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Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch Installation - 2014 Ram 3500 - Curt

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How to Install a Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch on a 2014 Ram 3500


Today, on our 2014 Ram 3500 we're going to be taking a look at, and installing, the Curt custom 5th wheel installation kit, part number C16426-204. Here's what it looks like with our Curt Q24 installed. It works well with these but it will also work well with other manufacturers. As you can see, with the rails installed, it's nice and easy to remove the hitch and also reinstall it. Here's what these 5th wheel rails look like, once they're installed in the truck. These 5th wheel rails are going to provide nice, heavy duty mounting points for your 5th wheel hitch. One of the nicest things about these rails is that they're compatible with various other 5th wheel hitches, such as Draw-Tite, Reese, Husky, or Valley.

They feature this nice black carbide finish that's going to help protect them and give you years of durable use. Another nice thing about these rails, is that in order to attach them to the frame, there's no drilling required because they come with custom mounting brackets. These rails are going to provide you with a great attachment point for your 5th wheel hitch. And they're going to be a little bit easier to install than the universal rails with universal brackets. What I like most about these rails, is it does give you that nice, heavy duty carbide finish which provides a clean look.

It's also going to give you the lasting use that you need. Now, let's show you how to install it. First thing we did to begin our installation is we went ahead and removed the spare tire from the truck, so that we'll have plenty of room to work underneath the bed. Now, in the bed of the truck, what we'll need to do, is we'll need to take measurement from the end of the bed and we'll measure, according to the instructions, the distance that's going to be to the back of our rail. I'll put a mark there. Then, once we've made that mark for the correct distance from the end of the bed, we'll need to measure flange to flange to ensure that our mark is centered.

Now we'll take our rear mounting rail and put it into place. Then you want to line it up with your mark here. We'll measure from the rear edge of the bed to the rear edge of our rail to make sure that it's the correct distance on both ends of the rail. Now you can use a center punch, or a marker, and, with your rail squared up, you want to mark the holes that you'll need to drill out. On both sides, we'll be using these holes that are closest to the center line of the truck and also the center hole that's on the rear of the bracket. Now we'll take our rail and set it out of the way.

Now we'll drill through the holes on each side on the rear section of the rail. I'm going to use an 1/8 inch bit as my pilot bit. When you drill, you want to be sure to check underneath that there's nothing you may potentially damage like electrical, fuel, or brake lines. We'll repeat that process for the other side. Then on the driver side, we'll take the rear bracket, that goes to the frame, and the spacer, that goes on the back side, and we'll test them to make sure that the hole on the top of the shock tower, that we'll be putting a bolt through, lines up with the hole for our rail that we just drilled. The reason we're doing this is to make sure that they properly line up. Because if they don't, you may have to adjust the location of your pilot hole just a little bit. That can happen because of the thickness of the bed liner. Now, we can drill out the pilot hole for the remainder of our holes on our rear mounting rail. Now we'll begin drilling out our holes, stepping up drill bit sizes until we've reached our final size. Keep in mind, on the front side of the rear mounting rail, these holes you're going to have to drill both through the bed and through the hat channel that's underneath. In order to gain full access, up underneath here on the passenger side, we're going to need to remove this heat shield. In order to remove this heat shield there will be a 10mm nut and bolt, both on the back side of this cross-member. Then on the inside of the frame rail, on the passenger side, there will be two more 10mm bolts. Then, that heat shield will come right down and you can set it off to the side. Now, we'll lower the exhaust down a little bit. We need to remove it from our rubber isolators, the exhaust hangers. I'll use a little bit of spray lubricant, just to help ease with the removal. Then you can use a pry-bar. Then, we'll move up to the one in front of the rear axle. That will give us a little bit of room to move our exhaust. Now, the hole we drilled out through our hat channel. From the underside of the bed, we'll need to drill that out to the size indicated in the instructions so that we can fit the pipe spacer up into that hat channel. Then we'll repeat that for the other side. Now we'll put our rear rail back into place, with all of our holes drilled out. Then, we can begin putting our hardware down through. For the three holes, that we drilled out on the rear side of our rail, we'll put through these shorter half inch carriage bolts. For the holes on the front side of this rail, we'll be putting these long half inch carriage bolts through because these have to go down through that hat channel. Now we can place our front rail in. We want to measure, according to the instructions, to make sure that we've got the distance correct. Once we've got the distance just about right, it's not a bad idea to grab your 5th wheel hitch and put it in, just to make sure that everything is going to line up properly. With the 5th wheel hitch we're going to be using, set in place, in the front rail, I'm gonna mark the holes that we'll need to drill out. Keep in mind, we'll be using the same holes on the other side of the rail. Now, we'll take out our 5th wheel hitch and then move our front rail so we can drill out our holes. Now we'll take our front rail, and put it back into place. Then we'll take five of our shorter carriage bolts, and insert them through each of the holes we just drilled. Now, we'll take our U-shaped spacers and put them around our carriage bolts. If the carriage bolt goes through the low part of the bed corrugation, then we'll need to put it on top beneath the rail. But if it goes through on the high part of the corrugation, we'll need to put that U-shaped spacer underneath the bed, so that it doesn't collapse that corrugation and risk crushing the bed. Then we'll do the same thing for the three carriage bolts on the rear rail that don't go through the hat channel. Now, we'll reinstall our 5th wheel into the rails, to make sure that it stays lined up properly when we tighten up from underneath. Now, we'll take our tube spacer and slide it around our long carriage bolt that comes down through the hat channel. We'll need to slide it as far up as we can. Then we'll take our driver's side rear bracket, making sure that you have your spacer plate on the backside, slide it up into position, get both of your carriage bolts through. Then we'll need to take our U-bolt and take it from the outside of the frame and get it into the holes on our bracket. Then we can use half inch flange nuts and we'll begin installing them onto our U-bolt. Then we'll install flange nuts onto our two carriage bolts. Then we'll have one more long carriage bolt that we need to use. Then we'll also need our 1 1/2 inch by 2 inch single square hole spacer. We'll put that over our carriage bolt, and then we'll feed it through the outside of the frame rail to come through this hole here. If that carriage bolt, when you're trying to feed it through, is very close to lining up but you're not quite able to push it through by hand, you can tap on the head of it, on the outside of the frame rail, with a hammer just to get it to go through. Once you've got it through, you can take another half inch flange nut and get that started. On the passenger side, we'll need to do that same thing with the pipe spacer. We'll get our bracket up into place and install our U-bolt. Now we can begin installing our half inch flange nuts onto our U-bolt and then onto our carriage bolts coming down through the bed. Now, I can take one of my other four square hole spacers, put it up underneath that center carriage bolt on the rear rail and install my flange nut. Then we'll repeat that process for the front brackets. The only difference being, that the U-bolts will go from the inside of the frame to the outside and you'll be attaching the bracket to the carriage bolt that comes through on the rear side of the hat channel. Then, for all of our carriage bolts that won't be attached to a bracket directly, we'll be using a square hole spacer and a flange nut. Next we'll begin tightening our hardware that secures the rails up top to the frame brackets underneath. Next, we'll go through using our 3/4 inch socket and we'll tighten all the hardware that isn't attached to the brackets, that tightens our rails to the bed. Then we'll tighten up all of the hardware that tightens our frame bracket to our frame. Now we'll use a torque wrench and go around and fasten all our hardware in the same order we tightened them, according to the specification listed in the instruction. Next, we'll begin reinstalling our exhaust. Then we'll reinstall our heat shield. That's going to complete our look at, and installation of, the Curt customer 5th wheel installation kit, part number C16426-204, on our 2014 Ram 3500.


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