LOOKING FOR HELP WITH FIRST FIFTH WHEEL PURCHASE

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LLB

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Mar 4, 2019
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Hello:  First of all, thank you to anyone who reads this and reaches out!  My husband I currently have a 34' travel trailer that we leave on a seasonal lot in Wisconsin.  We are retiring soon and want to start traveling the country and upgrading to a fifth wheel for more ease of towing.  We will be using the fifth wheel as a weekend home base for six months in the summer.  We also want room in it for our three kids, significant others and two grandchildren when they come to occasionally visit.  Not usually at the same time.  (looking at the den design because of this).  In the winter, we would like to travel the country January through March.  Maybe spending a 2 to 4 weeks in Palm Springs, Padre Island or whatever else appeals to us along the way.  We know that going in and touring big cities may be an issue so we are prepared to drop our fifth wheel somewhere and even hotel it a few nights in areas not fifth wheel friendly.  We will be towing with a 2019 or 2020 F-350 Ford turbo diesel power stroke.  About 18,000 tow capacity.  QUESTIONS:  Looking at the Grand Design Solitude 375RES.  (dry weight of 14,200)  Also considering the Keystone Montana with same layout.  However, I like some of the features of Solitude better.  Also looking at the Vilano in a shorter model.  Den design getting up there in weight and cost.  We need rear living whatever we do because of our summer campground view.  Love the den and privacy that goes with it.  Great for summer and periods of longer stay.  However it is 41 feet.  Is that going to be a huge problem traveling with the non-dual axel truck and will we be able to find campgrounds to accommodate us.  We know that a lot of the National Parks may be an issue.  Any thoughts on models, lengths, towing, etc, are all appreciated!  The most important question I guess is the towing across country.  I do not weight the camper down with a lot so we would still have cushion with the Solitude.  However, I want to be safe.  Second most important question is the length and campgrounds.  Again, thanks for any time and info!
 

darsben

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May 30, 2018
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Central NY in summer beautiful Casa Grande AZ in w
We need to know the cargo capacity of your tow vehicle. You should be fine but the Grand Design Solitude 375RES will put about  4000 lbs on the bed of the truck hence the need to know what the cargo capacity of the truck is. There is a sticker somewhere on your tow vehicle.
The literature says the payload is about 7000 pounds + -.
 

Rob&Deryl

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Mar 27, 2017
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On the road from mid NH
Towing capacity and dry weight are not the numbers for figuring out trailers and tow rigs. You have seen adds with a pickup towing a jetliner. Not uphill and not trying to stop it going downhill.

GVWR of trailer and payload (GVWR - Dry weight = trailer payload).
GVWR of TV (Tow Vehicle) and payload of your truck (GVWR - actual weight = payload). There is a yellow bordered sticker on the door post showing the payload of that truck as it left the factory (they weigh each one). Brochure weights are for stripped down standard cab 2 wheel drive models.

A 5th wheel trailer will put about 20-25% of its weight on the TV. For planning purposes, use GVWR even if you think you will load light. Most people load more than they think.

The TV payload has to accommodate the passengers, coolers, pets, tools & the hitch plus the pin weight.

If you have not yet bought a truck, go to a dealer and ask to look at some similar to what you want. Be sure to see trucks with the same trim you want. Open the driver door and take a picture of the yellow bordered sticker on each. You will find variations depending on exactly which options it has.

Hope this helps.
 

LLB

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Mar 4, 2019
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Thanks to both of you for the information.  Very helpful.  Now to determine if the fifth wheel is too long for cross-county traveling and campgrounds in general.  Thanks again!  Any further input appreciated.
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
Posts
5,376
Think in terms like GVWR.  Dry weights are basically useless.  They include NOTHING, not even a battery or propane.  By the time you load up a large fiver you could easily approach thw trailers GVWR.  Same for the truck.  Load your truck up like your taking a trip and drive across a set of scales.  Be sure to get the rear axle scaled weight.  You can look up the trucks GVWR and RAWR.  Some simple math will tell you how much load carrying capacity you actually have.
 

Rob&Deryl

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Mar 27, 2017
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Location
On the road from mid NH
Rene T said:
With all the people you want to sleep in there, you may want to look into a toy hauler.

I was going to suggest that.

Many toy haulers convert the ramp into a deck and can have doors, screens etc between the ?garage? and deck. Some even have awnings over the deck. Most have or can have a pair of Queen Bunk Beds that can lift to the ceiling when not in use.

