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Old 10-02-2016, 05:33 PM   #1
jafud1
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Most important options for new 350 or 3500

Hello to all. I am new to the Keystone RV forum and do not currently own one, but am shopping for a new Montana fifth wheel now. We are considering starting to full-time as I am retired and my wife has a job where she can work anywhere we can get a good signal for our Verizon MiFi hotspot. I currently own a 35 foot travel trailer and tow this with my 2013 Toyota Tundra which has performed very well. Obviously this will not suffice for towing a Montana fifth wheel. Not having owned an HD pickup truck or having towed a fifth wheel I would welcome any advice on which options are most important to include on a new tow vehicle. I have owned both GM and Ford pickup trucks in the past and have not yet decided on a manufacturer. Have been doing some research online but will start visiting dealers to look and test drive new vehicles this week. I do plan to select a 350 or 3500 with diesel engine and would prefer a single rear wheel truck. In the past I have selected an extended cab version but have not gone with a long bed in the past so that it could fit in a 21 foot garage. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:24 PM   #2
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You can still get by with a short bed but height will probably keep it out of the garage. Although I have a slider hitch it has never been used. I regularly pull 12,500# up/down mountains with a 2016 F350 SRW crew cab with the 6.7 and 11,500# GVWR package. I have delivered a friends 5er after his truck was wrecked. It weighs 14,500 and never felt a semi pass or crosswind. Over the mountains was certainly not a problem either but it is getting close to numbers so I think that would be max before going dually.
I have a 2016 Lariat Ultimate 4X4. Way more 'stuff' on this truck than I want or will use and the 2017s have even more. As the 2017 is a model change there are some great deals on 16s still on the lot. All 3 make great trucks today.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:40 PM   #3
BlueThunder34
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I'm not one for all the fancy leather, heated/cooled seat, etc options. but for me the key options I looked for were power ext tow mirrors, rearend ratio, diesel, exhaust brake, back up camera and long bed for more stability. Those were my must haves, anything extra was a bonus.
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Old 10-02-2016, 07:14 PM   #4
jafud1
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Thank you for your replies. The models we have been looking at mostly weigh in the 13-14K range dry weight. Add in the 3K or so CCC and I am looking at 16-17K possible total weight. I see that some people on the forum do not like the single rear wheel configuration for towing large units. I have been working my way through reading on the truck manufacturer's websites to try to understand all of the ratings to determine how much and what kind of truck is needed. My wife would prefer to have a gas engine truck. Some years ago we had a 35 foot class A on a Ford V10 gas chassis and did not have any significant issues with it. We went through a lot of the mountains in the eastern US but never anything out west.
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Old 10-02-2016, 08:17 PM   #5
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I would have to agree, those weights are probably best served by a DRW. Gas or diesel your choice, but keep the exhaust brake in mind that comes with the diesels, very beneficial with a heavy 5er you are looking at. They will all pull but stopping is even more important.
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Old 10-03-2016, 03:43 AM   #6
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I just bought my first diesel a couple of months ago, won't ever look at a gas again. The big 3 all offer a the factory 5th wheel prep now, GM just came out with it earlier this year so they can be a little hard to find on the lot, but I would definitely have that option. Pulling that large of a camper and heading out west, I wouldn't even consider a gas powered truck. I pulled an 8000 lb travel trailer with a 2500 HD gasser thru the Big Horn Mountains which was a 7% grade up for 15 miles and then 7% grade down for about the same, said I would never do it again without a diesel. I bought a SRW truck, but the 5th wheels we are looking at are 10-11K dry and 13-14K loaded, by the pin weight I will be at about the max for my truck. Just an FYI, I bought a 2016 Silverado 3500 SRW, crew cab long bed, duramax with the 5th wheel prep and most options, the sticker in the door says the payload is 3500 lbs. If you are looking at a 17k weight you will have a 3400 lb pin weight (figured at 20%), I think you are definitely in dually range.
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Old 10-03-2016, 04:25 AM   #7
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With that size of 5er and full timing, here is the list of must haves if it were me. Diesel (which comes with exhaust brake), DRW, Allison trans (okay I'm biased on that one, but it's the best one in the class), camper mirrors (believe they are standard on DRW, but have seen some dealers go with the standard mirrors on SRW), and 8' bed (again standard on DRW). If you are full timing, your TV comfort while towing is the main consideration, this combination will give you the most capability and the most stability, no reason to sacrifice on those two areas. While your at it, make sure your 5er has a cushioned kin pin, Mor Ryde or TrailAir. Mine has the most basic TrailAir Roto Flex and it is night and day over a standard king pin.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:43 AM   #8
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We pull with the sig truck and it has performed flawlessly to the current 97000 miles. It is a gadgeted Lariat and does have the Ford 5er option ( a necessity!!) which includes overload spring leafs and a sway bar. As far as the accessories that are on the truck, there are some that have never been used. It does include several 12V power points and one 120VAC (newer ones have more). For distance travel, the power captains seats cannot be beaten whether in leather or cloth cover. I consider a long bed a necessity for long distance travel as it starts out with a 39 gallon fuel tank vs the SB's 29 gallons. With a short bed, you have to start planning the next stop right after you fill up as 10-11 mpg and really 20-22 usable gallons, being on the safe side. Remember, that a 13+ foot high, 35-40 foot long Montana or other brand just wont fit in every corner station plus Flying J or Love's aren't at every crossroads. Yes, you can add another bed tank or bigger frame rail unit but you are adding big bucks to your cost. Additionally, the long bed is inherently more stable at speed (yes, I've had both and hauled similar 5ers with each). Dual rear wheels are a nice plus but up to 12-13,000 pounds and 38 or so feet, really, IMHO, not necessary. You will need air bags regardless of brand. They level and stabilize your trailers/load. Then there is the crew cab/extended cab - either will work just fine but that CC extra length and more easily accessible and huge back seat area are sure nice. Mine fits our garage but just barely - 4" front, 2-3 in back with the door closed.

