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Old 12-01-2015, 11:11 PM   #1
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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, 01:29 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:18 AM   #3
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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)?

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:34 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:36 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.

Steve
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:57 AM   #6
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Hello mhs4771,

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

Mike
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:09 AM   #7
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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?

Mike
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:38 AM   #8
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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.

Mark
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Old 12-02-2015, 05:22 AM   #9
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Hi Mark,

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

Mike
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Old 12-02-2015, 05:37 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".
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Old 12-02-2015, 05:42 AM   #11
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Bed rail clearance

Mike,

While i do not drive the same tow vehicle as you. I drive a Ram 3500 dually two wheel drive. I can tell you from experience having owned several fifth wheels The RW is the first on I have ever had as much trouble matching up to my truck. I have 25KW AirHitch. I have air bags on my truck. Not only do I have trouble with the bedrail clearance I also have trouble with ground clearance. I feel you will have the best results with the B&W matched up with the FlexAir king pin. That is what it appears I am going to have to invest in myself.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:04 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mike&Pam View Post
Hi Mark,

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

Mike
Yes, it was high. It still is a little bit but is ok. I also have a tri-fold tonneau and clearance doesn't seem to be a problem.

Mark
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Old 12-02-2015, 02:33 PM   #13
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I have the same truck as you. I have a curt 24k with 6" of adjustment in 2" increments. It does have the rails in the box. You can pull 2 pins to take the head off the hitch and then pull 4 pins to remove the base, makes it much lighter to remove, I replaced my roto flex pin box with the flex air as I only had 5" clearance from the box with the hitch on the highest setting. I caught the underside corner of the trailer on the corner of my bed liner rail pulling out of a gas station. I now have 8" clearance with my hitch in lowest position.My truck also sits 10" higher than stock
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:24 PM   #14
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OK, how many of you with Fords did anything other than hitch it up and tow away, raise your hands?...............


None of you? Interesting........
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:31 PM   #15
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OK, how many of you with Fords did anything other than hitch it up and tow away, raise your hands?...............


None of you? Interesting........
With my Ram I just hitched up and went. No air bags, mods to engine, etc.....
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:49 PM   #16
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I have Air bags but only run about 30psi. It is still on the overloads. I think the RW is one of the lowest built trailers and that is the problem with higher trucks.

Mark
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:14 PM   #17
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I had my F350 SRW and just hitched up and drove it away. Have the B & W with the Ford puck system and love it. When we traded for the DRW just transferred to new truck, hitched it up, and drove away to the next CG.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:37 PM   #18
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I have a Dodge 2500 SRW with the 26 kw Hucky Hitch we had to set it to the lowest setting to not have the Redwood nose high and still have 8 inches of clearance, so far no problems.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:50 PM   #19
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OK, how many of you with Fords did anything other than hitch it up and tow away, raise your hands?...............


None of you? Interesting........
I see what your trying to say. I hooked my GMC up and didn't think twice. Sure I have a little damage now. The damage to the metal will be covered up when I get a new plastic rail for the truck. I would still rather have the GMC then a ford.
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:24 PM   #20
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bed rail clearance

I was a former Ford owner for many years. Switched to Fords after 3 in a row GM's that just didn't cut it. I owned several 7.3 diesels all of them great!! Then I owned the infamous 6.0 diesel. also a great truck. I did however delete it from day one. I switched to Ram solely due to the fact that Ford would not honor my long time loyalty and give me a decent trade. Ram did. Truthfully in 2012 Ford didn't have a truck to compare with the Longhorn Ram. plus 14 K less on trade. So I swallowed my pride and now am a proud Ram owner. I have the same hitch set up as was in my Ford and was towing the same Fiver with the Ram as the Ford with no problem. My problem came in more ways than I have space to list when i purchased a RW. This is turning out to be a love hate relationship. RW and its design causes it to sit low to the ground and bed clearance is also a challenge for me. I can raise my hitch another 2 inches. But then my bedcover will not close. I want to be able to close it when I am not towing. So there you have my full explanation. So I will have a air hitch for sale. ( which in my opinion is the ultimate towing hitch out there. by far the best ride I have found) I have considered converting my suspension on my truck to a true air ride suspension. Just a little costly considering how often I trade tow vehicles.
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