Which one ton truck for towing 5th wheel full time? - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums

Go Back  Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums > Towing Forum > Fifth Wheel & Gooseneck RV Towing
Reload this Page >

Which one ton truck for towing 5th wheel full time?

Notices

Which one ton truck for towing 5th wheel full time?

Reply

 
 
 
  #1  
Old 02-12-2018, 01:26 PM
open sky
open sky is offline
Freshman User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 33
open sky is starting off with a positive reputation.
Which one ton truck for towing 5th wheel full time?

Hello! This is my first post, and I would really appreciate your advise. If you read through it, you will understand why I posted on this forum specifically. As the title of the thread indicates, we are in the process of finding the right vehicle to pull 5th wheel trailer (which we didnít decide on yet either). Our dream has always been to go full time Rving when the last kid goes to college, which happens to be this year. We plan to sell the house and hit the road full time. I have searched RV forums for both the towing vehicle and 5th wheel. The universal advice was go test drive all 3 Ė Ford, GM, Ram Ė and get the one you like the most, since all 3 make good trucks these days. We have never owned a truck before.

So we hit all 3 dealerships last week, test driving full ton, diesel, SRW, CC, LB trucks back to back in a single afternoon. The whole point was to find out not only which one we liked the most, but also do we like driving such a big truck when not towing (as opposed to buying a class A MH and towing a car). My wife especially was bracing for an uncomfortable ride and wanted to find out whether itís tolerable enough to go with this option (as opposed to MH-Toad). We also wanted to test seat comfort, since it will be our only vehicle and we would be spending long hours in it. We prefer cloth seats, but are willing to tolerate leather (we currently have both in our vehicles, so we understand pros and cons of each). So the test vehicles were XLT and Lariat on the Ford side, and equivalents on GM and Ram side.

We go to Ford first (the order was based on distance from home as we have no brand preference). We sit in XLT first Ė really like the cabin, love the seats. OK, letís go drive this thing. Wow Ė totally unexpected! The ride was not only comfortable, it was pleasant, quiet, refind. Power was available all the time, at any speed, there was no turbo lag, transmission shifted seamlesly. We switched towards the end, wife wanted to know if she could drive such a beast; once she adjusted seat upwards and started driving, she was like wow, I can drive this! Then we get back to parking lot, and she says I am not parking this beast back to where it was. The salesman says just put it in reverse, I think you can do it. So she does, the camera pops up, and there is lane guidance that shows her how to turn steering wheel to safely back into parking spot. She loves the truck! But then she notices there is no auto climate dual zone, so we go to sit in Lariat. This was a downer Ė neither one of us was able to find comfy position Ė I guess we are used to contoured seats with supportive side bolsters, and Lariat seats just felt flat compared to XLT.

We leave to see GM. We sit in both cloth and leather seats. We find both very comfortable, and while we like the cabin, itís nothing special compared to Ford. We take the High Country for a test drive. Again Ė not what I expected from hours of research I have done online. The ride was pleasant, but no more so than Ford; I expected IFS to provide softer ride Ė did not feel it. Transmission was smooth, on par with Ford. There was a slight turbo lag, especially noticable at slower speeds or on takeoff. My wife likes it, but says she likes the look and feel of Fordís cabin much better than High Country. We then get out, and I notice something really ugly underneath the passenger side. Ah, I see Ė thatís the DEF tank I kept reading about! I could not believe GM engineers could not find better place for it. I liked the truck, and we could get it equipped the way we like it (auto climate in either cloth or leather version), the seats were super comfy, but that low hanging DEF tank has me worried since we go off-road quite often, and will continue to do so when fulltiming.

