Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch Installation - 2006 Dodge Ram - Curt

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How to Install a Fifth Wheel Trailer Hitch on a 2006 Dodge Ram


Today on our 2006 Dodge Ram Pickup, we'll be installing the Curt Custom Fifth Wheel Install Kit, part number C16420-204. To begin our install we'll first go ahead and raise the vehicle and remove the rear wheels. Now, with our rear wheels off, you'll notice the spare tire is also missing on this application. If yours is still in position, recommend to go ahead and lower and remove it to gain more working room underneath the vehicle. Next, we'll need to relocate the manufacturer's wiring harness on the inside of the frame rail to allow for our brackets and hardware. To do that, we're just going to use our trim panel tool and pop the fasteners free that hold it to the frame.

In this application there's a total of 4 fasteners and we'll also be compensating for the air line. Next, we're going to put the rear rail in position. For a short box bed like this one, we'll be 26 3/4" from the end of the pickup bed. It is very important to measure it out and make sure that you're parallel to the end of the pickup bed and even from side to side. Next, we're going to drill out the second row attachment points. In accordance with the rail, it will be the inside hole of the 4 possible outside attachment points.

Quick tech tip, to keep it straight I'm going to go ahead and use a paint marker to mark the attachment points. It also helps me to find the center of the attachment point. We're ready to drill out the attachment points for this application. Because we have a spray in bed liner, using a center punch is not as effective as if it we're just a painted bed surface. If you have a painted bed surface, it is recommended to go ahead and center punch your attachment point and then drill it out. For this application we're going to use an 1/8" bit as a pilot for our attachment points.

Note most 1/8" bits are not long enough to go all the way through the pickup bed and then through the hat channel. If that's the case, you may need to move up to an extra long 1/4" bit to go down through your attachment points including the hat channel underneath the pickup bed. Now, with our holes drilled out we're going to go ahead and move back underneath the pickup bed, take our rear brackets, set them into position, and make sure that our pre-drilled holes that go through the pickup bed and the hat channel line up with the bracket. Here's our pre-drilled hole. Here's our driver's side side bracket with the 2 attachment points that go to the inside of the frame rail.

