Fifth wheel questions - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
Trailers, RV's and Camping Recreational Vehicles and general camping tips. Build it, buy it, cast-iron cook it.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-16-2005, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: McCordsville, IN
Posts: 156
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Fifth wheel questions

Howdy all, my wife and I are thinking about upgrading from our small pop up to a trailer or possibly a fifth wheel. Now we can tow up to 7800 max with our 99 GMC. But fifth wheels really push that limit. OK, we might need to think about replacing the truck if we get a 5th wheel to a 3/4 or one ton. We can borrow her brother's truck for the short term.

So I know of some of the advantages of the fifth wheels (easier to tow, easier to set up than 4 jack trailers...) but what about the down-sides of them?
1. Hitch in bed. I use my truck bed fairly regularly and don't like the idea of loosing the bed. Don't they make removable 5th wheel hitches? Does anyone have a removable, how difficult is it to remove?
2. A little more expensive for trailer, not a big deal.
3. Needing a bigger truck, expensive, and not really in the budget right now.
Rogue42 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 04:13 PM
Addict
 
Cosmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Blue Springs, Mo.
Posts: 502
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: Fifth wheel questions

Well here are my particular opinions on the subject...

On a trailer vs. a 5th wheel-

I own a 22' trailer, dad has a 24' 5th wheel.
5th wheel will be easier to manuever but if you are staying in a relatively smaller package it is not a big deal either way. My 22' TT is a piece of cake to haul and back up.

One rather odd thing to consider is if you will be needing to get your unit in a sloped driveway or the likes....5th wheel tends to have more bumper clearance for those off kilter driveways, although some TT are fairly tall too....I can just barely get my TT in my driveway due to it being sloped at first and then flat. Bumper drags if I don't angle it in JUST right.

TT will have more floor space.....5th wheel has the cool guy bed up in front but unless you have a biggee it is not going to be tall enough to stand up in.

Hitches- bumper type hitch (even with weight distributing bars and an anti-sway kit, which are both highly recommended IMHO, I paid about $275 for all 3 pieces) will be substantially less $$$ than a 5th wheel hitch. There are certainly exceptions to this if you can find used units. Dad got a 5th wheel hitch for $150 used...but it cost another $100 or so to have it installed. 5th wheel hitches do generally have the ability to be removed from the bed by pulling pins and sliding out. They are pretty heavy too...

I prefer a travel trailer for mainly for one reason.....I like the luxury of ALL of my bed space for bikes, grills, or even my ATV. The floor space is another big factor for me with 3 kids.

Levelling/jacking up is basically the same...still have to tend to all 4 corners.

Either way you will need an electric brake controller. They are very easy to install if you are capable of doing some minor wiring. Buy the harness for your specific vehicle from the camper place to greatly ease install.

So...cons of a 5th wheel-
1. Usually heavier
2. Taller (unless you get a low profile but those are awful)
3. Propane tanks and battery are usually enclosed and a little harder to get too...
4. Less floor space (you lose all that part over the bed of the truck) maybe not a big deal to you if it is just you and the wife.
5. Cost of hitch
6. Little more difficult to back up due to overall truck+trailer being shorter than a TT.

If it were me....I'd keep the truck and get either a light 5th wheel or a travel trailer....your truck will be fine as long as you realize it will slow you down and require longer to stop...For sure a good idea to have an external oil/trans cooler though...if you have a towing package from the factory, you likely already have these.

Hope that all helps....I have towed my TT thousands of miles and couldn't be happier with it.
Cosmo is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 04:48 PM
Addict
 
Cosmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Blue Springs, Mo.
Posts: 502
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: Fifth wheel questions

Couple of other tidbits I forget to mention originally for you to consider-

1. My 22' travel trailer is about 3800 lbs. dry
2. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding a 5th wheel in the 5000 lbs range if you are near a decent size city.
3. I assume your 99 GMC is a half ton.....with the 5.3ltr?? I had a 99 Chevy with a 5.3 ltr and they are not a good towing engine but will get it done if you aren't in a big hurry and expect to keep your unit rolling 70 up hills. The 5.3 was strong at slow speeds but didn't keep things going well on the highway...and shifted alot on hills.

Try looking for a unit here-

RV trader
Cosmo is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 06:08 PM
Can't Get Enough
 
GTRider245's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,344
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: Fifth wheel questions

A half ton GMC will also not be a good 5th wheel towing vehivle. A 5th wheel, or hooseneck for that matter, is really meant to go into at least a 3/4 ton truck. The engine is usualu bigger, things like transmission coolers are present under the hood and spring ratios are alot heavier.

