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5th Wheel Hitch Installation Cost: An In-Depth Analysis

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While installing a 5th wheel hitch is indeed a straightforward task, not everyone is willing to invest their time and effort into the installation process. In theory, it’s not a bad idea for you to hire someone with sufficient skill and experience to take care of an unfamiliar task. Nowadays, you could find a lot of places that offer 5th wheel hitch installation service with different qualities and costs. However, is the 5th wheel hitch installation cost truly worth its value? You could find out the answer on your own by reading this article

To help you understand the cost issue thoroughly, you would be provided with a couple of time and cost estimates of 5th wheel hitch installation.Technically speaking, the operation length and price depend a lot on the hitch/truck model and the skill of the one that installs the hitch. Nonetheless, in most of the case, the principle and procedures of installing operation would remain the same no matter what. Should you feel that the price is high and want to install the hitch on your own, this article also has a step by step 5th wheel hitch installation guide.

How To install A 5th Wheel Hitch

Important Note: Regardless of the installation method, you have to ensure that the rating of your truck and the hitch match the weight of the towed trailer. That sound quite basic indeed but a lot of people often underestimate the importance of hauling capacity and weight rating. Therefore, before you buy a hitch, you should check out the truck owner manual and trailer ID plate. In the case the truck towing capability is compatible with the trailer weight, you could casually get a hitch that is suitable for your setup. Don’t bother getting a hitch if the truck is unable to handle the trailer.  

5th Wheel Hitch Installation Cost

For most of the time, the hitch installation process could take between 3 and 6 hours to complete, depend on the installer experience and the towing setup. Usually, custom installation kits should take less time compared to their universal installation counterparts because there is no need to drill additional holes on the bed. The average 5th wheel hitch installation cost provided by dealer and workshop tend to range from $250 to $350.  Facilities that have low overhead expenses often offer hitch installation package at a cheap price.

5th Wheel Hitch Installation Cost

Different places will charge different rate so it’s not a bad idea to look around and see which one offer you the best deal. You should not make the final decision base on the 5th wheel hitch installation cost alone, you need to check out the quality of the service as well. There have been many cases of unfortunate towing accidents caused by improperly installed hitch and that is why you have to consider your option carefully. It’s recommended that you have the hitch installed in a credible facility by qualified staff and you need to exam the hitch thoroughly afterward. One loose component is enough to endanger the towing safety and your well being.  

A DIY Guide on How To Install A 5th Wheel Hitch

After figuring out how much to install a 5th wheel hitch process, would you still like to let someone else handle the installation for you? It’s obvious that the cost to install a 5th wheel hitch is not exactly expensive on itself and most people could afford the service.  However, if you combine the installation cost with the cost of the 5th wheel hitch, the total sum could get quite high. If you feel that installing the hitch on your own is more economical, the guide down below should come in handy. It shows how to install a 5th wheel hitch in a simple fashion so everyone could follow it without difficulty.  

Step 1: Preparations

Before you attempt to install the hitch by yourself, you must ensure that you have all the component and tool for the job. Use the manufacturer manual that comes with the hitch in order to find out what you need then prepare accordingly. Depend on the type of the installation kit, you may or may not have to drill additional holes to get the hitch up and running. In the case that you have to drill more holes on the truck bed to accommodate the hitch rail, it’s essential that you measure carefully. Take your time with the drilling, there is no need to rush the process.  

Step 2: Install The Rails

In this step, all you have to do is to align the holes of the installation rails right over the holes of the truck bed. Next, proceed to secure the rails as well as the brackets by bolting them to the frame of your truck and that would be it. However, you should not install rails over a plastic bed liner because plastic shall disintegrate as time goes by and loosen the rail in the process. To ensure sufficient tightness, you have to remove a portion of the bed liner first to achieve a solid mounting surface. After that, you could continue installing the hitch components.

Step 3: Assemble The Hitch

With the rails and brackets firmly secured, you have to install the hitch assembly and then secure it to the truck bed. Base on the included manual, line up the hitch with the front and rear rail then hold it in place using the provided hardware and bolts.  Finally, torque the bolts in order to finish installing the fifth wheel hitch into the bed of your truck. That should be everything you need to do to install a fifth wheel hitch, now you could start outfitting the hitch with necessary accessories such as sway controller and alike.   

Important Issues About Fifth Wheel Hitch Installation And Operation

How To Install A 5th Wheel Hitch

1. How to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck

All trucks with a bed less than 8 feet long are considered to be short bed trucks. If you know how to install a 5th wheel hitch, you should be able to install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck because the procedures are similar. As long as you follow the manufacturer instruction, everything should turn out to be fine. However, due to the reduced turning clearance, you have to use an extended pin box or extension accessories. Without these supporting devices, the trailer could crash into the cab of your truck during tight turns. Buying a slider fifth wheel hitch is also an excellent idea when you are towing with a short bed truck.

2. The fifth wheel hitch maintenance  

To ensure that the towing hitch is ready to be used at moment notice, it’s vital that you lubricate its component thoroughly and regularly. Do remember to get rid of the old, dirty lubricants before applying new ones in order to maximize the effectiveness. About the method, there are a couple of ways you could use to lubricate the mechanism of the hitch. For example, a plastic lube plate is a nice device that eliminates the need to manually lubricate the top plate of the fifth wheel hitch. To keep other parts of the hitch in working order, white lithium spray lube and engine oil work very well.

3. Welding the bracket and the rail to the truck frame

As long as you bolt the rail and the bracket securely, there is no significant benefit to welding them to the frame of the truck. In certain case, welding something to the truck frame would void the manufacturer warranty so it’s strongly advised that you consider your action carefully. If welding is still your preferred choice, it should be done by a qualified welder with proper tools. Welding is a delicate task, one minor mistake and everything involved could sustain irreversible structural damage, your truck included.

4. Universal installation kits and custom installation kits

Universal installation kits are able to work with all sort of towing vehicles but it’s highly likely that you have to drill several additional holes. Similar to welding, drilling may violate the terms and policies of the truck warranty. On the other hand, custom installation kits are designed to be compatible with specific truck models which reduce installation time. By using a custom installation kit, the time it takes to complete the installation process could be reduced as much as 50%. Because custom installation kits are built to match the dimension of the trucks that they are designed for, it’s simple to figure out the ideal location for the fifth wheel hitch.

5. Manual slider hitches and automatic slider hitches

A slider hitch is needed if you are towing with short bed truck and want to avoid collision between the trailer and the truck cab. There are two types of slider hitch: manual and automatic. As the names suggest, manual slider hitches require you to get out of the truck and set up the hitch by yourself before you make a tight turn. In contrast, automatic slider hitches could work without human interaction which considerably increases towing convenience. About the acquisition cost, manual slider hitches are often cheaper compared to their automatic counterparts.

5th Wheel Hitch Installation Cost: An In-Depth Analysis
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