Triple-towing question about hitches behind the Fiver

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waterdog

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Hi all, I am going to to be triple towing tagain this coming summer.  This time with a 3500 Dodge diesel pulling a 32ft 5th Wheel hooked to a boat/trailer.  I have done this before with a 3280 RL Montana with a Dodge 2500 diesel and it worked beautifully where we travel and camp/fish in ND and Saskatchewan, Canada.  Made many trips in that area and also from Baja, Mexico to Canada.  We were just at 75 feet total length.  Some states and provinces will not allow thatmuch  length or even triple towing at all.  We have the list of all states and provinces regulations pertaining to towing and lengths. 

My problem and question is that the boat hitch to the frame of the 5th Wheel was a good one, but I forget the brand name or make.  I had it installed at a machine shop in Oregon somewhere and have since sold that unit.  Now I want to have another boat hitch installed on the new Fiver and need some suggestions as to what to order and have installed.  Any suggestions would be appreciated...also any tips for this usage.  Has anybody else had a boat hitch installed on their Fiver?  Thanks.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The hitch is not the issue - it's the reinforcement of the frame on the fifth wheel to handle the hitch and a method of attaching it. A good hitch shop shoud be able to figure it out but it is likely to need some welding on the trailer chassis. It might be just as well to start with a welding shop arther than a hitch shop, but there are probably places that do both.
 

waterdog

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Thanks, RV Roamer.  That's about what I figured.  We will be looking up a welding shop with our request as soon as we visit a hitch supply house to select one of the adjustable heavy duty hitches..then get the whole lashup welded to the frame.  What fun!  Can't wait to get rolling!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Actually you weld the receiver to the frame, so you can pick any good quality 2 inch receiver and get it installed.  The hitch itself slides into the receiver and locks. The receiver tube is a standard size (2 inch for hitches up to 10,000 lbs) and so is the locking pin. You can choose your hitch (the part with the ball on it) later if you wish.  Any receiver by Reese, Drawtite, Putnam, etc. will work fine as long as it is of the appropriate weight rating for the trailer you intend to pull.
 

thefivers

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WaterDog, I am thinking about doing the same. Could you tell us what we need to look out for, such as driveways, parking lots,BACKING UP, etc. I'd guess that towing something with 2 pivot points has got to be difficult, any tips at all would be great...Thanks
 

Karl

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thefivers,

With a motor home/toad combo, common wisdom says "Don't back up". The front wheesl on the toad can turn full lock with possible damage to front-end components. A few feet in a straight line is sometimes o.k., but you have to be very careful. Seems to me that backing up a 2-hitch setup like your talking about falls into the category of "Don't even think about it". That would be like trying to push a car with a chain. Maybe someone has figured out a successful way to do it, but it will probably take a LOT of practice and patience. Probably a better bet would be to install a 2" receiver on the tow vehicle and eliminate the 'middle man' when trying to park or launch the boat.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Those who have experience backing farm wagons can probably back a triple tow - the problem is somewhat similar.

Backing a car behind a motorhome is not at all the same - the front car wheels are designed to "caster" when moving, which tends to keep them straight when going forward but whips them into an almost immediate turn when backing.  There is no caster effect with two trailers because neither one has a steerable axle and neither set of wheels has a caster angle. But multiple pivot points can scramble your brain in a hurry!
 

Karl

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But multiple pivot points can scramble your brain in a hurry!

Agree Gary, and that was my point. Besides, with a 5'er, the pivot point is so far forward that you must make some seriously large turns for relatively small movement of the rear of the toad(s). And many farmers do their own welding to repair damage; not sure I'd trust a welded or heat straightened front end piece.
 

Carl L

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If you have a tow vehicle, a 5W trailer, and a boat trailer in that order, you definitely have a problem in mobile geometry.  As Karl says, the backing character of a 5er is opposite to a hitch with a pivot point behind the forward vehicle.  Back that combo you will have a LOT of arm waving.

