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debh
06-05-2010, 08:51 AM
while not new at all to towing a camper or towing in general (i drive a tractor/trailer) i am new to towing a 5th wheel camper.

any tips that you all can give me on this would be GREATLY appreciated! i have 10 years experience with a tractor/trailer but im sure there are many differences. the main one being that i would have to pay for damage to MY truck/trailer! lol.

ive ordered a 3300RLB and have a 2002 F-250 7.3L diesel TV.

we should be getting the new camper in another week or 2. i cant wait!

newbie
06-05-2010, 10:58 AM
I think one of the biggest differences between the big rigs and us is that the wheels on 5th wheels are much farther forward than on a tractor trailer. Because of this, the rear end swings out a lot in the opposite direction you are turning. Makes for some tight turns in gas stations and wooded camp grounds.

John

Rrloren
06-05-2010, 11:10 AM
With your experience sounds like you can give the rest of us some tips, lol.
You'll find draggin a 5th wheel a piece of cake with your knowledge of Tractor Trailers , enjoy your new rig.

westxsrt10
06-05-2010, 11:17 AM
You will probaly want air bags for the rear of your F-250 because of the pin weight on that model. Looks like a loaded pin weight will a total of over 2500 lbs, thats too much for my 08 F-250.

debh
06-05-2010, 01:37 PM
ive already thought of the tail swing john. thats something i dont have to worry about in my work rig. i drive a tanker and my tandems are all the way at the back so tail swing is some thing im NOT used to! it is something ive always kept in mind when towing the TT i just sold.
my thoughts are, the 5th wheel plate is way smaller than a truck. does this make it less stable than i would be used to? does it feel "tippy" in turns?

Rrloren, lol. i can get it down the road and back it up with no problem. BUT, i always say im a ROOKIE DRIVER. the learning NEVER ends. id rather ask then make dumb mistakes on my own. even at work.... with 10 years experience IM A ROOKIE DRIVER!! as soon as you think you know it all, thats when mistakes happen. all the drivers ive seen that make the worst errors are those that know it all.

westxrt10, i think im going to consider those air bags and maybe have the suspension upped to 1 ton. i questioned my dealer extensively about that. in my mind....... 3/4 ton = 1500lbs allowed in bed. he insisted we were good with that. from the research ive done and checking what folks are using to tow what with, i see alot of folks using an f-250 (or equivalant) to tow models with that kind of pin wt. my ford dealer what of NO help at all. any modifications are going to have to be a next year project though.........

Ray LeTourneau
06-05-2010, 01:39 PM
While I've not driven on the road, I used to drive a Ottawa YT30 Spotter as part of my daily routine before retiring. I had also pulled bumper tows for quite a few years. The first thing I noticed about 5th wheels was when backing up, the truck doesn't come back in front of the trailer nearly as fast as the spotter. Of course the spotter has a much shorter wheelbase. I'm sure you'll do just fine. Once or twice to see how your specific rig combination reacts and you'll be up to speed.

newbie
06-05-2010, 03:17 PM
my thoughts are, the 5th wheel plate is way smaller than a truck. does this make it less stable than i would be used to? does it feel "tippy" in turns?

Mine doesn't feel tippy in turns under normal conditions. Once or twice I hit a clover leaf on/off ramp a little too fast. I did get the tippy-pucker sensation then :eek:

jmgratz
06-05-2010, 04:34 PM
Towing with the F250 (3/4 ton truck) you will probably be overloaded with Big Horns and Landmarks and pushing the limits with others. I towed our Landmark with a F350 crew cab srw for 2 years and now have a F350 crew cab dually. I can say I never before thought I needed a dually until I had one. I could immediately tell I felt more stable with the dually. I do not believe you will find a 3/4 ton dually unless you have it custom made. So my suggestion would be get a 1 ton dually as your tow vehicle. I am partial to Fords but others would argue the Dodge or Chevy is better. The bottom line is the 1 ton dually is your minimum TV regardless of brand.

circusbear
06-05-2010, 06:37 PM
Hey fellow driver. One nice thing- NO Logbook!!! My truck feels a little soft when cornering as compared to my Pete. Backing is almost a little easier with my pickup as you are alot closer to the trailer to watch when backing in on your good side. I'm sure you will make out real well. Enjoy your new toy.

pmmjarrett
06-05-2010, 07:36 PM
Congrats and welcome.

