Why should you get yourself the best fifth wheel hitch for short bed truck? This is a kind of hitch which is created to be able to handle a load which is extremely heavy such as a trailer that is huge. If you compare it to the usual ball hitch, which is similar to this, the best fifth wheel hitch happens to carry a trailer which is larger and a load that is heavy.
It is important to note that, it is a hitch which is designed so that the front hitch of the trailer is able to extend to the bumper which is located at the rear. A top rated 5th wheel hitch could press the weight of the trailer between the cab of the pickup and the rear which is at the axle.
- 1 Comparison Of Fifth Wheel Hitch For Short Bed Truck
- 2 Fifth Wheel Hitch For Short Bed Truck Review
- 2.1 1. Anderson 3220 Aluminum Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection
- 2.2 2. B & W Companion RVK 3500 5th Wheel Hitch
- 2.3 3. CURT 16130 Black Q20 5th Wheel Hitch
- 2.4 4. Pro Series 20K Fifth Wheel Hitch
- 2.5 5. CURT 16516 E16 5th Wheeler Slider Hitch
- 2.6 6. PullRite SuperGlide Fifth Wheel Hitch 4100
- 2.7 7. Pulliam Enterprises Superlight Fifth Wheel Hitch 2900
- 2.8 8. Reese Elite Series Fifth Wheel Hitch 30142
- 3 What Is A Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch And How It Work?
- 4 Types Of Fifth Wheel Hitches
- 5 What To Look for When Buying A Fifth Wheel Hitch
- 6 Slider Fifth Wheel Hitch
- 7 Fifth Wheel Hitch Installation
- 8 Choosing The Best Truck For 5th-Wheel Towing
- 9 Fifth Wheel Hitch Safety Tips
- 10 FAQs
- 11 Conclusion
Comparison Of Fifth Wheel Hitch For Short Bed Truck
1. Anderson 3220 Aluminum Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection
2. B & W Companion RVK 3500 5th Wheel Hitch
3. CURT 16130 Black Q20 5th Wheel Hitch
4. Pro Series 20K Fifth Wheel Hitch
5. CURT 16516 E16 5th Wheeler Slider Hitch
6. PullRite SuperGlide Fifth Wheel Hitch 4100
7. Pulliam Enterprises Superlight Fifth Wheel Hitch 2900
8. Reese Elite Series Fifth Wheel Hitch 30142
Fifth Wheel Hitch For Short Bed Truck Review
1. Anderson 3220 Aluminum Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection
If you have a short truck bed and you are yearning to have a fifth wheel hitch which will fit well, this could be the one you can consider buying. Its design is to ensure that it fits on short truck beds but it can as well fit on truck beds which are long as well as the standard ones.
Most of the hitches which are found in the market tend not to be compatible with short beds and thus, you might have searched for a long time to get one that will fit your short bed.
In terms of construction and design, it is peerless. It weighs only 35 pounds and thus, it is lightweight and will allow you to easily lift it when you are doing the installation.
On the ball of this hitch, there is a feature for adjusting. It is the coupler, which is housed and grease free and thus, it will work well without having to make you stained or dirty.
Because the coupler is engaged to the ball, the swiveling of the hitch is improved, ensuring that it can move in whichever direction you want it to and thus, making the hitch to be unique. You will be able to uncouple and couple the truck and the trailer while you are on uneven ground.
1. Its torque weight is 4500 pounds while the trailer weight capacity is 24000 pounds
2. It is lightweight
3. It is a strong and simple hitch in construction
4. It is compatible with gooseneck hitches
5. The ball funnel will ensure that you can be able to hook it
1. The release cable is flimsy
2. The trailer tends to be lifted higher
2. B & W Companion RVK 3500 5th Wheel Hitch
The astounding feature that made me place it on this particular fifth wheel hitch is the design which is rail free with a mounting system of under the bed. With that, it means that there are no restrictions on the bed of your truck. in case you are hitching, you are at liberty to detach it and use the space for other purposes.
The design of this hitch might last longer than the lifespan of your trailer. And because it is produced in the USA, that is another reason enough to convince you that, it has a high-grade construction.
Its dual jaw has a cast iron while the other components are made of steel. Its exterior has a powder coating which is gray which will ensure that it will resist possible corrosion.
There is a 4-way pivoting head which will ensure that this fifth wheel hitch will be able to remain in place and stable, whether you are in terrains which are stable or unstable. If you are planning to go camping in the campsite which is hilly and rough, this could be the model to invest in.
It is capable of adjusting vertically in three positions from 16 ¼ inches to 18 ¼ inches. Its back to front adjustments has three positions for coupling.
1. It is a two-piece design
2. It has dual jaw
3. It has an effortless release and hooks up
4. Very supportive
5. There is a cam action handle integrated into it.
1. Its availability is minimal
2. It doesn’t come with a lude plate
3. It cannot be used on small bed trucks.
3. CURT 16130 Black Q20 5th Wheel Hitch
It is a hitch which is made in the USA and comes with a weight carrying capacity of about 20,000lbs. This means that it will be able to give you some heavy duty services.
