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5th Wheel Towing Capacity and Hitch Recommendations for a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD Short Bed

Question:

We recently purchased a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD SERIES CREW CAB STANDARD BOX 4WD. The manufacturers towing guide says that the max towing capacity is 13,900. When Im looking at fifth wheels, theres a lot of weights. Example: Average Shipping Weight lbs. 9,491 Dry Hitch Weight lbs. 2,001 Cargo Capacity lbs. 2,701 I was told that we need to look at the dry hitch weight, which above is 2,001. I heard that I cant tow this trailer because I dont have a 1 ton truck because of the 2,001 dry hitch weight. I want to know if thats true. What actual numbers do I look at? Please help!!!

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Expert Reply:

The dry hitch weight, also called tongue weight for travel trailers or pin weight for 5th wheel trailers, is the amount of weight pushing down on the trailer hitch. Dry means the trailer is empty; no cargo, water, propane, just the trailer by itself. So the dry weight is less important than the actual hitch/tongue/pin weight when the trailer is loaded and ready to tow.

Based on the figures you have provided the trailer has a hitch weight that is 21 percent of the gross trailer weight (21 percent of 9,491 pounds equals 2,001 pounds). The gross weight capacity of the trailer, which is the most that the trailer can weight, is 12,192 pounds (dry weight plus cargo capacity). So 21 percent of that is 2,560 pounds. So basically for that trailer the hitch weight will be anywhere between 2,001 and 2,560 pounds. You want to be able to cover that whole range.

The truck will have a payload capacity which basically is the amount of weight that you could put in the truck bed. Rear axle capacity is similar. According to the owner's manual for the 2016 GMC Sierra 2500HD the maximum hitch weight when towing a 5th wheel trailer is 3,000 pounds. So whomever told you that you needed to have a 1-ton truck to tow this trailer must be unaware that the towing capacity of the truck is readily available in the manual.

By standard box I assume you mean the short bed. For short bed trucks you will need a slider hitch to be able to make tight turns without the truck and trailer hitting each other. That is unless the trailer has the special tapered front end that allows it to be towed with short bed trucks.

What I recommend is a Demco HiJacker because they offer the most travel at 14 inches and they slide automatically when you turn. If your truck does NOT have the factory 5th wheel prep package the you will need an installation kit, # DM8552011-71 for above the bed rails. And then for the hitch use # DM8550034. And to add an in bed 7-Way trailer connector you can use # 41157.

If the truck has the factory prep package then the B&W hitch # BWRVK3770 will offer the most clearance. But still in this scenario I recommend a trailer with the tapered front end like I mentioned earlier.

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