When we finally decided back in May of 2018 to sell our house and travel full time with the kids, my wife had seen our neighbors across the street with their Ford F-350 dually and Heartland Cyclone toy hauler. With how nice their setup was, she suggested that might be a good route to pursue.
How did we end up choosing a Ford F-450 for a 5th wheel? I began looking into duallies — starting with Ford but also looking at the Chevy and Ram equivalents. We wanted a truck that could comfortably seat my wife and me, our two kids who were still in car seats, and have room for our two dogs (Australian shepherds.)
Our criteria were the following:
- Dual rear wheel for a higher payload, beefier axle, and towing stability.
- Crew cab with a roomy back seat to fit all of us, plus our road trip snacks and diaper bags.
- Long bed for better 5th wheel towing maneuverability, and so you don’t have to worry about the front of the 5th wheel hitting the rear window or sides as easily compared to a short bed truck.
- 5th wheel / gooseneck prep for a cleaner aftermarket hitch installation.It’s also easier to remove and takes up less space than rails.
- Turbo diesel which is heavier, but has more torque compared to gasoline engines.
- High capacity fuel tank — the F-450 has a 48 gallon tank which makes towing mileage at roughly 6-8 mpg depending how much you tow, wind speed and direction, and driving speed. This was important to us because the more gallons you can hold internally, the less you have to worry about hunting for diesel truck stops or very large, tall, and maneuverable consumer gas stations along your route.
- Wide track front end for a tighter turning radius. It’s very handy for daily driving, u-turning, parking, and also when towing and backing up.
- LED lighting for better visibility at night.
How did they compare?
It’s important to note that the main difference between the F-350 and the F-450 super duties is the wide track front end for a tighter turning radius and the commercial truck tires on the 450. As of this writing, Chevy and Dodge don’t have a 450 equivalent as their next tier are chassis cabs for utility and commercial trucks.
The 2018 Chevy 3500HD 4×4 crew cab long bed maxed out at roughly 23,000 lbs for towing a 5th wheel, so unfortunately we had to rule that out immediately. It was too close to the max weight of the 5th wheel toy hauler we were looking at — about 20,000 lbs.
With the 2018 Dodge 3500, there were a few critical items it didn’t have: mainly the OEM fuel tank was limited to 32 gallons, it lacked a wide track front end which would result in a larger turn radius, and there was no OEM option to upgrade to full LED lighting.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Ford F-450 checked off all of our requirements and also came in at a reasonable price for what we wanted. By June, we had found the exact F-450 for our 5th wheel with all the features we needed, ready to be driven off the lot at Ryan Ford in Sealy, TX. (A big thank you to Jonathan for a great sales experience and delivery too!)
Want to learn more?
Subscribe to our newsletter for future updates or check out these additional resources: