Fifth wheel RVs are large, bi-level units that are the biggest of the towable class. They can be quite spacious, with some having extra room in the rear for hauling smaller vehicles (ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles or similar).
Larger and heavier than a travel trailer, a fifth wheel is easier to pull, park, turn, hitch and unhitch. Because a travel trailer hitch extends out from underneath the tow vehicle’s bumper, the sway is harder to control and towing a travel trailer also can be harder on your truck.
A fifth wheel hitch is set up differently. It's installed inside the bed of your pickup truck over the rear axle and is held in place by rails anchored to the truck’s frame. This distributes the weight of the fifth wheel across the suspension system which minimizes sway and tows more smoothly. Heavier loads can also be towed more easily over longer distances.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Fifth Wheel Hitch
Fifth wheel hitches come in various sizes appropriate to the weight of your fully loaded fifth wheel (gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR). Your fifth wheel trailer and fifth wheel hitch must comply with the weight limitations of your tow vehicle. (Check your owner’s manual or with your dealership to confirm your truck’s towing capacity.) It’s important never to use a hitch that’s rated for less than the GVWR of your trailer -- and don’t pull a fifth wheel that’s too heavy for your truck.
Truck Bed Length
A full 8’ bed accepts a standard fifth wheel hitch while a short bed requires a special sliding hitch that can be adjusted to allow the RV to slide back toward the tailgate when turning. This avoids a costly and dangerous collision between the nose of the fifth wheel and the truck cab. Be sure to select the correct hitch for the length of your bed.
What do I need for a complete fifth wheel hitch set up?
In addition to the hitch and rails you’ll need a hitch lock, brake controller, towing mirrors and if necessary, a fifth wheel tailgate with a notch to accommodate the trailer head.
Can I install a fifth wheel hitch myself?
If you have the know-how, tools, and skills you can certainly install your own hitch. However if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, you can always have it installed by experienced professionals.
We can help you select the right fifth wheel hitch for your vehicles.
Contact us for further information.
By Julie T
Tips on Selecting a 5th Wheel Hitch