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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We went from tent to pop-up and are now looking to go to 5th wheel for retirement. We want to make sure we get the right tow vehicle for a 5th wheel weighing approx. 13000 lbs dry. Looking to get 3 to 4 slides about 34 feet. Thinking about a GMC SIERRA 2500HD EXT CAB. NO SHORT BED.

Anyone who would like to share their experience and knowledge or just say hello would be welcomed..

Thanks Dennis

:icon_smile_bbq:
 

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You are making quite a jump. First never repeat never give any consideration to dry weight figures. They are NOT what the unit weighs leaving the factory and are bogus because they don't even include the weight of the batteries or propane tanks. The figure you want to go by is the GROSS weight of the unit which will be found inside usually on the inside of a cabinet or door. Second when considering a tow vehicle the rule I use is find a vehicle that is rated above what the gross of the RV by at least 15%. As an example my Dodge diesel has a tow capacity of a bit under 12,000 so our toy hauler maxed out as we tow ie with our Polaris RZR, water and gear weighs 8600 lbs but can handle 10,000. With a fiver you can figure 15-20% of the RVweight on the hitch what this means is that unless it's a small fiver say 30 ft or less this calls for a dully or one ton. If you tow at all in mountains you will not be happy with a gas truck. I know diesel is expensive but the hill climbing torque of diesel is quickly apparent and as for the difference in cost between the two fuels that will be offset by the higher effeciency of diesel. This may not be what you want to hear but I've never heard anyone complain that they bought too big a truck but sure have that bought small. And then there is the safety factor most fifth wheel owners will tell you that a one ton makes for a safer tow. And another thing don't believe the truck salesman or the RV salesmen when they tell you you can pull this with that easy, all they want to do is make the sale. It's YOUR job to find out how much weight that fifth wheel will put on your truck's rear axle LOADED and make sure you have that much axle capacity. Hope I didn't scare you off but I strongly believe in towing safely and hope you do too. The experience of looking for an RV from a dealer is much the same as buying the truck ie not very pleasant but do your homework and you'll do just fine. Good luck and let us know how you come out, happy camping Gerry
 

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If the trailer you are looking at is 13,000 dry (unladen weight or curb weight), it sounds like too much trailer for a 3/4 ton GMC already. Like Gerry says and I will also emphasize you MUST look at the Gross Weight of the 5er, then calculate 18% to 25% of the total weight will be carried on the rear axles. This will help determine how much truck you need.

You have not given us enough information to answer your question, but this is what you need to know:

- Gross Weight of the trailer. This subracted from 13,000 is your Cargo weight (for water, propane, batteries, gear, addons, accessories, ANYTHING you put in the rig is included in this number. RV salesmen are not your friends and will try to sell you a rig based on when it's empty. After you drive it off the lot, it will NEVER be that light again.

- Pin Weight - This is the weight carried by the Truck when hitched up or by the front landing legs when not hitched up. This gets ADDED to the rear axle and the gross weights of the tow vehicle.

- Weight Ratings of the Tow Vehicle - Curb weight (the weight of the tow vehicle, you as the driver and all the fluids including fuel), Tow weight ratings (bumper & fifth wheel), GVWR and CGVWR. Subtracting the Curb Weight from the other weight ratings will tell you how much you can carry or tow.

- Just because one weight is under the rating, doesn't mean all weights are under rating. A 3/4 ton usually misses at the rear axle weight rating, and/or the GVWR and/or the CGVWR. If ANY weight is over the rating, YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT.

- Having a diesel does not mean you can tow anything you want! Other factors include suspension, differential, brakes, shocks brackets and hardware, wheels and tires, etc., etc., etc.

- Just because you are overweight and you don't notice a problem with towing doesn't mean you won't have one. They are plenty enough stories of failures that others have had when you are within weight ratings, why push it!!! If you are found liable in an accident and you are determined to be overweight, YOUR INSURANCE may NOT cover you, because you are responsible for checking this and must be within compliance. You can imagine the lawsuit for "neglect" (ignorance is considered neglect).

It sounds like you might need more to know before making your choice. Us fellow RVers appreciate you asking about this. If you need any more explanation, no question is DUMB!!! This must be very well understood. As rigs are getting heavier, the problems are getting worse.

Be safe out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey Gerry

Gerry, You are very correct this is a big jump for us and I am in no rush to make it. I plan on retiring in 2 years and plan on doing some extensive research and thinking on the matter.

I do agree whole heartly with your view on having more tow vehicle than I may actually need. So what you had to say I was glad to hear because it just helps to solidify in my mind how important it is to do this right.

As for the diesel I am seriously considering it. I thought about this today and I did figure the fuel will be offset by the effeciency and after a quick calculation I believe that around 50,000 miles would be the break even point.

We live in Florida and we want to use the fiver as you call it to basically live in as a second home for a couple, three months during the Florida summer. So the mountains are a place we will surely be driving to and through. If we are going to spend that much time I feel we will definately want a good size camper to be comfy in.

Anyway thanks a bunch for responding. Happy days...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey artmart

artmart, I want to thank you for all the good points you brought to my query. I find I have to read and re-read these points to really get a grasp on them. Bottom line though is safety and piece of mind along with alittle comfort is paramount. So if I am going to do this I will have to make sure I do this right and be prepared to cash in some bling to help pay for it all. I think I will be looking for GMC SIERRA 3500HD with a DURAMAX diesel with a 4.10 rear. If that ain't enough tell me what is.


Thanks again. Happy days...
 
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