When it comes to its mechanism by which it moves the hitch head, it has a spherical axial bearing. This will allow the hitch head and the area for coupling move in any direction. This is a trait which will assist in reducing noise and give you a smooth ride.
For its holding power, it has dual jaws that make that they wrap the kingpin from all sides. This means that the security for towing is guaranteed as you enjoy reduced chucking noise. It is the same feature which will ensure that you know about the status of the hitch.
It has a color indicator which will tell you when your hitch is ready for towing, uncoupling or coupling. For a newbie, this might be a very important feature. There is a self-aligning head which will give you a wide opening that will make coupling easy. It is also helpful in reducing error chances resulting in the accurate and stress-free coupling.
There is a short throw handle which helps in preventing damages from theft by ensuring that it is completely locked. It is also able to hold the kingpin automatically and ensure that it is fastened in the correct position. This fifth wheel hitch for a truck bed which is short has a powder coating to aid in ensuring that there is no corrosion, thereby increasing its lifespan.
1. The powder coating gives it great durability
2. The color indicator makes assembly procedure to be simpler
3. The kingpin is held in place with the double jaws
4. The axial bearing which is spherical gives it a calm and smooth ride
5. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty
1. It could be difficult to uncouple and couple depending on its height
2. It might be hard to remove it from the bed of your truck to access your full truck bed.
4. Pro Series 20K Fifth Wheel Hitch
Though it doesn’t have special features, I still included it on this list due to the fact that it still does the job that a fifth wheel hitch is supposed to do. It has the standard features of a fifth wheel hitch.
It is lightweight and it would easily install or detach whenever you want to. The stability that it gives is what makes it be one of the best fifth wheel hitches. Its grip fits tightly with a secure lock-up the system.
Due to the fact that it has a 4-way pivot system, then it means that it is very flexible. The head is able to automatically adjust to various terrains by ensuring that it revolves forth and back or even sideways. So in case you stop suddenly, or you accelerate on a hill, the system will be able to cancel its inertia.
A full package comes with legs, handle kit, and head support. Although there will be a need for you to purchase a rail kit separately, it is not a bad idea. You can go ahead and pick the custom rails that will be specific to your vehicle model.
This means that you will cut down on the drilling, welding, and installation of universal rails. It tends to be compatible with any system of rail which is in the Reese models or 16Kpro series.
It has vertical adjustments that range between 13 inches to 17 inches. You are at liberty to tune it depending on what you prefer and your trailer height. If you have a fifth wheel which is higher than 40 feet, then you can tow it with this particular hitch.
1. It can tow up to 20000 pounds
2. It has a wide stance for extra stability
3. The 4-way pivoting head which hooks rapidly and remains stable on rough or level ground
4. Has one grease fitting on the main bolt
5. It locks the latches automatically
1. It can be tricky to use
2. It at times comes with dents on delivery
5. CURT 16516 E16 5th Wheeler Slider Hitch
If you are in the market looking for a slider hitch for your short truck bed, this could be it for you. It has a weight capacity of 16000 which could be enough for medium and small trailers. The axles are dual which means that it can pivot sideways for at least 10 degrees.
There is a well-regulated trailer movement even when you are navigating through sharp curves. It comes with a locking system which is automatic for quicker and safer connection. It uses a single handle for operation.
For ensuring that it doesn’t make noise, it has a specialized plate meaning, even when you are traveling on rough terrains, there will be no noise and thus, have a quiet and smooth ride. If this is what you think you should purchase, then you will never be disturbed by the hitch or tower trailer while on the move.
It has an impressive assembly which seems to be compatible with standard base rails for easier mounting and installation. It has also a feature for height adjustment to ensure that it can accommodate various beds of trucks.
1. Stable and secure mount
2. It is compatible with mounting rails which are standard
3. It comes with carbide power for enhanced protection
4. It tends to be compliant with various safety measures
5. It has an ultra-rugged and robust design
1. The lock type is not of a claw that is common
2. The Kingpin has some noise
6. PullRite SuperGlide Fifth Wheel Hitch 4100
The neat thing about this particular fifth wheel hitch is its ability to remove the hitch when you don’t want to use it. With its mounting system, you will only twist the mounting posts on a quarter a turn and the hitch will be able to lift out and leave a truck bed which is clean.
Its cost is affordable with a weight which is designed for towing lighter weight trailers. It moves up to 14 inches when it is making a turn which is 50 percent more than what a manually adjusted slider will do. It works automatically while you make short turns when driving.
It comes with dual pivot head and a rotary latch which is unique and locks automatically when you are hooking up to the trailer. Its gear driven latch design minimizes inch bumps while towing, thereby allowing 0.030-inch clearance between the latch and the kingpin.
Even if you locate the kingpin under the trailer which is behind the leading edge, on the trailer, it might allow for a 90-degree turn, which is not automatic. To increase its durability and lifespan, it is coated with a powder finish.