I'm done with big trucks, 8 years OTR box and reefer, and now hotshot RVs around for a living so here goes.


Stick to the basics you have been taught over the years of safety schools. Like GOAL "Get Out And Look"
Get some air bags on the rear springs of the F250, it'll greatly improve the ride and handeling. I recommend this even on duallies. I have them on my Dodge 3500 dually.
Stay out of the car lanes at gas stations. I use the big truck lanes even when towing my own fifth wheel, being an owner operator lets me use my Comdata card at the truck pumps too;).
You can do yourself a huge favor by installing an auxiliary fuel tank in the bed of the pickup. Sure beats stopping 2 - 3 times a day for fuel.
Tail swing is a biggie, just like dragging a 53' box with the tandems slid forward, avoid sharp turns in tight areas.
Trying to drag one of these trailers in high wind is a big NO NO. Our company requires us to shut down in 25 mph wind. You'll feel it when a cross wind hits 20 - 25. Over that and you'll be white knuckled trying to stay on the road. We see waaaay too many campers get dumped over by RV transporters that are supposed to know what they are doing and buck the wind anyways. High head and side winds combined with road speed makes for hurricane force winds that easily damage the skirting on the bottoms of the trailer, roof vents and AC covers.
Campers handle horrible on ice.
Stay safe, enjoy the new Sundance.

lwmcguir
06-05-2010, 08:41 PM
If you are going to tow the Coach a lot of miles you will want to get a F450 or larger. 2005 and up F250 GVWR is higher so that would let you stay legal loaded lightly. Maintain the brakes and go for a dually if you are going to travel many miles. Other wise as the posters said you can get along fine with the F250 as it is rated as high as the F350's as far as that goes. We pull with a F250 and a F550. It is more relaxing with the larger truck as it just handles the load and roads better.

debh
06-06-2010, 06:36 AM
thanks for all the tips!! getting a new truck is out of the question. cant afford a car, camper AND truck payment! looks like upgrading the existing f-250 is the way to go.

debh
06-06-2010, 06:54 AM
now, any tips on airbags? where to get them, approx cost, brands to look at etc etc? i know nothing about this stuff. after reading a bunch of other posts, im beginning to really wonder if i am getting in over my head and should have stuck with a TT! my dealer (i know......... not exactly the one to trust on this since he wanted to sell us a trailer) insisted that we were good with my f250 as a TV.

jnbhobe
06-06-2010, 07:26 AM
I just put on Air-lift bags on the 06 truck, I think they retail for about $ 350. They really made a difference by softening the ride. I also have 4 leaf progressive helpers on the truck too. I don't think you need both but they are there.

jmgratz
06-06-2010, 07:46 AM
now, any tips on airbags? where to get them, approx cost, brands to look at etc etc? i know nothing about this stuff. after reading a bunch of other posts, im beginning to really wonder if i am getting in over my head and should have stuck with a TT! my dealer (i know......... not exactly the one to trust on this since he wanted to sell us a trailer) insisted that we were good with my f250 as a TV.

If you can do it yourself you will save money. Here is a link that has them at a reasonable price. http://www.suspensionconnection.com/cgi-bin/suscon/scan/fi=products/st=db/co=1/sf=category/se=Firestone%20Air%20Bags/op=eq/nu=0/sf=veh_make/se=Ford/op=eq/nu=0/sf=model/se=F250%20%3A%3A%20F350/op=eq/nu=0/ml=25/tf=category/to=x/tf=veh_make/to=x/tf=model/to=x/tf=description/to=r.html

Don't forget you will need an air compressor also if you want the ability to inflate or change the inflation while moving. Individual controls are nice also. That will run about another $300. Available from the same place.

