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Old 05-07-2010, 09:45 AM   #1
5th Wheel towing F150
 
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Post 5th wheel towing with F150- I am doing it!!!!

Here is my compressed story about towing a 5th wheel trailer with a 1/2 ton, short box, truck. Your story may differ. I am not looking for the weight Police to comment, or, F250/350 purists to tell me that I need to upgrade, or camper enthusiasts to tell me that a 5'er with a toilet is NOT roughing it, or diesel lovers telling me I need one. I get all that and have done my due diligence. It’s something that wifey and I have wanted to do for years, we saved for this, are paying cash, and are confident that we, and our children, will be safe.

The first thing anyone should do is determine the towing maximums. Not just what Ford says can be pulled, but what the maximum pin weight and tow weight can be for your truck. You need things like GCWR, GAWR front and rear, GVWR, and as much as I discounted it, the cargo rating. If you can find it, get the rear springs rating, and your tire ratings (just look on the sidewall for that). You also need to weigh the truck, with a full tank of fuel, the normal load of people that would be with you, and any tools or things like that. Then get a calculator- subtract the weights, from the max ratings, and the remaining is what you can tow/haul/put in your box. Some only go to 90% of the remaining, but to each their own.

I noticed that the Max Tow package does NOT increase your axel ratings at all, in fact, it seemed to reduce my cargo ratings, compared to a 2009 Lariat without Max Tow, according to the door sticker. It only increased by tow (pulling) rating to 11,300 lbs vs his 9,200. Odd.

The next thing is to figure out how to tow a 5er, with a short box, WITHOUT popping your rear window out when you make a sharp turn. The supercrew has a 5’7” box. Standard beds are 6.5’, or 8’ and are not affected too much with the front of the trailer hitting the cab, but go to 5’7”, and this is a problem, with a solution. (see below)

Weights: 2009, F150, 4x4, supercrew, platinum, with Max Tow- I weighed it at 3 different highway truck scales. These things are used to weighing 20-30 THOUSAND pounds, I was 6, so there is a margin of error at 6,000 pounds. Scales do that. Here is the average of the 3 scales;

front axel: 3380 pounds (front wheels only on scale)
rear axel: 2750 pounds (rear wheels only on scale)
total weight: 6160 (all 4 wheels on scale, notice the error??!!)

Weight ratings/ratings minus actual:
front axel: 3900, remaining = 520 pounds
rear axel: 4000, remaining = 1250 pounds
GVWR (truck): 7200, remaining = 940 pounds (huh??)
tires (rear): 2500 each, 5,000, remaining = 2250 pounds
springs (rear): 4800, remaining = 2050 pounds.

Step 1- determine the MAXIMUM pin weight of a 5er that you can tow. This is the LOWEST of the remaining values of the rear axel, rear tires, rear springs, and if you want, the GVWR. I used 1250 as my maximum pin weight.

Step 2- determine the MAXIMUM trailer weight (loaded). My GCWR is 17,100. The truck, and people,are 6,160, the remaining is then 10,940.

SEE NEXT POST FOR PART 2:
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:46 AM   #2
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Now I know what trailer we are looking for- something with a 1,000 pin weight, something that is 7,000 dry and allows about 2,500 of cargo/water. We are NOT heavy packers, so even if a trailer has 2,500 cargo rating, we will no way use that, its just something that manufacturers publish, so you need to use this in the search.

After 3+ months of searching, we settled on a 2010 Keystone Cougar Xlite 27SAB. Dry pin weight is 1,090, dry trailer weight is 6,964 (actual yellow sticker in cabinet of the rig). This puts be 90 lbs over the max that I wanted, I have removed my spare (100+ pounds) to compensate. Weight Police/spare tire Police need not point the obvious out to me, I know.

NOTE/CAUTION- MANY DEALERS WILL TELL YOU THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF MODELS THAT ARE ½ TON TOWABLE! Tell them to screw off! Their job is to SELL. Once you are off the lot with an over weight trailer, its your problem, not theirs! 95% of the ½ ton towables are 1,400 or more pounds on the pin. ½ ton = 1,000. 1,400 is over that. How can it be ½ ton towable then?? They do not care, you should. Ford has the BEST TOW RATINGS for all ½ tons, and if 1,400 is too much for my Ford, it has to be too much for Dodge and Chebby trucks. Again, tell the sales dude thanks, but no thanks!

Now to tow that with a 5th wheel hitch and avoid the trailer from popping the rear window/hitting the cab. There are 3 types of sliding hitches- manual, electric, and automatic. Manuals mean locking the trailer wheels, manually unlatching the lock, pulling forward, making the turn, locking the trailer wheels again, unlatching the lock, backing up the truck to the hitch returns to its spot, lock the slider, and pull away! Not something that you want to do at the campsite, or on the highway. Electrics still take time. The solution is a Pullrite slider. For me, it was a pullrite 12K. It IS EXPENSIVE!!! $2600 just for the hitch. You can get universal rails that sit in the bed even when the hitch is put away, or, go with the custom pins that can be removed when not in use to give you’re your full bad back. You also need a capture plate that works with the slider, and is specific to your trailer’s pin box. In total, all 3 parts were close to $4,000. I installed it myself, it took all weekend but I made some modifications to make the . Oh, and I have a plastic bed liner, and the pin method installed over, and through that. It is very slick.