1. Has a powder coated finish
2. Has a dual pivot head
3. Has a unique rotary latch which locks automatically when you hook up to the trailer
4. Design minimizes inches bump while you are towing.
5. It is affordable
1. Doesn’t come with a kingpin capture plate
2. The package doesn’t include mounting and rail kit
7. Pulliam Enterprises Superlight Fifth Wheel Hitch 2900
It is an automatic sliding hitch which you might be interested in. It is a hitch which displays boldly through its design quality. It looks like it will help you as a user, to enjoy strength and safety.
With it's under the bed gooseneck hitch installation and a super short bed, it will be able to assist you in solving your towing issues by giving you worry free towing on rails which are installed before you purchase it.
It might seem expensive as far as price is concerned but with its sturdy construction which is high quality, together with durability of high level, it is an excellent investment and thus, good value for money.
For it to incur less damage and cope with an adverse situation, it has been designed for destruction and tests free. This is what is done through the usage of machinery which is heavy during its manufacture.
Its performance is exemplary throughout the long life that it has. To make it easy to operate, you will get a manual during your purchase, which will be easy to understand and follow when you are setting up your hitch. You can eliminate the tension of the lever and pin pulling through using a super glide and end up enjoying a super easy and towing experience that is worry free.
1. It has no crashes
2. Secure and safe for use
3. It is very strong
4. It has a powerful grip
5. It is well built
1. It is very expensive
2. It doesn’t have a locking system which is proper
3. It is difficult to remove and attach
8. Reese Elite Series Fifth Wheel Hitch 30142
It has a capacity of 18000 lbs for a pin weight which has 14 by 18 inches vertically and a side by side allowance of 4-inch adjustment. It comes with a handle which has extended length that is capable of being locked and handles which are ¼ an inch to the mounting system that has a lock system that is quick and thus, the slop is lessened as compared to the pin mount system.
The head is stamped which is able to pivot in 4 ways with a 9 inches wide kingpin. If your truck bed is shorter than 6 feet, then this particular fifth wheel hitch will not be able to fit unless you utilize a sidewinder.
In case you have a truck which has a flare that is side to side, then this hitch will not fit. If you decide this is what you want to purchase, it will come preassembled and thus, save you installation time. There are folding tab washers which are included to ensure that, you have an easy installation.
On the overall, this particular hitch has dimensions of 36.8 inches by 20.5 inches by 18.8 inches and with a weight of 137 pounds.
1. It is easy to install
2. It is durable
3. It has a wide footprint for stability
4. It is easy to pull in and out and thus, easy to connect
5. It is good for heavy hauling
6. No sound produced when releasing and engaging it
1. It is expensive
2. Requires a lot of grease fitting due to the fact that it is not well lubricated.
- It is easy to install
- It is durable
- It has a wide footprint for stability
- It is easy to pull in and out and thus, easy to connect
- It is good for heavy hauling
- No sound produced when releasing and engaging it
What Is A Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch And How It Work?
A 5th wheel trailer hitch is designed to be able to carry heavier loads than what a 5th wheel trailer of a regular ball hitch. Rather than the rear bumper, the attachment point tends to be in the truck bed. This is the placement which allows your truck to be able to carry a load which is more massive.
The main job for the fifth wheel hitches is to ensure that both your trailer and your truck arrive at their destination when they are safe. If you get a good hitch, it will be able to give you stress-free experience where you will not be able to doubt the ability it has to do your job.
A fifth wheel trailer is a good investment and thus, you should be ready to spend in order to get the best out of the many in the market. Even if you settle for low quality, you will find out that, they are not cheap either.
There are various types of fifth wheel trailers on the market which you will have an opportunity to choose from. There are some which are extremely expensive while others are mid-range when it comes to the price. But the one important thing that you will be sure of is that they will be able to perform their job perfectly well.
When you get a fifth wheel trailer which is expensive, in most cases, it will be stress-free when it comes to towing your trailer and it will provide you peace of mind which will be worth your money.
How The Fifth Wheel Hitches Work
It is normally placed in the truck bed instead of the rear frame or bumper. With this placement, the added weight will press down between the rear axle and the cab instead of on the rear bumper the way it happens with the ball hitches.
It is important to know that, the fifth wheel hitches don’t have a ball mount. Instead, they rely on a kingpin, which is a downward facing pin and a plate which is able to rest at the top of the hitch plate of the fifth wheel in order to connect to the trailer.
The kingpin is able to lock into place meaning, it is secure but at the same time, able to move around when you encounter turns while on the move with the truck. The trailer’s flat plate and that of the fifth wheel hitch will continuously touch one another.
Whenever your vehicle is in motion, the two plates will be able to slide on one another meaning, lubrication between them is very important. If you don’t give them sufficient lubrication, then the two can be worn out and in the process, cause a lot of problems which you might find hard to deal with as a fifth wheel trailer owner.
Though it sounds overwhelming, once you get to grasp it, you will find out that, the products are not hard to use. They will along the way, become a lifesaver and you will not be perturbed regarding being able to tow your fifth wheeler trailer.
