5th wheel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-21-2007, 08:41 PM   #1
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Dear Friends,

I am looking for a light weight 5th wheel to tow behind a 2003 Nissan. It would need to be less than 3000 lbs as I would also like to tow by boat which is less than 1000 lbs. (5000 is the maximum towing capacity)

Any suggestions on what to look for would be appreciated. So far the 19' Scamp and the 20' Bigfoot have surfaced as possibilities. Are there any other candidates (besides the Prowler 18.5 Aluminum)
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Old 09-21-2007, 09:20 PM   #2
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It would need to be less than 3000 lbs as I would also like to tow by boat which is less than 1000 lbs. (5000 is the maximum towing capacity)

Any suggestions on what to look for would be appreciated.
So far the 19' Scamp and the 20' Bigfoot have surfaced as possibilities.

Are there any other candidates?
You will only find the Bigfoot used; they're not made anymore.
You might check out Escape 5.0 at 2620 Lbs Dry.
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Old 09-22-2007, 02:33 AM   #3
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As Frederick said, I think the only small 5th wheels are the Scamp, Escape, and Bigfoot.

I think the Bigfoot 5ers weigh in over 3000lbs dry, so that leaves the Scamp and Escape. Fully loaded the Escape might tip the scale, too. Our Scamp 5er, which is well-appointed, hits or comes close to the 3K mark when loaded for a trip.

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Old 09-22-2007, 06:40 AM   #4
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I found a 1984 big foot with a GVWR of 3500, so if I understand the world correctly that would mean the most the vehicle should weigh when loaded is 3500. It is a 20' single axle.

This one is at a dealer and he told me the I should subtract 1200-1800 lbs for the dry weight. Now there is no way the trailer only weighs 2000, but 2500 could be about right.

Is 1000 lbs enough leeway for loading stuff?

I have been seriously considering buying a Prowler 18.5 (I know it is Aluminum) which has a dry weight of 2800 and a GVWR of 3600.

The problem it seems is the trailers I can afford are old, old enough not to have a dry weight on the spec sticker. However I have read you should use the GVWR ratings anyway so there is no chance of going over the maximum of the tow vehicle.

Opinions?
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Old 09-22-2007, 08:20 AM   #5
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ANY older trailer should be thoroughly investigated. If seriously looking to purchase molded fiberglass be sure to print out the Buyer's Check List (See left Navigation Bar), if looking to purchase an older sticky....check CAREFULLY for seam leaks and dry rot.
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Old 09-22-2007, 10:27 AM   #6
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You also need to be aware that towing both a trailer and a boat in tandem is illegal in many provinces and states. Be sure you know what's allowed before you head out on a journey and have to leave one abandoned at a weigh scale somewhere.
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:24 PM   #7
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Is 1000 lbs enough leeway for loading stuff?
Yes, that is my experience in a 16' trailer.
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:30 PM   #8
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You also need to be aware that towing both a trailer and a boat in tandem is illegal in many provinces and states.
Combinations with the 1st trailer using a 5th wheel hitch are allowed in more areas than if both trailers use a "receiver" or "bumper pull". I don't know how this affects the Scamp, since it is actually a gooseneck and not a true 5th wheel.
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:54 PM   #9
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Among used choices, there is also the Quantum, but I do not know its weight.

The legal restrictions may or may not affect the Scamp, since they may be expressed specifically as a "fifth wheel" or "pin and plate" hitch (would eliminate the Scamp 19'), or may only say that the hitch is over the axle of the pulling truck (Scamp would be okay).

Of course, in places like our neighbouring province of British Columbia, the rig would not be allowed regardless of hitch type.

More importantly, all of these trailers are relatively short, from hitch to axle. That means the leverage situation is bad, and the rig is not as stable as it could be.

Compounding that, the payload (travel trailer gross weight rating minus its empty weight) must include the tongue weight of the boat trailer. All of that tongue weight is way back at the rear of the travel trailer, which is always bad for stability.

At least this is a very light boat being considered, to minimize both the payload and control issues.

This combination - fifth-wheel travel trailer pulling boat - is often done, but normally with much longer travel trailers.
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Old 09-22-2007, 01:01 PM   #10
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Here's the Alberta rule (I added the bolding for emphasis)
Quote:
(4) A person may drive or operate a combination of a towing unit and 2 trailers only if the combination meets the following requirements:

( a ) the lead trailer must be towed by a [b]pin and plate fifth wheel coupling mounted over the rear axle of the towing vehicle and fastened to its frame;

( b ) the lead trailer must have [b]2 or more axles in tandem;

( c ) the longer trailer must be the lead trailer;

( d ) the hitch connecting the lead trailer and the 2nd trailer must be fastened to the frame of the lead trailer.
This eliminates both the Scamp 19' (by hitch type) and at least some Bigfoot models., including that 1984. The Bigfoot Fifth Wheels album shows only a single-axle model; there may be tandem in a different year.

