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Recommended Sliding 5th Wheel Hitch for 2013 Ram 3500 Diesel Short Bed Towing Sandpiper 379

Question:

We are looking at a 2013 Ram 3500 Laramie diesel truck to tow a 2017 Sandpiper by Forest River 379 FLOK model. The Ram truck is a short bed though... should we find a different truck or will this set up work?

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Expert Reply:

5th wheel towing is possible with short-bed trucks but it is certainly easier with a long bed. Short bed trucks will require either a sliding type hitch or a fixed hitch along with a Sidewinder replacement pin box on the trailer in order for you to have enough turning clearance to avoid trailer-to-cab contact. Long bed trucks avoid this issue completely; they can use standard fixed hitches and a new Sidewinder pin box is not required. You can refer to the linked articles for more on this.

If you do go for the short bed 3500 you can use a slider like the 21K Demco # DM8550037. This is an automatic slider that does not require you to get out of the truck to release the slide mechanism every time you need to make tight turns. Plus this hitch offers more slider travel, a full 14-inches, as compared to the usual 10- to 12-inches of travel. You can install this hitch in the Ram using custom install kit # DM8552026-71. For an in-bed wiring harness use part # DM8555002.

Given the Sandpiper's 15,500-lbs GVWR and nearly 42-foot exterior length you will want a 1-ton pickup like the Ram 3500 diesel. This is an excellent choice in terms of pulling power. The lowest-rated short-bed 3500 has a towing capacity of 15,620-lbs and better-equipped versions can tow up to and over 17K.

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