We hit Dodge last. I specifically ask for config with Aisin transmission, as thatís required for higher tow ratings and is supposed to be better and more reliable of the two choices. So we get in, and again I am surprised Ė not what I expected. Both cloth and leather seats are comfortable and supportive, the cabin is nicely appointed, hard to find anything negative. I expected lower quality because of the lower price tag. We take it for a test drive. First thing I notice the engine noise is louder compared to previous 2 trucks, especially when idling and at lower speeds. It disappears at highway speeds when the cabin is almost luxury car level quiet, a nice surprise. However, there is noticable turbo lag, similar to GM truck. Worse yet, the famous Aisin transmission keeps hunting for the right gear the entire time, 2 times making loud clunking noise! The salesman says thatís normal. The ride is pleasant, but not as smooth as GM or Ford. It seemed to me this is the least refined truck of the 3, and maybe that explains why similarly equipped models sell for less compared to GM and Ford. My wife likes the cabin, the seat comfort, and says itís the best looking truck.

The verdict? Wife is happy Ė she can drive LB pickup, decision made, no class A motorhome for us. Of the 3, we both like Ford the most overall Ė the best cabin, the most technology available, the most refined ride, the best towing/payload numbers. But we both did not like those Lariat seats, and XLT lacks some features we wanted to get, mostly auto climate and maybe memory seats. If it wasnít for this, the decision would have been made, and I would not be posting here asking for advise. GM was second for me and third for her. There really was no glaring weakness except for that low hanging DEF tank Ė I fear I would worry about it every time we go off road. Dodge was third for me, mostly because it seemed the least refined, and the transmission gear hunting really got me worried. Otherwise, nothing else wrong Ė strong towing numbers when properly equipped, nicely appointed cabin, and lower price.

So what do you guys think? Are my first time observations in line with your experience of driving different brand pickup trucks for a long time? Are Lariat seats really that much different compared to XLT? Is GM low hanging DEF tank really an off road hazard? Is that Aisin transmission really inferior compared to Ford/GM? Why is Ram so much cheaper Ė any serious quality/reliability issues? I plan to go test drive all 3 again this week just by myself now that I know we are buying a truck this year. What should I watch out for or pay attention to that I may not have noticed before? If my first observations get confirmed Ė which truch would you go with given our parameters?

And specifically to Ford - I honestly cannot justify spending $60-$70K on a new vehicle intended for long, comfortable cross country drives knowing up front the seats wonít be comfortable (Lariat). How would you address that issue since other than that itís a clear first choice? Is there an option (maybe aftermarket) to put XLT seats into Lariat? Or get auto climate in XLT? Any other way to address it? Anything else to consider?

Thank you so much for reading through this long post, and taking your time to provide your opinion. Feel free to ask any clarifying questions, would be happy to answer.
 
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-12-2018, 02:22 PM
Owenage
Owenage is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 111
Owenage is starting off with a positive reputation.
My concern for you on making this selection is not knowing your 5th options. I will say all 3 options have good and bad points. When making decisions like this I would also recommend making your selection on 5th wheel first. This will define what vehicle makes sense for the trailer.

If you are planning full time with anything over 30' and 2800lbs+ hitch the best option is going to be a DRW, regardless of brand of vehicle. I say this for more than one reason and regardless of what some might state on this forum a DRW will be safer and easier pulling a 5th wheel 24/7. Not to mention plan on maxing out the GVWR on the trailer if you full time.

Once you have an idea of trailer then spend some time comparing the capacity stickers on the big 3. After you have a baseline of numbers it will be easier to provide a recommendation on truck. Even though I purchased a 2017 F- 450 this time, all 3 make great trucks.

Here is a good video to explain what I'm talking about:

Cheers,
Joe
 
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-12-2018, 02:39 PM
'65Ford
'65Ford is offline
Posting Guru
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1,026
'65Ford is starting off with a positive reputation.
Before completely ruling out a class A, might consider the places you'll be visiting while full timing. Any downtown I've been in across the US is cramped for a srw pickup and worse for a drw. Also, when driving long stretches between towns with no cell service, might be nice to have a toad to jump in if the rv breaks down. When I no longer have use for a pickup (besides pulling a fiver), I'm switching from fiver to a class C and toad.
 
