What size truck for a fifth Wheel

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New member
Apr 29, 2005
Hi All,
Many thanks for you responses so far in other parts of the forum.  A question - Should I get a long or short box (truck) for pulling a fifth wheel.  I seem to be getting conflicting information.  Some say that you need a long box so that when you turn you have clearance so that the fifth wheel won't hit the cab.  Others are saying that you go with a short box, the clearance wont be an issue!

Is there an easy way to get an answer as to what we need?

Many Thanks
Usually a short box requires a sliding 5th wheel hitch to gain the clearance needed so the front cap of the 5er does not come in contact with the cab of the truck. 

A long bed truck (8ft bed) has the clearance needed so there is no need for a sliding type hitch.

Some people will tell you you don't need a sliding hitch with a short bed because you seldom use it.  But when you need to make that sharp turn, and it will happen, you'll be wishing you had either bought the sliding hitch or the long bed truck.

If you want the short bed you'll need to buy a sliding hitch.  If you buy a long bed you will save some money on a regular hitch.


Many thanks for your response.  A final question, a sliding hitch, does it cost more than the difference between a long bed trailer vs a short bed?

Many Thanks

A factor in making your choice regardless of cost is how you will use the vehicle when not towing.  If you want one of the extended cabs with full back seats and 4 doors it may be preferable to get the short box and a sliding hitch.  If you get the long box with that setup, you will find that parking in Wal Mart and other lots a bit of a hassle.  Some fivers come with an extended hitch box that negates the need for a slider.
One factor is the design of the king pin on the trailer.  Some extend a fair way out in front, some are directly underneath the front and the rest are in between.  Also, extensions are available for some models of trailers.  The further out the king pin is mounted, the less potential problem with a short bed truck.  I've had both, without a sliding hitch, and no problem either way.  In my opinion, few people will ever want to back so sharply that a short bed will be a problem with the typical king pin position.

Please note that this issue occurs only when backing up. You cannot turn sharply enough moving forward to cause a problem except possibly on trailers that have the king pin mounted underneath the front overhang.

A long bed should not cost any more than asliding hitch, but it adds 18 inches to the overall truck length.  And extended cab or crew cab long bed truck is a lonnng beast, usually in the range of 20.5-21.5 feet overall.
As mentioned, there is also the quetion of how you are planning to use your truck.  Mine serves double duty as a trailer hauler, and as a general utility vehicle.  We bought a short-box this time, and I find a short-box truck virtually useless for moving, hauling items, picking up boards, or whatever.  Those extra two feet in a long-box truck, to me, are worth the hassle of the longer vehicle.  I don't drive my pickup around town that much.  I have another vehicle for that.  I won't buy another short-box truck

So, consider how you will be using your vehicle.

Short box extended cab trucks seem to be more popular, however, so may be easier to find, and possibly easier to sell again later.

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