For many years, short bed truck owners who wanted to tow a 5th wheel were forced to upgrade to a long bed truck or buy a manual sliding hitch to keep the RV from contacting the cab of the truck during tight turns and maneuvers. The problem with manual sliding hitches is just that-they are manual. First, you have to recognize the need to slide your hitch back (before it’s too late), stop your truck, put it in park, get out and pull the release for the slider, get back in your truck, and pull forward to slide your hitch back on its rails then put your truck in park again, get out and lock the hitch in its extended position. All of this happens before you even need the added clearance between your truck cab and the RV. Imagine doing that on an incline or any number of less than ideal locations.
Fortunately, in 1999, an option became available from the PullRite Corporation called the SuperGlide, an automatic sliding hitch that takes all the guesswork out of towing. Once installed you never have to worry about tight turns or maneuvering into a campsite. The SuperGlide operates on a cam-guided hitch head that slides back along a pair of steel “way tubes” automatically as you turn. The greater your turning angle, the further the hitch slides back and away from your truck cab. Likewise, when you straighten out again, the hitch slides forward again centering the full kingpin weight over your truck axles where it belongs. See the SuperGlide in action here.
I’ve been a SuperGlide owner for over 5 years and I was not present during the installation of my hitch so here is an account from a Toy Hauler Adventure reader’s recent installation:
SuperGlide 4100 – Product Installation
Install start time – 1:40 PM
The first part of the install process includes taking off the wheel wells and prepping the bed for the mounting plate install. After popping off the wheel wells, the frame is prepped for the installation of the mounting brackets. The rear mounting brackets are to be installed behind the overload spring brackets that are already used for the suspension of the truck.
As told by the installer Terry Knapp of Tom Johnson RV Center, “this makes for an easier install and protection of the brackets and also protects the material by placing both in close proximity.” Terry has been in the fifth-wheel hitch installation business for over 20 years. Being accustomed to almost all of the manufacturing companies, he feels that the SuperGlide hitch system for short beds is the premier system. He told me as he was showing me all the great features of the new hitch, “there is no better system out there for short-beds. I’ve had many customers wish that they owned a hitch system as efficient and effective as the SuperGlide.” He went on to explain how he likes the fact that there is a certain security system added into the capture plate of the unit as well. “If someone with a foreign fifth-wheel hitch tries to hook up to your unit, they won’t be able to turn. They can go straight but they can’t turn.” For a new owner like me, this is yet another great feature that I’m looking forward to enjoying.
After the mounting plates are installed, Terry moved to the bed of the truck for the centering of the hitch mounts. The directions for finding the hole placements were easy to understand and took little time to find. The mounting plates sit directly on top of the frame so small holes are drilled to make sure he’s directly on top of the plates, this ensures proper placement. As he drilled the holes out for the mounting posts, he told me that a good thing to remember when doing an install that he learned the hard way is to leave the mounting plates a little lose to ensure a small amount of movement when installing the entire unit on top of the posts. “You will want a little movement to let everything fit together before the final tighten down of the complete hitch. Otherwise if there is no movement, you might find yourself 1/16” off and having to figure out a way to make it fit.”
After the holes were drilled, the mounting posts were tested out and shown to fit properly into the plates.
Finding the proper hole placement and drilling the frame is the difficult part of the process, according to Terry.
The base reel extensions are placed onto the mounting posts then held down using heavy duty pins. Figure 5. It is recommended that you use two different locks to discourage any theft. Once lifted onto the extensions, the rest of the placement pins are put into place by Terry. (Figure 6) Once in place and pinned down, Terry went back and tightened the front mounting plates and then tightened down the housing bolts. The final step in the process is putting the fifth-wheel plate onto the unit and using some light lube (WD-40) to ensure proper movement.
Completed time: 3:40
The second part of the installation is the capture plate that mounts on the 5th wheel’s king pin. Five years ago when I bought my SuperGlide, the only capture plate option was one that both welded and bolted permanently to the kingpin. This forces you to carry a conversion device that allows another vehicle to tow your rig in an emergency. It’s rather bulky and quite heavy so I was happy to hear that PullRite designed a removable kingpin plate and I upgraded to that a few years back so in a few minutes I can remove the capture plate and tow my Toy Hauler with any truck equipped with a standard 5th wheel hitch.
The SuperGlide has given me the freedom to tow without stress. For over five years and probably close to 40,000 towing miles, I have made numerous u-turns on city and County roads, my share of residential cul-de-sacs dotted with parked cars, negotiated my through gas stations not designed for RV access and safely backing into countless campsites, all without ever giving a thought to whether I have cab clearance or not.
One of the design features to the SuperGlide is its wrap around king pin latch. Unlike most other 5th wheel hitches that have a two-piece “clamshell” latch that hold onto the king pin from both sides, all PullRite 5th wheel hitches utilize a one piece rotating latch that encircles the king pin. Not that I have found any instances where the two-piece system has allowed a king pin to slip through while towing, but the PullRite design seems more robust and secure.
Removing the SuperGlide is not as easy as your standard sliding or non-sliding hitch; it’s very heavy at 185 pounds. To make it easy I mounted an electric wench in my garage and can remove or install the SuperGlide in less than 10 minutes and the SuperRails (shown in install above) leave me with a clean, empty bed.
Starting at $1400 for the 16k model 4100 hitch, the SuperGlide isn’t cheap but it is affordable peace of mind for those who, for whatever reason, do not have the luxury of owning a long bed tow vehicle. See the entire SuperGlide line at PullRite’s website.
Now if PullRite would just design an air suspension SuperGlide…