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Be most concerned about?
Old style or new style hitch? Truck bed rail height. Has the trailer been lifted? No grater than 60" from the center of the ball to the tip of your bumper. Inspect axle to frame attachment points and welds. 5 ers of this area had axle brackets cracking and required extra axle supports welded to the frame. Greased bearings and tires under 5 YO. Get two yellow balls on a magnetic stick from harbor freight for getting ball under the coupler.
What are the ramifications of an old style hitch vs a new style hitch?
The top of my Chevy side bed is 51 1/2" from the ground.
"Live well or die trying"
The thing with the hitch is that you are going to have to install it in the bed of your truck. Our seller was willing to house the trailer a bit so we went and picked up the hitch and brought it home to install it in the truck and then went to go pick up the trailer. With all the back and forth and not wanting to skip work it took several weeks. The installation is not trivial and requires drilling a number of holes in the bed of the tow vehicle.
We were planning on hiring someone to tow it, but most gooseneck hitches have a larger ball than the scamp. And it is not easy to get a 2" ball for a normal gooseneck hitch, or so I was told.
The seller is providing the hitch and I'm trying to see if I can get it installed. My problem is if my truck rails are too high then it's a non starter. Unless towing nose high is an option.
Depending on how far you have to drive to pick it up, you could tow it home "nose up", as you say and raise the axle after you have it home. The 5th wheel Scamp tows rock solid anyway. Scamp has the dimensional requirements listed in the User's Manual and I believe you can find it on their site. Make sure whoever mounts your hitch does it right.
2004 Scamp 19 Deluxe,
2021 Tacoma, Double Cab, 6 cyl. 4WD
How high are your rails? A couple of inches won't be bad, but if it is 4x4 F-350 I think you may be out of luck.
Have you asked whether the axle is lifted? A lot of fifth wheels have the axle raised.
Ours sits a little nose high, as we haven't yet raised hte axle, but our truck is fairly low (2000 2WD F-150). It works, but I would measure, measure, measure.
The current owner could help by taking two sets of measurements. First while the trailer is level, measure the distance from the ground to the rear bumper and the frame at about where the truck tailgate would hit. Then, raise the front of the trailer until the frame at the tailgate is at least 2" over the height of your tailgate and then measure the distance from the bumper to the ground. To know about where the tailgate will hit on the frame of the trailer measure the horizontal distance from the center of your truck wheel to the tailgate. Then use the measurement from the hitch back. It won't be precise as you may not line up your hitch exactly with the rear axle, but it will be close. There are some other measurements that factor into where you position the hitch, having to do with turning clearance, but if you have a short bed truck this should be close. The point here isn't to position everything, it is to see how much your tail is dropping when you raise that nose.
And the distance doesn't matter so much as how you take it. Going in and out of driveways will be the killer for both your rear bumper and the clearance between the truck and trailer. Cruising down the road shouldn't be an issue so long as all the appliances are off and everything is disconnected. So, fill up early if you see a gas station with level entrances so you aren't forced into one with a steep break over or low spot at the entrance.
The top of my bed sides/rails are 51.5" off the ground. It's just a 1500 Silverado crew cab 4x4 with the short bed 5'6". I asked about whether the trailer had been lifted and they did not believe so. They pulled it with a little Tacoma.
the more I investigate, the more I think I'll be ok. I did ask for the measurement from the ground to the neck of the fifth wheel. I'm guessing from other posts that it will be 54.5". Giving me 3" of clearance over the bed rails for turns. I can leave the tailgate down for straight pulling.
You can't actually leave the tailgate down, it will likely hit the trailer when you are hooked up.
For ours you have to put the tailgate down until the hitch is "within" the bed and then raise the tailgate before backing all the way up. YMMMV, but I would be prepared for such.
Sounds like you will have enough clearance for careful towing. It just would stink to drive 500 miles there and then figure out you need some major changes and have to come back another time. Those miles add up.
the seller has a Tacoma whose sidewalks are the same as mine so I should be good to go. Lots of to and fro measuring has me feeling more confidant.
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