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When it comes to towing, there are a lot of aspects you need to keep in mind. It's essential to know whether or not your vehicle is capable of 5th wheel towing. The 5th wheel is capable of towing much more weight than any other method. All it needs is a 5th wheel hitch.
This guide will provide a valuable inside to 5th wheel towing and will take care of all your questions.
2019 Good Sam Guide to Towing (FREE GUIDE)
The very first thing we need to talk about is the 2019 Good Sam Guide to Towing. It is one guide that will cover everything you need to know and will provide the answers to your unanswered questions. The contents of the guide are separated into various categories. The first one talks all about towing vehicles and technology.
In this section, all the newest trucks, SUVs, and the latest technologies in the towing world have been discussed. In the second section, the guide gives a handy explanation of how it should be used. This makes it quite easier for the reader, as they can attain a full understanding of what they are about to read.
For the third section, the guide talks about the 2019 tow ratings. This section primarily looks at tow ratings given out by manufacturers and consolidates them.
In the fourth section, the guide highlights a very important topic, and that is towing fundamentals. It offers tips and tricks that help in maneuvering trailers and towing vehicles as well as other essential details.
Lastly, the guide offers some hitching basics. It teaches the user how to choose the best hardware for their vehicle. It enables the reader to make the perfect hitching match.
Short-Bed vs. Long-Bed For Towing - Pros and Cons
One aspect that you need to consider while making a decision about 5th wheel towing is beds. There are two types of beds for towing; short and long. Both have their own upsides and downsides. To shine a little more light on the topic of towing beds, here's a small comparison of the two.
Short-bed towing trucks are perhaps the most popular kind. They usually have a length of five feet. This is less than your average-sized bed. This makes them compact and does not make parking a difficult task. Despite all this, they are quite strong and versatile. They can carry a considerable amount of weight.
- These Trucks Are Easier To Maneuver, and Parking Them is Also Easier When They Are Not Attached To a Trailer
- They Are Easier To Drive On a Daily Basis as Well and Are Usually Used For Daily Driving
- They Are Often Built With a Cab That is Spacious
- The Size Of the Bed Makes the Towing Process a Little Less Convenient
- There is Also Reduced Tuning Clearance For Vehicles That Are 5 Feet or Under That Mark
Long bed towing, on the other hand, is much more preferred by those who partake in commercial work or those that need to move bulk materials. A long bed usually measures 7-8 feet in total. Naturally, a long bed can pull heavier loads, and they also have more clearance for turning than the short-bed.
- A Long Bed Can Pull Heavier Loads and Carry More Than a Short Bed
- It Also Has More Turning Clearance, So it Has Plenty of Room To Make Sharp Turns
- Dealing With a Large Bed On a Daily Basis Can Be a Bit Tricky
Should I Opt For Gas or Diesel When it Comes to Towing?
This is yet another important question that needs to be asked. Should you go for gas or diesel?
When we look at this question in terms of power, the apparent answer for it is diesel. There's no doubt that diesel engines are quite powerful and are capable of producing more torque.
However, it is also important to ask yourself whether you need that torque. Torque can be viewed as the strength of the truck. So, consider what you will be using your truck for. Nowadays, even gas engines have become quite powerful and capable of pulling great loads. So if you don't have a difficult terrain to drive on, a gas engine can work just fine too. Although if that isn't the case, then definitely opt for a diesel engine as it produces more torque.
This question can also be viewed in terms of maintenance as well. In this case, a gas engine easily wins as it is so much easier to care for a gas engine than for a diesel engine. It is also less costly.
In terms of fuel economy, the competition between the two types of engines is very close, with gas engines catching up fast. However, diesel still has a slight upper hand.
Do Wet Roads Affect Towing Capacity?
Wet roads are something everyone unanimously wants to avoid. Not only is driving on wet roads very difficult, but it can also cause some of the worst accidents. The difficulty of driving on such roads is increased tenfold when you have a trailer in tow. Since it is a bigger vehicle, it is more likely to spin out of control.
Of course, wet roads take a toll on your towing capacity as well. As there is less friction between the road and the tires, controlling the vehicle will be as hard as it can get. The added weight is not of much help either. So it is better to tow less whenever you drive on wet roads because safety always comes first!
How to Choose The Best Hitch For Towing a 5th Wheel
Referring to the chart, there are three types of hitches. The first is a fixed hitch, which is available and feasible for long beds (8 feet). This type of hitch does not need to be adjusted after it has been installed. Especially when we talk about long-beds, they allow enough space between the trailer and the cab that even when the vehicle makes a sharp turn, the two parts will not come into contact with each other. They are also more cost-effective; therefore, they are a popular option.
Then there's the second type of hitch which is the sliding hitch. These are preferred for beds between 6-8 feet. The reason why a fixed hitch is not preferred for beds shorter than 8 feet is that it cannot provide turning clearance. However, this problem is easily resolved with a sliding hitch.
It provides the clearance needed by sliding towards the tailgate of the truck whenever a sharp turn is made. This creates the distance required to make the turn comfortably. There are two types of sliding hitches, manual and automatic. While a manual sliding hitch needs to be adjusted from locked to turn every time you need to make a sharp turn, an automatic sliding hitch is self-adjusting.
Last but not least is the sidewinder. With this kind of hitch, the pivot point is situated 22 inches behind the kingpin, providing enough space to make turns with ease. It is recommended that the sidewinder should be used with the fixed hitch. There is a good reason behind that. Since there has to be something that prevents the kingpin from rotating in the hitch, a fixed hitch is a recommended add on.
What Truck Class is Best for Towing a 5th Wheel?
The simplest answer is that the class of your truck depends on the size of your trailer. As seen in the image, it has been divided into three different sections.
The first section shows a trailer that is less than 30 feet and weighs approximately 10,000 pounds when fully loaded. For this trailer, a ½ ton truck would be sufficient as it can easily fulfill your towing needs.
The second trailer is approximately 39 feet and weighs up to 16,000 pounds when it is completely loaded. For this trailer, the best bet would be a ¾ ton truck as it would be able to pull that kind of weight without much of a struggle. Last but certainly not least is a trailer that is 40 feet or above. Consequently, the weight it can carry is also more and exceeds 16,000 pounds.
Since this is quite heavy, it also requires a heavy-duty truck to move, and that is the full ton truck. This is able to pull an amazing amount of weight without facing any complications. So, if you want to find out which truck class is the best for you, just consider the height and weight of the trailer and everything else will work itself out!
Simple Math That Answers, "What's The Maximum I Can Tow?"
This is another question with a simpler answer. As the image indicates, you need to be wary of three things when it comes to calculating the maximum weight that you can tow. First, you need to figure out the gross vehicle weight. This is the weight of the truck itself, all the passengers and the cargo in the truck.
This then needs to be added to the weight of the trailer. Be sure to add the weight of the loaded trailer; otherwise, the calculation will not be accurate. Once you add these two figures up, you will have the maximum amount of weight that you can tow, which is also known as the gross combined weight.
In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the fact that towing is not all fun and games. There is a certain amount of caution, care, and calculation that goes into the entire process. So, always remember to keep in mind all the tips discussed in this article. Everything has a role from the type of bed, to the type of hitch, to the class of your truck. Even the type of engine you use can have an effect on the towing. So choose what fits you best and don't forget to drive safe!