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TOPIC: New To Fifth Wheels

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #1

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Looking for some wisdom as we are new to Fifth Wheels. We have been full timing for 15 years and are in a 45' tag axel motor home but are moving to a Fifth Wheel since we purchased a home and will probably only be traveling about six months of the year.
We are looking at the Redwood 3901MB with a Dry Weight of 14402 and GVW 17900. We are also looking at purchasing a Ford F-350 Diesel, 6.7L Diesel, 4x4, Crew Cab that has a hitch rating of 18,000 to tow. We have owned dual wheel Fords before and would prefer not to go dual wheels at this time.
We would greatly appreciate any observations or opinions on our plan before we make the move. We are currently in Ohio and will be heading to Florida next week to try and make this transition. Any and all thoughts would be very much appreciated.
Feel free to contact us directly if preferred at (coded email for security) ronsuewoodie at gmail dot com
THANK YOU

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #2

I can't say for the master bath model, but our Redwood 36RL which had less of a GVWR than that and listed as only 2,700 lbs pin weight, quickly ran to 4,350 lbs on the pin. My F350 SRW was toast as it was overloading the tires, not to mention the payload. We had to go to a dually.

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2014 36RL (Sold) - Brad, Dory & Sarah

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #3

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Wow! That is an eye opener. Can you give us an idea of what was added to increase your "Pin Weight" that much? We are thinking of adding a washer/dryer and generator plus normal use items that would go in the front of the rig. This is invaluable info to consider before we make our final decision on this package.
If anyone out there is towing with a SRW F-350 sure would appreciate your input as well.
THANKS

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #4

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As stated on here many times, there is age old disagreement on this forum and the other about SRW vs. DRW towing. Opinions are pretty cast in concrete on both fronts, so the best advice is study the hard facts of payload capacity of the SRW vs. the DRW. I'm one not to run anything at upper capacity limit, but there are those on these forums who do. Each has to make their own decision. But trust Brad on his pin weights; it doesn't take much to get over 3K to 3.5K (or more). A number of us started out with a 1 ton SRW and very quickly traded for a DRW. The stability and payload capacity is night and day. A generator and washer/dryer will for the most part go on the pin, as well as fresh water. Another factor is if you'll be towing long distances or weekend warrior vacation trips. If you're fulltiming it, my advice is to get the DRW. I did and an very glad I did.

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Jim & Mary Butters, Maggie (furry kiddo)
2013 Redwood 36RL
MorRyde IS, MorRyde Pin Box Goodyear G114 17.5's Titan Disc Brakes, Residential fridge Winegard Travel'r rooftop TST TPMS

2015 Ford F350 KR DRW

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #5

Our 36RL had the Washer/Dryer and the 5500LP Generator, but we weren't full timers so realistically it shouldn't have been "stuffed" necessarily. Back then Redwood gave you a 100 gal fresh water tank which sat between the pin and the axle, which didn't help.

Here are our CAT scales after we got our 2008 dually (kept it a year, then bought a new 2014) - the first ticket is the empty truck, the second is with the Redwood empty as we picked it up from the storage garage (no water or food or clothes #3480 pin), and the third is fully loaded ready for vacation (4320 pin).

Other floor plans are different based on how utilities were arranged. The FL models were lighter on the pin, but heavier on the axle.

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2014 36RL (Sold) - Brad, Dory & Sarah

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #6

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I'll add this: We have a '16 MB, same basic floor plan, we just have the Butler's Pantry vs the Half Bath. We have the Washer, Dryer, and Onan 5500 Generator and our unit left the Factory at just under 16K empty. We're "Most Timers" so we're generally loaded heavy, so we have the MORryde IS with a 24K MORryde Pin Box and 24K Comfort Ride Hitch and we're pushing 19K plus going down the road.

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Michelle & Ann
2018 Chevy 3500HD High Country Crew Cab DRW, D/A, 2016 RW39MB, Dual ACs, Auto Level, Auto Sat Dish, Stack W/D, King Sleep #, 17.5" GY114s w/Disc, 5.5 Onan, Mor/ryde Pin & IS, Comfort Ride Hitch, Res Fridge & Induction Cook Top

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #7

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Similar to Brad & Jim, we started with a 2012 F350 SRW. We towed our 2013 36FL for over 25,000 miles, with many of them through the Rockies. However, the SRW was maxed out on load.

