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Do I Have to Have a Sliding 5th Wheel Hitch in a Short Bed Truck

Question:

Do I have to have a sliding 5th wheel in a short bed truck.

1

Helpful Expert Reply:

You do not have to use a sliding 5th wheel hitch in a short bed truck. In many cases, truck beds shorter than 8 ft do not have enough clearance between the trailer and truck to execute sharp turns. This is why sliding hitches were invented.

Due to the popularity of short bed trucks, trailer manufacturers started making more 5th wheel trailers with angled or indented noses so they do not contact your truck cab when turning such as the Highland Ridge Light 5th wheel trailer. The downside to these trailers is that you will sacrifice some room in the front compartment which is usually closet space or storage in the master bedroom.

If you decide to use a fixed fifth wheel hitch with a short bed truck, then be sure you have a good understanding of your turning limitations before you head out on your trip. You will want to be sure that you don't find yourself in a campground, gas station or parking lot that may require a tight turn. If this is your first time out with a truck and trailer, I recommend taking as many safety precautions as possible.

For safety and peace of mind, we will always recommend a sliding hitch for truck beds between 8 ft and 6 ft long. A hitch like the Demco Hijacker Autoslide, # DM8550034, is an excellent option because the hitch will automatically slide backwards as you are turning. This means you don't have to get in and out of your truck several times just to make a tight turn.

Another option, which is the recommended option for trucks with beds shorter than 6 ft is to replace your trailer's pin box with a rotating pin box like the Reese Sidewinder rather than using a sliding hitch. The Sidewinder moves the pivot point back 22 inches which provides the turning clearance needed for basically any truck and trailer combination and it provides better tracking when towing. Sidewinders are pin box specific, so you will have to choose the Sidewinder that fits the specific pin box on your trailer. I have attached a help article with more information on Sidewinders for you to check out.

helpful expert reply by:
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John H

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Follow up Questions


Nick S.
I have a GD 5th wheel RV being pulled by an F-150 with a 5.5 foot short bed and a PullRite Sliding hitch. Fantastic hitch but it's huge, heavy, and I lose my bed. Could I safely change out my 5th wheel kingpin and hitch for your Reese Goose Box 5th Wheel-to-Gooseneck Coupler Adapter and a gooseneck ball-hitch setup in the bed?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

We would not normally suggest towing a fifth wheel in a 5.5-foot short bed without a sidewinder pin box. How are you managing not to hit your truck cab with the front of the trailer?! I would not recommend a gooseneck anything combination with a 5.5-foot bed.

Lee P.
I need the bottom slider for a my B&W 20K PUC hitch. I have the complete B&W but I would like to convert to a slider. It will go on a 2017 F250 Reg Bed. And there is only 5 hrs left for free shipping.
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

If your F-250 is equipped with the factory puck system the correct sliding base for your Companion is the part # BWRVB3370 .

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