View Full Version : Need opinion on towing a fifth wheel

03-10-2013, 12:53 PM
I'm looking to get some honest information. I own a Chevy 1500 with a 5.3L engine and a 3.42 axel ratio. The GCWR is 15,000 lbs. I've been told I can pull a light weight fifth wheel as long as I use a slider hitch and watch my pin weight. Any opinions?

03-10-2013, 04:28 PM
We have towed two different small 5th wheels with a 1/2 ton. First one was a 22' Nomad with a 1/2 ton 1994 Ford that had the in line 6 Cly. engine. The second was a 25' Sunnybrook with a 1/2 ton 1997 Dodge, 5.2 L V8. Both towed OK but were a little under powered on hills. So yes, you can tow a 5th wheel with a 1/2 ton but it will have to be a small one and within the weight limits of your truck when fully loaded. With the 5th wheels out there today, it may be hard to find one that is that small, but some manufactures still might make them. Do not just go with what a dealer tells you, check the GVWR and GCVWR of your truck and the GVWR weight on the trailers you look at. I see allot of dealers advertising rigs a 1/2 ton towable that are to large and too heavy when loaded.

03-10-2013, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the input. I have found a salesman who seems somewhat honest(if that can even be said about a salesman) but he has already told us what we can't get so I'm cautiously listening to this man.

03-10-2013, 09:07 PM
Some great advise given already. Rick was right on!

A couple more to consider, watch the rear axle capacity. Its on the door sticker. GAWR. Also the Max rear tire capacity right on the side wall of the tires. These are the most common overload areas on light pickups. Rarely do we see a 1/2 ton PU that is not overloaded on one or more areas with a 5th wheel of most any size.

As a test, take your truck to a scale that you can get total and each axle weight. With that you can add about 200-300 lbs for a hitch. Add extra people, dogs and full load of fuel.

Now compare what you find on the sticker and you can figure out for yourself how much pin weight you can add before you overload the tires, Rear axle GAWR or GVWR. You will not have to rely on a salesman or advise from folks that mean well, but can be sometimes misguided.

Pin weight estimates are less then accurate from dealers, or sales brochures.

To get a better idea on what to expect, take the Trailer GVWR off the trailer sticker and calculate 20% to see what to expect as a estimated pin weight.

Use Max ratings on the trailer to know what to expect the trailer to be when towing. That way no guessing.