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Old 07-20-2019, 02:07 AM   #1
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Bed length for 5th wheel

This will be my first 5th wheel, and I've heard several theories about bed size for pulling 5ers. I'm purchasing a 2005 Dodge 3500 quad cab. I would like to have a standard bed. I've been told I'll have trouble clearing cab. I'm looking at a 32 foot trailer, so I'd appreciate any advice on this matter. Thank you all in advance.
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Old 07-20-2019, 04:43 AM   #2
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If you have a long bed, no issues. If you have a short bed, you will need a slider hitch that allows you to back and turn without knocking out your rear glass. They make manual and automatic sliders. The difference being you either have to get out of the truck prior to backing and unlock the hitch or it does it for you when you start to back up. The nose design on some 5ers are done in an attempt to make them more "cab friendly". But you still the the correct hitch for your bed length. The length of the RV will make no difference.
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:37 AM   #3
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There are a couple of items too consider with the tow vehicle. First is this a dually or single wheel truck? What is the bed length specified for that truck your are looking at? Is this your first diesel engine vehicle and does this have a manual or automatic transmission.

Now I tow with a 2008, 6.7L Cummins with the 68RFE auto, Ram Mega Cab truck that has a 6'5" bed (short bed). I have had two different hitches in this truck, using standard rails to mounted the hitches. My first hitch was a 16K Reese manual slider hitch which I replaced with a 18K Demco Auto Glide hitch. This is an auto sliding hitch which has taken me a couple of trips to get use to. The hitch is constantly moving when you make a turn and when you back-up.

When making a turn you need to make this turn little wider than with a manual sliding hitch. The manual sliding hitch is in a fixed position until you release the hitch to a maneuver position, which locks it in place than. So, the king pin is always in the same position since the hitch is locked in one or the other positions. With the auto slider hitch the hitch and king pin are allowed to move as required to facilitate the maneuver, but may or may not travel the full distance away from the cab.

I do like the auto slider hitch but it just takes time to learn how they work when towing.
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:26 PM   #4
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One of my trucks is a '03 2500 Dodge/Cummins quad cab short bed (same truck as yours) .
I pull a older '97 11200 lb 5th wheel trailer with a very flat front profile and square front corners. I have a manual slider however its not used much although I like to use it while backing. With the slider all the way back it puts the pin 11" behind the trucks rear axle for less steering input while backing.

Some of the newer trailers have the rounded/notched front corners eliminating the need for a siding hitch or a long bed truck.

Manual sliding hitch
auto sliding hitch
Reese Goosebox with a regular hitch
Andersen hitch system (40-60 lbs)
Reese Sidewinder system

We can't tell you what you need without the truck/trailer particulars. Work with your RV dealer but do your own home work on your combo needs.

GM truck have a longer C/A (cab to rear axle) than other truck brands eliminating the need for a sliding hitch in most cases. Lots of players/options in choosing a hitch for short bed truck.
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Old 07-20-2019, 05:46 PM   #5
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I don't think a Chevy/GMC has a longer short bed clearance than either Ram of or a Ford. I blow out a rear window on my Chevy Silverado when I forgot to put the manual slider to maneuver position with a 318SAB Cougar.

In my humble opinion a slider should be used if you tow with a short bed truck!
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:58 PM   #6
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cab to rear axle (C/A)
GM...41.26" per GM online specs
Ford...39.9" per fleet Ford specs
Ram...36.7" per Ram Body Builders guide specs.

GMs longer C/A dimension doesn't mean all GM trucks don't need a sliding hitch.

Many short bed GM owners say they don't need a sliding hitch ...or if they have one the slider is never used.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:16 AM   #7
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We pull with a short bed truck and a Reese goosebox hitch. Never had a problem.
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:01 AM   #8
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Loosing 2 feet of in bed storage is enough for me to justify a long bed.
Think long and hard about what sorts of jobs you may not be able to do between the two. Hauling full sheets of plywood with the tail gate up, way more stuff to the dump, not to mention a bit better ride.
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:13 AM   #9
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I have pretty much the same truck except a long bed. 98% of the time you won't need a sliding hitch. However, I would like to have the option to slide the hitch rearward for the other 2%. When you are backing a fifth wheel for a tight turn on uneven terrain, the clearances change, and things happen. You may be preoccupied at getting the trailer in the site and forget to monitor clearances.

Before you decide, Google the Blue OX Super Ride hitch. It can be easily disassembled for removal, has shock cushioning (important), and can be hinged rearward when you need it. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:03 AM   #10
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As long as you have a newer 5th wheel the short bed will be fine. We have pulled ours with a short bed for years and turned very tight corners with no problem. Most people who say you have to have a slider hitch or a long bed havent actually pulled a newer 5th wheel with a short bed.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:30 PM   #11
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Hitch

I have personally seen a new (3 months old) 5er blow out a back window on his truck. This was his 2nd time to do this. He decided he did need an auto slider after this.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:28 AM   #12
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I have an Andersen ultimate hitch on my 14 Megacab. Ive had the trailer past 90 with no contact issues. My fiver is new, and has the scalloped nose, so that also helps.
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Old Yesterday, 08:01 AM   #13
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Everything is dependent upon math, money and some research by you. First off, find out your weights... this will give you a ball park for the fiver. Second, research the hitch types you would like to use. Brazillions of options, but due diligence here is your friend. You will also need some basic numbers handy. Figure out where the hitch will sit using the install instructions (found online during hitch research) and measure approx hitch center to window, to inside of bed side, hitch center to inside tailgate... then you will take your measuring tape to the dealer lots and measure from kingpin to farthest point out on radius of front cap. This will help you determine what your turning radius will be with a specific hitch and trailer. Of course you really need to make sure you have the brand and floor plan narrowed down to within your budget, weight and length... there are so many ways to approach the problem at hand, just take your time, do the homework and you should be on your way to enjoying a fifth wheel you love!
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Old Yesterday, 08:48 AM   #14
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Our next door neighbor showed me two dings and said he broke out the rear window of hid QUAD CAB, STANDARD BED Ram. Said he got lazy and did not use the slider hitch. He told me that his next truck WILL have an 8 foot bed.

Personally, I will have nothing less than an 8 foot bed while pulling a 5er.

Ken
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