It will be very easy to connect the fifth wheeler hitch to your truck and be on your way, as long as it is of good quality. In the process, you will have a stress free trip/vacation and the right fifth wheel hitch might just bring you a cool experience.
Types Of Fifth Wheel Hitches
#1. 2-Way Pivot Head
It pivots in two ways by revolving forth and back. This makes the head to adjust when you are riding on the ground. Although it is an excellent system when you are maneuvering on terrains which are hilly, it doesn’t have a feasible rotating option to be able to withstand trails which are bumpy.
#2. Gooseneck Hitch
If you have a trailer that has a gooseneck, then this is the fifth wheel hitch which you should settle for. You will install it in the existing setup and you can detach it when not in use.
These types consist of a hitch lock and a pull rite. The removal or mounting process takes less than an hour. If you have both a horse trailer and a fifth wheel, then the gooseneck type of the fifth hitch will be able to connect both of them.
#3. 4-Way Pivot Way
It has an adjustable head which is able to rotate from one side to the next, forward and backward. If you get one of the best fifth wheel hitches, then it will have a four-way axis. It is a device which is quite flexible and will work well both on uneven and even grounds.
If you are always camping, then you will find this particular type to be good especially when you are going through rough and hilly grounds. A 4 way pivoting head is able to act by canceling the inertia out which is brought about by the brakes or accelerates of the trailer.
#4. Sliding Hitch
Most low-cost fifth wheel hitches are sliding bar jaw. The slide bar is disadvantageous as it is noisy, has a loose connection, and it tends to be susceptible to the noises of the kingpin. Besides, this type of hitches will be able to haul a maximum of 20,000 trailer pounds.
#5. Double Jaw
As compared to the single jaw type of fifth wheel hitches, this one has double the power. This is due to the fact that it strongly clasps to the fifth wheel better as compared to the single bar jaw. But it doesn’t hold to trailers which are heavy.
These types are very costly. Because they are wrapped completely to the kingpin, the system is able to produce less noise and the trailer movement is reduced. It has a coupler design which is common to hitches which haul trailers which have a rating of less than 24,000.
#6. Single Jaw
The single jaw type of fifth wheel hitches will be able to lock the kingpin in place using a straightforward setup. One of the benefits of this particular type is that they tend to be reliable when it comes to hauling trailers which are extremely heavy. The system is able to grasp the single jaw couplers that are suitable for trailer towing with a rate that is above 24,000 pounds.
What To Look for When Buying A Fifth Wheel Hitch
1. Weight Capacity
This is one of the important things you need to consider. In fact, it is something which you will need to keep in mind before you make your final choice. Ensure to pick a hitch which has enough weight capacity or power to carry the trailer.
Remember when you use a small weight capacity hitch, it could cause it to break while you are on the road and in the process, resulting in an accident which might be fatal. The capacity is measured in pounds.
It is possible to get a hitch that has 20,000 lbs or even a higher rating or capacity. The hitch is capable of accommodating the overall weight of your trailer to avoid danger while driving.
When you choose a hitch based on its capacity, you will also have to think of the specific requirement 5 years from the time you are purchasing. It is possible to save money by using more purchasing a hitch now and use it for a longer period of time.
The price is another important factor when you are considering to purchase a fifth wheel hitch. You will have to correlate the hitch which you are interested in buying with its price and find out if it is worth your money. You should remember that the heavier the weight, the pricier it becomes.
In case you are on a tight budget, then you can get those hitches which are low on cost. But if you are planning to invest in a high-end hitch, then you will have to be ready to pay something close to $1,500.
3. Mounting Style
You have to consider the style of mounting that you would like your fifth wheel hitch to have. The rail system is what most hitches use. But it is possible to get other models which are ideal other than the setup for mounting, like the system that uses the under the bed.
If you get the under the bed system, you will have to attach the mounting hardware to the frame of your truck bed which is accessible to the holes which are drilled through the bed.
When you tow, you will need to connect the hitch to the brackets which are under the bed. If you are not using it, you will have to take the hitch out which will then ensure that the bed is free from obstacles.
You can mount it using the mounting system which is above the bed. This is where the bracket which is installed in the bed is used to attach the hitch. Even when you don’t require the hitch, you can leave the bracket in the bed.
If your preference is with the mounting option, the hitch manufacturer will be the one who will be able to determine the size and shape of the bracket and that is why they are not interchangeable.
There are other 5th wheel hitches which utilize brackets which are specialized to ensure that, a cleaner and more foolproof installation is done. You will have to find which style of mounting or setup will be able to offer you the best comfort as well as a great performance on the road.
Pick the mount which will be able to tightly lock so that you can avoid unwanted and unnecessary breakages.
If your trailer weighs over 25,000lbs, you will need to pick a hitch which has a single jaw design. This will be able to offer you with a hold that is more secure while at the same time, being able to deliver a performance which is excellent when dealing with loads that are heavy.
You are also at liberty to choose one which uses a mechanism of double jaws. If that is the case, then it will wrap on the kingpin which makes it a setup which is good as it will be able to minimize the movement and noise that the trailer makes while you are on the move. This type of jaw is not good for fifth wheel hitch if you will be using it on a trailer that will be extremely heavy.
