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What’s the Best Fifth Wheel Truck?

What’s the Best Fifth Wheel Truck?

If you want to start a ruckus, go into a large RV online community and ask for suggestions on the best fifth wheel truck for towing. In minutes, brand loyalists will likely start hurling insults and questioning one another’s intelligence. Brand loyalty can make it frustrating to find an honest answer. So what’s the best fifth wheel truck? Let’s get started!

What Trucks Can Pull a 5th Wheel? 

Any truck adequately equipped with a fifth wheel hitch can pull a fifth wheel. However, the towing and payload capacities often limit the fifth wheel a truck can tow. Fifth wheels come in various sizes, so it’s essential to confirm that a truck’s towing capabilities are sufficient for a specific trailer.

These numbers not only help ensure a safe and comfortable towing experience but also prevent wear and tear on your truck and trailer. So do your research before signing on the dotted line.

Tom Talks About Trucks & Towing - Our Experience and Tips on Towing Heavy

How Big of a Fifth Wheel Can a 3/4 Ton Truck Pull?

If you’re planning to tow a fifth wheel with a ¾ ton truck, the towing capacities are significant and technically they can pull as much as a 1 ton as they share a similar drivetrain. However, they are going to be limited by their payload capacity.

A typical ¾ ton truck will have around 2200 to 3200 lbs of payload capacity. Even the lighter fifth wheels will put you right up against the payload capacity of practically all ¾ ton trucks, especially once you start adding passengers and camping gear to the truck.

Just keep in mind all weights when looking at 3/4 ton towing capacities. While it might tow it just fine, being overweight on any axle or capacity is never recommended.

Mortons on the Move truck and fifth wheel parked at campsite.
Before you hitch up and head out, find out what is the best truck to tow your fifth wheel.

What ½ Ton Truck Can Tow the Most?

It should come as no surprise that the big three brands can tow the most. Ford, Chevy, and Ram all have ½ ton trucks that easily haul 10,000+ lbs. Ford and Ram battle back and forth each year, but the Ford F-150 has a maximum towing capacity of 14,000 lbs, and the Ram 1500 maxes out at 12,750 lbs.

While seeing Ford, Chevy, and Ram at the top of any list about towing is nothing new, Nissan trucks are taking strides toward offering a capable towing vehicle. The 2022 Nissan Titan XD has an impressive 11,040 lbs maximum towing capacity. While it’s not the beefiest truck in its class, Nissan is moving in the right direction.

Truck and fifth wheel parked at campsite.
Ford, Chevy, and Ram trucks are always high up on any best truck list.

Do I Need a Dually for a 5th Wheel?

No, you don’t need a dually to pull most fifth wheel trailers. However, it’s essential to look at the pin weight of a trailer and consider how that will change when fully loaded. The closer you get to 40 feet in length, the more likely you’ll need a dually, particularly if you’re considering a hefty toy hauler.

The dual rear wheels on dually trucks allow them to handle massive amounts of weight. This truck can also have a much safer and more stable towing experience due to the wider rear end.

In addition, a dually provides an extra wheel in case one blows out giving an added layer of safety.

Many drivers that tow regularly can overlook the minor inconveniences of owning a massive dually truck for the superior towing capabilities. 

Pro Tip: We took a closer look at dually trucks to help you get a clearer understanding about What Is A Dually and Do You Need One for Towing?

What’s the Best Fifth Wheel Truck?

Pulling a large amount of weight isn’t the only factor to consider when shopping for a fifth wheel truck. While towing heavy loads is critical, you also want to ensure it can stop. Here are a few of the best trucks for towing a fifth wheel on the market. Let’s take a look!

Ram 3500

About:  Okay, we admit we’re a bit bias on this one. We towed a heavy fifth wheel on a Ram 3500 for over 6 years and it was great. Ours was a 2010 2wd model with the 6.7L Cummins. We made a few modifications to the gear ratios to improve towing, but otherwise it was a great truck.

The Ram 3500 has three different engine options, the standard 6.7L Cummins, the 6.7L high-output Cummins, and the 6.4L Hemi. If you’re planning to tow a fifth wheel with your truck regularly, you’ll likely want to stick with one of the diesel options. However, all Ram 3500 trucks can crank out an impressive amount of horsepower and torque.

The Ram 3500 is a workhorse with a luxury look and feel. The integrated rear air suspension raises and lowers the bed, which makes it easy for hitching and unhitching and can level the truck while towing. This provides a smoother and more comfortable towing experience. 

Towing Capacity: The 2022 Ram 3500 has an impressive 37,090 lbs maximum towing capacity with a payload capacity of 7,680 lbs. 

Mortons on the Move truck towing fifth wheel down highway.
The right truck for you will depend on your circumstances.

Chevy Silverado 3500HD

About: The Chevy Silverado 3500HD proves that Chevy isn’t backing down from the fight for the crown. Whether you choose the Duramax 6.6L diesel or the 6.6L V8 gas engine, you’re getting 400+ horsepower and a capable towing machine.

The Chevy Silverado 3500 flexes more than its muscles with the multi-flex tailgate. This unique tailgate turns your truck into the ultimate tool. Whether you’re unloading cargo, preventing cargo from sliding out, or in need of a work surface, the Silverado’s tailgate makes it possible.

