PullRite’s SuperGlide automatically sliding fifth-wheel hitch heightens the love affair with shortbed trucks and puck-mounting systems
Towing a fifth-wheel with a shortbed truck has become popular because the truck’s overall length and wheelbase make it more practical as a daily driver. This convenience factor can quickly be diminished by collisions between the front of the fifth-wheel and back of the cab when making tight turns. To circumvent the problem, PullRite has been marketing its SuperGlide automatically sliding fifth-wheel hitch for a long time, and it has become a staple among shortbed owners who prefer not to get out of the truck to pull a lever every time a tight turn needs to be negotiated. To sweeten the pot, PullRite has recently introduced a sliding-hitch version that can be installed quickly in the puck-style mounting systems offered by truck builders.
The puck mounting system is available for Ford, Ram and Chevrolet/GM trucks. To confirm the claimed ease of installation, the OE Puck Series 16K SuperGlide sliding hitch (model 2715) was installed in a Chevy test truck. It took about 30 minutes to assemble the components and mount the hitch.
Adding factory-installed brackets, which terminate as pucks integrated into the floor of the truck bed, has become a game changer in the fifth-wheel towing segment of the industry. Not only does it reduce installation time and associated labor costs, it virtually eliminates errors made when bolting brackets to the frame and positioning the hitch in a less-than-desirable location.
Make no mistake, the PullRite’s auto sliding hitch is a stout piece of equipment and cannot be flung around. It’s rated to tow fifth-wheels up to 16,000 pounds, but the component design allows it to be handled by a couple of guys with good backs.
The first step is to remove the 40-pound hitch head that is held in place with pins and clips. From here, the base can be hoisted without too much strain, but the kicker is the design of the mounting system that fits into the factory pucks. Even body builders with bulging muscles can have difficulty removing a puck-style hitch because of the need to maintain a perfectly square posture while lifting the hitch out of the mounting locations.
PullRite has circumvented that issue by providing four brass washers that convert the standard rectangular puck receptacles into round holes. These proprietary washers work seamlessly with the hitch’s mounting posts, not only eliminating the stress when installing and removing the hitch, but close tolerances are designed to also reduce chucking when towing.
The company provides flexibility on the passenger-side base feet to help with any inconsistencies during truck assembly at the factory. Castle nuts are used to snug the mounting posts in the pucks, and the company’s exclusive design using six crenel locations allows for a more precise fit. The whole shebang is congruent with PullRite’s quest to keep tolerances tight for enhanced safety and hitch performance.
Bolting the side brackets to the hitch base is the only assembly that requires tools. These brackets mount easily using two bolts and a backer plate for support. Building the post assemblies, which are used to secure the brackets to the pucks in the truck bed, is an equally simple process. The next step is to place the brass washers into the OEM pucks, using spacer plates for the passenger’s side only.
Mounting the Hitch
To mount the SuperGlide, the hitch head is removed from the base, and two guys can lift the base into the truck, centering the bracket openings over the pucks. The post assemblies are then inserted through the brackets and into the pucks, and the handle is pressed and turned toward the locking tabs on the brackets. Castle nuts are then adjusted so the post assemblies are snug, and cotter pins are secured. Bail pins are used to prevent the handles from turning.
Once the fit is established, the post assemblies can be removed and installed with almost no effort. It’s best to mark the post assemblies so they will fit each respective puck precisely. Depending on the puck tolerances, the brass washers might need to be lightly filed to fit properly. That’s about the only step that can slow things down, but not for very long.
A specially designed capture plate ($119) is needed to allow the kingpin to lock into the saddle and prevent turning. Locking the kingpin is necessary since the hitch head pivots in relation to the turn, allowing for the sliding action.
Making the Connection
The aforementioned close tolerances play a key role in the acclimation needed to hitch and unhitch a fifth-wheel without frustration. There’s virtually no slop in the connection between the fifth-wheel and hitch, which is a PullRite characteristic. But the user must follow company-prescribed protocol to circumvent multiple attempts to hitch and unhitch — and squelch any colorful language during the process.
To get there, the front edge of the capture plate must be positioned so that it will climb the hitch head when backing the truck toward the trailer. This may seem somewhat incongruous to uninitiated trailerists, but it’s the only way the clamps will seat around the kingpin and allow the locking arm to fall into place. Unhitching requires that the weight be taken off the hitch head slightly.
Once the owner gets the process down, hitching becomes a breeze, and he or she will benefit from a solid — and super safe — connection when on the road.
Watching the SuperGlide do its thing while backing is magical to anyone who enjoys how mechanical components work harmoniously with precision. To those less enamored with mechanical devices, it’s simply a pleasure to tow with a shortbed truck knowing that a collision between the front of the trailer and rear of the truck cab is not possible.
While the setup is not inexpensive, the U.S.-made SuperGlide hitch is fabricated to last a long time with virtually no maintenance. Retail pricing for the OE Puck Series 16K SuperGlide hitch is $1,525. If you can lift it, you can install it, so forget about labor costs — and any collateral damage related to towing with a shortbed truck.
An RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee and publisher emeritus of Trailer Life and MotorHome, Bob Livingston has written countless RV technical and lifestyle articles and books, and created and appeared on the weekly television show RVtoday. A lifelong RV enthusiast, Bob now travels and lives full time with his wife, Lynne, in their fifth-wheel trailer. He continues to be a regular contributor to Trailer Life.