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??Those who tow gooseneck and 5th wheel trailers??

tmltml Posts: 10
edited March 5 in Dodge
I am planning on purchasing a new truck/trailer combination. I would like to go with a crew cab - short box. The gooseneck trailer tapers down to 6' wide at the nose. To me, it seems like I would have enough room (between the trailer and the back of the cab) for any type of turn; but others have suggested getting a long bed. Those of you with experience on this issue, I would appreciate any advice! Thanks in advance for your help!

Comments

  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    The short bed doesn't have enough room between the rear of the cab and the centerline of the rear axle to allow a 5th wheel adequate clearance in a tight turn. I don't know what kind of gooseneck you have, you stated it tapers to 6' wide at the nose, so I am assuming it has a fairly square front end similar to a 5th wheel. Go look at the Reese hitch web site in the 5th wheel section, they make a slide kit that allows you to "slide" the hitch back a few inches to allow you to make tight turns, such as those you might make when backing the trailer into a space. They didn't make this slide kit unless there was a need for it. Of course, you can't do that with a hidden gooseneck hitch. One way to look at the clearance problem. Measure the distance from the front of the bed to a point 2" ahead of the centerline of the rear axle. If that distance is greater than half of the width of your trailer you should be ok with a short bed for maneuvers where the truck and trailer stay at more than a 90 degree angle. You'll need more distance than width if you make any maneuvers where the truck and trailer angle is less than 90 degrees. If you pull a 5th wheel, you can also get an extended pin box to give you more clearance. I don't know if you can do that with a gooseneck though.
  • tmltml Posts: 10
    Thanks for the informative opinion and advice! The gooseneck trailer I plan to have is a Featherlite 32' (40' overall length) which does taper down to 6' wide at the front, but is a pretty straight 6' as you mentioned. I looked at Reese's web site and that "Kwik-Slide" 5th wheel hitch is really nice - too bad they don't do something like that for a gooseneck! I will go and measure the truck tomorrow and see how much space I have to work with from the rear axle forward! Is this the only reason people choose long bed or short bed - so that they have enough room for tight turns? One dealer told me to get the long bed because of maneuverability; one trailer dealer told me they do short bed, crew cabs all the time. That's why I put the question out here - to get real advice from people who are dealing with these issues already, as opposed to some saleperson's advice!

    Thanks again!
  • tengatenga Posts: 20
    I have a 2002 SLT w/a short bed and had a Husky16 (Valley Industries) 5th Wheel Hitch installed. Mullins87 advice is real solid, if you go with a short bed pickup, get the hitch that can be moved back and forth for tight spots and normal pulling. The Husky16 handles a 25'5th wheel, but the dealer recommended a larger hitch for anything longer than that. But I understand that going with a long bed (8') is still the best advice. I spent more for moveable hitch, so I could have the Crew Cab. Hope to have pictures of my truck and situp, to show in a couple of days.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    I think 6' wide is going to be too much for a short-bed. I've got a 35' Sundowner on a short-bed but it tapers down to about 3' in the nose. I have no problems with that set-up and the short-wheel base turns better than a long-bed. But not if you can't turn because of the trailer bangin off the cab!!
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    These fellows have a good point about the short bed being able to make shorter turns because of the shorter wheelbase. I used to work for a trucking company. We had a specially designed "yard dog" that was for moving trailers around the terminal. It had an extremely short wheelbase, but the cab was positioned entirely over the front axle. You could turn that tractor sharp enough so that while the tractor was moving foward, the trailer tires were actually rolling backwards. But, 75% of its total length was behind the cab, allowing for the tight turns. Unless you are restricted by garage space or some other factor that just absolutely would not allow the extra 1.5 feet of truck bed, go with the long bed. Out on the road you'll never know its there.
  • tmltml Posts: 10
    Thank you to all for the informative advice! I appreciate the opinions! The reasons for wanting a short bed are the additional length needed for a snow plow (and still being able to fit it in the garage) and the fact that I will only be towing a heavy load (9-14k pounds) about 8-10k miles each year. The rest of the time this will be my daily driver, and will be driven unloaded (other than maybe 1000 pounds). That's probably why I still haven't decided on a gas or a diesel yet (I will drive it about 25-30k miles per year)! Feel free to let me know which engine you prefer based on your actual experiences!