Of course, if you're selective about where you go with the boat, you may have more options.
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Old 09-22-2007, 01:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
...a GVWR of 3500, so if I understand the world correctly that would mean the most the vehicle should weigh when loaded is 3500.
Yes, exactly

Quote:
...However I have read you should use the GVWR ratings anyway so there is no chance of going over the maximum of the tow vehicle.
That makes some sense, but there are two reasons it isn't a great guideline:
  1. In some cases the GVWR is so much higher than the empty weight that you are unnecessarily restricting yourself. If two trailers weigh the same empty, but have different GVWR, there's no need to eliminate the higher-rated model just because it could carry more.
  2. The trailer doesn't tell you when it's loaded to GVWR (too bad...) so keeping the GVWR within the tow vehicle's capacity doesn't protect the tow vehicle from you overloading it... it just means that both the truck and the trailer are overloaded!
I think you should chose a trailer which is light enough when loaded for actual use, and make sure that the GVWR is enough higher than the empty weight to account for that actual load. It doesn't matter if it is even higher.
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:00 PM   #12
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Minnesota allows certain RV three-vehicle combinations, if all of the following conditions are
met:
• Only a “fifth-wheel” coupling is allowed between pickup truck and camper;
• The "fifth-wheel trailer" may not exceed 28’ from the front-most point to its rear -most
point;
• The trailer behind the camper is only hauling a watercraft, a motorcycle or motorized
bicycle, an off-highway motorcycle, an ATV, a snowmobile, or equestrian
equipment/supplies;
• The total combination of vehicles does not exceed 70 feet;
• The driver is at least 18 years of age; and
• No travel within the Twin Cities metropolitan area during weekday rush hour times: 6:00
am – 9:00 am and 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:02 PM   #13
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Under Section 721 of the Michigan
Vehicle Code, pickup trucks equipped
with a fifth-wheel assembly may,
with certain restrictions, tow two trailers. This
double trailer combination is sometimes called a
recreational double.
Drivers must pass a knowledge test to receive
their recreational double endorsement. The
information in this pamphlet will help you prepare
for the knowledge test.
Defi nition
A recreational double is a pickup truck pulling a
fi fth-wheel trailer, designed for recreational living
purposes, with a second trailer attached to the rear
of the fi fth-wheel trailer. The pickup truck must
have a towing rating equal to, or greater than, the
weight being towed.
Licensing Requirements
To operate a recreational double, drivers must
have an “R” endorsement on their license. Anyone
age 18 or older may apply for the endorsement
at a Secretary of State branch offi ce. Applicants
must pass a test designed to sample the knowledge
needed to operate vehicle combinations of this type.
There is a $10 fee for the endorsement. A skills test
is not required.
Note: Drivers who have a Group A Commercial Driver
License with a “T” (double trailers) endorsement
may legally operate a recreational double
without obtaining the “R” endorsement.
Operating Restrictions
The total length of the three units — pickup
truck, fi fth-wheel trailer and second trailer — when
coupled together, must not exceed 65 feet. The
gross weight of the second trailer cannot exceed
the empty weight of the pickup truck or the empty
weight of the fi fth-wheel trailer.
The hitch used to tow the second trailer must
be attached to the frame of the fi fth-wheel trailer.
Safety chains for the second trailer must be securely
attached at the extreme outer edge of the fi fth-wheel
trailer with a locking mechanism. A trailer cannot
drift more than three inches to either side of the
path of the towing vehicle when the combination
is being drawn in a straight line on a level, smooth,
paved surface.
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:06 PM   #14
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In Wisconsin a Multiple trip permits is required to operate a three vehicle train-- car/camper/boat.
The owner must obtain a permit from DMV and carry it while towing the extra vehicle. It is not legal to tow two trailers or other combinations of two or more vehicles.

Fees range from $27 for any three month period up to $40 for a full year. Permits are valid on all highways in the state.

Recreational 3-vehicle combination (3V)

* Permit issued for maximum length of 65 feet if the second vehicle in the three vehicle combination is equipped with brakes, without brakes on second vehicle overall is limited to 60 feet
* Must be legal height and width
* The towing vehicle may be any registered motor vehicle
* One vehicle in the combination must be a mobile home or a camping trailer
* The other vehicle in the combination must be a trailer, either empty or carrying a boat, ATV, personal watercraft or motorcycle
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