks.  There are custom RV haulers based on the Ford F550 or Chevy Kodiak 5500 that are quite civilized and would handle most 5W's in the range you are looking at. Or just get an F550 with the optional pick-up body. F550's can be configured with a GCWR from 26,000 lbs up to 33,000 lbs and I'm sure the Chevy Kodiaks are similar.

Mileage isn't bad - the diesels in this type of truck can deliver up to the high teens when not loaded.  And they ride quite decently, though not in the Cadillac class.  The largest MDTs could be in the low teens, though. 

Taking a full size, long bed, crew cab pick-up to a restaurant or drugstore requires some extra care, though. The problem is length - you are looking at a vehicle that is 21-22 feet long. And that's independent of whether it is an F350 or an F550, so it is not really an MDT problem per se.  Parking slots, especially in strip malls and restaurant lots, are geared to vehicles in the 14-16 foor size range. Supermarkets and Walmarts are less of a problem since they usually have large lots. You may wanr to park at the far end of the lot to get some extra room, though.
 

Carl L

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fastphil said:
Thank you all for the sound advice.? I currently have a 36' toy hauler, Idletime, and will be selling it in preparation for retirement.? I have not found the toy haulers to be good full time rigs lacking people space and a home atmosphere.? Regular 5r's seem to be more people oriented and set up for fulltime.? The toy haulers I have seen tend to be rigs designed with the weekend or vacation in mind.? Have I missed something along the way?

Nope.  That is my observation too, tho in my case my observing is a bit on the platonic side -- my ORV pulls the trailer and full timing is not in my future.    ;D

Using a medium duty truck seems ideal although looking at a few on line they are priced quite high.  I know they are known for longevity and an investment up front will give me many years beyond the trailer I am hauling.  Do they drive well when not towing?  What sort of fuel consumption can one expect from them?  Going to get groceries in one makes me smile but my wife sort of cringes at the the thought.

Fuel consumption will probably be a wash with a large pickup.  It is the trailer weight and its aerodynamics. that drops the mileage penalty on you, not the truck.

Grocery runs vary in difficulty.  I drive my Bronco, a bob-tailed F-150, around Los Angeles.  Parking slots are tiny here.  I have to strategize my parking to be sure of not being pinned before returning to the truck after shopping.  However, out in the sticks, wide trucks are common and the parking is geared to them.  No problemos there.    Long trucks can always take up two remote spots in the lot.  I have even been able to park a hitched trailer in that manner.

One advantage of a MDT is that some of the things come with a toy box just behind the cab.  Look around, you should find some.  Here one example:  http://www.skyaid.org/rv/MDT.html

 

motojavaphil

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Again I'd like to thank you for the sound advice and positive feedback.  I think I have found a solution.  We found a 5r called the Puresport which is a toyhauler and made by Pilgram International, www.pilgrimintl.com, that has just about anything a fulltimer could want with a garage.  We like the 38-3L-5 floor plan although as we get closer that could change.  It has lots of storage, nice appointments, well made drawers etc., is four seasons, has three slides, has a dry hitch weight of 2750lbs, dry weight of 13265lbs and a GVWR of 18000lbs.  Needless to say it has all the things we'd want from what I can see. 

Has anyone had experience with Pilgram International and possibly the Puresport series?  We have been going to American RV in Albuquerque to see these units and have been treated poorly due to our reluctance to make an immediate purchase.  I will not be purchasing nor servicing through them and realize going in that this Dealer will not make a difference for us.  Is the factory responsive to customers in anyones experience?  Any experience and advice would be appreciated.
 

Carl L

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If it looks good, it probably is good.  Trailers, TT or 5ers, are simple boxes stuffed with standard brand appliances which carry their own mfr. warranties.    However, that 18,000 lb GVWR is going to require a lot of truck.  Being that you live in the mountain west, I would want a truck with nothing less than a 20,400 lbs of tow rating.  (GVWR of trailer plus 15%).

If the local dealer stinks, consider trying for direct purchase and delivery from the factory.  Give them a call and see if it can be arranged -- and let them know why you are doing so.  You are going to spend more than a bit of money on this one so a drive to Indiana would be worth the trip.  Allow a week or so there for a pre-acceptance inspection and time for deficiency corrections. 
 

motojavaphil

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Thanx Carl for the info.  Just a a quick question on this towing issue.  I figure a 1 ton should do this and pulled out my handy tow specs for my current Cummin's 2500 for 04.  They listed the 1 ton as well and it looks like even the 04 1 ton cannot tow this 5r.  I looked at the Ford site and it looks like their 1/2 ton could pull what my 3/4 ton cummin's can pull (16,000lbs).  Got to give it to Ford :eek:(humor).  In anycase the straight up on the towing issue is that I suspect a 1 ton should do the job and am planning accordingly.  Am I off base on this?  I plan to stick to the Dodge flavor but am open to others.  Thank you again... 
 

Carl L

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fastphil said:
Just a a quick question on this towing issue.? I figure a 1 ton should do this and pulled out my handy tow specs for my current Cummin's 2500 for 04.? They listed the 1 ton as well and it looks like even the 04 1 ton cannot tow this 5r.? I looked at the Ford site and it looks like their 1/2 ton could pull what my 3/4 ton cummin's can pull (16,000lbs).? Got to give it to Ford :eek:(humor).? In anycase the straight up on the towing issue is that I suspect a 1 ton should do the job and am planning accordingly.? Am I off base on this?? I plan to stick to the Dodge flavor but am open to others.? Thank you again...?

I don't know where you got your F150 numbers from but the Trailer Life numbers for 2006 indicate it would take a bit more than two F150s to tow your trailer.? ?Better you should look at the F450s and F550s.? ?Even there it requires the 6.0L TD and a 4.30 or 4.88 (!) rear end.?

