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Fifth Wheel Hitch and Installation Kit Recommendations for 2000 Ford F250

Question:

I have a 2000 F250 getting ready to buy a 30 ft fifth wheel. My bed is 80 inches inside. Camper weight is 7350. What hitch will work for this application

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Expert Reply:

Because you have a short bed truck, you'll need something to gain you clearance between the front of the fifth wheel and the rear of the truck cab so the fifth wheel doesn't hit the rear of the cab during turns. You can use a sliding fifth wheel hitch, or a Sidewinder, both of which would increase the clearance.

If you're on a tighter budget, and aren't sure how long you'll hang onto the fifth wheel, a sliding fifth wheel would be your best bet. The sliding version of the Pro Series, part # PS30121, is ideal. The hitch has plenty of capacity, at 20K, and uses a dual jaw to keep the king pin tightly in place and reduce the pin rattling around in the hitch jaws.

If you're more likely to hang onto your fifth wheel for several years, or the idea of having to exit the cab and unlock the sliding mechanism every time you need to do some low speed maneuvering isn't thrilling, a Sidewinder might be the way to go. The Sidewinder actually relocates the pivot point between the hitch and the fifth wheel from the hitch jaws 22 inches rearward where the pin box attaches to the fifth wheel. This means much more clearance for turning. The model of Sidewinder needed will depend on the manufacturer and model number of your existing pin box. The Sidewinder FAQ article I'm linking for you has a table showing the various OEM pin box manufacturers and model numbers, as well as a listing of which Sidewinder models replace them.
Click the link to see the FAQ article.

To install the hitch, I'd recommend the Reese # RP56005-53 fifth wheel installation kit. The brackets attach to the truck frame using existing holes, so no drilling into the frame is required.

expert reply by:
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Mike L

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