Proper truck to tow a fifth wheel trailer

hoosierdoc

Grandmaster
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
8   0   0
Apr 27, 2011
24,912
149
Indianapolis
My wife and I want to get a fifth wheel which means my new car gets to be a truck. My dad has a half ton short bed truck i could get a good deal on but when I am reading is 3/4 ton and full length bed is preferable.

Anyone have advice for me on what to look for? I'd be buying used on truck and fifth wheel. Really need a full size cab as the boys will be full size soon :):
 

churchmouse

I still care....Really
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
182   0   0
Dec 7, 2011
183,601
0
Speedway area
Yes just get the dually. Stability over all.
My dad did the upgrades to his half ton and almost got pushed off Mont Eagle. Bought a 2/4 ton single and it did the work but he always wished he had upped to the dually.
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Jul 7, 2021
77
18
central indiana
You didn't mention rv length or weight, but you'll regret anything less than 3/4 ton, 1 ton would be ideal. A 1/2 ton would certainly pull it, but good luck stopping. Or coasting down hill. Or navigating a sweeping turn on interstate. A 1/2 would equal a lot of white-knuckle driving.
 

churchmouse

I still care....Really
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
182   0   0
Dec 7, 2011
183,601
0
Speedway area
It is great that doc is getting the horse before the cart and not backward, but what are you looking for in a trailer? All this advice is based on a big trailer. There are many fifth wheel trailers towed all over with single wheel trucks. Heck it may be hard to park at the hospital parking lot with a big dually...
Truth here. How big a rig makes all the difference.
 

Bugzilla

Marksman
Site Supporter
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Apr 14, 2021
426
63
DeMotte
Ford truck enthusiast has a thread just on towing. May be worth looking into. I have a 1 ton F350 gas. Used to tow a 30’ Jayflight tag just fine. We downsized to a 26’ wildwood tag. Ordered my truck with the 4.3 rear end. Be hard to find that on a used truck. Based on the 5th wheel trailer size, the duelly is a big benefit. On the size of the truck, you never want the tail to wag the dog. Auto brochure.com you can review auto brochures to review the towing capacities of the vehicle you are looking at.
 

eldirector

Grandmaster
Rating - 100%
10   0   0
Apr 29, 2009
14,328
113
Brownsburg, IN
IMHO: not 1500 series and not short bed.

The 1500 series might actually be rated for the weight, but a 2500 or 3500 will have heavier brakes, heavier frame and is more suitable for something like a 5th. They also have the optional long bed, specifically to support 5ths and larger loads.

You can get a 5th hitch in a small bed. The issue is more clearance at the back of the cab for the trailer. Assuming the trailer is a camper? If you want to make tight turns, you will need more room to the cab. Otherwise, the camper will hit well before you hit 90*. They DO make offset hitches, but they are a bandaid, not a fix.

Dually is all about stability. If your trailer will be top heavy, will have tall sides (acts like a sail in high winds), or will have shifting weight (horses or livestock), you may appreciate the dually. Not required for something small, light, and low.
 

long coat

Expert
Rating - 100%
15   0   0
Jun 6, 2010
1,587
38
Avon
Like others have said, get the 3/4 or 1 ton truck.
A 1/2 could have a 5.5ft bed and you will hit the cab with the trailer.

If you get a short bed (6.5ft) get a slider 5th wheel hitch. You have to unlock them, but they slide back and you will have more room from the cab to trailer.
 

sparky32

Sharpshooter
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Feb 5, 2013
722
63
Morgantown
If you get a slider get an autoslider. (shortbed) The hitch moves back by itself as you turn to bring clearance to the doghouse.

Really I would figure out your camper specs and what your truck payload is you are looking at.

I run a 2500 diesel and have probably been overloaded a few times but was not on highways or interstates.
 

HoughMade

Grandmaster
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Oct 24, 2012
30,891
149
Valparaiso
But seriously, folks...as mentioned above, I think you pick out your trailer first, then decide what truck has the specs you need. My in-laws used to tow a 30' fifth wheel with slide outs, small in the 5th wheel game, but great for them, with a Silverado 2500 and a 6.0L. It did fine.

Anyhoo- digression. Whenever I stop to think about it, we may have fond memories of the way things used to be, but I sold used trucks, mostly GM, but all kinds, in the early '90s. The most powerful engines I usually dealt with in 3500s were the 454 which had 230hp and the 6.5L TD at about 180-190...both with less than 400 ft lbs of torque. Even my 2007 Silverado 1500 has 90 more horsepower and just a little less torque. Everything you can buy today is so much better than what was available 20 years ago. It's stunning. Even the then-new Cummins 5.9L diesel was 160 hp and 400 ft lbs.
 

hoosierdoc

Grandmaster
Site Supporter
Rating - 100%
8   0   0
Apr 27, 2011
24,912
149
Indianapolis
Thanks guys. I'm anticipating something around 33' length and 8-9000lb. I have seen the sliding fifth wheel attachment for short beds, i don't think i want to do that.

Also don't want to drive a dually as my daily driver, or have it as a spare vehicle. I also don't want to be dangerous driving down the road.

Maybe i need to look at a shorter trailer that's a bit lighter and a 3/4 ton truck.
 

Products discussed on INGO

Top Bottom