A Different Fifth Wheel Hitch? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-12-2015, 03:21 PM   #1
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A Different Fifth Wheel Hitch?

I am a new member to the Escape Forum seriously considering ordering a 21 or 5.0TA. We now have a 2010 F150 Supercab with V-8, max tow package and a 6 1/2 foot bed. It also has a nice shell on the back with lots of dry storage space . Keeping the shell would preclude any fifth wheel and I hate to give that up. My dilemma is that we prefer the 5.0TA floor plan ...particularly the full queen bed and all the wardrobe storage, but I cringe with the idea of rendering the back of the truck practically useless by installing a traditional fifth wheel hitch. I'm sure I am not the first person with this dilemma. So I'm trying to find a creative solution here and could use some help from those of you with fifth wheel or gooseneck trailer experience. I see that the Scamp fifth wheel uses a gooseneck hitch that attaches to a conventional ball hitch mounted on a slightly raised crossbar in the truck bed with metal brackets that bolt just inside each wheel well. So I thought wouldn't it be great if I could design a frame inside the pickup bed that incorporated a raised hitch mounted just above the level of the sides of the bed and existing tailgate. One could then make several lifting hatches on each side of the pickup bed hinged off a center fore and aft support for dry, lockable storage. Raising the hitch point would necessitate modification to the trailer hitch, but would give you the benefits of a fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch and full use of the truck's bed for covered storage. There must be some major technical reason that I have overlooked making this setup impractical, or it seems it would be a common solution out on the road. Any thoughts or ideas?
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Old 06-12-2015, 03:42 PM   #2
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You lost me when you described what you'd do to your truck bed. I have a cap for my truck, it now lives in the back yard. Installed a trifold tonneau cover. Not as good as the cap but it's okay. I still do miss the cap on occasion, being fiberglass it requires 4 people or a winch to remove or put on. I also find I remove the hitch between trips, too many uses for the truck besides the trailer.
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:12 PM   #3
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Interesting concept. I too miss the canopy on my truck, but having a sweet 5.0TA makes up for it. Besides, I can really cram a lot of stuff around the hitch when traveling. I have a folding tonneau similar to Bob's and the hitch stays in the bed full-time. Too heavy for me to want to lift it out. I figure I'll just rent a utility trailer anytime I need to haul a whole bed load of stuff, like gravel or plywood.

I wonder what changing the hitch on a 5.0TA would do to a new trailer warranty? That's a question you'd need to ask ETI.

Best of luck on your decision.
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:25 PM   #4
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A Different Fifth Wheel Hitch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgun View Post
I am a new member to the Escape Forum seriously considering ordering a 21 or 5.0TA. We now have a 2010 F150 Supercab with V-8, max tow package and a 6 1/2 foot bed. It also has a nice shell on the back with lots of dry storage space . Keeping the shell would preclude any fifth wheel and I hate to give that up. My dilemma is that we prefer the 5.0TA floor plan ...particularly the full queen bed and all the wardrobe storage, but I cringe with the idea of rendering the back of the truck practically useless by installing a traditional fifth wheel hitch. I'm sure I am not the first person with this dilemma. So I'm trying to find a creative solution here and could use some help from those of you with fifth wheel or gooseneck trailer experience. I see that the Scamp fifth wheel uses a gooseneck hitch that attaches to a conventional ball hitch mounted on a slightly raised crossbar in the truck bed with metal brackets that bolt just inside each wheel well. So I thought wouldn't it be great if I could design a frame inside the pickup bed that incorporated a raised hitch mounted just above the level of the sides of the bed and existing tailgate. One could then make several lifting hatches on each side of the pickup bed hinged off a center fore and aft support for dry, lockable storage. Raising the hitch point would necessitate modification to the trailer hitch, but would give you the benefits of a fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch and full use of the truck's bed for covered storage. There must be some major technical reason that I have overlooked making this setup impractical, or it seems it would be a common solution out on the road. Any thoughts or ideas?

There are storage boxes that can be mounted in a truck bed and be used along with a 5th wheel hitch, so you could get at least some weather covered storage back. Here's one I found doing a Google search at 800toolbox.com. I would imagine you could rig up something similar that would work with a 5.0TA.