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    I prefer the diesel. I chose it for several reasons, not all of which are related to towing. When I bought the truck I had a large slide-in camper, now I have a camper. I like the nearly indestructible aspect of the diesel. However, I also chose the diesel for economics. I am currently saving approximately $1,200 per year in fuel costs. By the time I figure in the extra maintenance costs for the diesel, I am still ahead approximately $1,000 per year. So in five years I will break even on the added expense of the diesel option. Also, my truck has to go at least 300k miles before I can get another. I know 200k miles isn't completely out of the question for a gasser, but I believe 300k is.
  • tmltml Posts: 10
    I appreciate the info! I'm going to do the long bed, but as far as engines go, that is yet to be decided. How many miles do you tow each year and how many miles do you put on your truck in a year? Since I've decided on the F-350 CC LB, now my decision is between the V10 or PSD. I live in N. MN (where -20 isn't abnormal), so that influences my decision also. I have friends that have the PSD and we have two V10's at work, but we aren't towing the kinds of loads with these trucks that I will be towing. The people I know who have the PSD - love it! I agree with you that the diesel is good for at least 300K miles, and you don't see many gas engines (especially that tow big loads) go more than 150-175K miles!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    I wouldn't put much money on a gas engine making it past 150K towing 14K on a regular basis. I just like a diesel when towing, particularly when your topping 10K. The cummins will start every time in -20, the new one coming out in the fall was tested to start the same as a gasser down to -40 even without a heater! It was 5 this morning and I needed to drive my cummins, it wasn't plugged in and it started the same as when it's 30. I think the PSD might need a bit more coaxing, but I'm not aware of any of the newer ones having many problems starting in the cold either.

    The other side is mpg. Towing, a diesel will only marginally drop mpg where a gasser will seriously drink the fuel. Even empty the diesel will do much better. I was watching the computer on mine this weekend while empty and running 65mph on flat I was getting a steady 24mpg. 70mph dropped it to 22, 75 to 20mpg. When it came up on any type of hill, it would drop about 5mpg to pull the hill, then down the otherside it would gain 5. Overall empty on this particular trip I got 19mpg. This was the first trip in a long time I've been empty for both legs and was able to really get a good empty reading. Overall the computer says I'm averaging 15.5mpg and this truck has a trailer behind it 80% of the time. It's an '01 4X4 Ext. Cab short bed Cummins with automatic and a bit over 60K miles. Based on what I've seen here on gas engines both empty and towing, they aren't even in the same ball-park. Particularly right now when diesel is .10 cheaper per gallon.
  • tmltml Posts: 10
    That speaks pretty strongly for the diesel! I was figuring a steady 4-6 mpg difference in mileage whether I was towing or empty. From what you are saying, the difference is more than that! I believe diesels do better towing heavy loads! I'm only thinking about the other 17-22K miles I drive in a year with no trailer - that is where I question the diesel. How long do you have to wait for a diesel to warm up in 10 degree weather before you can leave for work?

    Thanks in advance!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    I've just seen alot of posts of the big V8's and V10's getting low teens empty, and even less when loaded. I don't know what truck you were looking for, but the Cummins is known to get better mpg that the PSD. So if you're looking for a Ford, your estimates might be more accurate. Also depends on your driving style. The Ford is more of a "speed" engine IMHO. The Cummins mpg goes to crap when you get into high speeds. I pulled about 10,000# out to MS and running 85mph with the AC on and I was only getting about 11mpg.

