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Slider Hitch versus Sidewinder Pin Box Turning Clearance for Short Bed Truck

Question:

I have a short bed truck with a fixed 5th wheel hitch. I would like to increase clearance between my cab and my trailer without going to a slider. Do you offer longer 5th wheel couplers? Any pros or cons to that over a slider?

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Expert Reply:

The fix for towing a 5th wheel with a short bed truck is either a slider hitch or for beds that are shorter than 6-feet a replacement trailer pin box called a Sidewinder. Sidewinders move the trailer pivot point 22-inches back from the king pin, to the rotating turret assembly at the end nearest to the trailer's mounting wings. The two linked articles on 5th wheel towing with short-bed trucks will be helpful. Most slider hitches give you between 10- and 14-inches of travel, but a Sidewinder provides far more turning clearance thanks to it moving the pivot point to the rear by a full 22-inches.

Sidewinders are custom-fit items that are selected by both weight capacity and compatibility with the original fixed pin box. Just find the current pin box part number (usually on a sticker on the left side of the box) to enable selecting a pivoting Sidewinder replacement. The new Sidewinder will bolt right up in place of the existing pin box, using the same hardware.

For example, if you have the popular Lippert 1621 or 1621HD pin box you could use the 20K Sidewinder # RP34FR or the cushioned 16K model # RP61422. Use the chart in the linked article to see the available replacements for your particular pin box.

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