Towing Capacity: The 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500HD has a 36,000 lbs max towing capacity and a max available payload of 7,442 lbs.

Ford F-450 Super Duty

About:  The Ford F-450 is one of the toughest trucks Ford makes but still has the look and feel of a luxury vehicle. The extra-wide front axle means having a tighter turning radius to help maneuver around close campsites. Additionally, a 12-inch touchscreen and four-wheel drive are now standard on King Ranch and Platinum trims.

The Ford F-450 only comes available in diesel and with dual rear wheels, which means you’ll have plenty of towing capacity and payload for practically any fifth wheel on the market. Prepare yourself for parking at the back of any parking lot because this beast isn’t going to fit in tiny parking spots. You’re most likely going to take up at least two parking spaces!

Towing Capacity: The Ford F-450 Super Duty has a max towing capacity of 37,000 lbs and a payload capacity of 6,210 lbs.

White RAM truck towing fifth wheel
Always ensure that your truck has the towing capability to tow your fifth wheel RV.

GMC Sierra 3500HD

About: The Sierra 3500HD from GMC is the first heavy-duty truck to offer a 10-speed Allison transmission. A large driveshaft and rear axle make it the perfect combination of durability and strength for towing. GMC has upgraded the braking system and steering to provide premier stopping and steering control. 

Just because you need a beefy fifth wheel towing truck doesn’t mean it can’t be luxurious too. You’ll feel every bit of luxury when you take hold of the Sierra 3500HD’s leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. You’ll see the attention to detail in the trim and stitching in the seats. There is also storage in the rear seats and space for any tools you want while on the road.

Towing Capacity:  The GMC Sierra 3500HD has a maximum towing capacity of 36,000 lbs and a payload capacity of 7,442 lbs.

Ford F-350 Super Duty

About: Year after year, Ford finds a way to improve their Super Duty trucks, including the F-350. Whether you choose the 6.2L and 7.3L gas engine options or the 6.7L Power Stroke turbo diesel, you’re getting a beefy and capable truck. Built on the reputation that Ford has for creating high-quality and luxury-feeling trucks, you can buy a 2022 Ford F-350 knowing that it’ll get the job done.

The Ford F-350 is not only a capable towing vehicle, but it’s a safe one too. It has many safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning systems, and brake support that help ensure you arrive safely to your next adventure. The F-350 is the only truck in the Super Duty lineup with dual and single rear wheel options. If you’re planning to tow heavy loads, the stability of the dual rear wheels creates an incredibly smooth towing experience.

Towing Capacity: The Ford F-350 has a max towing capacity of 35,400 lbs and a payload capacity of 7,850 lbs.

Join the Debate: People have strong opinions on which truck is best. Join the debate on Ram Versus Ford Versus Chevy and tell us your opinion!

Any HDT (Heavy Duty Truck)

Believe it or not the trucks listed above are not actually considered heavy duty when it comes to towing. That is reserved for what most people think of as the semi-truck category.

Volvo, Mack, Freightliner and more build semi trucks that are the kings of towing fifth wheels. Yes, those semi-trailers you see on the highway are technically fifth wheels. When towing fifth-wheel campers HDT’s have an easy job as many are rated for 80,000lbs or more!

If you would like to learn more about HDT’s check out our article :Think a One-Ton Truck Is Big Enough to Pull Your Camper? You May Be Wrong

Think A One Ton Truck Is Big Enough? What Are The Differences And Why You Might Want A 550 or 5500?

What Fifth Wheel Truck Do You Need?

When shopping for a truck for your fifth wheel, you must pay attention to more than just the logo. Which truck is right for you will depend on your circumstances. There’s a good chance you’re not going to need the most capable truck available. Will it get the job done? Absolutely. However, you’re likely going to be overspending.

It would be best if you thought through what you’ll be needing from your truck, especially when it comes to towing. You want to purchase a vehicle that is more than capable of doing the job for you. You don’t want to have to leave equipment behind because it’ll put you over capacity.

What keeps you buying from your preferred vehicle manufacturer if you’re a brand loyalist? Tell us in the comments!

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Scott Rivers

Monday 28th of March 2022

The Ford F-450 Super Duty is among the most powerful pickups that can tow the heaviest loads on the market.

Marty Main

Friday 18th of March 2022

A medium or heavy duty truck is also a great idea. More pulling and braking power than you'll ever need. A generally more comfortable than pickups. If registered as a motorhome no CDL required. We have one and love it.

Robert

Friday 18th of March 2022

I am surprised that you did not at least mention the HDT option. These are modified Semi tractors like the Volvo, Mack, Peterbuilt, etc. built to pull a 80,000 lbs trailer, these can more safely, comfortably, and economically pull todays large and heavy 5th wheel trailers. While not for everyone and every situation, they bring a while set of advantages and personally, it was a very easy decision.

Mortons on the Move

Friday 15th of April 2022

Great point, I added a section about them and a link to a previous article about towing heavy. I personally love towing with big rigs, but it's not easy for a lot of people. https://www.mortonsonthemove.com/one-ton-truck/

Sam

Friday 18th of March 2022

What kind of truck ?? The biggest one you can afford.

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