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Old 01-11-2019, 08:41 PM   #1
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5th Wheel vs Pull Trailer

We have a friend who has suddenly become disabled. They have a newer 5th wheel travel trailer and P/U. I would like to driver their 5th Wheel and P/U to a campground for them. I have towed a lot of travel trailers and boats, but never a 5th wheel. Is their a significance difference on their towing, any guidance would be appreciated.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:07 PM   #2
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Two thoughts:

1. In general, 5th wheel trailers are more roadable than a bumper pull, you will like the way it goes down the road. Due to being attached further forward on the tow vehicle, they tend to track inside a bumper pull. When I was pulling our first 5er home I put the trailer over the inside curb of a corner. So turn a bit wider than you would with a bumper pull.

2. If the truck is a short-box then be careful when backing. If you turn sharply you can hit the trailer on the cab of the P/U.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:35 PM   #3
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What DavidJay said, but I'd say it with more emphasis '... turn ... wider than you would with a bumper pull.' You'll find it especially noticeable/troublesome for right turns.

5th wheels back SIGNIFICANTLY different than travel trailers and boat trailers! Does the friend have the option of a pull-thru site? If so, TAKE IT! If not, I suggest you take the rig to an empty parking lot and practice backing. Personally, I backed a few 5th wheels and LOTS of travel trailers; I never mastered backing 5th wheels and never attempted to back one into a camp site.

You didn't mention how far you'd have to tow their trailer. I'd suggest that you try not to tow into a fuel stop; maneuvering through them is where most incidents occur.

And be aware of the added height of 5th wheels. That can present problems in some situations.

Be careful and be safe.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:07 PM   #4
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A trailer, is a trailer, is a trailer. There are a few SLIGHT differences. If you are comfortable towing a trailer it really doesn’t matter if it’s bumper pull or 5th wheel. 5th wheel turns sharper than bumper pull due to the hitch point. If you are used to bumper pull the big thing is turn sooner when backing, and wider when driving. Eazy peezy.
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:30 AM   #5
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5th wheel vs Pull Trailer

Thank you very much for your valuable input. I believe the P/U is a 3/4 ton and the distance less than 2 hours. I appreciate all of the comments.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:19 PM   #6
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I’ve pulled both a travel trailer and now a 5th wheel. It takes a wider turn as the 5th wheel will track closer to the inside of the turn. Overall height is a consideration for trees, power lines, overpasses, etc. I found it harder initially to back the 5th wheel as you can over correct when backing. It’s comparable to backing a short trailer vs a long trailer as the pivot point is over the rear axle (in most cases). Smaller inputs are needed on the 5th wheel. You need to watch the turns as it possible to contact the back of the cab and 5th wheel or pin box and side rails especially if you are not on a level surface. Traveling down the road is a piece of cake as the 5th wheel tracks very nicely. A lot of it is also dependent on the type of hitch as well as the type of pin box. Good luck and hope all the posts help.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:29 PM   #7
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Don't do it. It will spoil you and you'll come home and go 5th wheel shopping. That could be $$$$$.
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:03 PM   #8
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goducks is correct if you pull one you will want one
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:23 PM   #9
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Don't do it. It will spoil you and you'll come home and go 5th wheel shopping. That could be $$$$$.
Hahaha... it's TRUE. I have pulled many bumper pulls from travel to equipment to enclosed to livestock... I am on my 2nd 5th wheel camper and I have no interested in going back to a bumper pull for the camper. Love the 5th wheels...
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:04 PM   #10
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Since the topic has strayed...

I have pulled many bumper pulls and 5th wheels and I have no interest in going to a 5th wheel trailer. Love my travel trailer, the 5th wheels - not so much.
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Old 01-13-2019, 09:24 AM   #11
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A trailer, is a trailer, is a trailer. There are a few SLIGHT differences. If you are comfortable towing a trailer it really doesnít matter if itís bumper pull or 5th wheel. 5th wheel turns sharper than bumper pull due to the hitch point. If you are used to bumper pull the big thing is turn sooner when backing, and wider when driving. Eazy peezy.
I disagree. I've owned several trailers and could back them into just about any spot. I bought my first FW a couple of years ago and backing was a whole different deal with the FW. I finally figured out that you must correct your backing turn and follow the trailer much sooner than with a bumper pull trailer. And yes, you really have to watch the trailer when in tight backing turns...you can easily punch out your back window if you have a short bed truck.
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by oldmanAZ View Post
Since the topic has strayed...

I have pulled many bumper pulls and 5th wheels and I have no interest in going to a 5th wheel trailer. Love my travel trailer, the 5th wheels - not so much.
Definitely not common! Actually first I've ever came across this. I'm shocked actually. Also wondering why!? Lol


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Old 01-13-2019, 10:47 AM   #13
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Definitely not common! Actually first I've ever came across this. I'm shocked actually. Also wondering why!? Lol


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Ditto!!
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:33 AM   #14
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Definitely not common! Actually first I've ever came across this. I'm shocked actually. Also wondering why!? Lol


Earl

If I had to guess it would be damage of some sort. You can get bit in many places if your not thinking correctly.
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:35 AM   #15
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Definitely not common! Actually first I've ever came across this. I'm shocked actually. Also wondering why!? Lol
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Originally Posted by AKRUEBBE View Post
Ditto!!
Travel trailer reasons...
No internal stairs, 2 entry/exit doors, center bath so we can divide space into separate sleeping areas for us and guests with separate entrances, floorplan choices with the length 30' or less for national forests etc., wanted to keep the trailer height low for some campground sites, cost (had cash, didn't want payments), truck has over 350,000mi & didn't want to be locked into needing a 3/4 or 1 ton if/when a replacement is needed. That's what comes to mind right now.

