Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Towing: 5th wheel hitch placement
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 > 5th wheel hitch placement

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Posted: 04/20/09 05:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all, I would like some advice on the importance of the placement of a 5th wheel hitch. First off I already install a hitch in my truck bed, and I centered the hitch over the axel. I was them informed this wrong. That I should have put the hitch 3 inches ahead of the center of the axel. Question is just how important is 3 inches. Anyhow thanks in advance.

* This post was edited 04/20/09 06:00pm by an administrator/moderator *


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Posted: 04/20/09 05:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you want the real word instead of opinions or info on wrong hitch, call the hitch manufacturer. He can also tell you whether current placement will work. You don't want opinions on this matter.

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Posted: 04/20/09 05:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My gooseneck hitch is about 6" ahead of the axle. I installed it according to the directions that came with the hitch. The reason for putting it ahead of the axle is for control and weight distribution. The further ahead of the axle the hitch center is placed, the more weight the front axle shares and the less swaying force the trailer can exert on the truck. However, if you get the hitch too far ahead of the axle, you run the risk of hitting the cab with the trailer or not being able to turn it as tight.

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Posted: 04/20/09 07:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The hitch manufacturer gives specific measurements for installing the hitch for each truck. The measurements vary on each truck due to frame and structure interference. So on some trucks it will be ahead of the axel, on some it will be right over the axel. I would check with the manufacturer, but you are probably ok. My Ford was ahead of the axel, my chevy is centered on the axel.


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Posted: 04/20/09 08:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think you will be Ok. The rule seems to be 1 to 3 inches ahead of the center of the axle.


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Posted: 04/21/09 06:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Typically the 5er hitch is located 2 to 3" forward of the axle. Reasons are:

Better weight distribution
Better trailer control.

It always pays to read all of the instructions first.

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Posted: 04/21/09 06:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

opinions will work just fine.
The long bed trucks I've had I used 2"-3" forward of the rear axle center line for GN ball or 5er pin. Both shortbed trucks I had I requested zero over the rear axle center line for getting the most from my sliding hitches.

Your zero over the rear axle center line will work great.

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Posted: 04/21/09 07:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Personally I have not seen many instructions reference the axle. The Reese I installed showed reference only to certain structural cross members of the truck. I believe most instructions will place the kingpin 1-3 inches ahead of the axle placing the weight bearing area between the front and rear axles.

I have measured and confirmed mine at 2.5" by placing a sheet of plywood along side the truck to identify vertical thru the axle and laying a board across the truck bedwalls over the hole for the king pin. It was installed per instructions from Reese.

As far as a problem with being right over the axle, it shouldnt be much. However, once you pass the rear axle, you will begin to reduce the weight off the front axles/tires.

The more expensive TT hitches do everything they can to duplicate the geometry of the 5th wheel design by moving the pivot toward the rear axle of the TV, and the spring bars across the hitch to shift weight to the front axles of the tow vehicle. This is all done for safety and to improve handling.

Here are the Reese instructions - mine per page 9.
Since several different mfgs of the older hitches are interchangeable I would believe they would all yield the same placement.

* This post was edited 04/21/09 07:14pm by wittmeba *

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Posted: 04/21/09 07:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mine is centered over the rear axle and the kit was installed per instructions.

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Posted: 04/22/09 05:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would follow the manufacturer's instructions.

In any case, unless my arithmetic is wrong, a 2500-pound pin weight placed two inches in front of the rear axle on a 160-inch wheelbase truck (as an example) will shift some 31 pounds to the front axle compared to if the pin weight were directly over the axle. If that weight were placed three inches in front of the rear axle, the weight shift would be about 47 pounds.

This does not seem very much to worry about.

* This post was edited 04/22/09 05:57am by 67Airstreamer *

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