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Open Roads Forum  >  Towing

 > 5th Wheel Hitch Height - Will I have enough?

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Ladder107

Eastern Wisc.

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Posted: 10/11/10 08:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sadly, I don't follow this forum enough even though it is like the Bible for RV'ers in need and I've used it with success so often.

I need some advice! I want to pull a mid-size 5th wheel camper that I'd like to buy to replace my travel trailer of about the same weight. What concerns me is WILL I HAVE ENOUGH CLEARANCE BETWEEN BED RAILS AND BOTTOM OF BUNK AREA? I am pulling with a Silverado 1500 but I have standard size stainless bed rail bars on the bed rails...which obviously adds to the bed rail height. Are these going to be an issue in overall clearance? I am tempted to drive back to the dealer and ask to back under the used 5'er and see what kind of clearance I'd have given the known height of the hitch I'd like to buy maxs out at 17" high.

Sure would appreciate some thoughts.


- Kevin
School Teacher and Ph.C. (doctorate in Camping Science)
2010 Zinger by Crossroads 26RL TT w/ Equil-i-Zer
2006 Chev Silverado K1500 4x4 Ext. Cab
Curt Class V Hitch

crickeydog

Marietta, Ga.

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Posted: 10/11/10 08:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMHO: The unofficial clearance requirement between the top of the truck bed rails and the bottom of the 5'er's alcove is 6". That's what I have for a clearance and seemingly that's what most other 5'er folks have whom I've talked to as well over the years. In order to avoid contact between your truck bed rails and bottom of the 5'er alcove, you'll almost certainly have to lose your chrome rails.

Happy camping!!! See y'all down the road!!!


USAF RETIRED 1992 "EITHER LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUTTA THE WAY":
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ArkieVet

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Posted: 10/11/10 09:46am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

crickeydog wrote:

IMHO: The unofficial clearance requirement between the top of the truck bed rails and the bottom of the 5'er's alcove is 6". That's what I have for a clearance and seemingly that's what most other 5'er folks have whom I've talked to as well over the years. In order to avoid contact between your truck bed rails and bottom of the 5'er alcove, you'll almost certainly have to lose your chrome rails.

Happy camping!!! See y'all down the road!!!


X2


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powderman426

ohio

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Posted: 10/11/10 10:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When sitting at a traffic light, I always feel like my 2500 is sitting a lot higher than a 1500. It may not be a problem but I would check it out before removing the rails.


Ron & Charlotte
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I started with nothing and I still have most of it left

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Miles Away

Lebanon, TN

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Posted: 10/11/10 10:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ditto on the six inches. Your problem will not rear its' ugly head while towing down the road, but will when you are parking on uneven ground. You may find your truck tires are not on the same level as your trailer tires and suddenly, WAMO, the bottom of your upper deck and the top of your bed rails are doing battle. You will most probable have to remove the bedrail bars, but don't take our word for it, go to the dealer and back your truck under the fiver and measure for yourself before your close the deal.

On another note; I'm sure the salesman at the trailer dealership has assured you that your 1500 Silverado will be plenty of truck for your new rig. Remember he is a salesmanwho is likely to tell you what you want to hear to close the deal and probably has never camped or towed a fiver himself. So, if you are comfortable with the tail wagging the dog, go for it.

Best of Luck and welcome to the forum.


M & M On the road again!
2007 GMC 3500-SRW-Duramax-longbed-4X4
2008 Keystone EVEREST 348R 5th wheel
2002 SUNDOWNER gooseneck horse trailer


Umaxman

Nova Scotia Canada

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Posted: 10/11/10 11:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure if yours is a 4x4 or not but on my set up I only had about 4 to 5 inches of clearance which was not enough.
I flipped my axles on the trailer and gained a lot more clearance plus it leveled it better. I have a 24ft 5th wheel and would not go any bigger with my Silverado 1500 4x4 which has the full tow package

kaydeejay

SE Michigan, USA

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Posted: 10/11/10 12:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

6" clearance required - minimum!
Ditto on the "make sure your truck can handle a fiver" recommendation.
Very few 1/2 tons can handle the hitch weight of anything BUT a very small fifth wheel. I don't know what you mean by a "mid-size fifth wheel" but if it's over maybe 24' and/or 6000# you will probably be overloading your truck.
It's not what you can PULL (Tow rating) that will bite you so much as what you can CARRY (Remaining payload after you load the truck up with people, stuff and a hitch).
Do the math first so you don't end up with WAY too much trailer for your truck.
That, or you'll be trading for a 3/4 or 1-ton very soon!


Keith J.
1999 Sunnybrook 27RKFS Fiver.
2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD CC/SB/DA 2WD, LLY with LBZ air cleaner, 52 gal Titan tank, Bilsteins, Line-X, Westin steps, Prodigy, Retrax cover, 16K Superglide, 5th-Airborne pin-box, Multi-vex mirrors, TST TPMS.


andrewsmark6

Colorado

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Posted: 10/12/10 12:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The rails will need to come off.

Also, there are plenty of modest 5th wheels that can be towed with your 1/2T. Ours weighs 7000#, nothing is overloaded, and we love it.

Good Luck,
Mark


'08 Chevy K1500 long bed 5.3L / 4.10
26' Keystone-Springdale 5th wheel (7060# loaded, 1390# pin weight)

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