F-150 and bed rail clearance with 5th wheel

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GatorMac

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Jan 13, 2006
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I own a 2005 F-150 and am concerned with the height of the bedrails. I have heard of problems the higher rails on the new Fords. Mine measure about 21 and 1/2" high. Is there anyone out there who have outfit the newer F-150's with a fifth wheel? And if so, What equipment did you use?

Secondly, Is the use of a King Pin extender out of the question? Is it dangerous or may it cause damage with a 6000# trailer?

Thanks in advance
 

PancakeBill

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You just need to work with the installer for any clearance issues.  New Ford trucks are pulling fifth wheels everywhere, if there is an issue, there is an easy solution.  In our selling we are cautioned about many fitment issues, things like short beds etc, but this has never been mentioned to me. 

What configuration F150 do you have?
 

Jim Dick

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Hi GatorMac,

Most 5th wheels have adustable pin boxes. You should have around 6-7" of clearance for peace of mind. Sometimes you can get away with less but you're taking a chance of hitting the rails on rough roads, especially in campgrounds. The axles are also adustable in case the front is higher than the rear once the pin box has been moved. Sometimes it's a matter of turning them over.
 

GatorMac

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I will be towing with an '05 F150, 139" wheelbase, 3.73 gear with 18" wheels, 1606# payload incl. passengers and 9000# towing capacity. I am interested in some of the air-ride hitches that I have looked at. For the most part they appear adjustable in height, up to 20" high. I also like the 12k SuperGlide from PullRite but it is only 16" high and is not adjustable. In either case, I will probably use a pin extender which would add 3 and 1/2" in height (would need for the PullRite) and 10" in length (which would benefit the air-ride hitch).
Any suggestions?
 

Jim Dick

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GatorMac,

Hopefully others that are more familiar with 5th wheels will jump in. I have limited knowledge of what can be done as I work part time at an RV dealership in the summer. I have seen them adjust the pin box and/or the hitch to get the clearance. They have also, on occasion, adjusted the axles on the trailer. Sometimes we get lucky and they know ahead of time what truck the customer will be using and can have the majority done ahead of time.

I will see if I can't find out more from the guys in the back room. :)
 

roberts87111

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Jan 16, 2006
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Our dealership has sold several 5th wheels to people with a new F-150; it?s not a huge problem because most fifth wheels will have an adjustable pin box, and most hitches can also be adjusted. That being said the problem that sometimes occurs is this. By raising the hitch or lowering the pin box you create an angle between truck and trailer that might not be level, some time of raise may have to be done to the trailer, most commonly an axle swap, but I have seen bigger tires do the trick as well.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Hi Jim:

>> Sometimes it's a matter of turning them over . . .
====
When I bought my 5th wheel, this became an issue. My pick up was a mid 90's GMC short bed. There were two reasons I didn't want the axles flipped. The first was that it makes the whole rig look dumb. But more importantly, it raises the center of gravity -- increasing the overturning force.

In fact, I had written in the contract, "If the axles had to be flipped to make the rig level fore and aft with the truck, the deal was off". They were OK with that and fortunately, it was not an issue as the it was perfectly level after the install.
 

Okotoks Camper

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I pull a fifth wheel with a 2003 dodge 4X4. Some thoughts about clearance, etc.

There are two important factors to keep in mind.
  • You want the trailer to be as close to level as possible.
  • As Jim said, you want about 6-7" clearance between the truck bed & the fiver.

I've had my axles flipped and I've had the trailer raised/truck lowered. If the trailer is really low to the ground, axle flipping will give you about four inches more height. However, with my latest fiver (a Titanium), it's already very high off the ground, so I didn't want to raise it more (My wife already can have difficulties in non level ground with her arthritis). In that case we actually had a piece of tubing welded to the trailer frame & hung the axles from that (I went to an spring & axle specialty shop for that). It works like a darn. I don't know about the Ford but the Dodge has very little ability to be raised or lowered unless you feel like parting with $2500 bucks or so.

John B.
 

Okotoks Camper

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It seems to me that the tubing was about $250-350 CDN. I also had the truck lowered one inch and that was about $225. If I had the truck piece done by Dodge Dealer, would have been $1800 for parts & $700 for labour.

Cheers,
John B.
 

Jim Dick

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Bob Buchanan said:
Hi Jim:

>> Sometimes it's a matter of turning them over . . .
====
When I bought my 5th wheel, this became an issue. My pick up was a mid 90's GMC short bed. There were two reasons I didn't want the axles flipped. The first was that it makes the whole rig look dumb. But more importantly, it raises the center of gravity -- increasing the overturning force.

In fact, I had written in the contract, "If the axles had to be flipped to make the rig level fore and aft with the truck, the deal was off". They were OK with that and fortunately, it was not an issue as the it was perfectly level after the install.

I agree with what you say about flipping the axles. Sometimes they just don't look right and the center of gravity is higher. However if one wants a particular rig then that option is there if needed.
 

Jim Dick

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GatorMac said:
I own a 2005 F-150 and am concerned with the height of the bedrails. I have heard of problems the higher rails on the new Fords. Mine measure about 21 and 1/2" high. Is there anyone out there who have outfit the newer F-150's with a fifth wheel? And if so, What equipment did you use?

Secondly, Is the use of a King Pin extender out of the question? Is it dangerous or may it cause damage with a 6000# trailer?

Thanks in advance

Hi GatorMac,

Sorry for the delay but I finally received and answer on your truck from our shop. Hope this helps.

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Bed rail clearance should be no problem. But is the ford a true 1/2 ton pick up? We found that ford Lightings are only 5,000 lbs  and most sport trucks like the Dodge Hemi truck are on car tires.
So when I see his truck has 18" wheels his tires more than likely have 44 psi in them . So I don't think he can haul a 5th with that truck anyway.
We've had problems with this loading Lances. Check with FORD first!!!!!!
 
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