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Fifth Wheel Hitch For A 2015 Ford F-150 With A 55 Bed

Question:

I am helping my dad set up his 2015 F-150 4x4 with a 5.5 foot box. He wants to tow his 2013 Cougar X-lite 29RET 5th Wheel camper across the country this winter to get out of Michigan. From what I can tell, Ford custom frame rail above bed are setting the hitch placement right over the rear axle, which is very close to the cab/front of the box. I can not identify the exact type of pinbox on his 5th wheel, other than its a Lippert. It appears to be a extended pinbox, with a very forward placement on the camper frame itself. It sticks out of the front of the nose cone by 6-8, easy. I am mixed on if he needs a sidewinder turret style pinbox, or a auto-slider hitch. If a sidewinder, does his hitch height need to be on the higher to keep tailgate/sidewall clearance? If not, can we go with a auto slider and let it drift back when he turns? Thank you!

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Expert Reply:

For the 2015 Ford F-150 with the 5.5 bed it is not recommended to use a slider because of the bed length. The rails are installed over the axle because of the vertical load from a fifth wheel or goose neck trailer. Because the truck has a 5.5 bed it requires a Sidewinder to give you the clearance needed when making turns. Setting the hitch height is determined when setting up the hitch. Typically when we install them we set them at the middle height and that is usually enough. If you set it to the middle and attach the trailer, you want to make sure you have at least 6" of clearance between the bed rails and the bottom edge of the nose on the trailer. If you don't have 6" then change the height setting as needed.

I recommend the Reese 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch - Dual Jaw - 16,000 lbs item # RP30047 and the
Reese Quick-Install Custom Outboard Installation Kit w/ Base Rails for 5th Wheel Trailer Hitches item #
RP56034-53. The hitch head can be adjusted from 13-1/2" to 17". The rail kit is a custom rail kit designed specifically for your dads truck which cuts the instillation time down.

For a short bed truck the Reese Sidewinder 5th Wheel King Pin with Rotating Turret - Lippert 1716 - 20,000 lbs Item # RP77FR is required. This pin box replaces the Lippert 1716, 1116, and the 0115 pin boxes. It has a rotating turret so the pin box locks at the hitch and rotates at the trailer. Your model number should be located on your current pin box so you want to make sure this is the direct replacement.

I also recommend the Hopkins Endurance 5th Wheel/Gooseneck 90-Degree Wiring Harness with 7-Pole Plug Item # 41157. This wiring harness allows you to have a 7 pole plug in the bed of the truck so you don't have to drape the trailer wiring over the tailgate and plug it into the 7 pole connector on the bumper.

I have provided links to videos to help walk you through the instillation for the rail kit and the wiring. The rail kit is being installed on a 2016 and the wiring is being installed on a 2017 but the instillation will be the same for the 2015. I have also provide a link to instructions for installing the Sidewinder on

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Shane H

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