Truck Specifications for 5th Wheel Rv's

by Steve Johnson
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Fifth wheel RVs are designed to be towed by pickup trucks. Fifth wheels up to 40 feet are available and these RVs can sleep four to eight people depending on the model and the size. Fifth wheels are generally more spacious and have higher ceilings than conventional travel trailers. Fifth wheel RVs are designed to be towed by a pickup truck.


Trucks have a specific Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, or GVWR. Towing a fifth wheel requires a medium or heavy-duty pickup truck, such as the Ford Super Duty series or the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500. The 2010 Dodge Ram has a GVWR that ranges from 9,000 to 9,600 pounds and a towing capacity of about 13,000 pounds. A lightweight fifth wheel RV has a shipping weight that ranges around 7,000 to 7,500 pounds, while a full-size 40-foot fifth wheel has a shipping weight of 11,000 to 12,000 pounds.

Hitch Specifications to Consider

To tow a fifth wheel, a pickup truck must be equipped with a fifth wheel hitch. These hitches have their own weight rating known as the Gross Trailer Weight Rating, or GTWR. The hitch you purchase must be able to handle the overall weight of your fifth wheel, including all the equipment and furniture inside it. The hitch must be mounted in such a way that your RV's pin will end up just an inch away from the center of your truck's rear axle. The hitch also comes standard with mounting pieces that includes several bolts and brackets that directly connect to the frame of your truck and not to the cargo bed. Once the hitch is properly installed, you must adjust the height of your fifth wheel to match your truck's height -- adjust the bolts and the box of the hitch itself and adjust the trailer pin on your RV. Standard pickup truck tailgates are too high to allow the fifth wheel to connect with the hitch. A cut-down tailgate is necessary. The length of your pickup truck's cargo bed must be taken into consideration. Short cargo beds often come in contact with the front end of the trailer during sharp turns, causing damage to the truck's cab. Special sliding hitches can help avoid this problem. Trucks with long cargo beds can easily accommodate the length of a fifth wheel.

Types of Trucks Available on the Market

Many pickup trucks come standard with heavy-duty engines and performance towing packages. Some trucks that can easily handle fifth wheel RVs include the Ford Super Duty series, the Chevy and GMC HD models and the Dodge 2500 and 3500 models. Check the GVWR of these trucks before using them to tow a fifth wheel.

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