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fifth wheel vs travel trailer

Discussion in 'Towing & Trailer Tech' started by Blackmatter, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Blackmatter

    Blackmatter Member

    I know that this might be a dumb question but here goes. Does anyone know if you can tow more with a fifth wheel. The reason i ask is i have a friend that lives on a farm and he insists that you can tow more with a fifth wheel then with a standard hitch. I told him that i thought it was the same whether it is a fifth wheel or a travel trailer.

    Thanks in advance
  2. MTM

    MTM Rockstar ROTM Winner 100 Posts

    seems right because then all of your weight is centralized over the axle and will for sure pull 100x better being a fifth wheel. The bumper pull with a lot of weight is a terrible ride. So I would say yea you could pull a lot more with a fifth wheel. Even though at work we have pulled 32,000 on a receiver hitch.....sure that's not recommended but it's possible
  3. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 Rockstar 3 Years 1000 Posts

    your buddy is right, 5th wheel trailers are almost always used for heavy duty work, and for good reason, mroe capacity, (semis use em for a reason) better weight distribution, better tow quality, and so on. the same load on close to the same trailers (one bumper, one 5th wheel) the 5th wheel will ride nicer, pull easier, and be more stable.

    Alex
  4. Blackmatter

    Blackmatter Member

    Ok so maybe the truck can pull more but is it legal. If my truck is rated to pull 9500lbs doesn't that mean that legally no matter which hitch i use i can only pull no more then 9500lbs on the highway.
  5. ahmitchell1

    ahmitchell1 Rockstar 4 Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    5th wheel with no only allow you to tow a little larger load it will help with sharp turns,I try in rarely tow with my truck, wish I was living in ga so I could drive the dually more often
  6. MrShorty

    MrShorty Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I'm beginning to understand the essence of the debate. In part, you are both right.

    Use my Explorer as an example, because I can remember what it's rating are and I can't remember off the top of my head what the Suburban can do. Ford says that, properly equipped with the towing package, the Explorer can tow 9000 lbs. Ford also says that the bumper is rated as a class II hitch, so the bumper can pull 3500 lbs. Actual towing capacity is decided by whatever is the "weakest" link. I don't have a hitch on the Explorer, so my actual tow rating is whatever the bumper rating is, 3500 lbs.

    If I decide I want to increase my towing capacity, I would need a stronger hitch put on. Let's say I decide to put a class IV hitch on (rated to 10,000 lbs). The hitch can now handle 10k lbs, but the truck is still only rated for 9k lbs, so now something else on the truck (be it drivetrain or brakes or suspension or frame or other) has become the weakest link.

    So I'd say you are both right in the right context. If the hitch is the limiting factor, then upgrading the hitch will increase your towing capacity as your friend suggests. However, if the hitch is already rated for more than the truck is rated for, then further upgrading the hitch is not going to increase your towing capacity. As others have noted, it might improve handling while towing, but it won't increase towing capacity.
  7. Blackmatter

    Blackmatter Member

    Thank You the hitch that i have is supposed to be rated for 10,500 so no matter if i try to tow with a fifth wheel or standard hitch i can not tow more then 9500lbs because something else is the limiting factor. like the engine i have the 5.3 i think for me to reach 10,500 i need the 6.
  8. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Thread Killer Extraordinaire Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    There's definitely some confusion going on here. First and foremost: your truck have a maximum trailer weight, GVWR, and GCVWR. These ratings do not change regardless of whether you use a frame mount or a 5th wheel, or even a gooseneck. Period. Now, a 5th wheel or gooseneck will provide a smoother ride to the driver. Also, in general, 5th wheels and goosneck hitches for trucks are typically built to be able to carry 15,000 pounds or more with no problem, but this still does not override the capacity of the truck it's in. I have seen frame mount hitches built to haul 18,000 pounds, but again I stress that this does not increase the weight capacity of the truck. There is also the bumper-mounted ball hitch. A ball that is mounted on a bumper has usually less than 3000 pounds of capacity, do not overload a bumper-mounted ball.
  9. Blackmatter

    Blackmatter Member

    Ok now I am confused again. I got out the book for my 2011 Silverado which has the 5.3l with 3.42 axle ratio and 6 speed auto transmission. The book says maximum trailer weight is 9500lbs butit also says GCWR is 15000lbs. So if i'm correct the combined weight can not be any more then 15,000lbs.
  10. steved

    steved Former Member


    Total rig package should not exceed the GCWR, or 15,000 pounds in this case...the trailer itself should not exceed 9,500 pounds. For example, say the truck weighs 4,500 pounds, the trailer cannot exceed 9,500 pounds; that's a total of 14,000 pounds which provides about 1,000 pounds of "wiggle room" for passengers and load in the truck (not the trailer, its already max'd out).

    I was looking at my 2012 OM, and I believe it actually indicates a greater 5th wheel weight rating than a bumper pull for the same truck...must take into account the hitch/weight carrying point?

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