View Full Version : Truck/Trailer Combination

11-20-2009, 01:33 AM
We are considering a move up to a bigger rig. I am confused about towing capacities. For example the Everest 344J weighs 12,000 lbs. empty. The Ford F250 has a tow capacity of 12,500 lbs. There appears to be no margin. Both the Ford guy and the Everest guy say the F250 is perfect. What am I missing?

11-20-2009, 10:15 AM
First, use ONLY the Gross Weight (GVWR) of the trailer you are looking at--that is where the salesmen hide the facts. The F250 is overloaded on its own Gross Vehicle Weight with the Pin Weight (PW) of almost ANY fifth wheel over 28-30 feet long. The PW of any fiver will be about 20% of the GVWR of the trailer. Assume a GVWR for the fiver of 14000--this will give a PW of 2800 (20% of 14000) that will be directly on the rear axle of the F250. The F250 is probably rated for a GVW of 8900-9000lbs, but it by itself weighs about 7000+lbs---do you see the problem? If the truck can weigh a max of 9000, and it already weighs 7000, that leaves 2000lbs of load carrying capacity--and the PW will be 2800 BY ITSELF. With no one in the truck, no "stuff" for camping, and no fuel--you are already overloaded, on both the GVWR of the truck AND also the Rear Axle Weight Rating (RAWR).

You SHOULD go to a 1-ton minimum or a 1-ton dually to be ok with that trailer. But look around at what is being towed daily by what truck--people do it all time--doesn't make it right.

You are very correct to be concerned about what the salesmen are saying.


11-20-2009, 10:39 AM
I looked at specs on the Keystone website----shows the 344J to have a "shipped weight" of 12,110--with carrying capacity of 1,735. That adds up to a GVWR of 13845, very close to what I thought it might come in at.
Something is wrong with the "Hitch Weight" as listed--it is way low for industry averages. If the PW (hitch weight) is as low as stated, it will be tail-heavy and not tow very well. I would be inclined to have them weigh the trailer as it sits, if you are going to buy it. Also, take the time to weigh your truck as it would be outfitted to take it out for a weekend or a major vacation. What year/type F250 do you have?

If you have the normal family to take camping, and the normal amount of camping 'stuff'--you will have about 400-700 lbs of people and stuff in the truck itself.

I went thru all of this since 1999 by starting with an Expedition and an F150, then a 250, then a 350 SRW, then a 350 DRW and now have an F450. It has been an expensive experience since I started with a 26' no-slide travel trailer and kept upsizing--keep in mind you may want to go bigger later.


11-20-2009, 11:16 AM
Thank you for your replies. We are currently in the bumper puller stage with an F150, so your experience is extremely helpful. We have plenty of time so I am sure we will research the heck out of this.

11-20-2009, 11:33 AM
For example the Everest 344J weighs 12,000 lbs. empty. The Ford F250 has a tow capacity of 12,500 lbs. There appears to be no margin.
Not only is there no margin, you'd be considerably overweight.

As wingnut60 pointed out, don't go by the dry weight. For one thing, dry weight is a meaningless number since it does not include any factory-installed options and certainly doesn't include any dealer-installed options or owner-installed (if used) options. That means that in *real life* the dry weight of any RV is going to be more than its published dry weight. And, even if the dry weight was, in fact, exactly the same as the published dry weight, are you going to be pulling an empty rig? No water, no propane, no batteries, no food, no clothing, no pots & pans, no dishes, no bedding, no _____ (you fill in the blank)?

So, as wingnut60 said, use ONLY the RV's GVWR for calculation purposes.

There's something else to take into consideration: That 12,500# tow rating. Published tow ratings are for a basic truck with no options, no gear, a partial tank of fuel, and only one 150# driver. So, just like the dry weight of RVs, the tow rating for trucks is a meaningless number because once you add options, fill the fuel tank, and load passengers and gear into your truck (including the weight of the fifth wheel hitch), that 12,500# towing capacity will be something less...perhaps as low as 12,000# OR LESS.

