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B and W Custom Base Rails Kit Installation - 2021 Ram 2500

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How to Install the B and W Custom Base Rails Kit on a 2021 Ram 2500


Hey everybody, Ryan here at etrailer. Today on our 2021 Ram 2500, we're gonna be showing you how to install the B&W above bed rails with the custom installation kit. But before we do that, why don't we check them out and make sure that these are gonna work for you. When it comes to the Ram trucks, these are really nice and very capable. And when it comes to pulling a trailer, you want a hitch that you can rely on just as much. You got the good truck, you need a good hitch to hook up your trailer to, and something that you can count on, especially considering that's really the only attachment point there.

So you want something that's definitely gonna be quality. And when it comes to hitches, if you're familiar with towing at all, you've probably heard of that B&W name. They are top-notch, at least in my opinion. Definitely the brand of hitch that I always recommend. And I say that because just the overall quality of it, the fitment of it, everything's designed to work with your truck.

And so when you have it on there, you know it's gonna work and it's going to do the job that you want it to do. When it comes to 5th wheel rail kits, there's really not a whole lot to them, pretty straightforward. And with these, since they are above the bed, they're gonna come up just a little bit. I mean, not taking up a crazy amount of space. Your bed is definitely still usable when it comes to that.

And with these particular rails, they're gonna work with the majority of the hitches out there, especially ones that are somewhat new. Use that standard pattern for the hitch to drop in and pin down and everything. And I feel like that's important. A lot of people, especially if you've been towing for a while, probably already have a hitch and that's an expensive part. And if you like it, you can reuse it.

