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Troubleshooting 5th Wheel Movement While Stopping/Starting Using a Ford F-250 Super Crew Cab

Question:

I presently have a Valley 5th Wheel Hitch on my F 250 Super Crew Cab. The Hitch is 7 years old it has some play. When we take off from a light it feels like the trailer moves back and when we stop it moves forward. I was thinking of replacing it with a Reese slider. I have Valley Rails. Would the movement be caused by the rails worn out or where the 4 pins hold the Valley Rails in place or the holes in the slider rails from the Valley hitch it self. It says you can use the Reese on the Valley Rails. If I get the Reese and the Trailer continues to move back ad forward I would assume the problem is the rails.

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Helpful Expert Reply:

I spoke with my technical contact at Reese and he told me your issue is probably in your trailer brakes. You will need to check your brake controller to make sure it is exerting enough pressure to your trailer and by adjusting that factor, if it is indeed off the sliding you are experiencing should go away.

He has never heard of the rails working loose, however that is not to say that it could not be the case. Check all of your bolts to ensure that they are tight, solid and torqued to specs listed in the rail installation instructions.

Another way to check if your rails are loose is to disconnect your trailer then climb in the bed of your truck and (add a helper if necessary) see if you can physically move the hitch while it is attached in the bed of your truck. There may be a slight movement, but it should be minimal. Check the slots in the bed rail that the hitch tabs fit into to make sure they have not become worn and are still straight (not curved from the constant jarring).

Another check method is to hook up your trailer and take it to a large empty lot - get a friend to drive your truck/trailer very slowly in a straight line, and with you walking parallel with it you can see where the movement is coming from first hand. Pay special attention to the starting/stopping for movement in the king pin and hitch.

Depending on the jaw design of the hitch, the chucking you are experiencing might be occurring because of the design of the jaws. A slide bar jaw will hold the king pin securely, but not necessarily very tightly, so there is a always going to be some movement. A 7-year-old hitch might very well be worn and everything is not fitting as tightly as it could.

Finally, if your brake controller is working properly and your bed rails are secure and in good condition, replacing your existing Valley hitch with the Reese # RP30075 should improve the movement you describe.

A hitch like the Husky # HT31318-32042 that utilizes a single wraparound jaw would do the best job of holding the king pin tightly and also eliminates the chucking.(movement of king pin in hitch jaws)

I have attached a FAQ article that covers 5th wheel maintenance.

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