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Old 11-21-2007, 09:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What size fifth wheel hitch

I am thinking of buying a fifth wheel camper. I was wondering what size hitch to get . The camper weighs 11600 dry so the dealer offered me a 1500lb. This all seems great except someday I will probably haul a 18-19 foot ski boat behind the whole thing. I assume this has to figure into the hitch, correct?
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I am thinking of buying a fifth wheel camper. I assume this has to figure into the hitch, correct?

Yes, the combined weight you are towing has to be figured for the hitch.

I would tend to err on the side of more hitch, than less. Probably something like a 20k...

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Old 11-21-2007, 11:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Also, make sure you get a 5th wheel hitch designed for a Ram. You cannot weld into a hydroformed frame and there is only certain places you can drill to bolt them. The only hitch I found that you didn't have to drill holes was the HiJacker. The difference between their 15K and 20K hitch was an extra set of plate bars at the bottom.
Get the 20K the first time so you don't go back later.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Also, make sure you get a 5th wheel hitch designed for a Ram. You cannot weld into a hydroformed frame and there is only certain places you can drill to bolt them. The only hitch I found that you didn't have to drill holes was the HiJacker. The difference between their 15K and 20K hitch was an extra set of plate bars at the bottom.
Get the 20K the first time so you don't go back later.

Reese offers custom brackets that require minimum drilling...

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Old 11-22-2007, 12:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What is minimum? One hole, two holes? I would still rather drill NO holes
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What is minimum? One hole, two holes? I would still rather drill NO holes


Sort of a moot point, don't you think...the frame's already full of holes. I doubt a few more would make any difference.

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Old 11-22-2007, 12:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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LOL, do you know anything about hydroforming? There is not ONE hole drilled into the frame, they were hydroformed. A hydroformed frame is like spring steel and will crack if drilled too close to a bend or too close to another hole.
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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LOL, do you know anything about hydroforming? There is not ONE hole drilled into the frame, they were hydroformed. A hydroformed frame is like spring steel and will crack if drilled too close to a bend or too close to another hole.

Hydroforming is a process...basically they took a piece of mild steel pipe and made it an oval...that's a lot of high tech there.

The Dodge Builder's Guide indicates the frame can be drilled and welded as long as it doesn't happen at a radius. The hydroformed frames are NOT heat treated, they are mild steel, just like the old "C"-channel frames. I have drilled holes all through my super low tech hydroformed frame...it hasn't cracked in 138k...I also haul a slide in camper all over the place, and again, not a single crack.

You should also crawl under your truck and look at the frame, as it is full of punched and drilled holes...the frames are also welded (full radius of the frame) since they use a single front section with multiple rear sections for the multiple configuration (long bed standard cab, shortbed quad cab, long bed quad cab, etc).

I have talked at length with the regional Dodge rep about this because of this paranoia (I was under the same impression as you at one point due to misinformation on the net) and the fact I wanted to drill the frame for a hitch. He put me in touch with a group that handled body modifications for different applications...they set me straight.

And again, with the exception of being thinner, there is actually very little difference between the new frame and the old ones.

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Old 11-22-2007, 09:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have seen frames cracked due to drilling. There is a reason all big trucks along with our Rams have warnings on them not to drill or weld on the frame. I drove big truck for over 30 years and this is my 9th Ram. You do what you want, I will abide by what the company suggests.
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Here is an article for you

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Hydroforming techniques typically result in a structure of a desired shape which has a desired strength with a lighter weight, for a given volume of metal. This result is achieved in part by producing a frame member with reduced wall thickness. It has been customary to attach hitch assemblies to truck frame members by drilling holes in the walls or web of existing chassis frame members, positioning a hitch assembly mounting plate next to the frame member and threading a bolt through an opening in the mounting plate aligned with the hole bored into the chassis frame member. A nut on the bolt is then drawn down tight.

Due to the reduced wall thickness of hydroformed frame members, warranties covering hydroformed products, such as vehicle frames, often do not allow drilling additional holes or welding to such frames, beyond those that are originally designed for by the manufacturer. Additionally, there are limits to clamping pressures which may be applied to such hydroformed frame members particularly clamping forces applied across or perpendicular to the walls or web of the hydroformed frame members. For example, the forces exerted on the wall of a hydroformed frame member by the head of a bolt or a nut drawn toward each other when tightening a nut to bolt the hitch assembly base to the frame member may be sufficient to collapse the wall of the frame member thereby weakening the frame member. This presents problems in connecting conventional fifth wheel hitch structures to pickup trucks incorporating hydroformed frame members. What is needed is a fifth wheel hitch structure which can be securely attached to hydroformed frame members without the use of welds, additionally drilled holes, or excessive clamping pressures.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:01 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Here is an article for you

You should read the dodge body builders guide...

That's all I'm going to say...obviously, you know it all, but yet know nothing.

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Old 11-22-2007, 10:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Here is the TSB from Dodge for drilling your frame. If you drill it, you are taking responsibility for it. In other words, you are now your own warranty. Read it carefully. Seems I know a little more than you think.

Quote:
The following general industry standard procedures are recommended for proper Installation of special bodies and/or equipment on the Ram Pickup frame, such as 5th wheel hitches, snow plows. etc. Failure to follow these recommendations could result In damage to the basic vehicle and possible injury to occupants.

NOTE: DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORPORATION DOES NOT RECOMMEND ANY MODIFICATIONS OR ALTERATIONS TO THE FRAME ASSEMBLY. MODIFICATIONS OR ALTERATIONS (I.E., HOLE DRILLING WELDING, ETC.) TO THE FRAME ASSEMBLY ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PERSONS PERFORMING THESE MODIFICATIONS OR ALTERATIONS. ANYONE ALTERING THE FRAME MUST ASSURE COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ASSEMBLY, PERFORMANCE RELIABILITY AND COMPLIANCE OF APPLICABLE FMSS REQUIREMENTS.

CAUTION: USE OF PROPER SAFETY EQUIPMENT IS RECOMMENDED WHEN PERFORMING ANY MODIFICATIONS OR ALTERATIONS.

HOLES:
Holes are not to be drilled in the top or bottom of the frame rails. Holes to mount outriggers, brackets, and supports must be drilled in the web (vertical sides) of the frame rail with the following restrictions:

Hole diameter should not exceed 20mm (0.75 in.).
Material between edge of hole and top or bottom of frame rail must not be less than 40mm (1 .60 in.).
The minimum edge distance between any two (2) holes must be larger than twice the diameter of the larger hole.
Any through frame fasteners that torque down on both external surfaces of the frame rail must use an Internal spacer/reinforcement to prevent crushing the rail tube.
All holes should be drilled In the frame using appropriate safety precautions.
Avoid drilling holes near the fuel tank, fuel and brake lines and other lines and wires to avoid damage to them.
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Previous Rams:
90 CC Dually, 94 RC LB, 95 CC SB, 98 QC Dually, 00 QC Dually, 01 QC Off Road, 03 QC Dually, 05 QC Dually, 08 QC Dually, 10 CC Dually
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