Dodge and GM have nothing to pull your rig according to those tables.? ?Not surprising tho.? With a 18,000 GVWR you have moved out of pickup country and into medium duty truck country.? Especially in the mountain west.? ?If I were you, I would start looking at medium trucks.? ?I suspect the price differential between them and super heavy pickups would be nominal.? ?

By the way, 3/4 ton and 1 ton designations seem to be almost meaningless -- especially as far as towing is concerned.? Deal with published numbers for specific models.? ? Add about 15% to GVWR or fully laden weight to allow for hill climbing at high altitudes out here in the west and Pacific coast.? ?You will need that kind of headroom for humping over those long, long 6% grades over 7000 ft high passes.    Don't kind yourself about light loading.  You won't.  No one does.
 

motojavaphil

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I was cruising the offiicial Ford site and they were tossing those numbers around on their F150.  Lots of pride there but I suspected they were slightly tilted!  Anything to sell a truck!  Thanx for the info!
 

motojavaphil

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It looks like an MDT is in my future.  Thank you for the guidance on this.  I was talking to my wife about it as she is a bit intimidated by a Freightliner MDT and rigs of that nature.  We did some critical thinking on it tho and determined we would be buying a new/used 5r every 3 to 5 years depending on the itch and the finances.  An MDT would last us at least 10 years and more, be able to tow anything we hooked up to and therefore would be a sound investment.  A one ton would have more wear during that time and probably require earlier replacement.  Do you know of any good websits for used MDT's?  I see them in TL but surely there are other resources.  I found a 95 FL60, with sleeper for 27,500 and had only 20,000 miles.  Trouble was it had dual rear axles and looked way too big for our needs.
 

2006F350

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Definately check out the F450's and 550's. I have an F350 with the tow boss package (4:30LS) duals, and according to Ford's Trailer and Towing Guide, I have a max 5W rating of 19,000+ Lbs. I've seen a couple F450 with the bed option. They look good. If I had known that a bed was available, I would have gone the 450 route, but I'm not in any way knocking my 350. It has the King Ranch package, so it is extremely plush by P/U standards. From what I gather, the 450 is not much more that a 350 (sticker for mine was $49K because of all the options, but I got it during the big 3 price wars last fall, and paid significantly less). The 6.0L engine has had some serious issues, but they pretty much seem to have been taken care of. I am extremely happy with my setup.

I looked at a few Pilgrims while shopping for our 5W last fall. Liked what we saw, but the inventory was rather scarse at the time. The dealer told us most of his inventory was 'obtained' for the Katrina relief, and it would be at least a month before he was back up to speed. I don't remember for sure, but if the toy hauler you are looking at is the same one we saw at the dealer, it is very nice.

If you are unhappy with the way your dealer is treating you, definately contact the factory, or if you have the time, another dealer a bit further away.

Larry
 

motojavaphil

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Thanx for the great advice Larry.  Obviously you have read the thread and know what we have been talking about.  We have some time and lots of research to do.  The F450/F550 we are going to look at this weekend.  I also want to look at the Chevy and Freightliner MDT's.  Should be educational.  Our local dealer is stressed due to a big sale and they are moving to become the Albuquerque Camping World.  I hope they will change their attitude once they complete their move.  If not then one should avoid them as making the almighty buck is only part of the equation to customer satisfaction.  I do not want to give them a thumbs down but I have never been treated like that in any RV dealership.  Like I say they were stressed and time will tell the rest of the tale.  How does the 4:30 rearend affect mileage in a non-tow situation?
 

2006F350

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Not the greatest by economy car standards. I average high 14's in town driving, and run close to 20 on the highway empty. It doesn't seem that good, but it is better that what I was getting with my previous 2000 F150 Supercab with the 5.4L gasser. All in all, considering that empty I'm moving a 7000+ Lb truck, I cant complain. Last trip we made, comming back from Austin TX back to Memphis TN, we were running just over 12MPG pulling the 5er. I try to keep the RPM's at or just under 2000, which is 62MPH. Get passed on the interstates a lot, but it not so bad traveling a bit slower ... saw a lot of 'new' things on that trip that I hadn't seen before traveling at 75.

Larry
 

motojavaphil

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I have a question which hit me as I was looking at MDT's.  There are a lot of big trucks, some single axle, which have 100,000 miles or less, with sleeper cabs and great motors for a decent price.  Is it possible to modify one of these to tow a 5r?  Seems like you could tow anything with one and they would last a very long time.  Anyone tried something like this?
 

Carl L

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fastphil said:
I have a question which hit me as I was looking at MDT's.? There are a lot of big trucks, some single axle, which have 100,000 miles or less, with sleeper cabs and great motors for a decent price.? Is it possible to modify one of these to tow a 5r?? Seems like you could tow anything with one and they would last a very long time.? Anyone tried something like this?

Not I,? but there are companies that make tow beds.? Here is one http://www.cowboycadillac.com/ourbed.htm? ? Try an advance Google advanced search containing all the worrds:? trailer towing "medium duty truck" .? ? The quotation marks are critical
 

motojavaphil

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Carl, Thanx for the response.  I was not clear.  I was referring to the "big trucks", i.e., commercial semi's, 18 wheeler types.  Looks like they could pull anything we put on the back of it.  I noted there were some with single axles.  I know nothing of these rigs and was just wondering if this had been tried?
 

Trap

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Titanium Makes aTH 5'er Model 36E41MPRV.  Check them out at WWW.glendalerv.com
Dry Weight 11,338lbs.
Dry Hitch Weight 2,754lbs.
GVWR 15,000 lbs.

These are well made solid 4 Season units.
That should work with Ford F-350 DRW Tow Boss

Good Luck on Your new adventure.

Trap
 
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