View Full Version : Help me pick a 5er Hitch
09-18-2008, 02:16 PM
We are getting closer to picking out a new trailer and being new to the 5th wheel scene I would like to turn to the members of this forum for some help in selecting a good hitch for the job. The most likely candidate for the new trailer is a Jayco Eagle 351RLSA. The specs right off the Jayco website are as follows:
Unloaded Vehicle Weight 10,900
Dry Hitch Weight (lbs) 2,485
Gross Vehicle Weight (lbs) 14,950
Cargo Carrying Capacity (lbs) 4,050
Exterior Length 39'
Exterior Height with A/C 159"
Bedroom Interior Height 77"
Fresh Water Capacity (gals) includes water heater 87
Gray Wastewater Capacity (gals) 87
Toilet / Black Wastewater Capacity (gals) 52
Sleeping Capacity 4-6
The most commonly offered hitches up this way are the Reese/Draw-tite/Curtis family. But I would definitely consider something else if you feel that it is a better choice. Thanks in advance.
Sorry if this post is too similar to Herb's recent question.
09-18-2008, 02:30 PM
As you have a short bed (per your sig) you will need a slider. I strongly suggest the Pullright Superglide, albeit rather expensive. (less than having to repair your crunched cab or trailer cap)
Manual sliders are a lot less, but IMO it would be a pain in the a$$ to get out and slide the mechanism every time I needed to turn sharp or back into a spot.
If I had a long bed, hands down it would be the B&W Turnover Ball (gooseneck) with the 5er companion hitch. Not sure if I would ever need the g/n ball, but would have it available and a high quality hitch for not much more than a typical non-slider 5er hitch.
09-18-2008, 02:31 PM
Almost forgot... With the GVWR of the trailer indicated in your post, you would be fine with the 16k Superglide.
Edit, IIRC they changed their lineup to a 14k and the 18k, in that case you would probably want to go to the 18k.
09-18-2008, 03:54 PM
Like Brianj I considered a gooseneck hitch with an adaptor that monuted to the 5th wheel pinbox. In my research I was told that the 5th wheel pinboxes and their monuting points were not designed or the stresses of a gooseneck. Add to that the need, on a gooseneck, of safety chains and I decided to go with a 5th wheel hitch. I'm not an engineer so I'm not syaing Brianj is wrong just saying why I went the way I did.
If you have a short bed I would do some measuring before going to a slider. Old 5vers had the pin located under the overhang of the trailer body and definitly needed a slider. All of the new 5vers have the pin located in front of the body of the trailer. I was able to tow an AlipenLite 5ver with my short bed chevy using a standard 5th wheel hitch. I never made contact with the cab while turning or backing. I did try to see how far I could go when backing and I could get to almost 90 degrees without contact. If you have to go with a slider I agree with Brianj's suggestion.
09-18-2008, 04:07 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Lyle</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Like Brianj I considered a gooseneck hitch with an adaptor that monuted to the 5th wheel pinbox. In my research I was told that the 5th wheel pinboxes and their monuting points were not designed or the stresses of a gooseneck. Add to that the need, on a gooseneck, of safety chains and I decided to go with a 5th wheel hitch. I'm not an engineer so I'm not syaing Brianj is wrong just saying why I went the way I did.</div></div>
You might want to research the B&W companion system before spreading the above info. The B&W companion is NOT an adapter to use a 5th wheel pin box with gooseneck ball. It is a 5th wheel plate and hitch that drops into the B&W gooseneck ball mount that utilized the "normal" 5er pinbox. Looks just like any other 5er pin box and hitch, just mounts to the B&W ballmount instead of bed rails.
Agreed that many trailer manufacturers will void their frame warranty if you use a G/N ADAPTER that converts the pin box to mount on a G/N ball. The companion system is no such animal.
09-18-2008, 04:19 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Lyle</div><div class="ubbcode-body">If you have a short bed I would do some measuring before going to a slider. Old 5vers had the pin located under the overhang of the trailer body and definitly needed a slider. All of the new 5vers have the pin located in front of the body of the trailer. I was able to tow an AlipenLite 5ver with my short bed chevy using a standard 5th wheel hitch. I never made contact with the cab while turning or backing. I did try to see how far I could go when backing and I could get to almost 90 degrees without contact. If you have to go with a slider I agree with Brianj's suggestion. </div></div>
While modern 5ers have the pin box mounted at or slightly in front of the cap of the 5er, there are still clerance issues. Remember, the Dodge short bed is 3" shorter than the Ford or GM shortbed. I have come close to 90 degrees backing my '06 5er, and with the superglide all the way back (13" for the 18k superglide), I have MAYBE 3 inches between the cab and front cap of the trailer.
