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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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Old 06-12-2015, 08:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hawaiian Escapees View Post
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.
That was JohnE3 who modified a cover to fit around the hitch on his Ranger. He has not been active since 03-16-14 and around that time he had bought a Frontier and was selling the modified tonneau cover. I know there was a picture somewhere in a thread, but cannot recall where.

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Old 06-12-2015, 08:48 PM   #12
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Here's the direct link to John's Ranger tonneau cover: http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...-a-1739-2.html

Humm, can't get the direct link to work properly. It's post #13
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:49 PM   #13
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Also like Donna said there is plenty of room around the hitch. Going to TX this winter had two bikes (had to remove front wheel from one) behind the hitch, and in front had plastic bin with my blocks, two gravity chairs and sewer hose in tube. Sure they were not protected from the elements (chairs were borrowed old ones) but we had little rain. I have the same F150 6.5 foot box.

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Old 06-12-2015, 08:49 PM   #14
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Here's the direct link to John's Ranger tonneau cover: http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f1...-a-1739-2.html
Thanks Donna, should have known you would check it out!
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Old 06-13-2015, 02:24 AM   #15
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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.
That was the Scamp design. It is structurally questionable and not readily removable, so what they now offer is a version of what several Scamp owners had put together themselves: a frame just like that used for a fifth-wheel hitch (in fact, it is the frame of a fifth-wheel hitch, without the head) has a plate bolted on top that holds a conventional towing ball. Scamp calls it (and their trailer) a "fifth-wheel", but it's not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgun View Post
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.
...
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?
I get the idea. The key issues that I see would be that the hitching point is very high, so the lateral force on the truck when cornering would be applied very high, which would not be good for the stability of the truck; you would also feel forward and rearward forces on the hitch more.

Also, you could use a fifth-wheel, and just mount it very high, if that height were not a problem. The pin box would need to be replaced with a different one (custom-made), because it can't be adjusted that high.

I would rather replace the pickup box with a low custom box of storage compartments (a "service body", "tool box", or "towing body") with the hitch on top or in a narrow recessed compartment in the middle. This is actually very commonly done with larger trucks (Ford F-550 and larger) to tow very large fifth-wheel trailers - it's rare with small trucks, and would only make sense if it worked for whatever else you do with the truck. The sort of box setup shown by Robert (rbryan4) would get close without the custom work; you might want to do the rear box with a long drawer extending right under the hitch.
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Old 06-13-2015, 02:45 AM   #16
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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.
This doesn't quite make sense, because no trailer is used to transport people. I think what he meant is that CSA standards for recreational vehicles (so travel trailers but not livestock trailers) only mention fifth-wheel hitches, so it may not be possible to specifically comply with them using a ball hitch in the truck bed. The CSA RV standards don't matter to what is legal to pull on the road, but I think that new RVs offered for sale in Canada need to meet the CSA RV standard, which is similar to the RVIA standards of the U.S.

The end result is that while Escape (as a manufacturer and seller of the product) may be required to use a fifth-wheel, as far as I know you can go ahead and convert to a ball hitch without legal concerns... but keep in mind that in many jurisdictions two safety chains must be used with any ball hitch (which are a pain to hook up in a truck box).

Quote:
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Toyota is coming out with a sweet diesel next year with a built in ball in the truck bed for gooseneck.
That would be nice as factory equipment in a reasonably small truck, even the not-so-small Tundra (which is presumably the Toyota which is getting it). This type of setup is now available as optional factory equipment in Ford F-SuperDuty and Ram 3500 (and maybe 2500?) trucks, but not in lighter pickups. Aftermarket versions are available for a wider range of trucks.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
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.
I think its the new Nissan Titan that is coming out with the diesel and gooseneck in the bed of the truck. This is going to be a very interesting truck, its suppose to have a 1 ton rating. There's a video of it on the Nissan website.
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Old 06-13-2015, 12:02 PM   #18
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You are right, my bad, Nissan Titan has the gooseneck ball built in.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:27 PM   #19
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Just a note about those in-bed ball hitches: they are at bed floor level, so much lower than a typical fifth-wheel - that's going the opposite direction from shotgun's "over the cargo" proposal.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:34 PM   #20
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I think its the new Nissan Titan that is coming out with the diesel and gooseneck in the bed of the truck. This is going to be a very interesting truck, its suppose to have a 1 ton rating.
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD (not the base version, but only this heavier-duty version) is targeted to have higher capacity than the typical "half ton" (Ford F-150, GM 1500, Ram 1500, Tundra) without being as big and heavy as the "3/4 ton" and "one ton" models (Ford F-SuperDuty, GM 2500/3500, Ram 2500/3500). This is what was called a "heavy half" decades ago (although they were all North American and none had diesels back then).
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