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Old 10-16-2023, 02:03 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2023
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In the "fantasy phase"

Hello Group. My name is Matt and I am just now starting to research all things RV. I'm currently 57 years old and active airline pilot with 8 years left to go to retirement. I have always loved camping but have recently been bit by the whole RV lifestyle. With the exception of a camper trailer that I pulled behind my motorcycle and tent camping, I have no RV experience. But with a lot of research i have figured out that my "use case" leads me to a 5th wheel because: 1) I want to bring my goldwing motorcycle (= toy hauler) and 2) have a practical "unhooked" tow vehicle when I get to destination (= don't really want a dually) and 3) don't want to "double tow" (=no TT pulling a trailer with my bike). Finally, 4, want this to be as "solo friendly" as possible. I have no SO and if I pulled the trigger on this prior to retirement it would be me, my daughters and my grandkid(s). This is where I am at right now... really looking at the Brinkley 3500G (toy hauler) with a tow vehicle of a Ford F350 Super Duty Lariat Crew Cab, 8ft bed, 6.7L HO Diesel. Max Tow with this vehicle with a gooseneck tow hitch = 31,800lbs. Max payload of truck = 4572lb. Max Gross weight of the RV = 21,500 lbs (16967 UVW on the RV). By my calculations that equates to a safety margin of 32%. Some main questions:
1. Am I in the ballpark with my research and calculations?
2. Am I nuts for wanting a SRW vs. a DRW tow vehicle?
3. Am I nuts for wanting to try to do this all on my own?
4. What recommendations do you have for a neophyte like me? (I HAVE actually ordered a vehicle on 5th wheeling for dummies).

I'd appreciate any advice! Thanks, Matt

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Old 10-18-2023, 08:53 PM   #2
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Welcome, Matt! To answer #3 first, NO! More later.

1. Yes, you are working correctly thus far. Remember that UVW is useful only for figuring how much more the trailer can carry. Gross weight is the number to use for your calculations. Fifth wheels generally have 20-25% of their weight on the pin (hitch). That means that the 21,000 pound trailer you are looking at will put 5,250 pounds on the rear axle. If you can get by with only 20% on the pin you could get by with that truck - maybe. Depends on how you load things. You are going to be close, but you should be able to make it work.
2. No, you aren't. Many people get by just fine with a SRW. Others prefer the stability of the dually. I would probably be in the dually camp, and looking an an F450 just for the added cushion.
3. When you get ready to fly, do you take the information someone else prepares for you to file the flight plan, or do you go over it yourself? Do you accept the word that the airplane is ready to fly, or do you do a preflight yourself? I never flew an airliner, and I stopped flying when you were still in grade school, but when I got my private license it was pounded into me that I was the person who was responsible for the airplane. I treat my truck and trailer the same way. As far as I'm concerned, you are absolutely right in running the numbers yourself and making your own decisions.
5. Get out to the parks and talk to people with fifth wheels. Ask them your questions. Keep it general ("why did you choose a dually instead of a SRW? Why did you choose a SRW instead of a dually?" rather than "why did you buy an ABC123 instead of an XYZ456?") When we were in the research stage, more than 10 years ago, it seemed at first like every answered question raised six more questions. Eventually, though, some points started to percolate to the top and we were able to make some decisions about what to get.

Consider purchasing a "learner rig." Find a used toy hauler and used truck and see how it works out. Most likely you will quickly realize that you don't have the right rig for your fulltime adventures. That's fine. You don't have a lot of money tied up in it, so you can trade truck and/or trailer for something else that may meet your needs a little better. Many people go through this several times before they buy a new truck/trailer combination. Remember that both truck and trailer depreciate quite a bit as soon as you title them, which is why it is strongly recommended that you buy used at first.

Good luck with your adventures. Plan your flight, then fly your plan works just as well with RVs.

David, kb0zke 1993 Foretravel U300 40' for sale
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Old 10-22-2023, 08:44 AM   #3
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Location: Near Anderson, Indiana
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Wow! I looked up your model of trailer on the Internet, several dealerships, and the average price is around $187,000, with monthly payments around $1200 a month. But, that IS one really, really nice looking trailer!

That trailer is also 8 feet 5 inches wide and fully loaded (with water and everything), you will definitely be in the 20,000 pound range. Simply put, a trailer of that size being pulled by a single wheeled axle truck will be a sorrowful experience. The tail will definitely be wagging the dog. The shear weight of the trailer itself will cause this.... even if the truck stats say it can haul or pull such weight, the shear size of the thing will shove and push the truck and cause it to feel weird all the time. Ad your toys in the trailer garage and you are reducing some of the tongue weight and that will affect the weight in the bed of the truck. That will also cause some weird and unwanted driving behavior with a truck that light (compared to what it's pulling).

One thing you ABSOLUTELY need to have is 100% control of are the brakes. Can the truck ... by itself ... STOP the entire rig if the brakes on the trailer go out suddenly. The answer is, NO. A single wheeled axle will NOT have enough braking power or traction on the road to keep things under good control..... And yes, you can expect the trailer brakes to fail sometime in the life of your RVing experience. It happens to all of us at one time or another for multiple reasons, and every one of them seems to be something different. But it does happen.

The shear size of the trailer (40 feet long, 8 feet 5 inches wide) over 20,000 pounds loaded might even be in MTD territory.

I strongly suggest you consider a beefier truck if you want a safe and comfortable tow experience.