Great. So if you happen to get a new truck, like to hold onto that hitch. And so chances are really good, if you have a hitch, as long as it's not an odd ball one or super old, chances are really good. You're gonna be able to put these rails in and still use that hitch and drop it down in the place. With that said, if you need a hitch that will drop down in here, there's a ton of different options available right here at etrailer. Some people do wonder if you're still gonna be able to use a tool box or something like that that would mount up here at the front of your bed, and I'll give you a measurement and if you can do something with it. From the front here to the very edge of our front rail, that's going to be right at 22 inches. So I'd imagine, wouldn't get in the way. Keep in mind too, this truck bed is a six and a half foot, the short bed. I can't speak for the long bed if that distance changes or anything, but even if it was different, I feel like you'd have more space. So like I said, chances are pretty good regardless of what one you have. You still probably be able to get a toolbox up here if you want to. A moment ago, I mentioned, what hitches are gonna work with the rails and everything. And so we had this one here that our neighbor is using. This is a B&W Patriot. It's a slider, awesome hitch, really popular. One you really can't go wrong with honestly. And the fact that these rails and insulation kit can work with the trucks that have a long bed or a short bed. This would be a good option for those of you that have a short bed or any sliding type hitch, really. And I say it because on a short bed, you lose some of this cab clearance. And so when you gonna make sharp turns and stuff, your trailer can contact your cab corners and obviously you don't want that. So with this one, what you're able to do is actually slide it back. That's gonna give you quite a bit more space. It's going to bring your trailer's attachment point that much further back. And so you can make those sharp turns and not have to worry about making contact with your cab corners. With that said, for those of you that have a long bed, sliding hitch isn't necessary. Usually, generally speaking, a fixed mounted hitch will be just fine. And that's because you're gonna have more space with that longer bed. So I just wanted to show you guys how a setup could potentially look in the back of your truck. There's something that I do wanna mention. And when you have a setup like this, it's never a bad idea to get in bed wiring. So that's what this connector is here. You'll have a seven-way into bed. You can see how it can be convenient. Your trailer connector plug would just go right into here. You wouldn't have to drape it over your tailgate or anything. The one that we use today is the CURT. And with this one, it tees right into your existing wiring. Super easy and so you're gonna be able to have this one as well as maintain the one down on your bumper. And it's something definitely worth considering if you're gonna have a setup like this. Other than that, at the end of the day, 5th wheel rail kit, you really can't go wrong with. As far as the installation goes, definitely not the easiest nor the hardest. It kinda fell somewhere in the middle. I've done a lot of these on a lot of different types of trucks. And over the years, I have learned a couple of tricks that really help me out. So hopefully those will help you out as well and make your install go a little bit smoother. But with that said, as long as you stay focused, really shouldn't run into too many issues. Speaking of that though, why don't we go ahead and install everything together now. So to begin our installation, we're gonna be underneath the back of our truck. And first thing you wanna do is temporarily lower and remove the spare tire, just gives us a lot more room to work. So I went ahead and done that. And now what we're gonna do is also temporarily remove our heat shield here. It's so much easier to see and work around. So we're gonna have four 10 millimeter head bolts right here and then we should have a couple more along this back edge here. So go ahead, grab my socket and start getting these removed. So once all those are removed, we can get our heat shield out of the way. While we're under here, something that we need to take a quick look at is over here on the passenger side where our exhaust hanger assembly is. So you wanna look inside of this pocket. If you have this bar that's running across, we're gonna be using different instructions in terms of where we need to mount up our rear mounting rail. So take a look in there if this bar is present, make sure to follow the correct part of the instructions and the feature here. Well, I mean, that's several steps ahead, but if it's not present, there's also a section for that too. So chances are pretty good on this truck and the year, it's probably gonna be there, but just something I wanted to point out that way you don't get far ahead and then realize that's there and have to make changes. So just take a quick peek and verify if this is there or not. Now we can get up in the bed of our truck and we need to find the position for our front rail. So it's gonna be the one closest to the cab of our truck. There's a couple of measurements in the instructions. Make sure you follow the right ones 'cause they are different for a short bed and a long bed truck. And when you measure that distance, make sure you measure from the bed itself, end of the bed, not the tailgate or anything like that. So I measured up here and I like to make some lines along there, along the edge. This edge is gonna line up with your lines there. So be sure to have that set up properly. And then you obviously wanna center the rail. All right, so once I have it in the general area, I measure the distance between the wheel wells or you can use the line in the bed here, whatever. You just want it to be the same and centered. Once it is centered, I like to just use a pin and trace around it, that way we don't lose position. If you do bump it or something, we can get it exactly how we had it. And once we have it like that, then we can mark out our attachment points where we're gonna need to drill. So the mounting locations that we're gonna use for our front rail are these two holes. This one right here in the middle, closest to the front of our truck and then the same two on this side. And so what I like to do with the rail in position is just take, I like to take a ballpoint pen and trace around the square and then mark the center of it. You can do it however you want, really. If you just wanna mark the center or use a punch or whatever. But once they're all marked, then we can move this out of the way and start to drill. We first gonna drill these out using a small pilot bit. Check underneath the truck to make sure you're not gonna drill into something important so be conscious of that. But I'll go ahead, get our bit here and drilling pilot holes out. So now we need to check and make sure our brackets line up at the holes that we drill the pilot holes. So we're underneath the vehicle and in our case, we're on the passenger side. So we're gonna take our specific frame bracket. So these are side specific and everything. Make sure you have the correct one and we're gonna line this up