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Old 07-09-2014, 09:43 AM   #1
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Bed rail clearance with 4wd pickup

I just bought a 2014 Excel 31IKE and hope to buy a 2013 Ram 3500 4wd dually mega cab short box diesel for towing (2nd choice: 2013 3500 HD Silverado diesel dually extended cab long box). (Am buying 4wd to enhance resale value and “just in case”).

Both vehicles have a bedrail height of around 58” unloaded (might be a little less since the DRW's have 17” tires). The Demco pin box has a height range of 41.5-45.5”. Have any of you successfully leveled your newer fivers/ trucks and attained the minimum 6” bedrail clearance using the above scenario?


Will an axle flip, changing spring shackle holes, and maybe a 5th wheel tailgate be enough? Or will I need to lower the Ram or Silverado’s suspension? Can it be done at a reasonable price?



Thanks in advance for any advice!
David
Dover, NH
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
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Will an axle flip, changing spring shackle holes, and maybe a 5th wheel tailgate be enough?
A so-called axle flip does not literally turn over the axle. Instead, the spring perches are relocated from under the axle to over the axle , resulting in raising the trailer over 3". Your Excel probably has Dexter axles. Dexter makes a kit just for you:
Dexter Axle - Trailer Axles and Running Gear Components - Over/Under Conversion Kits

If "flipping the axles" doesn't result in quite enough lift of the trailer, then you can fabricate new spring shackles that will give you another inch or so of lift. But be certain the fabricator knows what he's doing. Lengthening the shackles means the shackles must be made out of thicker, heavier, stronger steel to handle the increased leverage of the longer shackles.

The tailgate has nothing to do with whether the trailer and tow vehicle are compatible. The only purpose of a 5er tailgate is so you don't have to lower the tailgate before you back under the kingpin, or pull away from the trailer after disconnecting from the 5er hitch.

Quote:
Or will I need to lower the Ram or Silverado’s suspension?
Lowering the truck on its suspension is the last resort, then only if the other fixes don't provide enough clearance between the top of the bedrails and the bottom of the trailer overhang when the level 5er is hooked up.

Quote:
Can it be done at a reasonable price?
No. Not by most folks' definition of "reasonable price". That's why it's the last resort.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:00 PM   #3
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Hi I recently purchased a Sierra toy hauler for my 2013 3500 ram 4x4 and ran into the same issue as you. My unit has 2 different height settings on the spring shackles. I ended up "flipping" the axles and mounting the springs on the high mounting holes. Then I adjusted the fifth wheel height to level my tow height, bed rail clearance is about 71/2 inches and rides level.
A bit of tinkerin' (depending on your skills) but not so difficult to attain.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:29 PM   #4
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Thank you for your replies!

The actual unloaded bed rail height of the 2013 Ram 3500 mega cab 4wd short box is 59" (not 57-58 as originally stated).

I talked with Excel today who confirmed 2014 Excel's come with the axles already "flipped" (meaning springs resting on top of the axles).

I asked Excel the distance between pavement and the fiver's overhang (when level) that sits over the truck bed was told 60". Does that sound correct? The 2014 31IKE is in Rapid City, SD, so I can't see it since I'm in NH headed to Oregon in early August.

As a newbie (and terrible at spatial relations!), I'm confused. With a 59" bed rail height and 60" from pavement to Excel's overhang, that sounds like just 1" of clearance. far from the minimum 6" needed.

Yet an Excel forum poster has a 34LIKR and similar stature truck and has achieved 10" of clearance just by having trailer spring mounts, pin box, hitch all in the middle. I fully admit my ignorance, and would greatly appreciate any further clarification or advice.

Also, does the type of hitch (5th wheel or gooseneck) and the brand make a difference re clearance?

Sorry to seem so ignorant , but I don't want to end up with a truck that can't tow my Excel !

Thank you again!
David L.
Dover, NH
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:19 PM   #5
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Don't forget that the weight of the fiver will push the suspension of the truck down a few inches which should be pretty close to your needed 6". You may have to adjust hitch up or fifth wheel pin down to get adequate amount. Also if fiver is only 1-2" high in front that is very minimal when you are talking spreading that over 35+' of camper.

Chad
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:54 PM   #6
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Also, does the type of hitch (5th wheel or gooseneck) and the brand make a difference re clearance?
No. All brands can be adjusted up or down to result in a level trailer front to rear. The problem when adjusted to have a level trailer front to rear is the clearance between the underside of the overhang of the trailer and the top of the bed rails needs to be at least 6". Mine is only 5", but I have bed damage as a result of crossing drainage ditches between the streets and the gas station/convenience stores.

DO NOT convert an Excel 5er to a gooseneck with an adapter. The gooseneck adapter puts a lot more leverage on the frame of the trailer, so Excel will void any remaining warranty on the trailer if you use a gooseneck adapter. The Excel was designed to use a fifth wheel hitch, so use a fifth wheel hitch .

If you need to tow both gooseneck and fifth wheel trailers with your truck, then install a B&W TurnoverBall gooseneck hitch for the gooseneck trailers, and add a B&W Companion 5er hitch for the trailers that have a kingpin. The Companion is available in a normal 5er hitch for pickups with an 8' bed, as well as a slider 5er hitch for shortbed pickups.
Companion 5th Fifth Wheel Hitch | B & W Trailer Hitches
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:57 AM   #7
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Some of us don't have option to "flip axles". We are 13'3" now. that would put us so high would be problem. Think my only option is another truck
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Old 07-17-2014, 06:28 AM   #8
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Thank you everyone for your replies and helpful advice.
David
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