What is a sliding hitch? (5 reasons to use one)

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: What is a sliding hitch? We will also explain its use and benefits. We will detail the types of hitches currently on the market and will also help you decide which one is better for your case. 

What is a sliding hitch?

A sliding hitch is a type of hitch mainly used for 5th wheel trailers. It acts like a normal trailer hitch, except it can slide on the rails. You need a 5th wheel sliding hitch if the distance from your truck bed to your trailer’s haws is less than half the width of your trailer. By manually sliding the pin position you will ensure safer and tighter manoeuvring at low speeds. 

Here’s why you should use a sliding hitch rather than a usual 5th wheel trailer hitch:

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  • The sliding fifth wheel hitch features a unique ergonomic handle and an extra wide head to make attaching your 5th wheel trailer easier than ever. After undocking, the handle automatically resets to the ready-to-pair position.
  • The sliding fifth wheel hitch provides controlled towing of your 5th wheel camper with its patented head technology. The head is built on a cast yoke with poly torsion inserts that reduce shock loads, chucking and noise at the point of attachment.
  • Most sliding hitches have a coupling indicator that shows the engagement status. Conveniently shows if the fifth wheel hitch is engaged, disengaged, or ready to tow.
  • Proven strength. This fifth wheel sliding hitch is tested and rated for 20,000 pounds. Gross trailer weight and 498.2 lbs. vertical load (limited to the lowest trailer component).
  • Versatile fit. The fifth wheel slider hitch comes with a roller to allow an additional 12 ” turning distance with short bed trucks. Mounts to include industry standard fifth wheel hitch rails (brackets sold separately).

Sliding hitch alternative: How to adjust the height of a fifth wheel hitch?

It is possible to adjust the height of a fifth-wheel hitch even if you do not have a sliding hitch! The hitch system between a towing vehicle and a trailer needs to be configured correctly so that the two can work together safely. The towing vehicle must be capable of supporting the weight of the trailer. 

Adjusting the hitch height on the towing vehicle and trailer will help you create a strong connection in the trailer hitch coupler, which will help reduce the risk of the trailer separating from the towing vehicle.

Here’s how to adjust the height of a fifth-wheel hitch step by step:

  1. Use a rag, cleaning brush, and wire thinner to clean the bolt holes and other areas where the hitch ball will sit. The wire brush will make removing cocky road debris a simpler task because it will tear the dirt up.
  1. Use the tape measure to determine the distance between the towing vehicle and the ground. Also, measure the distance between the trailer and the ground.
  1. Adjust the height of the trailer hitch by changing the tension of the trailer spring bars. The trailer and the towing vehicle must be fixed at the same height. The spring bars can be located along with frame A of the trailer.
  1. Loosen the nut and lock the washer under the hitch ball. Raise or lower the hitch ball so that the trailer hitch can be sitting on top of the ball. Retighten the lock washer and bolt after the balloon has been adjusted to the required height.
  1. Place the trailer hitch on top of the hitch ball and lower the trailer onto the hitch ball so that the hitch coupler engages.

What are the different types of trailer hitches?

There are four main types of trailer hitches:

  1. The dismountable towing hitch in the shape of a gooseneck – Both aesthetic and versatile, this type of hitch allows the swan-shaped hook to be removed, but the mount or fitting remains visible under the bumper. It is most commonly used on passenger cars.
  1. Standard removable towing hitch – When the ball joint is removed, the fitting also remains visible under the bumper. The ball joint configuration is characterized by great strength, useful for towing heavy loads. Thus, it is preferred on utility vehicles, 4x4s or pick-ups.
  1. Hitch with removable vertical or horizontal ball joint – This hitch type has a hook that attaches horizontally or vertically. Disassembly is done without tools. The mount is visible when the horizontal hook is removed.
  1. Retractable hitch – the hitch ball slides completely under the bumper when not in use. It looks good with the retractable ball hitch. As the name suggests, the tow ball slides fully under the bumper.

What to consider before choosing your hitch?

The following points should be taken into account to help you choose your trailer hitch:

  • Compatibility with the vehicle model – The type of assembly will vary from vehicle to vehicle. Fitting a hitch to your car is not the same depending on the vehicle model and type of hitch. It may also turn out to be simply impossible. This is the case, for example, if the exhaust does not provide enough space for the location of the hitch mount.
  • The strength of the material in which the hitch is made – This criterion corresponds to the maximum weight supported by the vertical hitch. It only concerns the bike carrier. The manufacturers mention the threshold value directly on the identification plate of the coupling.
  • The type of trailer to be towed (bicycle carrier, camping, goods, etc.) – The choice of your trailer hitch will also depend on this criterion. The model to choose will not be the same depending on whether you plan to tow a bike carrier, a caravan or a transport platform.
  • The frequency of use – If you plan to use your trailer often, a fixed hitch is ideal. For occasional use, a removable model with a retractable hitch ball is recommended.
  • Key information such as maximum towable load and static mass – This criterion is fundamental when it comes to choosing a trailer hook. The maximum towing weight is the maximum load your car can tow. 

To calculate it, you must subtract the gross vehicle weight (GVW) from the total rolling weight (GWW). If the total rolling weight is not indicated on your registration document, it means that your vehicle is not intended for coupling a trailer.

Conclusions

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. 

If you do not feel confident enough, please ask for the guidance of an authorised mechanic that can safely and quickly adjust the height of your fifth wheel hitch. 

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

FAQ on What is a sliding 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. 

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

How do you adjust the height of a fifth wheel hitch?

It is possible to adjust the height of a fifth wheel hitch in just a few simple steps.  The hitch system between a towing vehicle and a trailer needs to be configured correctly so that the two can work together safely. The towing vehicle must be capable of supporting the weight of the trailer. 

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. 

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