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Double towing with short/light fifth wheel good or bad?

2131 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  SmokeyWren
I have a long bed, CC, DRW 1990 F-350. I was planning to get a short (21-24ft) fifth wheel and also tow my bumper pull 17ft car trailer with a dune buggy and a couple four wheelers. What I'm wondering is what are the down sides of pulling with a short/light fifth wheel? I'm assuming a short fifth wheel will only be around 5k, and my buggy/ATV trailer will weigh about 4k (trailer 1.5k +buggy 1.5k +2 ATV's 1k). I wanted to stay short to keep the length in check (I'm in KS, legal length is 65ft). Any advice is appreciated.

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I don't think the length of the 5er is any concern. I towed a 25' Sprinter fifth wheel trailer plus a 4,000 pound 10' box trailer for years and thousands of miles with no problems.

The first thing I learned is that when the 5er does a wiggle, the tag trailer does a big wag or sway. Not good, unless controlled by a sway bar or some sort of anti-sway equipment. I installed an Equal-I-Zer friction anti-sway bar on the tag trailer's hitch and that fixed the problem.

The second thing is to load the tag trailer so you have at least 10 percent hitch weight. Less hitch weight will result in a huge sway problem.

The third thing is that the additional junk iron welded to the rear frame of the 5er trailer to support the receiver has to be over-engineered. You may need to add an additional steel I-beam to the frame from the axle to the hitch. Smaller 5ers are not engineered to add a rear receiver, so you need a good welding shop that knows what it takes to drag a 4,000-pound trailer without tearing up the 5er's frame.

And I suspect you are way low in your estimate of the weight of the 5er. Mine had a GVWR of 7,900 pounds, and that's about how much it weighed when on the road. I often had 6,500 pounds trailer axle weight plus about 1,500 pounds hitch weight - not counting the tag trailer.

Granted, if you go with a low-profile 21' 5er you'll have a GVWR closer to 6,000 pounds. But those baby trailers usually have almost no supporting frame behind the rear axle to which you can add a receiver hitch.
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Do you think it would be worth adding a second brake controller and so I could control just the rear trailer?
I didn't have brakes on my tag trailer, so I don't have any experience with a brake controller for the second trailer. Texas doesn't require trailer brakes on trailers with unloaded weight of less than 4,500 pounds, and mine probably weighs only half that or less. However, other states require trailer brakes on trailers with unloaded weight as little as 1,500 pounds (CA, GA, ID, NV and TN). NY requires trailer brakes on any unloaded trailer weighing more than 1,000 pounds. :(
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