Can my truck pull a fifth wheel?


Asked by Aug 10, 2014 at 07:55 PM about the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck 4WD

Question type: General

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?

21 Answers


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.

8 people found this helpful.

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.

22 people found this helpful.

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.

9 people found this helpful.

you can do it if you get air damper springs to help avoid bottoming out, as well as getting a performance cooling system . Be sure to buy a performance tested radiator fan and also a vented hood for your truck this will increase airflow but thus providing more power but also help keep that engine cool at trailering speeds.

6 people found this helpful.

Mr. Koslund, what have you decided? I really recommend you look at some of the rental turned in trucks for great prices and deals. Maybe even a private party purchase. Don't forget to get an extended warranty. One transmission job or A/C job will be in the four figure range.

2 people found this helpful.

After spending many hours researching the tow vehicles, I decided to go with a 2500 diesel. Hated to go thru buying another truck but I want to be able to pull the fifth wheel without destroying the 1/2 ton. Thanks to everyone who responded to my question. I have picked up my National Park Senior Pass for the first time. Have bought the yearly pass for 70 dollars a year for the last 15 years. This time, on my 62nd birthday the Senior pass cost me 10 dollars for the rest of my life. Thanks again for all the advise.

6 people found this helpful.

You will enjoy many years traveling. We have seen almost all the National parks West of the Rockies and a few on the other side of the Continental divide. $10.00 total cost. You also will enjoy the diesel. Read up on the care and maintenance of you new truck. You will enjoy several 100s of thousand of miles of care free driving. My brother is a cross country truck driver and he is meticulous on his care and scheduled maintenance, and he gets about 2.5 million out of his trucks before trading them in and getting what he paid for them on the trade due to his care. Make sure you have a winter fuel tank heater for your fuel and add the diesel additive if you do any below freezing driving. Don't forget to mark the best answer so someone will get some point credit for responding. That's a thank you we like.

20 people found this helpful.

Congratulations on your decision I hope that your truck will much reliability for the roads ahead. Good luck Mr. Koslund.

2 people found this helpful.

Honestly I disagree on a half ton truck capabilities I myself own a 16 ram hemi crew cab shot bed pick up and tow my 8k 36ft trailer rv with no issues I still get about 11 to 14mpg and have more than enough power. I've travelled to NH white Mountains, Vermont, main, CT no issues. Unless your towing over 10k stick with a 1500 they ride so much better 25 and 3500 ride like crap

17 people found this helpful.

Also I'm an automotive tech I fix all of them for a living 17yrs experience master tech

15 people found this helpful.

Any truk wold probably do it, some beter than others. I owne a Ford f150 02 Has a cooler intake, and brand new coils, also has 271 thousand miles on it and works perfetly! Before, i yousto have all stalk and it wold tow a 751 boobcat up a hill no problom on 2weel drive, put 5tons on a 18ft trailer no prob, and also 2 1/2 on just the bed no problom at all. Your truk will brobably do it just that taike it easy when it has the extra wheight.


No less thsn a 2500 beefy truck. 1500 no no no no

1 people found this helpful.

3500 diesel is your truck


4500 with two diesl engines should cover it, idiots!

6 people found this helpful.

GuruDDXYZ, I hope this is your feeble attempt at being funny. Name calling should not be in these postings. What do you mean by "Two Diesel engines..."?

John, after reading all your post, I myself am in the market for a truck to pull a fifth wheel trailer. I'm a single mother of 2 and had no clue what to buy. I want to thank you personally for your advice to the other gentleman. It would be totally devastating to break down at night on the side of the road with just me, my 2 girls and my grandson, which I know any vehicle can break down at any given time, but knowing it broke down due to my stupidity. I haven't bought the truck just yet but within the next 2 months I will be and soon after purchasing the fifth wheel. Oh and thank you for the information regarding the National Parks, I can't get the senior pass yet but any savings is better then none. Thanks again, Heather from the Hoosier State


HeatherDHaydon, Just remember, getting truck to pull a fifth wheel is just like a merge, they must be compatible to get-a-long. Ask around and talk to other campers who drive 5th wheels and find from them what works and what does not work. If your 5th wheel is small, you don't need a huge monster truck. Diesels require more attention to maintenance, like oil changes, but that is off set by the power needed, and longevity of the truck. Diesels have a heaver engine so come with a stronger frame and suspension. If you got to a dealer, be careful as he may just want the sale, and not have your best interest at heart. But again, that may be only 5% of them, but it is best to be knowledgable, and sorry to say, especially if you are a female. My brother has driven cross country trucks for years and has gotten over a million miles out of an engine. He does take meticulous care of his truck also. Enjoy and have a lot of fun and enjoyment. Oh yes, air conditioning is a must. If you are going to drive it in the Hoosier cold winters, you may look into a warmer for the fuel system. JC


I have a 92 chevey full size extended cab 2500 formy heavy stuff .and i got a 96 z71 chevy 4x4 withe a 5.7 vortic engine .it will tow a short or small 5th wheel camper noproblem i got it set up to tow goose neck all three trailer ball size trailers and 5th wheel it has factory instaled tow package oil cooler elictric trailer brakes and trans cooler. Its also a extended cab but a short bed its also a heavy half ton .but if you are going to be towing across country use a 3/4 ton or 1 ton you will have less trouble.


what about the smaller 5th wheel trailers that are shorter and only weigh in at 3900 lbs. my Silverado 1500 can handle total bed weight 1700 lbs and can pull up to 9000 lbs.. can I safely pull a smaller 5th wheel trailer?

1 people found this helpful.

All right thing to do is go to your local camping dealer and ask them they will have the answers

I own a 2011 Silverado 1500 extended cab, short bed. I installed an additional leaf spring and air shocks to tow my 6900 lb. 5th wheel with a dry hitch weight of 1150 lbs. I have had no problems with towing this unit.

Your Answer:

Silverado 1500

Looking for a Used Silverado 1500 in your area?

CarGurus has 157,217 nationwide Silverado 1500 listings starting at $1,000.


Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Experts

  • #1
    John Carson
  • #2
  • #3
    Andrew Olsen
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used GMC Sierra 1500
828 Great Deals out of 60,509 listings starting at $1,495
Used Ford F-150
2,362 Great Deals out of 199,220 listings starting at $1,300
Used Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
371 Great Deals out of 29,490 listings starting at $2,718
Used Dodge Ram 1500
340 Great Deals out of 9,265 listings starting at $1,800
Used Ram 1500
1,062 Great Deals out of 123,509 listings starting at $3,500
Used Toyota Tundra
462 Great Deals out of 37,891 listings starting at $1,750
Used Toyota Tacoma
451 Great Deals out of 49,504 listings starting at $2,400
Used Chevrolet Tahoe
662 Great Deals out of 38,329 listings starting at $995
Used Chevrolet Colorado
278 Great Deals out of 38,935 listings starting at $1,500
Used Chevrolet Camaro
259 Great Deals out of 27,088 listings starting at $2,900
Used Ford F-250 Super Duty
458 Great Deals out of 37,668 listings starting at $1,999
Used GMC Sierra 2500HD
152 Great Deals out of 18,059 listings starting at $3,200
Used Ford Mustang
296 Great Deals out of 39,978 listings starting at $1,312
Used Dodge Ram 2500
132 Great Deals out of 4,719 listings starting at $1,499

Used Cars For Sale

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.