By all means measure to see what you need. Superglide has a measurment tool on their website that will help determine how much "slide" you need, if any. You just need the truck model, trailer width, and distance from the center of the trailer pin from the front cap of the trailer. Current trailer designs are also curving the front cap corners to accomodate short beds, so with the right model and extended pin box you may get away without a slider. I would check the clearance before trying any tight turns/backing, however.
09-18-2008, 11:17 PM
Another piece of advice from a Jayco owner - If you get an Eagle make sure it has the cutouts in the corner on the front of the camper. If it does, I would still recommend a slider hitch, but you will almost never have to use it. I can turn my camper over 90 degrees and not contact the cab on my truck. Look at my sig for info. on what I have.
You will never turn over 60 degrees and feel comfortable manuvering. In my opinion the slider is nice to have, but after my first three or four trips, I have never used it again.
I have a 15K Husky slider hitch.
09-19-2008, 11:24 PM
"before spreading the above info".
WOW "spreading" sounds like I'm some sort of communicable disease carrier. LOL I have looked at the B&W Companion hitch Brianj. Personally I do not care for the design. I'll tell you why (kind of a long story). My 1st 5th wheel hitch was an older design with the bed rails running longitudinally (just like the flanges?/supports?/stabilizers?) of the Companion unit. The rails mounted using four equally spaced bolts. The two in the middle bolted through the bed floor and the end ones through the bed and "L" brackets that were secured to the truck frame. It worked just fine in my last truck but, when I moved it to my Dodge I ran into a problem. My Dodge has the Camper package which includes factory installed helper springs. The helpers have stops bolted to the frame at each end of the spring. The stops interferred with the placement of the "L" brackets. The "professional" installer said no problem. Because I was towing a light (5000lbs) 5ver we could use the middle bolts for the "L" brackets instead of the end ones. I took his word for it. Recently we bought a larger (heavier) 5ver and a new hitch with a higher tow rating. When I removed the old hitch rails I found that the end bolts had dented and bent the bed floor material. On one corner the force was great enough to begin tearing the steel of the bed. This was caused by a fore and aft rocking motion of the hitch under braking, accelerating, etc. I wasn't comfortable with that.
The Companion system mounts at only one point, the reciever for the gooseneck ball. Unless the clearences between the reciever and the Companion's square mounting pin are very close there will be movement of the Companion unit. That movement may well result in the kind of rocking motion I experienced with my incorrectly installed hitch. With only a central mounting point, however, the rocking may occur not only in a fore and aft direction but side to side and diagonally as well. A guy on another forum who is an engineer explained that those small movements that come to a sharp stop transmit shock forces through the truck frame and the 5th wheel pin box and its mounting surfaces. Add to that the forces generated by Dodgethis' 15000lbs rig will be far greater than the ones generated by my old 5000lbs rig. and my personal decision to not use 5th wheel hitches that are adapted from gooesneck systems remains firm.
I'm not an engineer and my opinion is based on my own personal experience. My opinion may be wrong or right. Dodgethis asked for input. I gave him mine. He and you are free to take that input or leave it as you choose.
Sorry everyone, I said it was a long story. I guess I've spread enough diseae for one night.
09-20-2008, 03:39 PM
One more note, shop around for a price on the hitch you want. Then see what the trailer dealership can get you for a price when you're buying your trailer. I saved $200 having it installed through the trailer dealership vice having it done on my own. Doesn't hurt to ask, especially now that trailer sales are slow.
09-22-2008, 09:57 AM
Glad that you took a look at the B&W to look at the design and of course you are entitled to your opinion on the design. In your original post you made it sound like the B&W system uses a G/N adapter and that is simply not the case, which was the point I was making.
The B&W mounts to the frame in 4 locations with brackets very simlar to other under the bed rail systems. I see your point about potential "play" in the mounting point of the 5er companion, but the same could be said for any other hitch with under the bed rails. Just because my Superglide uses 4 pins to mount on doesn't mean they are still not subject to less than perfect clearances with some potential "play"
The only other thing I have to say about it is I have NEVER read a negative review of the B&W Companion system from people who have actually used the unit. Quite the contrast actually with very positive reviews.
09-22-2008, 06:04 PM
Well, the search for the new trailer continues. After looking at the Jayco Eagle 351RLSA a second time the Mrs. and I agreed that not only was it too long for the driveway but also too heavy for the truck as it is only a 2500. I know it would handle it but I'd blow the GVWR out of the water. No problem...we have lots of time.