To stay within towing limits, we had to travel light - all tanks empty, especially the FW tank. This gave us a pin weight of 3,050 lbs, which was 50 lbs below the max weight we could put on the rear axle. The coach weight (as per scale) was 15,500 lbs, so we were 500 lbs below the max we could tow. The Gross Combined was also very tight - within about 100 lbs, if memory is correct.

While the new trucks have higher load numbers, your coach is also much heavier than our FL. We traded the 2012 for a 2016 F350 DRW and now travel with piece of mind.

Many of us paid the price of starting with a SRW and then upgrading to a DRW. Suggest starting with a DRW and saving a ton of cash.

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Andy & Judi, Canines - Kona & Bella
Maple Ridge, BC
2013 RW 36FL
2016 F350 DRW
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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #8

I pull our 2015 RL38 with a single rear wheel GMC 3500. with water I am 400lbs over my rear tire load rating . Crew cab 4x4 so I will say it can be done but our next truck with be rated to tow and carry more. Our current truck is rated at 11,500 lb and combine rated at 25600 lbs so we are MAXED out on every stat. I have since upgraded to 19.5" tires to get a safety margin against blow out but it feels heavy when your on poor roads, just not a surefooted as I want. Not sure if a DRW 1 ton is the path we are thinking ? I may get a MD truck for just pulling use and keep my 1 ton SRW for a year or two then go back to a 2500 Duramax truck for daily driver (not used for pulling the redwood). My SRW 1 ton has air bags , this is a must have at 3300 lbs of pin weight +hitch and extra fuel tank.

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #9

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Thank you to everyone for responses. This isn't what we wanted to hear BUT so thankful to have the knowledge now instead of regretting our decision later. We really hadn't thought about location of water tank. We are use to our coach that would be just about impossible to overload but we are now determined to make the switch to a Fifth Wheel and do less resort camping and more traveling.
Our initial thought was to try and stay under 39' length but we really like the bath and a half at 40'. Wondered if there is a motivating reason to try and stay shorter?

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #10

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If length is an issues, might want to verify the actual length. Our 36FL is closer to 41'. There's many parks we can't get into, but in our experience only a couple of feet shorter would not make much difference.

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Andy & Judi, Canines - Kona & Bella
Maple Ridge, BC
2013 RW 36FL
2016 F350 DRW
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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #11

Woodie wrote: Thank you to everyone for responses. This isn't what we wanted to hear BUT so thankful to have the knowledge now instead of regretting our decision later. We really hadn't thought about location of water tank. We are use to our coach that would be just about impossible to overload but we are now determined to make the switch to a Fifth Wheel and do less resort camping and more traveling.
Our initial thought was to try and stay under 39' length but we really like the bath and a half at 40'. Wondered if there is a motivating reason to try and stay shorter?


in our case we have a king bed and slide in a slide with washer and drier in the side closet . The basement is packed with chairs and camping equipment similar to a full timer but lighter. I have everything from spare water pump to spare wheel bearings ,seal and races for bearing. So yes I could go on a diet but that isn't the issue , the truck is the issue. If I didn't have a W/D and slide in a slide I would be fine with 50 gallons of water in the tank. SRW is just to close in max GCW (gross combine weight and rear axel weight). Ford has a higher rating on there rear axel then GM because of tire size on the 350 SRW , that being said it can be under max rating depending on RV and how its loaded. In my case the owner of the truck isn't willing to diet so the truck is going to a new owner at some point soon . I put a lot of time and money into equipping this truck to haul heavy and should have known my scale numbers first. the dealers will tell you a F150 will be fine (some dealer) but all of us have learned from our adventures that there is a better way.

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Last Edit: by xcmark.

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #12

It was that dislike for that dually that played a key role in our decision to go to a MH.

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2014 36RL (Sold) - Brad, Dory & Sarah

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #13

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Last Edit: by GipCTravelers.

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #14

GipCTravelers wrote: Motorhome versus 5th Wheel...

Motorhomes are nice. I have to admit. Driving is easier and more comfortable. Backing is easier. Not having to get out in the rain to set the jacks is nice. Paying $6,000 for tires, $2000 for batteries, expensive oil changes, being without the home for engine repairs, $2000 for a tow bill. Bummers for sure.

A 5th wheel can have more storage. With more storage, you add more "stuff". More stuff, more weight.

A couple of things about a 5th Wheel: More space on the interior foot for foot. They don't have that wasted space where the driver and passenger sit. Layouts can be a little better on some models.

