Are you having a hard time maneuvering your rugged tools and equipment?
In addition, are you still figuring out how to install your fifth wheel hitch to your short bed truck without wasting your reserved time and resources?
If your answer is a yes, then you need to look at the steps again.
You may also think that installing a fifth wheel hitch to a short bed truck needs an ample amount of your required resources, time, and effort. Well, if you are thinking that way, then this article will prove to you that it is not valid.
This is mainly all about the steps and some other tips that you need to know that will help you save in your installation. Make sure to read this until the end so that your remaining queries and confusions will be off!
Slider Fifth Wheel Hitch
Slider fifth wheel hitch is a creative solution for towing problems that you may encounter when in a trip. However, you must know that slider fifth wheel hitch are what is suitable to be attached to short bed trucks.
It easily slides to adjust to every truck turn. It can even turn up to 90 degrees before turning back to its original place in every maneuver. Slider fifth wheel are the answer to the right weight distribution and security of the hitch being attached to the truck.
Fifth Wheel Hitch on Bed Truck Maintenance Installation
What are the tools needed?
- Marker (Or anything that can help you mark something)
- A drill bit set (assorted)
- Tape measure
- Socket set
It would help if you took note that fifth wheel hitches and short bed trucks usually come in a variety. With the differences, you can always choose the kind and type of tools that you will use.
However, put into mind that the designs are of the same purpose. Fifth wheel hitches give you the ease to affix the frame of your truck that you place above the axle and trailer pin.
To know more, let us begin with the steps.
How to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck?
Do not think of this seriously but at least find this thing as a recreation as well! Sweat may pop out of your pores but well if you enjoy and are attentive enough, then your sweat will never be a waste.
Step 1: Settle what you need
Did you ever experience that your wheel goes flat because you forgot to check on your wheels before you start your road trip? That is for sure, a pain in the head. That also happened because of the too much thrill that you felt.
Therefore, before you put your hands on the tools and the hitch prepare the tools and all of the essentials that you need. Please do not jump to a reason that you forgot a thing for it would be such a waste of time.
Step 2: Do the measurement
- For you to have more space for the installation, remove the spare tire.
- Next, measure the distance from the rear edge of the truck and mark the exact distance. Do not be confused and never start from the side of the tailgate. The measurement of the length for short bed trucks will be 36 inches from the side of the truck. After finding the exact length, mark it. On the other hand, for the long bed trucks, the range will be 56 inches from the edge of the truck.
- Double-check your measurements. Never proceed to the next step if you did not check it twice. Just be specific with the things that you will do.
Step 3: What to do with your mounting brackets
- Put the mounting rails in the back of the bed and make sure that you place the rail at the center, on the truck bed/box floor.
- Your measurements are essential, and losing them would be a disaster. Also, look if the rail placement is between the weld seams of the truck (at the center). You can do such a step with the use of the tape measure in checking the right distance.
- Once the rail is already in place, mark the points of attachment and then remove the rail. The attachment points referred are the holes that you can see on the rails. The next thing to do is to punch the marks at its center and drill it to make a hole.
- Check the attachment of your mounting bracket under the truck bed and assure that it fits the holes in its exact place. After checking, continue punching and drilling the remaining marks or points to make a hole at the back of the bed truck. Make sure to double check the attachment by placing the mounting bracket again under the bed truck. It is also a good idea to enlarge the holes for your attachment. You can apply this!
- Now you can affix your mounting bracket using the bolts and locks that you have on the frame by placing it on its position underneath the bed truck tonneau cover. Once done, you need to repeat the steps on the other side of the truck, either left or right. You can do it!
Step 4: What to do with your mounting rail
- Lay one of your mounting rails on the truck bed where you set the drilled holes. In between the rail and truck bed, put a ‘u – shape spacer’. To let the rail stay in place, insert bolts through the spaces of the rail and the truck bed. You know, dealing with shaky stuff will never give you ease so this must be a tip provided for you. Now you need to go under the truck and fasten the rail to the mounting brackets at their attachment points.
- After securing under the truck, you can now position the legs of the fifth wheel to the rail.
- Measurement is a big deal in taking steps. That is why you need to be confident and sure enough that the mounting rail is at the center of the truck bed/box floor. Through this, the fifth wheel will have a firm grip to the truck, and this will better help you in placing the rail in its proper location. Mark the attachment points of your second set of holes right after measuring. Also, of course, you need to do these on the two mounting rails that you have.
- Remove the two mounting rails and the fifth wheel from its place even if it is still unassembled. Then proceed with the four markings from the second set of holes by punching the marks and by doing the drill. Like the previous step, it will be a good use if you enlarge the holes for accessibility and if you try to apply a rust preventative paint.
- Place the mounting rails on the truck bed again and fit the bolts to the four attachment points.
Step 5: Installation of the rail
- The next step to take is about attaching the rear rail from underneath the truck bed. By doing it, you should know where to place your truck’s heatshield and ultimately put it off.
- Use a u-shaped spacer to connect your truck bed and brackets to attach them entirely to the rails. One of the suggestions that you can surely use is by fastening the bolts with a hex flange nut. If you did it, then it is time to repeat the process to the remaining attachment points that need to finish.
- Spot the middle most of the rails and then do the drill. Never forget to enlarge and deepen the holes as well as applying the rust preventive paint.
- For the rails to be intact, you need to place bolts through each attachment on the rail. Going underneath the truck bed again, fasten the attachments with your spacer and a hex flange nut. For more ease, do not tighten it beforehand. Instead, you can place a u-shaped spacer to the attachments until it is fixed. Well, never leave attachments without securing it first.
- Before stopping for the day, clean up your mess and then say to yourself a little hooray! Also, do not forget to put the spare tire in its place again.
Installing a Fifth Wheel Hitch on Bed Truck Without a Liner
Do you know that it is best to install a hitch without a liner? The rails that is responsible in supporting the hitch should not be attached with a liner. Bed liners are no longer necessary especially when the brackets were installed the right way.
You may find this interesting: How to remove a truck bed by yourself?
Installing a Fifth Wheel Hitch on Bed Truck With a Liner
This process of installing is only applicable if your liner is a spray-in kind. You can attach the fifth wheel hitch on top of it right away. You can also use the drop-in kind of liner only if you cut down so that the bed rails would be able to have a direct contact with the truck bed.
Without the trimming, even though you are confident that the connection is strong, eventually, the plastic liner will break down and disintegrate. It will cause to loosen the hitch and would impose a risk.
Fifth Wheel Hitch on Bed Truck Maintenance
Just like taking care of any car, the fifth wheel hitch is pretty much the same. The most important care that I already call a routine is the daily checking of the hitch parts.
Make sure to keep designated parts lubricated and ensure that nothing is missing. I have made it a habit to eye on anything that I see loose and tighten it all down. There should be a scheduled maintenance for at least once every six months to ensure it will work accordingly.
You see, all may be too technical. However, if travel and adventure is your passion, you will get the hang of it in no time. Maintenance and installation will go hand-in-hand and it will be like a part of your day.
Hope this article can help you in installing a fifth wheel hitch on a best tonneau cover. If you find shared information is helpful, do not mind to share with your friends.
I am Dave McCurdy I am the content developer on the ecodrivingusa.com website. I have 6 years of experience in marketing as an automotive major.