Our Lifted Fifth Wheel

Our Lifted Fifth Wheel

We had the 2000 Ford F250 before we bought the trailer, and the trailer wasn’t even in our minds yet.  The truck came with an 8″ lift on 37″ tires. It rides pretty high, and the standard height of a fifth wheel trailer would not suffice.  Without a trailer lift, the RV would still clear the truck bed rails easily, but the trailer angled down from front to back.  This places more weight on the rear axle of the 5’er, and this is not acceptable.

We bought the RV at PPL Motorhomes in Cleburne Texas, and would be immediately towing it to Utah, so a fix had to be done right away.  Our 2011 Keystone Alpine is 12′ 6″ from the factory.  With the 8″ lift we needed, it would sit at 13′ 4″.  I was comfortable with any number below 13′ 6″, which at or above that height, travel and low clearances become a lot more of a PITA. There are a few things that can be done to lift a trailer, and below you’ll see why we did what we did.

Option #1:  Most of the time, the trailer’s suspension springs are on the bottom of the axles.  For a very cheap cost, you can ‘flip’ the axle, placing the springs on top of the axle.  This will lift the trailer around 3″-4″.  On most larger trailers, this is already done from the factory.  This was the case with ours, and it would not get us the 8″ lift we needed.  Therefore, this was not an option for us.  The next two pictures are not mine, they are just provided as an example of what I’m talking about.

Option #2:  Add lifting blocks and use longer U-bolts.  The springs sit right on top of the axle, and attach to it via U-bolts.  You can buy lifting blocks which increase the distance between the springs and the axle, and then buy longer U-bolts to hold it all together.  In my opinion, this is what I would call a poor man’s lift.  I don’t mean that as an insult to anyone, it is just a saying passed down from my father.  This lift is ok for smaller lifts, but not for an 8″ lift. I am not a rich man, but there is cheap and then there is right.  This is not right for such a heavy trailer (14,000 lbs) in my opinion, so this was also not an option for us.  The following picture is not mine, it is provided as an example.

Option #3:  Here is what we ended up doing.  We found a business that only worked on trailers.  I wanted a subframe built under the trailer, and they knew exactly what I was talking about, and had done it many times before.  My RV has 12″ I-beams, which is what the suspension, axles and wheels attach to.  Here is what I wanted and they did a beautiful job.  They cut off everything from the 12″ I-beams.  Then, they built a rectangular box frame to fit under the I-beams.  They used 2″ x 8″ steel with a 1/4″ wall.  Once this subframe was complete, they welded it up to the 12″ I-beams and then reattached the suspension, axles and wheels.  Please excuse the bottom ugliness, as it is all cut out and exposed for other mods I am doing.

The result is a trailer frame that is stronger than the original, and gave us the 8″ lift we needed.  Everything rides level now and we absolutely love it.  It rides just fine in strong crosswinds, we have never felt any issues with the higher center of gravity.  Boon docking is amazing, as the ground clearance is phenomenal.

There are so many negative people when this idea is brought up, so I wanted to share how we did it and how we feel about how it affected the rig and its towing.

Please leave any comments or questions below and I will respond if asked.


31 thoughts on “Our Lifted Fifth Wheel

    1. They don’t have a website, but their name is D & Y Trailers. Their address is: 5408 US-67, Alvarado, TX 76009. Their phone number is: (817) 790-6059. Probably not local to you, but hope this helps. Greg

      1. Thanks for the information I just got a 2020 toy hauler that is needing a lift kit also. Because like you I have a 6 inch lift kit on a brand new 2018 F2 50 and I am running into the same problem now I see there is a cure for my problem. I hate to ask but what was the cost to have this done

      2. One last question what was your total Overall height of your camper installing that 8 inch lift kit. I also found out if it’s above 13 six we might have somewhat of a problem on the highway’s. But I also found out that they have a Garman that you can program the length of your trailer the height of your trailer to make sure you avoid any potential incidents after you left your trailer in the event your total overall height is more than 16 overall height of your camper installing that 8 inch lift kit. I also found out if it’s above 13 six we might have somewhat of a problem on the highways. But I also found out that they have a Garman that you can program the length of your trailer the height of your trailer to make sure you avoid any potential incidents after you lift your trailer in the event your total overall height is more than 13.6 for those low bridges

    1. It was either $800 or $850. I found a trailer repair place, in a rural town outside of Dallas. If you took yours to a local welding shop, I’m guessing it would be close to what I paid. Find a place that charges for materials, and then the hours for the welding. Hope this helps, Greg.

      1. Lol… next step is to torch axles off and spread them out so I can put mud tires on the fifth wheel.

  1. We are looking to get a new truck however it is 7″ taller than our current truck and the trailer will not fit AT ALL. I tried cranking it up all the way, that did not work. So, lift it needs. I can flip the axles, and put in a smaller lift kit to make up some of the difference. That to me seems like it would be top heavy. So if I took and welded a brace from the bottom of the lift kit on one side of the trailer to the top of the lift kit on the other side amd do the opposite on the other axle would that stabilize the trailer more?
    ? I want that new truck

    1. I’m not sure about your exact scenario, but I can say that with our 8″ 5th wheel lift, it doesn’t feel/seem top heavy at all.

