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Old 02-23-2006, 09:57 AM   #1
nps
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Was looking at 5ers last night and measured under the unit while landed at 59". Measured my truck (a stock height 2001 Dodge 4x4 QC long bed) and the bed rails are at 59". So I'm thinking we need a few more inches, so I asked the salesman about ordering the axles flipped. He said that the axles are good up to a 62" bedrail heigth.

Any guidance from the experts on what is acceptable and how to determine if you are in compliance?
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Old 02-23-2006, 09:57 AM   #2
nps
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Was looking at 5ers last night and measured under the unit while landed at 59". Measured my truck (a stock height 2001 Dodge 4x4 QC long bed) and the bed rails are at 59". So I'm thinking we need a few more inches, so I asked the salesman about ordering the axles flipped. He said that the axles are good up to a 62" bedrail heigth.

Any guidance from the experts on what is acceptable and how to determine if you are in compliance?
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Old 02-23-2006, 10:32 AM   #3
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Conventional wisdom is that you want a minimum of 6" clearance between the bedrails and 5th wheel with 8" to 9" preferred. Can one operate with less - yes, until that first off-camber, sharply changing elevation entry to a service station. Been there, done that (with our first 5th wheel and a previous truck), paid the $780 bedrail repair initiation fee.

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Old 02-23-2006, 10:43 AM   #4
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Thanks Rusty - any way to predict if I can get to the 6" min without lowering my truck? Ever heard of this 62" height before flipping the axles rule?
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:50 AM   #5
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It really depends on the pin weight of the 5th wheel and how much the rear of the truck will sink under the pin weight. Mine probably drops 2" to 3" or so with a heavy 5th wheel, but mine is a 2WD 3500 dually.

With my rig, the truck sits level with the 5th wheel hitched up, and the 5th wheel is level to perhaps 1" nose high. When we bought the 5th wheel, we had to adjust the pinbox before leaving the lot to get 6" of clearance. If your truck is a 4x4, you might be challenged to get 6" clearance while keeping the trailer relatively level.

Do you have a 5th wheel hitch in the truck yet? If so, the easiest thing to do is hitch up to the rig you're looking at and see how everything settles out.

The 62" before flipping the axles rule would probably be somewhat trailer make-or-model specific since suspensions, frame designs, 5th wheel body designs, etc. will differ to some degree.

Let's see if one of the other Dodge folks jump in here with their experiences.

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Old 02-23-2006, 12:00 PM   #6
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Thanks Rusty. Was looking at an Alfa 5er. No hitch yet - was looking at a Reese Signature 18K but don't really want to put the $700 into it (plus carving up my bed installing it) until I'm sure of the totality of what I'm in for.
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Old 02-23-2006, 01:18 PM   #7
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granted my TV is a Ford, but when I hook-up I have about 7" at the front (closest to the cab) of the bed and about 4 at the rear. Once I drop the 5er onto the truck and it squats down, I have about 7" the entire length.
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Old 02-23-2006, 02:46 PM   #8
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NPS,

You are doing it right by trying to figure this out before making the purchase. I had a similar problem when getting my 5th wheel.

There are two things that need to be watched closely, one is the one you are asking about, the clearance. The other, and very important, is that the trailer is level while being towed down the road.

So not only do you need to have clearance between the bed rails and the bottom of the trailer but you have to do it and keep the trailer level at the same time.

Knowing this I find the salesperson's statement somewhat odd. In the level position the bottom of the trailer that is over the bed rails is at a fixed height above the ground. Any adjustment that needs to be made so that the king pin aligns with the hitch is done by moving the pin box up or down.

The only way I know that you can change the height of the trailer and keep it level is to use lift kits or flipping the axles.

Like you I have a 4X4 and it makes it tough to get the clearance you need and staying level. But the extra effort is worth it so that you are not causing premature tire failure (and all the damage that a disintegrating tire causes).

Hang in there and good luck.
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:31 PM   #9
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The next time you visit the dealer to look at that 5er, take about 4 concrete blocks and a couple 3'long 2x6's. Stack the blocks two high (might take more) above your rear axle (centered) and span them with the X's, leaving about a 4" space between them. What your doing is making a platform to lower the Er's pin onto.

Back under the 5er, line up the pin in between the 2x6's and slowly lower the weight of the 5er onto your truck. Make sure the 5er's wheels are chocked so it doesn't rock off your boards.

Just raise the landing gear about 1/2" off the ground and remeasure your bed rail height. Now you know how much it'll squat.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:40 PM   #10
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jperry - thanks for the encouragement. Definitely want to keep the tire load even and not put too much onto the rear tires.

Hitchhiker - great idea. Make a 5er hitch model without actually buying it.

I plan to get some airbags to limit the sqat on the rear end, but seeing if the 5er sits level without actually putting it on a hitch is a great idea.
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:49 PM   #11
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what is the proper way to tell if trailer is level once hitched.

mine looks a little nose high with new truck but want to know for sure


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Old 02-24-2006, 02:27 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">what is the proper way to tell if trailer is level once hitched. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I usually will find a couple reference points on the frame that are in a horizontal plane, one as close to the front as possible and likewise on the rear. Measure from those points to the ground. Any difference is an out of level condition.
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:20 AM   #13
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If rail height is an issue and it seems to be no matter the TV then sshhouldn't RV makes address this. Almost everyone I know with a 5er has to make some sort of adjustment to it to get a better clearance.
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