So now we have a trailer in mind, the hitch is installed, I have my all wiring is complete (I extended the 7-pin connector to the bed, mounted it on the rear pillar). Part 3 is finding the best “deal” for our trailer. Turns out, with the Canadian dollar being at par with the U.S. dollar, buying a trailer in the USA and bringing it back makes sense, and its easy!! Get the US dealer to pull the trailer to the border, to avoid state taxes, pay them, pull into customs, declare the trailer, pay GST on the purchase price, $195 for the RIV fee and temp tag, then pay PST when you get it plated. Taxes are the same if you buy here so that is no gain/loss. You also need Canadian Tire to run a simple check- lights, leaks, brakes, to get a “safety” done before you get the plates, but it’s a 30 minute process. I have talked to many who have saved $6-8000 on their trailers from the USA, so we looked into that. The best we could get was a $4000 difference, and only on a newer 2010, with smaller windows than the later 2010’s, so we bought local. (you're welcome ) We used this information to work a better deal, and get a few things tossed in- aluminium rims, store and go, maxx airs, 2” rear hitch, lynx levellers, … We dealt with the owner.

http://www.riv.ca/ImportingAVehicle.aspx

So tomorrow, Sat May 8th, we have our appointment at 10:00 am. I will stop on the way home to re-weight the rig, without the spare tire but with a 318 pound hitch installed, and see how much over or under I am.

My summary for now- if you are interested in towing a 5th wheel trailer, (not a gooseneck, an actually 5er), do your homework. Do NOT take a salesman’s word that there are many ½ ton towables, its simply not true. Look into sliding hitches, airbags, timbrens, helper springs. Weigh the beast when you can and look at your door label. And take it easy especially with a gas engine.

Oh- if a dealer/salesperson tells you that you can just add springs, or timbrens, or airbags to the truck to boost the GAWR, run! These will only help with sag, they do not increase the axel ratings at all!!

Pictures:
http://www.facebook.com/sean.oneill13#!/album.php?aid=418503&id=673820122

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Last edited by Platinum_Sean; 05-07-2010 at 10:03 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-07-2010, 01:59 PM   #3
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holy **** someone did their homework. hopefully it all works out well for ya man
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:04 PM   #4
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My friend has a 05 Screw 5.5 bed with a 4.6 and is running 35" MT's and he pulls a big 5th wheel just fine. So yes it can be done. Have fun with yours....
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:46 PM   #5
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As a fellow camper myself, I'm curious. When you're talking about the money you spent on the hitch, was that US or Canadian? Regardless, you spent a lot of money to run a fifth wheel. What do you see in a fifth wheel that makes you want to spend that money?

I have a 31 foot trailer that weighs 6400 with filled fresh water and propane and one battery. I'm happy with that, but kinda want a F250 to pull some of the nicer fifth wheels (stuff that isn't even close to the F150 limits. )

I was just curious....
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myowneq View Post
As a fellow camper myself, I'm curious. When you're talking about the money you spent on the hitch, was that US or Canadian? Regardless, you spent a lot of money to run a fifth wheel. What do you see in a fifth wheel that makes you want to spend that money?

I have a 31 foot trailer that weighs 6400 with filled fresh water and propane and one battery. I'm happy with that, but kinda want a F250 to pull some of the nicer fifth wheels (stuff that isn't even close to the F150 limits. )

I was just curious....
Good questions.

This is all in Canadian funds. RVWarehouse, or whatever that was in Michigan, quoted me within $400 of what I paid. Yes, it is an expensive piece of hardware, but less than the aggrevation of popping the rear window.

DW (designated wife) and I wanted a 5er for years. We had a pop up and outgrew that. Ultimately, we want to tow our boat AND camper to where we want to go. Only a 5er will allow double towing. Ball to ball towing is not legal anywhere. Ball to pin is.

The next truck WILL be a 250, maybe even a 350, and with that will be the next step up- 35 ft'er or more. By then, the kids will be done University and it'll just be me, DW, dog and cat.

Happy campers.

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:13 PM   #7
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Ahh, I see. I keep forgetting about the double trailer syndrome.
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:52 PM   #8
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Great post....I'm with you. I'm in the market for a travel trailer, and have been trying to figure out what I can get away with, weight-wise, with my 09 SCREW SB 5.4/3.55, 9700# max trailer weight. Maybe I've just forgotten, but I think calculus in college was easier.

My truck weighs almost exactly the same as yours...6140# with full bag of gas and no occupants. GVWR on the door sticker says 7200#. What I interpreted from this is I have 1060# to play with (7200-6140)... occupants, cargo, and pin weight. With occupants at about 500#, no cargo, I have 560# available for pin weight. Is this correct? I had a salesman (I know....) tell me that 150#/seat belt is factored out of the GVWR...I'm pretty sure that was b.s...

What I'm trying to justify to myself is safely pulling a 7300# dry weight, 650# pin weight travel trailer (shorter trips, nothing xctry). I read the rvnet forums and a few others, and the Weight Police and 250/350 purists are very vocal in that any 150 owner pulling more than about 4-5k and 20' is smoking crack and trying to kill themselves and everybody else out on the roads. I have a hard time believing that a modern F150 that is advertised to be a solid tow vehicle is so limited.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tf5598 View Post
Thoughts?
I would have concerns, about myself, or others, who want to overload their trucks, whether F150, 250, 350 or anything else, to the point of it being really unsafe. Being under the GVW/GAWR, not driving like you have a ricer burner, and keeping the vehicle and brakes in good working order, I think towing large can be done, either with a 5er or travel trailer.

My ride home today was fun and a good test. 60 MPH winds, heavy traffic, lots to think about.... I made it home. I stopped at a scale, the numbers are in the truck now, but I am under the maximums.

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Old 05-08-2010, 11:27 PM   #10
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You did your research and it looks like you have a nice setup there. Happy trails. I am 24 and still in the tenting stage of my camping career. But dag that looks cozy.
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