5. Sliding Hitch
This is also an important factor to consider especially if you are looking for best fifth wheel hitch for the truck bed that is short that are around 6 feet or lesser when it comes to height.
When you have a sliding hitch, you will be able to lower the risk of the trailer bumping your vehicle when you are making sharp turns. It works also by sliding forward and backward in the bed of the truck, thereby offering a ride which is optimal in case you go straight while providing a turning angle which is optimal in case of maneuvering.
The sliding hitch comes with more parts and that is the reason why it is heavier and at the same time, several items to maintain. Most of the fifth wheel hitch in the market have slides which are manual.
What it means is that you will need to make manual adjustments from one time to the next. The adjustments will depend on the specific terrain or trail you are taking. You are at liberty to choose a model which automated resetting features. This is a great investment as it will be able to offer you the convenience of the highest order when on the road.
6. Ease Of Installation
How do you find the installation of your fifth wheel hitch? The factor regarding ease of installation contributes a lot to the final decision of whether you are going to purchase it or not.
If the truck and the trailer match, it is possible for the hitch to easily install. Ensure that, the model you settle for is easy to set up without the need for you to get external help.
You will also have to check the accessories and parts which form the installation kit. Make sure that all the things which you need are in the package so that you don’t have to go buying for individual parts. The hitch has to be convenient and easy to use. You should be able to disconnect and connect according to the specifications given.
7. Pivoting System
If you use a pivot system, you will be able to enjoy a high level of flexibility while riding on the road which should be in your hitch. A hitch which features 2 pivot systems enables the trailer to be able to move forward.
With it, you will be able to drag the trailer even if you are taking a straight or hilly patch. But it doesn’t offer an option of swiveling, meaning, you will have to be very cautious when you are on trails which are bumpy.
If you want to maximize your hitch’s flexibility then it has to use the 4 pivot system. When you have such a system the trailer will be able to experience a great experience while moving on its sides. This will be able to boost the confidence you will have while driving on terrains which are challenging such as ones which are mountainous if you are planning to enjoy a weekend while camping.
Slider Fifth Wheel Hitch
If you have a short bed truck, which is under 8 feet, you will need to consider getting a fifth wheel hitch. The axle on the rear of a short truck tends to be closer to the cab as compared to long truck beds.
Due to the fact that the hitch has been over the rear axle directly because of safety reasons while you are on the move, this means that the trailer on short beds is closer to the cab than it is on longer beds. If you use a fixed position 5th hitch on a bed of the truck which is short, chances are that it will cause the trailer edges to collide with the cab of the truck when you are making sharp turns.
Though nowadays most RV trailers have front caps which are rounded, this doesn’t give you the full turning radius possible. The solution to this could be a hitch that is sliding which could be able to allow the hitch to be able to temporarily slide to the rear of the truck, and in the process creating space for the trailer.
With sliders, you can be able to turn up to 90 degrees. Once you are done with the low-speed extreme maneuvering, the hitch can return to the back of the trailer to its safer and closer position for traveling.
The differences between the two sliding hitches, the automatic and manual includes:
1. Manual Sliding Hitch
◆ It is cheaper as compared to automatic hitches
◆ Most sliding hitches tend to be manual which means, you will have a wide selection to choose from
◆ They are less convenient due to the fact that you will need to stop, get out, pull the pins, be able to set the brakes, get back in the truck and drive to the hitch that slides. You will then get out again and secure the pins and ensure that the trailer brakes are released. When you want to negotiate a turn, you have to repeat the process.
◆ When using manual hitch, if you forget to slide it, then you might just end up in a very expensive mishap. It is very easy to forget due to the fact that, not all turns might require sliding and thus, not something you have to memorize that the next turn you have to set the hitch. It is also possible that you can be distracted which could ruin your day.
2. Auto Sliding Hitch
They could be the best fifth wheel hitches that slide. With them, comes the latest innovation which addresses the downfalls that come with the manuals slide hitches.
The pinion and rack gearing in the hitch will cause it to slide automatically when the need arises and in the process, return to the position over the axle once it is done with turning completely. You don’t have to do anything on your part.
◆ It is fast, convenient as you don’t have to stop driving or have to get out of your truck to set it. You will need to continue driving normally. When it is raining or cold, you will be able to stay in the truck dry and warm. This in the process, makes your life easier
◆ It will give you peace of mind and safety. No need to think about the next turn which could damage your trailer and truck. the hitch doesn’t forget to slide automatically.
◆ It is expensive as compared to the manual type
◆ You will have a smaller selection to choose from.
Fifth Wheel Hitch Installation
When you want to install a fifth wheel hitch on your truck, it can be very simple especially if you have the right tools. You will ensure that the capacity of the load that the trailer has does not go over the truckload capacity. You can give it a 20% leeway difference for the weight of the trailer to avoid the suspension being strained.
