F-250 5th wheel hitch install, take 2 - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums



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F-250 5th wheel hitch install, take 2

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:02 AM
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F-250 5th wheel hitch install, take 2

Hi All,
See if this thread works better then my last....

Just finished installing a used 5th wheel hitch in my F-250. After purchasing a Reese #30051 Slider and top rails from a 3rd party, I then needed the frame brackets to complete the job, knowing the original L-brackets from the original installation were welded onto the other guys frame.

Even though I have a long bed and a slider wasn't necessary, the price was worth the purchase.

First I must give a major shout out to Bill Pounds for taking numerous pictures of his hitch set up last night after 9 pm when we needed some info to go forward. Unbelievable!!! Thanks Bill.

Now, after not finding the standard L-brackets for this installation available separately #30035 and not needing another set of top rails, I found the "quik install mounting brackets" available from Reese, #50082.

As you can see below in the pictures, these brackets are 3/8" thick and pretty beefy for what I expect to be a +15k gvw toy hauler. These brackets allow for 3 of the 4 top rails to be directly connected to the truck frame. The last row (furthest forward) are only mounted into the bed. The L-bracket type only allow for 2 of the 4 to be directly frame connected, hence a little more confidence.

It only took about 4 hours to complete this installation, not needing to drill and holes into the truck frame for mounting. No need to remove the emergency brake bracket either as necessary with other installations.

Hope this helps others when making these choices.




Basic side view. No welding or drilling req.


You can see the beefy 3/8" frame brackets to allow the top rails a solid connection to the frame


The furthest most top rail row of bolts are only secured to the bed with the extra large washers


You can see the u-bolt that secures around the front of the bracket to the truck frame. Notice the way the bracket is cut to avoid moving the brake cable bracket


The center 2 bolts on the top rails only mount into the bed, again with larger washers.


Here you can see the driver side front. Half of the front top rail bolts mount directly to the frame bracket. The front row of bolts, mounts into the truck bed.


Top rails securely mounted with the hitch pins in place.


Finally completed. Time to head out of town!!!

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:03 AM
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Very good lookin'. Hope youre gonna have some fun!
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:52 AM
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Nice write up Bob
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:46 AM
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Reese does a nice job on their stuff. And that looks like a very beefy bracket.

Looks good!

Did you get a manual for the hitch? Want one?
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:49 AM
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Bill,
I didn't get a manual with it. You have an extra? That would be great.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r2millers View Post
Bill,
I didn't get a manual with it. You have an extra? That would be great.
I have them in PDF format. If you PM me your email address I will send them.

Regarding the slider - you can leave it as a slider base if you want, or you can change the base kit to a standard base. Etrailer sells the kit:
Replacement Base Legs for Reese 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch - 16K, 18K & 20K Reese Accessories and Parts RP30727
Combine it with something like an electrical plug for inside your bed, and you'll get free shipping.

Why would you want to do that?

The slider base adds some weight, and if you take the hitch in and out of your bed frequently, you might appreciate that. Also, the slider might be a little looser than the standard base, which can add some chucking to the ride quality.

But you might want to keep it too. Many trailers now days are designed so that you cannot leave your tailgate down while backing into the hitch pin. The gate will hit the trailer if you try it. Mine is like that, and it is a PITA. I guess they figure you will use a Vee tailgate which is what I ended up doing. But with the slider, you can choose to slide the hitch to the rear for hitchup, and the tailgate will clear.
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:47 AM
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Bill,
I like the idea of having the extra clearance, allowing the tailgate down when hooking up or disconnecting. If I keep that way, is it possible to use the existing tailgate rather than converting to the typical, shorter, v-notched tailgate? If going up/down driveways where the trailer is below the truck, will the top of the traditional tailgate hit on the fifth wheel, hence the need to change out the tailgate type?
I'll send you a e-mail to reply to.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:05 PM
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That's two issues, so let me break them down.

Using my trailer as an example, to hitch up I have to:
1. Lower my tailgate. If I don't, it would hit the pin. (using the stock TG as an example) This is a fact with all fiver trailers.
2. Back up so that the rear of the pin box is inside the tailgate, but not so far that the tailgate will hit the front of the trailer body.
3. Get out and close the tailgate.
4. Get back in and back up farther to seat the pin.
5. Do it all in the reverse order to unhitch.

The Vee gate is not shorter, it just has the center cut out so that the pin and pinbox will pass through it. So there is never any reason to need to open it. Some guys just don't use a tailgate at all.

With your slider, you might be able to do the whole thing with the stock tailgate down. What I don't know is if your tailgate can close with the slider back. It is possible that the gate would hit the rear of the pinbox. And if your new trailer has a long enough overhang, it is all a moot point.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r2millers View Post
If going up/down driveways where the trailer is below the truck, will the top of the traditional tailgate hit on the fifth wheel,...
This is an issue to be aware of. Not just the tailgate, but the bed rails of the truck can hit the bottom of the overhang. The rule of thumb is you need at least 6" of clearance from the bed rails to the bottom of the overhang, and if you ever drive dirt roads you want even more. 7" - 8" is good. You acheive that by adjusting the fifthwheel hitch up, and/or the pinbox down. But you also want the trailer to ride close to level, so sometimes it is necessary to lift the suspension on the trailer. Most newer trailers will fit newer trucks. It is the older trailers that often are too low because trucks used to be lower than they are today.

This picture shows the clearance I have on mine, and also shows how the typical pinbox is located in the bed. They miter off the rear, but it can still hit a tailgate.
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:41 PM
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Got it. Thanks for the insight. I'll update once we have our trailer. We put in a counter offer today so it might be soon. Maybe never if he hesitates too much.
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Old 05-25-2011, 01:56 PM
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:27 AM
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New toy trailer

Well All,
We bit the big one and worked a deal on this 2006 toy trailer y/day.

Bill, to your point, we only have about 5" between the truck rail and trailer as seen below. I will have to raise the hitch up a notch to get at least the 6" necessary. The pin box is already down as low as possible.

In hooking this unit up y/day with the slider hitch out, I was able to keep the tailgate down while hooking up the pin. Once completed, closing the tailgate and moving the slider up to towing position was a breeze. I will keep the slider rather than changing out the base as this was a nice way to hook up.
Thanks for the advise Bill.

See the "new guy" below. I like the 32' length as it's not too long, yet with triples, allows for added safety. It's an all aluminum frame with only 9900 UVW (unloaded veh wt). I does have a 15,500 GVWR with approx 5,600# in available load capacity, although I can't imagine ever using all of that. I does require a non-commercial A license here in Cal. being over 15k, but we've already got that.

The truck GCWR is 23,000 and it weighs approx 8,800 so with the max wt of 15,500 trailer, I have an available -1,300 to haul. What it really means is that I need to haul less than 14,200 max including trailer and truck. No way I'll pull 4,300#'s in added weight when hauling just motorcycles.







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Old 05-26-2011, 11:49 AM
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That looks really nice, Bob. Congratulations on the new rig.

You definitely, IMO, need to increase the bed to overhang clearance. You said the pinbox was all the way down, but what about the hitch? In the pictures from yesterday I saw the hitch was all the way down. Did you already raise it up? If not, you can just do that.

It looks like the trailer is nose down a bit, so that is good news. It means you can raise the nose by raising the hitch head, and get the overhang clearance you need. Although it is hard for us to see from pictures sometimes, because they can distort what looks level. It's always better to have the trailer between level to nose high, but nose down is not a good idea.

Your truck looks surprisingly level too. I'm surprised how good it looks. But then, you ain't loaded up yet.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:07 PM
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Bill,
I will raise the hitch one notch this morning to see how it sits then. It is close to level, unloaded as the truck bed only dropped about an inch after being hooked up.
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:01 AM
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Well I went up 2 notches to the highest position on the hitch. It now sits at 7 " between the truck bed walls and the trailer and I feel better about it not possibly hitting.
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