So yet again I've been reminded that if you want to have something done right, you should just do it yourself!
Here's the story on my un-Professional installation of the 5th Wheel Husky Slider hitch on my tow vehicle.
So with the purchase of an Eagle 31.5FBHS from a local certified Jayco dealer I decided that I might as well have them install the hitch and add the material and labor costs to the loan so i don't have to be immediately shocked by how much everything is costing me :-)
I shopped around for different hitches but ended up just using the dealer and their recommendation on the Husky 16K Composite 10 Glider Sliding hitch. I didn't know the details of what rail installation kit they were going to use, I just figured they would use the manufacturer's recommendation (there's a prelude for you). The install went pretty smoothly and I picked it up and towed probably 3-4 trips on it.
About 2 weeks ago I decided it was time to install some Firestone RideRite air bags in the rear to level out the tow vehicle under the weight of the trailer. Since I had installed the Firestone bags on my previous truck I figured I could handle the install on this newer truck (2011 Ford F-250 4x4 Crew Diesel Shortbed). So while I'm down under the truck doing the air bags I glanced up and checked out the installation of the fifth wheel hitch. Here is a photo of what I found on TWO of the main mounts connecting the hitch rail to the truck's frame rails:
Notice that the upper bolt is put in opposite of the lower bolt and its completely missing the nut on the backside ! Holy COW !!!
It's obvious where this part of the install for their 'professional certified technician' would have been difficult as they would have had to remove the bed bolt and put in the bolt for the rail installation and then put the bed bolt back in. Or they could have used a fishing wire and pulled the bolt through the back side as another option. But instead ... the technician decided to hammer the bolt in from the outside in at a crude angle and just have it rest on the bed bolt. I could literally grab the head of the upper bolt on the outside of the frame rail here and loosen the bolt with my hand.
Needless to say at this point I was very upset and couldn't believe that this is what they call a "professional installation" - for which they had charged me probably $500 to do.
So before returning to the dealer to show them the issue, I contacted Husky Products directly and asked them to explain to me what the proper way was to install these 4 brackets holding the rails to the truck frame rails. They technician at Husky was very knowledgeable and friendly and happy to help me. He quickly asked for my vehicle information and the information on which hitch I had installed. When I explained to him that there were 4 different angled brackets mounting the rails to the truck frame rails - he was puzzled. He then told me "They used the universal rail installation kit instead of the recommended custom kit that we make for that vehicle!". Great, so now I learn that they took yet another shortcut in trying to use the cheaper universal kit instead of the correct and heavier duty kit for my installation. The Husky tech gave me the part number for the custom kit to fit my truck and recommended I return the truck to the dealer and insist they install the correct one this time.
So, the dealer took care of things and apologized for the unacceptable installation and purchased the custom install kit for me and redid the install correctly now. Of course this meant I lost another day of dropping the truck off and having people cart me around until it was done, so it was a major inconvenience, but it should be much safer now. I pulled the owner and manager of the shop aside and gave them a little advice and feedback on what had happened, so I hope they will make changes immediately to make sure this doesn't happen to someone else again. Unfortunately its scary to think how many times they have already done the same with other customers and with other shortcuts that take on even more critical installations on all the trailers and fully size Class A's they service on a daily basis.
Anyway, moral of the story is that you should always double check the work done by others if you do pay someone else to do similar installations, or just get down and wrench and do it yourself.
Side note: Getting a sliding hitch for this trailer and vehicle was a waste of money as I have never had to use the slider and have plenty of clearance to completely turn the truck all the way to one side or the other and never come close to hitting the cab - oh well.