Disclaimer: My opinions based on using and owning many pickups and trailer RVs since 1977. Other can and will differ
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Old 10-03-2016, 03:21 PM   #9
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Many good suggestions offered.

One option that I would not ever do without, whether 2WD or 4WD, is a rear limited slip differential. The factory option cost is negligible, but the cost to add the limited slip after the fact is considerably more. If you're choosing options on a new truck with the dealer, I would certainly check that box.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:19 PM   #10
jafud1
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

Thank you all for the great input. It sounds like that if going west it should be a diesel and exhaust brake and a duelly due to the weight of the units we are looking at. I want to be in control and be safe and not cause a problem for others on the road. The Montana does have the MorRyde king pin. I need to research the hitch for the truck also. Now I know the long bed is good for stability and also to gain the larger fuel tank. I already wish I had a larger tank on the Tundra with my travel trailer. And since it is 35 foot long I also know the issues of getting into a lot of gas stations.
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Old 10-03-2016, 06:02 PM   #11
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

Safety is critical when towing an RV Trailer. This training video discusses the importance of understanding a Truck's ratings and how these ratings limit the size of the trailer that can be safely towed. You will be provided the tools and basic understanding needed to assist your endeavor to properly match a truck and trailer, so that you can enjoy RVing safely.

http://rvsafety.com/rv-education/mat...ks-to-trailers
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Old 10-04-2016, 04:37 AM   #12
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

With the 8' box you have plenty of room to add an auxiliary fuel tank. I added a 65 gal ATTA tank that I found used on CL. Total investment for mine was under $400. Even if I had purchased new and invested into the $1,000 range it is worth it, especially if towing a lot as you will most likely be doing as a full timer. I now carry more than 100 gallans and have a range of 1,000+ miles. I fuel up after we stop for the night and unhook. I no longer drag my 5er through any gas station.