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Old 06-12-2015, 05:07 PM   #5
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We have the Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Hitch https://www.andersenhitches.com/Prod...l-version.aspx. It only weighs 40 lbs and takes about 10 minutes to setup. For a bed cover we went with Truxedo Deuce TruXedo Deuce ? First and Only Soft Roll-up, Hinged Tonneau Cover Combination. It rolls up to the front of the bed but is also hinged at the front so if you need something from the front area you don't need to roll it all the way back. You don't have complete security with the vinyl cover, but you have better use of the truck bed when not towing. This might be something for you to check out.
We pick up our 5.0 on June 25th and will see how everything works with the trailer hitched up. Our TV is a 2015 Ram Ecodiesel. I'm also interested in a secured box for the front of the truck bed.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:13 PM   #6
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Padlin:

Imagine that you just elevated the fifth wheel hitch that usually mounts lower in the truck bed so it sat above the level of the pickup box and tail gate of your truck, and stuck up through a flush tonneau cover that you commonly see on pickups. The difference is that you could have the protection of the covered bed while towing with the fifth wheel hitch. To do so, you'd have to have structural support under the hitch and couldn't lift the entire cover or slide it back due to the hitch coming through the cover. That's why a flush lid with several hinged hatches that lift and lock that you'd reach from standing next to each side of the truck might work to provide full use and easy access to that storage.

rbryan4's picture shows a partial solution that's certainly easier to accomplish! Ideally, I'd like to utilize the entire truck bed and present a flush appearance that would look cleaner and be more aerodynamic.

The goose neck ball hitch is simpler as you'd only need a 2" ball mounted on the flush lid, as opposed to a more typical king pin hitch as I think Escape uses. Not having used either type of fifth wheel hitch (king pin or ball) I can't say what advantages are of each type.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:38 PM   #7
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I asked ETI about making a gooseneck trailer vs 5th wheel set up and was told that Canadian rules prohibit gooseneck for human but only for animal transport. Toyota is coming out with a sweet diesel next year with a built in ball in the truck bed for gooseneck.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:48 PM   #8
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Hawaiian Escapees:

I checked out both your links. Are you using the Anderson ball type hitch on your new Escape 5.0TA? I could not find on the Escape web site the kind of hitch they supply on the trailer. What I had in mind is just raise the Anderson hitch so the ball sticks up through the top of the tonneau so you could use the covered storage in the bed with the trailer hooked up. I think one would have to modify the metal tongue on the trailer by shortening and extending forward to work with the raised ball height.
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:05 PM   #9
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Yes, we have the ball hitch. The hitch is adjustable up and down, but I doubt it would extend above the top of the truck bed. The hitch is also adjustable forward and backward by simply turning it around.
Not sure but it seems like I remember someone on this forum who did modify a truck bed cover and were using a 5th wheel hitch that may have extended above the truck bed. Maybe they will chime in.
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgun View Post
Padlin:

Imagine that you just elevated the fifth wheel hitch that usually mounts lower in the truck bed so it sat above the level of the pickup box and tail gate of your truck, and stuck up through a flush tonneau cover that you commonly see on pickups. The difference is that you could have the protection of the covered bed while towing with the fifth wheel hitch. To do so, you'd have to have structural support under the hitch and couldn't lift the entire cover or slide it back due to the hitch coming through the cover. That's why a flush lid with several hinged hatches that lift and lock that you'd reach from standing next to each side of the truck might work to provide full use and easy access to that storage.

rbryan4's picture shows a partial solution that's certainly easier to accomplish! Ideally, I'd like to utilize the entire truck bed and present a flush appearance that would look cleaner and be more aerodynamic.

The goose neck ball hitch is simpler as you'd only need a 2" ball mounted on the flush lid, as opposed to a more typical king pin hitch as I think Escape uses. Not having used either type of fifth wheel hitch (king pin or ball) I can't say what advantages are of each type.
Okay, got it now. As mentioned, someone did modify their tonneau to accommodate the FW hitch, I believe it was the standard in bed hitch though, not a raised one like you mention. Suppose you might try calling LIppert to see if you can cut down the pin box, it their 1716 model I think.
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