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Hitch Install ?'s


alan0043

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Hi Everyone,

 

My questions are for mostly the people that have installed their own 5th wheel hitch. Please don't look at this from the point of view that I only need help from ones who have installed a hitch or too. I could use everyone's help. I looked at the resource guild with not much luck. I have even looked at Gregg's site also with no luck. I will be installing a Trailer Saver hitch. What kind of material list does someone need, steel, bolts, etc.. What tools should I have on hand ? What is the best way to drill the frame ? Drilling the frame, do you really need a mag drill ? Or is there another way to drill the frame without the help of a mag drill ? I understand that the frame is heat treated. The reason for the comments about the mag drill is because it looks like it could be a problem getting it set-up. What am I missing ?

 

I understand that I might be beating a dead horse. If so, I apology. I am trying to get my ducks in a row.

Al

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With the TrailerSaver you will have to support the hitch. ET supports itself. I would add some 3/8" 3X3, or 4X4 angle iron and bolt to chassis. Lay 5/8" flat steel on top of angle. Weld and bolt. 1/2 or 3/4" plate will work. If I had it laying around I would use it. I would rent a mag drill with hogen bit. Hogen work like a hole saw on steroids. Do get it the height you need it. Too much work to change later.

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Alan I have a trailer saver and I did not drill any holes in the frame. You will probably find lots of existing holes already in the frame. I studied where the existing holes were and after establishing where the hitch should be located and the proper height I bought some heavy angle iron that would reach the existing holes and bolted that to the frame. Then I used a piece of 1/2" plate to mount to the hitch and to the angle iron. So all of the holes were drilled in the new iron and not the frame. It has worked for 7 years with no problems.

 

Brad

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Hi Everyone,

 

I should have said that I am keeping the truck tandem. There is no extra holes or any holes to use right now at the back of the truck. It looks like the hitch should start behind where to rear shocks mount. I have already removed the rear plate where the tail lights are mounted to. Next is to get ready to add some steel.

 

Please keep your ideas coming,

Al

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You can do it without a mag drill, it just takes longer and is slower. I have used a step bit and used a 2x4 against the tire to hold pressure on my drill. An air drill is better as it won't start rotating madly if the bit locks up. It just stops. Although a step bit won't lock up like a regular bit will. You want to bolt angle iron to the inside of the frame. Use 3x3 angle. Make sure it is thick enough. 1/2 inch bolts grade 8, 5 per side. drill holes in your 1/2 in plate and lay on your angle. Drill holes in angle and bolt in place. At least 4 grade 8 bolts per side. Set hitch in place and mark holes. Drill and volt in place.

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JW Morgan did ours, and he let me help. We used 3 x 5 x 5/8 angle, because he had it laying there. I think we used mostly existing holes. If I remember correctly, there are 5- 5/8" bolts on each side. The TrailerSaver sits on top of the angle and also has 5 bolts per side. Hitch protrudes from the rear of the frame a bit, as we're also tandem. When I built the bed, I enclosed the rear.

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I have a plate laying between my frame rails on the lower lip of the frame. It is either 3/4" or 1" steel (I forget which right now). It is welded to the frame in place. I then built a platform out of 4" tube to get the hitch at the correct height (basically a big box). My Trailersaver sits on top of this. I used long grade 8 bolts to bolt the hitch through the tube box and steel plate. This way I didn't have to drill any frame holes.

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If you can center punch where the holes need to go, a 1/4 bit to drill the initial hole and them a reamer will work as well. It has to be a quality set though. Roger- Hewhoknowslittle, either used his set or a set from Gregg S at the ECR to enlarge his pinbox bolt holes. Worked great.

Jim,

 

The hitch install I stood around and supervised at the ECR ( not really just watched), David, Chet, and Charlie, used a 1/2 drill and a two by four to create a "poor man's" drill press. Worked well. Borrowed some bits from Gregg but didn't need them. Charlie Lord's sharp steel bit worked fine with the setup. Apparently Gregg's reamers are $125 a piece and break if not careful.

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Glen,

 

Do you remember how much this mag drill weights ? How does someone get the drill set-up on the side of the frame ? I don't think I can hold the drill and get the mag turned on all at the same time. I will be doing this job by myself. The only mag drills that I can remember weight about 80 lbs or so. This could get pretty heavy doing the job with one person. Have you ever used the Hougen bits in a 1/2" drill ? I think the drill bits are a core drill bit.

 

Al

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Mag drills are heavy but not that heavy these days, I have couple of new ones. Tricky to set up on vertical, or even upside down but can be done. Use of safety chain or strap highly recommended. Drilling hardened rails is tricky, the steel will try to trap the bit and stall the drill. Lots of oil and withdraw the bit the instance you feel it laboring and grabbing. Let things cool and start over.

 

Another option, small pilot hole and use of tapered (bridge) reamer, $50-80 bucks but they work like a charm, own few of those too. Anyone knows a service outfit that re-sharpens these?

 

ETs come with an oversize bottom plate which is the mounting plate no need to purchase one separately, the 4 x 4 mounting angles are also included with the hitch.

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Mag drills are heavy but not that heavy these days, I have couple of new ones. Tricky to set up on vertical, or even upside down but can be done. Use of safety chain or strap highly recommended. Drilling hardened rails is tricky, the steel will try to trap the bit and stall the drill. Lots of oil and withdraw the bit the instance you feel it laboring and grabbing. Let things cool and start over.

 

Another option, small pilot hole and use of tapered (bridge) reamer, $50-80 bucks but they work like a charm, own few of those too. Anyone knows a service outfit that re-sharpens these?

 

ETs come with an oversize bottom plate which is the mounting plate no need to purchase one separately, the 4 x 4 mounting angles are also included with the hitch.

 

 

 

 

I will need to do a Google search on a tapered (bridge) reamer. I do not know what they look like. I am only familiar with a standard reamer.

 

Please keep the thoughts coming,

Al

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My truck is still tandom and I also found enough good holes on my frame to bolt 3x5x1/4 angle then welded 1/2 plate to the top of the angle and another 1/2 plate down the back for a tailboard. I also put in a receiver hitch that triangulates

Up to the frame.

My bed then bolts around and to the whole thing.

I have a trailer saver and used a Milwaukee 1/2 hole shooter to drill the holes. No big deal took about 2- hours,

I just used a drill Doctor to sharpen the bit and went real slow with oil.

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Not sure if this was mentioned. You can use the original commercial hitch mounting rails to mount your RV hitch.

 

Remove them and cut to length and invert and mount inside the frame rails at the height needed.

 

They have plenty of holes and strength.

 

Use 1/2" plate and your ready to set hitch.

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Does anyone know the Rockwell hardness of the frame ? Or what steel type was used for the frames ?

 

Al

The frame rail steel is tempered to behave like spring steel, it will come back to it's original set from some pretty radical twists. I'm familiar with it's two most common ratings 80,000 pound and 120,000 pounds. I don't know what its Rockwell hardness is but from experience I know it's pretty high. There are companies that stock it and can actually bend rails of pretty long lengths. We bought these in the past from a company in Vermont. The tapered reamers are available from McMaster, I'll look it up.

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