If you are planning on retiring, I also strongly suggest you go into retirement with absolutely no debt. Otherwise, your retirement investment will go to paying interest on those loans. And you have to make sure you have enough capital to make those monthly payments. Get out of debt before retiring and you can live on a lot, lot, lot less. (I know, I did this myself). When I turned 62.5, I cashed out my 401k with no penalties, and then continued working for another 4 years and (almost) recovered all my 401K by putting in about 45% of my salary since I had no more debt to pay. That also helped us adjust to living on a LOT less much sooner, so when I retired, the ... much, much, much less income capital equalized what we were already living on. Except now, I didn't have to drive to an office very day. Instead, we drive all over the country camping!

Next, read some of the other RV forums that RV Lie sponsors. Check out the Montana Owners Club forum, the Keystone Forum, IRV2 forum, RV FORUM and read through the many, many, many posts about what people have experienced with towing trailers of all sorts. I think you'll get a pretty good picture, pretty fast.

Go to the RV life Pro link on this page (very upper left corner of this page, click on RV Life Pro). Scroll down to the "Communities" section and click on the "learn more" link. A pop-up page will return with all the different forum sites RV Life sponsors. There's nothing wrong with reading any of them, pick any brand subject and go to the towing forum sections and start reading. I think you will learn a lot this way.

Good luck. I hope everything works well for you. That is sure one dandy nice look camper!
2019 Montana High Country 375FL Fifth Wheel
2014 Chevy Silverado, 3500 Dually, long bed, crew cab
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Old 10-23-2023, 05:05 PM   #4
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Just know that the Ford F350 Super Duty Lariat Crew Cab most likely won't have a cargo carrying capacity of 4572 lb. I have a 2021 F350 SRW diesel with 6.5 ft bed and its cargo carrying capacity is only 3400 lbs. The max values that are published in the Ford documents are for the stripped down versions of the vehicles. You really have to go find the stickers for the vehicles before you know what the cargo carrying capacity is, and the dealers generally can't tell you before-hand if you order a truck.
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Old 10-23-2023, 05:33 PM   #5
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All good choices but here is some food for thought. Consider an f450 diesel. You will get more load capacity, more braking capacity and a better turning radius than a 250/350. Unless you have a specific need the 8 foot bed is not required for the tow. Just don’t get a short bed. The Brinkley is a fine choice in RV. They were too high for my budget unless I could find a year or two old but they are brand new to the market. I was in one and was stunned by the quality and thought that was put into it. As far as buying a “starter kit” camper, if you reasonably think this is for you then don’t bother, you will just be upgrading in a year or two, I speak from experience on that one. Good luck and hope to see you out there some day.
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Old 10-23-2023, 07:13 PM   #6
Dave The AV Guy
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I think you are in big dually territory there. My wife and I switched to a large 5th wheel in 2008. We contemplated going with a smaller less expensive model initially and then updating when the kids had all moved out, however we ended up going for the top model at the start and I'm glad we did. As for the truck, I towed with a 2005 Ford F250 diesel from '08 to '16 and then decided I really needed to move to a dually. I finally did that in spring 2022, to a 2016 Ram HD 3500 dually. I should have made the move years earlier. I hope you enjoy the adventure!
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Old 10-23-2023, 07:13 PM   #7
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I tow a 16,000# 5'r with a F-350 dually and consider that the max trailer it can handle. The trailer you are looking at is definitely in the F-450 class as a minimum, can a SRW do it yes if loaded right and NOTHING goes wrong. Even something as simple as a blown tire, with a SRW you will be very lucky to save it, at least if you blow a tire on a dually you still have control. In a cross wind you will at best be having a white knuckle day, kind of like exceeding the crosswind component and trying to land or take off or at worst being blown completely off the road, I've seen it happen, even to full sized semi's . I have been an over the road driver for over fifty years with over 5-1/2 million miles and have seen more pickups and trailers rolled up into little balls than I can count and most of them where caused by too little truck with too much trailer.
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Old 10-24-2023, 09:32 PM   #8
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A few thoughts. . .

First, while I didn't read all of the posts, the first half-dozen were spot on. A SRW F350 might be able to tow that 5th wheel technically, however it would not be a pleasant experience.

Second, as others have noted, the advertised cargo capacity of a truck is based on a stripped model. As you move up the food chain to a fancier model, there is a significant increase in the actual GVW of the truck with no increase in the GVWR or GCVWR.

Third, I'm sure that you have flown airliners that were full of fuel and people, as well as occasionally flown the same plane with only a handful of people and a light fuel load - the difference in performance is substantial. A fully loaded plane can feel like a dog, while the same plane with a light load is a joy to fly. The same holds true for trucks.

A new F350 may have somewhat higher ratings than our 2019 Ram Laramie 4X4 3500 SRW, however the real world performance is likely more similar than different. The numbers for our truck as built are:
GVW: 8,030#
GVWR: 12,300#
Payload: 4,270#
GCVWR: 33,610#
Max trailer: 24,870#

So, it seems that our Ram should be able to tow that Brinkley just fine. I wouldn't even consider it.

First, we need to adjust the brochure payload down a couple of hundred pounds to account for the Lariat trim level. Then, subtract for the driver, hitch, and anything you might want to carry in the bed. Now, you're down to 4,000# or less, perhaps much less. For example, we have a cross bed tool box for 'stuff' and a 50-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, and a heavy Trailer Saver air hitch. Suddenly, what looked liked ample payload is marginal, or worse.

Especially, for a 20,000# 5th wheel with a 4,000# or more pin weight.

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