I don't agree with the statement of needing airbags. I don't have any, my truck levels out perfectly without them and rides fine. That's where the 3500 dually definitely has an advantage. Also, 3500 DRW come standard with a limited slip rear end.

As for the hitch, I have a Reese with the single hook jaw and love it. Others have had great luck with Curt, B&G and Andersen. Any of them will work and work well. I have to admit I'm intrigued by the Andersen and if I were buying a new hitch today I would have to take a serious look at it mainly for the weight advantage feature. A 20k hitch is heavy and difficult to take in and out on your own, the Andersen is not.
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:31 AM   #13
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

I don't agree with needing airbags either. After choosing diesel or gas and SRW vs DRW the next most important thing is an integrated brake controller. There is no comparison between an integrated brake controller vs an add on.

I am very happy with my Dodge Diesel SRW 3500 truck with the integrated exhaust brake.

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Old 10-04-2016, 09:17 AM   #14
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

I have integrated seat heat.

No airbags, though. A rear anti-sway bar is a nice touch, too.

Since hitches were mentioned, my steel, 24K rated Andersen weighs 75# and has no remaining rails in the bed when removed, as I have the gooseneck ball version with a B&W Turnover Ball. Stock Lippert pin box. Long bed. Love the combination. With a long bed, I wouldn't have any other hitch.
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:06 AM   #15
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

Air bags - if you have no experience with and without them with the same truck/trailer combination then you have no idea what the difference is in total TV/unit stability as well as ride comfort. But adding them is an owner's prerogative. It is though a reasonably inexpensive way to help the TV manage the load
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:18 AM   #16
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

I went with Timbrens first and have had good success with the 20 minute and forget install.
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:57 PM   #17
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

I'm pulling the Montana HC with a SRW. If it was any, and I mean any, heavier I would want a DRW. I haven't looked at specs lately, but I'm thinking I would only pull the smallest Montana with a SRW. Go ahead and get the dually. With the huge storage bay on 5th wheels the pin weight jumps easily. Add a second A/C, extra battery, maybe a washer/dryer combo, and the requisite 28 pair of shoes, and you can easily add 1,000 pounds to the advertised pin weight.
Be thinking about rear axle ratios and the characteristics of the 3 brands of diesels. My ex-Ford was a high revving almost hot rod engine. My current Ram is lower rpm. I'm pulling with a 3.42 but a 3.73 would be better. If you're towing mostly out west you might consider a 4.10. Heated seats are awesome, especially when my old back starts aching. I would be suffering if I didn't have satellite radio. Vented/cool seats are handy in summer time. Full length side steps/rails make it easier to reach that 5th wheel hitch lever. Get the factory hitch prep and sprayed in bed liner.
If you do go with a SRW, watch the yellow payload tag in the drivers door. My Ford F350 had 3267#, my Ram is 4018#. Very similarly equipped. Most Chevy's I saw were around 3700#.
edit add....I'm reading on another forum about issues with Andersen hitches and heavier trailers. I don't want to start anything, but do your research.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:52 PM   #18
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

Good advice from all. I strongly agree on the value of DRW when towing. It sigiicantly enhances the stability and comfort of the tow. Plenty of gas stations/truck stops so don't worry about refueling. I am also a big fan of the Allison 6 speed transmission, but any of the 3/4 ton diesel offerings will do the job. The best advice I have received was simply don't be in a hurry. Don't travel too far or too fast in a day, enjoy the journey. Safe travels.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:30 PM   #19
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

Go with more truck than less, I'd go DRW and I read today that GMC/Chevy have upped the HP on the diesel too 445HP and over 900ft lbs of torgue.
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Old 10-06-2016, 10:32 PM   #20
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Re: Most important options for new 350 or 3500

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearhead View Post
I'm pulling with a 3.42 but a 3.73 would be better. If you're towing mostly out west you might consider a 4.10.

Considering I'm pulling with 4.10 on a much much older truck with less HP and far less torque than the numbers coming on the new ones these days...

I think the 4.10 is often a bit much. Usually not needed.
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