2500 or 3500 for 5th Wheel Retirement Towing

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SGTrucks

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Short background - towed a 5400 lb travel trailer - dual axle, weight distribution hitch 6000 miles in 18 days to 10 national parks, was at 85% of my cap, had a few issues when it was hotter out (80+) and a few grade issues in Colorado and Utah where I capped at 45mph (heat related capped around 60mph). It was ok and will work for the short term but want to upgrade before the next trip to Grand Canyon and back next year (Live in Ohio).

My question is future proofing a bit for a live in / work in retirement truck / trailer - planning on working at Campgrounds / KOA 62 yo to ? (maybe 75 or so?) - want to see the country and what better way than to work part time and live in an area for 3 to 6 months and see different sections of the US while I can still get around well :)

Looking at a 5th Wheel - 43 ft, 2150 hitch weight (2400 loaded) 11.7k unloaded trailer weight, 14k loaded trailer weight.
Specifically this 5th Wheel (there are a few similar / other brands but this has what I want) - https://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/heritage-glen-fifth-wheels/369BL/6874

80% rule I need something that will tow 18k max and 3k hitch (bed in this case / payload). Understanding extra weight in the cab (me / dog / kid adds to to that).

Most of the 2500 V8 Gas hit about 17K / 3K roughly (need to stay away from the lower end 2700 payload capacities).
Most of the 3500 V8 Gas hit about the same - they start shooting up to 30k with the turbo deisel / right transmission at the high end.

2500 -
Been looking at the 6.4 V8 Gas with the 8spd 8HP75 Tradesman 2500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4" Box 4.1 Ratio which has a Payload of 3230 Max Trailer of 17070. - or -
Been looing at the 6.7 I6 Turbo Diesel with the 6SPD 68RFE 2500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4" Box 3.73 Ratio which has a Payload of 2480 Max Trailer of 19170. (I think this one is OFF my list due to Payload).

3500 -
Been looking at the 6.4 V8 Gas with the 8 Spd 8HP75 Tradesman 3500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4"Box 4.1 Ratio which has a Payload of 4240 Max Trailer of 16970. - or -
Been looking at the 6.7 I6 Diesel with the 6SPD 68RFE Tradesman 3500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4" Box 3.73 Ratio which has a Payload of 4000 Max Trailer of 20220. - or -


Won't be towing every day - this is more of a go somewhere for at least a week setup (if not a season or a month).

Looking to buy something this year - thoughts on Diesel vs Gas? 2500 vs 3500?
Thoughts / Experiences with towing a 14K 5th wheel? (I don't want to get heat capped / grade capped and would like to be able to do a solid 60mph or 70mph and be able to pass someone if needed). I don't need to consistently drive 75 to 80 though (it might be nice to do a solid 75 across Kansas or North / South Dakota though lol).

Any advice / experience appreciated. Thank you!
 

Jane S

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Short background - towed a 5400 lb travel trailer - dual axle, weight distribution hitch 6000 miles in 18 days to 10 national parks, was at 85% of my cap, had a few issues when it was hotter out (80+) and a few grade issues in Colorado and Utah where I capped at 45mph (heat related capped around 60mph). It was ok and will work for the short term but want to upgrade before the next trip to Grand Canyon and back next year (Live in Ohio).

My question is future proofing a bit for a live in / work in retirement truck / trailer - planning on working at Campgrounds / KOA 62 yo to ? (maybe 75 or so?) - want to see the country and what better way than to work part time and live in an area for 3 to 6 months and see different sections of the US while I can still get around well :)

Looking at a 5th Wheel - 43 ft, 2150 hitch weight (2400 loaded) 11.7k unloaded trailer weight, 14k loaded trailer weight.
Specifically this 5th Wheel (there are a few similar / other brands but this has what I want) - https://www.forestriverinc.com/rvs/heritage-glen-fifth-wheels/369BL/6874

80% rule I need something that will tow 18k max and 3k hitch (bed in this case / payload). Understanding extra weight in the cab (me / dog / kid adds to to that).

Most of the 2500 V8 Gas hit about 17K / 3K roughly (need to stay away from the lower end 2700 payload capacities).
Most of the 3500 V8 Gas hit about the same - they start shooting up to 30k with the turbo deisel / right transmission at the high end.

2500 -
Been looking at the 6.4 V8 Gas with the 8spd 8HP75 Tradesman 2500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4" Box 4.1 Ratio which has a Payload of 3230 Max Trailer of 17070. - or -
Been looing at the 6.7 I6 Turbo Diesel with the 6SPD 68RFE 2500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4" Box 3.73 Ratio which has a Payload of 2480 Max Trailer of 19170. (I think this one is OFF my list due to Payload).

3500 -
Been looking at the 6.4 V8 Gas with the 8 Spd 8HP75 Tradesman 3500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4"Box 4.1 Ratio which has a Payload of 4240 Max Trailer of 16970. - or -
Been looking at the 6.7 I6 Diesel with the 6SPD 68RFE Tradesman 3500 4*4 Crew Cab ST 6-4" Box 3.73 Ratio which has a Payload of 4000 Max Trailer of 20220. - or -


Won't be towing every day - this is more of a go somewhere for at least a week setup (if not a season or a month).

Looking to buy something this year - thoughts on Diesel vs Gas? 2500 vs 3500?
Thoughts / Experiences with towing a 14K 5th wheel? (I don't want to get heat capped / grade capped and would like to be able to do a solid 60mph or 70mph and be able to pass someone if needed). I don't need to consistently drive 75 to 80 though (it might be nice to do a solid 75 across Kansas or North / South Dakota though lol).

Any advice / experience appreciated. Thank you!


First pick out the 5th then pick out the pick up. Don't forget single or dulley.
 

Dinky

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The 5th wheels your looking at I would step into a 3500 Either the H.O or standard. Payload alone is worth it with a 5th wheel. I have a 22' long bed standard output and towes great.
 

Bike_Pilot

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3500 without question, you'll want the payload and as a practical matter the leaf springs are going to be a lot more stable towing. Only question really is DRW or SRW, and diesel or gas. Both have pros and cons.

Diesel will be the most relaxed towing option with all the torque and will be more efficient. The exhaust brake on the way down the hills is also great. Get the HO version for the Aisin transmission if you go diesel.
 

jejb

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Agreed, you want a 3500. Don't even think about a 2500 for that job. I own a newer 2500 and would never use it for that load. It would be over capacity. Since you're towing through the mountains, I'd also agree on the diesel, either SO or HO. It's just a so much more relaxed pulling experience.
 

BossHogg

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The major difference between a 3500 and a 2500 is the payload. Also, the 2500 will ride better unloaded than the 3500 if that is important to you. Of course, the ride is with respect to the road quality.

I agree with the others, pick your RV first, then the tow vehicle that can handle it.

I would go diesel for any tow weight over 12K, that just seems to be the number you read about when looking at RV forums. Also, consider where in the country you will be visiting. Controlling the weight rolling down long passes is much more comfortable with an exhaust brake that is standard on the Cummins.

I also highly recommend the rear air suspension system available on both the 2500 and the 3500.

I pull a 40-foot 16K Montana with a 3500 Cummins single rear wheel with rear air suspension and short bed. I ordered the standard output Cummins along with the fifth wheel/gooseneck prep group. If I had it to do over, I would order the same but go with the full-size bed. If you go with the short bed, consider getting a slider fifth-wheel hitch.
 

ramffml

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I'd pick gas every time over diesel if both can do the job well enough. But that load, frequency, and distance would definitely make me want a 3500 cummins if I wanted to stay only in the Ram family.
 
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