DIY fifth wheel hitch install

Hey everyone- we are trading in our travel trailer for a new 5er, and was wondering if anyone out there has any tips to share on installing a fifth wheel hitch yourself. I have ordered a Reese 18k Signature series. With this hitch, the rails are installed under the bed. I have watched a video on the installation, and read the instructions but if anyone has anything to add - any additional help would be appreciated. I will be installing the hitch into a new body style Chevy HD long bed.

Steve H

Senior Member
RE: DIY fifth wheel hitch install

I just came across THISthread at talking about this very subject. You might get some thoughts there! I watched a tech installing ours and I am very glad I did not attempt it! First to admit I am not "Mr. Handy Dandy" but it looked like more than I wanted to tackle!

Good luck!
Re: DIY fifth wheel hitch install

It is not a bad install. We do it a lot.

The key is you MUST be square with the 4 "Pucks" when you drill up through the bed. The best way to insure this is to make sure the rear cross member of the hitch is the same distance from the crossmember in the truck. As you get into it, you will understand what I am talking about.

Also, as you drive the pointed screw up to indent the bed floor, really make a dent. It is hard sometimes to fall into the center of the dimple.

You will need a hole saw for the pucks hole. I think it is 2 1/2", but the instructions will tell you.

Speaking of instructions, they will say you don't need to raise the bed off the frame. It is a LOT easier if you do. We take the back 6 bolts out. Do NOT remove the front bolts and the bed will drop right back down in place. You will need to lower it to line up the hitch as far as square, but getting everything across the frame is worth the effort.

Follow the instructions, and you will get it done.
RE: DIY fifth wheel hitch install

Thanks for the advice - I will probably start to tackle this next week. Also, do most people install a wire harness plug into the side of the bed, or just drape the wire from the 5er over the tailgate and down to the factory installed connector. Something about drilling extra holes in the bed of my new truck makes me feel quesy!