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Sliding 5th Wheel Hitch or Sidewinder Pin Box on 5th Wheel Pulled by 2011 Ford F250 Short Bed


I have a 2001 Ford F250 Crew Cab short bed 6.75ft that needs a 5th wheel hitch. I think Im going to need a slider hitch. Does this mean that every time I make a sharp turn I have to exit the cab, flip a lever, then flip it back again? I presume I dont need to this on every corner. Are there other options? Are the hitches mounted directly over the rear axle or slightly behind it on a shortbed? Thanks.


Expert Reply:

You're correct about the slider. We recommend using a sliding hitch on truck beds greater than 6 foot but less than 8 foot long. The hitch would be slid rearward for low speed maneuvering, such as backing in to a tricky to access campsite or making very tight turns. At higher speeds, you'll move the hitch forward so the pin weight is concentrated at or slightly in front of the rear axle. Having the king pin sitting so its centered behind the truck axle can be dangerous.

A couple of thousand pounds bearing down on the rear of the truck can lighten the front end of the truck to the point where braking and steering response is compromised.

Another more convenient option would be to install a Sidewinder replacement pin box on your 5th wheel. Rather than gaining you the 10-12 inches of clearance a slider would, a Sidewinder offers 22 inches. A Sidewinder changes the point where the 5th wheel and the hitch pivot from the jaws of the hitch on the king pin to the point where the pin box attaches to the 5th wheel. You won't need to get out of the cab and throw any levers to move the hitch back and forth.

To choose the correct Sidewinder, you'll need to know the manufacturer and model number of your OEM pin box. Your current pin box should have a plate or sticker on it somewhere, listing this information. I've linked you to our Sidewinder FAQ article, that lists more information about the Sidewinder, as well as which models replace with OEM pin boxes.

To install a Reese, Curt, Husky or other 5th wheel hitch that uses industry-standard 5th wheel rails, I'd recommend the Reese # RP50082-58 frame bracket and bed rail kit.

Another option would be the Demco Hijacker, part # DM8550034. The Hijacker is an autoslide hitch that offers 14 inches of travel, so you wouldn't need to exit the truck to hit any levers. The hitch is compatible with the install rails mentioned above.

expert reply by:
Mike L

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