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-12-2018, 02:42 PM
cay5628's Avatar
cay5628
cay5628 is offline
Elder User
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Central Coast CA
Posts: 509
cay5628 has a great reputation on FTE.cay5628 has a great reputation on FTE.cay5628 has a great reputation on FTE.cay5628 has a great reputation on FTE.cay5628 has a great reputation on FTE.
Originally Posted by Owenage View Post
My concern for you on making this selection is not knowing your 5th options. I will say all 3 options have good and bad points. When making decisions like this I would also recommend making your selection on 5th wheel first. This will define what vehicle makes sense for the trailer.

If you are planning full time with anything over 30' and 2800lbs+ hitch the best option is going to be a DRW, regardless of brand of vehicle. I say this for more than one reason and regardless of what some might state on this forum a DRW will be safer and easier pulling a 5th wheel 24/7. Not to mention plan on maxing out the GVWR on the trailer if you full time.

Once you have an idea of trailer then spend some time comparing the capacity stickers on the big 3. After you have a baseline of numbers it will be easier to provide a recommendation on truck. Even though I purchased a 2017 F- 450 this time, all 3 make great trucks.

Here is a good video to explain what I'm talking about:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwFLOBrADBs

Cheers,
Joe
<----What he said x2.

We started with a SRW F350 Ford towing a 39ft fifth wheel, 3200 on the pin (15800 wet on Cat Scales) We quickly realized, yes it can do it, but we were at that ragged edge of safety for my comfort. We decided to go with a dually. We had planned to order a platinum edition, however the dealership I've bought 8 previous trucks from had a King Ranch, 14000 GVW, 430-1 gears, that had everything I wanted short dual alternators. They did me a solid price and we drove away.

We are much happier, and for our needs we feel safer with a F350 DRW. We are becoming full timers next year, we use our current trailer a lot but will be getting another one, even heavier, 24K three axle, advertised 3800 on the pin. We'll also scale that on purchase (empty) and when wet/loaded fully.

Good luck with your search, we are very happy with our Ford products for comfort, controls, ability (power) and stopping ability.

-Mark
 
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-12-2018, 03:45 PM
Effies 56
Effies 56 is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NWPA
Posts: 211
Effies 56 has a very good reputation on FTE.Effies 56 has a very good reputation on FTE.Effies 56 has a very good reputation on FTE.Effies 56 has a very good reputation on FTE.
Welcome,
Not being a expert on any of the new trucks I will not be able to comment much. I have owned Fords trucks for almost 50 years so I am probably going to be a little biased. Current 2015 F250 Lariat with leather seats seem pretty nice to me. I did drive a 2018 F250 XL and the seats were noticable stiffer. But I would expect that you might get a better seat when moving up from a XLT to a Lariat package. Wish I had more to offer.
My recommendation would be to look the Ford over pretty good. I like them. The new ones are even starting to grow on me!
Good luck in your search. Maybe talk to the dealer about your concerns with the seating?
I assume you tried all the seat positions and the lumbar too?
Regards,
Chris
 
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-12-2018, 04:03 PM
slapshot12
slapshot12 is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 179
slapshot12 is starting off with a positive reputation.
Figure out which 5er you want to get before deciding on a truck. Once you choose the 5er, then do the math for CCC (combined cargo capacity) and GCVR (gross combined vehicle rating) to ensure you have enough truck for that specific trailer. The CCC must cover all cargo, to include passengers, hitch, misc gear, and the pin weight of the 5er. GCVR must cover total weight of the truck and the total weight of the trailer. These are two ratings that many people run out of. Once you know how much truck you'll need, then decide which one you like the best, and finally choose the trim level and options you want. If you're looking at a 5er, your choice is between a 350 SRW and 350 DRW.
 
