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How Much Clearance Needed Between Bed Rails and Bottom of 5th Wheel Trailer Overhang

Question:

I am wanting to buy a PUMA 5th wheel trailer and pull it with a 2013 2500hd Chevy. The tail gate height is 60 and the cab over height is 60. My question is on a 6 1/2 bed what clearance do you need from the bed rails and the bottom of the cab over. I will need to lift the trailer but by how much.

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Expert Reply:

We recommend that there be at least 6 inches between the bottom of the cab overhang and the top of the truck bed rails on your 6-1/2-foot bed truck. Anything less than this bare minimum could result in contact between the truck and trailer when driving on hilly roads where the nose of the trailer is still going downhill and the rear of the truck is heading uphill.

My research on the PUMA indicates a pin weight of 1026 lbs and a dry weight of 6910 lbs. I cannot say exactly how much rear end sag you will experience; there are many factors at play. The actual fully loaded trailer tongue weight will be more than the dry pin weight (but I do not know by how much!); water and propane tanks, supplies, etc will affect pin weight. The particular suspension on your truck will affect how much sag you experience, as will any aftermarket rear axle suspension kits, such as Timbren springs.

The best way to estimate the sag is to place 1100-1200 lbs of cargo weight in the bed centered over the rear axle (to simulate the pin weight) and measure the height drop at the rear bumper. This will not be exact but it should get you into the ballpark.

According to the makers of weight distribution systems the maximum out-of-level trailer geometry that is acceptable is 1-inch. However, any out of level condition will reduce your trailer-to-truck clearance, either at the front of the bed rails or at the back.

Lifting the trailer suspension will result in a higher center of gravity and can adversely affect the trailer handling quality. We do not recommend this.

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