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Old 03-27-2019, 10:12 AM   #1
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Default RV 5th wheel vs. Class 8

"Semi retired" trucker looking to pull a 40' fifth wheel RV and retain the existing 5th wheel. Currently pulling 53' dry van and would still like to contract haul part time. (Independent Owner Operator)

Im a little concerned about king pin depth & trailer weight being too light to work with the air ride and beating up the trailer.

Looking for the optimum setup to maintain vehicle stability and safety.
Thinking an RV 5th wheel would have to be located behind and in between the frame rails so not to interfere with commercial operation.

Dry van has a 48" pin depth and ride height.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:05 PM   #2
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I think there is somebody doing that. Seem to me I saw some posts about it over at the Escapees HDT forum: HDT - Escapees Discussion Forum
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:08 PM   #3
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There is also a guy using his commercial tractor to pull a gooseneck trailer for recreation. At least I think it's a gooseneck. Search the Escapees for Jeff Bayer or Jeff Beyer? He knows a lot about how you take care of all the legal requirements. I think he treats his recreational trailer as if he's hauling it for work. Keeps his log books going and such. That way he is covered by his insurance as if he's working. I think he found that works better than trying to find coverage for recreational use separate from commercial insurance.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:11 PM   #4
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One of the biggest concerns I think as far as using the truck to pull your camper is that you would want an air hitch and also one that articulates side to side. Commercial king pin hitch (as you know) only hinges fore/aft. They can tear up a recreational camper trailer when you are getting into campgrounds and even just driving down the road with turns and off camber and such. I think there are a couple owner/operators that ended up using a separate tractor outfitted with a air ride rv hitch. They just gave up on trying to meld the work and recreation thing into one tractor.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:21 PM   #5
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Thanks Bob for the quick reply!

I did find Escapees HDT, we knew we weren't the first to consider this so reaching out to those that have experience.

Looked at the Lippert air pin box and converting electric brakes to air over
hydraulic. Air ride trailer instead of springs.

We're in the process of researching a suitable trailer that is well built with the level of fit and finish desired. Price point is yet to be determined but full blown custom is not in the plans.

The advice of running under the company MC and DOT number is probably the best bet. Yet to determine insurance and loss payable, liability.
Can't just flip a switch back and forth.

Tractor already has in-frame overhaul and almost everything else except transmission which is next on the list. Tractor is in A+ condition and will pull a 30 ton wagon no problem. Good for another 700,000 miles, more than we could imagine putting on it.

Really just looking to transition smoothly within the next 3-4 years without making any major mistakes. Buying the trailer through the business, initially and eventually shutting down commercially to enjoy traveling again.

Thanks for your input!
Happy motoring!
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:45 PM   #6
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I've done this several times with my 30 foot fifth wheel ultralight from Forest River and we've had no adverse effects and the fifth wheel pin is the same. It will work well if you have the extended 5th wheel off the front of the trailer and you must slide your fifth wheel all the way back to clear your mud flaps. To keep from slinging up mud and debris on the underside of the front of your trailer you'll want to put the fenders on your tandems. Hope this helps. Oh, as for the ride let some of the air out of your bags. Have fun!
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