Most people advise not pulling in excess of 80% of a truck's tow rating. In the case of a truck with a published tow rating of 12,500#, that would mean that you should be looking at fifth wheel with GVWR's not more than 10,000# (12,500# x .80).

Here's a Fifth Wheel Weight Calculator (http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-fw.shtml) that will help you through the "what can I tow with my truck" question.

11-22-2009, 09:49 AM
Thank you both for your replies. The calculator will save me some grief. No doubt we will downsize the size of the fiver we were looking at.

11-22-2009, 10:16 AM
Have you considered upsizing to an F350--there is very little, if any, ride difference between the 250/350, and there are lots of low-miles late models on lots.

11-22-2009, 09:06 PM
I have found a couple of F350's. One is a DRW. Not sure I like the DRW. I have plenty of time to research as we have a great bumper puller. Thank you again for the direction.

11-22-2009, 09:10 PM
Here is another question for you fivers: Which is best to consider, 2wd or 4wd? In the west we are more familiar with 4wd. What is the most common out there?

11-23-2009, 09:56 AM
In going on 6 years of full timing I have had very little reason to use 4x4. We started out and spend most of our time in the West and SW. Using a 4x4 tow vehicle will cut down on the tow capacity it has. That 4x4 equipment adds weight which means less can be towed.

If you plan on going off road a lot it may be useful to you but you still have to stay inside the towing limits of the vehicle.

11-23-2009, 10:24 AM
Generally, the 4WDs are more desirable on the used market. And, if you ever are climbing a steep grade on gravel, not hard to power out in 2WD.
If you are so close to the weight limits, a 4WD system is probably the least of worries. Can be helpful in backing in and setting up on soft grounds.
Just take a look at the tow vehicles you see under fifth wheels--I would guess the 4WD outnumber the 2WD at least 5 to 1.
But lots of people go everywhere in 2WD and have no problems.

"Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it" ??


11-23-2009, 10:53 AM
We have never had a 4x4 to tow any of our fifth wheels. Since we don't do any off roading, we've never needed a 4x4, and it certainly isn't needed to pull a fifth wheel. The 4x4 mechanism adds weight to the truck and, thus, lowers both the amount it can tow and the hitch weight it can carry (take a look at the Chevy, Dodge, and Ford towing brochures and you'll see this is true no matter which brand you're talking about).

So, unless you do off roading (without the fifth wheel attached, of course), a 4x2 will be more than sufficient.

As for the duallies, whether or not you want to go with a DRW or SRW truck depends on the hitch weight you'll be carrying. Again, take a look at the towing brochures and you'll see that, in all cases, a DRW can carry more than an identical SRW truck.

11-23-2009, 11:17 AM

Don't be apprehensive about a dually if you ever pull a trailer with one you will never go back to srw.

As always good camping

Joyce and Jerry

11-23-2009, 11:59 AM
Thank you all for your replies. Your experience is invaluable to those of us who are at the beginning of the fiver adventure.

11-24-2009, 10:25 AM
Having a low range when backing up hill and around corners is priceless if you have a heavy trailer.
I personally prefer the manual locking hubs because I can use 2X4 low range when pulling , backing up hills or onto leveling blocks.

I have had my suite on soft ground many times and needed the 4X4.

I guess it depends on what type of places you go to and stay at.

I will never be without 4X4 in a tow vehicle.

12-02-2009, 06:45 PM

Amen to that.


12-06-2009, 05:01 PM
Another thing to consider in the 2WD vs 4WD debate is use of the truck unloaded. Because of the weight of diesel engines in an unloaded condition the weight on the front axle of a pickup is greater than that on rear axle. I have gotten "stuck" in an 2WD diesel on dew covered grass and level ground when the front tires sunk in less than an inch. I was able to get "unstuck" by deflating the rear tires to 10 psi but I vowed never to own another diesel without 4 WD.

01-27-2010, 06:34 PM
23,500# GCVW on a F250 SD SRW. It's not rocket science! It is the most misunderstood factor in the RV world. Where do you come up with this formula for weights.......it isn't that hard!