I know this isn't a debate MH vs 5th wheel, but after having both I would need to argue with you on many of your points - $6,000 tires - way out of line. My most expensive bid was $5,000 for 8 Michelins, and they don't get higher than that. $2,000 batteries - thats a lot of AGM batteries, more than most MHs hold. oil change expensive, eh - $299 Speedco for 29 quarts and 3 filters, not breaking the bank compared to what Ford gets for the F350.

Not sure when the last time you walked in a MH, but the front seats become part of the lounge and with slides out and level floor, there is actually little to no difference between a MH or 5er, except under the floor where the MH (mine) has 245 cubic ft of storage and a 9,000 lb payload and you won't get there in a 5er.
:)

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2014 36RL (Sold) - Brad, Dory & Sarah
Last Edit: by atom ant.

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #15

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Last Edit: by GipCTravelers.

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #16

GipCTraveler, it is just your inexperience showing, so I make the following corrections to your response

GipCTravelers wrote: Well...I know my math may be off just a bit...But when I talk about a Motorhome (MH) vs. a 5th wheel, I assume (maybe incorrectly) that one might consider a diesel, tag axle unit. So, with that there are 10 tires. I just picked a tire size at random (Michelin XZA2 Energy 315/80R-22.5). There are smaller tires, thinner tires, less quality tires, less weight rated tires, lower speed rated tires and MH's without tag axles. But this particular tire runs $1000 to $1200. Buy the road hazard to go with that, mount and balance, I'm sure the price went up. 10 of these tires would be around $10K. Let's go with a smaller, less expensive, less rating tire. Cut that in half. $5K. (That's not a dig. Shorter/lighter rigs don't need the one spec'd above).

I've told this to you before, TAG axle motorhomes are 8 tires like mine, not 10. The tag is single wheel, often a steerable axle. Sorry, not even a $2M Prevost has 10 tires. Also, I think you are guessing at size. Mine are actually Michelin XZA-3s at 275/80R 22.5 which is a pretty standard tire for Freightliner and Spartan on a 45,000 lb coach with a tag. They run about $550 a tire. There are exceptions, but we aren't talking exceptions here, right?

GipCTravelers wrote: Batteries...I've seen 4 to 12 batteries. It depends on whether one has a solar array or not. Maybe they have the 600HP engine that requires larger or more batteries. So, I'll average 6-8 batteries (for engines and accessories). I know I bought two AGM batteries and it was $700. So if I buy 6, that would be $2,100. I know...there are wet cell batteries for $200 each. That would still be $1,200.

6-8 batteries average - fair enough (PS - 600 HP still only takes 2 batteries on the chassis side). Sam's club 31 series AGM deep cycle (standard MH) $179. Sorry you paid $350. I couldn't even find any for $350, not even Trojan. (PS, there are only 2 US manufacturers of AGM batteries; Trojan and East Penn who make all the others besides Trojan

GipCTravelers wrote: Oil changes...I can't debate directly as I don't have one but I have inquired since I was interested in buying a MH at one point. I did not find a $200 oil change. And I know that a good quality oil filter(s) is not that cheap. Neither are the Diesel Fuel filters.

$299, not $200. Speedco using Rotella and Fleetguard oil filters, same as Cummins so I don't see a quality concern. It's not like these are over the road trucks getting pounded 24/7, rather they are babied, garaged little Cummins that come out every spring to get their oil changed :)

GipCTravelers wrote: Towing? This is where a person I know stated it cost them right at $2K to tow. I don't recall how far that was but nearly fell over at that cost. Luckily, they had insurance which covered a large part of that.

With towing insurance, the playing field is level. I'm sure it costs more to tow a large diesel pusher, but I've also had my truck AND fifth wheel towed to the shop when the truck broke down and I don't think that would have been very cheap either.

GipCTravelers wrote: And I don't take it personal that you may have found better pricing or different equipment. IF I were to replace the 5th wheel with a MH, I would treat it the same way as the 5th wheel with quality and safety in mind. My interest was in the 40'+, Tag Axle, 600HP units. I know you have a MH and once had the 5th Wheel. Your experiences are likely different based on what you have. Thanks for sharing your experiences. All who watch this site need different (or same) perspectives. They just need to understand that there are different rigs that have different maintenance costs. They are not all the same.

Then perhaps sir you need to just qualify what you are trying to say before you say it. Rather than throw these ridiculous numbers out there in a comparison titled "5TH WHEEL VS MH", say what you are really comparing; a relatively average 5th wheel to a high end motorhome like a Newmar King Aire or a ForeTravel!

