Find Out Answer: How To Install A 5th Wheel Hitch?

Meta: Are you wondering “how to install a 5th wheel hitch on your truck“? That’s why we are here to give you the answer. Follow us to find more info you need!

A fifth wheel is a type of coupling device that connects a vehicle with a trailer. Its basic function is to facilitate ease of turning and evenly distribute the load. A fifth wheel is especially useful when dealing with heavy payloads.

If you are thinking of installing one, let’s take a look at our article to know the details. We will step by step help you understand “How to install a 5th wheel hitch”.

What Are Fifth Wheel Hitches Good For

As mentioned before, drivers use a 5th wheel hitch to haul large trailers and campers. It is the leading coupling device that connects the semi-trucks or tractor-trailer rigs. The fifth wheel can be larger and heavier than the normal ones.

It does wonders for weight distribution or eases turning for larger payloads. Due to the stability and security that the fifth wheel hitch can create, people often use it in logistical and transportation roles.

You also see them pulling large campers because it can speed up the campground and make your travels smoother.

Related Reading : Best 5th Wheel Hitch Reviews – How To Choose The Best Fifth Wheel Hitch

How To Install A 5th Wheel Hitch: Step-by-step Instructions:

As you have to keep everything exact and safe, our advice is that you should buy a complete fifth-wheel hitch kit for your process.

There are also information and some provisions in your owner’s manual. You also need to understand your vehicle you are using. Consider the shape and size to choose the best-suited fifth-wheel hitch.

Step 1: Prepare the space

First of all, remember that due to brackets and rails, a 5th wheel always requires access under your truck bed.

It also depends on the specific hitch; it would help if you remove a heat shield and some other parts out of your truck. Read the instructions carefully before starting the process.

Step 2: Locate the base rail

In this step, you need to measure the distance from the head of the truck bed correctly. Let’s locate the base rail so that it is nearest to the truck cab position and consider the length. However, the distance of long-bed trucks can not be similar to short-bed ones. 

Position the front base rail

Step 3: Drill a pilot hole and others

After having a correctly positioned base rail from the previous step, locate the bolt hole position for the rail and use a paint pen to mark. 

Next, mark the center drill location to pinpoint accurately where you should drill, and it will help take the drill not wander. Finally, you only need to drill the pilot hole that goes through the location.

Position the wheel under-bed temporarily, based on the location of the pilot hole. Align the frame with the hole, and drill the remaining holes. Repeat the same steps as drilling the pilot hole above to end this step.

Drill holes

Step 4: Handle the bolt holes

Drill the pilot holes carefully until they have an appropriate size compatible with the bolts hole of the fifth wheel rails. We recommend you use some coating paints to cover leaked metal edges. These coatings will help protect the edges and prevent corrosion. 

Step 5: Attach the fifth wheel legs

Firstly, reset the base rail in the appropriate locations under the truck bed. When the rail is in position, through the holes, you set the bolts and fix them with some nuts.

Secondly, install the fifth wheel hitch at an appropriate height. It requires a minimum of 5-6″ height difference between the truck bed rails on your truck and your trailer. 

How to find exactly the height of your process? Well, park your trailers on a flat surface. Start to measure from the ground to the bottom of the king pin plate and the head unit of the trailer’s tailgate, respectively. Then, subtract the latter to the former, and you will have the needed height.

Thirdly, look for the correct holes that correspond to your fifth wheel with a necessary height. There are vertical adjustments for most fifth wheel hitches that you should make fixed by using the bolts. 

However, to connect with the leg bolt holes in some wheels, it is good to remove your head plate. It would help if you also had a 5th wheel slider in case you have short-bed trucks.

Step 6: Position and drill holes for the rear wheel-rail

You may need one person to help you lift the fifth wheel well into the right place while setting the legs into the previous base rail. 

Positioning the second rail is quite easy if you based the leg anchors on the fifth wheel hitch to find the location. Make sure the rear wheel-rail locates in the center of your truck bed and between wheel wells.

Next, use the paint pen to mark the drill points, punch and then drill the pilot holes—process other stages like step 4 to finish.

Step 7: Install bolts and finish

Put the fifth wheel hitch into the right position and install the bolts through the holes. They will pass through and secure the base rail, the truck bed, and the bed brackets. With some fifth wheel hitch, there are some requirements about extra both in both rails.

Fasten the bolts with nuts and keep them under the truck bed. Use a torque wrench that has the appropriate size to tighten the bolts. Then, you are good to go!

Final Words

That is all the steps that we introduce you on how to install a 5th wheel hitch. It is quite a hard and multiple-step process, but you can do it yourself. As long as you have a needed hitch kid, proper equipment, and the instructions, there will be no problem.

After our article, we hope you can install a fifth wheel and save some money.

Further Reading : Installing a Fifth Wheel Hitch

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