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Old 07-04-2014, 10:34 PM   #1
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What Hitch to Buy for 5th Wheel?

i have a short bed 5.5' ford f150, 2011. i know i'm limited but what are the recommended hitches for me. i'm looking at a 2002 keystone springdale 249BH, dry weight 5560lb, pin weight at 900lb. i read about the superglide, reese and the sidewinder, but i'm looking for the best combo from real world reviews from the pros. and where's the best place to buy? thanks

2004 307 Keystone Sprinter
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:40 AM   #2
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A guy a couple of years ago put up some pictures.

2017 F350 Lariat Diesel Dually, White, Hitch Kit.
2013 Dutchman Voltage 3200 Epic II 5th wheel.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BigTow View Post
i have a short bed 5.5' ford f150, 2011.
You're limited by the GVWR of your truck. What is your GVWR?

i know i'm limited but what are the recommended hitches for me.
Skip the economy-priced 5er hitches, such as the Reese Pro Series. Go for at least the better sliding 5er hitches. Here's the least expensive 5er hitch I would buy for your truck:
Reese 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch w/ Square Tube Slider - Dual Jaw - 16,000 lbs Reese Fifth Wheel RP30051

That's just the slider hitch, without the mounting hardware. You want the special custom mounting hardware made specifically for your F-150, so you can DIY without drilling any holes in the frame of the truck. Here it is for a Supercab shorty. They don't mention a SuperCrew (CrewCab) shorty, so if your truck is a SuperCrew, then double check with the seller that the install kit will mount in your truck.
Reese - Custom Quick Install Kit

That's the sliding hitch and install kit. Try that before you invest even more to add a Sidewinder pin box extension. Tow the 5er to a big empty parking lot, slide the hitch, then slowly back the 5er into a jackknife. Have a spotter that will scream at you before you have cab to trailer contact. You may not need the Sidewinder, but you may.
etrailer.com - Products sidewinder

The above hitch has above-bed rails. If you want below-bed rails, then it will cost you a lot more, plus it's a lot more work to install the rails. I don't know if anyone makes below-bed rails for a 5.5' bed, but check into Reese Elite and B&W TurnoverBall. If Reese Elite makes under-bed rails for their Elite 18k sliding hitch, then that's a good one (expensive, but worth it). If B&W makes an install kit for their Turnover Ball gooseneck hitch, then you can go for the B&W Companion 5er hitch. I understand B&W now makes a sliding 5er hitch, but if not then the Sidewinder is your only alternative when towing with the Companion hitch in your shorty bed.

i'm looking at a 2002 keystone springdale 249BH, dry weight 5560lb, pin weight at 900lb.
Dry weights are misleading and almost useless. Nobody tows a dry trailer. I'll guess the GVWR is about 8000 pounds, with a wet and loaded weight on the kingpin ("pin" weight) of about 1,200 pounds. So count on having pin weight of about 1,200 pounds. Your F-150 is probably going to be overloaded with that trailer. My 2012 F-150 is severely overloaded with my 5er that weighs about 8,000 pounds.

i read about the superglide, reese and the sidewinder, but i'm looking for the best combo from real world reviews from the pros.
SuperGlide is wonderful, but very heavy. You'll be overloaded with the Reese 16k hitch, and the SuperGlide would exacerbate that problem. Plus Pullrite does not make an install kit for your shorty. They do make the ISR SuperGlide for so-called industry standard rails (ISR) that will plug into Reese above-bed rails, so if you want the SuperGlide then install the Reese install kit linked to above (after verifying that it will install if your shorty is a SuperCrew), and buy this SuperGlide: ISR Series SuperGlide - for Industry Standard Rails | PullRite Hitches

For your 5.5' bed. the Sidewinder is probably not enough by itself. If you have a Sidewinder on the 5er, then you probably still need the slider hitch in the bed.

... and where's the best place to buy?
I've had excellent prices and service from both ETrailer.com and Amazon.com. I don't have much experience with other sources.
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:26 AM   #4
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One thing to try is to actually weigh the pin of any perspective 5ver before buying. Mine was the exception instead of the rule. Dry pin weight was listed as 2900 lbs. That's before options. I have a 5500 generator, second ac, two batteries, wardrobe added to front closet, full propane tanks, and a full basement storage compartment. Well, wasn't I was shocked to weigh my pin and find I'm at 2825. My guess was it was going to come in around 3300. I'm sure any dealer will have a Sherline scale you can use to get a real number and that would be a helpful place to start. Or, you can always buy your own for about $130 which I did...

As for the hitch itself, bcooke's post and link looked like a great option for a really short bed. Wren is right on with Amazon or etrailer. Amazon is usually cheaper, but etrailer will do a 110% price match. So, find the lowest price on the net on ANY website. Order from etrailer. Then email customer service and they will refund you 110% of the difference.
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