How to Install Fifth Wheel Hitch on Short Bed Truck

Last Updated on January 28, 2023 by Will Sabel

Installing a fifth wheel hitch on your short bed truck is really an easy task. In fact, you can do it by yourself. All you need to do is follow some simple steps properly. I understand that it can be a bit difficult for you if you are a newbie. That’s why I am here.

Here, I will be telling you the simple steps you need to follow in order to properly install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck.

5th Wheel Hitch Installation on Short Bed Truck

Step 1: Bringing the tools

Your first step should be bringing the tools needed to install the hitch. The necessary tools are:

  • Socket set
  • Ratchet
  • Measuring Tape
  • Torque wrench
  • Crescent wrench
  • Drill bits
  • Lift/Jack(s)

Step 2: Placing the onward base rail

Your next step is to place the base rail close to the cab of your truck. Make sure that the space from your truck bed front is accurate. 

Step 3: Marking The Drilling Slots

After that, find out the middle spot in your truck’s backward frame where your side rails will remain attached and the kingpin center will touch. Now drill the driver hole in the proper locations you found a minute ago.  

Step 4: Inspecting The Driver Hole

Then, you need to get the hitch bracket of your fifth wheel into the driver hole you drilled earlier. At this time, you can also mark the other bolt positions. After marking the place, remove your bed rails and drill the marked position above your truck bed.

Step 5: Increasing The Bolt Holes Size

You need to continue the drilling process till you don’t find the drilling locations are not wide enough for receiving the rail bolts. Don’t be in a hurry. You should drill gently.

Step 6: Bolting The Brackets

Now, it’s time to position your under-bed brackets on both sides of your truck bed. You are supposed to find it fits your wheel opening. You just need to use both nut and bolt (come with it) for securing the brackets to your truck frame. Make sure that you are securing brackets on both sides of your truck frame.

Step 7: Bolting Down The Fifth Wheel Rail

At this point, you have to position the bed rail over the bolt-hole location. You are supposed to find the spacers if your truck has a bed rail in the base position. 

In order to provide a better connection, you should position these below your fifth wheel rails and also between your truck bed rail. After finding the rail in its position, you need to insert the bed rail bolts in their position and secure them using nuts.

You should keep in mind that the first and last fifth wheel rails should be positioned in a manner so that one is placed above another. Also, the side rails on every side need to be attached properly to the others using screws on the base of the frame.

Step 8: Measuring The Hitch Height

After that, you need to find out your hitch height. It is important to accommodate your hitch. Keep in mind that the difference in height between the trailer and bed wall should be a minimum of 5-½ inches.

For measuring the height, position your hitch on the ground. Then, find out the distance between the floor and the kingpin plate underside (A). After that, find out the distance between the base and open tailgate of your truck (B). The actual height for your fifth wheel hitch is the subtraction of B from A.

Step 9: Attaching And Connecting The Fifth Wheel Legs

After measuring the height, you have to find proper holes for mounting on your fifth wheel hitch. Basically, most hitches come with a perpendicular fit. For securing the legs to your hitch head, you need to use bolts.

Now you are supposed to find the rear or remaining base rail location easily. You can take help from anyone to place the fifth wheel hitch legs in the base rail. Then position the second rail in its slot.

Step 10: Drilling Holes And Bolting The Backward Base Rail

At this point, use a pen for marking the drilling location. Make your rail out of its way, drill holes and install the second rail following the previous rail installing process. Then, you should install extra bolts and nuts under the bed of your truck.

Step 11: Providing Torque To The Hardware

After installing the bed rail along with its hardware, you need to torque all the bolts thoroughly.

Step 12: Installing The 5th Wheel Hitch

Finally, you should restore your fifth wheel hitch in its position, tuck in between the base rails you have installed. That’s it. Now you should check everything whether the pins are in their place or the bolts are tightened before you go to hook up. You are ready to go now. 

fifth wheel hitch install on short bed truck

There are some other 5th wheel hitch guides available you might like to read:

Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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