Towing: 5th Versus Bumper Pull? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-16-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Cathy
Trailer: In the Market
Kansas
Posts: 799
Towing: 5th Versus Bumper Pull?

I tried searching for this and I am sure it has been addressed but I couldn't come up with the right terms to dig it up. I have never actually driven the tow vehicle when we pulled the trailers we had so it will be an exciting adventure for me as will hooking the two together because usually I am the one giving the driver the directions from outside. In the stick-built world, it seems they feel the 5th wheel tows better, at least the majority of owners with only a few that disagreed over the years. I'm thinking that with the "right" tow vehicle, there probably isn't a whole lot of difference especially with a unit that is so small - when I saw a Scamp 5th the first time, I could not believe it was so tiny as there was also a 42' Prevost in the park at the time. The first 13' Scamp I saw had been pulled by a Pinto wagon! Any thoughts appreciated. Thank you.
__________________

__________________
Cathy P. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
WildBirder's Avatar
 
Name: Mark
Trailer: 1969 Boler (Flat Top)
British Columbia
Posts: 530
Registry
Edit: I've changed parts of the post as I miss read the article . Thx for the correction

Hi Cathy,

I'm going to be new to towing this spring as well. Linked below is a piece on sway control that has an interesting bit about fifth wheels vs. tow behind. Essentially a fifth wheel has a pivot point that produces less leverage. I found it a good article all around. As I mentioned I'm new so open to corrections.

Controlling Sway Causes of poor tow

Happy trails
Mark
__________________

__________________
WildBirder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 03:31 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Missouri
Posts: 455
My experience has been, in order of best to worst:

fifth wheel
bumper pull with weight distribution and anti sway
bumper pull without WD or anti sway, but with correct tongue weight
bumper pull without WD or anti sway, inadequate tongue weight

As for tow vehicles, again best to worst:

heavy duty pickup truck ( F-350 super duty, dual rear wheel )
other pickup, 3/4 ton or 1/2 ton
passenger car with body-on-frame construction, solid rear axle
passenger car with uni-body and independent rear suspension.

In any event, no matter what you choose, if you are concerned with your own as well as other road users safety and are doing things in a responsible way, you will ALWAYS stay within the guidelines of the vehicle manufacturer when it comes to trailer towing capacity regarding weight and frontal area, tongue weight, axle and tire capacity.

Many folks believe in the "80% rule".....in other words, if your tow vehicle has a factory stated capacity of 10,000 pounds, you would only tow a load of 8000 pounds max. This gives you a reserve capacity, we'll call "safety margin". Pretty good guideline.
You will do well to leave a safety margin in all aspects ( total weight, axle weight, tongue weight, tire capacities ( both TV and trailer ).

I can tell you the percentage of load vs. capacity, regarding all weights and tire capacity of every single trailer/truck combination I drive on a regular basis. The more you know about your rig, the safer you will be able to operate.

Tires should be carefully chosen, and always operated at the appropriate pressure. Tire pressure should ALWAYS be checked when "cold" ( before being driven, or driven less than one mile). This is the stated method for tire inflation by every single tire company out there, so don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Example, if you are using load range C tires that have a stated pressure of 50psi, you should inflate the tire to 50psi COLD. If you were to check this inflation pressure again after maybe 20 miles on a warm day, the pressure might be 55 psi. This is normal, and you should not deflate the tire. To do so is incorrect and will result in an underinflated tire. When using normal air to inflate tires, a 10 percent increase from cold to warm is typical. Using pure nitrogen to inflate will have a slightly lower difference between cold and warm pressures.

It is also my opinion that drivers that are new to towing will do well to "get some training". This could be from a trusted source, as in someone who really does have a solid technical understanding of vehicle and trailer dynamics, and years of experience. That person can show you how's it's all done, from every step taken before pulling out of the driveway, to "what to do in an emergency". And again, in my opinion, you need good, solid information from someone who can explain things to you in a way that you can understand and put into play.

I'm sure others will chime in with some thoughts and perhaps some things I've forgotten !

george
__________________
gmw photos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 06:31 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Cathy
Trailer: In the Market
Kansas
Posts: 799
Thank you both. It sounds more and more like maybe I am tent person. I love being outdoors!
__________________
Cathy P. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 06:52 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Name: george
Trailer: FunFinder
Missouri
Posts: 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathy P. View Post
Thank you both. It sounds more and more like maybe I am tent person. I love being outdoors!
Cathy,
Don't take my post as discouraging you from going the "trailer route of camping". It's not that hard, and it's really not that technical. You can do this.....but it does need to be done right. I just hate it when I see folks acting in unsafe ways when it comes to these campers/motorhomes/tow vehicles etc.

The whole towing experience ( and certainly the camping experience ) can be a huge amount of fun. I actually enjoy the heck out of towing. I tow four different trailers at various times ( two horse trailers, a flatbed trailer, and a camper ) and I will admit, I have fun every single time I'm hooked up and moving.

