View Full Version : Pulling A 5th Wheel Camper

Ken Frantz
07-10-2003, 8:39 AM
A friend of mine in Springdale Arkansas ask me to poll the gang here about a 1997 Ford half ton pickup pulling a 26 foot, 6000 pound 5th wheel camper.

IN YOUR HUMBLE OPENION----would this pickup be able to handle this size of camper???? Safely???????



Jason Roehl
07-10-2003, 8:50 AM
In a word, no. I have the 1990 version of this truck and there is no way I would do that to it. Granted, the newer truck would have more HP and all that, but I once pulled a flatbed trailer with about 4000 lbs of glass on it (total probably exceeded 6000lbs. with the trailer) a short distance and it definitely took all that my truck had.

Most people I have known with a 5th wheel have had 3/4-ton trucks or larger, going at least a step larger in the available engines, diesel if possible. The 97 F-series has a 4.7L V8 and a 5.4L V8 available, I would say the 5.4 to be the minimum to pull something like that, but that engine from that time period hasn't fared well overall and is expensive to replace (I wrote the check to have our pastor's 5.4 replaced in his 15-pass Ford van---$4500).

David LaRue
07-10-2003, 9:46 AM
You need to consult the RV and Trailer towing guide.

Here is the link for the 1999. (They don't go back to 1997 online) Ford Service can provide him with the guide.

Towing Guide for 1999 F-Series 5th wheel (http://www.fleet.ford.com/products/rv_trailer_towing/1999/1999_fifth-wheel.pdf)


BTW: Have him verify the information on the vehicle from the decal inside the door. It will give the engine (code is the 8th digit of the VIN, transmission, axle code) From the code you can validate the ratio and type, and GVWR, Or he can verify it with Ford using OASIS (On Line Automotive Information System) A system I helped design, and launch while at Ford.

A good source of info for him would be a dedicated truck center, One that sells Steerling, and Ford, not just light trucks.

Hope this helps

Ken Garlock
07-10-2003, 10:07 AM
Hi Ken. First off, I am not an RV person, but think it would be fun to do. I have a friend who bought a new 5th wheel rig serveral years ago. The "tractor" for the 30 ft. plus trailer was a dual rear wheel, automatic F-350 with the diesel engine. He also added a low restriction air intake and a new low pressure exhaut system. He said he could set the cruise control at 55 and get 14 mpg all day.

I have a 95' F-150 that strains its milk to carry a half yard(1000#) of gravel a couple miles. I wouldn't consider pulling more than a utility trailer....

As always, my opinion is worth what you paid. ;)

Dennis Peacock
07-10-2003, 1:01 PM

This guy needs to get at least a 3/4 ton truck or BETTER and I emphasis on BETTER since pulling is NOT the only thing to consider here. One should consider handling ability of the vehicle in reference to the object being towed as well as braking ability in case the trailer brakes decide to fail on you. A 1/2 ton truck? nope.....Just MHO.......

Doug Littlejohn
07-10-2003, 4:10 PM
NO !!!

DAMHIKT, while it can 'pull' the 5th wheel, it will barely be able to turn very hard (you know, lean into a corner) without pushing the truck sideways and the real problem comes if you need to stop in a hurry (you can't).

I have a F250 PSD and with my 27' it works just fine. Now if I were full-timing or traveling for months at a time, I would not use less than a 1 ton dually. But for our couple of times a year, I feel very comfortable using my 3/4 ton. It handles things just fine.

Gene Wittmuss
07-11-2003, 7:12 AM
Ken, go to http://www.rv.net/forum/ and click on the fifth wheel discussion group. There has been a lot of questions regarding the use of small trucks pulling large loads. Your friend can get a lot of very usefull information on fifth wheels there. Hope this helps, Gene

Ken Frantz
07-11-2003, 10:43 PM
Thanks Gang fer the input and will pass it down, I ment up to him in Arkansas.