I'd add that I have both TT and 5th wheel hitches so that wasn't an issue. My Equalizer brand 4-point does a fine job so towing is a wash. Although I could learn, I will say that I have been frustrated trying to back a 5th wheel under ideal conditions and, until I learned to back a 5th wheel, I can't imagine trying to back into many of the sites we've camped in.
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:04 PM   #16
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Travel trailer reasons...
No internal stairs, 2 entry/exit doors, center bath so we can divide space into separate sleeping areas for us and guests with separate entrances, floorplan choices with the length 30' or less for national forests etc., wanted to keep the trailer height low for some campground sites, cost (had cash, didn't want payments), truck has over 350,000mi & didn't want to be locked into needing a 3/4 or 1 ton if/when a replacement is needed. That's what comes to mind right now.

I'd add that I have both TT and 5th wheel hitches so that wasn't an issue. My Equalizer brand 4-point does a fine job so towing is a wash. Although I could learn, I will say that I have been frustrated trying to back a 5th wheel under ideal conditions and, until I learned to back a 5th wheel, I can't imagine trying to back into many of the sites we've camped in.
Ok I got ya now. I thought it was on handling and towing. That's way I was shocked. Lol You just perfer travel trailer layouts.

Almost all my camping is in state parks. Nothing tighter, but we manage to get our 35' overall Eagle 5th wheel in. We book pull throughs when available. Always book sites on the driver's side. We call the right side sites the divorce sites as I can't see enough on the blind side to get it in without a lot of trys and both of us getting headed. Lol


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Old 01-19-2019, 01:54 PM   #17
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Tired both and like my 5th wheel

I rented a few trailers first for camping. Backing up was not too bad but I didn't like the feel when driving down the high way. Even in a good setup you can feel the truck being swayed slightly by the trailer. It was stable and safe but I found the feeling unnerving. Those were 28 footers.

Now that I have a 5th wheel that is 35 feet long. I find backing up a bit more difficult just because visibility seems to worst with this big 5th wheel right behind the truck cabin. Now I've done it enough I feel fin with it and I agree you have to really time well when you bring the truck back to end up correctly aligned with your spot. Now for going down the highway I would not go back to a trailer. The hitch is right over the rear axel and that removes any sway movement. It feel just so stable and solid and it makes the drive incredibly comfortable.

As far as layout remember you would need a trailer about the same length and a 35 foot trailer on a hitch compared to a 5th wheel will result in a much longer overall rig. Personally I'm happy with my 5th wheel.

A few more disadvantage with the fifth wheels:

1. Any trucks with trailer assistance usually does not work with 5th wheel.
2. Lane change sensors also don't work with a 5th wheel because the 5ht wheel is too close to the sensors.

3. I find hitching and unhitching the trailer a bit more work. You need to back up usually with the gate down and then raise it. If you accidentally make a mistake you can damage the truck gate. You have to connect the cable and trip wire to the hitch and in my case I have to get in the bock to tight one of these. If you come in at an angle (you have to sometimes) you need to be extra careful with the gate.

4. You loose all the storage space in the box of the truck. With a trailer the box is all open. The 5ht wheel does usually have more storage but not enough to compensate.

5. When in the 5th wheel the front legs are closer to the axel. This increases the movement when in side it so you really want to add something to reduce movement. The regular trailer has its front leg all to way to the front of the hitch and this longer distance helps reduce this movement making it more comfortable. I added some strong arms which has fixed the problem.

6. Most fifth wheels require a larger truck. The F150s of this work often can't handle the rear axel weight. This is true even for the so called HT or 150 trailers. They still don't match with 90% of the trucks. You can do it but you are over spec and I wouldn't do it. I upgraded my truck for this reason so a lot more expensive.

Apart from this I still prefer the 5th wheel.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:34 PM   #18
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I think you can make hitching a 5th wheel much easier than hitching a TT. Get a V tailgate and an in bed plug receptacle.
My new Ram has the 5th wheel prep package so it came with the in bed 7 pin plug connector. I added a V tailgate as well. Hitching up is super easy.
No messing with a WDH and spring bars.
As far a losing you trucks bed for gear? Nonsense. I have a LB truck and have 4' between the cab and 5th hitch. I carry a lot of stuff in that area.

I've had two TT's and one 5th wheel. They all wiggled the same when setup at a CG. The front tongue jack offers zero stability. If you don't believe me after you setup your TT go push sideways on a rear corner. You can make the tongue wiggle. Too much play in tongue jacks to consider them solid.

Backing up is tougher with a 5th wheel. TT's are easier to correct during backup because they react quicker. Going slow with a 5er is the key.
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Old 01-19-2019, 06:46 PM   #19
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Yes, the 5th wheel trailer allows tighter turning ratio and better distribution of weight over the axle(s) of the pickup truck. Just a lot safer to haul than a towable trailer.

Iím a retired truck driver from United Rentals who has driven just about every combination of semi truck/ trailers &
pickup/dually & trailers.

5th Wheel is the way to travel safer.
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:06 PM   #20
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Hardly ever have someone come on an RV forum and complain about swaying and white knuckle towing.
With that being said I wish I could tow a 5er to the CG then convert it to a TT for backing in. But considering I may spend anywhere from 2-8 hours on the road and only 5-10 mins backing in, it's a no brain'r trade off.
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