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Fifth Wheel Installation - 2012 Dodge Ram

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How to Install a Fifth Wheel Hitch on a 2012 Dodge Ram


Today on our 2012 Dodge Ram pickup we'll be installing the Curt custom fifth wheel installation kit, part number c16420-204. To begin our install first note we've already gone ahead and lowered and removed the spare tire and both rear wheels. Next we'll need to remove the heat shield. To do this there are a total of five fasteners that will need to be removed. We'll go ahead and remove the fasteners, and set the fasteners and heat shield aside to be reinstalled later. Using the measurements provided with our installation kit, we'll be taking the rear base rail and set it into position.

Now, once we have it centered between the wheel wells, we'll go ahead and double check everything. Then using a yellow highlighter, or yellow paint pen, we'll go ahead and mark the center of each hole and then use a center punching hammer. Next using a 1/8-inch bit, we'll go ahead and pre-drill each one of the holes, and then verify that our pilot holes are in the correct location with the rear bracket and hardware. Now, that we've verified the rear base rail is in place as per the measurement instructions, measuring from center to center, and making sure the front base rail is even inside the wheel wells, we can then go ahead and make our marks for our attachment points using our paint pen. We'll use our center punch and pilot bit to make the original holes.

On the front base rail, we'll go ahead and use the front bracket to verify that the hole is drilled in the proper location and that all our hardware will fit. Once we've completed this, we're now ready to go ahead and enlarge each one of the attachment points. We'll use the step-bit process enlarging the bit as we go. Note, as were pre-drilling and opening up our attachment point holes on the forward row of the rear base rail, you'll need to make sure you drill all the way down through the hat channel. Now with all the holes drilled out were ready to go ahead and install the lower brackets starting with the rear bracket first.

With the bracket in position we'll feed the u-bolt around the frame and secure it loosely with the conical tooth washer and nuts. While installing the u-bolt for the rear bracket on the drivers side it will be necessary to relocate the manufacturers wiring. To do this we'll simply remove the hold-down fasteners that secure it to the frame. This will give us enough room to install our bracket and u-bolt. We'll set the bracket into position, and then install the u-bolt, conical tooth washer, the teeth of the washer facing the bracket, and then the nut to secure it.

Now with the bracket secured, we're ready to go ahead and install the 4 1/2 inch carriage bolt, spacer tube, and then secure it with a conical tooth washer and nut. To do this were going to take our pull wire and attach it to the carriage bolt. We'll feed the pull wire down into the hat channel and out the end of the hat channel. Here we'll go ahead and slide on the spacer tube and feed it up into the hat channel. Note: Some applications, you'll need to open up the lip between the hat channel and the edge of the bed. By simply using a pry bar we'll just go ahead and make enough room to slide the spacer tube into position. Then we'll go ahead and take the open end of the pull wire and feed it out the attachment point hole going through the bottom of the hat channel. Once we do that we'll go ahead and pull the pull wire into position pushing our spacer tube into place in the hat channel lining it up with the carriage bolt and out the bottom access hole. Then we'll install the conical tooth washer and nut. Now we're ready to go ahead and install the rear base rail second row hardware. This will be a carriage bolt that goes down through the base rail, through the bed, through the u-shaped spacer block that will compensate for the bed corrugation, and then through the rear bracket. We'll secure that with a conical tooth washer and nut. Next we'll need to install the carriage bolt and block into the frame coming out the lower portion of the bracket. Using the 1/2 inch pull wire provided with our install kit, we'll go ahead and take the pull wire, feed it through the end of the frame where we have open access. There we'll slide on the block and thread on the carriage bolt. We'll then slide the block and bolt into the frame and pull them into position. Once again we'll go ahead and install our conical tooth washer and nut finger tight just to hold the bracket in place. We'll move to the forward bracket and base rail hardware. Note: To install the forward bracket on the drivers side you may need to relocate the manufacturers ground. To do this we'll remove the ring terminal from the ground stud. To install the forward bracket well put the bracket into position and once again install the u-bolt around the frame securing it with a conical tooth washer and nut. For the second row of the forward base rail, we'll again be using the 1/2 inch carriage bolt, u-shaped spacer block, and be securing it with a conical tooth washer and nut. For the front row we'll be using the 1/2 inch carriage bolt that will go down through the base rail, through the u-shaped spacer block to take up for the bed corrugation, then the square hole spacer block, a split lock washer, and nut. Once we have all of our hardware in place installed finger tight, we'll then go ahead and take our fifth wheel assembly and set it into position making sure that we can set our fifth wheel into our base rails. Once we've verified this, we're now ready to go ahead and tighten it down. We'll start with tightening the base rails to the bed, and forward and rear brackets. Keep in mind with this process, each step we do to one side will get repeated identically on the opposite side. We'll go ahead and reinstall the manufacturers ground. It may be necessary to bend the ring terminal tab out so that it can sit flat to the frame, and then use a self-tapping screw to reinstall it near its original location. Once we've tightened everything down, we'll then torque to specifications as indicated in the instructions. Now with everything secured and torqued to specifications, we'll go ahead and reinstall the wiring that we removed earlier on the inside of the drivers side frame rail. We'll go ahead and reinstall the heat shield. With that we'll go ahead and reinstall the spare tire and both rear wheels. Now we'll go ahead and show you how to use the new Curt Q20 fifth wheel trailer hitch with dual jaw, part number c16130. To operate the fifth wheel hitch we'll first need to set it into position onto the base rails and lock it into place with the pins and safety clips. Then we'll go ahead and open up the jaw. To do that we'll remove the safety clip, open up the clasp, and pull towards the outside of the drivers side bed rail to open up the jaw. We can then lock it into position by pulling it fully open and closing the clasp. Then to close the jaw we'll unlock the clasp of the handle and let it retract. This will then allow the spring-loaded jaws to snap closed once they're pressed by the force of the kingpin. Then once the jaw is closed we can go ahead and close the clasp on the handle and rel-ock the safety pin, and we're ready to tow. And that does it for the install of the Curt custom fifth wheel installation kit, part number c16420-204 in conjunction with the Curt Q20 fifth wheel trailer hitch dual jaw, part number c16130 on our 2012 Dodge Ram pickup.


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Info for these parts were:

Installed by:
Jeff D
Video Edited:
Joshua S
Test Fit:
Nicholas E
Video Edited:
Chris R
Video Edited:
Zack K
Video by:
Andrew K

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