Can my truck pull a fifth wheel?
I have a 2011 4x4 Chevy Silverado, 1500 reg cab, long box. Axle ratio is 3.42. Factory installed trans cooling package. Build sheet says I can tow max of 9800lbs, with a GCWR of 15000. My wife wants a new fifth wheel camper with a dry weight of 7600lbs. The plan is to travel across the country and spend time in our National Parks. Will the truck handle the long distance pulling?
Do yourself a favor. If your going to do that much traveling, get a one ton diesel dully. Pulling a 5th wheeler zig zaging a cross the country really requires that kind of stability. Plus the fuel mileage will be about 1/3 better.
Remember the real reason for making pick-up trucks. Hauling and towing large loads. Over the years the smaller trucks became a fad bought by suburbanites that wanted to wear stetson hats, boots and large belt buckles. They wanted to look good in their macho trucks, so demanded chrome, then softer seats, power windows, leather, carpets, an the trucks evolved into a six passenger/five passenger luxury vehicle that most people turned back in for a new one without dents or scratches. Short story, if you look at most construction vehicles, they are either 3/4 ton or one ton vehicles. They are designed to carry daily weight and or tow heavy loads. It's summer, go out on the highway and observe most 5th wheel pick-up trucks are either one ton dual diesel trucks or a step just below. The 1/2 ton comes with a tow package to help get the bass boat to the lake or little camper with the truck bed filled with coolers and Huffy bicycles. Your asking your truck to do a heavy duty job, but it's really designed to carry mowers and blowers, or drive to the movie theaters. Almost all the pick-up trucks I see on the side of the roadway when I travel are the 1/2 ton trucks towing a big 5th wheeler and they have the hood up, steam coming out of the engine, kids and wife in the ditch, and a tow truck on the way. Follow the advice from above and get a larger truck designed for the work you want it to do. Then you can enjoy Yellowstone, Zion, the Bad Lands or the mountain settings in peace.
Oh don't forget to get a National Parks Pass, it will get you in to all the national parks, and you save a lot of money there also. Enjoy you new truck. You'll also find good used ones set up for towing that are turned in and are or were not abused, scratched or dented, just line dancing music on the radio. Generally if it is a rental turn in, chances are it will be low mileage, well maintained, and set up for what you need.
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