and make sure everything matches. So passenger side, I did have some wiring that was in the way on the frame. There's just a couple of plastic passengers holding it in. You could take a trim tool like this or a flathead screw driver and just pop those out. Get them out of the way. We could slide our frame bracket up. And what we're looking for is to make sure that all the mounting holes line up and they're centered and everything else. So holding this in place, it looks pretty much dead on. So we're good to go over here. You're going to do the same thing over on the driver's side. And once we verify that these are indeed, I'll get a line up. We can go back up top and enlarge the holes. So back up top, now that we verified everything lines up, we can take a larger drill bit. Drill this out to the size listed in the instructions. I like to use a step-bit if you have one, just 'cause it's not so long. You don't run the risk of punching all the way down into something or whatever the case may be. But with that said, we'll go ahead and get all of the holes enlarge. Once all the holes we're drilled, I came back and just cleaned off all of our pin marks. That way it looks a little bit better. And then the bare metal that's exposed from us drilling, what I like to do is just take a paint stick or you can use spray paint. I find these to be look a little bit better when it's sunned on, but just get a coating of paint over that bare metal that we exposed from drilling. That way it will at least have a layer of protection against rust and things like that. So gave that paint a minute to dry. Got our rail in place and lined up and now we can drop some of our hardware through. So it's gonna be the same hardware combination for all the points around the rail. You're gonna take one of these U-shaped spacer blocks and sneak that in. And then you're gonna take the carriage bolt and drop that down through, the same deal. And this spacer block is essentially just filling this void here. That way we don't have a big opening so it'll work out. Same thing for the one here in the middle. And finally, the ones here on the very end. Now underneath our truck, we're over here on the passenger side, you can get our frame plates loosely attached. So you can see where our carriage bolts came down that we put in a moment ago. What we're gonna be focusing on getting this attached to the frame. So we have two attachment points and these are gonna line up with some threaded holes in the frame rail. You need to make sure those are clean. If you have to use some penetrating oil in there and you can blast them out with air. Use a brush, whatever you need to do. But for this attachment point there, we're gonna take one of the bolts. It's gonna be one of the shorter ones. We're gonna put on a split lock washer and then a flat washer. And we wanna just get this started hand tight essentially. And then for this attachment point, you can see that there's a big gap there in between the plate and the frame rail. So you're gonna use two of the spacer blocks that just have a hole in the middle of them. What I like to do is just take both of them and then use some thin packing tape and tape them together. Just makes it more manageable when you're trying to hold all this up there. Obviously, you'll have to cut the tape out of the hole. But with that said, you're gonna take one of the longer bolts. All right, again, a split lock washer and a flat washer, going to hold our spacer blocks up there, line everything up, and get this started hand tight as well. And I wanna mention from this point on, anything we do to one side of a vehicle we're gonna do to the other side 'cause it will be set up the same way. Once the side plate is loosely on there, we can get the hardware going where the carriage bolts drop down. So I already got one of them started. This one's gonna be the exact same. This going to take one of these spacer blocks that has the offset square hole on it. Slide that on and then take a flange nut. And you wanna get these started hand tight as well. And then for the bolt that dropped down through the center of our truck bed, that's it here. I got the hardware on it. This one again is just an offset square hole spacer block and the flange nut. So now with the front rail loosely installed, we can position the back or the rear rail. And in order to do that, you're gonna need the base for your 5th wheel. So took that, locked it in, or just set it in to the front rails rather, then I took the back rail, just slid it into place until the 5th wheel base dropped in. And from there, once it's in, I took the back rail, pushed it back towards the end of the truck as far as I could. The front one, pushed forward as much as I could. Only move a little bit, if it all, but then what you need to do is make sure the back rail is centered. So just like we did the front, measure from side to side, make sure it's centered, make sure it's level in relationship to the edge of the truck bed. And again, once I found that spot, I drew my lines around it and then we can mark out the holes that we're gonna need to drill. So these attachment points are gonna be a little bit different in the front rail. And again, if you remember way back in the beginning when we started this, I mentioned about that exhaust hanger. This is where that's going to matter. So pay attention to that. But with that said, on the driver's side, we're gonna use the innermost hole here so four end. That one, as well as that one. And in terms of the middle attachment point, let's go around, we're gonna be using this one. So the middle one closest to the bed of the truck. And then if you come over to the passenger side, on the back portion of the rail closest to the end of the truck bed, we're gonna be using that fourth hole end and that fourth hole there. But for the front, for this side, you're gonna go in one hole. So you wanna use this attachment point there. So those are all marked out. I'll go ahead, get our base pulled up out of the way, move the rail out of the way and use that same exact technique to drill and enlarge holes and everything else that we did for the front rail. So I moved our 5th wheel base out of the way, as well as our rail. And just like we did with the front, take our pilot bit and drill out all these holes. So now underneath the truck, since each side is set up just a little bit different, we'll go through them one at a time. So we're on the driver's side. These are gonna be our attachment points that hold the frame brackets on. Again, they're threaded. So clean out the holes. This is where one of the holes that we drilled came through. And so you're gonna take your specific brace here and line that up. I do wanna mention this wiring was snapped into the frame. So again, you can just use a trim tool or flathead to pop that free, give us more working room. And we're just gonna line it up, line everything up to make sure it looks good, which it does. Definitely manageable here. So obviously this hole, we can't see because of our hat channel. And so there's something that we're gonna do here in a moment. They had lot to get hardware through there, but chances are really good. If this is lined up correctly, this one will be two. But while we're under here, let's go ahead and just take a quick peek at our passenger