I consider my 44' + tag 450 hp diesel pusher pretty average and felt my numbers were a pretty realistic comparison between a MH and a 5th wheel. I also maybe resent your implication that my pricing is cheaper because I'm looking at "thin" tires and cheap filters :)

When you get your Prevost, cmon back and give us another write up! It would be an interesting comparison. For now, I think when you throw up a 5th wheel vs a MH discussion, you need to be realistic and not try to compare using extremes.

GipCTravelers wrote: Respectfully...

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2014 36RL (Sold) - Brad, Dory & Sarah
Last Edit: by atom ant.

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 1 week ago #17

From the original question about SRW-VS-DRW...just do the "math". Your answer will make it easy to make the determination. Hope you enjoy your RW as much as we enjoy ours. Been full-timing over five years now and loving life.

Bob & Debbie

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 5 days ago #18

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Unfortunately we are struggling a bit to properly "interpret" the math regarding weights and our hope was that other fifth wheelers could guide us.
The F350, SRW, 6.7L Diesel, 4x4, Crew Cab, Short Bed (159.8") shows in their brochure a 5th Wheel Towing of 20,700--5th wheel towing rating limited to 5th-wheel hitch rating of 18,000 lbs., or Conventional Towing Weight Carrying of 18,000 with Payload (we interpret to be Hitch Weight) of 3950 lbs.
The Redwood 3901MB shows GVW of 17,900 (UVW 14,402 + Cargo 3,498) with Hitch Weight of 2,570. Adding W/D (approx. 250 lbs.), generator (approx. 100 lbs.) and Hitch (approx. max 300 lbs.) and clothes will we believe, greatly impact the hitch weight total. We believe the 17,900 GVW would put us well within our Weight Carry limits of 20,700. BUT, are we interpreting that correctly? We are also looking at the Anderson Hitch which another 5er recommended to us, if anyone has an opinion. THANKS

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 5 days ago #19

When doing the math there are 2 numbers that mean absolutely nothing in the equation, #1 rv dry weight, the ONLY time it will weigh that is the day it rolled off the assembly line, no liquids, no battery, no propane, maybe no propane bottles, #2 the max trailer/rv tow rating of the truck, most will exceed the payload long before they will ever tow the max. The best number to use would be the GVW of the rv, believe me you'll get to that number quickly if loading for fulltime or extended trips. Figure 15-20%+/- of that number as pin weight. Weigh your truck with it loaded exactly as you'd be towing + the calculated pin weight & go from there.
The payload is the pin weight plus anything/anybody in/on the truck, this includes people, pets, toolbox, tools, aux fuel tank if added, running boards, even fuel & adds up a lot faster than you'd think.
My recommendation would be a dually or pack light for a srw. It's ultimately up to you how or with what you want to tow with just keep in mind the safety of yourself & the rest of us when choosing.
Today saw a fellow at a fuel stop towing a 38' Montana with a 2 wheel trailer behind with an ATV on it with the rear bumper of his F250 about a foot off the pavement. I told the DW if he pulled out the same direction as us that we would wait a while to leave, I didn't want to witness or be part of the mess he could make on the highway.

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Travelin' Texans
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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 5 days ago #20

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Woodie wrote: Unfortunately we are struggling a bit to properly "interpret" the math regarding weights and our hope was that other fifth wheelers could guide us.
The F350, SRW, 6.7L Diesel, 4x4, Crew Cab, Short Bed (159.8") shows in their brochure a 5th Wheel Towing of 20,700--5th wheel towing rating limited to 5th-wheel hitch rating of 18,000 lbs., or Conventional Towing Weight Carrying of 18,000 with Payload (we interpret to be Hitch Weight) of 3950 lbs.
The Redwood 3901MB shows GVW of 17,900 (UVW 14,402 + Cargo 3,498) with Hitch Weight of 2,570. Adding W/D (approx. 250 lbs.), generator (approx. 100 lbs.) and Hitch (approx. max 300 lbs.) and clothes will we believe, greatly impact the hitch weight total. We believe the 17,900 GVW would put us well within our Weight Carry limits of 20,700. BUT, are we interpreting that correctly? We are also looking at the Anderson Hitch which another 5er recommended to us, if anyone has an opinion. THANKS


You are obviously within the limits of the max 5th wheel towing, but that is the easy metric to meet.

