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Old 06-18-2012, 10:39 PM   #1
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Red face New Truck Too High For Fifth Wheel

I just bought a new 2012 Chevy 2500 HD pickup It is great with one exception, the bed is too high for towing the fifth wheel. The front of the fifth wheel is about 4 inches too high from level. I cannot adjust the hitch down or the trailer will not clear the rails of the bed. It seems that the other late model trucks would have this same problem. I am thinking of removing the overload leaf spring and one or two more leafs, leaving 2 leaf springs and adding air bags. Is this a good idea? Has anyone else had this problem and if so, what was your solution? If I could lower the truck 2 or 3 inches, I could lower the hitch 1 inch and I would have it made. There is plenty of clearance under the truck for this.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:17 AM   #2
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adjust trailer axles

First if you have bed rails on the truck bed you should probably take them off. Some trailer axles are adjustable up or down and that should give you a little clearance. Lowering the pin box on the trailer and raising the hitch in the truck are all little things you might try.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvforfun View Post
I just bought a new 2012 Chevy 2500 HD pickup It is great with one exception, the bed is too high for towing the fifth wheel. The front of the fifth wheel is about 4 inches too high from level. I cannot adjust the hitch down or the trailer will not clear the rails of the bed. It seems that the other late model trucks would have this same problem. I am thinking of removing the overload leaf spring and one or two more leafs, leaving 2 leaf springs and adding air bags. Is this a good idea? Has anyone else had this problem and if so, what was your solution? If I could lower the truck 2 or 3 inches, I could lower the hitch 1 inch and I would have it made. There is plenty of clearance under the truck for this.
I wouldn't recommend tinkering with the suspension package, you'll need every one of those springs to carry the load on a 3/4T! I tow out of level all the time, only problem it causes me is reduced ground clearance under the trailer tail. The refrigerator works fine.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:49 AM   #4
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I think we need some more specifics here. There are many of towing 5er with 2011 & 2012 Chevys without a single problem. Did you change tires? Did you order the biggest tire GM offered? When did they start putting helper springs on 2500s (thought that was some of the difference between 2500s & 3500s)? What was your previous TV and how much clearance did you have with it?
I have a 2011 3500HD Dually 4x4 (or 4x6) and the bed was exactly the same height as my 05, now the side rails are taller by approx 1 1/2 -2 inches, so I went from 8 inchs clearance to approx 6, but rig stayed level. Now being a Dually, I'm limited to the OEM 17 inch wheels with the 235 tires. Let us know whats so different with your truck.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:21 PM   #5
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I have 18 inch wheels that I ordered. Maybe it is not a helper spring. There are 5 leaf springs and the bottom one is about an inch think where the other 4 are about .5 inches thick each. The bed of the truck is about 38 inches above the ground and the top of the sides of the be is about 59 inches above the ground. My old tow vehicle was an 83 3/4 ton chevy Silverado. With that TV the 5th wheel was level. I am concerned with more weight being on the rear wheels of the 5th wheel trailer with the front of the trailer up about 4 inches from level.
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:27 PM   #6
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I agree, 4 inches nose high sounds like quite a bit. Is you RV an older rig? We were towing a 2010 Montana with a 2005 3500 DRW and it was level, upgraded to the 2011 3500 DRW and did loose some clearance, but the Montana was still level with no mods to hitch or king pin. We now have a 2012 Redwood with a TrailAir Tri-Glide King Pin Assy and have appox 8 inch clearance and rig rides level.
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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When I had a 5er, our truck had a lowering kit installed. You can raise the trailer, but I would opt for the lower truck....
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:01 PM   #8
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The old Chev that you had was probably the lowest truck of its time. I expect you also have an older fifth wheel. All the new trucks have raised the bed height compared to the older trucks and have also raised the rail height by about an inch and a half. It all adds up to older fivers behind new trucks ride nose high unless mods to the trailer and/or truck are made. One of the most common mods to the trailer is to move the axle from above the springs to below the springs. This is typically referred to as "flipping the axles", which is a misnomer. I expect you've already done this, but, if that hasn't been done to your trailer, it's the first thing to do. It will pick up a couple inches. You can also add spacers between the axles and springs. You don't want to go too far because the spacer adds stress to the spring which can crack the leaves so I'd limit the spacer to one inch. If you can do both of these you will have picked up 3 or more inches.

The suggestion to lower your truck is right on but "how" is the question. I am not familiar with new GM trucks but most pickups have spacers between the springs and axle. Installing smaller spacers, or removing them altogether, will lower the truck. This is what Ford did when they had complaints of the Super Duty being too high for fivers when those models first came out. I was able to drop my Dodge an inch and a half by removing its blocks. Fords can be dropped even more because they have larger blocks. Check your truck to see if it has lifting blocks and how large its blocks happen to be. Removing the blocks should be relatively easy. Any more lowering typically gets much more expensive.

My 95 fiver was set up specifically to fit a 95 Ford F250 4x4 with unmodified suspension. It has flipped axles and a custom frame lift of 4 inches. When I got my new Dodge, with similar height to your truck, the fiver rode with its nose higher than I was willing to accept. After removing the lift blocks from the trucks rear springs and adjusting the pin box and hitch to 6 inch clearance I got within 1 inch of level. I have been living with this for near 10,000 miles of towing with no issues, other than leveling each night we stop.

Hope this helps and good luck with leveling you fiver.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:11 PM   #9
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Another example of the necessity to match tug-to-tow (or vise-versa) before making that final decision.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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I had the same problem when I went from a 97 gmc 3500 dually to an 03 siverado 3500 dually, over 5" higher, I ended up installing an airlift doad tamer airride syastem and lowered the back end about 4 1/2", have over 20,000 miles towing 2 different fivers with no problems, ride is better and the current fiver is 16,000#.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:43 PM   #11
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What did you do o lower the back end the 4 1/2 inches? I am assuming that you lowered the back of the truck.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:51 PM   #12
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I have not moved the axle from above the springs to below the springs on the trailer. Is this something I could do myself or does it need to be done by someone who knows what he is doing? That seems like it would move the trailer quite a bit higher but it is something to look into. There are no spacers between the springs on the truck. I talked to a guy who had a Ford who had taken out a couple of the leaf springs and put in the air bags. Unfortunately, I did not talk to him in enough detail to see how he actually did it.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:07 PM   #13
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I have seen conversion kits for moving the springs above the axles. Can't remember who made them but a Google search might locate a source. The kit included perches for the top of the axle, thus no need to flip the axle. If you are mechanically handy you probably can do it yourself. Just be careful to solidly support the trailer when you remove the axles. Don't want the trailer falling on you. I haven't done it myself but expect the best way would be to drop one end of each spring by loosening the shackle. Then you would be able to slide the axle out of the springs without removing the brakes and backing plates. You might want to have a helper when you remove the springs. They are long and heavy. I'd probably try doing one axle at a time.

I'm surprised your truck doesn't have rear spacer blocks. Both Ford and Dodge do. At least on the 4x4s.

Good luck.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:21 PM   #14
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I just did a search on "axle flip" and found Dexter makes a kit that requires no welding for 3 inch axle tubes. If your axle tube is 3 inches, this is what you want. They also make one for a 2 3/8" tube. For more info, check this link How to Determine the Correct Parts for an Axle Flip on a 1993 Skamper Pop-Up Trailer | etrailer.com
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