Can you pull a 5th wheel with a 6 foot bed?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you pull a 5th wheel with a 6 foot bed? We will explain how you can pull a 5th wheel trailer with a short bed and explain why it may not be a good idea in the end. 

Can you pull a 5th wheel with a 6 foot bed?

Yes, it is possible to pull a 5th wheel with a 6 foot bed by using a slider hitch. This type of hitch is not too different from the regular 5th wheel trailer hitches, but the difference is that it can slide on the rails and it increases the space between the truck and the 5th wheel trailer. 

It is then possible to pull a 5th wheel with a short truck bed. But how short is the real question here. 

Depending on the length of your truck bed, you may have a standard short bed, an extra short bed, or a long bed. We will briefly discuss the differences of each of these types before proceeding further. 

Standard Short BedThis is the most common truck variety found on the market. Most of the trucks you will find for sale will fall into this range. The length of these truck beds varies between 5 feet and 6.5 feet. The shorter truck beds in this range (those that are closer to 5 feet) are sometimes called compact trucks.
Standard Long BedThis term refers to trucks that have longer than average beds. They are typically a foot or two longer than standard short rigs and these trucks are often used primarily for heavy-duty, agricultural, or industrial use. 7 to 8 feet is the standard length range for long bed trucks.
Extra short bedExtra short box trucks are trucks with boxes less than 5 feet long. These will almost always be four-door models and are often used for recreation rather than heavy hauling.
In this regard, a truck is considered a “short box” as long as its box is less than 8 feet long. Therefore, both standard short beds and extra short beds will be included in this category. If there is a long bed that falls on the small side, you can even add those too!

Along with this range of bed sizes comes a wide variety of weights, horsepower, payloads, and caravan capacities. The size of the truck bed does not necessarily disqualify you from hauling, as long as it is within the weight and trailer limits of each specific type.

Why pulling a 5th wheel with a 6 foot bed truck may not be the best idea

Driving with a fifth-wheel trailer with a short bed truck can be problematic due to the lack of clearance between the truck and the trailer in tight turns, which can result in truck and trailer bumps. A special hitch is typically required for this type of towing application. 

A fifth-wheel trailer of a popular recreational vehicle that is towed using a coupling installed in the bed of a pickup truck. The coupling consists of a coupling pin at the front of the trailer and a horseshoe-shaped coupling device, also known as a fifth wheel, at the rear of the truck.

Problems in

In most cases, a fifth wheel hitch pivot point is located on the rear axle. A typical fifth-wheel trailer is about 8 feet wide, and a typical short-bed pickup is about 40 inches from the axle portion of the truck. During a shift, when the trailer rocks to one side, nearly half its width is in front of the pivot point, which means the trailer often bumps into the truck.

Some manufacturers make manual adjustment drawbacks in which the driver must switch between the turning position (which provides greater distance) and a towing position. Other companies offer hitches that adjust automatically during turns.

How to connect the fifth wheel to a 6 foot bed truck?

The fifth wheel weighs too much more than a small trailer and many wonder how it connects.  How is a fifth wheel connected to a truck? A fifth wheel is connected to the truck through a new trailer hitch. Instead of a ball hitch, a horseshoe-shaped part called a fifth wheel that first connects to the truck’s bucket, then connects to a part called a kingpin that connects the truck to the trailer.

  • The hitch: There is a special tow bar that you must purchase when moving from a trailer to a fifth wheel. It connects to the inside of the bucket for more reliable traction, adding more weight to the truck and making it easier to turn.

The trailer hitch is installed by you or an expert on your truck. And it has a lower kick plate that helps the kingpin fit properly (hitch is the term used instead of connecting). It locks the kingpin and the lower kick plate helps the fifth wheel roll.

  • The pin: The pivot is the connector that is now part of your trailer. It is suspended in front of the fifth wheel. It is noteworthy that the kingpin is lubricated for the longevity of the fifth wheel.

This part is ordered on an outer panel of the fifth wheel. Controls the height of the pivot. When you put it on, you can lower it so that it is more of a piece of cake to connect it to the car and it will rise so it does not get in the way. Make sure your pivot is protected. It can be very difficult to replace because it is attached to the fifth wheel.

How to connect the fifth wheel to the short bed truck

With the trailer hitch installed on your truck, it’s time to hitch your fifth wheel. Before you start, make sure:

  •  When engaging the fifth wheel, make sure you are on a level and firm ground to facilitate work and ensure a secure attachment. It is already considered that the bed and fifth wheel are at the proper height. Look for examination points to make sure your trailer is level with the surface.
  • You can adapt the fifth wheel head to the load area. Make sure the kingpin is aligned with the tow bar to ensure a clean connection. You can do this by placing it on the back door. Then, before moving the truck, lower the rear door. You can also adapt the tow bar two to three inches if you have to.
  • Have a friend close!

Now is the time to open the hitch from the hitch position, unlock it, and make sure your mouth is open and ready to pivot. Now you’ve greased it all up. Ask your friend to slowly back the truck until the kingpin is too two inches from the tow bar. At this point, make sure everything is flat and in order.

Now you can raise the pivot to the precise height. You want the head above the pivot to be less than an inch above the tip of the hitch.

 Warning: If the kingpin is installed at too high an angle, you will not be sure. It can also damage your hitch or pin. Make sure the side angle is not too huge. If you do this just, the coupling mouth will automatically close around the pivot. Next, you need to put the tow bar in the locked position. Then park the car (with the parking brake) and visually inspect the truck.

Conclusions

As you can see, although not recommended, it is possible to pull a 5th wheel trailer with a 6 foot bed truck. Just make sure you are using the right type of hitch and that you mound the trailer correctly.

Please feel free to get in contact should you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on Can you pull a 5th wheel with a 6 foot bed?

Can a 1/2 ton truck pull a 5th wheel camper?

Yes, a ½ ton truck could pull a 5th wheel camper, but for this type of motorhome, we would suggest going higher. Still, the most popular ½ ton trucks that can pull a 5th wheel camper are:

  • Ford F150 – 13,200 lbs/ 6000 kg
  • Ram 1500 – 12,750 lbs/ 5780 kg
  • GMC Sierra 1500 – 12,500 lbs/ 5670 kg
  • Chevy Silverado 1500 – 12,200 lbs/ 5530 kg
  • Toyota Tundra – 10,200 lbs/ 4626 kg
  • Nissan Titan – 9,660 lbs/ 4380 kg.

How does the fifth wheel hitch work?

A fifth wheel hitch l works by locking a kingpin in the lockjaw. The kingpin is similar to a hitch coupler and is attached to the semi-trailer, while the locking jaw acts as the receiver for the hitch.

Can you hook up a 5th wheel on an angle?

Yes, you can hook up a 5th wheel trailer on an angle, as long as you take all the necessary precautions and safety tips. Still, take into consideration that hooking up the trailer at a different angle will take more time and you need to be more thorough with the process. 

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