View Full Version : Is a 5th Wheel Possible for me?

10-05-2016, 04:04 AM
I am looking at a Keystone Passport 5260RL 5th Wheel to tow behind my 2013 Ram 1500. According to Ramtrucks.com my Extended Cab Ram (coming equipped with the 5.7ltrEngine, the 8 Speed Transmission, and a 3.92 Axle Ratio) should have a Towing Capacity of 10,100lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs (GWVR 6800, GAWR Front 3900/Rear 3900, GCWR 15650). The Keystone 5th Wheel has a Dry Weight of 5965lbs and a Hitch weight of 1060lbs.
There is much talk about towing 5th Wheels with Half Ton Pickups, but not a whole lot of actual examples or experience in my area. While the Weights alone appear to support the combination there are some strong Opinions and Web Based Calculators out there that suggest otherwise.
I do not believe Towing Capacity is a limiting factor here, it is the Payload Capacity that worries me. Half Ton Trucks can vary in capacities but my Truck appears typical. With a Hitch Weight of 1060lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs, this would appear to leave 370lbs for Cargo and Passengers on the axle. This 5th Wheel is one of the Lightest I have found out there, if it can’t be towed safely by my Half Ton, which 5th wheel can (if any)? Keep in mind that not “all” Passenger and Cargo weight will be felt at the rear axle, some would be transmitted to the front axle.
Travel Trailer Counterpoint – Typical like sized Travel Trailers (such as the Keystone 26RLS) have a Tongue weight of 840lbs. That weight being suspended further back on the truck should equate to roughly the same at the Axle. There should be a Algebraic formula for this, figuring a 4ft span from Axle to Tongue (the further the distance from the Axle the more weight felt at the axle). How much Travel Trailer is safe for my truck?
I do not want to be “That Guy” you see on the side of the road in a ditch!

10-05-2016, 07:27 AM
>>I do not believe Towing Capacity is a limiting factor here, it is the Payload Capacity that worries me. Half Ton Trucks can vary in capacities but my Truck appears typical.With a Hitch Weight of 1060lbs and a Payload Capacity of 1430lbs, this would appear to leave 370lbs for Cargo and Passengers on the axle<<

I think your using dry weights, of whick no one buys a trailer and tows it without the normal things we all seem to pack in them. Using the max loaded weight of what the trailer could be is what most of us use as the guide and then multiply that by 20% for a pin weight. The truck will need passengers and their stuff along with the weight of the hitch you choose. All this weight chips away from the max capacity the truck can/supposed to safely carry. That is why so few 1500, 150 series trucks are not hauling 5th wheels.

10-05-2016, 09:25 AM
Thanks. I've actually heard a lot of opinions leading to your argument. It baffles me that there is a much wide spread chatter about Half Ton Trucks pulling 5th Wheels. There is now a whole new class of 5th Wheels supposedly being touted as for Half Ton Trucks, but the numbers do not necessarily agree. I used "Dry Wieghts and my example didn't even include the weight of the Hitch, which can itself be significant. By the time you figure in Driver, Passenger, and Cargo weight very few if any can do it within limits. The 5th Wheel I was looking at was even on the lighter side of what is out there too!

Any other Opinions out there?

10-05-2016, 01:02 PM
Thank you all - I have had enough feedback (across a few forums) that my initial fears have been correct – there is NO way my Half Ton Truck can pull a 5th Wheel safely (or at least within the limits of the given numbers). There has even been some feedback challenging my trucks capability of pulling a Travel Trailer. Can Half Tons be that far off when it comes to trailering (my Ram can’t be THAT much less capable than the others)? I see them all the time, out there doing their thing, with far larger Trailers than I am even considering.
Well to my fallback position, a Travel Trailer in the 32’ Range. This size Trailer is comparable to a 5th Wheel while keeping the general interior dimensions/floorplan. The Overall Length (Truck and Camper) is worrisome now - that is a considerable “Length” Penalty going to a Travel Trailer.
I had already mentioned the Keystone Hideout, which comes in at 31’-6” and a Dry Weight of 5610lbs and a Tongue weight of 840lbs. On the longer side there is the Jayco Whitehawk 30DSRE that peaks my interest. That one comes in at 33’-11” a dry weight of 5990 and Tongue weight at 585lbs. For some odd reason the Jayco while being longer and heavier has a lighter Tongue weight. While I listed just two, there are actually MANY comparable Trailer options from various manufacturers (give or take a foot).
So please, keep the feedback coming (Towing capability as well as target Trailer).
Curious - One reply stated that while a 5th Wheel might exceed the capabilities of the truck, it would probably tow better than a Travel Trailer falling within the Capabilities of the truck. Nothing is easy!
I have some time to work this out, so I will continue to follow the Forums for advice.