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-12-2018, 04:04 PM
open sky
open sky is offline
Freshman User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 33
open sky is starting off with a positive reputation.
Thanks for all replies. Interestingly enough, I watched that video over the weekend Ė been following them for months now. Interesting family.

I have read lots of opinions on SRW vs. DRW, and MH vs fiver, and I understand pros and cons of each. I also understand having 5th wheel first and then matching the right towing vehicle is the way to go. In our case itís a little different Ė one ton SRW is what we want for true 4-season camping and off-roading, we do not want DRW. We also do know that our 5th wheel will be around 30 feet long for best access to places we like the most here in Colorado, probably Arctic Fox. We are willing to sacrifice size and comfort for that. All the ones we are considering are doable with one ton SRW. Being able to boondock off the beaten path is much more important to us than towing a monster RV or driving a MH, so the SRW vs DRW and fiver vs MH decision has been made. In fact, when we talked to full timers here in Colorado over the last couple of years Ė on the trail or at the campgrounds Ė it was clear MH+Jeep was not for us. Being able to drive and boondock high up was the highest priority for us, and the smaller the fiver the more beautiful and serene places are available. People in Jeeps had to come down every night, and monster fivers stayed close to main roads. Not for us...

The main reason for my post was which truck since we never owned one. My wife was afraid she would hate the ride, and wouldnít like driving it. Now that this issue has been settled, we decided to buy a new truck first, and used RV second. We have time to shop - we will sell the house in 2019 or 2020, so we have a year or 2 to find the deal, workout any new vehicle issues on the truck, get comfortable with the RV and fix any major issues. I am very handy and have tools in my garage, so I prefer that vs. selling the house first and then dealing with truck/RV issues on the road.

My main concern right now is the truck as I outlined in my OP. The 350 XLT would be perfect on shorter trips, boondocking, off roading etc. But if we decide to drive to Alaska, and are in the truck for long hours, itís hard to imagine not having dual zone climate control. Wife is always colder, having her side set for higher temperature, or closing vents, or pointing them at me etc. If she reclines and falls asleep, that temperature **** is a very long reach from driverís seat. I can just see issues coming up based on our experience.

As you can probably tell, we are very outdoorsy people Ė hiking, biking, skiing, backpacking is our main passion, and those Lariat seats seem to be more designed for the bigger, heavier person... We are trying to hit that spot between not too big, not too small RV, and comfortable and reliable truck to safely pull it. Any and all ideas on how to address our dilemma are welcome!
 
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-12-2018, 05:21 PM
slapshot12
slapshot12 is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 179
slapshot12 is starting off with a positive reputation.
I've had dual zone climate control on 3 trucks now and we've never used it. Her side stays turned off and we use the main control. She simply moves/closes the vents to adjust her side. I don't quite get the gimmick of the dual zone. It may blow 2 different temps, but it all mixes together in the cab. I like the heated/cooled seats for climate control options. As far as seats go, the Lariat seats have way more adjustment possibilities than the XLT seats. It took me a few tries to find the sweet spots. I'm not a big guy and find the Lariat seats comfy once adjusted.

We've had 2 Lariats ('15 250 and current '17 350) and have be very happy with them both. I wanted some of the extra options on the Lariat. Looks closely at the option sheet. You may be able to pick and choose some of the options without going to the full Lariat package. But be careful, by picking and choosing, it may be more expensive than just getting the whole package. My friend at work got a '17 250 XLT a week before I got my 350 and he loves it. You just have to decide what you must have, would be nice to have but can live without, and what you don't want. Just find the combination that works best for you. Yes, new trucks are ungodly expensive. I never thought I'd buy a truck with a $70k sticker. Find a good dealer with a discount in addition to the rebates. A good deal in my area would be $7-9k off sticker. I've found the '17+ are not discounted as much. I got $10k off my $60k '15 250 and only $7k off my $70k '17 350. But, the '15 had it's value pretty well so I had a good amount of trade equity. But, if you need a certain amount of truck, you have to pay it.

