How to Install a Fifth Wheel Hitch on a F-350by Don Kress
Installing a fifth wheel hitch on your Ford F 350 gives your truck the capability to haul the kind of loads that Ford designed the truck to pull. From horse trailers to RVs to car haulers, there isn't much you can't do with a fifth-wheel-equipped F 350 Superduty. Installation of the hitch is fairly straightforward, requiring reinforcing rails to be installed under the bed while the hitch itself mounts directly over the truck's rear axle.
Install the Support Brackets
Jack up the rear of the truck, block the front tires and support the Superduty on jack stands. It will be easier to install the under-bed support brackets with the suspension unloaded and the wheels removed. Remove the wheels from the truck.
Install the under-bed brackets according to the instructions included with the kit, directly over the truck's rear axle. The bolts should line up correctly to avoid having to drill through the truck's frame. Bolt the brackets tightly into place.
Use a small drill bit to drill pilot holes for the fifth wheel mounts up through the truck's bed floor.
Install the Fifth Wheel HItch
Drill 2-1/2-inch holes though the bed floor with the hole saw from the top. Use the guide holes to ensure that you keep the holes in the correct place.
Bolt the fifth wheel adapter fittings to the rails through the 2-1/2-inch holes securely to the frame. Use the torque specifications included with the fifth wheel kit to properly secure the fittings to the truck.
Reinstall the wheels of the truck and lower it from the jack stands. You can now install the fifth wheel coupler into the bed of your truck as a single unit. Its four mounting points will click easily into the adapter fittings and lock into place.
- Spray the drilled holes with automotive exterior paint or primer to help avoid potential rust formation on your truck's bed.
Items you will need
- 1/2-inch drive socket set
- Fifth wheel lower bracket kit (if not supplied with the hitch itself)
- Truck jack
- Jack stands
- Drill bits
- 2-1/2-inch hole saw
- lake mead national recreation area 14 image by Jim Parkin from Fotolia.com