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Towing Fifth Wheels and Gooseneck Trailers with Ford F250 with 6 Foot 8 Inch Bed

Question:

We are thinking about purchasing an f250 6 and 3/4 bed truck. Will this shorter bed be able to tow a fifth wheel or gooseneck horse trailer?

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Expert Reply:

Good truck choice! A 6-3/4 foot bed should work just fine for a gooseneck, but for a fifth wheel, you won't have enough clearance between the trailer loft and the rear of the cab. During turns, you could possibly have the trailer corner collide with the rear of the cab. Which would be bad. Since you don't have the truck yet, I'd go with an 8 foot bed so you can avoid clearance issues all together.

There are two ways you can gain enough clearance. First, you can use a sliding fifth wheel hitch like the # RP30083 or the # RP30084. The only difference between the two is the slider unit. The round tube slider, # RP30083 is what I'd recommend, as the square tube can bind when your'e on pavement that's not level. The hitch would remain in the forward or towing position when driving on the streets or highways but can be slid rearward to provide more clearance for low speed maneuvering. In some cases, you'll be able to negotiate 90 degree turns, but that will depend on the width of your fifth wheel.

Your second option would be to use a stationary hitch like the # RP30081 you referenced and have a Sidewinder installed on your fifth wheel. The Sidewinder adds 22 inches of clearance by moving the pivot point between the hitch and the fifth wheel from the king pin-hitch jaw connection to the point where the pin box attaches to the fifth wheel. The Sidewinder is pin box-specific, so you'll need to find the manufacturer and model number of your existing pin box. This information is usually printed on a sticker that's placed on the pin box, but it might be engraved on a plate or stamped into the metal of the pin box. I'll link you to our Sidewinder article, which contains much more information about the Sidewinder. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can see which Sidewinders replace what OEM pin box.

Installing the hitch would involve using vehicle specific brackets that bolt onto your truck frame under the bed. The brackets provide an attachment point for the rails installed in your truck bed. There is a universal bracket kit, part # RP30035, but a vehicle specific kit is preferable because it usually takes about half the time to install. Once the rails are installed, you can use them as the attachment point for the fifth wheel hitch, or a rail mounted gooseneck hitch like part # 49080.

Finally, you will need to install a 7-way trailer connector in the truck bed. Once you have the truck, if you'll reply with the model year of the F250, I can recommend a fifth wheel install kit and a 7-way for the truck bed. If you're interested in a Sidewinder, I can also make a recommendation if you reply with the manufacturer and model number of its OEM pin box.

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Mike L

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