Best Sliding Fifth Wheel Hitches
You may be asking, why do I need a sliding fifth wheel hitch? If you have a truck with a longer bed of over 8-foot, you probably don’t; and as they’re generally more expensive, can save that extra outlay. But if you have a short bed truck, you should consider buying one of the best sliding fifth wheel hitches to make your towing safer.
A fifth wheel hitch needs to be placed directly over the back axle when towing, for a safer journey. With a rear axle that is closer to the cab in trucks with short beds under 8-foot, using a fixed fifth wheel hitch can result in the corner edges of the trailer hitting the cab on sharper turns.
Using a sliding hitch means the hitch can be moved towards the back of your truck when needed, creating more room for the trailer to turn. Many of the sliding hitches will accommodate turns up to 90 degrees–you don’t get much sharper than that! When you have finished the lower speed precision maneuvering, the hitch can be returned to its original position for safer towing and optimal weight distribution.
Manual or Automatic Sliding Fifth Wheel Hitches?
Manual Sliding Fifth Wheel Hitches
With a manual sliding hitch, you have to stop your truck before getting out to pull out the pins, apply the brakes on your trailer and drive the truck forward to slide the hitch. Then you need to get out of the cab again, secure any pins and release your brakes on the trailer before making the turn. Every time you need to make a tight turn you must repeat the whole process, including the reverse process of sliding the hitch back to its original safe position.
If you forget one time to slide it, you could have a very expensive or dangerous accident. Not all turns require sliding and it can be quite easy to forget. Or maybe you’re distracted and underestimate the sharpness of a turn.
Reese, the well-known fifth wheel hatch manufacturer, have produced a short YouTube video which shows how to correctly use a manual sliding fifth wheel hitch.
Automatic Sliding Fifth Wheel Hitches
Automatic sliders use a rack and pinion gear system in the hitch itself. This causes the hitch to automatically slide when it needs to and then return to its original optimal position over the rear axle after completing the turn. Not only is it faster and more convenient, but on a cold or wet day you don’t have to get out of your truck cab. There’s also no chance of an accident through forgetting–the hitch doesn’t forget to auto slide for you!
Unfortunately, this comes at a much higher price than similar manual slide hitches and there isn’t as wide a choice of automatic sliders.
Which are the Best Sliding Fifth Wheel Hitches?
If you have decided that you need a sliding fifth wheel hitch, we’ve looked at some top selling models to help you choose. In our opinion, these are the five best sliding fifth wheel hitches available today.
1. Pullrite 2300 24 K ISR Superglide Hitch
This fully automatic fifth wheel hitch is one of the market leaders. It will ensure you never have to get out of your truck again when making tight turns. A double jaw makes it easy to attach or detach and ensures the coupling will always stay strong. With a weight support of 24,000 pounds, it will tow almost all RVs or trailers.
It may be the most expensive hitch we have looked at, but experience will reassure you that it’s dollars well spent. For some, it feels a little tight at first, but a simple spray of WD40 will lube the hitch operation and prevent against moisture in the hitch.
- Fully automatic sliding hitch.
- 24,000 pounds maximum capacity
- Double jaw design.
|Perfect for short bed trucks and makes 90 degree turns possible||Very expensive|
|Can be mounted on virtually any set of rails||Heavy to install or remov|
2. Titan 30870 Fifth Wheel with Round Tube Slider
The cast head design used by the Titan 30870 is similar to that found on commercial hitches and offers improved strength and durability. This product from Reese draws on their experience and features a double jaw mechanism, a patent pending universal control and can be adjusted vertically from 14 to 18 inches.
An effective vibration isolation mechanism makes sure the hitch has a quick and smooth operation when towing. The head and pivot beam can be offset up to 1-inch forwards or backwards for an optimal performance. The wider mounting offers better stability and less wear and tear.
- Adjustable height fifth wheel slider.
- Double jaw mechanism for greater security.
- Vibration isolation system for smoother ride.
|Height can be adjusted from 14 to 18 inches||Bed rails for installation not included|
|Innovative universal controls eliminate need for a separate latch and increase visibility||High level of customizability can be difficult for inexperienced users|
3. RVK3400 Companion Slider 5th Wheel Hitch
What makes this one stand out from the other sliding hitches we have looked at is the under-bed mounting system it uses. This makes it one of the quickest and easiest hitches to install or remove. This fifth wheel hitch still carries an impressive 20,000 pounds and has a weight of 207 pounds itself.
Other noteworthy features include a spacious kingpin, theft proof handles and a double pivoted head for a smooth tow. A double jaw design makes sure your ride is quiet too.
- Under-bed mounting system for quick installation or removal.
- Double pivoted head for four-way pivoting action.
- 3 settings for height adjustment.
|Fast to remove or install with under-bed mounting system||Expensive for a manual slider|
|3 settings for height adjustment.||Con 2Will take up a lot of space if mounted in the top of a truck bed.|
4. Curt 16516 Hitch Head with R16 Roller
The least expensive sliding hitch we have looked at is actually a combination of two products: the 16516 four-way pivoted head and the Curt R16 roller. Rather than using a slide mechanism, it actually rolls on wheels on solid non-binding rods. The dual axles and pivoted head give 10 degrees of lateral movement, with four levels of height adjustment. It locks automatically for an easy and secure coupling.
This is one of the best budget options if you have a short-bed truck with a rolling motion of the hitch, allowing you to take those tight turns more easily and safer.
- Maximum weight capacity for trailers up to 16,000 pounds
- Uses a roller system to create a slide effect–up to 12 inches of travel
- Complete with a five-year warranty from Curt
|Offers great value for a ‘sliding’ fifth wheel hitch||Hitch can be jerkier than more expensive models|
|Includes up to 12 inches of travel on the bed of your truck||Locking pin isn’t a claw type and can be noisier|
Our Choice - Look NO Further
If your pickup has a shorter bed, you are going to want a fifth wheel hitch that will enable you to take those tighter maneuvers without fear of the trailer colliding with your cab.
Our favorite sliding hitch, the Pullrite 2300 24K ISR Superglide Hitch may cost much more than some of its competitors but allows you to perform those tight turns without even getting out of your truck. The fully automated sliding mechanism combined with a quality hitch makes it, in our opinion, the best sliding 5th wheel hitch.