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Old 04-26-2019, 06:36 AM   #1
turbo
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truck height vs Fifth Wheel Height - help!

HI all - appreciate your replies here! I just picked up a 2019 F350 SRW Diesel 4x4 and looking at swapping my old travel trailer for a 2019 Cougar 315RLS this weekend. I note that the height of the rear of the new truck (top of tailgate) is exactly 60" from the ground, which is 3-4 inches higher than my prior 2015 F150. How do 5th wheels accomodate the extra height of the larger tow vehicles? Will there still be about 6" clearance between the truck bed and the Cougar? Anyone have a similar combo that can share their experience? thanks in advance
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:12 AM   #2
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Been there. I went through the same thing when I bought my newer RAM 4x4. My guess is that the Cougar will ride a little high to the front. A little high is pretty common. The dealer should be able to help you.

You might calculate the actual height of your hitch plate and go measure the plate height of the Cougar as it sits level. That should tell you how close it will be.
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:18 AM   #3
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There hasn't been any "significant" problem reported by members who have bought a "new model truck" and hitched it to an "older model trailer". Some, as stated in the previous post, have reported reduced clearance between the bed rails and the trailer, but nobody has reported an inability to tow because of a reduced clearance caused by increased height of the new trucks.

It looks to me, that with the softer, longer springs on the new Fords, that with the weight of the fifth wheel pin, the springs "sag" enough to put the actual hitch height of the truck at nearly the same height as the older model Ford trucks. I don't think you'll have a significant problem with clearance, possibly an inch, maybe two of reduced bed/trailer clearance, otherwise, it's pretty much the same as previous models.
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:51 AM   #4
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Actually, John, it looks like your personal combo is similar to the OP's. Does your Cougar ride relatively level behind your Ford? Just curious...
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:39 AM   #5
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really appreciate this info....looks like i will be going to the dealer tomorrow to finalize this ...thx all and still interested in hearing from others with a similar combo.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:44 AM   #6
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Depending on which hitch you have, you can raise/lower the hitch and/or the pin box to get the correct height.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Depending on which hitch you have, you can raise/lower the hitch and/or the pin box to get the correct height.
thanks for the note but the issue is ensuring enough space to work with between the top of the truck box and the bottom of the 5th wheel, regardless of pin placement. Truck is 60" high unloaded, and dealer just advised Cougar is at 62.5, leaving 2.5" wiggle room. is that sufficient? seems tight to me but not sure how much a 5er typically (or can) tilt during driving and getting into sites. thx!
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:35 AM   #8
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That may be an issue. Maybe consider installing CRE or MorRyde suspension as it may raise the trailer up enough.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:33 AM   #9
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As John noted earlier the truck will also come down a little with the pin weight. Also you will still set your hitch height to make sure you've got the 6"-ish clearance needed between the truck and coach. Whatever slope that creates in how the coach rides is what you'll have to deal with. Still shouldn't be unmanagable. A lot of rigs go down the road a little nose-high.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo View Post
thanks for the note but the issue is ensuring enough space to work with between the top of the truck box and the bottom of the 5th wheel, regardless of pin placement. Truck is 60" high unloaded, and dealer just advised Cougar is at 62.5, leaving 2.5" wiggle room. is that sufficient? seems tight to me but not sure how much a 5er typically (or can) tilt during driving and getting into sites. thx!
Turbo
Most folks agree that 5 to 6 inches is the minimum clearance needed between the 5th wheel overhang and the bedrails of your truck.
https://www.etrailer.com/question-144392.html
If your FWD truck is like ours, you will be riding a little nose high. I wish we rode more level, but supposedly the trailer suspension can accommodate this. Others may have more/better info regarding the suspension being able to compensate for not being exactly level.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:30 PM   #11
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I have a 2018 F350 SRW Long Bed as well. Keep in mind not only are they taller but also the bed side walls are an inch taller or deep per say. I had a 2016 F350 SRW and the 5er rode level . I had to adjust the hitch one notch higher to keep the same clearance between the bed and 5er so it may ride a little higher than before. Mine does but not by much.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:46 PM   #12
