5th Wheel Clearance - Diesel Truck Forum - TheDieselGarage.com
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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5th Wheel Clearance

A question for all you 5th wheel guys. The angle from the street to my driveway is somewhat steep. How much side to side clearance do you guys have on your 5th wheels. Will the hitch "catch" the trailer before it hits the bed rails? A new camper is in the future, and I would like to consider a fiver. Any input is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 04:16 AM
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The hitch can lift the wheel to the point that the truck has no traction, use speed, rocker 5th wheel or don't go there. It is pretty easy to bite the rails in the back woods. There are adjustments to the pin box ( on most trailers ) and the hitch ( most ) and the trailer suspension can be lifted to bring it back to level.

Or maybe a little dirtwork is easier

keydl

93 Dodge /CTD, IC, 518, club cab LE, BHAF, KDP fixed, kelderman air ride
81 Isuzu /C223na, 5spd
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 05:27 AM
 
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When I am hooked up on level ground, I have around 8-9" between the bed rails and the bottom of the trailer. I don't go off road, but I've been in and out of some pretty hairy places, and thankfully never creased anything.

There are a couple of questions I must ask- What brand and model hitch are you using? Hitches vary, but most will have some vertical adjustment to them, and some feature coupler bodies that pivot side to side to you don't start torquing things up too bad.

Second, does your trailer's pin box have vertical adjustment left in it? On one of my older trailers, I had to flip the axles so the springs were on top and adjust the pin box down to get the truck under it. A lot of work, but I ended up with bags of room between the truck and trailer.

Just go slow into your driveway and watch closely to see if you are going to hit. Sometimes, only a small adjustment of the hitch or trailer pin box will make a big difference. Also, trying another approach (literally) to your driveway may also solve the problem. the straighter the rig is, the greater the angle you can pivot up and down. In some cases, I have made almost a 3 point turn in a road to get my rig straightened up before going over a steep breakover so that I don't get everything twisted up. It is easier for me to get into my driveway from one direction, but not the other.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both. Right now I don't have a trailer yet. Or a hitch. Just doing a little research before I buy anything. I have considered the dirt work, it may work. Main problem is just that the street is steep and the driveway is level.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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Something you might also consider is a gooseneck adapter. Somebody chime in that has one but it seems like clearance issues might be less likely or easier to adjust vertically with this setup . From your user name, it looks like you have a 4x4 which probably increases your truck height. When I had my 5ver, I had about 5"-6" of clearance at the back of truck. I had my hitch as far up as it would go. I came real close a few times on abrupt angles to hitting rails. I had adjustable axles on the trailer and considered raising to top holes but never did.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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The gooseneck adapteris a good idea, but it's not really going to help if you're putting the truck and trailer into a big off-camber situation. Also, they aren't that cheap. it may increase your clearance slightly, but it will not pivot any more side to side than a pivoting fifth wheel setup. You will just be moving the point of connection from about 12" above the truck bed down to the truck bed. It will look like you have tons of room, but the gooseneck ball connection will not allow more twisting movement than a fiver setup. Also, It is actually a lot easier to hook up a fifth wheel than a gooseneck. You have to be right on the money when you lower the gooseneck on the ball, and with a fiver, you just back up and "clunk"-you're connected. I tow both, and the fifth wheel is easier to connect to.

Like I said, I've gotten my rig in and out of pretty steep and weird places- I'm sure you won't have a problem if you're rig is setup properly. Just take it easy the first time getting it in your driveway until you figure out the best approach to take.

There was one campsite in particular that I remember thinking "there is no way I am going to make this, and even if I do, I'm gonna rip something off". You will be quite surprised how much tilting can occur in a fifth wheel setup before something binds- just be sure to get a hitch that pivots 4 ways- front, back, side to side.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 05:59 PM
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yep...I have a 4-way hitch with my fiver...and it helps. I've only got about 5 to 6 inches of clearance between my rails and the camper...but haven't hit anything yet.

Another thing...if you have a shortbed truck...seriously look into getting a sliding hitch. I wouldn't be without mine. With the hitch fully slid back...I can put the truck into a 90 degree angle with the camper without hitting the cab.
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all of the answers. I plan on buying an automatic sliding hitch as I do have the shortbed. This plan is still a year or more in the works. I just wanted some real world answers to see if I should even consider the 5ver. It looks like a go!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 08:43 PM
 
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Hey 4cstr- Thanks for bringing up the slider- I totally forgot to add that because I have a long bed!

Hey cummins, you will never regret the choice to go fifth wheel- I towed tongue trailers for years, having to mess with hooking up, equalizing bars, trailer sway, not being able to get in and out of some spots, and the day I switched to a fifth wheel was a great day! No more messing with bars, almost no trailer sway, I can get the truck & trailer 90 degrees and spin the trailer on it's axles (only if I have to, though- it's he** on tires!).

Good luck!!

P.S.- IMO, the only mandatory accesory to your fifth wheel trailering is a Pace Edwards Roll Top cover for the truck bed- It will allow you to tow your trailer, then secure the bed of your truck when you disconnect. I installed mine myself in about an hour- check them out!

www.pace-edwards.com
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2008, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Liked the roll up cover! Yeah I think the 5ver has many advantages. Now that I feel confident that it will make it into the driveway! Right now getting by with a 19 foot bumper pull. Actually took it cross country last summer. Unfortunately I was towing it with a chevy 1/2 ton. The truck was pathetic considering the size of the camper. Looking forward to a larger camper to match the better truck.
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