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5th wheel slider hitches


bigjim
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I have always been a TT guy so I don't know much about  5W hitches.  In conversation today at the park I am in several said that with modern  5th wheels having radius corners that slider hitches are no longer necessary in the short bed trucks.  We could ask a dealer but since I don't trust them that much I thought I would post the question here.  Also that got me to thinking about the  Anderson hitches and wondered if the same answer would apply if using one of them in a short bed truck.

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Another (very) satisfied PR SG user/owner.  "If" I was considering a new 5th wheel (and didn't already have the PR) I would try to contact an owner with the brand of 5th I was considering...who was towing with a SB pickup.  Relying on a dealer or salesperson's word for NOT needing a slider would be in my opinion "iffy".......unless the dealer could provide a test drive.

Unfortunately that might be "mission impossible".  IMO - I would still purchase an automatic slider (do your research).  If you're buying a new 5th the cost is minimal compared to what you're spending for the 5th.

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I have an Anderson hitch in a mega cab short bed.  I have not had any problems with turns but I'm aware of the possibility of hitting if I try to do a 90.  My RV is a 2002, does not have the rounded front corners but it has not been a problem.  Just be aware of your truck/camper when backing tightly and you'll do fine.  A slider might be nice, but can you unload the hitch from your bed by yourself when you need the full bed?  I can do it with one hand.

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I used the Andersen with a short bed for the short while I had the short bed. I had no problem doing a more than 90° jackknife with my old Sunnybrook 28.5 lite that was a 2003. Except for that one short bed truck, before and since I always bought a long bed Cummins Dodge with great service from them. I was looking at sliders for that short bed and decided to try the Andersen because my new to me truck had a gooseneck ball but no rails for a fifth wheel. The Andersen has a reversible hitch pin converter that clamps securely over your hitch pin turning it into the female ball hitch that the ball goes into. It can be installed with the ball hole forward, or reversed so it faces rearward giving an additional 4" of clearance and that was enough for my 2006 Ram 2500 short bed. I had the old heavier steel Andersen. My current truck, a very low mileage 2004 Ram 2500 long bed, came with a Reese 5th wheel hitch and rails already installed. But no gooseneck ball so I sold the Andersen.

To test both trailers and trucks I had my wife spotting to make sure I did not hit the bed or rear window in the case of the Sunnybrook fiver, nor the truck rear bumper hit the trailers when jackknifing 90° for both the Sunnybrook and the Scamp

I now have a Scamp 19' 5th wheel that uses a ball hitch in the bed similar to an Andersen, but the Scamp hitch is built as a fiver ball hitch with a Reese ball hitch that goes in the bed much like the Andersen. But no adapter needed because the Scamp has a factory installed trailer ball receiver instead of a pin on the trailer. So it has no trailer pin to convert. It's trailer side hitch is a ball hitch too so no converter needed.

Scamp hitch

I bought the replacement long bed truck with a regular Reese 5th wheel hitch in the bed. But the long bed had no gooseneck hitch installed to use the Andersen I had with, and no sense trying one since I had the Reese fiver hitch already. Then I bought the 2013 Scamp two years ago. The owner swung by on the way home from a trip so we could check out the Scamp with no obligation to buy since we were on their way home. He had a half ton smaller truck and I needed to see it it would fit on my truck and if if I could tow it. He bought the Scamp new and had it factory built/lifted for newer trucks. Eyeballing it I was almost sure I had a problem but since the Scamp hitch was also a Reese, I decided to first try to just pin the Scamp ball hitch from his truck, in the already installed older Reese 16k fifth wheel rails in my diesel 2500 Ram. I always think Occam's razor and try the most obvious first. So just in case my diesel long bed was too high I needed to try it. It was a perfect fit! The Scamp Reese hitch just pinned on.

You can see the new Scamp hitch on the old and faded Reese rails in the pic below. No adjustment needed. More amazing the Scamp rode level, and I could jackknife the Scamp fiver more than 90° and the bumper did not touch the front of the Scamp battery/Propane frame, or my truck bed sides or tail gate. It cleared by a couple of inches to jackknife it and had more than enough clearance over the truck box and tailgate. I would have sworn my much bigger and wider bumper would have hot the Scamp frame.

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So now I have one set of Reese hitch rails in my truck that I can use for the Scamp hitch or swap it out for the Scamp ball hitch. I just called Andersen and spoke to Rubin and found they have one model, the 3200 steel hitch, that will just bolt on the Reese standard 5th wheel hitch rails too. 

So now I have a long bed with Reese rails that fit the Scamp gooseneck type hitch shown above, and the regular Reese 5th wheel hitch, easily swapped out with no tools. Now I could buy an Andersen ultimate steel model 3200 hitch and use the same rails for all three, no mods.

So to answer your questions. Yes the Andersen Hitch will solve the short bed problem without the much more expensive and very heavy slider hitches, just by putting the pin adapter on with the opening behind the pin. Look up the weight of the slider hitch that goes in the bed, and remember to factor that in if you have a near capacity weight rig:

Manual Slider 136 Min Weight
Manual Slider 305 Max Weight
 
Auto Slider 177 Min Weight
Auto Slider 352 Max Weight
 
The Andersen aluminum weighs in at 35 pounds,the steel 3200
 
Standard 5th wheel hitched
Reese 30047 16k hitch 97 pounds
Reese 30033 22k hitch 147 pounds
 
Since many folks will own more than one rig, and more than one truck, I thought the best system was the turnover ball and their fifth wheel adapter. Now, I like the Reese standard rails that can be used with my regular fiver hitch, my Scamp ball hitch, the Andersen 3200, as well as their Gooseneck adapter for their fifth wheel hitch rails: Reese 5th wheel rail Gooseneck adapter
I like the visible rails and if I carry a load of anything I don't want to slide over them I can just install 2X4s cut to fit in the bed sidewall notches, which would hold whatever above the rails like plywood or Sheetrock 4X8 panels.
 
I wish I had known all this when I started. I would have gone with Reese 5th wheel hitch and rails, then  I could buy a Reese gooseneck adapter If I needed to also tow up to 25k pound Gooseneck trailers, and I could use the standard Andersen Ultimate 3200 to tow a fifth wheel with their pin adapter, or use the Scamp hitch with the scamp 19' fiver, all of which use the standard Reese rails.
 
I would never use a Gooseneck adapter that was the long tube over the pin as the added leverage can damage the fifth wheel frame as it  is not gusseted for the extra leverage of the tube adapters. Before buying the tube type gooseneck adapter call your trailer manufacturer and ask if using one would void your warranty. If you are not under warranty it would be even more important because repairs are 100% on you either way. Besides, you can get the Anderson if you already have a goooseneck ball in your truck.
 
Edited by RV_
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