As you pointed out, I will only consider a unit with the slider option. As far as the size of the hitch goes, I will likely go a little overkill with a 16 or 18k min. no matter what the GVWR of the trailer we wind up buying is.
I think, to be on the safe side, I will go with slider. Although the pin boxes do stick somewhat forward nowadays it also looks like the front caps on the 5'rs are also sticking out further as well. For the extra money I won't take the chance of winding up in a tight spot and not have that option. Some of the sites at the Provincial Parks in Ontario, although large themselves can be quite tight with trees where you back into them.
I know exactly what you mean about the "cutouts". I am now less sure that what we buy will be a Jayco Eagle but I have been keeping an eye on the front caps of the others we've been looking at...Keystone (Laredo,Montana) and Pilgrim (Legend) specifically.
BrianJ and Lyle:
I really have no use for a gooseneck style hitch so I won't be concerned about this as an option although thanks to you both for the heads up and sharing your experiences.
Actually what I'm hoping I can pull off is that I can get the dealer to throw in a fairly nice used unit for free. He's got three laying around. I'm sure I'll pay for it somehow in there, but I'm gonna give it a shot.
Sorry for the long post. Hope I didn't leave anyone out. Thanks for the advice. More would always be welcome.
09-22-2008, 11:11 PM
I have a 16k superglide and I love it. After seeing my Dad dent both sides of his cab I knew I wanted an auto-slider. It requires no thought, and sometimes I don't think before I do something, so it works for me! The four pin mounting that was mentioned earlier is another bonus, when you remove the hitch you have a flat bed again! I found mine used (very little) for a great price. With todays economy you could probably pick one up cheap from somebody who got rid of there 5er, just be sure to fully and carefully inspect any used hitch!
09-22-2008, 11:41 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Dodgethis</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...I am now less sure that what we buy will be a Jayco Eagle but I have been keeping an eye on the front caps of the others we've been looking at...Keystone (Laredo,Montana) and Pilgrim (Legend) specifically.</div></div>
Just a heads up that Pilgrim recently went out of business. While you could probably get a good deal on one, you will be your own warranty station on the coach itself (fridge, a/c, etc. would be covered by the seperate suppliers).
09-22-2008, 11:45 PM
Speaking of which, others that have gone out of business include Teton, Alfa and Weekend Warrior. There are several more, but that's all that is coming to mind at the moment.
09-23-2008, 12:07 AM
Thank you very much for the heads up Brian. I expect we will be seeing alot more of the coach builders going under. With the state of the economy, especially in the US, the price of fuel, especially up here, no one wants to own a pickup anymore so what would they pull a 5'er or good sized TT with.
09-23-2008, 11:35 PM
I am all for the B&W hitch. I have had mine in my truck since the first day of the truck came off the show room floor. Over the last five years I have not had a single issue with the B&W ever, not one. My RV is a 40 foot 2 bed room and have pulled it and many other RVs for other folks that have much more weight than mine. No looseness, bangs rattles or anything like. The auto locking feature is great and the locking jaws are larger than those that are on my commercial 5th wheel hitch on my Volvo.
It is rated at 18,000lbs 5th wheel pull and 7500lb pin weight. The gooseneck ball is rated at 30,000lbs pull and 7500lb pin weight. With the 5th wheel hitch removed you have a clean bed with no in bed rails. The mount clamps to the frame with position locaters the pin to the frame. No holes drilled, no welds. VERY SOLID HITCH! And I have used them all!
Draw back? Yes, its not a slider but the hitch position is adjustable front to back and height. Works fantastic with the Airborn extended pin for the short beds when installed on your 5ver. Even an regular extended pin box for you RV works fine. Most RV manufactures now offer and even have the extended pin box as a normal feature on their RVs now because of the population of short bed trucks now pulling 5vers.
I moved an RV recently with my truck that has the Airborn pin box on the trailer. The backing of that RV was more than fantsatic and the trailer ride and pull was great too. All tho I have the long bed truck, I am considering the Airborn hitch on both my RVs just for the backing ability.
Again, I have installed and used every brand hitch out there on my past trucks. I bent them and endured their constant rattels and bangs, especially bed rail pin hitches. The B&W has been the hands down best hitch from install and use.
I have to change out the commercial hitch on my Volvo because it does not orbit like a RV hitch does (not all RV hitches orbit either, be wary of those that dont) and there is only one hitch made for RVs to be pulled with a class 7 or 8 truck (commercial tractor) and thats a Holland-Binkly. I will be making the mounts to install the B&W on my tractor.
09-24-2008, 01:15 AM
My next one will be a Superglide.
I'm selling a Reese 20K 4 way rocker, excellent condition with all hardware for $350.00. Would need to be picked up.
