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Old 01-06-2018, 08:49 AM   #1
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truck payload capacity and 5th wheels?

Sorry if this is a stupid question but....
Looking around the campgrounds, I see a lot of 2500 class trucks towing 5th wheels. I see 5th wheel hitch weights of 2300-3300 lbs and 2500 truck payload capacities of 2400-2800 pounds doing a quick search. This would indicate many are towing over capacity and that a 3500 truck is the only safe choice for 5th wheel towing.
Am I missing something? I'm currently towing a TT with my Tundra and know that it is near capacity. What's the difference towing a 5th wheel?
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:48 PM   #2
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Great question that some people probably don't consider but to safely tow you need to run through the numbers to see what your truck can handle.

When we were in the market for a 5th wheel here is what I did. I took my truck to the local truck stop and had the truck scaled to find the actual weight with full tanks and myself and my wife in the truck. I made sure to get each axle weight separately.

Front axle 3623 lbs
Rear axle 2722 lbs
Total 6345 lbs

Specs for my truck (according to decal on driver door and VIN information) GVWR is 8800 lbs.
8800 - 6345 = 2455 - 200 (5th wheel hitch) = 2255 available capacity.

When we were shopping for a 5th wheel I approximated that I could tow a trailer that had a dry weight of 10,000 lbs. Using the 20% estimation rule for king pin weight would put the hitch weight at 2000 pounds and I would be safe. We stayed within those guidelines and turned down a lot of trailers due to the king pin weight being too heavy. We found a 2012 Cruiser 335SS with a dry weight of 9930.

I took the truck and trailer back to the truck stop for actual scaled weights. The truck was the same as before (full tanks, etc) and the trailer loaded with our camping gear. Again making sure to capture the axle weights separately.
Front axle 3683
Rear axle 5162
Trailer 8400
Total 17245

My truck has a GCWR of 20,000 for towing a 5th wheel.

Another factor that must be considered is the load capacity of the truck tires. I run load range E tires with a 3042 lbs capacity per tire (80 psi).

Back to your question. You must look for weakest link in the system and not exceed the limit of the weakest link. In my case the rear axle weight rating was my weak link at 5600 pounds. Actual scaled weight on rear axle is 5162 pounds.

I carry my actual weight slip from the truck stop with me just in case I'm ever stopped and questioned. I can show the weight slip and show the real numbers.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:27 PM   #3
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Tom, did you take your truck & trailer to a Pilot/FlyingJ or a different place. I need to do the same to my truck (I'd really like to have individual wheel weights but I have to drive about 3 hours to a dealer/location that can handle that. I have a couple of Pilot stations withing 15 minutes and a Love's within 20 so I could go there.

Thanks
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:07 PM   #4
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I went to Quick Trip (QT) that has CAT scales. I'm sure that Loves or Pilot / Flying J will have same thing. Cost at QT was $10 each time.
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:41 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. It seems to me that the "weak link" in towing trailers and 5th wheels is most commonly payload capacity, but is is rarely emphasized. I won't carry 4 passengers in my Tundra when towing because of this, and it looks like I may have the same limitations if not careful with trailer/vehicle selections should I upgrade to a 5th wheel.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:32 PM   #6
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On average the difference between 3/4 ton and 1 ton srw trucks for most trucks brands is often nothing more than a spacer, the badge on the door and a small difference in advertised payloads. All other functional underpinnings are exactly the same including overall tow ratings. Iím speaking to trucks within the past ten years.

I stick to the axel and tire ratings and try to get close to the payload ratings.

Now if you are comparing 3/4 ton and 1ton srw to 1 ton dually....well thatís a entirely a different conversation.
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikes79 View Post
On average the difference between 3/4 ton and 1 ton srw trucks for most trucks brands is often nothing more than a spacer, the badge on the door and a small difference in advertised payloads. All other functional underpinnings are exactly the same including overall tow ratings. Iím speaking to trucks within the past ten years.

I stick to the axel and tire ratings and try to get close to the payload ratings.

Now if you are comparing 3/4 ton and 1ton srw to 1 ton dually....well thatís a entirely a different conversation.
Yep 350/3500 srw are a rip-off, $1000 for a 4inch block. Payloads can swing high or low depending on a gas or a diesel and how each truck is set up. The more factory options the less payload.
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