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Advice on Towing a Fifth Wheel Trailer With a Short Bed 2017 Ram 2500 With Rambox


I have read many of your expert answers regarding towing a 5th wheel with a short bed truck, they are helpful but I am looking for some specific advise for my situation. I have a 2017 Ram 2500 power wagon CC short bed, no factory puck system, with rambox. I have been pulling my 9000K travel trailer RV with for about a year with an andersen WD hitch with no problems. This spring I plan to switch to pull a 5th wheel style RV. I know the power wagons tow ratings are limited and I will be pushing the envelope with the 5th wheel I choose. I realize all of these combinations short bed rambox severely limit my options but I love the power wagon and would like to keep it as opposed to trading for a different tow vehicle. Here are my questions: 1 I know I will need to add some suspension help to my soft sprung truck, should I use timbrens or airbags knowing I will max out my payload? Is there an advantage to one or the other? 2 I would prefer to have a flat floor in my bed when not using the 5th wheel. I know the BandW turnover ball 5th wheel companion would work for that but I plan to us a sidewinder pinbox to minimize potential contact with rambox and cab on my trailer and it is not recommended to use the sidewinder with a turnover ball. What is my best option to maintain a flat floor and use a sidewinder? Are there other options than a sidewinder that can help me avoid interference with the rambox? Basically, if this were your truck and you had to make it work with a 5th wheel what components would you recommend? Thank you for your help


Helpful Expert Reply:

Thank you for your thoughtful question; let's start with the suspension components for your 2017 Ram 2500 first. I recommend using the Firestone Ride-Rite Air Helper Springs # F2598 over Timbrens for your application. The Ride-Rite air bags have the advantage of being able to adjust individually to guarantee you even load distribution, and are going to be less rigid than the Timbrens.

As far as a fifth wheel hitch, you are going to have to use a Sidewinder because you have a Rambox and short bed, there is no other option available for you. And without the factory fifth wheel kit there are no options with underbed rails apart from the B&W Companion and that is not a hitch that is compatible with Sidewinders. I wish there was something that could accommodate your needs, but the best option for your truck is going to be a fixed fifth wheel and Sidewinder; you'll be able to remove the hitch when not towing but the rails will still be installed.

In regards to the Sidewinder the correct one will be a replacement for the king pin on your new trailer so you will need to find out the manufacturer and model number to find a fit. For example, a Lippert 1621 will be replaced by Sidewinder # RP34FR. I've added a link to our page with our selection of Sidewinders for you to come back to.

As for the fifth wheel hitch, you are going to need one that is compatible with a Sidewinder as well as something that is lightweight since you want to remove it when you aren't towing. The best option for that would be the Demco Recon # DM8550043 which, at 125 lbs, is the lightest fifth wheel hitch that will work with a Sidewinder. It still has a capacity of 21,000 lbs, which is going to be more than you need. In order to use a Sidewinder with it you will only need Custom Wedge # SWW-05. To mount the Recon in your 2017 Ram 2500 I recommend using the Reese Quick-Install Custom Base Rails and Installation Kit # RP50054-58, which are rails made to fit your truck that will not require drilling into the frame of the vehicle.

I've added links to video reviews of each of these parts for you as well as links to a number of help articles on fifth wheel towing I think you will find useful.

helpful expert reply by:
Kyle S

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