    As far as waiting on cold mornings, I dunno. I pulled it out this morning and let it idle for maybe 15 minutes but it really didn't warm up. You have to drive them before the engine temps get moving. The power isn't substantial at first, but it's no big deal to start it and drive off. I usually go easy on it for awhile until the temps come up. It would probably be much better if I plugged it in, but normally it might idle for an hour before the truck leaves when we're hauling which is the majority of the time. Usually by the time everything it hooked up and loaded, it's been running quite a long while and is nice and warm. As far as just starting though, it will fire on the first turn regardless of how cold it's been.
  • tmltml Posts: 10
    I've pretty much decided on the F-350 Crew Cab due to the interior space. I have 4 Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler vehicles now; but the new Dodge Quad Cab (or old style, for that matter) doesn't give me the interior space I need. I have friends that also have the Cummins and love it - but I can't get the Cummins in the F-350. So it's the PSD/3.73 or V10/4.30?
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    Ford sells alot more vehicles just because of the Crew cab. People that do alot of horse shows and traveling are cramped even in the crew. One of our trainers has a Freighliner with living quarters. Our Ram mainly "shuttles" horses, and usually only one passenger, maybe two. The shorter wheel-base is great for that. The new quad cab dodge has coming out is very roomy, but still not quite as big as the Crew from what I've seen. Assuming it crosses over to the heavy-duty trucks in the same format.

    I'd do the PSD over the V10 myself. You're already cruising around in a 1-ton regardless of engines so it's not really a performance type vehicle. I know people that tow with V10's and are pleased with them, but they are towing maybe 10% of the time with them. I pulled a buddies boat out of the river this fall because his V10 was having problems. I yanked his 13,000# boat up a very steep ramp and towed it about 40 miles. His comment to me was that I had one helluva truck and he couldn't believe the difference. I've never towed with a V10 so I can't comment beyond that.
  • tmltml Posts: 10
    I agree with what you are saying about the diesels. I don't know anyone who has a diesel who wished they had a gas, but I do know people with the gas who wish they had the diesel. You're also correct in that I'm not trying to build a sports car here! The new 1/2 ton design from Dodge is going to be plopped on the 2500/3500 chassis later this year (solid axles and all - you can see the new 2500/3500's at dodge's web site). It is roomier than the old style, but I would say it is only as big as a GM Extended Cab - not a crew cab from either Ford or Chevy. I've sat in and driven all the trucks - ext. cabs, crew cabs, the new Dodge, gas, diesel, etc. And I did most of them in the same day so my memory was still fresh. Ford and Dodge get the nod over Chevy because of the solid front axle, Ford gets the nod over Dodge because of the interior space. It's leaning more toward PSD as opposed to V10!
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    I will run about 35k a year with 8k to 10k of it pulling a camper. Sebring mentioned his loaded mileage with the Cummins being 11mpg. That is very close to mine of 11.25mpg at 70mph with the A/C on grossing about 17k pounds. Empty I average 18.5mpg with a mix of 25% city and 75% highway driving. You are correct about the gassers wishing they had a diesel, but never the other way around. As far as starting and warm up times go, I keep mine in a garage and I always plug it in when temps go below freezing. I do this just out of convenience. But I can tell you that on days when the truck sits in the parking lot all day and the temps never get above freezing, the PSD cranks just as fast as when it is 75 degrees. The only difference is it might make a little more noise at first. I do let it run for a minute or two, but I never have noticed any reluctance to go even when stone cold. BUT, I do take it easy until the temp gauge gets at least 1/3 way up the scale. However, where I live doesn't get nearly as cold as where you live. So your warm up times may be longer.
  • tmltml Posts: 10
    I appreciate all the info - that is exactly what I was looking for! Both you and Sebring seem very knowledgable on this! This is helping me make my decision. The mileage figures are pretty good and could make the diesel pay for itself in 4-5 years.

    Thanks again!
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