Fifth wheels are a popular choice for RVers looking to live in their unit. Whether you’re a snowbird leaving Pennsylvania for the winter, or you’re transitioning to full time, you’ll want to make sure you’re mobile with the perfect truck to tow a fifth wheel.
Through numerous innovations and the development of space-saving technology, RV living is more comfortable and more accessible than ever before. If you’ve already decided that a fifth wheel trailer is the best choice for you, then you might be wondering what truck best complements your new trailer.
At Juniata Valley RV, Pennsylvania’s camper-trailer and RV experts, and we also know a thing or two about how to tow a fifth wheel — that’s why we’re going to walk you through the top things to consider when purchasing a new truck, and we’ll also take a look at some of our favorite trucks on the market.
Research Before You Buy
There are a few factors to consider when deciding on a truck to tow your fifth wheel.
When considering a short-bed vs a long-bed truck, it’s important to confirm how much you’ll be driving the truck without the trailer. If you’re someone who will be doing a considerable amount of driving without your fifth wheel RV, you can consider a truck bed under eight feet. However, if you’re purchasing a truck specifically for towing, it’s smart to go with a longer bed — an eight-foot bed.
The benefits of a long bed include best turning clearance, reduced sway, convenient towing and a cost-effective setup. Another benefit to a long-bed truck is the hitch type — short-bed trucks require a sliding hitch which will manually or automatically (depending which type you use) slide to avoid impact during a sharp turn, while the longer bed provides more clearance during sharp turns and can utilize a simple, fixed-hitch setup.
If your truck-bed length is under six feet, you’ll need to purchase a sidewinder pin box setup as well as a fixed hitch. These Sidewinders and sliding hitches tend to be much more cost prohibitive when compared to a standard fixed hitch that you can use on a long-bed truck. To find out if you’d be more comfortable with a longer bed, the best thing to do is take a test drive with a truck able to tow a fifth wheel.
Gas vs. Diesel
While gas trucks are overall less expensive at the initial purchase, and don’t have all of the regular, costly maintenance that a diesel will, diesel engines do typically have a larger towing capacity, and they typically last longer in the end. If you’re going to be hauling your fifth wheel often and for long distances, a diesel engine might be the most cost-effective option for you in the long run. However, a gas vehicle, as long as it has the towing capacity, is also capable of towing a fifth wheel RV.
When trying to decide if you need a ½-ton, ¾-ton, or 1-ton truck, you first need to decide what size trailer you want. Weather you’ve already picked out your trailer or not, here is a general rule of thumb you can follow:
Fifth-wheel RV under 30 ft long = ½-ton truck
Fifth-wheel RV 39-ft to 30-ft long = ¾-ton truck
Fifth-wheel RV 40+ feet = 1-ton truck
Of course, to be sure you select the right size truck, you need to confirm your trailer’s loaded weight, and compare that number to your truck’s weight rating before locking in any purchases.
Dually vs. SRW
Going back to many of the previous answers here, the question “do I need a dually?” can be easily answered by analyzing how often and how far you plan to tow a fifth wheel RV. In short, a dually is not required to tow a fifth wheel. However, the dual wheels do help stabilize the truck and therefore reduce sway while towing. They also provide a higher weight capacity. That being said, dual rear wheels may affect your comfort during daily driving — in the end, the decision is up to you.
It’s important to note that some trucks also offer factory fifth wheel prep packages. If you’re buying a new truck from a dealer, this may be something you want to look into. Many packages are specific to the trailer manufacturer, so you’ll want to keep that in mind as you make any decisions about a factory-prep package. Now that you know the factors to consider when looking for a truck, let’s take a look at some of our favorite trucks for towing a fifth wheel RV.
Ford F-350 Super Duty
The Ford F-350 is one of our personal favorites when it comes to fifth wheel towing. With the ability to tow trailers up to 33 feet and tow capacity of 18,000 pounds, you won’t have to worry with how heavy your trailer is. This truck also offers a Camper Package SRW, as well as many other features to make hauling a trailer safer and more convenient than ever before.
Remember talking about a factory-installed hitch? This Ram offers it. And even better, it boasts a 15,000-pound towing capacity. This powerful truck can be the premier companion to your fifth wheel RV.
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
When affordability is a concern, the Chevrolet Silverado may be the best truck to tow a fifth wheel. Fit with a diesel engine, a full-length bed and an installed hitch, this heavy-duty vehicle can tow a fifth wheel trailer up to 14,500 pounds.
GMC Sierra HD Denali
Fit with a trailer-brake controller, rear-vision camera and forward-collision alert, this truck is one of the safest trailers for hauling a fifth wheel. Offering a 6,374-pound payload rating and a 18,500-pound tow rating, this 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel will get the job done.
Pennsylvania’s Fifth Wheel RV Dealer
These are just a few of our favorite trucks to tow a fifth wheel as there are many trucks on the market today. The best thing to do is find a truck that works for your fifth wheel using the criteria outlined above. Find something that’s comfortable for you to drive, because your safety is the number-one priority.
If you’re still looking for your perfect fifth wheel RV, Juniata Valley RV offers a large variety of fan-favorite new and used fifth wheels.
Our dedicated staff is happy to answer any of your questions about the best vehicles for towing, and if you already have a truck, we’ll help you find a fifth wheel that’s compatible with your trucks towing capacity. Juniata Valley RV is ready to help you with your next adventure.
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