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Long 8' or Standard 6 3/4 is the question for the day

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I very recently purchased a Jayco 28.5RSTS fifth wheel.  Now, I really need a truck.  I've settled on a Ford F250 but do I need a long or short bed to tow and park it?

Let me add that all I have ever towed is a boat.  No fifth wheel towing experience at all.  Getting older and may need to park the truck in a parking garage occasionally.

Any thoughts appreciated.

 

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Hitches are made for short beds as well as long beds, just shop around.  I have a 6ft bed and use an Andersen hitch.  It is a much lighter hitch, just as strong as the big heavy hitches.  My use of this hitch comes mainly from the weight.  I can lift it in/out, move it about, etc because it is only around 40lbs.  The big/heavy hitches go up to/over 300lbs which also figures into what your truck can handle weight wise.  Also, consider a goosebox.  It is a modified and safe version of a gooseneck, only needs a ball in middle of the bed.    As for the truck, 3/4 ton, check manufacturer weight recommendations.  It's really not 100% about what the truck can haul, more like what is the truck safely capable of controlling in a strong wind, how well the truck can *stop* the weight, etc.

Ok, a short note about your choice of truck.  F250, if you must get that small of a truck, DO NOT BUY THE ONE WITH THE DIESEL 6.0 ENGINE!!  I made that mistake once, never again.  It's one of the main reasons I changed over to RAM.

Edited by NDBirdman

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Long or short bed determines how sharply you can jackknife the truck to the trailer before the trailer hits the rear of the cab.

With an 8 ft. bed you can get a full 90 degree angle between the truck and trailer for extreme maneuvers.  However, at this point you're dragging the trailer tires sideways so it should be used only as a last ditch effort.

With a shorter bed, the hitch will be mounted closer to the cab so you can't do a full 90 degree turn.  The exact sharpness will depend on the truck and trailer geometry and can be determined by careful trial and error.

Keep in mind bumper tow trailers can't do a full 90 degree turn either so that may not be as big a factor as you may think.

The Ford 6.0 can be made into a reliable engine if it's problems are caught in time.  The process is known as Bulletproofing, after Bulletproof Diesel who identified the weak parts and created the kit to fix them.  Kind of like Banks Power for the gas engines.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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When I had a fifth wheel I had a Ford F-350. Mine was a 6.7 Diesel. Don’t get the 6.0or 6.4.  I went with the 8 ft bed just to have the ability of a thighter turning radis. Also I didn’t want to have a sliding hitch. My Ford came from the factory with the fifth wheel prep package so it was easy to just drop in the hitch. 

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8ft bed is the way to go.  Plus when you are not camping, the bed is much more conducive to caring items.  I also think an 8ft would be better when you decide to sell it.

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I agree, the 8 ft bed is the way to go. Once you unhitch it is a bit long but I do it. If you think that you will be upgrading to a larger fiver in the future you may consider an F350 as there is a big difference in payload between an F350 and an F250. Good Luck

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1 hour ago, whj469 said:

I agree, the 8 ft bed is the way to go. Once you unhitch it is a bit long but I do it. If you think that you will be upgrading to a larger fiver in the future you may consider an F350 as there is a big difference in payload between an F350 and an F250. Good Luck

I agree, and the price difference from a 250 to a 350 is very minimal.

Edited by rynosback

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I'll have to disagree with the long bed folks - on a/the rather short "preference poll".

Had both. First truck was a Ford 1-T, Crew Cab.

Just didn't need the 8' bed. Now have a short bed (1-T, quad cab, Ram CTD, SRW). Yes - I have an auto slider - and have had it 90 degrees or sure close to it with no problems.  The truck is great as a daily driver.  The (previous) Ford long bed was the last long bed for me!

BTW - I tow a 34' Jayco. 5th.

Best answer is - buy what *YOU* prefer - and what will work best for *YOU*

~

 

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I have a long bed king cab and used to own a short bed. The long bed is nice when you have a lot to haul to the dump, for home remodeling supplies, etc but it's a pita to park in parking lots, most garages, even some cgs. I'd go back to a short bed in a second if I had  the $$$. Same goes for 4wd. Now that I live in sunny AZ no need for it and it just jack's up the truck making it harder to get into. I am pushing 79 so that colors my needs and experience. 

.

 

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I have had both. I will never own another short bed. Yea, long beds are harder to park.  Sometimes you have to park farther away. I need the exercise anyway. But then I'm out in the country using my pickup as its intended. Hauling stuff all the time. I need the space. When it was my only tow vehicle it was really nice having all that extra room in front of the 5th wheel.