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Well 60" is about average for HD pickups Tailgate height. I would measure the new 5er on a level surface with the 5er level. Measure to the bottom of the under bedroom area, if 63" or better you should be in good shape.
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:29 AM   #13
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you could always flip the axles on the trailer to get a few more inches to ride level.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:43 AM   #14
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The issue of pairing a 5th wheel with a "modern" truck (in my case a 2017 F250 Lariat, short bed) was a definite problem as a result of inadequate communication and conflicting consumer interests for the auto and RV industries
The following table lists Ford truck bed rail heights for various years:
2008 - 2010: 54.5"
2011 - 2014: 55.1"
2015 - 2016: 56.0"
2017 - 2018: 59.2"
Older 5ers have overhangs in the 55" range while many of the newer ones fall into the 60" area. There are a few 5ers that have overhangs higher than 60" but you need to search them out. The overhang value is not listed in RV specs so you need to actually level the unit and measure the overhang of a unit you are interested in.
I have spoken to truck and RV dealers and manufacturers. Truck manufacturers concede that trucks are taller primarily due to the look factor. RV dealers generally do not acknowledge there is any problem. Dealers will tell you that there will be "no problem." RV manufacturers are aware of the issue but solutions have been slow in coming due to engineering limitations resulting from (primarily height limits) specifications imposed by governmental agencies. Some manufacturers have sought solutions which make their 5th wheels just squeak by without dangerous and costly solutions such solutions as flipping axles, building sub frames, etc. Some manufacturers now put axles below the springs to start with.
To make a long story short, the "solution" to my problem was as follows:
1. Demco Hijacker Autoslide Hitch (DM8550037) installed with under bed mount (DM8551009) and set to lowest height 15 1/2". This hitch was selected not only because it was an autoslide, but because it provided 3 vertical adjustments (which other autoslides did not). Note that the hitch needed to be installed with under bed rails. ISRs would have made the lowest vertical hitch height 1-1/2 higher at the lowest setting. This would have resulted in a nose high configuration.
2. 5er that fits perfectly (or just about level) is a Keystone Sprinter Copper Canyon model M-273FWRET. The overhang on this unit is 65" high at level! Imagine my surprise!
When connected to the truck, the approximate 1-1/2" drop of the bed from pin weight puts the overhang 6-1/2 inches over the side rails in a near perfect level.
I hope this summary and my trials help those of you purchasing a newer truck with bed rails near 60" high. Be prepared to do a lot of searching to get everything to fit. If you already own a 5er and it has 60" or less overhang, be prepared for nose up issues. If you decide to get a replacement 5er to go with your new truck, don't let the RV dealers assure you that whatever 5er you pick will "work." Insist on (or be sure to) hook up and check before signing on the dotted line.
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:49 AM   #15
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In 2017 I replaced my 2009 F350 SRW Diesel 4x4 with a new 2017 F350 SRW before the purchased I was very worried that the 2019 with the new body style would be too high for my fifth wheel a 2009 Montana 3150 RL after measuring several ways. I purchased a Champion fifth wheel hitch mounted it in the middle holes so I could go higher and hooked up, everything worked great and it is one of the best setups I have ever had.
The measurement from the ground to top of tailgate is 58 inches on the 2009, I have 6 inches clearance between the bed rail and the trailer and never had a problem. The Ford dealer actually let me put my hitch in the new truck and hook up my trailer.
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Old 05-02-2019, 01:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rauman84341 View Post
In 2017 I replaced my 2009 F350 SRW Diesel 4x4 with a new 2017 F350 SRW before the purchased I was very worried that the 2019 with the new body style would be too high for my fifth wheel a 2009 Montana 3150 RL after measuring several ways. I purchased a Champion fifth wheel hitch mounted it in the middle holes so I could go higher and hooked up, everything worked great and it is one of the best setups I have ever had.
The measurement from the ground to top of tailgate is 58 inches on the 2009, I have 6 inches clearance between the bed rail and the trailer and never had a problem. The Ford dealer actually let me put my hitch in the new truck and hook up my trailer.
Thanks this is very comforting as I pick up the cougar in 2 weeks. Also getting a b&w hitch as recommended by the dealer for my config. I have 20 inch tires on my 2019 f350 - are yours also 20's? Interestingly I almost bought the same Montana, it's beautiful, but thought it was quite heavy based on the specs and my truck is SRW. Thx
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Old 05-03-2019, 10:39 AM   #17
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I was told to get your new 5th wheel as level as you can unhitched. Measure from the Ground to the king pin, then measure from ground to the truck bed floor. Subtract the two and that number is where your hitch height should be.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:05 PM   #18
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Update

