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Old 07-14-2011, 10:19 PM   #1
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Hi, we are close to a purchase of a 1995 21 ft Shadow Cruiser, 5th Wheel. It is a very clean unit and has been well kept. We really like the compact light weight towability this seems to afford. The seller had the GVW (4500) but couldn't tell us the dry weight. Anyone know?

Also, we plan to tow with a V6 Toyota Tacoma 4X4. Capacity is 6500. Any experience or advise there?

One more question: this is the original refrigerator (16 yr. Dometic), what is the life expectancy of them?

I'm excited about this possibility as we had a Cikira Classic Cruiser 3 years ago and really liked the quality of that trailer. I was surprised to learn of the connection.

Thanks in advance,
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:32 PM   #2
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I would be leary of a V6 pulling a 21' fifth wheel. How many hills will you be pulling your camper. I had a 1999 V6 Ford Explorer and pulled a 16' Aerolite. I pulled it mostly in Illinois and flat land. When we moved to Missouri and the hills, it just wasn't "cutting" it. Now have an F150 V8 Triton with a 21' Funfinder. Even though the F150 does a good job, I think an F250 would have been better. Really do your math before making any purchases. Webslave it good at that and should be able to help you. Good luck.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:34 AM   #3
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Not only leery, but, very, very concerned. While your Tacoma may have a 6K towing rating, that rating is for a frame mounted hitch tow, not a bed mounted 5th wheel hookup.

5th wheel trailers have a much higher "pin weight" than a bumper pull trailer, magnitudes greater. A 21' bumper pull trailer may have a tongue weight of 750 lbs, while the same 5th wheel length could have a pin weight of 1200 to 1700 lbs. depending on model, options and loading of the 5th wheel trailer. 5th wheel trailers carry their weight slung between the wheels and the hitch pin, while a bumper pull carries most of its weight balanced on the trailers wheels. Some bumper pulls can even be loaded so that there is negative weight on the tongue (heavier on the trailer's bumper end than on the tongue and these people have to take special precautions in loading to keep adequate weight on the tongue. I would be very concerned with the GVW limitations of your Tacoma.

I believe you will find that your Tacoma's load capability is around 1200 lbs and that has to cover passengers, options on your truck (like the 4x4; the front differential components count against the vehicle load) and any other cargo...kids, pets, "stuff" in the storage area and even the weight of the 5th wheel pin support (hitch). I think that you will find that you are overloading the frame and suspension on your Tacoma...that kind of loading can lead to suspension and frame damage and failure.

The pin loading on a 5th wheel is such that you will find that most 5ver owners tow with 3/4 ton and up, large block gassers and diesels, not V6 powered "compact pickups". Be very, very careful if you go that route. You are talking about an awful lot of weight. My 21' 210WBS comes in right at your towing max...the TT weighs 5975 for us, on the road, with a tongue weight in the neighborhood of 715-721 lbs. That would max out your Tacoma (if not overload it) and it is a "bumper pull". I pull with the vehicles in my signature; the Jeep is adequate and with the Hemi has an easy time of towing, while admittedly, my Ram 2500 with the High Output (800 ft lbs of torque) Cummins Turbo Diesel is over-kill (I have a farm and have other uses for the truck besides towing the FunFinder...).

If you go that route, find out what the "real life" pin weight is on the trailer and then calculate, very carefully, what the gross vehicle loading is on your Tacoma. I'm afraid that you will find that you will be overloading the rear axle (a 5th wheel hitch doesn't spread the load on the front and rear axles like a good weight distribution hitch does; all the pin weight goes on the rear) and most likely you'll be exceeding the total load capacity of the truck's engine, transmission, brakes and frame.
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