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Old 12-01-2015, 10:11 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 30
Bed Rail Clearance (trying to maximize clearance between truck bed rails and RV)

Hello All,

My name is Mike Gillum. I am new to this site. My wife (Pam) and I purchased a new fifth wheel this past summer (bought at the RV show in Hershey, PA). We are getting a 2016 Sequoia 38GKS (very similar to the RW 38GK). It has not been delivered yet but will arrive some time in December.

We have a DRW w/ 8ft bed. It is a 2015 GMC Sierra Denali HD (3500) w/ Duramax and Allison. The truck is completely stock. Nothing has been added or removed since we drove it off the lot.

The Sequoia will have a TrailAir Tri-Glide king pin assembly.

The maximum weight for the Sequoia is 16,000lbs (GVWR) and it is 41.5ft long.

What I am trying to do is to take advantage of the knowledge that you all have and decide what type of fifth wheel hitch I should use.

I am hoping that there are others out there who have a similar truck, w/ a similar king pin assembly and similar trailer.

My goal is to have maximum clearance between the bed rails of the truck and the RV while towing. Hoping for more than 8" clearance and really hoping for closer to 10".

I also would like the hitch assembly to be such that when it is removed from the truck, the entire bed is flush and there are no hitch rails to be in the way (hoping for all rails to be installed under the bed).

I have been advised that both the B&W Companion (20k) and the Reese Elite 26.5k are good choices. The B&W has a vertical adjustment range of 16.25" to 18.25" and the Reese Elite 26.5k has vertical adjustment of 15.75 to 18.25". That is why I selected the 26.6k. There is a 25k reese elite as well but its vertical adjustment is only 14" to 16.5".

My thought is that maximizing the vertical adjustment range will give me more flexibility when it comes to bed rail clearance. I realize that possibly, the king pin assembly can be lowered to add more clearance as well. I also realize that the weight capacity of the fifth wheel hitch is extremely important. I am thinking that anything 20k or above should be sufficient. I could probably go lower but don't want to go lower than 20k. Just feel safer with 20k and above.

Here's my concern....

I have read posts in here (and from other sites) that imply that sometimes 6" clearance is not enough. I have read that there are occasions when pulling into a gas station (for example) that the bed rails will rub the RV. I am totally new to fifth wheels so I am just trying to gain knowledge and come up with a setup that will keep me out of trouble. The last thing I want is to have my truck and RV have a meeting.

I have also read that if you are planning on doing any dry camping, more than 6" clearance is advised to accommodate for un-level terrain.

My wife and I are not full timers. We have a long way to go before we get there. We do want to go on adventures though and be confident that there is enough bed rail clearance and that the trailer is towing level.

Just last summer we traveled to Maine w/ our current trailer (2010 Jayco 23B). Huge step up to the 2016 Sequoia. We are looking forward to new adventures with the Sequoia.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Mike Gillum
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:29 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 390
Congratulations. I have the same truck and the 2015GK. This was my first RV. Let me say that you do have absolute best truck available, bar none.

I did damage my side rail on the truck but I believe the real problem is the gas tank. The gas tank size has forced me to find gas where I had no business finding gas. The damage was caused by trying to make a u-turn in a apartment parking lot.

I am going to adjust my hitch up but getting a bigger gas tank should allow me to be more selective of where I get gas.
2015 38GK, Titan Brakes, H 114 Tires, IS
2015 Denali Dually
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:18 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 30
Thank you for the feedback. I have some questions for you.

What fifth wheel hitch are you using?

What king pin assembly do you have (trail air tri-glide)?

How much bed rail clearance do you have?

How did you damage your side rail? Did you turn too hard? I know nothing about fifth wheels so excuse my ignorance. Just wondering that since this is your first RV that maybe you took a turn that you shouldn't have or was the hitch setup not quite right? What actually came in contact with your truck (rv or king pin assembly)?

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Old 12-02-2015, 02:34 AM   #4
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Posts: 2,336
The biggest issue with GMs is the distance between the Bed Rails and the distance from the King Pin and the rear corners of the Pin Box. The King Pin to Pin Box corners is longer the half the Bed Rail distance, so in a tight turn it's possible for those rear corners to hit the bed rail (this issue is not unique to RWs as we had the same issue with our Montana). I've got a couple of scratches on that protective cover on the rail. Some others with a similar problem have removed some of the material on the Pin Box to give more clearance.
Michelle & Ann
2018 Chevy 3500HD Crew Cab High Country DRW, D/A, 2016 RW39MB, Dual ACs, Auto Level, Auto Sat Dish, Stack W/D, King Sleep #, 17.5" Sailuns w/Disc, MORryde IS & Pin, Comfort Ride Hitch, 5.5 Onan, Res Fridge & Induction Cook Top
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:36 AM   #5
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Congratulations on the new set up!!! We just purchased the exact truck you have about 2 weeks ago and just installed our B&W Companion that was in our previous Ford. Hitch was only 1 year old. Same hitch just new hitch plate for the GMC. Worked better then the Ford as the Ford had exhaust clearance issues. Unfortunately our RW is at the factory for repairs so I have not towed with the new truck yet but bed height is within 1/2" of the Ford so I'm thinking as it was we should have about 7" clearance. This is with the hitch in it's lowest position so I can raise if I need.
I did come very close to rubbing my tri-fold bed cover but I should have not been doing what I was doing so I learned. If I was to get a new cover again I may look into the roll up instead. The cover is about 3" and when you need to make a sharp turn the 5er is over the cover and close.
Just from what I have learned in the last year I would say that 7" is absolute minimum you would want.


2014 Redwood 36FL and 2015 GMC Denali 3500 DW Duramax
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:57 AM   #6
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 30
Hello mhs4771,

Could this issue also be fixed by raising the hitch a notch?

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Old 12-02-2015, 03:09 AM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2015
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One more question for mhs4771.

Do you have the GMC dually? If so what hitch and king pin assembly do you have? Also, how much clearance do you have? Just curious also if you just live with that issue with tight turns and pin box corners scratching or did you trim off some of the corners (assuming you have a gmc)? Perhaps this issue is rare or can be avoided?

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Old 12-02-2015, 03:38 AM   #8
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Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 453
I think with the Tri-glide with the airbag, you will easily have enough clearance. While my truck is not a 4x4 I had 9+ inches before lowering my hitch as low as it would go. I have an 18k Pullrite on rails with the Flex-air pin box.

2013 36RE, 2008 GMC 3500CC DRW
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:22 AM   #9
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 30
Hi Mark,

Just curious why you didn't keep the 9" clearance. Did you lower the hitch because you were nose high?

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Old 12-02-2015, 04:37 AM   #10
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B&W Companion without a doubt. Have the Trail Air hitch & have no issues at all, never measured clearance, but I think it's about 7-8".
Danny & Linda
Former '13 FB owner
Currently rvless!
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