A large selection of fifth wheel hitches to meet your every need.
Fifth wheel hitches provide a way for a pickup truck to haul a much larger and heavier trailer than would otherwise be possible with just a ball hitch mount. This is made possible because the 5th wheel hitch is located in the bed of the truck instead of on the bumper or rear frame. The added weight pressing down on the bed of the truck is between the cab and the rear axle – not on the rear bumper as with ball hitches.
If you’ve looked closely at a big rig’s hitching mechanism, you’d notice that a fifth wheel hitch for pickups is really no different: Basically the hitch is made so that two large, flat plates are pressing together – one attached to the tow vehicle and the other plate attached to the trailer. Because these two plates are in constant contact with one another, there must always be some grease present between them.
So how are they connected?
With a “king pin.” This is a downward facing pin that’s connected to the trailor and rests on top of the 5th wheel hitch plate. The king pin is locked into postion so that it’s secure but it is free to pivot as the vehicle and the trailer negotiate turns.
How about the cost of a fifth wheel hitch?
Generally, the heavier the weight rating of the hitch, the higher the cost. We’re talking around $500 for a smaller “budget” hitch to over $3000 for top-of-the-line models that have better bearings, sliding hitch features, and other heavier attachment hardware.
Can you install one yourself?
First off, regardless if you decide to install one yourself or get a professional to handle it, make sure that your tow vehicle can handle the extra weight. This can normally be found in the owner’s manual. After you’ve learned your pickup’s bed weight rating and any other pertinent info, you have two choices:
You can purchase a universal, ‘one size fits all’ fifth wheel hitch installation kit or one that’s customized for your vehicle. Obviously the latter would be a better choice, but it will cost more.
…But if you’re ready, willing and able to get the universal mounted one to work for you, great. Just be aware that you may have to do some welding and other customization under the truck bed.
Yep, the the custom kits are definitely the way to go, and many require no drilling or welding – with the holes in the brackets lining up with pre-existing holes in your vehicle’s frame.
Other things to consider:
Your plastic bed liner will have to come out, but a spray-on liner is fine. (The plastic will eventually wear out where the fifth wheel hitch is bolted and become loose.)
Fifth Wheel Hitching checklist:
It happens: Oops! You pull forward while leaving your fifth wheel landing gear down, or you drop the trailer onto your truck bed because you forgot to lower your fifth wheel’s gear first. Using a checklist will eliminate many expensive mistakes:
– Raise or lower the 5th wheel trailer to set the king pin to the correct height.
– Lower the tailgate of your truck (unless you have a special tailgate).
– Open the locking bar on the hitch.
– Back your truck under the trailer and engage the king pin of the fifth wheel.
– Secure the locking bar on the 5th wheel hitch.
– Test the hitch connection by merely putting the tow vehicle into drive gear.
– Connect the breakaway switch cable & umbilical cord.
– Check trailer lights & brakes.
– Raise the p/u tailgate.
– Raise the landing gear of the 5th wheel trailer.
– Remove the wheel chocks.
The fifth wheel unhitching procedure is basically a reverse of the hitching procedure. The main thing is to never be in a hurry! Take your time and do it right, otherwise you will make a mistake.
Further reading :The Best Reese Weight Distribution Hitch