towing 5th wheel with short bed

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Mary

New member
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Posts
4
Hi, We are to pick up our used Coachman 29.4RKS Somerset 5w next weekend. After reading some of the postings here I am a little concerned about having a short bed to pull this 5w. Your input would be greatly appreciated.  We have a 2005 F350 Diesel CC short bed Lariat 4x4 FX (what ever that means). I have not paid for this 5th Wheel but have appointment to pick it up this coming weekend. We have decided since the dealer is 75 miles from our home to have them deliver it and we will get the hitch put on locally.

I am concerned with the short bed and I have no clue what hitch to get. I am a fast learner and have already figured out the dealer would tell me and sell me anything. I don't want to get a 5w that I can not tow safe. And I sure don't want to do all my camping beside my house, if you know what I mean.

Thanks and have a great day!
 

Bill_Frisbee

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 2, 2005
Posts
49
Location
Guelph, Ontario
Many of us tow with short bed pick-ups. I have a terrific slider hitch (PullRite Super Glide) that automatically provides increased clearance between the front of the RV and the cab of the pick-up when turning. It is a very popular choice and works very well ... but it is about twice as expensive as a regular hitch. It also requires installation of the hitch in the truck AND modification of the king pin on the RV as well. If you decide to look at a PullRite, you also should strongly consider purchasing an adapter plate from PullRite (about $160.00) that allows your RV to be towed by a "normal hitch" in an emergency situation.

Others invest less and purchase very good quality hitches that have manual sliders (you have to slide the hitch back yourself).
 
The whole decision rests on the amount of clearance between the cab of your truck and the front cap of the RV in a tight turn. According to the PullRite people, different short bed trucks have different distances from the rear of the cab to the center of the rear axle (where the hitch is usually mounted) GMs apparently have the greatest distance, Fords slightly less, and Dodges the least. The clearance also depends on how far the king pin extends in front of the cap on your RV. In my experience, king pins extend farther in front of the RV cap (thus providing more turning clearance) on smaller RVs than on larger, heavier models.

 
In short, all truck/RV combinations are different. I would definitely ask your dealer (the service manager, NOT the sales person) about the issue of clearance with your specific truck and RV combination and get his/her recommendation as to the best hitch to install that is consistent with your budget.

Bill
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,525
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Bill_Frisbee gives excellent advice.  I would not worry excessively about using a short bed truck - I've owned a couple and pulled fifth wheels all over the USA and without using a sliding hitch either.  The possibility of hitting the truck cab while backing up is real but not a foregone conclusion, so don't panic.  If your trailer has what is known as an "extended pin box" (the king pin is mounted on a bracket that protrudes from the front if the trailer, it is unlikely you would bump the cab in any but the most extreme turn (near 90 degrees). 

The Pullrute SuperGlide is an excellent hitch but it is very expensive and has the drawback that Bill described.  I would probably purchase a manual sliding hitch, just in case I ever needed that feature, but would not pay the extra price for the Superglide.  RBW, Reese, Drawtite and others all make decent sliding hitches. The manual release is no big deal, as long as you remember to use it when & if needed.  Just be careful until you learn just how sharply you can turn while backing up.

Let me repeat that there is no issue when traveling forward, so nothing to worry about there.
 
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