How to Install a Fifth Wheel Hitch on a Short Bed Truck?

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I believe that installing a fifth-wheel hitch on a short-bed truck is a bit more challenging than installing one on a standard-bed truck. The shorter bed length can make it difficult to find the right location for the hitch and ensure proper alignment.

The process of installation can even get tricker for those who are new and don’t have much knowledge about it. But don’t worry if you are also a newbie. In this article, I will walk you through the process of installing a fifth-wheel hitch on a short-bed truck.

Related Article: How to Tighten the Hitch Ball?

Things to Consider Before Installing a 5th-Wheel Hitch

There are a few things that you must keep in mind before you start the process of installing the hitch on your short-bed truck. In case you don’t pay heed to the below section factors, chances are high that you’ll face serious problems during the installation of the hitch.

1- Select the Right 5th Wheel Hitch

The first step in installing a fifth-wheel hitch on a short bed truck is selecting the right hitch for your vehicle and towing needs. There are several different types of fifth-wheel hitches available, each with its unique features and capabilities. Make sure to take the below-given points as your standard when choosing the hitch.

  • The towing capacity of your truck
  • Weight of the trailer you will be towing
  • Type of trailer you will be towing (e.g. recreational vehicle, horse trailer, etc.)

Every hitch has its capability and compatibility. Make sure to choose a hitch that is rated for the weight of your trailer and that is compatible with your truck’s towing capacity.

2- Measure the Bed Length of Your Truck

You should also measure the bed length of your truck. This will help you determine the best location for the hitch and ensure proper alignment. Are you getting confused about how you should measure the bed length? 

To measure the bed length of your truck, simply measure the distance between the inside of the wheel wells in the bed of your truck. This will give you the overall length of the bed.

3- Choosing the Right Location for the Hitch Installation

Have you measured the bed length correctly? Ok good, now it’s time to choose the right location for the hitch installation. You should keep the following points in your mind when choosing the location;

  • The weight distribution of the trailer
  • Turning radius of the trailer
  • Clearance between the trailer and the truck’s cab

Tools Need for Hitch Installation

Before starting the process, you’ll need some tools. Make sure to buy them so that you don’t face problems during the process. Below is the list of those tools;

  • Drill
  • Hole saw
  • Wrench
  • Socket set
  • Measuring tape
  • Fifth wheel hitch
  • Hitch installation kit
  • Hardware (bolts, nuts)

Step-by-Step Guide: Installing a Fifth Wheel Hitch on a Short Bed Truck

I hope that you have arranged all the tools and materials that were mentioned previously. Now is the time to begin the process and put everything into action. It is important to ensure that you have everything you need before starting, to avoid any delays or complications during the process.

Step 1: Positioning the Hitch

The first step in installing the fifth wheel hitch is positioning it in the bed of the truck. Carefully place the hitch into the bed of the truck and align it with the location you have chosen. The right position of the hitch is important because it determines the stability and safety of the towing setup. 

Point: If you position the hitch too far forward or too far back, then it will cause the trailer to sway or fishtail while driving, potentially leading to an accident. 

Step 2: Marking the Mounting Points

Once the hitch is in place, use a marker, pencil, or a chalk line to mark the mounting points for the hitch. This will be where you will drill the holes for the bolts that will secure the hitch to the truck. 

Point: By marking the exact location of the mounting points, you can be sure that the hitch is mounted in the correct location and at the right angle.

Step 3: Drilling the Holes

Using a hole saw, drill the holes for the bolts at the marked locations. Be sure to drill the holes at the correct angle to ensure proper alignment of the hitch and the trailer.

Step 4: Installing the Hardware

With the holes drilled, it’s time to install the hardware. This typically includes bolts, nuts, and washers. Be sure to use the hardware provided in the hitch installation kit, as it is specifically designed for use with that particular hitch.

Step 5: Securing the Hitch

With the hardware in place, use a wrench or socket set to tighten the bolts and secure the hitch to the truck. Be sure to check that the hitch is level and properly aligned before tightening the bolts fully.

Step 6: Testing the Hitch

Before towing with the new hitch, it is important to test it for proper installation. During testing, if you don’t find any problems and find the alignment perfect, then you’re good to go. If you find some issue with the hitch then you will need to make some final adjustments to ensure optimal towing performance. This can include adjusting the height of the hitch or adjusting the tension on the bolts etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install a fifth-wheel hitch on a short-bed truck myself?

Yes, it is possible to install a fifth-wheel hitch on a short-bed truck yourself, but it is important to have the necessary tools and knowledge. I also recommend you read the user manual of the hitch before starting the installation process.

Do you need a slider hitch for a 6.5 ft bed?

No, you don’t need a slider hitch for a 6.5 ft bed. However, a slider hitch may be necessary for a 6.5 ft bed if the fifth wheel being towed is too long for the bed.

Can you pull a fifth-wheel camper with a 5.5-foot bed?

It is possible to tow a fifth-wheel camper with a truck that has a 5.5-foot bed, but it is necessary to have a sliding hitch to ensure safe towing. The sliding hitch allows for additional clearance between the camper and the truck, which is important when the camper’s length exceeds the bed size.


Installing a fifth-wheel hitch on a short bed truck is pretty easy and straightforward if you’ve all the tools and the necessary information. In this blog post, I’ve gone into details and given you a complete method of installing the 5th wheel hitch on a short bed truck. With the hope that you will be able to install the hitch by yourself now, I am signing off! See you in the next guide. Greetings!

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