Whether you need to tow an RV or trailer for work purposes, you may need to know how to install a 5th wheel hitch. When you decide you would like to install a 5th wheel hitch on your truck, first, you should ensure that your vehicle is rated to hold the additional weight of the trailer you plan to tow. 5th wheel hitches are a great option for towing very heavy loads because they distribute the weight of the trailer between the cab of the truck and the rear axle, creating more stability. So let’s review 5th wheel weight distribution hitch installation from Blue Ox.
Steps for Installing a 5th Wheel Hitch
Install the Hitch Base
- Remove the spare tire
- Attach plastic rails using appropriate hardware to the hitch base and space according to the truck’s bed ribs. Tighten till snug but you do not fully tighten it at this time.
- Using the two pre-installed 5/16” cap screws and lock washers, attach the slider handle assembly to the slider base roller guide plate as shown. Torque cap screws to 19 ft/lbs.
- Loosen the 5/8-11 x 2-1/4” hex head bolt attached to the ball housing. Leave it loose but still attached to ball housing. Remove the two pins.
- Place the base of the hitch onto the gooseneck 2-5/16” hitch ball. Insert the two pins into the hitch base (white). Place plastic strips, as shown, between bed ribs (gray). Remove the base and fully hand tighten plastic strips to base.
- Re-install the base on to the hitch ball. Insert the two locking pins into the front of hitch base and attach the clips on the opposite side.
- Use a torque wrench to tighten the top bolt on the hitch base to 45 ft/lbs. and secure the base into place.
- Ensure the base is solid and secure to the truck bed. Tighten the two 5/8” bolts on the front side of the hitch, closest to the cab, just enough to eliminate any play around the ball housing. Now tighten the jam nuts on the two 5/8” bolts.
Upper Assembly Initial Installation Instructions
- Remove quick release pin from the roll guide plate (inset). Release the locking handle by pulling handle towards the rear of the truck bed. Then pull the handle outwards and then towards the truck bed again.
- Recommended clearance between truck bed and 5th wheel trailer is 6-8 inches. To adjust the Super Ride’s hitch head height, you can remove the three bolts holding the roller guide plate and adjust it appropriately. Do this for both driver side and passenger side ensuring that both sides are equal in height. Re-torque all six 3/4” cap screws to 257 ft/lbs.
- Center the shock towers over the hitch base vertically and align the two pins, one on each side, with the grooves on each side of the hitch base and set into place.
- Move the shock towers towards the cab of the truck and manually re-engage the locking handle. Re-insert the quick release pin into the roller guide plate. Then insert roller guide plate lock as shown.
- Set the hitch head on top of the shock towers.
- Insert the pin through the front of the hitch and then insert the clip on the back of the hitch to secure the hitch head to the shock towers.
Slider Feature Instructions
The slider feature provides 11” of extra clearance between the truck cab and the hitch. This feature is mainly used on short bed pick-ups or for maneuvering in tight positions.
- Release locking handle by removing the quick release pin from the roller guide plate, then pull the handle towards the rear of the truck bed. Pull the handle outwards and towards the rear of the truck bed again.
- The handle is now locked into the grove on the side of the tubing.
- To move the hitch head towards the rear of the truck bed, apply the brakes on the trailer. Then pull the truck forward. Ensure the locking pin is locked into place. Reinsert quick release pin into the roller guide plate.
Perform a Pull Test
Once you have installed the 5th wheel hitch, you will want to do a pull test before you hit the road. Make sure the truck is stationary and put the emergency brake on. The trailer landing gear should still be firmly on the ground with the wheel of the trailer blocked. Start by releasing the emergency brake from the truck and apply the trailer brakes. Attempt to pull the trailer slowly forward. If the hitch is properly connected, the wheel blocks and trailer should not allow the truck to move forward if the hitch is properly connected. If it is not connected correctly, the trailer will separate from the truck.
Get Blue Ox Super Ride
The Super Ride 5th Wheel Hitch from Blue Ox is easy to install and has a lightweight design. It has a self-locking hitch head and articulation travel making is a highly functional 5th wheel hitch. Visit the Blue Ox website to find the right 5th wheel hitch for your trailer and vehicle.