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Old 12-29-2011, 02:53 PM   #1
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newbie hitch ?'s

Hi all,
Just bought a '98 dodge dually that has fifth wheel rails in the bed.
I don't have a fiver yet.
so ...the question is will these rails be good for me to go out and shop for a used hitch ?
Must i match the rails to the hitch ?...if so how ?
In shopping for a used hitch...should i just go for the biggest rating hitch I can find ? or wait till i have the trailer to get a hitch ?
I know nothing about hooking up a fifth wheel or the hitches. I have towed bumper pull TT's for years though.
thanks,
Joe
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:14 PM   #2
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When it comes to safety I believe in overkill and personaly would not buy a used hitch because I want a hitch that I'm sure is safe and sound. As far as size goes, for me, I think bigger is better just for peace of mind when it comes to safety. My 5er grosses out at 16K but it scales out at about14,900 when loaded and I have a Reese 20K hitch. That gives me about two and a half tons safety margin so I don't have to worry about overloading my hitch. I can't help you out with the rails--anything I would tell you about them would just be a guess which is just useless information.
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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If they are the typical univeral rails, there are numerous hitches that should fit right on those rails. The rails are the cheapest part anyway. Before using them, I would have all the bolts checked to make sure everything was tight and properly connected to the mounting brackets and the brackets to the Frame. I guess I too would be careful of a used hitch as someone could have been towing something that greatly exceeded the hitches capacity there by weakening the overall hitch. Best of Luck
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:00 PM   #4
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Since you have the rails in the bed, I would sgjest a new hitch. If you get new, you know for sure it will perform as it should. You can buy a new 20k online for around $450 for a Curt Q20.
Happy travels.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daydreamer36535 View Post
so ...the question is will these rails be good for me to go out and shop for a used hitch ?
If they go across the bed then they're probably the Reese/Drawtite/Hidden Hitch "universal" installation kit.

For most 5er hitches, the install kit is sold seperate from the 5er hitch. Here's one:
Reese Universal Rail & Mounting Bracket Kit 30035

If that's your rails, then you can buy any Reese, Drawtite, Curt, Valley, and a few other brands of 5er hitch and they will fit right into those rails.

But I agree with those that warn to be leary of used 5er hitches. I'd go for a new one - preferably a Reese. If your 5er has a GVWR of 16,000 pounds or less, then I'd get the Rreese 16k:
Reese Reese 16K 5th Wheel Hitch 30047

Do not buy the Reese 15k or the cheaper "pro" series because they aren't nearly as easy to hook up to the trailer. The Reese 16k has 4-way tilt and the 15k does not.

If your trailer has GVWR of more than 16k, you'll probably be overloaded when on the road. But if it does, then Reese also has the 5er hitches rated for more. Here's the 22k:
Reese Select Series 22K 5th Wheel Hitch with 7-Way Wiring Harness 30033

Quote:
Must i match the rails to the hitch ?...if so how ?
Ask any hitch install shop to glance at your bed rails and tell you if they are the Reese/Drawtite universal rails. If they are, then you're good to go. If not, then you must find a hitch to match the rails, or else install a new install kit for your new hitch.

Quote:
In shopping for a used hitch...should i just go for the biggest rating hitch I can find ? or wait till i have the trailer to get a hitch ?
First, determine the GVWR and GCWR for your truck. Then load the truck with passengers, tools, pets, your "stuff", whatever will be in the truck on towing trips. Then go to a truckstop that has a CAT scale, fill up with fuel, and weigh the wet and loaded truck.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GCWR to determine the max weight of any trailer you can safely tow without being overloaded over the GCWR of the tow vehicle.

Subtract the weight of the wet and loaded truck from the GVWR to determine the max hitch weight you can carry without being overloaded. Divide that hitch weight by 20 percent to determine the max weight of any fifth wheel or gooseneck trailer you can safely tow without being overloaded over the GVWR of the tow vehicle.