Many have a loft bed also.

For me, I would rather look at the lake from a deck than the bedroom. I am not in there much except when dark and spleeping.

Oh, and you could put a golf cart in the garage (or maybe a Honda Fit) for getting around.
 

Jeannine

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Joined
Apr 7, 2005
Posts
489
We having been towing 40 foot fifth wheels around the U.S. and Canada for over 20 years.  There are a few national park and other campgrounds we can't fit into, but not many.  We have never had to stay in a hotel when visiting a major city.
 

xrated

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Oct 24, 2016
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1,149
Location
"Murvil", E. TN.
LLB said:
Hello:  First of all, thank you to anyone who reads this and reaches out!  My husband I currently have a 34' travel trailer that we leave on a seasonal lot in Wisconsin.  We are retiring soon and want to start traveling the country and upgrading to a fifth wheel for more ease of towing.  We will be using the fifth wheel as a weekend home base for six months in the summer.  We also want room in it for our three kids, significant others and two grandchildren when they come to occasionally visit.  Not usually at the same time.  (looking at the den design because of this).  In the winter, we would like to travel the country January through March.  Maybe spending a 2 to 4 weeks in Palm Springs, Padre Island or whatever else appeals to us along the way.  We know that going in and touring big cities may be an issue so we are prepared to drop our fifth wheel somewhere and even hotel it a few nights in areas not fifth wheel friendly.  We will be towing with a 2019 or 2020 F-350 Ford turbo diesel power stroke.  About 18,000 tow capacity.  QUESTIONS:  Looking at the Grand Design Solitude 375RES.  (dry weight of 14,200)  Also considering the Keystone Montana with same layout.  However, I like some of the features of Solitude better.  Also looking at the Vilano in a shorter model.  Den design getting up there in weight and cost.  We need rear living whatever we do because of our summer campground view.  Love the den and privacy that goes with it.  Great for summer and periods of longer stay.  However it is 41 feet.  Is that going to be a huge problem traveling with the non-dual axel truck and will we be able to find campgrounds to accommodate us.  We know that a lot of the National Parks may be an issue.  Any thoughts on models, lengths, towing, etc, are all appreciated!  The most important question I guess is the towing across country.  I do not weight the camper down with a lot so we would still have cushion with the Solitude.  However, I want to be safe.  Second most important question is the length and campgrounds.  Again, thanks for any time and info!

The Grand Design Solitude GVWR is 16,800 lbs.  ALWAYS use a trailer's GVWR when sizing for a tow vehicle.  In this case, that comes out to 3360 lbs of pin weight when loaded fully....and probably a little over that amount.  A single axle F350 Diesel truck in Lariat trim is going to have around 3400 to MAYBE 3500 lbs of payload.  So what you need to be looking at, number wise is let's say 3400 lbs of pin weight, approx. 200 lbs for the 5ver hitch, and then anything and everything that goes in/on the truck.  Examples of that include....passengers, truckbed toolbox with tools, extra fuel, grill, firewood, etc, etc.  It would be pretty easy to get to 4000+ lbs of "payload" on the truck.  That number is either going to a F350 Dually, or possibly going with a Single Rear Wheel truck with a gas motor.  The gas motor doesn't weigh as much as the diesel and you pick up an additional 400-500 lbs of payload capacity.  If you are dead set on Diesel, then you need to do one of two things.......get a Dually for that amount of total weight on/in the truck, or....start looking at a smaller trailer with less GVWR.
 

grashley

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Joined
May 7, 2015
Posts
6,591
Location
Western Kentucky
Welcome to the Forum!

First, length should not be a problem.  National Park campgrounds are usually no hookup camping.  This may or may not be your style.  There will almost always be private campgrounds nearby with longer sites and full hookups.

You are talking about a BIG FW.  A SRW may not have the payload needed to handle the FW you need.  I have a 2013 F350 as in my sig.  It can handle my 15,500# GVWR camper, but absolutely no more!  I have 3543# of payload.  At 20% and 15,000#, I have 3000# of pin wt. Add 40# Andersen Ultimate hitch, and 450# passengers and car seat, for only 50# remaining payload.

Your new truck payload must be able to handle all passengers and cargo in the truck, plus the weight of the hitch (200# for conventional hitch), plus 20% of the actual loaded weight of the FW.  Use the GVWR of the FW as a good estimate, and anything less is a safety margin.
 
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