westxsrt10
06-06-2010, 08:11 AM
now, any tips on airbags? where to get them, approx cost, brands to look at etc etc? i know nothing about this stuff. after reading a bunch of other posts, im beginning to really wonder if i am getting in over my head and should have stuck with a TT! my dealer (i know......... not exactly the one to trust on this since he wanted to sell us a trailer) insisted that we were good with my f250 as a TV.
Either major brands are a good. Firestone "Ride Rite" or Air-Lift. If you like saving some $ the Firestones may be a option. The one that installs with-out drilling the frame might be a good idea also. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Firestone-2320-Air-Bags-2002-FORD-F-250-SUPER-DUTY-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem43977cb6e2QQitemZ29030 4341730QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccesso ries

debh
06-06-2010, 08:57 AM
http://www.suspensionconnection.com/cgi-bin/suscon/2330.html?id=xTj4U2Ed

this is what i came up with...... looks EASY!! i like the idea of NO DRILL!! ive always hated the idea of compromising any part of original design. always swore id never get a 5er because i didnt want to DRILL into the bed of my truck, but here i am getting one.............

so, the installation looks easy of the airbags themselves. the comperessor on the other hand............ i did see on another thread someone asking where exactly to put it and how to run it. now THAT sounds complicated.

also, do i NEED the dual control? whats the difference/advantages in single/dual controls?

seems like the more answers you all are giving me the more questions i have.......... lol.

Rrloren
06-06-2010, 09:44 AM
Many people would suggest you install a wireless air system that will cost around $350 , however I found that a small AC/DC compressor that I bought on e-bay for $20 works well for me. I put the air valves for my Firestones in the wheel wells and have easy access. It only takes me a minute or two to put 35 - 40 lbs. in the bags and just couldn't justify the cost for the wireless system altho I would admit it's a pretty nice system.

lwmcguir
06-06-2010, 09:56 AM
We have Air Lift as well. Works great. Two benefits that you will need and enjoy are the softer ride as the other posters noted and being able to level out the truck. The folks you meet at night will really like that.

debh
06-06-2010, 10:15 AM
ummmm, the folks i meet at night?

lwmcguir
06-06-2010, 10:50 AM
Let me clear that up. A lot of TV are to light on the rear suspension resulting in the headlights hitting the on coming traffic in the eyes. Very dangerous to say the least. With the Air Bags you can level the TV so the lights shine on the road.

debh
06-06-2010, 04:23 PM
lol. thank you. didnt have a clue what you were talking about!

pmmjarrett
06-06-2010, 09:27 PM
This is all you need for an air compressor system (http://www.suspensionconnection.com/cgi-bin/suscon/25592-load-controller.html). It's simple, you can control it on the fly inside the cab, you learn what pressures work best with a simple gauge, it's easy to install and affordable. This compressor can be mounted on the frame of the truck.

It's what I have been running on my Dodge 3500 for 2 years as well as Air Lift 5000 bags and it has performed flawlessly in extreme desert heat and deep sub 0 temps of the arctic. In fact the only problem I ever had was my own fault when it was -40F on a trip to Yellowknife, NWT. I was gently heating a frozen fuel line fittiing to my aux tank and got the torch too close to a plastic air line and melted a hole in it which of couse immediatle dumped the air out of the bags. I've put over 100,000 miles on this system

You don't need all that hooky pooky wireless electronc stuff waiting to break when you look at it wrong, you don't need a big high duty cycle overpiced compressor or even a tank to work with these air bags. Once these bags are aired up to the pressure you need, the compressor is off. It's not like a big truck which the compressor needs to cycle to maintain tank pressure.

You could get away with simply installing a schrader valve and using a hose at the gas station and a tire pressure gauge if you needed too.

Bighurt
06-06-2010, 10:03 PM
Just food for thought.

I have the same trailer and tow with my long box F350. I dove 40' flat for the military a few years back. Tail swing on the 5'er is better, the flat had its tandems shoved forward like a 25' low bow with a long beaver tail, horrible swing. However the long box crew cab setup helps it has such a wide turn, even at its tightest the rear swing isn't more than 2'. Although that's an estimate... I suppose its all a matter of experience, the 10 ton could turn on a dime and rotate the the tandems like they were on a pivot (bad for tires). So I suppose I'm used to tail swing and avoid it.

With your experience you'll be fine.

debh
06-07-2010, 06:49 AM
once again, thanks for the advice.

think id feel better with a compressor on board though. dont cherish the thought of crawling around on the ground at fuel stops to air the bags up if needed. yuck!! lol. but sounds like i wont need to go the trouble of mounting the gauge and controls on the dash either. can keep it under the rear seat out of sight.

i guess since the compressor doesnt cycle and the bags dont seem to lose pressure am i assuming correctly then that there is no moisture build up in the lines that need to be drains like with airbrakes?

sorry for all these dumb questions. lol, i can handle my big truck and even fix it myself (if its not major) but this is all sooooo different!

debh
06-07-2010, 07:43 AM
bighurt, my most worrisome time is making a L turn. you know, when cars will try to sneek past you on a narrow shoulder. you get a chance to go but see a car back there...........

to compensate, i either play RUDE driver (at least thats what the cars think) and block that narrow shoulder or will be sure to pull far enough into the intersection (which i would have to do anyway) that they now have the room within the intersection to move over a bit.

now........... if only i would get it thru my head that i DONT need to take up an entire intersection when driving my PRIUS!! lol. as it is, im so used to having 48 ft of trailer behing me that i would usually swing way wide with my former 27 ft camper.

pmmjarrett
06-07-2010, 09:55 AM
once again, thanks for the advice.

think id feel better with a compressor on board though. dont cherish the thought of crawling around on the ground at fuel stops to air the bags up if needed. yuck!! lol. but sounds like i wont need to go the trouble of mounting the gauge and controls on the dash either. can keep it under the rear seat out of sight.

i guess since the compressor doesnt cycle and the bags dont seem to lose pressure am i assuming correctly then that there is no moisture build up in the lines that need to be drains like with airbrakes?

sorry for all these dumb questions. lol, i can handle my big truck and even fix it myself (if its not major) but this is all sooooo different!


NO DUMB Questions here!!! Just a bunch of Schmart @$$ez. We were all in your shoes once, fire away. The dumbest question you have is the one you don't ask..... And if things go wrong then,,,,,,,, you'll feel like an idiot.

No moisture drains on this air system.

Don't need to mount the gauge on the dash but I do like mine under the dash in an unused cubby hole on the console. The black rocker momentary switch (top right corner of gauge panel) turns the compressor on only when you are holding it down. And the silver push button switch (bottom right corner of gauge panel) is the air dump..... Only dumps while you are pushing the button.

Now, depending on the air bag system you use, many require to keep a minimum of 10 psi in the bags to keep them seated like mine do. This compressor system does have an adjustable low air pressure switch that will turn the compressor on to bring the pressure up to maintain that minimum if you dump too much, the only time mine ever kicked on was when I melted that air line I mentioned in the previous post. Then I had to pull the fuse to shut the durned thing off.

It's pretty much an idiot proof system....... This works well for me:D :angel:




http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s190/carolinapowerstroke/2004%20Ram%203500/IMG00486-20100607-1009.jpg


Now, here are a few other items you may want to consider, to outfit the truck..... Stick around, we can help you easily spend money,


Skirt or full length flap to stop rock chips in the RV
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s190/carolinapowerstroke/2004%20Ram%203500/IMG00173.jpg


A welded on teflon lube plate for the fifth wheel.
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s190/carolinapowerstroke/2004%20Ram%203500/IMG00184.jpg


Auxiliary fuel tank and/ or tool box
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s190/carolinapowerstroke/2004%20Ram%203500/IMG00079.jpg


In bed RV plug..... eliminates extension cord.
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s190/carolinapowerstroke/2004%20Ram%203500/IMG00083.jpg


A better place to hook the breakaway cable than just looping it on the fifth wheel handel like most do...... That's a No No.
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s190/carolinapowerstroke/2004%20Ram%203500/IMG00086.jpg




Last but not least, you need to get a Valley industries "Monster Ball" That thing is priceless, worth every penny.
http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s190/carolinapowerstroke/2004%20Ram%203500/IMG00174.jpg

debh
06-26-2010, 04:32 PM
picked up my truck today with new 5er hitch, air bags and compressor. they forgot to do the in bed plug. need to return monday to get that put in then we pick up the new sundance on tues!! cant wait!

mike, followed alot of your advice. ok, so i had to cut back. you really did want to run me into the poor house didnt you? lmao. so SOME of it got done.

my next venture will be for new tires............ still doing the research on that.

now, just gotta learn how to hook up without damaging my tailgate..............

cant i just hook up to my work truck????