How do I reduce the weight on my 5th wheel hitch?

In this short guide, we will answer the following question: How do I reduce the weight on my 5th wheel hitch? We will explain the importance of loading your 5th wheel trailer properly. 

How do I reduce the weight on my 5th wheel hitch?

To reduce the weight on your 5th wheel hitch, simply move all your luggage in the back of the trailer. If you want to increase the weight on your 5th wheel hitch, just do the contrary – move the things to the front of the trailer. 

A 5th wheel hitch is specially designed for the beds of vans and flatbed trucks. 5th wheel hitches are installed just above and above the rear axle of a truck. Each unit connects to its towed trailer via a central pivot which, when positioned, resembles the plate of a semi-tractor.

Improper loading of 5th wheel trailers causes serious handling problems. Trailers with too much weight on the tongue put unnecessary loads on the rear suspension of the towing vehicle, often overheating the tires and increasing the danger of a knockout. 5th wheel trailers with very little tongue weight are difficult to control due to swaying, possibly resulting in loss of vehicle control.

How to properly load the 5th wheel trailer

Never exceed the weight specifications of your trailer hitch and tow vehicle. A properly loaded trailer will have 10 to 15 percent of its weight on the trailer tongue, therefore 150 to 225 pounds. is the proper tongue weight of a 1,500-lb. two pounds. 

The upper end of this range exceeds the maximum tongue weight of Class I trailer hitches. Those values ​​are 2,000 pounds maximum gross trailer weight and 200 lbs. tongue weight, so the weight must be moved within the trailer to reduce the weight of the tongue.

Reducing the weight on your 5th wheel hitch

In case the trailer falls within the maximum gross trailer weight (GTW) but has too much weight on the tongue, you will need to verify the problem in order to determine how much weight should be repositioned. 

Take the trailer to a commercial scale to get the GTW. Weigh the towing vehicle only, but with the trailer attached, the trailer alone, and the towing vehicle without the trailer attached. Using these three weights you can determine the GTW and the tongue weight. 

To get the weight of the tongue, subtract the weight of the truck only by the weight of the truck with the trailer attached. Using the 10 to 15 per cent figure by weight of the appropriate language multiply your GTW by 0.1 and 0.15. These calculations will give you the proper range for the weight of the tongue. If the weight of the tongue falls within those calculated weights the trailer is loaded correctly.

If it is necessary to weigh the distribution due to excess tongue weight, move cargo around inside the trailer. Move heavier items and replace them with lighter items, but always keep even weight distribution side-to-side in the trailer. You can check the weight of the tongue with a bathroom scale after reloading the trailer. 

With the trailer unhitched from the tow vehicle – and the wheels safely chocked – place a block between the trailer hitch and the ladder and the trailer socket jack down until the jack wheel is off the ground a bit. You can then read the weight directly on the scales. Continue to redistribute the load until the tongue weight is in the safe range as indicated by the scale.

How to install a fifth-wheel trailer hitch?

Let’s pretend that the situation is reversed and that you need to instal a fifth-wheel hitch.  Installing a fifth-wheel trailer hitch on your truck will allow you to tow your mobile condo with ease, as long as the hitch is installed correctly. 

Do not attempt to tow a trailer that equals or exceeds the load capacity of the towing vehicle; Allowing a 20 per cent fudge factor will ensure that you can safely tow your fifth wheel without overly wearing your truck’s suspension. Fifth wheel trailer hitches mount in the centre of your truck bed and provide strong trailer connections.

Here’s how to install a fifth wheel hitch step-by-step:

  1. Use a 3/8-inch ratchet with an extension and a Torx head socket to remove the exhaust heat shield from the bottom of the truck bed.
  2. Slide the fifth wheel hitch kit’s rear cross member between the top of the frame rail and the bottom of your truck’s bed. Use a 1/2-inch ratchet and socket to loosen the bed mounting bolts if the fit is too tight to slide on the rear cross member. 
  3. Repeat this step with the other crossbar under the bed. Disassemble your truck’s factory brake controller from the driver’s side frame with a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket if your truck is equipped with one.
  4. Slide the chassis brackets from the hitch kit onto the outside of the frame behind the wheel. Use the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket to loosely screw into place. Use the notch in the side bracket that lines up with the centre of the truck bed’s square tubing to help align the truck bed. 
  5. Align the brackets on the side of the frame with the holes in the Stage 2 cross members. Bolt them along with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.
  6. Pass the pointed bolt (provided with the hitch kit) through the holes in the bottom of the cross members so that the pointed end points toward the bottom of the truck bed. Tighten the screw all the way so that it hits the floor of the truck bed.
  7. Attach a hole saw to a drill and locate the bumps on the floor of the truck bed created in Step 4. Place the centre of the hole you saw into the bump. Drill four 2 1/2-inch holes in the truck bed floor. Remove the circular discs from the hitch kit, place them in the holes and install them with a ratchet, Torx head socket and the screws provided in the kit.
  8. Tighten all bolts. Have an assistant help you lift the hitch and place it on the circular discs attached to the truck bed.

The bottom line

The use of a fifth-wheel hitch varies, depending on the vehicle and the type of trailer hitched. Fifth-wheel trailers have the front end that protrudes past the body, extending over the rear bumper of the truck. It looks a lot like a cabover camper riding in the cargo bed of a pickup truck. 

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

FAQ on How do I reduce the weight on my 5th wheel hitch?

Can a fifth wheel hitch be removed?

Yes, a fifth wheel hitch can be removed.  A fifth wheel, or gooseneck, hitch sits in the middle of the sturdy truck bed, where it can support more weight in that area. This also makes it easier to turn around tight corners. 

What is a fifth wheel hitch?

A fifth wheel hitch is specially designed for the beds of vans and flatbed trucks. With a towing capacity between 5500 and 9000 Kg and a weight capacity between 550 and 770 Kg, 5th wheel hitches are installed just above and above the rear axle of a truck. 

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

Are gooseneck 5th Wheel Adapters safe?

Gooseneck 5th wheel adapters are safe, but not the best option for permanent use. A fifth wheel hitch is best for recreational towing (e.g for a trip), while a gooseneck hitch is recommended for commercial towing. 

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