The newer trucks have significantly higher tow ratings than my 2012 F350 SRW. The one metric that probably hasn't changed is the trucks GVWR, which if memory is correct is a max of 11,500 lbs. With DW & I, 2 dogs and full fuel, with a pin weight of 3,000 lbs, our GVW of the truck was right at the limit. The rear axle could handle another 50 - 100 lbs, but then the truck would have been over GVW.

You also have to consider GCVWR, which is truck + trailer.

As many of us have advised, we did the SRW and it does not work, as many of us traded in almost new trucks to purchase a dually.

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Andy & Judi, Canines - Kona & Bella
Maple Ridge, BC
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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 5 days ago #21

I believe your getting some great advice here. I will let others comment on the weight issue as I barely understand my own. I use a Denali 3500 dually. I wanted the auxiliary fuel tank. Partly to save money and avoid expensive stops, partly because I dislike pulling into strange fuel stops and worrying about getting stuck. One of the advantages for us, is we keep it full when we arrive at our destination. The added weight in the back really makes the truck ride nicer. We offset some of that weight by using the Andersen Ultimate hitch. It’s a mere 40lbs and easily one handed by most. We have been very happy with it, and their customer service has been excellent. It worked well with the TrailAir pin box but have been told it works even better with the new MorRyde pin box which I believe the 2019 models have. Will let you know later in the week as I am changing out my pin box.

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 5 days ago #22

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I will jump in here, as I am one of the few that use my 2015 SRW to pull my "16" 38RL...
I am 210# OVER on payload of the truck... I am under my rear axle and tire ratings..
Here are my scaled weights-
12,680 on the axles
3,260 on the pin
15,940 is my loaded for camping weight

As I have said many times... For ME.. I am the weekend warrior, I am fine with my situation... IF I start to tow longer distances, or longer periods I will get a DRW.. But for now, I love my truck, it sits level with 35psi in the air bags and no sway or tail wagging the dog effects...

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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 5 days ago #23

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A minor correction in your estimate, if you're talking about added the Onan 5500 it's close to 300 pounds.
And another note about those brochure weights, I doubt if there is a RW that rolls out of the plant that weighs what the brochure lists.
Our brochure weight was 14K, yet our MB left the factory at just under 16K, thus the reason everyone tells you to FORGET that brochure numbers.

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Michelle & Ann
2018 Chevy 3500HD High Country Crew Cab DRW, D/A, 2016 RW39MB, Dual ACs, Auto Level, Auto Sat Dish, Stack W/D, King Sleep #, 17.5" GY114s w/Disc, 5.5 Onan, Mor/ryde Pin & IS, Comfort Ride Hitch, Res Fridge & Induction Cook Top

New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 2 days ago #24

It was a dark time in my life when I first got the Redwood :)

I really did try to get my SRW to work. After I got my first scare or two at the CAT scales and got a dually, things brightened up a bit! Again, I did not like the dually, but there was a lot of comfort knowing that I didn't have to worry about it much anymore. I could fill with water to capacity, load what I wanted, and it was OK to take a few cases of water in the back of the truck, or some extra camping gear. Truth is, 3 years later when I CAT scaled with our 2014 F350 DRW, we were actually pushing up against the payload numbers for that truck as well. Not that we were getting close to tire capacity, but we were sneaking up on the true payload numbers on that dually.

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2014 36RL (Sold) - Brad, Dory & Sarah
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New To Fifth Wheels 1 month 2 days ago #25

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I'm another that had a SRW, and someone in Nebraska got a very nice 9 month old SRW F350

Forget totally the brochure weights of any kind. They're magic numbers that none of us have ever figured out. In my case, I was under (not by much) GCWR and was also under (not by much) my 11,500 truck GVWR

But ~ and this was the decider ~ when actually weighed on a CAT Scale, I was OVER on rear axle ratings and even more important, rear tire capacity ratings, by almost 900 lbs. The next day I started looking for a Dually. Last thing I wanted was to blow a drive tire on the truck.

Best move I ever made. Mine is a F350 Dually with the Max Tow Package. If I had it to do over, I would very seriously consider either a Ram 5500 or a Freightliner Sportchassis.

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Vaughan & Tracy and the Critters 2013 Redwood 36RL following a 2013 Ford F350 DRW. MorRyde IS, Kodiak Disc, Comfort Ride Hitch, MorRyde Pinbox, and a bunch more. And coming soon ~ Fred the Focus tagging along behind Tilda the Redwood.
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