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Fifth Wheel Hitch Installation - 2002 Ford F-250

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How to Install a Fifth Wheel Hitch on a 2002 Ford F-250

Today on this 2002 Ford F-250 we are going to install part number RP30035 from Reese. For the first part of the install we need to locate the rear base rail for the fifth wheel hitch. Our measurement is going to start at the very end of the bed itself, not the tailgate, the end and we are going to measure up as described in the instructions. And then we will go ahead and make our mark. We will do that on both sides so we can make our rails even. :25

We are going to place our rail into place. We are going to put our marks we made in the bed with this edge right here pointing out to the back of the truck. Once you have the right distance from the back then you want to get it measured out from left to right, make sure it is nice and even. This groove in the bed here is a good place to measure off of. Now we are going to lay out our second rail, just put it in its general spot. We will use the fifth wheel itself to help position the second rail. We have the fifth wheel on the rails, lets go ahead and put in some pins to hold it in place. :58

We will line up the hitch again with the lines that we made on our front rail, because you know moving it around is going to mess it up. We have our first rail put back in position to match up to the marks in the bed. Now we will go to the second rail and check for SS and make sure its even with the front rail. There is a couple ways to do it. First off, we will do a quick measurement this way, and then left and right also just like we did the first rail. Then we will go diagonally for check for SS. The instructions say we are going to use the holes on the outside here for the Ford Pick up. What we are going to do next is find center. You want to drill it out and make a small pilot hole first, probably a 1/8 of an inch and then compare to see where we can put our brackets on the frame. Since we are using a universal kit, you only get two brackets, a short one and a long one. Usually you are going to go on one side of the hat channel or center sill. Also, you need to take account for pieces that are in the way of the frame, such as this linkage or parking brake cable hanger. We can use the short or long interchangeably. Typically the long goes in front if you can, if not, we can reverse them, it is no big deal. Now we have our hole right here that we drilled out. Lets go ahead and do some comparison here. We will do our short bracket in front and then we will line up to whichever one of these holes looks best. It looks like on this one I am going to be using this hole right here. We will be drilling two holes in the frame, here and here. We have located our front rail bracket, now we will go to the back rail and locate that. Again, the frame has some stuff in the way, we have the rivets, and plus it has this dent into it, like a compression, so we can not use that. On this side there is a nice flat section right here. It looks like we will be using this hole right here to line up our bolt. Then we will be drilling here and here on our frame, it is nice and flat, so it will be a good place to locate our bracket. Now we will repeat the same process back over on the passenger side. 2:59

Now we will slide our hitch out of the way and drill out our pilot holes that we made to the larger side for the bolts. We are going to do a 3/8 inch drill bit first and then up to a 9/16th inch. Alright I have our holes drilled, lets go ahead and slide everything back into place. Lets our hardware in now. We will take the carriage bolts, and just them into place. One thing to note, we will have to put a spacer block underneath, we will show that later. We have sight of the ten holes drilled. The last two holes that we need to drill out go into the center of the rail itself. That can go inside or outside, it does not matter as long as you have plenty of clearance to get to it. We will set our bed rail in place and torque it all down and we will set that for last. We will start with our front bracket. Remember that we talked about the spacer block in between. We will take down this bracket for now, and show you how to install the block. We will slide this into the bed rail, we will take up the corrugation so it will not crush the bed as much. However, since this truck is used and has seen some miles, the bed has been crushed into the support already. So we are actually going to make some room. We will use a simple pry bar to give us some room. We have that cut out wrapped around the bolt, and then our bracket will set up against here ans sandwich part of the hat channel, nice and secure. We will attach our hardware to hold everything in place. Into our bracket we are going to install a flat washer, lock washer, and nut. We will go ahead and install our blocks again, inside they may spread out a little bit. Then we will install a conical tooth washer, this also will get a lock washer, and a nut. Once we have all the hardware done on the driver side here we will go ahead and go to the passenger side and repeat the same process again. Now I have all the hardware installed with the brackets. We will snug down our bolts to our cross rails to our frame brackets. To help keep them straight while we tighten them down we are going to clamp these brackets to the frame. Get the rear one done, now go to the front bracket. We got our driver side done, lets go ahead and repeat the same process back over on the passenger side. 5:26

The next thing we will do is get back in the bed of the truck. We will test fit our fifth wheel hitch itself to make sure it can remove easily. Lets continue on torquing the frame brackets to the bed rails. We have our driver side torqued down, lets go to the passenger side and do that again. After that, check one more time that you can take the hitch in and out of the rails. Now we have the frame brackets in place, lets drill out the holes for them. Take a look behind the frame and make sure there is nothing you want to drill into like the gas tank, brake lines, or wiring. In this case here, going towards the front on the driver side we put a block right here because our bolt will be pretty close to this brake line right here. So we will hit the block first before anything else. Everything else around the frame looks pretty clear. We will go ahead and drill out our holes now. What we are going to do is use our 17/32 inch bit and mark the center of our hole. We will drill a pilot hole first, and then go back with our bit. Now we will install the bolts that go into the frame and out the frame bracket. We will use this bolt right here that looks like a wheel stud, it has splines right here, this will grip the steel in the frame and come out this way. Then we will install our lock washer and nut. Then we will tighten those up until the bolts get seeded into the frame, and then we will torque them down as specified. These two bolts here are partially blocked by the gas tank, so we are going to fish wire those in. This is the fish wire tool that comes with the kit. We are going to push it through the hole we are going to use, push it out the back of the frame and thread our bolt into it and pull it back through. We will remove it and add our lock washer and nut. Lets go ahead and drill the last two holes in the bed of the truck. There are obstructions underneath there like a heat shield, so we are going to do the outside hole here and the outside on the other rail. Since our bed has been smashed right here, we can use it to our advantage and put a spacer underneath there like that. The one going up front is okay. Lets sneak in our spacer, that will be just fine. We will our bolt back through, and tighten it down. That finishes our install of part number RP30035 from Reese.

Info for these parts were:

Employee Jeff D
Installed by:
Jeff D

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