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Old 02-07-2012, 10:57 AM   #1
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Short or long box?

I know this has been asked before, but the answers got so technical that I really didn't understand...so...

Which is better to tow a 5th wheel...long box or short box...and why?

Thanks so much

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Old 02-07-2012, 11:18 AM   #2
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Generally speaking, a long (8') bed. With an 8' bed, you won't have interference problems between the front of the 5th wheel and the back of the truck cab when turning or (especially) backing, and you'll have a smoother, more stable ride with the longer wheelbase.

Having said that, a short (6.5') bed can be made to work. Some 5th wheels have recesses in the front cap to provide clearance between the front cap and truck cab - these will be advertised as being "short bed towable". If interference is a problem, there are manual and automatic sliding 5th wheel hitches that move the hitch to the rear of the truck when turning or backing, but these are more complex and expensive. You might Google the Pullrite SuperGlide to get an idea of the complexity and cost of an automatic sliding 5th wheel hitch.

Check my signature below to see which way we've always gone - long bed.


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Old 02-07-2012, 02:22 PM   #3
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I struggled with the same question when I was looking to purhase my 2nd truck. My `99 Ford Super Duty had a short bed. I had a manual slider hitch. I didn't need to use it much and got complacent. One day I popped out the rear window of the cab. When I did try to move the slider hitch, it was very tight due to lack of use. I had to unhook the 5er, and load it up with WD-40 to get it moving again. PITA, but my own fault for not taking care of it as I should have. One more maintenance item to add to your list.

So when I was looking to replace that truck I started looking at a auto slider hitch vs. long bed. Auto Slider was about $ 3500. The long bed was only a couple hundred buck more. I went with the long bed and don't have to worry about it anymore.

Once you get used to the extra 1.5 feet, it is not big deal at all. My last 3 trucks were all long beds.
John, Joyce & Libby the Yellow Lab. - Fulltime since `08

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Old 02-07-2012, 04:21 PM   #4
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Long bed all the way. Once you get over a certain length, another foot or so does really matter. Yes they have 5er that are Short Bed Friendly, but that is if everything is completely level. How often do you find a completely level CG site. Read the post and see how many with short box TV and hit their rear window. Enought said. Go long bed and not worry about anything except what to have to supper or what kind of adult beverage to have.
2011 Chevy Silverado 3500HD LT Ext Cab 4x4 Duramax/Allison, 2016 Redwood 39MB, Disc Brakes, Mor/ryde IS, GY 17.5" H tires, 5.5K Onan, Dual ACs, auto level, auto sat dish, stacked washer/dryer, residential fridge, King sleep number. Michelle & Ann
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:21 PM   #5
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I disagree with the above poster that a long bed is the only way to go. I have a 2008, 2500HD 6.7L Ram Mega Cab which is a Long wheel base truck with a short bed on it (6'-5"). The cab is extra large so a short bed is required.
I use a manual sliding hitch a 16K Reese hitch. The only time that I slide the hitch back is when I back up into my driveway and when I am in the campground. To me this is a non issue.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:18 PM   #6
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I am of the long box crowd. You could not give me a short box.

No sliding hitch and no clearance problems.

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Old 02-09-2012, 09:01 PM   #7
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There is no better box length to tow a 5th wheel. I've used short and long bed trucks towing up to 21000 lbs GN and 5th wheel trailers.

I currently tow my GN trailers, up to 36', with a quad cab 3500 DRW long bed truck. Its a beater truck so it sits in the unheated tractor shed.
I prefere to park my everyday crew cab short bed truck in my heated garage. Gotta' have the short bed to fit.

Many GM owners report they don't use a sliding hitch in their short bed trucks as the GM truck has a longer back of cab to the trucks rear axle diminsion than Ford or Dodge. Also the newer 5er have the rounded front profile cutaway cornors that helps eliminating cab to 5ers cornor contact.