The lesser of those two trailer weights is the max GVWR of any trailer you want to consider. If your max trailer weight is less than 16,000 pounds, then buy the Reese 16k hitch. And find a trailer with a GVWR less than that max weight.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mhs4771 View Post
Before using them, I would have all the bolts checked to make sure everything was tight and properly connected to the mounting brackets and the brackets to the Frame.
In your post you said that you're new at this so I agree with the post above about checking those rails for proper installation. I'd bring your truck to a reputable hitch dealer and have them check the rails. Ask them what hitch will fit those rails. Then you can search for the best deal on a hitch you know will fit your truck/rails. Also, if you buy a hitch before you buy a 5er, then get a 20K hitch. That will handle any 5er you might buy.
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:43 PM   #7
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RBW and Reese bed rails look the same????? are they the same? I would like to replace my RBW hitch but do not want to replace my bed attachment
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:40 AM   #8
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RBW and Reese bed rails look the same????? are they the same?
I'll bet RBW used the "universal" bed rails, also called the Reese bed rails. But to be certain, go to any hitch dealer that carries Reese/Drawtite hitches and be certain a new Pro Series or Select Series will plug into your bedrails.

BTW, Reese makes other series fifth wheel hitches, Elite Series and Signature Series, that will not work with the universal bedrails. Instead, they use under-the-bed bedrails. The Elite Series is now a factory option on new Ford SuperDuty trucks.

Before you go to the dealer, determine the exact model and price of the Reese/Drawtite hitch you plan to buy. If a Reese hitch will plug into your bedrails, then tell that dealer the price he has to match if he wants to sell you the hitch. Most will match the internet prices of eTrailer.com or Reese-Hitches.com, but sales tax and freight charges may cause the delivered price to be different.

Apparently, RBW Industries was bought out by AL-KO Kober Group (the trailer axle people), and Al-Ko no longer sells the RBW Liíl Rocker Fifth Wheel Hitch System. So info on it is limited.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:09 AM   #9
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Also be aware that your rig has a towing capacity. There are table on the net that will advise you what the tow capacity of your particular model is. Check that out before you buy a 5er thats too big. Years ago I bought a F350 and was shocked to learn that the older models do not have the towing capacity of the newer trucks. Be informed before you make the big step of buying your first 5er.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:14 AM   #10
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I just snuck a quick look at the tow capacity for Ram 3500 for 1998 and its shows as 10700. Thats not much.
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Old 01-09-2012, 08:38 AM   #11
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I just snuck a quick look at the tow capacity for Ram 3500 for 1998 and its shows as 10700. Thats not much.
That's apparently the tow rating of the "big V8" 440 CID gasoline version of the Dodge?

In 1997, Ford had a "tow rating" of 10,200 (GCWR 16,000) for the F-350 DRW CrewCab with stick shifter and 460 CID gasoline engine. Even more pathetic if it had the 351 CID gas engine, the tow rating was only 7,400 (GCWR 13,000) for the same truck. But that went up to 13,800 (GCWR 20,000) for the same truck with the diesel engine.

So your point of paying attention to the specs of the truck you're considering is valid. All Dodge 3500s of the same year are not created equal.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:11 AM   #12
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That's apparently the tow rating of the "big V8" 440 CID gasoline version of the Dodge?
Dodge didn't offer a 440 in a 1998 3500. Gasoline engine choices were the 360 CID V-8 or the 8.0L (488 CI) V-10 that used 360 architecture with 2 cylinders grafted on and a 0.300" increase in stroke. We had one of the V-10s in a 1996 3500 - it wasn't a bad towing engine for a gasser. Ours was dead reliable, but man did it suck the gas when towing!!!

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:36 PM   #13
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RBW and Reese are the same rails. Confirmed by Reese. RBW is a cheap, poorly engineered hitch and is out of business. DO NOT buy RBW
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