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h20cop

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Dec 29, 2006
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Hello from northern California.  Been an RVer for some time with bumper pull trailers, just bought a one year old 30 foot fifth wheel. Checking the fifth wheel hitches for a short bed 350 ford super.  Comes with a standard hitch.  Been warned about short beds having problems backing.  Lot of brands out there.
 

kbfeip

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Discovery Bay, CA
Welcome!

I'm a new convert.  Been a motorhome owner for some 15 years or so, and just switched to a bumper pull trailer.

What did you notice in handling going from bumper to 5th wheel?
 

Jim Dick

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h20cop said:
Hello from northern California.  Been an RVer for some time with bumper pull trailers, just bought a one year old 30 foot fifth wheel. Checking the fifth wheel hitches for a short bed 350 ford super.  Comes with a standard hitch.  Been warned about short beds having problems backing.  Lot of brands out there.

Welcome to the forum. Be sure to ask any questions you may have.

From what I understand backing a 5th wheel is considerably different than a travel trailer but not impossible. The problem with a short bed is the front of the 5er can hit the rear of the cab in certain very tight turns when backing  into a spot. There are several sliding hitches available to alleviate this problem. Some 5ers have a longer pin box that might give enough space on certain vehicles. One I have seen a lot is a Reese that has a travel postion and a maneuvering position. The hitch is slid into whichever you need at the time. The maneuvering position places the pin further back in the pickup bed to increase the distance between the 5er overhang and the back of the cab. There is also one that is totally automatic. Works pretty slick.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Been warned about short beds having problems backing.

While it is true that short bed trucks may have problems backing with some trailers, it is by no means a foregone conclusion and the problem is vastly overstated in my opinion. Having said that, If I were buying a truck specifically to tow a fiver I would most likely choose a long bed unless there was a driving need to stay with a shorter model. The longer bed is useful for carrying the inevitable extra gear and the longer wheelbase contributes to stability on the road as well.

The Pullrite Super-Glide auto-slider is the Cadillac of hitches targetted at short bed trucks, but any of the major brands will work fine if you want a sliding hitch.
 

Jim Dick

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Gary,

>> it is by no means a foregone conclusion<<

True.

>>the problem is vastly overstated in my opinion<<

The owner of the brand new pickup that one of our techs backed up wouldn't agree after he saw his rear window destroyed in 15 seconds!! :)
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The owner of the brand new pickup that one of our techs backed up wouldn't agree after he saw his rear window destroyed in 15 seconds!!

Yeah, but was the problem with the truck or with the tech?  ::)

Seriously, the "problem" is only a problem if you are unaware of it and inattentive to it if you in fact have it. Some trailers won't hit at all and many will hit only in the most extreme turns. Those require some awareness but seldom any concern.  And of course, some will hit quite readily too. Those are the ones you really have to be careful about and a sliding hitch is clearly justified for them.
 

Jim Dick

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Gary,

I'd say it was both. :) The tech wasn't paying attention or forgot it was a short bed. I agree if one is constantly aware of the situation it can be avoided but I have seen many situations where the truck is jacknifed when trying to park in a spot. Additional maneuvering isn't always possible. Again, attention to detail can avoid many problems but, with all that can go on in a campground, one sometimes forgets the details. Here at TGO backing into a site can be distracting with all the traffic that is trying to get through just when you want to park. ;D I don't know the difference in price between a sliding hitch and a stationary one but I wouldn't expect it to be so high that it wouldn't be worth the initial investment.

I think a VERY important detail is the co-pilot must get out and help direct the driver into the space. I've seen too many where they sit in the cab and the driver can't see anything once they make the initial swing. That will keep a lot of folks out of trouble. Last year one guy came in fairly late. I don't know if he had any help but I doubt it. He managed to park right on his flower bed!!!! ;D Left it till the next morning.
 

Ron

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Welcome to the RV Forum and congratulations on the 5ver. I am sure that after pulling the 5ver a few time you will wonder what ever took you so long to get one.  If I were to get a trailer the ONLY type we would consider is a fithwheel.  Having pulled many draw trailers and then the goose neck stock trailer we had. IMHO the draw trailers are a nightmare to pull compared to a fithwheel. Please look around the forum,  join in on any of the on going discussions, start new discussions, or ask questions. Thanks for joining us.
 

Lowell

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Ron said:
IMHO the draw trailers are a nightmare to pull compared to a fithwheel.

That statement is a little extreme!  I don't see all that much difference. There are pluses and minus to each.  It's just a matter of personal preference.
Lowell
 

h20cop

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Dec 29, 2006
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Thanks everyone for the advice.  I just shopped around and the auto Super Glide is expensive, but knowing me I should go that route.  Anyone ever hear of or use the Sidewinder and 5th Airborne?  Apparently it is an extender.  One tech told me that it may cause cracks in the frame.  By extending it puts a lot of leverage on the frame.  The 5th Airborne is a premium air-ride coupler and the Sidewinder is matched with it to be used by short bed trucks.  It was advertised in the January Trailer Life.
 

Ron

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As I mentioned it is IMHO.  Personally I do not see any advantages of a draw trailer over a 5th or gooseneck trailer.  Having pulled both I always felt much safer pulling the gooseneck.  But again everybody have their own preferences.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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What trailer do you have - or are you still shopping?  If the trailer already has an extended pin box (many do), you may not need anything. You also need to estimate where the hitch will be in the truck bed and measure the distance to the back of the cab. Usually the hitch pin is located about 6 inches forward of the rear axle, but on a short bed you can 'cheat" a bit and set it a couple inches further back to get some additional clearance. This has a small negative effect on maneuverability (you have to turn the steering a bit more to get a backing turn started) but may be worth it.  You can estimate the potential for hitting the cab by measuring from the trailer's pin to the front corner of the trailer and comparing that to the distance from the hitch point to the corner of the cab. But if you don't want to do the research, you can always fix it with money (i.e. buy the sliding hitch).  Manual release sliding hitches are less expensive than the Super Glide, but you have to get out and pull the release lever, either every time you back up (to be fail safe) or only when needed (back to the awareness issue again).

But I towed a Wilderness fifth wheel around for three years using two different short bed trucks (a GMC Sonoma and a Dakota) and never once came close to a cab strike.  We went to all sorts of forest service campgrounds and places where we did a lot of maneuvering to get on the site. And that's back when I was new to fifth wheels too. It is not a given that you will have a problem with a short bed truck.
 
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