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Old 10-08-2010, 11:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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5th Wheel vs Travel Trailer - towing comparison

Here's the situation:

We've got a new 2010 F350 SD/CC/SRW and I recently installed a Century Royal fiberglass topper for content protection from the elements. I bought the truck with the intention of purchasing a 5th wheel RV but since the topper weighs in excess of 220#, takes four men to lift it off, and has to be put on elevated blocks (due to the fiberglass side extentions to cover the bed rail protectors), I'm now looking at a travel trailer instead. From what I've read the 5'er would ride/tow significantly better since the pin weight is over the rear axle but, with a quality WD hitch setup for a TT would the overall ride be any different/worse/better?

I have also seen a post or two about a hoist system to lift the topper off the truck but none of them seem to address the fiberglass "skirt" that extends 1"-1.5" down below the bed rails in order to hide the factory bed rail protectors.

Thanks for the help,
Ed
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are pros and cons to each and not just the tow characteristics. Go to the rv.net forums and check out the discussions there...it's a popular topic. It seems to be a common theme, tho, that the folks who've switched from TT to fiver would never go back. We have a 29 ft fiver and I like the way it tows but I've never towed a non-fiver that big so I can't really compare it to anything.

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Old 10-08-2010, 02:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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5er is the way to go my friend. I have the same truck as you and I'm hauling a 28 ft 5th wheel attitude and I love it.
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Old 10-09-2010, 03:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I like travel trailers because of the covered pickup bed issue. I use the bed of my F250 as my main storage area where I keep all my tools, generator, camping stuff, whatever. It's a great place for all my "stuff." All of it is secured under a fiberglass topper that has served me very well during the many years I've had it.

A travel trailer with an appropriate hitch is a very popular option for RVers. I've never experienced a white-knuckle tow with a travel trailer during my 35 years of RVing. I don't see how a fifth-wheeler could have served me any better, although they are another popular option available to all.

You pays your money and takes your choice. Done wisely, there are no bad choices between the two under discussion.
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Old 10-09-2010, 04:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Patrick View Post
I like travel trailers because of the covered pickup bed issue. I use the bed of my F250 as my main storage area where I keep all my tools, generator, camping stuff, whatever. It's a great place for all my "stuff." All of it is secured under a fiberglass topper that has served me very well during the many years I've had it.

A travel trailer with an appropriate hitch is a very popular option for RVers. I've never experienced a white-knuckle tow with a travel trailer during my 35 years of RVing. I don't see how a fifth-wheeler could have served me any better, although they are another popular option available to all.

You pays your money and takes your choice. Done wisely, there are no bad choices between the two under discussion.
I agree for the most part. If you measure a fiver vs. TT then your losing living space in the TT. first 5-6 feet is tongue, and fivers use that space for bedroom, closet etc. That can be signifigant on a rainy day with every one stuck inside (BTDT) I have a large "basement" that holds all the extra goodies. TT with the right hitch set-up is the KEY to happy camping!! I've just been partial to 5ers since 1989 when I got my first one.
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Old 10-09-2010, 06:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by KC8RXQ View Post
From what I've read the 5'er would ride/tow significantly better since the pin weight is over the rear axle but, with a quality WD hitch setup for a TT would the overall ride be any different/worse/better?
Depends on your definition of "quality WD hitch setup".

A TT with a Hensley Arrow or ProPride hitch will tow just as good as a 5er. But not cheap. Over $2,000. An ordinary "quality" WD hitch such as Reese or Equal-I-Zer costs about half that. But the ordinary TT hitches won't tow anywhere close to as good as a 5er.

Trailer Sway Elimination Guaranteed - Hensley® the ONLY trailer hitch guaranteed to totally eliminate trailer sway.

Trailer Sway Control Hitch Guaranteed to Eliminate Trailer Sway - ProPride 3P

Don't be confused by the similar claims. Both the Hensley Arrow and the ProPride 3P were designed by the same guy.

If you're starting from scratch, a TT with a Hensley Arrow or ProPride hitch will cost about the same as a similar-quality 5er with a Reese 16k 4-way 5er hitch.