As far as make, obviously I like Ford the best. This is my 6th Ford truck. I've had 3 Chevy/GMC, and 1 Dodge. I would also rate them in that order. My driveway will never see another Dodge. I had one and it was a p.o.s. I've been very happy with Ford and they improve with each version. The '17+ was a noticeable step up from the '15 I had. But, everyone is entitled to their choice and I respect that.
 
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-12-2018, 06:34 PM
open sky
open sky is offline
Freshman User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 33
open sky is starting off with a positive reputation.
Thanks for your thoughtful response, slapshot. I will go to the dealer again, and will try to spend 30-60 minutes in Lariat seat. Hopefully I can adjust it to my liking, which would solve our problem.

You also gave me another idea I havenít thought of. Shutting her side altogether was never an option in our current vehicles, as the middle vent on her side cannot be closed, only the outside one. She usually shuts that one and plays with the other, always complaining that it blows on her no matter where she points it to, and then raises her temperature high enough so it stops blowing cold air. Being able to shut it completely might solve that problem.

As far as other brands, it seems like you rated them in the same order I did. Was that based on overall refinement, reliability, or other factors? Were my test drive observations in line with your experience? When we stop and talk to people at the campgrounds, they tend to be happy folks satisfied with their vehicles, and I see a lot of Rams. Itís hard for me to believe there are so many full timers buying crappy vehicles when itís their only form of transportation. Did Dodge improve in overall quality and reliability?
 
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-12-2018, 06:43 PM
open sky
open sky is offline
Freshman User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 33
open sky is starting off with a positive reputation.
Originally Posted by Effies 56 View Post
Welcome,
Not being a expert on any of the new trucks I will not be able to comment much. I have owned Fords trucks for almost 50 years so I am probably going to be a little biased. Current 2015 F250 Lariat with leather seats seem pretty nice to me. I did drive a 2018 F250 XL and the seats were noticable stiffer. But I would expect that you might get a better seat when moving up from a XLT to a Lariat package. Wish I had more to offer.
My recommendation would be to look the Ford over pretty good. I like them. The new ones are even starting to grow on me!
Good luck in your search. Maybe talk to the dealer about your concerns with the seating?
I assume you tried all the seat positions and the lumbar too?
Regards,
Chris
Thanks, Effies. We spent most of the time in XLT as that's what we saw first, and since we liked it, we took it on a test drive. We did not want to test drive Lariat too, since we had 2 other brands to visit, so we just sat in there for maybe 5 minutes. We did not try all adjustments, and so that's clearly on a to do list. It just felt like cloth seats were made for our backs, and Lariats were more flat, so your back kind of slides left and right, if that makes sense. We did not feel much difference between cloth and leather seats in GM and Ram.
 
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-12-2018, 06:53 PM
SecondChance's Avatar
SecondChance
SecondChance is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Full-time RVers
Posts: 199
SecondChance has a good reputation on FTE.SecondChance has a good reputation on FTE.
Most fifth wheels that folks full-time in are over 14,000 lbs. GVWR. Dual rear wheel trucks are best suited to carrying the pin weight of this class of trailer.

I have three bulging discs in my lower back. Our previous truck was a 2013 GMC Sierra (crew cab, Duramax/Allison - great truck, but we traded to get dual rear wheels). I can drive longer days in the Lariat seat without pain than I could in the Sierra.

Rob
 
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-12-2018, 07:24 PM
open sky
open sky is offline
Freshman User
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 33
open sky is starting off with a positive reputation.
Originally Posted by SecondChance View Post
Most fifth wheels that folks full-time in are over 14,000 lbs. GVWR. Dual rear wheel trucks are best suited to carrying the pin weight of this class of trailer.

I have three bulging discs in my lower back. Our previous truck was a 2013 GMC Sierra (crew cab, Duramax/Allison - great truck, but we traded to get dual rear wheels). I can drive longer days in the Lariat seat without pain than I could in the Sierra.