I threw in all the details, because honestly, this is a situation where "the devil's in the details". Done right, towing is safe, fun, and does not have to be "white knuckle". And a key part of that process is having a good match between the tow vehicle and the camper. If they are mis-matched, you have .....well let's be charitable here.... a "less than optimal experience".

I camped for many years in a tent, and for a while we had a pop up. Now I have this little 19' hardside, and I'll tell you, the whole camping experience is ten times.....heck, maybe 100 times more enjoyable. Come back to the discussion....let's talk. Some other folks will chime in here soon I'm sure.

There are some really very cool little fiberglass campers available, that won't break the bank, can be safely towed with reasonable size tow vehicles. You don't need the one ton dually for them. We use it for the 33' four horse gooseneck, and the 28' flatbed. Those kind of tow vehicles are horribly expensive to buy and operate.....so don't get discouraged and think you have to have that for a small camper.

george
__________________
gmw photos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 07:25 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathy P. View Post
Thank you both. It sounds more and more like maybe I am tent person. I love being outdoors!
Cathy don't let all the big numbers throw you off. Keep in mind that the numbers posted and experiences stated are not in reference to towing the smaller lighter fiberglass trailers that most of us are towing here. The poster has previously indicated he has only had one TT which is his current one and it appears it may weigh far more dry than most here do fully loaded with a months worth of gear. So what you experience in towing a small fiberglass trailer in regards to the handling by various vehicles may be very different than their experience has been in towing other trailer types.

One things for sure you don't need a 10,000lb tow cap to safely tow the majority of fiberglass trailers out there - not even a 5th wheel. ;-)
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 07:49 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Donna D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 24,433
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathy P. View Post
Thank you both. It sounds more and more like maybe I am tent person. I love being outdoors!
Oh posh... if I can do it, you can do it. When I bought my trailer, I had only towed a small utility trailer ONE time... and it was only loaded with old furniture. I purchased my Scamp about 40 miles from home and had to get it home through Portland, Oregon rush hour WITHOUT brakes! Fortunately, the couple I bought the trailer from were kind enough to make sure it was hooked up properly and away I went. Granted, that first time was a white-knuckle experience, but I did it! When I finally got the trailer backed into it's parking space (took about 45 minutes and lots of sweat), I about dislocated my shoulder from patting myself on the back and the feeling of accomplishment was NIRVANA!

You go girl and don't let anyone, including yourself, convince you that you're not capable.
__________________
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
Donna D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 08:28 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Cathi's Avatar
 
Name: Cathy
Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
POBox 1267, Denison, Texas
Posts: 795
Hi, Cathy!

As I understand it, the fifth wheelers cut inside when towing. The bumper types do not and will track right with you. The fifth wheel set-up seems to be a more solid set-up but even many people with pick-ups do not want a fifth wheeler because of taking up the bed.

One of the big considerations on the bumper type is the width of the trailer. It seems that narrower is better for towing from what people have told me. We are going with a narrower (7') width trailer.
__________________
Cathi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 10:36 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 RB and Bigfoot 21RB
British Columbia
Posts: 1,143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathy View Post
Hi, Cathy!

As I understand it, the fifth wheelers cut inside when towing. The bumper types do not and will track right with you. The fifth wheel set-up seems to be a more solid set-up but even many people with pick-ups do not want a fifth wheeler because of taking up the bed.

One of the big considerations on the bumper type is the width of the trailer. It seems that narrower is better for towing from what people have told me. We are going with a narrower (7') width trailer.

Huh????

There is no such thing as a trailer that will follow exactly in the tracks of the tow tug. All trailers will leave their tire tracks further to the inside of the turn. So long as you remember that and make a wider turn than you would when you are NOT towing, you'll be OK.

General rule (applies to both 5th and straight tows)

The longer the wheelbase of the tow vehicle, the better it tows (and the harder it is to back the trailer!) The Smaller the trailer, the easier it is to tow and the harder it is back up with.

Narrower trailers usually have less wind resistance than wider ones so they might (if all else is equal - which it never is!) get better fuel economy. However, comfort and whether or not the layout suits you should be the deciding factor. Buying brand A because it is 6 inches narrower than brand B if you like everything else better about brand B is a sure cause of misery!
__________________
BCDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 11:09 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Name: grant
Trailer: 13' burro, 13' casita, 20' nomad f/w
Texas
Posts: 21
try reading this, also google trailer towing.How to back up a trailer
__________________
gcssr39 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2012, 11:50 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Alf S.'s Avatar
 
Name: Alfred
Trailer: 2014 Escape 5.0TA / 2010 Nissan Frontier
Ontario
Posts: 3,815
Registry
Send a message via Yahoo to Alf S.
Hi: Cathy P... Why I like the 5th. wheel is the hitch is located directly over the rear axle. The closer to the axle the better the tow... with any trailer!!! Also... the older I get the less I can bend down so the hook up is at eye level. It is easier to line up by your self too. Once the hitch arm is pulled, you back up to the pin and "CLANK". Plug in the umbilical cord, check the lights and away you tow!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
Attached Thumbnails
hooked on you.jpg  
__________________
Alf S. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2012, 12:06 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Cathi's Avatar
 
Name: Cathy
Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
POBox 1267, Denison, Texas
Posts: 795
Hi, Dave!

