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View Full Version : New to the 5th Wheel life and I could use some help!


HappyHaulin
08-24-2008, 03:05 AM
Soo my boyfriend and I are in the process of buying a 5th wheel right now, we're getting everything in order and planning our trip and what not, I have about a year to figure everything out. By I am very new to this and I was wondering if anyone could answer a couple of questions for me. I was wondering if there are weight restrictions or anything like that, also if it is legal to pull a fifth wheel on your truck and a car on the the back of the fifth wheel?? SO i guess length restrictions? Do you have to stop at weigh-in stations or anything? If anyone knows of any good and helpful websites I would be very greatful. We are planning on touring the country kind of, so also any suggestions on must see places let me know! I'm so excited, thank you anyone for your help!

Motor31
08-24-2008, 11:29 AM
There are weight restrictions based on your tow vehicle. Do NOT believe the RV salesman when he says you can tow anything with your truck. Look for and compare the figures of what the truck is rated to tow and the max weight of the trailer to include the pin weight. Keep in mind that the empty weight is almost certainly going to be lower than reality and no one tows an empty trailer to use. Look for the loaded or GVW of the trailer and make sure the truck is rated for it. That also includes the "toad" or vehicle you intend to tow behind the trailer for the load.

The tow vehicle is most likely where you will get in trouble given the situation you are thinking of. Again the RV salesman is NOT your friend in this situation so do not rely on them to determine what you need to tow, especially double towing! A one ton PU is still a light duty truck and has a finite limit on what it's capable of towing. Just getting it rolling down the road is not the main factor. You have to be able to control the load and stop it. Your stopping distance towing will be much longer than the truck alone.

Not all trailers are built with a frame you can hang a hitch on to tow something behind it. You'll also need a brake for the vehicle behind the trailer as well.

Some states do have a restriction on towing double. You can get a truckers atlas at a truck stop and look in there for the list of states that do not allow double towing.

As long as you are not commercial you do not need t stop at weigh stations unless they require RV's to stop as well as commercial trucks. If they do they will have a sign saying RV's must stop. So far I haven't found a state that does in the 36 states we have been in.

Look at this site www.escapees.com and go to the forums for info. If you can't find the answer to your question there, it probably doesn't exist. :wink:

HappyHaulin
08-25-2008, 03:35 AM
There are weight restrictions based on your tow vehicle. Do NOT believe the RV salesman when he says you can tow anything with your truck. Look for and compare the figures of what the truck is rated to tow and the max weight of the trailer to include the pin weight. Keep in mind that the empty weight is almost certainly going to be lower than reality and no one tows an empty trailer to use. Look for the loaded or GVW of the trailer and make sure the truck is rated for it. That also includes the "toad" or vehicle you intend to tow behind the trailer for the load.

The tow vehicle is most likely where you will get in trouble given the situation you are thinking of. Again the RV salesman is NOT your friend in this situation so do not rely on them to determine what you need to tow, especially double towing! A one ton PU is still a light duty truck and has a finite limit on what it's capable of towing. Just getting it rolling down the road is not the main factor. You have to be able to control the load and stop it. Your stopping distance towing will be much longer than the truck alone.

Not all trailers are built with a frame you can hang a hitch on to tow something behind it. You'll also need a brake for the vehicle behind the trailer as well.

Some states do have a restriction on towing double. You can get a truckers atlas at a truck stop and look in there for the list of states that do not allow double towing.

As long as you are not commercial you do not need t stop at weigh stations unless they require RV's to stop as well as commercial trucks. If they do they will have a sign saying RV's must stop. So far I haven't found a state that does in the 36 states we have been in.

Look at this site www.escapees.com and go to the forums for info. If you can't find the answer to your question there, it probably doesn't exist. :wink:

Thank you so much! If you could just answer one more question for me, what exactly is the pin weight?

Motor31
08-25-2008, 11:39 AM
Pin weight is the weight that the trailer actually puts on the truck. A portion of the trailer weight is actually carried by the truck, the ratio is between10% to about 20% of the weight of the trailer is actually held up by the truck through the hitch. The truck load capacity varies by the carrying capacity built in. It's factored by axle capacity and tire capacity as you can overload these components yet still be under what the truck is rated to tow or carry by GVW / GCVW. To get the actual pin weight you would have to weigh the truck with a scale (truck stop) pad under each axle. Then hitch up the trailer and weigh the combination again with each truck axle on a separate pad (the trailer axles can be on one pad together). Take the two rear truck axle weights and subtract the smaller from the heavier weight and that is your pin weight. On our rig since we use a 38' heavy trailer our pin weight is 4200 lbs., which would be very heavy even on a 1 ton.

That is one of the reasons you see something like half ton, 3/4 ton and 1 ton designations on PU's (pick up). The heavier duty truck the more it can tow and carry. Using the Ford designations it's like this, 150, 250, 350. Dodge and GM are slightly different as, 1500, 2500 and 3500. Medium duty trucks that are heavier use designations like 4500, 5500 and 6500.

Keep in mind that the tow rating for the truck is calculated based on half fuel and a 150 lb driver. To get the real weight you should load the truck up like you will be traveling including stuff and passenger then weigh it. Subtract that number from the GVW and the remainder is what the truck can carry on it's own wheels. Do the same for the GCVW and that is what the truck is rated to tow. Most of the towing rated trucks have different weight capacities depending on trailer type travel trailer vs 5th wheel. The 5th wheel capacity should be larger.

rverdlm
08-26-2008, 10:37 AM
Mike; That's a very good dissertation on the weight issue. One comment that I would make is that I would never double tow anything as heavy as a car with anything less that a MDT. That's from the experience of double towing for 4 years.

rverdlm
08-26-2008, 10:42 AM
Sorry it double posted. I have marginal I-net here.