Must Learn How to Adjust Fifth Wheel Hitch Height Correctly!

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Last Updated on September 30, 2022

The distance between the 5th wheel plate gooseneck and the ground is called the 5th wheel height. And you must have this height set to the correct settings. If not, the adjustments cannot wait, and you should make changes ASAP.

How to adjust fifth wheel hitch height is a no two-liner describable procedure. You need to find the right height setting, decide on hitch height, and then do the adjustments.

Of course, I will go deep into the process for you to understand better. Keep on reading…

To Adjust Fifth Wheel Hitch, Find Out The Right Height Setting

You must find out the accurate height setting before adjustments. There are quite a few variables that play a critical role in choosing the perfect height setting for your fifth wheel hitch. These are:

  • It provides the perfect trailer level.
  • There’s a specific space between the bed rail’s top and the trailer loft’s bottom.

The very 1st one is making sure the towing setup is perfectly level, at least as much as possible. Then to take the fifth wheel hitch height from the ground to the spot in the pin box bottom where the kingpin exists, use a suitable tool. 

Next, you want to decide the ideal height setting between 19”, 18”, or 17” by considering the best level ride provider. You can find the best fit by taking measurements from the head unit of the hitch to the ground. And that’s basically how to measure fifth wheel height. 

Important – Try maintaining 5 to 6 inches of space between the truck’s bed rails and trailer. There should be no contact whatsoever.

It is necessary to have the level towing setup no matter what. And if you cannot achieve that, you can try another route, but you must level the setup.

According to OutdoorBarren,

When you’re driving with a few thousand pounds of metal attached to the back of your vehicle, your entire ride will be affected by how to level the trailer is. If the fifth wheel isn’t level when towing, then it’s likely to take control over your vehicle when you’re going down the road.

To achieve the level, you can also try combining the pin box adjustment settings with the 5th wheel hitch setting. 

Sometimes that combination provides a good level towing setup. Most 5th wheel hitches are capable of allowing quite a few inches up and down adjustments for achieving the right setup. The same goes for pin box height adjustments.

Finally, You Are Ready To Adjust Fifth Wheel Hitch Height

Now for the perfect height adjustments, you want to have two main aims. These are:

  • To achieve the correct configuration between the trailer and towing vehicle for safe usage.
  • To make the towing vehicle support the trailer weight facing zero issues by creating a strong connection in the coupler.

And with those two aims in mind, you want to adjust the height of your 5th wheel hitch. 

This is how you do the adjustments:

  • The area where the hitch ball will sit needs to be clean. And so do the holes for bolts. You can use a wire thinner, a rag, and a cleaning brush for the process. The brush helps to get into the stubborn road debris easily and tear it up.
  • The measurements that you have from the previous segment (distance between the ground and towing vehicle as well as trailer) need to match. For that, you need to change the trailer spring bar’s tension.
  • You will find the spring bars along with the trailer frame. Make sure both towing vehicle and trailer are at the same height.
  • Right below the hitch ball, you will find a lock washer and nut. You need to loosen them. Now make sure the trailer hitch is sitting on the top of the ball. You need to raise or lower the hitch ball for that perfect sitting.
  • Once you have adjusted to the proper height, you need to re-tighten the hardware (bolts and lock washer).
  • Finally, let the trailer hitch be placed on the hitch ball and keep lowering it so that the coupler of the hitch engages.

Frequently Asked Question

What is the proper position of the fifth wheel?

The proper position of the fifth wheel is just as important as the proper height of the fifth wheel hitch. Usually, the rear axle’s front is the ideal location. Or it can also be positioned in the rear tandem’s bogie centerline.

Should a 5th wheel be level when towing?

Yes, it should be level when towing. If it is close enough to level, then also there should be no problem. However, a perfect level is still an ideal you should target for.

How much clearance do you need between the bed rail and the fifth wheel?

The recommended clearance between the bed rail and the fifth wheel is 5 inches. Some also consider a clearance of 6 inches at least.

Wrapping Up

And that’s it! You are done learning how to adjust fifth wheel hitch height. Now go ahead and get the settings right. 

If you are still not sure how you can do it yourself, then consulting a professional will help. There are also tons of video demonstrations that you can give a try and this whole process will make even more sense.

Do what you need to do but make sure you understand the procedure well before trying it out. Good Luck!

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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