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Old 12-30-2016, 11:37 AM   #1
Ion
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5th wheel hitch mounting

I have a just upgraded from a 2000 Dakota 2wd V6 to a 2005 Dak with 4X4 and 4.7 V8. The frame of the truck is different now and I am wondering what to do to install the 5th wheel hitch into the truck.

The new truck does not have any convenient mounting holes in the frame to attach brackets for the hitch (No welding allowed) and so I am curious to hear from another Dakota owner

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Old 12-30-2016, 12:38 PM   #2
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You might want to contact the hitch manufacturer and see if they have instructions for mounting that hitch to your make/model.
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:04 PM   #3
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Our 2007 Silverado has a boxed frame and I drilled holes to mount the hitch to the frame.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:05 PM   #4
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I know the rule with big trucks, as in tractor / trailers, the rule was never drill holes in the top or bottom flanges of the frame, only drill through the sides.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
I know the rule with big trucks, as in tractor / trailers, the rule was never drill holes in the top or bottom flanges of the frame, only drill through the sides.
Why? What is the reason? I could understand "no top" rule, but why "no bottom"?
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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Did drill through the side of frame per instructions of the 5th wheel mounting brackets... Alinement of the two rails was very important for hitch to be easlily taken out of back of truck. My hitch is alittle out of square so it goes in hard.
Rails purchased at NAPA Auto Supply store and came with all hardware and shims.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
Why? What is the reason? I could understand "no top" rule, but why "no bottom"?
In any I-beam the highest stresses are at the top or bottom, the web can have a lot of holes in it. It would be hard to quickly figure out where the stresses are low to allow for drilling holes in the truck frame. It is not a simple textbook case.
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:07 AM   #8
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My previous Dakota (2000) had two very generous holes each side that allowed for 5/8" Gr 8 bolts with eight 1/2" Gr 5 carriage bolts connecting the rails to the bracket plates I designed. Worked out very well.

Update; since I asked here, today, I found information at the DSP website, the maker of my hitch, and they suggest a series of brackets that will be drilled for through the frame web. I would have preferred that Dodge had punched some holes for me.
Suffice to say, I will be staying as close to center as possible and the bracket will be a single plate with wings for the rail pickup.

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Old 12-31-2016, 05:18 AM   #9
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I was told that the hitch pin should be centered over rear axle of truck, and all pre-drilled holes I had already, in my Chevy Silverado, were of no use to me.
It's quite a job to measure and get it all lined up so brackets would be in proper position.
If not use to doing a lot of measuring and figuring, I sugest you bring it to others.
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by The Minimalist View Post
You might want to contact the hitch manufacturer and see if they have instructions for mounting that hitch to your make/model.
This is definitely the best advice. The manufacturer will have instructions for mounting if they support use with your vehicle. Every vehicle uses different methods. I have seen simple bolt on procedures like with my 2015 F150, and others who installed the same hitch having to drill holes.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:30 AM   #11
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The bottom would be the worst place to drill and the top next, but the center of the web has almost no stress due to bending.
I thought that most trucks had mounting holes in the proper spots for the factory hitches and that the after market manufacturers utilized the same holes, but I don't fool with trucks much.
On my Chrysler Town and Country truck I installed the OEM hitch and the mounting was specified in the installation manual
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Old 12-31-2016, 12:30 PM   #12
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I think truck frames utilize Huck bolts for fastening. a system developed by Alcoa. Not sure if anyone uses them to mount frame mounted trailer hitches but it might be worth a look. It appears to be an extraordinarily strong method of attaching frame members.
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Old 12-31-2016, 01:14 PM   #13
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Huck bolts are a specialized fastener that usually require a special puller much like a very large pop rivet.
The puller pushes the collar around the "bolt" and stretches it to specification.
While the "bolt" looks like it is threaded it is really a series of concentric ridges and the collar is formed into them.
When the fastener is pulled to specifications the bolt breaks off leaving the parts fastened

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Old 12-31-2016, 04:19 PM   #14
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All is well, I did the install on my old truck and it went well. The new one will be much the same but having to drill some holes. No big deal for me.

Gerry, I was told to have 'about' a 1-1/2" lead on the hitch pin. I used a spirit level to project the axle line up to the top of the box, marked it on a piece of masking tap on the box edge, taped a piece of weed whacker line across the box and projected measurements onto the box floor.

The adapter bracket was as long as the rails (38") and has the corresponding wings with gussets to match up with the rail mounting bolts.

The problem at first blush was not to drill holes, but now I feel more comfortable to just that. Since it will be awhile till its warm enough to work outside, I will make some inquiries with the Dodge dealer and a couple of trailer shops.

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Old 01-01-2017, 03:29 AM   #15
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a 1-1/2" lead on the hitch pin shouldn't be a problem.
A friend of mine, who's answer to all problems is "What Ever" has a sliding hitch in his truck...He put it in his truck this past spring for the first trip of the season and failed to make sure his pin placement was over the axle and when making a tight turn into a gas station took out his back window of his truck.
When we finally met at the campground I looked at his hitch placement and it was about 6 inches foward on the slide and told him the problem and he said " What Ever, I just picked it up and put it on, so it coudn't have changed from last year".
You know he never did change the position all summer but was more carfull while taking corners...What Ever...
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