What is the Proper Pin Weight Percentage of the Total Weight for a 5th Wheel Trailer

Question:

True or false A salesman told me that 40 of the 5th wheel hitch weight goes onto the truck bed. So a 5th wheel with a hitch weight of 2000 pounds transfers 800 pounds of weight to the truck bed.

1

Helpful Expert Reply:

Definitely false.

You want to shoot for the pin weight of a 5th wheel trailer to be about 20% of the loaded weight of the trailer. If the hitch weight of your trailer is 2,000 lbs though that entire pin weight is transferred, not just a portion of the pin weight.

This is actually reflected in the weight ratings for 5th wheel trailer hitches (and can usually be found in the owner's manual for your trailer). If you check out the popular B&W Companion # BWRVK3500 you can see that the gross towing weight (max trailer weight) rating is 20,000 lbs while the vertical load limit (or max pin weight) is 5,000 lbs. The ideal pin weight of a 20K trailer would be 4,000 lbs so that extra 1,000 lbs is just built-in cushion for varying 5th wheel trailer situations.

helpful expert reply by:
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Jon G

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Question:

The tow vehicle is a 2015 GMC, 2500 HD, 4WD, with a duramax engine. It is equipped with a BW Patriot 16000 pound 5th wheel hitch. I will be towing a 2019 Grand Design Reflection 311 BHS. I believe that my truck can handle this heavy of a 5th wheel. However, I am concerned about the 2180 pound hitch weight. Do I have to beef up the rear suspension? If so, how do I do that.

asked by: Richard O

1

Helpful Expert Reply:

Thank you for all of the specifics!

When I looked up your 2019 Grand Design Reflection 311 BHS it has the pin weight of 2,180 lbs like you said as well as a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of 13,995 lbs.

In the online version of the owner's manual for your 2015 GMC Sierra 2500 4WD is shows the various weight ratings starting on page 9-74. The different configurations range between 14,000 lbs - 14,800 lbs as the max weight for towing a 5th wheel aside from the Crew Cab with a Long Box, that instead has a max rating of 13,800 lbs. So technically it can still haul your trailer as long as it isn't loaded to the GVWR.

According to page 9-85 in the owner's manual the max pin weight that a 2500 can handle is 3,000 lbs so you are good to go regardless of cab and bed lengths.

With all of this being said, if you will be within a few hundred pounds of the max weight rating for your Sierra when your trailer is loaded and ready to go then I do recommend getting a suspension enhancement installed. It won't increase your load bearing capacity but it will help support your OEM suspension so that it doesn't have to work as hard.

For this I highly recommend the Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs # F2596 because they feature a double convoluted design which makes them much more durable than other air bag systems out there. Air compressor kits are a great addition to an air bag kit as well because you don't have to hunt down an air tank when you need to fill your air bags and the controls are right at your fingertips inside the cabin. The Air Command II # F2178 is what I recommend for your application as it is a dual function system so you can adjust your air bags individually for the best ride quality.

I have attached videos for both the air bag kit and compressor system for you to check out.

helpful expert reply by: Jon G
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Jon G

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