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Does Curt 5th Wheel Bracket Hardware have to be Replaced to Install Air Bags on a 2014 Ford F-250

Question:

Several years ago I purchased and installed a Curt Q20 5th wheel hitch, Curt R20 roller and the custom rail kit on my 2014 F-250. I have run into a problem where I need to remove the brackets attached to the frame in order to install F2597 Firestone Ride Rite air helper springs. Despite attempts to remove them with an impact wrench and penetrating oil, the bolts securing the brackets to the frame are not budging. I recently sent you a message about this issue. So now it looks like the only option is to cut the bolts. Im not crazy about that option but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I have already purchased the Ride Rite kit and its really the one I want to go with. My real issue now is replacing the bolts that I cut off. Can I buy a replacement hardware kit? Can I get specific specs on the bolts so I replace them with the proper new bolts? I am really venturing into new territory here and I need your guidance. Thank you for any additional ideas you can share.

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Expert Reply:

Personally I would have gone with the longest breaker bar I could get in there. You wouldn't have needed strength so much as leverage. But that is a moot point since the bolts have been removed. Now we have to get you the right hardware!

But, the Ride-Rite kit # F2597 for your 2014 Ford F-250, does come with bolts, nuts, and washers that go through that center hole in the frame and 5th wheel brackets. So the center bolts from the 5th wheel install kit are the only ones that needed to be removed. If those are the ones you removed then you won't need any new hardware (the bracket bolts are larger than the ones for the air bag brackets anyway).

The center bolts for the 5th wheel brackets are 3/4-10 x 2-1/2. These are 3/4 inch bolts, 10 threads per inch, 2-1/2 inches long. You would need Class 5 or better and the upper brackets for the air bags would have to modified. If the nuts for those bolts were damaged you also will need 2 of those. The block spacers you could reuse.

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