09-24-2008, 08:14 AM
Thanks for the write-up. Being new to the fifth wheel world, I appreciate all the input I can get. I'm going to look up the B&W system on the net and find out what they are about. I like the idea of having a clean bed after removing the hitch since I will be loading the snowmobile in the back of the truck from time to time during the winter.
One question. What do you mean by the term "orbit"?
$350 for a 20k Reese sounds like a great deal, but I'm not sure I could find exactly where "Girlyman!!" is. /forum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif (One hint - the plate on your avatar says California)
That and the fact that you say your next one will be a Superglide makes me think that's the way I should go even more. I can only hope that the price up here isn't a complete killer.
09-24-2008, 08:33 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Dodgethis</div><div class="ubbcode-body">One question. What do you mean by the term "orbit"?</div></div>
He's meaning move/tilt in all directions.
09-24-2008, 02:55 PM
Excellent write up on the B&W Tim. Also interesting to see your review of the Airborn pin box. I had read a few reviews that indicated the highway handling (i.e. sway) was not as good as a tradational 5er with the pivot point moved rear-ward (on the airborn), your experience helps show that may not be the case. I can definately see the advantage of the Airborn when backing!
I have been very happy with my Superglide, and it does pivot in all directions. The only negative I can say about it is the weight, as my 18k superglide is over 300lbs. It's not the easiest to remove at that weight, but it does leave an emtpy bed once removed. (You can take it out at the 4 pins, which is the full weight, or take it out in a few pieces, which helps)
09-24-2008, 04:49 PM
Check out http://www.tweetys.com/ they have super prices and shipping is FAST!! Discount for military too.
09-29-2008, 08:39 PM
The pull on the Airborn was only 65 miles but mostly highway. The trailer was a 43ft 5 slide and HEAVY! Empty weight on the trailer was 19,500 and the gross was 26,500. But these people full timed in it so it was far from empty. I didn't feel any bucking, pitching sway or any feel of being loaded wrong and pulled it 70 mph.
Even on my tractor I have the 5th wheel pin location 4" behind center axle to aid in backing and give me more room between tractor and trailer. It also helps put more weight on the rear axle on the tractor to help with air brakes that are set for much more weight than I can load it with. Even with that the trailer is as solid as a rock behind the tractor.
The pivot point is behind the axle but the load point is still ahead of the axle with the Airborn and thats the fundamental difference. It does not treat the frame on the trailer badly as a gooseneck adapter does either. It still allows a pull on the same plane as any extended pin box.
The B&W puts the gooseneck ball approx 4" ahead of the axle and the B&W 5th wheel companion lets you set the pin just ahead or rear of the axle center point. I have mine set dead center of the axle on the Dodge.
On another note of the B&W having a rocking action forward and aft. This can happen IF you have set your Companion to be a simple drop in and thats the wrong way to use them. The base must be set in and the tension bolt must be torqued down to the bed. The locks the pin in place so it cannot be released. It also spreads the load down evenly against the bed with the pressure from the torque bolt. Then tighten the two U-bolts and its set. It takes about 10 minutes to set the companion but once done properly it will not move or rock around, it cant. It even works with bedliners. I have mine on the original plastic Dodge bedliner and it works fine, does not move.
09-29-2008, 10:16 PM
Are you guys more fond of B&W turnover or Pop-up flip over gooseneck hitches? I see they both have accessories for 5th wheel hitches and I'm itching to buy one here soon. Any advice is welcome, truck is a shortbed.
09-30-2008, 10:58 PM
FWIW: I've had a Huskey 16K manual slider on my old '04 SB. Good hitch, only had to use the slider a few times in really tight situations. The biggest gripe I had about it was while towing on the highway, it bucked and knocked pretty good while going over un-even roads, like bridges or that stretch of I-40 thru Arkansas. (I-85 thru N.C. ain't much better). I had the "in-bed rails" that protruded approx. 2" above the bed. It was a PIA trying to load/haul drywall or loose material. The Huskey has a single locking jaw and Huskey does offer a under the bed mounting system.
With my 3500, the B&W Companion is a night and day difference. There is no bucking like a wild stallion over those concrete, segmented interstate highways. When the Companion is removed, you have the whole bed available. B&W does have installation instructions for a short bed; it positions the mounting just aft of the rear axle, vice directly over the axle. I have no idea how this set-up works, but I have seen short bed owners using them. I like the versatility of the B&W to whereas I can tow a goose neck or a conventional 5ver using the B&W Companion.
With a shortbed, ya might wanna seriously consider a slider. At least its there if ya need it. Cheap insurance!
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