Are you saying that if you tow a 7' wide trailer with a fifth wheel, it cuts in the same as towing a 7' bumper type? I did not say that it would follow exactly in the tracks. Of course, trailer size here means a lot.

A number of people who have owned Bigfoots and Escapes have told me that the narrower Escape tows much better and they seem to attribute much of that to the greater width of the Bigfoot. That is their experience. Maybe people have different ideas of what "tows well" means.

The towing ease is definitely one of my big considerations and may even outweigh the layout or size of the trailer. Everyone has his priorities.

Alf, I know you love your Fifth Wheeler!!

Carol, you are right for sure. What applies to those great big trailers is not necessarily the same with a small egg.
__________________
Cathi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2012, 01:22 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 RB and Bigfoot 21RB
British Columbia
Posts: 1,143
I've towed an awful lotta trailers. The one that followed me best was a sticky that I owned many years ago - a Taylor Coach 15 footer.

The worst I ever towed (not counting a few home-made utility trailers) was a 13 foot Boler (much narrower and much lighter than the Taylor)

Just changing tires can make a "whee" of a difference. When I got my Boler 1700 it towed like a dream - it was very easy to forget it was back there. I took off the "many years old" bias-ply tires and put on a new set of radials. Turned it into an absolute cow! I could swear it gained many thousands of pounds and all in the wrong places. It wiggled and wagged and swayed back there and was very hard to pull - much harder on the tug than it had ever been before!

Switching to yet another pair of radial tires (different make) cured the sway and helped with the "heavy feeling" too.

Now I tow a Bigfoot 21 footer . It is very much like the original Taylor Coach - it can be quite quite dangerous because I keep forgetting it is back there !

You will know when a trailer "tows well' if you are heading down the highway at 70-75 mph and you glance in your mirror and it is a bit of shock to see that, yes, there IS a trailer there! If a trailer keeps "reminding you" in some way or other that it is there, then it does NOT tow well! Your towing experience will not be happy and you will not be happy with your decision to hitch on to that kind of trailer. You will regret going camping with it. you will regret buying it.

If towing is a white-knuckle experience then something is wrong. Wrong trailer, wrong tug, maybe just a combination where this trailer does not like this tug, but you are supposed to be doing this for relaxing, not for inducing stress.

I have also towed a lot of flatdeck trailers - some VERY heavily loaded and quite a few of the enclosed cargo-type trailers, again, some very heavily loaded. Some single axle, some twin, some triple axle units. The bigger the frontal area (both width and height) the more air resistance, and the heavier the trailer "feels". I have towed on trips of over 3,000 miles one way, so beleive me, I want one that tows comfortably - which is how I define "Tows well"

For what it is worth - the longer the distance from the hitch to the axle the better it tows. (And the more it cuts inside your turning circle)

The heavier it is, the better it tows. (on the flats.)

In all cases, lets assume the trailer is loaded correctly. Tail-heavy trailers are NOT good to tow - regardless of brand, tires or tug.

The bigger and heavier the tug, the better it tows (anything)

The only 5th I ever towed I cannot comment on as I have no basis of comparison. It was an unfamiliar trailer, hitched onto a pick-up that I had never driven before, so I do not know if it towed well or not. (and I didn't have to go very far with it, so again, no real experience!)
__________________
BCDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2012, 06:49 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Cathy
Trailer: In the Market
Kansas
Posts: 799
Thank you all. Great input. I worked in the office of a 5-star, very heavy 5th wheel that did factory direct. We had people show up with under-rated pick-ups that had never towed before and older people, even older than me and one in his 80's. They got about a 30 minute prep with a tech and they were off either back home which was usually across the country since we were central US or to a full-timing adventure. Sometimes, the driver would be so nervous that it seemed unbearable to see them hit the road.

I think the poster was "floyd" and he talked about his experience with his 13' Scamp and how convenient that size was for him and it was an excellent post. I was "yes" I could do that!

I talked about "The Long, Long Trailer" and it truly does give someone something to think about in real life terms.

I am not and never will be an "RVer" but a "camper". Most likely that big, nice tent will go with my son to the service provider as they have said that they take the people (with developmental disabilities) camping - now you know this has to be a good service if we can snag the opening here shortly in their residential service.

Thank you again. I'm also a "better safe than sorry" person. OK, probably overly cautious. Extremely cautious!
__________________

__________________
Cathy P. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
5th wheel bumper pull jeff y Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 15 11-17-2014 05:45 AM
SCAMP 19' Fifth Wheel or Bumper Pull! 1990 Maureen S Classified Archives 3 10-20-2010 07:16 AM
SOLD - 2001 CASITA BUMPER PULL 17-HOUSTON, TX Greg A Classified Archives 2 03-06-2009 12:45 AM
Towing from bumper LeanneH Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 18 05-22-2006 10:02 PM
5th wheel bumper pull jeff y Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:29 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.