  2. Looks like it was done well. We are having ours lifted 9″ to fit our Ram 3500. It is a 1984 Yellowstone, 24′ in length and is less then 10′ tall now before the lift. I hope we have the same good outcome as you did.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Thanks for posting, and you’re welcome. Years later, there have been zero issues, and zero regrets with the lift, we love what it accomplished.

  4. I live in Frisco, TX and have a 8″ lift on 37’s on my Duramax. I really do not want to slam it back down. I love the ground clearance I have. I want top buy a 5th wheel. I don’t like the bumper pull trailers. This article was super helpful, and Alvarado is a stone’s throw away, so I am very comfortable now with purchasing the 5th wheel we wanted and taking it to Alvarado to have the frame lifted. Thank you!!!

    1. Glad to have helped, you won’t regret it. In fact, just like your truck, people will be envious :))

    1. We still own the RV, and the lift has been incredible. We go where no other 5th wheel/large RV can go. There were a few cautious moments, like when driving on very angled land (as in angled left to right), but it handled it fine. I believe it would have been exciting regardless of the lift, it was a steep sideways grade. Nothing has broken, it is still just as stable as when installed. I would not hesitate for even a moment and do this mod again.

      The only negative may be resale, but I’ll worry about that when that time comes.

      1. excellent! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now… at the very least to just match the truck. I am surprised with how little information there is out there on it, but it makes sense and I think it would be very useful.

        Thank you for the info!

  5. I don’t know about the date on this post but I was wondering what you did about your leveling system after you did your lift?

  6. The RV definitely sits higher, I have jacks in the back and hydraulics in the front. On level ground, I have to add about 6″ of blocks. On really unlevel ground, such as one time the rear was 6′ above the ground, I just don’t use the rear jacks. Usually though, no more than a foot of blocks are needed, but only on one end.

  7. This is a mega body lift to get you level but other than bigger tires it seams there was no suspension/frame lift. (Your axel is still the same ground clearance). Surprised you haven’t broke it yet on a rock or something. How boondocks/ off road do you get? (Not criticizing, thinking of living off grid full time so trying to figure out our setup)

    1. Hi, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. The axel clearance isn’t the issue when boodocking, it is the back bumper that can hit, as you go over uneven terrain. The axel’s clearance was never an issue.

      When going from flat terrain to a quick incline (think of a driveway that is steep right away where it meets the road), when you go up, the axels do just fine, but as the trailer starts to go up the incline, the back of the RV lowers, and this is the issue.

  8. Hi, I read this and got extremely excited about the possibilities here. I bought a 21 F350. It is lifted 8 inches on 38s.
    The Camper, however, is needing to be lifted 7 inches to be even to the bed rails. It is seeming like I need another 6 inches for clearance. The fifth wheel is actually at the shop right now and we’re supposed to be worked on starting yesterday but we are in this predicament. Any thoughts? Am I missing something? They said they don’t feel comfortable going higher than 8 inches. Thank you all!

    1. So you’re wanting a 13″ lift total on your RV? How tall is your RV in its stock configuration? You don’t want to go above 13′ 6″ total when finished, for going under some bridges. 

      As for stability, that would be a guess. I can say at my 8″ RV lift, I never doubted it once. On the highway and in the cities, stable 100%. I had in some pretty off road scenarios too, and only once did I use extra caution, but it was a crazy u-turn scenario on a pretty well sloped mountain (not your average scenario). 

      Can you raise your hitch? I put mine at its highest postion. 

      I can only give an opinion, so this is not official advice. If the RV stays under 13′ 6″, I would do the 13″ lift in a heartbeat. Not bragging, but I am a very competent driver with a trailer. On the road, pretty basic with the lift, would be stable in my opinion. Off road, if your not going across the fall line, totally stable as well.

      That’s my non legel 2 cents. Let me know what you decide to do!


  9. Totally agree to everything you said. My question is… If your truck and trailer are unhitched and level on the ground… What is the height of the overhang and what is the height of the top of the bed rails? If I lift 8 inches… My bed rails will only be 2 inches lower than the overhang of my fifth wheel. I’m wondering if it would be a completely different game once hitched…?

    Also… funny and embarrassing and something for others to check:
    I bought my truck 3 weeks ago from out of state. It was advertised and spoken of as having 38’s. I was just at a friends house talking about this predicament and he pointed out that I’m sitting on 40’s!! Lol. There is some of the math that wasn’t working. Plus the slightly higher bed rails from being a 2021.

    I will end up doing the 8” beams like you have (happening as we speak). I will then add 2” to the leaf spring mounts from a local trailer shop, however, I’ll have my friend what is a welder reinforce them like crazy because he said they will wear and flex over time when backing up sharply. If I’m still a little nose high and under the 13’6”… I’ll consider larger tires.
    Thank you for your post. Without seeing this and the 1000 HP lifted duramax video from DXRYNO … I would have bought a bumper pull to start. You’re awesome!!

    1. I see. After my lift, the overhang when unhitched was 6″. When hitched, it was 4ish” before the lift, 6inches at the hitch forward, but 4″ over the tailgate and back of the side rails. She angled up a bit, which caused this.  I wanted it to ride level, both for looks and the trailer axles sharing the same weight. So it sounds like you need a 4″ lift or so to make your trailer level with 6″ of rail clearance.

      40″s, awesome. Glad I could help. We no longer have our RV, but I keep this website active specifically for this lifted page. There is so little info out there. Even though I am by no means an official source, it’s nice to read what others have done, and see the results.

      Have a blast!


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