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5th Wheel Trailer Hitch and Installation Kit for a 1997 Ford F250 Short Bed

Question:

I am looking to install a 5th wheel rail system in my truck and have not been able to find any vehicle specific instructions. Would you be able to tell me how far the rear bracket needs to be mounted from the end of the truck bed?

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Expert Reply:

For your 1997 Ford F-250 short bed I recommend the Reese 5th wheel installation kit # RP30035. It will fit if the truck with or without overload springs.

If your truck has a gross vehicle weight rating under 8,500 pounds then the distance from the rear edge of the truck bed, not the tailgate, to the back edge of the rear rail is 29-1/4 inches. You would then use the hitch in the rear rail to locate the front rail and to drill the holes for the brackets.

If the truck is rated over 8,500 pounds then the measurement is 32-1/2 inches to the back of the rear rail. I have linked the instructions and for your truck you would need to look at sheet 10 or 11 depending on the gross vehicle weight rating of your truck.

For a short bed truck you will need a slider hitch to have clearance to make tight turns. If you like the Reese hitches then the slider version is # RP30075. It provides 11 inches of travel.

Or for even more travel I recommend the Demco HiJacker # DM8550035. It offers 14 inches of travel and it slides automatically! I have linked a video review of this hitch as well.

And to add a 7-Way trailer connector in the bed of the truck to make hooking up easier I recommend # 20023.

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