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Is Slider Hitch Required to Tow 5th Wheel Trailer w/2015 Ram 2500 Short Bed w/Factory Prep Package  

Question:

Cougar 323MKS 5th Wheel Just bought the 5th wheel and looking for the right hitch. Dealer is recommending a slider. Is that necessary? I have a puck/prep system in the bed. I also have a Rol and Lock top on the bed and want to be able to close it with the hitch in the truck, even if I have to take the head off. Clearance is 17.5inch with the top closed. Open to you recommendation. Truck is a 2015 Ram 2500 6.4L Mega Cab with a short bed. 5th wheel is listed above. Weight is 9690 dry. I prefer not to use extra rails, but im open.

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Expert Reply:

In most situations a slider hitch is a requirement for a short bed truck towing a 5th wheel trailer. There are some exceptions. If the trailer was designed specifically to be towed by a short bed truck (it will have a tapered front end and be advertised as such) then a fixed hitch is fine. If the trailer comes with a Revolution/Sidewinder pin box a fixed hitch can be used.

If neither is true and/or a Sidewinder cannot be installed in place of the factory pin box AND the truck bed is 6 feet long or more but less than 8 feet a slider is needed.

Your 2015 Ram 2500 has the 6 foot bed but there aren't any sliders that are a direct fit to the factory puck system. Therefore an adaptor will be required. What I recommend is adapter # DM6099 with Demco hitch # DM8550035 rated for 21K or # DM8550034 for an 18K capacity. In either case the minimum hitch height would be approximately 16-1/4 inches.

These hitches offer the most travel at 14 inches front to back and they slide automatically. With the 14 inches of travel the trailer will not hit the truck cab when making 90 degree turns.

To make sure there are some measurements you can take. First you would measure the distance from the center line of the hitch to the back of the truck cab. Since you have the puck system you can measure from the center point between the pucks to the truck cab. Then add 14 inches for the travel of the slider.

Next, look at the location of the king pin on the trailer relative to the front of the trailer. If the center of the king pin is out in front of the trailer then you would add the distance from the center of the king pin to the front of the trailer. If the king pin is recessed under the trailer then you would subtract that distance.

And last measure the overall width of the front of the trailer and divide by 2 to get half.

So let's say your hitch center to cab measurement is 36 inches. Add 14 for the slider to get 50 inches. Then let's say the king pin is 6 inches out it front of the trailer. Add that to 50 to get 56 inches.

And for the trailer let's say it is 8-1/2 feet wide or 102 inches. Half is 51 inches. Hitch to cab measurement, 56 inches in this example, is at least 4 inches MORE than half the width of the trailer, 51 inches in this example, then you can safely make 90 degree turns.

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