I would not want to tow a TT without a Hensley Arrow or ProPride hitch.
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Old 10-10-2010, 02:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I owned a Hensley Arrow and that is the best system for a trailer. I now have a 5th wheel and this is much easier to hook up and pulling is much better. I have put this 5th wheel in places I would have never tried with a trailer. I was thinking of getting a new trailer and put the golf cart in my bed. I am so pleased with my 5th wheel purchase. I started with a pop up and worked my way to a 5th wheel. This has been my best purchase!
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Smokey Wren I have a question for you. I have a 85 23 foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer. I have towed it without any aid at all and with the HR towing setup and it pulls like it basically is not there. Will Hensley or PP give me a hugely better tow?
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Never towed a "Fiver" but I do tow TT and gooseneck quite a bit. Gooseneck (similar to a 5th wheel set-up) is hands down a better, safer way to tow.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I pulled a travel trailer for about 12 years with a Hensley Arrow and it made a big difference. When a car carrier passes you the trailer is not effected by it. You do not have to apply a little gas to put pressure on the hitch. Wind will not give you problems. I had a flat tire om my trailer and a trucker pulled up to me and told us! I never felt anything. The company purchased my old Hensley and I do not have one now. I just think of how it helps me get stopped when a small car pulled in front of me and put his brakes on. I came to a stop and did not jackknife. With all of this I still go with a 5th wheel!
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hensley is the best way to tow a TT
but weight distributing/sway control hitches
even those made in heaven
cannot change the geometry of TT-to-truck connection
'wiggle at the hitch is reduced and some weight is shifted to front axle
but lateral force from truck steering or by wind on trailer sides, will until eternity
have greater leverage force from one end of the train to the other.
moving the pivot from bumper to rear axle reduces the LEVERAGE
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Will Hensley or PP give me a hugely better tow?
I'm not familiar with the Holiday Rambler towing setup. But the Hensley or ProPride will definitely tow better than a weight-carrying hitch. The big thing about the expensive hitches is there will be no sway, regardless of wind or traffic or off-camber highways. If you have ever had experience with trailer sway, you would pay a lot extra to be certain it never happens again.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC8RXQ View Post
Here's the situation:

We've got a new 2010 F350 SD/CC/SRW and I recently installed a Century Royal fiberglass topper for content protection from the elements. I bought the truck with the intention of purchasing a 5th wheel RV but since the topper weighs in excess of 220#, takes four men to lift it off, and has to be put on elevated blocks (due to the fiberglass side extentions to cover the bed rail protectors), I'm now looking at a travel trailer instead. From what I've read the 5'er would ride/tow significantly better since the pin weight is over the rear axle but, with a quality WD hitch setup for a TT would the overall ride be any different/worse/better?

I have also seen a post or two about a hoist system to lift the topper off the truck but none of them seem to address the fiberglass "skirt" that extends 1"-1.5" down below the bed rails in order to hide the factory bed rail protectors.

Thanks for the help,
Ed
Our truck(s) has not been used for RV hauling except a few times for retreat, so I cannot speak in experience of those. I can speak in experience with live stock and horse trailers, some of which have RV front ends and full tackrooms.

Without question, I prefer the goose neck or the 5th wheel over the tagalongs. I agree they might not be as convenient if you haul a lot of equipment in your bed and don't want to change up for trips, but for stability and frame, I think this is the best for a heavy load. I use a class five receiver hitch for any farm type equipment, but the animals always go goose neck or 5th wheel.( I just change the plates out for the trailer used.) The 'wag' you get from moving aniamls is greatly reduced when you place right over the drive wheels, which in our case, are duals, allowing for far better traction.

Additionally, tag alongs place a greater strain on the vehicle's frame.

I have managed to wiggle both types in and out of some pretty tight places, but I still prefer the gooser/5th wheelie. I also think it gives the truck much better drive wheel traction.

I know nothing about the specific types of hitches for tagalongs people speak of. I use standard Reese products and they have served us very well over the years.

Cannot begin to guess how to help you over the cap you are struggling with.....
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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How about a roll away tonneau cover to use when not having your 5th wheel hitch installed. I'm in the same boat. When I bought my truck I was intending to get a TT abd I bought a fiberglass tonneau cover, which works great and I love it, but it is heavy to remove. Takes my 16 y/o and wife to help me. I tried to fabricate a lift system which would have worked ok if I was using a winch to pull it up into the rafters of my garage. After some more research I discovered the rollaway covers and that, in my opinion, is the way to go. Just can't afford it right now. The 5th wheel pull much easier, IMO. I pull a 39 footer and when considering the equivalent in a TT you would get about 30-31 feet of living space compared to the 39 feet of living space on the 5er, with the same amount of trailer behind the truck. Just some things to consider. Good luck.
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Old 10-14-2010, 02:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by frank faucheux View Post
moving the pivot from bumper to rear axle reduces the LEVERAGE

Frank nailed the stability issue with this statement. This is exactly where the Hensley and ProPride provide the stability. They both project the effective pivot point to 52" forward of the hitch ball.
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