HI all - quick update - picked up my 2019 Cougar 315RLS this week from CAMPING IN STYLE in Whitby ON, and a B&W 20k manual slider with my new 2019 F350 SRW. Was worried about it being nose high, not enough room between fifth wheel and truck bed, and not enough room between cab window and slider. Very happy to say dealer did a great job on all fronts, more than adequate clearances and she sits level. Kudos to the team at camping in style. Camping this weekend!
thx for prior advice/replies here.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:00 AM   #19
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That's Great, enjoy!!!
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Old 10-24-2020, 08:53 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEDonaldson View Post
The issue of pairing a 5th wheel with a "modern" truck (in my case a 2017 F250 Lariat, short bed) was a definite problem as a result of inadequate communication and conflicting consumer interests for the auto and RV industries
The following table lists Ford truck bed rail heights for various years:
2008 - 2010: 54.5"
2011 - 2014: 55.1"
2015 - 2016: 56.0"
2017 - 2018: 59.2"
Older 5ers have overhangs in the 55" range while many of the newer ones fall into the 60" area. There are a few 5ers that have overhangs higher than 60" but you need to search them out. The overhang value is not listed in RV specs so you need to actually level the unit and measure the overhang of a unit you are interested in.
I have spoken to truck and RV dealers and manufacturers. Truck manufacturers concede that trucks are taller primarily due to the look factor. RV dealers generally do not acknowledge there is any problem. Dealers will tell you that there will be "no problem." RV manufacturers are aware of the issue but solutions have been slow in coming due to engineering limitations resulting from (primarily height limits) specifications imposed by governmental agencies. Some manufacturers have sought solutions which make their 5th wheels just squeak by without dangerous and costly solutions such solutions as flipping axles, building sub frames, etc. Some manufacturers now put axles below the springs to start with.
To make a long story short, the "solution" to my problem was as follows:
1. Demco Hijacker Autoslide Hitch (DM8550037) installed with under bed mount (DM8551009) and set to lowest height 15 1/2". This hitch was selected not only because it was an autoslide, but because it provided 3 vertical adjustments (which other autoslides did not). Note that the hitch needed to be installed with under bed rails. ISRs would have made the lowest vertical hitch height 1-1/2 higher at the lowest setting. This would have resulted in a nose high configuration.
2. 5er that fits perfectly (or just about level) is a Keystone Sprinter Copper Canyon model M-273FWRET. The overhang on this unit is 65" high at level! Imagine my surprise!
When connected to the truck, the approximate 1-1/2" drop of the bed from pin weight puts the overhang 6-1/2 inches over the side rails in a near perfect level.
I hope this summary and my trials help those of you purchasing a newer truck with bed rails near 60" high. Be prepared to do a lot of searching to get everything to fit. If you already own a 5er and it has 60" or less overhang, be prepared for nose up issues. If you decide to get a replacement 5er to go with your new truck, don't let the RV dealers assure you that whatever 5er you pick will "work." Insist on (or be sure to) hook up and check before signing on the dotted line.

DEDonaldson, Thanks for your very informative post. What year is your M-273FWRET? I have viewed the 2013 model floor plan online and like it a lot.


I have a 2017 F350 Lariat SB with the puck system along with a 2002 Nash 27-5L that is about 6-8" too short.
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