Get the truck with the bed length that suits your needs.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:44 PM   #8
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We use a long bed because we just don't tow all the time, it's nice to be able to put material or anything else in the bed (4x8 plywood,drywall). Also i can put my 4wheeler in a long bed along with other things to hit the trail's, just cann't do that with my friends short bed trucks. We have 4, 4wheelers 1 in the truck and 3 on a trailer. Now if i can come up with a way to carry the 4wheeler and pull the 5th wheel that would be nice.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:00 PM   #9
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How much towing will you be doing is the significant question. Will this truck be used as a daily driver 90+ percent of the time? If so, a short bed might be the best answer. If it will be used mostly for a tow vehicle, then a long bed will probably the best use. The short bed is by far much easier to maneuver in grocery parking lots and even city streets. Of course, if you don't have a recessed nose 5er or a slider hitch, there can be a price to pay for cab and/or rear window damage. I have had both and prefer the long bed though I do have a short bed currently and it will fit my garage - barely by an inch and a half length and height wise - width as long as I retract one mirror.

Now, do we have to get into SRW vs DRW versions as well
Dave W along with my DW, Susan and our poodlepups, Callie & Molly,2011 Ford F250 6.7 CCLB, 5er Hitch Option w/B&W Hitch,,Ride Rite air bags, 2014 Montana High Country 343RL (38')
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:28 PM   #10
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We have a Ram 6 pack with the standard bed and DSP manual slider. The hitch is difficult to deal with when the trailer is hooked up, I have to climb in the box and wrestle four pins.
After punching the back of the cab, boy was that an expensive mistake, I will be upgrading the hitch with the trailer. When we win the lottery it will be a new trailer and long bed truck.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:24 AM   #11
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Hello I have a long box the people who put my hitch in said 8' boxes make a better tow platform due to the fact that they position the center of your trailer pin 2inches ahead for your trucks rear axle for better weight position. I have towed for a few years and been in some hairy tight spots that I didn't think I would make it out and with a short box I would have hit the cab or still been there. I say one thing shortboxes are great for around town but to tow a 5thwheel go with a long box. My 2 cents worth
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:23 PM   #12
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I prefer the short bed...

Several reasons;
1) I don't tow 95% of the time with the truck and the short wheel base
a) Has a tighter turning radius
b) In the RAM, the short bed actually has a higher payload than the 8' bed (Less sheet metal and frame for the same chasis and running gear)
c) Fits in more parking lots than the long wheel base version, though, there are some lots that even the short bed hangs out in
2) With the sculpted nose caps on most of the newer 5vers, a long bed isn't physically necessary, most don't even require a slider hitch. My RAM short bed and B&W Companion allow for a full 90 degrees with the Cougar attached.
3) There have been instances where, while towing, the shorter turn radius has paid off in tighter maneuvering ability.
4) The inherent stability of the 5th wheel towing configuration does not immediately translate into greater stability with the addition of 2 feet in length. You eventually reach a rate of diminishing returns where additional length is just that; additional length and basic vehicle weight that accompanies that length and that additional weight comes off your total vehicle load capacity.
5) Most importantly, my DW doesn't like driving the short wheel base (she won't tow with it all, but, will, in a pinch drive it to our small town), but, flat out refuses to have anything to do with a a long base.

There isn't any thing wrong with an 8' bed... If your particular needs calls for an 8' bed, i.e., your 5ver has a flat nose (no enhanced turn radius sculpting), you have other needs for an 8' bed for work or hobby uses, etc.

To answer the OPs original question, though, there is no correct answer. You have to look to your personal needs and uses to determine which truck you want to tow with as either short or long, IMHO, is suitable for the job. It used to be that you had to have the extra length in order to tow a 5th wheel for clearance of the nose in maneuvering, but, with todays modern hitches, extended pin boxes, articulating pin boxes and sculpted nose caps, that is no longer true, either will make perfectly capable tow vehicle.

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Old 03-20-2012, 01:45 PM   #13
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It's not a pick up truck if it doesn't have an 8' bed.
That said I own a GMC Sierra crew cab with a 63" bed but when I had a 5er I had a '97 F350 CC dually. I wouldn't tow any decent size 5er without dual rear wheels. Most 1 ton trucks have 8' beds. Have you ever seen what happens when a 3/4 ton P/U blows a rear tire while towing a big 5er? I was in the recovery and towing business for years and can tell you longer wheelbase and duals are MUCH safer!
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Old 03-20-2012, 05:10 PM   #14
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I think the box size is a matter of choice but the longer your wheelbase the more stable it will be and the better it will handle. I have GMC 1 ton duelly with the full 4 door cab and an 8 foot bed. It's a beast and has a terrible turning radius but is really handles great when towing our 5er and I would not give it up for anything else.

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