When you are placing the hitch you have to place it towards the back axle start. Depending on the hitch type, such as the sliding kingpin, it will vary based on the bed of the truck length. If you are installing on a short bed, then I would recommend you go for the sliding kingpins. The fifth wheel hitch is more used with trucks which have long beds.
1. Installing A Fifth Wheel Hitch Without A Bed Liner
Step 1: You will start by measuring the hitch. If your bed is long, then the measurements will be around 56 inches from the cab back. For a short truck bed, the measurement will be around 36 inches from the cab back. You will need to get closer to the center as possible. Ensure that you mark the spot due to the fact that, that is where you will place the bolt hole.
Step 2: You will have to do more measurements starting at the tailgate and measuring 28 5/16 inches to the center if your truck bed length is long. For a short truck bed, it should be 26 5/16. That is the place you will be able to place the bolt hole. The rear rail for your fifth wheel will be placed there.
Step 3: Depending on the year of manufacture of your truck, you may need to drill holes or not for your fifth wheel hitch. If the holes are not available, you will need to drill two holes one on each of the rail sides and put the bolts with nuts. Use proper tools to tighten them.
Step 4: You have to ensure that the bolts are lined up with the holes and install the bolts for the moment. The fifth wheel should be placed on top. install the front rail from underneath the fifth wheel. You will have to align the holes and install only the bolts.
Step 5: If you don’t have holes for the end bolts, you will have to drill them, then install and tighten. Once the fifth wheel hitch is in place, you can go ahead and install the nuts in the rear and front rear to secure the fifth wheel in place.
Step 6: For short bed truck, you will need to have an extension installed which will attach to the kingpin. This will give you at least 20 inches of space from the box of the pin that you have on the trailer to the kingpin of the truck.
The extension is normally locked when in use but when you park the truck, the rear portion unlocks while the front pin locks which will make it possible for you to get the swivel giving the truck cab more space to turn while the fifth wheel hitch is in place.
2. Installing A Fifth Wheel Hitch With A Bed Liner
If you want to install a fifth wheel hitch with a bed liner, unless it is a spray-on liner, you will have to remove it. You can have your present bed liner removed and opt for a spray on bed liner before installing your fifth hitch.
The reason why it is impossible to install with a bed liner on is that it will not let the bolts for the rail of the fifth wheel hitch to tighten up enough to be safe. When you have a spray on, the rail tolerance and the bed tends to be closer and thus, it will allow for the bolts to be able to tighten.
Choosing The Best Truck For 5th-Wheel Towing
Truck options are many and it depends from one individual to the next and thus, you will have to consider the following:
1. Do You Need A Short-Bed Or Long-Bed Truck For A 5th Wheel?
With a rise in super crew cabs, mega cabs, and quad cabs, most truck beds have reduced from the 8 feet standard size. But when you are purchasing a truck which you intend to use for towing a fifth wheel hitch, you will need to know the truck bed length as it will affect both the hitch cost and the way you will experience your towing once you are on the road.
a. Long Beds Of 8 Feet
Having an 8-foot bed which mostly is referred to as a long bed is the most ideal for towing a fifth wheel trailer. They need to remain in front of the rear axle of the truck meaning, you will seat close to the cab.
This is something which can cause clearance issues if you are using a shorter truck due to the fact that, the trailer will strike the cab when you do a sharp turn if you are not using the right towing equipment.
But with a truck bed of 8 foot, it will provide you with a lot of clearance to make those sharp turns with no pin boxes or special hitches needed.
Which Hitch Type To Use On A Long Bed Of 8 Feet?
You can purchase a fixed hitch which will allow you to tow. These type of hitches are cost-effective as compared to sliding hitches which you have to use on short beds. They are also convenient.
Once you have installed them, you will not have to worry about having to adjust the hitch when making turns or to achieve clearance with the cab. You can get it for the below the bed rails and above the bed rails installation.
▪︎ Most convenient when it comes to towing
▪︎ Best when it comes to clearance
▪︎ Reduced sway and best traction
▪︎ Cost effective setup
▪︎ Too large for day to day use
b. Short Beds Of Under 8 Feet
If you are interested in towing a fifth wheel but the bed of your truck is shorter than 8 inches but more than 6 inches, you need not despair as there is one for your type.
Though you might run into clearance issues due to the fact that you will be so close to the cab, there are hitches available which will give you the option to tow on such a short bed.
Which Hitch Type To Use On Short Bed Of Under 8 Feet?
While it is not best to use fixed hitches for such beds, the sliding hitches are designed for short beds. The sliding hitches will be able to provide a turning clearance which will be perfect by being able to slide back towards the tailgate of the truck when you make sharp turns and this will increase the distance between the trailer and the cab.
In the market, you will have two hitches to choose from, the manual and the sliding which I have discussed somewhere in this article. Read more about it and choose what you think will be more suitable for you.
▪︎ It includes large cab
▪︎Easy to maneuver and pack when not towing
▪︎Excellent for day to day use
▪︎ Less convenient for towing
▪︎ Reduced turning clearance
▪︎ Less cost effective setup
c. Shorter Beds Of Under 6 Feet
If your truck bed is under 6 feet, then even the sliding hitches might not work for you as they won't be able to provide the clearance when you are making sharp turns. Instead, you will need to use the sidewinder pin box replacement and revolution.