side frame plate. So over on the passenger side, this is our frame bracket. Again, those two holes line up with the two in the frame and there's the hole that we drilled through. So this lines up, so we're good there. The other hole that we drilled went into the hat channel and eventually we'll get to that as well. But for now let's focus on getting back up top and working on the driver's side. So back up in the bed, this hole here, the one that we we're talking about on the driver's side that goes into the hat channel, we need to enlarge this hole to 7/8 in diameter. And we wanna make sure just to go through this first layer of metal. You don't wanna go completely through with this size all the way through the hat channel. So I'm gonna use a whole saw. I just have a step bit that big enough, but if you have a step bit that large enough too, that will work as well so and gonna get this drilled out. For this hole, you're just going to enlarge it to the normal size here. So I'll do that now. And what we're gonna do eventually with this hole. So a tube spacer type deal is gonna drop in here and then we're gonna have to drill through the hat channel to the normal size that where bolt can go all the way through there. Issue is what I've done in the past is just tried to center it with our regular drill bit and drill it down through there, but it's usually hard to get right on. So what I think we might do is go underneath, get the frame plate loosely on, and then maybe from the bottom, drill the pilot hole up, that way we can come back up top here, see our pilot hole, make sure the bit's straight, get the final size hole created and get some of our hardware in. So underneath driver's side will take our bracket, frame bracket and line it up. It'll loosely secure it. So this time hardware's gonna be the same for each hole. It's a bolt, split lock washer, and a flat washer. What we'll do is we'll line it up with our hole there. And I'm just gonna tighten it down by hand enough to where this plate won't move. And then I can come back with my drill, take my pilot bit, and drill a hole right there in the center. That way we can see it from up top and we know where we need to drill. Make sure our drill comes out straight. So now back up top in the bed, looking down through that 7/8 hole that we enlarged, you can see our pilot hole and it looks like it is pretty straight. So I'll enlarge that pilot hole in the bottom now to the final size. So for the middle hole, as well as the two holes on the passenger side, we're simply just gonna enlarge those to the normal size that we have been using. Now that all the holes are drilled, I did come back and put some paint on the bare metal like we did before. So the one over here, the front driver's side where we made the larger hole, you're gonna take one of these tube spacers and drop that in like that. And then we can take our rail and get this lined up. For this hole, we're gonna take the long carriage bolt and drop that down. This one here, regular carriage bolt, and just like the other side, just spacer in there to fill that gap. For the middle hole, same deal, spacer, regular carriage bolt. And over here, this hole you're gonna take spacer block and your carriage bolt. Then this one's gonna be a little bit different. You're gonna have your spacer block. And then you're gonna take this bolt. That's just the regular hex head bolt, split lock washer, and a flat washer, and drop that down through. Underneath the truck aisle on the driver's side, let's see where our bolts are coming through. These are both gonna receive at least square hole. offset square hole, spacer blocks, and then a flange nut. Get that started hand tight. And for this one, it's the same deal, spacer block and a flange nut. For the bolt in the middle, that's where this is coming through. Just like the other one, put on a square offset spacer, and a flange nut. With this hand tight, we can move over to the passenger side. We'll slide our bracket into place and to secure it to the frame, same hardware combo, that bolt, split lock washer, flat washer. So I'll get both of these hand tight. And then while we're right here, we might as well get the hardware started on the other bolt too. For this one, this is gonna receive offset spacer and another flange nut. So now for that last bolt that we got, the one over here on the passenger side. If you remember one of them, we just used a regular bolt that's gonna drop through and be in this hat channel. And so what you're gonna have to do is take this handle nut that they give you and put that in there and have someone up top, turn the bolt to get this started, put a slight bend in it. And I like to just hold it with a pair of vice grips. It seems like it just makes it easier, a little more controllable. So I'll line this up and then have my buddy up top there, start to turn the bolt. And hopefully, we can get it started pretty easily. So got that handle nut and the bolt started. And here's just a better look at what it looks like once it's in place. So now that all of hardware is place and hand tight. What I like to do is put the base back in the rails. That way it'll just help keep everything square and prevent it from wanting to shift out of position whenever we go to tighten everything down. Back underneath the truck, now we can snug down all over hardware. We want to tighten up all the bolts first that are actually holding our rails in the bed, so the half inch hardware. Once those are snug, then we can come back and actually tighten down the bolts that are holding our side plates to the frame. So grab a three quarter inch socket and just run through and tighten everything down. And for the hardware holding the side plates onto the frame, we're gonna use the 19 millimeter socket and get all those snug. Once all the bolts are somewhat tight, you need to make sure to come back with a torque wrench and torque all the hardware down to the amount specified in the instructions. You wanna use that same tightening sequence that we just did. If you don't have a torque wrench, you can always grab one right here at etrailer. Or a lot of times, if you go to your local auto parts store, they'll have one there available that you can rent. At this point, I simply just reinstalled our heat shield, the opposite way that we removed it. And you could also raise your spare tire back into position and get that up and going. I'm gonna leave mine off for now, reason being I'm getting ready to do in-bed wiring. And it's a lot easier to work under here, obviously when you don't have a huge spare tire in your way. So that's what I would recommend doing. And I would also suggest grabbing that wiring, if you don't have it already. And that'll finish up our look at and our installation of the B&W above bed 5th wheel rails with the custom installation kit on our 2021 Ram 2500..


Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
Video by:
Andrew K
Employee Jonathan Y
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Employee Jeff D
Installed by:
Jeff D
Employee Joshua S
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Brent H
Test Fit:
Brent H
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee Ryan G
Test Fit:
Ryan G
Employee Bradley B
Test Fit:
Bradley B

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