New Fifth Wheel - Weight Question

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moyaw

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Joined
Oct 21, 2005
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I am new to the forum and have been reading extensively over the last few weeks to educate myself on the world of 5th wheels. It has been a tremendous experience and have greatly benefitted from the knowledge shared!

We are preparing to purchase a new 5th wheel (currently pop-up owners)and want to use our current truck - 2001 GMC 2500HD EC SB SRW, rated at 15,800# for 5th wheel towing. My question:

We are very interested in an Excel 33RSE (GVWR 17,500) but comes in actual dry weight at ~13000. If we do not load the trailer over 14000 - 15000#, is it still a safe pull?

Our hope is to use the current GMC for a few years of occasional RVing, and upgrade truck when we retire and go to semi-fulltime.

I appreciate any thoughts you have.
 

2006F350

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Dec 6, 2005
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Memphis TN
Does SB mean Short Bed? Be sure the RV dealer and the hitch installer know as the setup will be different. Is your engine gas or diesel? Gas engines are pretty much underpowered for what you are wanting to pull. That 15,800lbs, is reduced by any passengers or cargo, gas, etc that you have in the truck. Is that number the GCWR? If so, you would need to subract the weight of the truck. Also, you need to consider any water in the holding tanks, full propane tanks, etc. Water is heavy and a few gallons adds up in a hurry. Full propane tanks are not light either. I'm not trying to talk you out of either your truck or trailer, personally though, I feel that you would be pushing the limits. Since you are new to 5W as am I, see my 'fiasco' in the 'I didn't know' topic. I don't want others to have to learn the same way I did.

Larry
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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west Los Angeles
We are preparing to purchase a new 5th wheel (currently pop-up owners)and want to use our current truck - 2001 GMC 2500HD EC SB SRW, rated at 15,800# for 5th wheel towing. My question:

We are very interested in an Excel 33RSE (GVWR 17,500) but comes in actual dry weight at ~13000. If we do not load the trailer over 14000 - 15000#, is it still a safe pull?

The short answer, no.

Go by the GVWR of the trailer.  If you do you start out with a deficit of 1,700#.  Around here we usually recommend a headroom of 10% to allow for hills, winds, and aging truck.  That head room would be 1750# more -- a difference of 3450# to the bad.    If you plan to travel in the mountain or Paciflc West, make that headroom 15-20%.

Since you considering holding your trailer till retirement you have to balance what you do.  Buy a smaller trailer to trade in later, or buy a bigger truck to use in retirement.  Is your prospective trailer one suitable for full time use -- structure, storage, quality, etc..  Is that 4 year old truck a better trade in now or later?  How many years till retirement?  Where do you live: in a Colorado or a Florida, ie. mountain country or flats.



 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At our Silver Springs FL home
First you need to work backward from the truck's GCWR and see if you really have 15,800 lb available for towing. Assuming you aren't alone in the truck and that you will surely have some gear in the truck bed (including the hitch itself), you almost certainly will net somewhat less than the max of 15,800 (which I'm guessing you got from a brochure and is based on GCWR minus the weight of an empty truck). Maybe its only 15,000 or maybe even 14,800 as you will actually be driving down the road.

Once you have the real tow capacity, think about the gamble you are making: you want to bet that you will always have a very modest load onboard. You can probably do it on day one and maybe a few trips thereafter, but your onboard weight will grow as you buy additional gear to enjoy while camping and as you begin to keep basic supplies permanently in the rig.  Then one day you will be headed out for some dry camping (boondocking) and decide you need to carry a full tank of water. How much is that - probably 400-800 lbs? Water weighs 8.4 lbs per gasllon and it adds up fast.  Or maybe the campground dump station is out of service and you need to drive to another place to empty your waste tanks.

Only you can decide what risks you are willing to take with your family, but the old hands here have learned that it is best to assume the RV will be at or near its GVWR.
 

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