5th Wheel Hitch With Maximum Height for Most Trailer-to-Truck Bed Rail Clearance

Question:

I am a first time fifth wheel owner. I have a 2016 Ram 3500 4x4 MegaCab. The height of my bed rails is 59. When I measure the fifth wheel Im purchasing at level it is 57inch from the ground to the bottom of the front area top of the pin box and 11inch down from there to the pin. I have not purchased the hitch yet. I have factory puck system and 64inch bed. My concern is that I dont know how much squat Ill get when I hitch up. The pin weight of fifth wheel is 2600#. If the fifth wheel already sits 2inch below the top of my truck bed rails 57inch vs 59 how am I supposed to get 5-6inch of clearance and not have the fifth wheel be really nose high. I cant imagine Ill get more than 2-3inch of squat. The dealership says not to worry itll work out but they cant explain how. Please advise.

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Expert Reply:

Thank you for the photo of your 2016 Ram 3500's bed rail which sits 59-inches above ground. You are correct that the recommended minimum clearance between a bed rail and the underside of the trailer's overhang is 5 to 6-inches, as shown in the linked diagram. Since your trailer sits lower than your truck you'll need some height adjustment to tow safely.

By chance is your truck lifted? Lifted pickups are not ideal for 5th wheel towing for the reason you have already discovered. Even some non-lifted trucks can be tough for 5th wheeling if they have very large tires that bring the bed height up.

5th wheel hitches vary in their height range. You can select a hitch with a higher maximum height setting to provide clearance at the bed rails, but this will also require adjusting the position of the trailer pin box on its mounting wings, and also possibly lifting the trailer suspension with an over-under kit like # K71-385-00. The hitched trailer must be level. Lifting the trailer helps with leveling but it does raise the trailer's center of gravity, which tends to degrade handling by allowing more side-to-side motion.

With the trailer level, your ground-to-overhang distance should be no less than 5-inches more than your ground-to-bed rail distance. Please feel free to tell me the distance from the ground to the bottom of the trailer overhang when the trailer is level.

5th wheel slider hitches that fit your Ram 3500's factory puck system are shown on the linked page. Those with the greatest height come from Curt, such as their 16K hitch # C16521, which mounts in drop-in adapter # C16022. This provides up to 21-1/2-inches height above the bed floor.

If your Ram 3500 is a dually you will probably see little squat, say no more than an inch. SRW trucks might sag up to 2-inches, but this depends on whether your 2600-lb pin weight is the dry pin weight or your loaded pin weight.

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Adam R

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