We'll install a gooseneck hitch on our 2011 Ram 3500 SRW truck because it, like all heavy-duty pickups, needs a gooseneck hitch. We've chosen a B&W for both our gooseneck hitch and bumper hitch and we'll have Precision Bodyline (www.longbedmytruck.com) install the hitch. You probably recognize Precision Bodyline for its Long Bed Mega Cab business. They have stretched over 300 trucks to date. They gave us some strange looks when we asked for a hitch install only. The question was, "Well, what are you going to do about that short bed?" There was talk about a wager between the guys there as to how long we'd actually drive this Mega Cab with a short bed on it.
We'll also be using B&W's Tow & Stow bumper hitch on this truck. We have used these hitches before and have come to love and respect them for their convenience and durability.
The instructions that came with the gooseneck hitch said that the hitch could be installed without removing the bed by removing the plastic fender skirts and sliding the hitch plate into place on top of the frame rails. However, when installing a gooseneck hitch, we like to remove the bed to allow easy access to install the hardware and do a thorough job tightening everything.
First, they unplugged the wiring to the trailer plug receptacle, parking sensors, and backup camera. Then the rear bumper was removed.
Next, the taillights and fuel filler neck were removed so the bed can be removed from the truck.
There are six bed mount bolts that were removed to separate the truck bed.
Removing the bed is easy with a forklift and a couple 2x4s. If you don't have access to one, then three of your buddies and a 12-pack of beer will suffice.
This sturdy, reinforced steel hitch mounts on top of the truck's frame rails. This hitch is rated to pull up to 30,000 pounds.
The hitch plate was assembled with the cross channels and then to the frame brackets. This kit did not require any drilling on our frame.
The assembled hitch mounts on the frame rails and the frame mounting brackets "hug" the frame from the outside of each frame rail.
The hitch is secured to the frame rails with large U-bolts. Note how the frame bracket came cut to accommodate the factory ground wire on the frame. Nice touch, B&W. The lever on the left side of the hitch pulls the locking pin from the tow ball inside the receiver.
After the hitch was bolted into place, Brian Wood reinstalled the bed and then located the center of the hitch with a ball peen hammer by tapping the bed's sheet metal into the hitch receiver. This revealed where the center of the receiver was. He then center-punched the bed and drilled a 4-inch hole around the hitch receiver for the tow ball to be inserted.
Next, he drilled the holes for the safety chain hooks, which also mount through the hitch plate below the bed.
The ball inserts into the hitch and we are ready to tow. The trailer plug can be draped over the tailgate and plugged into the factory 7-way plug on the bumper or you can buy a 7-way plug extension kit that will connect to the wiring behind the bumper plug and extend up under the bed where a plug can be mounted on the interior of the bed.
Because we have a short bed truck, we'll also need this 4-inch extender ball that we got from B&W for use with trailers that could come in to contact with our cab. Every little bit helps.
Our B&W Tow & Stow hitch has 7 inches of drop so we can adjust to various trailer heights that we may encounter. The hitch has stainless steel pins that can be removed to allow the ball to move from the stowed position shown here to the tow position. The hitch comes with a 2-inch and 2 5/16-inch ball, which can be chosen by removing another stainless pin.
Notice the draw bar hidden up under the truck receiver. The optional draw bar can be set to tow mode and then used with a 3/4-inch D-ring so you can hook up to whatever needs hooking.
B&W Trailer Hitches
1216 Hwy 224
PO Box 186
Humboldt, KS 66748
610 North Main Street
North Salt Lake, Utah 84054