Rob
Understood on SRW vs. DRW. We want to be safe, but we also want to stay short - right at 30 feet or below, and continue light off roading which is harder with DRW. In winter time, we plan to stay at campgrounds near ski resorts in CO and UT, where SRW will have advantage also. It's a compromise for sure - we do not get what we want all the time, so we rank our priorities. If we didn't like boondocking away from civilization in the Rockies so much, we would more than likely go with 34-37 foot fiver and one ton DRW truck.

Did your Sierra have that low hanging DEF tank? If so, where you ever concerned you might damage it off road?
 
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-12-2018, 07:43 PM
HRTKD's Avatar
HRTKD
HRTKD is offline
Postmaster
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Somewhere south of Denver
Posts: 4,805
HRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant futureHRTKD has a brilliant future
Open sky,
Despite my brother being a GM transmission technician I still went with the Ford. If you read through the 6.7L forum you'll find very few major issues with either the diesel engine or the 6r140 transmission. Those factors pretty much sealed the deal for me. I came out of a 1/2 ton truck that had a tough time keeping the transmission cool when pulling a side-by-side ATV on a trailer up the Colorado mountain passes. The F-350 I have does a very nice job pulling my 11K trailer without overheating.

The seats take some time to get configured just right. Reading up on seat ergonomics might make the configuration goes faster.

My wife isn't a fan of leather but I think the cooled seats eliminated that issue for her. We are very different when it comes to temperature needs so the dual climate is a must for us. I had given serious consideration to upgrading from Lariat to Platinum to get the massaging seats but my wife said it wasn't necessary. I was OK with that as I didn't like the Platinum bling.

If you get the chance, take a look at the YouTube channel for Big Truck Big RV. He's here on the forum, mostly in the 6.7L section, as IronCobra. He has a lot of good information about 5th wheels and trucks. His move to trade in an almost new F-350 DRW for a new F-450 DRW was very interesting.

If I was fulltiming - which I'm not - I would likely be in a DRW, probably an F-450. Not because I want a big trailer, but because I want the most stable platform for towing. I want my drive to be stress-free. I suspect that a DRW is only a problem when you want to park in tight places or go through a car wash.
 
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-12-2018, 09:04 PM
SecondChance's Avatar
SecondChance
SecondChance is offline
Senior User
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Full-time RVers
Posts: 199
SecondChance has a good reputation on FTE.SecondChance has a good reputation on FTE.
Originally Posted by open sky View Post
Understood on SRW vs. DRW.

Did your Sierra have that low hanging DEF tank? If so, where you ever concerned you might damage it off road?
The Sierra was 2WD and had 20" wheels and running boards so the DEF tank didn't hang down below anything else. I haven't done any serious off-roading since growing up in New Mexico in the '50s and '60s, either. As retired full-timers, we don't do any boon-docking. I guess we're wusses.

Rob
 
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-13-2018, 06:55 AM
Sous's Avatar
Sous
Sous is online now
Post Fiend
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Lake Hartwell, GA
Posts: 6,202
Sous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant futureSous has a brilliant future
Choose a trailer first, then choose the truck based on what the trailer calls for.

We have realized that having a car/SUV that my wife drives and follows me is a HUGE help. We have used it in critical periods where the truck had issues and the SUV enabled us to get parts or help for the truck in very short order.

In addition, having a smaller vehicle to go into parking garages, downtown or whatever is a refreshing break than trying to fit the truck (DRW or SRW) into those same situations. We use 2 way radios when we travel and life is good.

Also consider an auxiliary tank or larger fuel tank for the truck. Filling up when you want instead of when you have to is a great thing. I have 900 miles of range when towing our 5th wheel or 1500 miles unloaded. This is a big stress reliever, you will understand soon.
 
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Which one ton truck for towing 5th wheel full time?


Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.