The taller one goes to the rear of the vehicle, with an additional attachment point both at the bottom of the frame and side of the frame. Go ahead and slide the bracket into place. Now, as I hold the bracket in position tight to the hat channel in the frame, you can barely see our pre-drilled hole in the window. Our pre-drilled hole is going to have to move closer to the rear of the pickup bed approximately 3/8" in order to fall inside the slot that we can get our hardware in place. In a perfect world, our pre-drilled hole would have landed here in our hat channel, so we'll need to relocate our pre-drilled hole. Now we'll move back into the pickup bed and repeat the same process of drilling out our attachment points. Once we've drilled the second set of attachment points, we'll again move underneath, put our brackets in position, and verify that they line up with the slots of the bracket. We'll now go ahead and re-position the rail back over our attachment points. Note, that will be the second set of attachment points that we drilled out so that it better suited the hat channel and bracket. Now, with our rear rail in place, we're going to put the front rail in position 22" from the center of the rear rail to the center of the front rail. We'll center it in our pickup bed and we'll draw out our attachment points for row 3. Once we have our pilot holes drilled out, we'll move underneath the vehicle, hold our brackets up to the frame and make sure it lines up with the attachment points in the bracket. Now, we'll take our front bracket, we'll set it up on the frame and line it up with our pre-drilled hole and the attachment point. Now, once we've verified that our rails line up with our brackets and attachment points, we'll go ahead and drill out the remaining attachment points for both rails. Now, with all our pilot holes made, we'll use a step fit process to open them up to their final size of 9/16. Next, we're going to move underneath the pickup bed, put the rear frame brackets into position, then install a U-bolt, 1/2" conical tooth washer and nut to loosely secure the frame bracket into place. Now we'll install the conical tooth washer, the teeth of the washer facing the bracket, and then our nut. Just install our fasteners finger tight at this time. Now with our passenger's side installed, I'll repeat the same process on the driver's side. Next, we'll take the 1 3/4" carriage bolt and 3" by 1 1/2" large spacer block. We're going to feed them into the frame using the 1/2" bolt leader provided with the install kit. Then, once we pull it down through the frame through the bottom of our rear bracket, we'll secure it with a conical tooth washer and nut. We've already got our hardware in position, we'll have to slide the carriage bolt and block into the frame. You can use the pre-drilled hole in the bottom or the side. However, you'll need to enlarge it slightly so that we can get our block into the frame. Using a round bit on a drill, we're going to hone it out just enough so we can get our block in place. You could also use a file or a drill bit and drill out a small section so that your block will fit. Now once we have it large enough to get our block in place, we'll go ahead and take the bolt leader, go through the attachment point and out the access hole. Feed the block into the frame, the bolt following. Once we pull it down through the bracket, we'll go ahead and remove the bolt leader and install the conical tooth washer and nut. Keep in mind the teeth of the washer will face the bottom of the bracket. Now, with our passenger's side done, we'll move over to the driver's side and repeat the same process. Next, we need to install the support collars into the hat channel for our rear rail, second row attachment points. The support collar will sit inside the hat channel and once it's tightened down, won't allow the hat channel to be crushed. To make it easier to get it in position, use a bolt leader or pull wire that's provided with the install kit. You can feed the pull wire through the attachment point in the pickup bed, through the collar, then down through the hat channel and bracket. Now, once I've fed the pull wire and collar into the hat channel, I'm going to push it past the attachment point where I can grab the pull wire with a pair of pliers and pull it down through the bottom of the hat channel and the bracket. Now, when settling this collar, it actually made it a little easier on me in that I didn't have to feed my pull wire through the bottom of the hat channel or bracket. As I would push the collar into the hat channel it stood right up against the bottom of the pickup bed and then I just used a pry bar or pliers to push it into position. Now with the passenger's side done, we'll move over to the driver's side and repeat the same process. Now we've got the lower bracket hardware on, then we put the shoulders into the hat channel. We'll re-position the rail back over our attachment points and put our hardware in place. For row number 1, closest to the end of the pickup bed, we're using the 1/2" carriage bolt, 1 3/4" long. Then for row number 2 that goes down through the hat channel, we'll use the 1/2" carriage bolt 4 1/2" long. Now, I'm going to need a little persuasion here on the longer carriage bolt here for the driver's side. I'll just use the soft side of my hammer to tap it in place. Now, to secure the 4 1/2" carriage bolt, we'll be using the 1/2" conical tooth washer and 1/2" nut. For the front row fasteners, the 1 3/4", 1/2" carriage bolt here, we're going to use the same fasteners only we're going to add a U shaped spacer block around the bolt between the bracket and the bottom of the bed so that it will compensate for the bed corrugation and doesn't get smashed as we tighten down our hardware. Once we get our U shaped spacer block in place, we then install the conical tooth washer and nut. Again, we'll install each of our fasteners finger tight until we have them all in place. Now, with the passenger's done, we'll move over to the driver's side and repeat the same process. Now we're ready to put the front rail back over our attachment points. Before we put the rail in place, I'm going to go ahead and set my U shaped spacer blocks into position. This will prevent smashing the bed corrugation when we tighten down the hardware here in the front. Next, using our fifth wheel head or slider, in this case, we're going to set it into position on top of our rails to help square up the rear to front rail. Now with the slider unit in place, we're going to go ahead and take the pins and put it in position. We don't need to install the keepers as we will be taking it back out, but this will help to line up the front and rear rails with each other. We'll go ahead and position our front bracket on the outside of the frame with our U bolt going from inside out to secure it with our 1/2" conical tooth washer and 1/2" nut. Again, we'll just install our fasteners finger tight this time. With our passenger's side installed, I'll move over to the driver's side and repeat the same process. Now, with our front brackets in place, for the third row through the bracket, we'll go ahead and take our carriage bolts, drop them down through the base rail, through the pickup bed and for the front row, we'll simply go down through the pickup bed where we'll secure it with additional fasteners. Now, for the fourth row, front rail, closest to the cab, for fasteners that just go down through the base rail and then through the pickup bed, we'll install a block, split lock washer, and then a nut. Here on the passenger's side, you'll also need to work around the shock tower. For our third row fasteners, we'll have a conical tooth washer, teeth facing the bracket, and then a 1/2" nut. Move over to the passenger's side and repeat the same process. Now we're ready to start tightening down our fasteners. We'll tighten down the carriage bolts that go through the pickup bed and our brackets first. After we tighten those down, we'll then tighten down the fasteners that secure the brackets to the frame. Once we have all the fasteners tightened down, we'll then go and torque to specifications a indicated in the instructions. Keep in mind when tightening and torquing our hardware, each process we do here on one side, we're going to repeat identically on the opposite side. Now, with all the installed fasteners secured and torqued to specifications, we're going to go ahead, pull our pins, take our slider unit out, and re-install it to make sure it lines up nicely. Now we know we've got a good fit and our pins go in nice and easily, let's check and make sure that the unit will slide. We'll pull our handle out, lock it, and then slide it. Now that we know our slider is operational, we'll need to install 2 more fasteners. They're going to go on the rear edge of both base rails in the dead center. We'll install an additional 1/2"carriage bolt that will go down through the U shaped spacer block, through the pickup bed, and then get fasteners underneath. We'll need to drill it out. Again, we'll use a small pilot bit and then open it up to a 1/2" size. Now with the hole drilled out, we'll slide our block in place and drop our carriage bolt in position. Now our fasteners will get a spacer block, split lock washer, and a 1/2" nut. We'll repeat the same process for the second rail. Once we have our hardware installed finger tight, we'll go ahead and run it down, then we can torque to specifications as indicated in the instructions. Now, with all our fasteners installed, secured, and torqued to specifications, we can go ahead and re-install the wiring harness and air lines that we removed earlier. Now, with our install complete, we can go ahead and re-install the rear wheels and we're ready to hit the road. With that, that's going to complete the install of the Curt Custom Fifth Wheel Installation Kit, part number C16420-204, on our 2006 Dodge Ram Pickup 2500. .

Info for this part was:

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

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