What is probably going to happen is that the boat is going to get unhitched if any serious backing is required.  Just as you would if you are going into a campground that has any issues about turning radii in its access roads --- which  is a awful lot of them.  However, with a boat trailer that is not much of a problem.  I suspect that any pickup involved with a boat trailer is going to have a hitch reciever already installed and will be carrying at last a Class II ball and mount -- the minimum to launch the boat from a ramp. 

Of course, it is conceivable that one could try to launch a boat hitched to a 5W.  The thought brings tears to the eyes of this old boat launching veteran.  ;D

 

04Duramax

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Back to the original question, has anyone here fabricated there own receiver hitch for their 5er? I am seriously considering welding my own custom setup. Seems to me you would have to modify any out of the box type hitch anyway, so why not just do it from scratch?
 

waterdog

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Hi again 04Duramax....just posted in the fishing walleyes dept after yours.  Small world...We meet again! 

I read this old post about hitches ......I am just in the process of buying another 5th Wheel and one of the options will be an installed boat hitch with a 4000# load capacity.  I will let you know how this comes out.  The Fiver I might be installing it on is a Bighorn by Heartland.  The dealership here says they do this quite a bit.  Lots of RVing fishermen hereabouts.

I also just looked at a Hitchhiker Discovery yesterday with an installed hitch.  That one was bolted to the frame.  Other brands also have them factory installed, like the Excel by Peterson Fivers. 

Hope we see you someday out there on the lake catching walleyes!  Good luck with the hitch.
 

motojavaphil

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I thought I'd piggyback onto this thread.  I am not a big fan of triple towing but am thinking about a receiver hitch on the back of the 5r.  I want to put a motorcycle carrier in it.  I need sufficent strength to carry the ramp and motorcycle(s), possibly up to 1000lbs.  Do they make receiver hitches capable of that load which would be tongue weight I guess?
 

Lou Schneider

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I need sufficent strength to carry the ramp and motorcycle(s), possibly up to 1000lbs.
The issue isn't whether the hitch has sufficient strength - it's whether the 5th wheel frame has sufficient strength to support that much weight cantilevered that far behind the rear axle.

Frame strength is directly related to the size and weight of the frame members.  Since manufacturers are acutely aware of the weight and cost of their products, I doubt you'll find a trailer overbuilt to that extent.
 

Carl L

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fastphil said:
I thought I'd piggyback onto this thread.? I am not a big fan of triple towing but am thinking about a receiver hitch on the back of the 5r.? I want to put a motorcycle carrier in it.? I need sufficent strength to carry the ramp and motorcycle(s), possibly up to 1000lbs.? Do they make receiver hitches capable of that load which would be tongue weight I guess?

In addition to Lou's reservations, I would add mine about the addition of a half ton of weight behind the axles and the rotation center of the trailer.  A fiver needs weight on the hitch for stability.  That load is going to subtract weight and will tend to de-stabilize your rig.  That could well make freeway pitching into a real nightmare.
 

manhattan

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considering towing a 5X10 open utility trailer with my Goldwing  behind a 30ft Fiver bike weighs 825 lbs trailer has 16 inch wheels single axle.
Would this work? noticed some Fivers have trailer hitches on them.

manhattan from Keller TX
 

Carl L

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manhattan said:
considering towing a 5X10 open utility trailer with my Goldwing behind a 30ft Fiver bike weighs 825 lbs trailer has 16 inch wheels single axle.
Would this work? noticed some Fivers have trailer hitches on them.

manhattan from Keller TX

Problems.

1.  Triple tows are illegal in a number of states and others require special licensing.

2.  What do you do with the bloody trailer when you get to a campground.  Even if the CG has parking for the utility trailer, you will be going thru a kabuki dance to get it to that parking space. 

3.  Backing the triple tow, while possible, will be wonderous fun -- not.

There is a reason why toy haulers are the rapidly growing genre of trailers that they are.
 
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