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mtedonohue

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Joined
Feb 3, 2007
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3
Just to introduce myself. After backpacking and "Cadillac camping" for years, my husband and i have decided to purchase a trailer.  Getting to old to sleep in a tent on the ground. After much debate, we have decided on a fifth wheel. I already own a truck and we have just started looking and narrowing down the "must haves" from the "want to's. I think we are at the most confused stage.  I've lurked off and on for a few years while we were entertaining the idea. Looking forward to the insights and hints we can gain through this forum.
 

Tom

Administrator
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Jan 13, 2005
Posts
49,194
Welcome to our forum.

Before buying a trailer, let us know which truck you have so our trailer/towing experts can advise you what your towing limits would be.
 

Wendy

Site Team
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May 14, 2005
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Colorado
Glad you came out of lurkdom. Lots of folks here can answer your questions about towing. And lots of us have given up sleeping on the ground in a tent for the more comfortable RV life.

Enjoy
Wendy
 

Ron

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Jan 29, 2005
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18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
Welcome to the RV Forum. Please look around the forum,  join in on any of the on going discussions, start new discussions, or ask questions.
 

mtedonohue

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Posts
3
I have a 2006 Chevy Silverado (1500) with the tow package. 5.8L dual fuel.
We want to keep the max trailer weight 20% under what the truck is rated for because we like to camp in the Sierra's and I though if I stayed pretty conservative on the weight of the loaded trailer I would be better off. The owners manual says it can have a 1,500 lb kingpin weight (since we are looking at fifth wheels) and I am supposed to be able to tow 9,700 lbs. So I am looking for a 25 ft, fifth wheel with a queen size bed that runs lengthwise in the trailer (my husband and I are both tall) and I am looking for a maximum loaded weight of 7,700 lbs. Does this sound "do able" ? I want to stick with a fifth wheel because they seem to be easier to control on the road and also because I think they have tighter turning radius' then the travel trailers.
Do you think I am heading down the right path?
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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west Los Angeles
mtedonohue said:
I have a 2006 Chevy Silverado (1500) with the tow package. 5.8L dual fuel.
We want to keep the max trailer weight 20% under what the truck is rated for because we like to camp in the Sierra's and I though if I stayed pretty conservative on the weight of the loaded trailer I would be better off. The owners manual says it can have a 1,500 lb kingpin weight (since we are looking at fifth wheels) and I am supposed to be able to tow 9,700 lbs. So I am looking for a 25 ft, fifth wheel with a queen size bed that runs lengthwise in the trailer (my husband and I are both tall) and I am looking for a maximum loaded weight of 7,700 lbs. Does this sound "do able" ? I want to stick with a fifth wheel because they seem to be easier to control on the road and also because I think they have tighter turning radius' then the travel trailers.
Do you think I am heading down the right path?

I do not know.  First of all, Chevrolet makes a 4.3, a 4.8, a 5.3, and a 6.0L in the 1500, but not a 5.8.  Is your truck the short wheel base or the long wheel base?  Does it have 4wd or not?  Regular cab, extended cab, or crew cab?  What is its axle ratio?

In so far as 5th wheels vs. travel trailers are concerned, you have it exactly 180 out as far as turning radius is conserned.  The hitch system of the travel trailer permits it to track the turning radius of the tow vehicle more closely that the hitch system of a 5th wheel.  In short a 5er must turn wide to avoid obstructions on the inside of the turn.    The arguement of the stability of a 5er vs. a TT has gone on almost forever.  With out getting into an almost religious discussion, let me just say that a TT properly set up with a good weight distributing hitch with a good antisway system is a safe, stable unit, with a x-section to side and head winds that is lower than a 5er.  Finally a 25 foot TT will have more flat floorspace than a 25 foot 5er.

Your safety factor of 20% in tow ratings is point on.  You will need all the margin you can get to get up to places like South Lake, or even Mammoth Lakes, much less Tioga Pass.  The air is thin up there and the switch backs steep and endless.

 

mtedonohue

New member
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Posts
3
Carl,
my Silverado is a 5.3 Litre engine, extended cab, 2 wheel drive, axle ratio is 3.73, short or long wheel base I can not find that information, however axle to axle is 143". The owners manual says Maximum trailer weight is 7,900 lbs and GCWR is 13,000 lbs. So I was thinking maximum trailer weight that I would want to tow would be approx. 6,300 lbs.
Does having it 180 out as far as the turning radius goes mean I have it backwards?  Noted on the TT with more flat floor space, will re look at those again especially in light of the turning radius.
Let me know with the additional information if I am on the right track.
Edison Lake in the Sierra's is our target on worst grades to tow the trailer up. Although I know there are steeper and longer grades in the Rockies.
 

Carl L

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Joined
Mar 14, 2005
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7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
my Silverado is a 5.3 Litre engine, extended cab, 2 wheel drive, axle ratio is 3.73, short or long wheel base I can not find that information, however axle to axle is 143". The owners manual says Maximum trailer weight is 7,900 lbs and GCWR is 13,000 lbs. So I was thinking maximum trailer weight that I would want to tow would be approx. 6,300 lbs.

You are thinking right.  Owners manuals are usually definitive.

Does having it 180 out as far as the turning radius goes mean I have it backwards? 

Yup.  Remember those signs on the back of 18 wheeler semi trailers?  The signs that say "This vehicle makes wide turns"?  The semi hitch system is a 5th wheel system. 

Edison Lake in the Sierra's is our target on worst grades to tow the trailer up.

Ah, west side.  The spots I mentioned were east side Sierra.  South Lake for instance is at 9800 ft.    At that altitude you lose 29% of your engine's HP.  (3% per 1000 feet)

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
Posts
75,278
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At my Silver Springs FL home
Does having it 180 out as far as the turning radius goes mean I have it backwards?

Not sure - you may be talking about a different thing than Carl when you say "turning radius".  A fifth wheel trailer turns inside the to vehicle's track while a travel trailer follows the tow vehicle very closely. That's because of the different location of the hitch pivot point. So in that sense, a 5W does have a tighter turning radius but that is usually viewed as a disadvantage, since it can lead to kissing trees and rocks along the inside edge of the curve.
 

chrpennings

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Posts
262
Combined total lenght of truck and 5 th.wheel will be much shorter then a 25 ft. trailer truck combination.

chris
 

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