Here are 9 easy steps to add a fifth-wheel hitch to your Ford F150. There a metal rail present beneath the hitch that connects it with the cargo bed. The trailer anchor on the hitch by using pins called kingpin.
How to Install Fifth Wheel Hitch on a Ford F150? Add base rails in the Ford F150 cargo bed to install the fifth wheel hitch, fix bracket frames underneath the truck bed and connect them with base rails. Secure the hardware according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Add the fifth wheel hitch on the top of base rails and connect them using a hitch and cotter pins.
The tools required for this procedure are the base installation kit, wrench, ratchet, drill machine with the different drill bit.
How to Install Fifth Wheel Hitch on a Ford F150?
The fifth wheel hitch is a heavy-duty trailer attachment system installed in the cargo bed of a pickup truck. It can carry large weights without damaging your vehicle structure.
These hitches are present in a U-shaped configuration in which large trailers attach.
These pins with their plate attach to the top of the hitch and secure the whole assembly in its place. These locking pins provide enough space for the trailer to move quickly when the truck is turning.
Remove all the other extra accessories in the cargo bed, like the heat shield; it will help in accurately measure the length of the cargo bed for rails installation.
Installation of base rails of fifth wheel hitch
It is vital to mount the base rail in the cargo bed to fix the fifth wheel hitch on it. It would be best to protect these base rails from corrosion due to the contact between two different metals because the truck bed is made up of aluminum, and the base rails are made of steel.
For protecting them against corrosion, you need to attach the galvanic tape on the backside of the base rails.
Starts putting the corrosion-free tape in the center of the rails for attaching it more precisely, and press it with your hands.
Measurement of the rear rail
According to the manufacturer’s instructions, take the correct measurement of the truck beds from its edge for installing the rear rail.
Its installation depends on the size of the truck bed. Ensure that you take measurements from the edge of the cargo bed, not from the tailgate.
After that, mark the place with a prominent marker and place the rear rail in that position.
It is necessary to center the rails in the cargo bed floor by measuring the distance from the seam of the Ford F150.
Mark the center position with the help of the center punch and then drill the point with the help of the 1/8th drill bit.
You can use a marker to mark the other attachment points of the rail and center punch them. The center punch can help to mark the exact location of the screw and prevent the drill from moving.
Attaching the bracket in the underbelly of the Ford F150
Separate bracket frames also come with the installation kit of the hitch. You need to connect these brackets with the truck’s frame; for this purpose, use the pull wires available in the kit.
Now pass these pull wires from the holes of the truck’s frame. These holes are present right behind the brake lines of the truck.
Hold the side of the pull wire that passes from the inner side of the frame and attach the carriage bolt spacer and bolts with it.
You need to pass another pull wire in the front holes of the frame and attach the round-shaped spacer and carriage bolt with it.
Now pull these wires out from the opposite side of frame holes, detach them with the bolts, add washer and half-inch bolts in front of it.
Repeat the same process on the truck’s passenger side. If there is a heat shield present, press it underneath the vehicle frame or remove its fasteners so that it does not cause installation problems during the attachment of rails.
Enlarging the drill holes
Ensure that the pilot holes underneath the bed are line up with the rails. Now use a step bit of 9/16 inches to enlarge all the holes for the rear rails attachment and make sure that all the carriage screws can pass through it.
Remove all the burrs from the holes and add a layer of paint to prevent corrosion.
Before adding the carriage bolt in the rear rail, add a U-shaped shaped space in it, now slightly tap the carriage bolts with the help of a hammer.
Attachment of rear rail with bracket
Connect the carriage bolts with the bracket frame located underneath the truck bed.
Add U-shaped space between the connection of truck bed and bracket frame. Now add a conical tooth washer and a nut in front of them and tighten them.
You can also add a layer of galvanized tape on the U-shaped spacer to prevent them from corrosion due to different metal contact.
Addition of a front base rail in the truck bed
You can accurately add the front base rail on the truck bed with the help of a fifth-wheel hitch.
Attach the hitch with the fixed rail and position the front rail according to it. After that, mark the holes with the help of a center punch and drill them with a 1/8 inch drill bit.
Now remove the fifth wheel hitch and enlarge pilot holes while using the 9/16 inch step bit. Clean the area and deburr the slots; after that, add a layer of paint in its corner.
Add the U-shaped spacer with galvanized tape underneath the rail and add carriage bolts.
Tap the bolts with the help of a hammer, add this hitch on its top, and repeat the whole process of connecting brackets with the cargo bed underneath the pickup.
Connect the central bolts of rails
It would help if you fixed the central bolts of both rails by adding a washer and nut underneath the truck bed.
It would be best to tighten all your rails and bracket hardware using a 3/4 inch socket drill on both sides of the truck.
You need to rotate all the bolts with the help of a torque wrench. Also, tight the central bolts with a torque wrench and socket drill. Now reinstall the heat shield and spare tire in its place.
Attachment of the fifth wheel hitch
For this purpose, add the hitch pin that comes with the kit and pass it through attachment holes of base rails. Now add the cotter pins in the fronts of hitch pins, recheck the whole process.
For measuring the exact height of the hitch according to your trailer, place your trailer on a level surface. Add the chalk blocks in the front and backside of the trailer’s tires.
You can level your trailer by fixing its front lifting jacks pin with the ground. Now measure the distance between the trailer kingpin box plate with the surface and note them on the paper.
After that, open the tailgate of the truck, measure the distance between the floor and the cargo bed.
Now minus the height of the trailer kingpin box plate from the cargo bed’s height, it indicates the exact size of the hitch. After installing, make sure there is a clearance of a minimum of 6 and a half inches between the trailer and the hitch.
How does this fifth wheel hitch work?
The installation of a hitch in a cargo bed presses the trailer’s weight in the middle of the rear axle and the truck’s cab that helps to maintain the tongue weight. It also increases stability and maneuvering.
The plates present between the hitch and the trailer connection points are in continuous use. You can use a suitable lubricant for this purpose.
It is essential to measure the gross weight carrying capacity of the vehicle, cargo bed length, and payload capacity before adding the fifth wheel hitch to the Ford F150.
These measurements are vital for increasing the safety of the truck and the trailer. It also reduces the risk of severe incidents due to inappropriate tongue weight between the vehicle and trailer.
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