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Gooseneck Trailer Hitch Installation - 2012 Dodge Ram Pickup

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How to Install a Gooseneck Trailer Hitch on a 2012 Dodge Ram

Today on our 2012 Dodge Ram 3500 Heavy Duty long bed crew cab well be installing the Hide-a-goose underbed gooseneck trailer hitch by Drawtite, part number 9464-35. To begin with weve already removed both of the dual rear wheels on each side as well as lowered the spare tire out of the way. Now to make things little bit easier were going to go ahead and remove the heat shield that goes around the spare tire to give us a little more access. There are a total of four bolts as well as one nut thatll need to be removed. Now with the heat shield out of the way, now were ready to go ahead and instead of just lowering the exhaust, we found its a little easier to just go ahead and unbolt it from the muffler and slide the whole rear section of the tailpipe out of the way. To get the tailpipe out of the way youll need to remove what looks like a small star washer off of the exhaust hanger.

To do this a pry bar or a large flathead screwdriver can help you work it off. Its also helpful to use a little spray lubricant as it will allow the hanger part to slide out a little easier from the rubber. Now with the exhaust set out of the way now well need to remove two plastic cover pieces that are in each of the wheel wells. To do this well use a trim tool and a Phillips head screwdriver. As you can see here there are two tabs that hold each side in place.

With each of the tabs removed you can lift up and itll slide out. Well also need to take the ground nut off that is on the drivers side. Now were ready to go ahead and put the crossmembers up into the frame area, but youll need to make sure that when you install them on the drivers side take the trim fastener tool, or body fastener tool, and remove a couple of the tabs that hold some wiring into place. Now to get both of these crossmembers in without cutting a notch in the side of the bed or lifting the bed up, you need to put the cross member toward the drivers side front first and then work it up into the passenger side rear. Once you have it in you can slide it back straight up against the bed rail.

Now were ready to do the front rail. To do this, you need to again put the drivers side front in, but this time youll need to kind of lift up the rear crossbeam as you will need the extra room to slide the front one in place. Before you put your side plates on you need to install four 5/8 Grade A carriage bolts into the square holes in your crossmembers. You need to do this now as once tilted up into place you will not be able to install them. Now were ready to put our side plates on.

You will notice that theres a right and a left side. The drivers side has the tab thats bent underneath towards the back and bends towards the inside. At the passenger side its the same way with the tab on the bottom that bends under and it bends towards the center again. Now when putting your side plates on the hole farthest to the front of your vehicle will go over your cross piece, and then on the rear section itll go over the second from the back on the top. Once you have the side plates set on the crossmember studs go ahead and put a 5/8 flat washer followed by a 5/8 lock washer and then a 5/8 hex nut just finger tight on each of the studs. Youll want to repeat this process for both the driver and the passenger side. With these loosely installed now were ready to install our u-bolts. On the drivers side, we need to make sure on the front u-bolt that we feed it in between the brake line and the frame before it goes into the holes on the side plate. Once we have it into position we use a -inch conical tooth washer and -inch hex nut, again just put these finger tight for now as you need to keep everything loose in case you need to make some adjustments. Now for the bottom hole youll see that theres a hole in the frame that it lines up with. On this one well be installing a 1/2-inch carriage bolt as well as -inch spacer block. To install this well use the fish wire technique. Youll fish the wire through the hole and back out the access hole in the frame. With that done youll feed the spacer block onto the wire and then thread the -inch carriage bolt onto that. Next well go ahead and pull the fish wire into place pulling the -inch carriage bolt down through the hole and side plate. Again, well be installing a -inch conical tooth washer followed by hex nut. Youll repeat this process for both the driver and the passenger side. Now that we have these parts loosely installed, now were ready to go ahead and measure and drill our hole in the bed of the vehicle. To do this depending on your bed size, youll follow the instruction and measure it from the rear of the bed and then find the center of the bed between the wheel wells. Once we have the center found and a mark made in our bed, well go ahead and put a small pilot hole in first. Then well use a hole saw as per the instructions. Now were ready to install our center section of the hitch. Now its a good idea to get an extra set of hands to help you hold this in place. Well go ahead and raise it up onto the four carriage bolts that we installed earlier in the crossmembers followed by a conical tooth washer as well as a hex nut. Well go ahead and tighten down the four nuts that hold the center section to the hitch in place. This will help bring the crossmembers up high enough so that they clear our side plates. Youll also want to make sure that the center section of the hitch is lining up with the hole that you just drilled in the bed. Now that were sure that the hole in the bed lines up with the hitch and weve got the center section tightened down, now we can go ahead and move over to our side plates and begin tightening down the u-bolts as well as the carriage bolt with the spacer block that we threaded into the frame. Go ahead and tighten each side down and torque it to the manufacturers specification. Next well go ahead and tighten down the four nuts that are on the studs that are on the crossmembers. There are two on each side. Again, well torque them down to the manufacturers specifications. Once we have these done well go ahead and torque down the four nuts that hold the center section or the head of the hitch in place, again torqueing to the manufacturers specification. Now that we have all the hardware torqued to the manufacturers specification, now we need to install the safety chain loops or the u-bolts that will be the safety chain loops. As you can see here, here are the holes in the center section of the hitch that well be using. Well want to go ahead and mark these and drill a small pilot hole up into the bed followed by a 9/16 hole back down from the top of the bed downward. Now with all of our holes drilled, now we can go ahead and make sure that the u-bolts line up. With the u-bolts put into place well go ahead and set a board or something heavy to help keep them in place while we go back underneath and put the washer, the spring, and the lock nut in place. Now for the lock nuts you want to make sure that theres at least three threads showing on each as you tighten them down. Now with all four of these tightened down now were ready to put the handle in place thatll allow you to pull the pin out that locks the ball into place as well as releasing the ball so you can flip it upside down or remove it. You want to first slide the red or orange handle section over the top of the metal handle. Then you feed it in from the drivers side between the bed and the frame rail lining it up with the slot in the hitch. Youll then put the spring clip in holding it in place. Now with the spring clip in you can see when you pull the handle out and then work it to the back itll hold it in the open lock position, and then to release it you just push it back forward and it will snap closed. Now with the handle pulled out and worked to the back itll stay in the open lock position. Now when inserting the ball you will see that theres a groove thats been machined out. You will need to make sure that that groove is towards the drivers side. When you slide it down into place then you pull the handle back and it will snap into place locking the ball in place. When not using the ball, again pull the handle out locking it in the open position remove the ball and flip it upside down again making sure that the groove thats been machined out slides in on the drivers side. Once the ball is dropped back into place go ahead and release the handle which will lock the ball down. Then you can put the magnetic cover over it to protect it, and with that now were ready to start reinstalling our vehicle. Well need to put the exhaust back on followed by the heat shield. We need to make sure that we reconnect the ground wire putting the nut back into place as well as putting any of the tabs that help hold the wiring in place back into the frame. Now when reinstalling the two center sections of the wheel well, or the plastic panels that we removed earlier, the passenger side is not a problem. That goes right back into place. The drivers side however we noticed that we were going to need to trim a small section out to allow the handle to work properly. To do this you can either use a set of tin snips or you can use a rotary tool. To put the panels back on youll slide the two hooks that are on the top of it into the grooves lining up the holes on the bottom and pushing the two push pins back into place, and finally youre ready to put your spare tire back up, and put your wheels back on. That will conclude the installation of the Hide-a-goose underbed gooseneck trailer hitch from Drawtite, part number 9464-35 on our 2012 Dodge 3500 Heavy Duty crew cab.