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Old 02-16-2013, 05:32 PM   #1
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New to 5er's, height questions

This has probably been covered here before, but here goes. I posted the following on another forum, it may be better asked here.
I'm looking at new Toy Haulers. My '12 3500 4x4 sits 58" high at the rear of the bed. I measured the height of a Cyclone today at an RV show - it was 60 inches. It looked to be sitting level. I know I want to be as level as possible when towing to distribute the load evenly between axles. My truck is sitting at the stock height and I have no plans to lift it any. I am new to 5th wheels - what is an acceptable clearance between the trailer and the sides of the bed? How do I achieve this? Install a lift kit on the trailer? Are some trailers made taller than others? I realize the truck will squat slightly when hooked up, I have air bags and plan to keep the truck level. What are your experiences with this stuff? Do I just need to shop for a trailer that is tall enough? It seems to me that this should not be a problem with a stock height truck. Like I said, I'm new to 5th wheels, all the trailer salesmen know is that their trailer is bright and shiny! They have no answers at all. I guess they might be stupid questions on my part, but I need to get my ducks in a row before I drop some big bucks on a new Hauler. Any input would be greatly appreciated. The axles on the Cyclone were already on the bottom of the springs, so flipping them would not be an option. Is there some other built in adjustment on these things? Thanks, Tim
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:50 PM   #2
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I believe most pin boxes have a few inches of up/down adjustment.
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:07 PM   #3
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Yes, but wouldn't that just raise up the front of the trailer? I know these things gotta be as level as possible. I'd need to lift the whole trailer straight up. I think the frame or floor should be as level as possible?
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:00 PM   #4
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Yes, trailer should be level when hooked up. sounds like whole trailer needs to go up, and RV show people may not be the most helpful. I have never dealt with a dealer, so do not know how willing they will be to raise the trailer. If they dont what to talk, try another dealer.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I am new to 5th wheels - what is an acceptable clearance between the trailer and the sides of the bed?
Most say 6 inches. I've "got by" with 5", but the top of my bedrails were dented where I had trailer to truck contact when crossing big dips or ditches. If you plan to off-road on the really rough stuff, then most advise 8" clearance.

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How do I achieve this? Install a lift kit on the trailer?
That's the usual way. You must either raise the trailer while keeping it level front to rear, or else lower the truck. The most common way to raise the trailer is to move the spring perches from under the axle to over the axle to gain about 4".

The easiest way to lower the truck is to replace the pickup bed with a "hauler" bed, or a flat bed (platform or stake bed) with very short sideboards, if any. Like this Chebby with a Western hauler bed:


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Are some trailers made taller than others?
Yes. Newer 5ers are more likely to be designed with more clearance for today's taller pickups.

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I realize the truck will squat slightly when hooked up, I have air bags and plan to keep the truck level.
The truck squatting when a load is added to the bed will not change the distance from the top of the bedrails to the bottom of the underside of the 5er. When the truck squats, the front of the trailer follows it down, keeping the same clearance.

Hitch adjustments and pinbox adjustments can be made to result in a level trailer when it's all hooked up and ready to go, but those adjustments cannot be used to change the clearance without causing the trailer to no longer be level.

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What are your experiences with this stuff?
Frustrating.

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Do I just need to shop for a trailer that is tall enough?
That's probably the easiest way out.

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It seems to me that this should not be a problem with a stock height truck.
It's not a problem with most 4x2s, but the popular thing now in 4x4s is big tires and the ass-end of the truck sticking up in the air.

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The axles on the Cyclone were already on the bottom of the springs, so flipping them would not be an option.
You don't literally "flip" the axles. You remove the spring perches from the bottom of the axle and weld them (or new ones) on the top of the axle. That raises the trailer by the diameter of the axle tube, plus a bit more for the length of the spring perches

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Is there some other built in adjustment on these things?
Not on most brands of trailer axles. Some brands are adjustable. And Dexter makes a kit for their TorFlex axles to raise the trailer, instead of having to weld new spring perches on the axle.
Dexter Axle - Trailer Axles and Running Gear Components - #10 Torflex Lift Kit (K71-707-02)
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
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Lots of good info - greatly appreciated! I don't plan on jacking the truck up any - or bigger tires. I've got to keep the stock bed as I use the heck out of it when not camping. I do go offroad some - at least off the paved roads. The more clearance I can get the better off I'll be. Good idea to hook one up at the dealer and check it out. Guess I'll keep looking and measuring! Thanks
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:07 PM   #7
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So, you need to either lower truck, or raise trailer 8" minimum to obtain the minimum clearance between 5er and bed-rails. Raising the 5er that much is not practical or safe. You don't want to lower your truck. That only leaves finding a 5er that has 66" pin to ground. I seriously doubt that is possible unless you have a 5er custom-built. That leaves only something like the Automated Safety Hitch (other brands are sold) as an option. Those hitches are used mainly by racers on the West Coast to pull a stacker trailer behind a MH.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:31 PM   #8
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I believe the new Jayco fivers has a adjustable axle just for this reason. Back in the day many just put the axle under the spring, instead of on top like most come. I sold my fiver and bought a MH. I will never go back to a fiver again as the MH is so much nicer in so many ways. I can set up camp and never go out side if I want to. And you can cook and eat and drink on the move, and use the John at 75 mph if the urge strikes ya!
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:41 PM   #9
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I had this same problem with my last two f350 4X4 trucks. I just bought F250 blocks for the rear axle which lowered the tail gate about 3 inches. Also had to buy the shorter u bolts for the smaller blocks. I didn't want to flip my axles on the Jayco as it makes them set pretty high. Lowering the 350 made it set about level empty, but it saged a little with the fiver. I would of put air bags on her to keep it level but I just sold the trailer after a 14 year run. It fit my 1993 gmc one ton just perfect. But them dam fords set to high for the Jayco.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:26 AM   #10
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I had this same problem with my last two f350 4X4 trucks. I just bought F250 blocks for the rear axle which lowered the tail gate about 3 inches. Also had to buy the shorter u bolts for the smaller blocks. I didn't want to flip my axles on the Jayco as it makes them set pretty high. Lowering the 350 made it set about level empty, but it saged a little with the fiver. I would of put air bags on her to keep it level but I just sold the trailer after a 14 year run. It fit my 1993 gmc one ton just perfect. But them dam fords set to high for the Jayco.
I agree. I even took the blocks completely out of my F250 for my previous 5th. It fit 98 GM perfectly. But I added leafs on the Ford so as to ride better and keep the shafts alignment.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:38 AM   #11
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Remember, toyhaulers have high roofs. Most are 13' 2" to 13' 4".

If you raise the trailer, you will also be raising the overall height. Be aware of low overheads!
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