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Guess my recommendation would depend on how the front of the fiver you bought is "cut".  We used to have a F-350 towing a newer Montana and due to the way the front of our fiver was shaped or cut I never had to adjust my slider hitch.  

Since 2011 doesn't Ford only offer a 6.7 diesel or am I missing something?

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On 4/15/2019 at 8:17 AM, NDBirdman said:

Hitches are made for short beds as well as long beds, just shop around.  I have a 6ft bed and use an Andersen hitch.  It is a much lighter hitch, just as strong as the big heavy hitches.  My use of this hitch comes mainly from the weight.  I can lift it in/out, move it about, etc because it is only around 40lbs.  The big/heavy hitches go up to/over 300lbs which also figures into what your truck can handle weight wise.  Also, consider a goosebox.  It is a modified and safe version of a gooseneck, only needs a ball in middle of the bed.    As for the truck, 3/4 ton, check manufacturer weight recommendations.  It's really not 100% about what the truck can haul, more like what is the truck safely capable of controlling in a strong wind, how well the truck can *stop* the weight, etc.

Ok, a short note about your choice of truck.  F250, if you must get that small of a truck, DO NOT BUY THE ONE WITH THE DIESEL 6.0 ENGINE!!  I made that mistake once, never again.  It's one of the main reasons I changed over to RAM.

nothing wrong with the 6.0 diesel. just change the oil, (often) and the coolant. never let it over heat,   the ford factory coolant is the problem behind all the problems, if kept stock. no need to "beef up" this motor. but yes to bullet proofing, and a coolant filter.

No to any "chip" or exhaust mods. use only factory fuel injectors, etc. out of the box it is a good motor. just fails when peps try to turn it into a hot rod motor.

as to the truck. read the tow ratings before you buy. might just go for a F350.   as to long/short. how tight do you want to turn the rig? a hitch set up right. and your pin set up stretched. you can/might do a 90 deg angle. but try not too. as it is hard on things that go pop, and co$t lot$ of money.

a fifth wheel hitch is better and safer than a goose-neck. for reg hwy usage.  off road a goose has more movement room. but needs heavy safety chains to be safe going down the hwys. then the bolt on mod for the hitch. is a fail point.

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On 4/15/2019 at 1:23 PM, Lou Schneider said:

Long or short bed determines how sharply you can jackknife the truck to the trailer before the trailer hits the rear of the cab.

...

With a shorter bed, the hitch will be mounted closer to the cab so you can't do a full 90 degree turn.  The exact sharpness will depend on the truck and trailer geometry and can be determined by careful trial and error.

This is not necessarily true. My fiver is designed with short bed in mind, i.e. the front cap is curved, and I could put the truck 90 degrees with a short bed. 

I now have a dually with a long bed and it makes travel much better.

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1 hour ago, Chalkie said:

This is not necessarily true. My fiver is designed with short bed in mind, i.e. the front cap is curved, and I could put the truck 90 degrees with a short bed. 

I now have a dually with a long bed and it makes travel much better.

I do wish I had bought a long bed but it is what it is.  If I find a truck like mine or higher package, longbed non mega cab, I will trade for it.  With the Anderson, I had my wife watch as I turned hard backing up, up to 90 degrees as I wanted to know where I stood.  It cleared alright but the forces I was putting on the RV wheels/axle was not good.  I won't do it again unless in an emergency.  If I had a *regular* 5th wheel hitch, I could not turn that sharp me thinks.  In my time with this truck/5th wheel/Anderson hitch, I've been in some tight places/campgrounds and have not had to do anywhere near 90 degrees myself but I'm sure there is a campground somewhere that would require it.  Personally, I would not do it.  We do alot of boon docking and I'm happy to have the articulating all directions.  Yes, I know there are some 5th wheel hitches with articulating heads.

Since this was first posted on 15 Apr, I bet the OP has already picked up his truck of choice as well as the hitch.  Is he still reading this?  What did you end up doing?

 

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This is another topic that is just as controversial as the how much can I tow question.

Ford, Chevy, GMC, Dodge. What's your preference?

Short bed, long bed, what's your preference.

Now days they have sliding hitches that compensate for turning and backing. Back in the day those things didn't exist.

That said, I have a long bed, old school I guess, but as to say which is better, well I think it's a matter of opinion.

Just my .02

 

Edited by BigDinAZ

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