The pivot for these is located 22 inches behind the kingpin, which means they are close to the tailgate. This will create more space between the trailer and the truck cab when you are making sharp turns.
The sidewinder is pin box oriented meaning, you will need the model number of your current pin box model in order to find the replacement box which is correct for you.
If you are sure of your pin box model number, you will select it to see the options for sidewinder that are going to fit. in case you don’t know and you cannot locate it, you can do a manual measurement to find the right placement.
Which Hitch Type To Use On Shorter Bed Of Under 6 Feet?
It is recommended to use fixed hitches with the sidewinder and revolution pin boxes. To prevent the kingpin from having to rotate in your hitch, you will need a wedge.
In case you use a sliding hitch with a revolution or sidewinder, the hitch has to always be in the locked position. There are certain hitches which tend to be incompatible with revolution and sidewinder pin boxes.
▪︎ Excellent for day to day use
▪︎It comes with a cab
▪︎Easier to maneuver when not towing and lightweight
▪︎ Least convenient for towing
▪︎Highly reduced turning clearance
▪︎ Least traction
▪︎ Least cost-effective setup
2. Gas vs. Diesel: Which Is Best For Towing?
Gas is less costly as compared to diesel. On an upfront analysis, the gas engines cost less while fueling costs high upfront but less at the pump. When it comes to maintenance, it is low for the gas engines as compared to the diesel.
With time, the fuel economy which is superior to the diesel engine will save you a lot of money. The towing capacity of the diesel engine is high due to the large torque output. This makes the diesel to be the best option when it comes to hauling around large fifth wheel trailers. When it comes to durability, the diesel engines tend to be more durable and last longer as compared to gas engines.
3. Payload Capacity
When doing research, you might have come across categories of weights but it might not be clear which class of truck you will need to be able to tow your fifth wheel hitch.
If you are planning to tow a large trailer, then it is best to use a large vehicle which will be up to the challenge. You will have to go with at least ¾ ton truck or something better than that like 1 ton. If you tow with a truck which is smaller, or if you happen to have to tow a trailer that is close to the maximum weight capacity of your truck, you might require to have suspension enhancements which will help in ensuring that, the level of your vehicle is stabilized.
With the large vehicles, you will encounter less strain on the suspension and the components of the drive train as compared to small trucks. So if you have to tow a small fifth wheel with at least a ½ a ton truck, it will be impossible as long as the truck is rated at the capacity of sufficient weight for your trailer.
How Much You Can Tow
The best way to know if a particular truck will be able to tow your fifth wheel hitch is by checking the weight specification of the vehicle sticker on the driver’s side door. It will also show you the towing capacity of the vehicle.
You will have to subtract the gross combined weight rating, which is the maximum combined weight of the fully loaded trailer and weight of loaded truck; from gross vehicle weight which is a combination of the weight of fuel, your truck, cargo, and passenger. The difference between the GCWR and GVW is the amount which your truck can tow as a maximum load.
The GVWR, the gross vehicle weight rating, which is the maximum your vehicle load can be able to weigh, will be shown on the sticker rating which is near the GCWR. You can use the figure to get the estimate of how heavy your trailer will be able to tow.
4. Do You Need A Dually?
No. It is not a must that you have a dual rear wheel truck in order to tow your fifth wheel trailer. On the other hand. The single rear wheel tends to enjoy fuel efficiency and at the same time, will give you great visibility as compared to the dually trucks.
It tends to be more economical to replace four tires as compared to replacing six. Another thing you need to remember is that you will not always be using your truck to tow. And thus, why it might be important to choose a truck which will efficiently and safely tow the trailer you have, you have to look at the day to day comfort.
When it comes to maneuverability in tight parking, it is easier done with a single rear wheel than a dually. The benefit that comes with dually is that it will provide you with great stability when towing a fifth wheel which is larger such as a toy hauler.
A dually has a high capacity in terms of weight which is an important fact to consider when towing a fifth wheel, which is a large piece of accessory. It will cause less stress on the vehicle as compared to the single rear wheel.
In case of a blowout of a rear tire, there is built-in back up which you will utilize. The extra wheels will give you a ride which is steady which might be worth the trade off especially if you are planning to do a lot of towing.
Fifth Wheel Hitch Safety Tips
1. Avoid Rushing The Trip
If you are doing a lot of mileage you might be tempted to cover as much mileage as you can. You need to know that, when you travel about 200 miles in a day could be the ideal maximum to do to avoid fatigue and other things which might affect your trip negatively.
2. Avoid The Wind
When towing, the wind is one of the greatest negativity you can face. It can cause your gas to drop, thereby spending more money than you should have. When the wind is more than 30mph, should make you stop and wait for it to subside.
3. Check The Tires
Before you embark on the trip, inspect the tires for any inconsistencies and proper pressure to avoid trouble later on.