As far as the brake control goes, the ones we install coem with a staright plug in for most 3/4 ton trucks. Very simple to install.

If you are going to get serious about this i would be in the market for a new truck, at least 3/4 ton, and go with the 5th wheel hitch. i think you will be much happier in the long run.
GTRider245 is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: McCordsville, IN
Posts: 156
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: Fifth wheel questions

Yeah I never really planned on towing a 5th wheel with my current vehicle. If we get a 5th, it will be a smaller one, and we could maybe use it locally (within state) to tow. A new camper and new truck is not in the current budget, though I would like a new 3/4 ton. Maybe in a few years.

I do have the 5.3, with tow package and brake controller, middle of road gearing (forget ratio). I have mainly towed the popup camper, which it hardly even feels. I have towed a bobcat on one of those heavy construction trailers (like for a backhoe), I could feel that beast back there for sure.

Since her brother volunteered to use his truck (Ford F250)my wife thinks we can take him up on his offer, myself I like using my own toys, if I break it I don't have to pay $$ to fix someone elses stuff.

Thanks for the input.
Rogue42 is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 07:51 PM
Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wichita, KS
Posts: 206
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: Fifth wheel questions

A fifth wheel does pull nicer and can be easier to handle in wind. Many states won't allow another trailer (boat, etc) behind a TT but will behind a fifth wheel (which is why I want to upgrade to one (have slide in now)) I'd recomend a little more truck no matter what option you go with.
kstechtom is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 02:23 PM
Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Reno, Nevada
Posts: 317
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: Fifth wheel questions

With a 5th wheel, you could hit the bed of your truck if you happened to go over a severe change in grade, ie train tracks, driveways, highway shoulders. Just something to watch out for.
Yoter is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 09:17 PM
Can't Get Enough
 
GTRider245's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,344
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
 
Re: Fifth wheel questions

That would have to be a pretty severe change in grade. Most FW tongues are high enough to prevent this from happening.
GTRider245 is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 10:17 PM
huntfishcamp
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Fifth wheel questions

I have a 26 ft fifth wheel. I saw that cosmo siad it was harder to back a fifth wheel. I must agree and disagree with this. A fifth wheel may be harder to back due to less visibility, but it is no more difficult to back than a trailer. On a TT you must back the trailer and also watch for jack knifing. On a fifth wheel the truck can sit perpidicular to the hitch and still work. This is good and bad. You may be able to back the fifth wheel liek this, but to unhook from the fith wheel you must pull forward. A fifth wheel will seem more cramped due to the design of the raised floor in the front. If you ahve never used a fifth wheel or a travel trailer before,you wont notice teh cramped feel. The extra room will amaze you. A fifth wheel's battery and propane tanks are a little harder to get to because they sit in a compartmetnt. Thsi compartment helps keep teh propane tanks and the battery from gettign cold quickly. I have been hunting in -20 degree weather and had to help our friends (3) who each had a travel trailer with propane problems. Thsi is easily fixable though by covering the tanks with a little more insulation then they have. When haulign a fifth wheel you lose some bed space, but a roof rack adn the outside cabinets in front (directly behind your truck tailgate) can take care of some of this problem. The truck bed isn't completely useless. Since you dont need the rear window too much, you can stack taller things by it. Generators usually fit in the bed without affectign the fifhtwheel movement. Also you are an off-roader, so you know that an exhaust and air intake upgrade on your truck will do wonders for power and torque. I wouldn't recommend hauling your fifth wheel with it because you have more power and torque, btu it would be a lot better for doign short quick trips. If you do get a fifth wheel a double pivot hitch is worth the extra cash. A dualie will help in both occasions.
post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 01:24 AM
Adventure Bob
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Fifth wheel questions

Heres an option: Gooseneck. I have a flip hitch on a gooseneck in my Dodge and tow a 22 foot horsetrailer with living quarters on it.
When I'm not pulling anything I flip the ball and my bed is flat just like normal.
As to wasted space? I have none, the area over the goose is where the sleeper is.
As to backing: try cutting a 75 degree turn while backing a bumper pull.
No matter what you tow if youre getting this big it's all mirrors anyway.
Cost: My flip was $300 installed. If youre getting into a 20'+ youre going to need a load leveler on a bumper pull and they aint exactly cheap.
I have yet to smash a tail gate due to carelessness with the goose.
A goose gives you better horizontal articulaiton than a 5th wheel.
My 1/2 ton dodge does just fine towing my trailer even with three horses and camping gear. The Cummings helps a lot though.
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome