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How to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck?

Whether or not you have just purchased a pickup truck, you may be familiar with the term 5th wheel hitch. You aren't clueless about how to attach a heavy-duty hitch to a short-bed vehicle, nor do you lack the expertise necessary to understand how they work and how they're attached.

It's not a big deal because it has such a negligible impact on our day-to-day lives. However, when it comes to conducting a job, such as hot shot trucking or integrating your fifth wheel into daily use, the size of your truck matters.

If you are a frequent traveler or a professional transporter looking for knowledge on how to install and operate 5th wheel hitches, this page will be valuable to you. How would you install a 5th wheel onto your short bed truck? What is the advantage of the short bed compared to the other trucks? This article is for you if you are seeking answers to these questions as it contains the necessary information you want. 

 

Can you install a fifth wheel hitch yourself?

Note that you may be able to find the information in the owner's handbook; however, if this is not the case, you should get in touch with the information center of the manufacturer to verify the specifics concerning hitching.

When you are putting a fifth wheel hitch on your short bed vehicles, you need to make sure that the back frame is lined with a spray-on liner first. This is the second important consideration you need to keep in mind. It's possible that 5th wheel hitches won't cling firmly to plastic surfaces. After ensuring this, you are now able to purchase the 5th wheel hitches kit and the rails kit that will link to the body of your short bed truck. Both of these kits may be found on the website.

If at all possible, you should try to buy a fifth-wheel hitch system that is custom-made for your tow vehicle and the amount of weight you plan to haul most of the time. Before exploring the steps to installation, visit TULGA Fifth Wheel website and blog to discover the best quality products that fit into your purpose.

When it comes to linking two huge vehicles, a specialized 5th wheel hitch system will save you a lot of worry and make the process much easier. If you choose for a universal hitch kit, you can prepare to conduct some drilling and welding on your short bed trucks. Because the frame of the short bed trucks may not feature the necessary holes or attaching grooves for your fifth wheel hitch system, the screws will need to be welded to the truck frame in order to provide a secure fit. This will be done so that the screws may be removed easily. You may fasten the equipment to the short bed vehicles by using a customized fifth wheel hitch kit. This kit will include all of the necessary holes in the appropriate places as well as coverings to prevent dust from getting in.

In order to successfully install a fifth wheel hitch with base rails and under bed brackets on your short bed trucks, you will need access to the underneath of the bed. Remove the spare tire if you need more room in the garage. Depending on where you are in the procedure, you might find that you need to remove a heat shield or one of the other components. Be sure to give the instructions that come with your 5th wheel hitch system your complete attention. Last but not least, make sure that you are aware that you own all of the equipment that is required to install the fifth wheel hitch on your short bed trucks.

Which tools do I require for installation?

Well, to begin with, what would you require to conduct the installation process? The following are examples of typical tools needed to install fifth wheel hitches:

Measuring Tap, ratchet Socket set, wrench, crescent, bits for drills, Jack(s)/Lift requiring a torque wrench

Get in touch with a local vehicle retailer to find out whether they offer equipment and tool rental services as an alternative to purchasing new gear for the hitch installation.

Can you put a fifth wheel hitch in a short bed truck?: Exploring the basic steps

In a nutshell, the steps involved in installing a fifth wheel hitch are as follows: removing the spare tire, determining the location of the boltholes that need to be drilled, drilling the truck bed, constructing the fifth wheel hitch, determining the height of the fifth wheel trailer, putting in the pin box and bolting it, and torquing the hardware.

 

- Install the base rail that is closest to the truck cab, taking care to maintain the correct distance from the leading edge of the truck bed. Depending on whether the pickup truck has a long bed or a short bed, the amount of room that is available in between the seats will vary.Please refer to the instructions that come with the hitch for any precise dimensions. It is also necessary to ensure that the base rail kit of the fifth wheel is centered in between the wheel wells.

 

-Mark the central location in the truck's rear frame where the side rails will be joined and the king pin center will be after installing the fifth wheel hitch plates. By marking exactly where to drill, the center-punch will help prevent the drill bit from wandering. Drill a pilot hole through the end drill positions. Then, place the appropriate under-bed 5th wheel hitch bracket in the pilot hole you just drilled. You can then drill or mark the locations of the remaining bolt holes if the hitch bracket lines up properly with the hole.

 

-Drill the pilot holes through the drill locations until they are large enough to accept the 5th wheel rail bolts. Always drill gently and completely. After drilling the 5th wheel rail bolts holes to the correct size, we suggest touch-up paint to prevent any metal components edges. This will help to keep rust at bay. After that, take the base rail out of the way, mark the drill positions, and drill them from above the truck bed. Place the under bed brackets on either side of the vehicle bed. These are often installed through the aperture in the wheel well. Use the included nuts and bolts to secure the appropriate under bed brackets to the truck's frame. Secure the second bracket on the opposite side of the truck. Then place the base rail over the correct placement of the bolt hole on the truck beds. If the truck has bottom bed rails, spacers should be added.

 

-Place these under the fifth wheel rails and between the truck bed rails to give a consistent metal-to-metal connection. Once the rail is in the right place, insert the bolts into the rail holes and secure them with nuts beneath the truck bed. The top and bottom 5th wheel rails must be necessarily positioned over each other. Also make sure that the rails on each side are securely fastened to each other with screws through the frame's base. Plus, your fifth wheel hitch must be set at the right height to accommodate your vehicle bed. The height difference between your truck bed walls and the trailer must be at least 5-1/2 inches.


NOTE: How do you figure out the hitch height? First, ensure that your fifth wheel trailer is on a level surface. Then measure from the floor to the underside of the king pin plate (x). Next, measure the distance from the bottom to the top of your truck's open tailgate (y). The required height for your fifth wheel hitch is equal to x minus y.

 

- After measuring the hitch height, locate the necessary mounting holes on the 5th wheel hitch head. The majority of fifth wheel hitches feature a vertical fit. Use the provided fasteners to secure the legs to the head. To access the leg bolt holes on some fifth wheels, you may need to remove the head plate. It may even be advantageous to insert the legs by flipping the head upside-down. We required a 5th wheel slider hitch for our short bed tow trucks.

 

- Once you've fitted the fifth wheel hitch, you can easily locate the placement for the second base rail or rear rail. Allow a helping hand to aid you in inserting the legs of the 5th wheel hitch into the base rail you previously built. Then, position the rear rail. Before marking the drill sites, keep in mind that the second foundation rail of the fifth wheel hitch should be aligned in the truck bed, between both wheel wells. Then, using a paint pen, trace the drill sites. Then move the rail out of the way, center-punch, drill pilot holes, and follow the initial rail installation steps we outlined before.

 

-Finally, put the additional bolts and nuts under the truck bed. After the base rails have been placed with all necessary hardware, it's time to thoroughly torque the bolts. The torque values for each bolt size are provided in the installation handbook that comes with your hitch.

Return the 5th wheel hitch system to its original location, hidden between the completely installed base rails. If you haven't previously, retighten the hitch components. Check that all required pins or other elements are in place before connecting the hitch to the towing vehicle. The total process of fifth wheel hitch installation could take 4 to 6 hours, depending on the installer's competence and expertise. You're ready to begin the voyage if you've completed all of the prior processes. 

Previous article The Best 5th Wheel Hitch for Heavy-Duty Towing
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