4. Plan In Advance
If you are traveling with something in tow, you will have to navigate the route in advance especially if there are constructions, detours, and overpasses that you will have to deal with.
5. Mirrors Are Very Important
When you are towing, mirrors will be very important and thus, should be big enough to see at the back as well as down to the tires.
6. Know Your Weight Limit
You should know the maximum which your vehicle will be able to tow. Every truck has its limit and if you go overboard, it might cause serious negative effects on your transmission.
7. Practice Maneuvering
Just the way you learn to drive before taking a license test, you have to practice with a large tow behind you.
8. Use Two-Way Radio When It Comes To Backing
When you use a two-way radio, it will be a great way to keep the communication line open without the need to have to yell without being heard.
9. Exhaust Pipe Routing
If you are pulling the hitch with a truck which runs on a diesel, the sight line will be reduced and thus, a lot of noise production. It will be best to reroute your exhaust pipes to the vehicle’s side.
10. Check Lug Bolts Regularly
It is important to always check your bolt lugs while on the move.
11. Avoid using overdrive
Most vehicles are equipped with overdrive. But if you are towing a fifth wheel hitch, the transmission will overheat if you use automatic overdrive as it will cause it to always be in a seek mode.
12. Load-Lightening And High Altitude
When you are going for high altitude, you have to remember that, the engines of gasoline will lose at least 4% power for every 1000 feet that they elevate. It will be good if you gear down in case the incline is steep. It might also be necessary to lighten up your load to do the grade.
13. Lighting Needs
If you are traveling out of state, you have to be aware of the local lighting regulations. They are normally different from one place to the next.
14. You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Starting Over
You should not be afraid to start over when trying to back or park with the fifth wheel hitch in tow. At times, a fresh start could make a great difference.
15. Know How Much Weight You Are Pulling
When towing larger, it means it will weigh more and will also have to consider anything else which is in your truck. when you have a heavy load, you will need to avoid jerk type movements.
16. Watch Your Tailgate
Before you hitch up to your fifth wheel, ensure that your tailgate is down. If you forget, it might cause you to have a crushed tailgate due to the fact that the fifth wheel will smash it down.
You may like this: Best Truck Tailgate Lock – Buyer Guide and Reviews
17. Turn Cautiously
You can find yourself in a tricky situation when turning with a fifth wheel hitch. And thus, you need to be careful when going around tight places.
1. Can You Install A 5th Wheel Hitch Yourself?
It will all depend on the type of rail kit and your expertise. In case you purchase a custom kit which is specific to your car, you will not need any assistance. But for universal kits, they tend to be a bit complicated especially if you are an amateur.
You will need to drill holes on the frame which might be easy but when it comes to welding the brackets, there will be a need for professionalism. If you don’t know how to install, then you will need to seek a professional to do it for you.
2. Are Safety Chains Required On Fifth Wheel Trailers?
No. connection for fifth wheel trailers doesn’t require safety chains. You will connect it to your truck the same way you the big rig connects to the trailer. This connection is considered to be secure enough not to require any safety chains. It is only items which connect to a ball which require safety chains.
3. Can You Tow A Fifth Wheel With A Gooseneck Hitch?
A gooseneck hitch is one which is designed for use in a pickup truck that is similar to a fifth wheel trailer. The difference is that you will have to use a ball and a coupler with the gooseneck instead of a pin receiver and kingpin.
If you have a gooseneck trailer hitch and you want to tow a fifth wheel, you can choose to use several types of adapters which might help you. The adapters mount to the trailer which in the process, will allow you to attach it directly to the ball of the gooseneck ball which is in your truck.
4. Is A Fifth Wheel Hitch Removable?
When the 5th wheel hitch is removed from the rails from the bed, the rails will be able to remain in the bed of the truck. Removing the rails on the bed over and over again will cause a lot of stress on the hardware for mounting and thus, making it be weak. That is why it is considered to be a one time use only.
5. Does A Fifth Wheel Hitch Increase Tow Capacity?
When you tow with a fifth wheel as opposed to a regular tag along, the bumper hitch will comprise of a lower capacity than the overall capacity for the truck. If your truck’s towing capacity is 10500lbs, then that will be the maximum capacity which the fifth wheel trail will be in a position to tow.
When it comes to making a decision to select the best fifth wheel hitch for truck bed that is short, there are several things which you will need to consider. It is easy to install and cheap to purchase considering its quality built and what you will use it for.
If you want to have an easier time traveling with a recreational vehicle which is heavy, you will need to invest in the best fifth wheel hitch. While they are sold at various prices, there are those which are fairly inexpensive if you think in terms of major functions which they will be able to fulfill. Ensure that, you take time examining all your choices and determine the one that is going fit your requirements.
What I consider to be my pick is the Pulliam Enterprises Superlight Fifth wheel hitch 2900 because of the great features which it exhibits including having no crashes, secure and safe for use, it is very strong, has a powerful grip and it is well built. Among the 8 I have reviewed, you can choose what best works for you, if not, visit Amazon for more reviews.
You May Like This: Best Gooseneck Hitch – Buying Guide & Reviews