10-05-2016, 08:47 PM
There is no way to get around the physics of making an RV lighter and lighter--more holes /thinner metals; laminates rather that solids; plastics rather than wood. And people keep buying the lighter units an pulling with smaller vehicles...
I myself have gone thru the upsizing game, and finally have what I need/want. However, it would not have worked for me to go big on the first jump-in, needed to gradually work my way thru sizes and trucks.
You'll get something figured out for the 1500---my niece's husband pulls a nice Passport with an F150 EcoBoost and it handles ok for him. I don't know the size/weight of the trailer, only that it works for them and 3 young girls.

10-08-2016, 07:44 AM
I recommend you...
1) Load your truck with fuel and whatever else you need to take camping, take your truck to the scales and find out what it weighs.
2) Look on the driver's door or door post for the sticker that lists GVWR.
3) Subtract the weight of the truck from the GVWR, this will give you the amount of weight you can safely add to your truck. GVWR - truck weight = payload.
4) Find the sticker located on the driver's side of the rv and find the GVWR
5) Multiply the rv's GVWR by .25
6) Subtract the number you calculated in #5 from #3. If you have a negative number this number represents how much you could be overloading the truck. If your number is in the positive range this is the amount of weight you can safely add to the truck.
I would not trust a salesperson or anyone else to determine what I could tow safely when the above formula is what I would call an educated guess. Dry weights are as worthless as the hitch weights manufactures claim. I suspect the numbers are greatly influenced by the marketing department.

on edit.
I noticed you are looking at possibly going with a travel trailer. The formula changes for a Travel trailer in # 5 use .15

10-09-2016, 01:13 PM
OK, I am now looking at a 28' trailer with a GVWR of 7500# (dry 5400#). And a 700# tongue. I would really hate to go any smaller.

10-10-2016, 07:54 AM
I appreciate all the feedback however it may be a bit too specific and deeper in nature than I had wanted. What I had wanted was just some generic feedback on some applied examples. The feedback I have received resulted in me stepping back from the 5th wheel option and even stepping down from ~31’ Trailers to ~28” Trailers. I use Boat for recreation but now feel Camping would fill that gap nicely (not to mention my wife’s desire to Camp). In the end I do not want to be so conservative with the Trailer as to ruin the whole experience for us.
While I understand the concept of loading the truck and Trailer to expected weights for doing the real exact math, doing so would be quite an undertaking if possible at all. What Dealers would allow to me to randomly borrow Brand New Trailers so that I can load each one with expected gear (actually an unknown for me now) for Testing the Truck’s abilities and obtaining combined weighs at a scale until I found the perfect combination? I will add that right now I only expect my wife and our dogs (2 German Shepherds) to be going going camping as a rule. We do have 2 very inexpensive (dare I say cheap) small 10’ Plastic Kayaks we would also be taking with us. Being realistic I do not want to limit myself to that either, I want some safety margins for more Gear. I do not want to be scarfed to add a Grill or some lawn chairs if I so please.
The Truck and Trailer both have listed weights and capabilities. Of course there will be variances but these should be good average numbers to use for a general idea. For expected Cargo, there should be some good examples of what the average Camper uses out there. If the resulting expected averages are so close as to need to be taken to a scaled for finite measuring, it’s probably too much anyway.
That being said, are there any general opinions on the capability of a generic 2013 Ram with a “posted” Towing Capacity of ~11,100” and Payload Capacity of ~1430# (of course using a matched Weight Distributing Hitch with Sway Control) towing a generic ~28’ Trailer with a GVWR in the area of ~7500# (~5400” dry) and ~700# Tongue weight. The Truck came equipped for Towing, including an integrated Trailering Brake Control.
By the way, I am also not new to towing. I have towed Boats on a regular basis (18’ Trophy Walk Around and a 23’ TeKa Closed Bow) as well as a Kubota 23BX Tractor (with Front End Loader and Backhoe) on a 18’ Landscaping Trailer. Although rarely I have also towed vehicles on Rented Trailers