How To Install A Fifth Wheel Hitch On A Short Bed Truck

Most people nowadays won’t even think about towing an extra vehicle with their trucks, as it’s not regularly seen in modern times. However, in the early days, many people wished to live a life embodied by travelling with a fifth wheel.

How To Install A Fifth Wheel Hitch On A Short Bed Truck

Coincidentally, people still wish to use their RV for either frequent travelling or living. So if you belong in that group and don’t know how to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck, then this article will be of great help to you.

It might seem not easy at first. But, as long as you stick to the end of the article, I have zero doubt that you won’t learn how it’s installed correctly!

What’s A Fifth Wheel Hitch?

Before I continue explaining the topic at hand, I need to address, for some audience, what’s a fifth-wheel hitch. Have you ever wondered what’s it like to live or travel somewhere but in an unconventional way? Then, you’ve probably stumbled upon the therm fifth wheel hitch.

What’s A Fifth Wheel Hitch?

Modern people like to keep things as simple as possible. Because of that, only a handful of people nowadays believe that travelling and living on a fifth wheel is more convenient than staying all their life in one place.

So, with that out of our way, let’s first answer the question: “Is it possible to live in a fifth wheel?” .

Many controversies start to manifest among people whenever this question is brought up. But there is virtually no reason to believe that it’s impossible to live on a fifth wheel.

But, before you think about changing your life upside down with a fifth wheel, you need to understand a couple of things. First, I would say that it’s meaningless to even think about using a fifth wheel before learning everything about installing a fifth-wheel hitch.

As far as the main topic is concerned, there’s a good reason why some people believe that a fifth wheel hitch shouldn’t be installed on a short bed truck. But this is a common misconception among certain individuals that have a bad experience with short bed trucks.

Is A Short Bed Truck Bad For A Fifth Wheel Hitch?

Ironically, there aren’t any problems installing a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck.

But, before you decide to try your luck with that, you’ll need to know the two main differences between installing a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck and a regular or large-size bed truck.

Whenever you stumble upon the therm short bed truck, you’ll mainly need to think about a truck that has a bed shorter than six feet. Anything above that can be considered a regular or large-size bed truck.

The main difference between those two beds is that short bed trucks are ordinarily mounted on less powerful trucks with weaker engine capability. You probably see where this is going: mounting the fifth wheel on a worthless vehicle can prove troublesome.

But, this is also a common misconception. Regardless of how powerful your truck’s engine is – as long as the official manufacturer of that vehicle stated that installing a fifth wheel hitch is possible, then there’s nothing to worry about.

The second thing is the overall length of the truck’s bed. Some people believe that having a short-size truck bed can manifest some problems when it comes to fifth wheeling. The main issue comes in the form of maneuvering the RV mounted on the back of the truck.

Having a short-size bed truck is considered to be problematic when it comes to transporting a secondary vehicle on a fifth-wheel hitch. Fortunately, this is also an incorrect thought process, just like the previous statement.

But, all of the things that I’ve listed above shouldn’t even be considered in the first place if you don’t know how to safely install a fifth wheel hitch on a truck, regardless of how small or large it might be.

Luckily, the manufacturers of fifth wheel hitches do a fine job of explaining how to safely install a fifth wheel hitch on a truck.

Various manuals and guides can be found on the internet. But, whenever you order a fifth wheel hitch, the manufacturer will ship you the concrete manual to install that unit. That will always be beneficial, even to some of you who know how to install this unit.

How Many Hitch-Types Are There?

How Many Hitch-Types Are There?

Before I continue explaining the main topic, I need to address the fact that there are several different types of fifth wheel hitches. The main ones that proved to be the most reliable are the slider hitch and the universal hitch.

The universal hitch offers a double-edged sword situation: in most cases, people that aren’t versatile in traps will decide to buy a universal hitch.

Although there probably won’t be any issues with that – you should still go for a hitch that the official manufacturer of your vehicle stated to be compatible. Those pieces of information are easily accessible on the internet. But be prepared to dig deep if you own an older truck!

As far as the slider hitch is considered, people believe it to be the best one of the bunch. It’s easier to install and offers more security than the average hitch.

The Installation Process, Step-By-Step

So, how should you install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck?

install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck

The usual procedure should go like this: you should use your trusted meter to determine the exact dimension of the bed of your truck. This is extremely necessary for all of you that wish to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck, as the ergonometric should be as close to perfect as possible.

Find the most optimal position for installing the fifth wheel hitch on your short bed truck without jeopardizing other things that can be found in the truck bed.

On that note: regardless of how small your truck toolbox might be, it’s recommended that you dismount it whenever you need to tow a vehicle. When you finish determining the proportions of your truck bed – find the most suitable position for the kingpin of the hitch.

It should be positioned as close as possible to the centre of the truck bed – the axis shouldn’t be disrupted by the lateral walls of your truck bed. But, if your truck already offers a position for a fifth wheel hitch, you should follow those instructions.

The manufacturers know that better than us!

Place the brackets in the appropriate positions to be effectively mounted on the truck bed with a drill. It’s noteworthy that some fifth wheel hitches won’t force you to drill them in the vehicle. But if you wish to be certain that nothing wrong will happen, drill them in.

Slide in the rails into the brackets and remember to fix them together. After that, you should repeat the process for the top of the frame base until it’s all tight and solid.

The top and the bottom should be aligned perfectly at all times. If you see a problem with that, repeat the process. When you finish with that, drill a hole equal to the size of the kingpin on your hitch.

Continue to follow the guidelines by fixing the fifth wheel hitch apparatus on the rails. This might be problematic for some who don’t like to tighten the mechanical parts. But there shouldn’t be any problems, as hitches are built from heavy-duty materials.

When you finish with that, you should check again if the top side of the hitch is aligned with the bottom side. If it is, you can move to fasten the kingpin with the side gear of the truck frame and fix it with washers and screws.

It’s important to remember that all screws and washers should fit and connect perfectly. If you believe that one of them is loose – you should immediately replace that screw with a new one that’s compatible with the hole.

To Sum Up

Learning how to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck is unavoidable for all of you that wish to use an RV regularly. Of course, the learning curve will differ from person to person. But everyone can learn how to install it properly.

Depending on how knowledgeable you are about installing the fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck, it will probably take four hours to finish the job. Don’t get stressed if it takes you longer than that.

Remember that safety on the road should be the number one priority for you. It takes on the wrong step for everything to go bad. Check at least three times whenever you finish with one of the steps listed above. Have a nice and safe ride!

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