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Old 03-27-2015, 11:04 PM   #1
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Opinions on Sidewinder

I have searched other threads, but haven't found the info I'm looking for.
I've been pondering whether or not a Sidewinder pin box will be necessary for our situation.
As in the signature, I have an F250, Super Cab, "short bed". (6' 10"), and a Jayco 27.5 HT 5'er.
Here's what I've been told:
Our dealer/salesman said we would not need a Sidewinder because Jayco has a extended pin box, and the curved fronts on their units. Having said that, he sent me to their shop to talk with their 5th wheel specialist. He said that "while it would be nice to have, you really won't need it." He said that my truck was not considered to be a "Short bed". He said the short beds they usually refer to were the shorter beds that come on the crew cab trucks. Looking at the truck, he said the only thing that might be a problem is the front of the FW "riding high" because I have a 250, and the HT's were made for the 1/2 ton trucks. As it turned out, that isn't a problem.
Question: Does anyone here have the same/similar setup I have, and do you have the sidewinder? I'd like to have my curiosity settled before we strike out this year. Someone told me, You'll know you need it when you hear your rear glass explode!" I'd rather not find out that way.
Thanks for any help.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:43 PM   #2
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I was in your situation, and having to watch weight also, I really couldn't afford the additional for a slider. My dealer wouldn't commit as to whether it was needed or not. His chief mechanic had one on his Jayco and mid-box truck however...So I ordered mine for my 6.5 box truck (in the signature). Have I needed it? Can't exactly say, but I can jackknife it without fear, so maybe I did need it....

The downsides? Not a lot. The sidewinder has to be dead straight on to the hitch to get hookup. That can be a pain sometimes, and may require a few attempts. It's touchy about having forward or back pressure on it when releasing from the hitch, too. Some of both problems can be relieved by adjustment of the "wedge" that locks it to the hitch. You can get the sidewinder angled off from the centerline of the trailer, which means the rear corner of your truck can hit the underside of the 5th with the tailgate down. I dinged mine that way soon after buying it. We now drop the gate, back until the pin is inside the box area, raise the gate, and finish the backing to get the pin to the hitch. Gotta remember to not pull forward again without being locked because the tailgate is up, though!

Compared to sliders, the additional cost wasn't near as much, and overall I'm pretty happy with it - so I'd advise that if you are in doubt, get it!
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:44 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info Flapper. So far I've only backed the thing in my driveway so I'm still early in the learning stages. I was going to stop in an empty parking lot on the way back to practice, but as it was I was trying to get it home before the snow started. I just don't want to get in a situation where I need to make a tight turn and can't.
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:12 AM   #4
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Flapper, thanks for the tailgate tip.
Rryman, the first thing I did when the dealer hooked my 5th up to my truck was try a tight turn right there in the dealers lot. I have the same "not short" short bed F250 supercab as you with a RBW Lil Rocker. The salesman had told me there wouldn't be any problem with my hitch and the Reese. Well there was a problem but rather than lose the sale the dealer said they would replace my hitch. They were able to get it to work though with a wedge. I can turn any which way I want with no fear of busting out the back window (which has actually happened to me).
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:39 AM   #5
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I have a short bed F250 and a 30.5 BHLT 5th. My BHLT has the Reese Revolution (OEM Sidewinder). I have absolutely NO problems with tight turns, I don't even have to think about it.

With the revolution, you can use it as a traditional pin by installing 2 bolts which lock the revolving part. I have never locked this so I have no idea if I have clearance when used traditionally.

Benefits of the Revolution:

NO grease!
Ability to rotate the pinbox when unhooked giving more room when parked. In my driveway this is a big benefit for me.
Don't have to think about taking turns or backing up.

To me there's more than just the clearance, the other benefits listed above are a definite plus.
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Old 03-28-2015, 02:36 PM   #6
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02 F250 short bed, my serviceman said I wouldn't need a slider, said he never used one. Others told me otherwise so I insisted. First time I made a U-turn I left it forward but had the bride watching, but she was watching the wrong spot. At the last very moment I saw it and stopped. Bride could not place her flat open hand between the two. I reversed and used the slider. That works.


In fairness I must say I have trouble locking and unlocking it in that extended position. I don't know if its me or the slider (Husky 16K) but haven't asked my service man about it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:57 PM   #7
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I had the 5th airborne sidewinder with my 05 designer and a short box f-250 I purchased it because of some of the tight turns I got into and it was a pain going out and adjusting the husky 16 K slider. I actually purchased it before reese bought them out . I never had a issue hooking or unhooking up the rig as some have said but I kept the wedge a little loose. The draw back to that was you would get a little clunk on the curves as you turn that would bother some. I believe now that reese owns the sidewinder they make wedges for the type of hitch you have . If the dealer will guarantee you don't need it and back it up why spend the money ?? Good luck
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:49 PM   #8
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Ok this sounds like what I am questioning myself. I bought a 29.5 BHDS which is also a ht series that I was going to pull behind my Tundra. I decided to upgrade my truck to a F350 4x4, didn't even think about truck height! But I have been researching hitches and did look at the Sidewinder but have been leaning towards a slider. Since your F250 was ok with the trailer I'm hoping I will also be ok. As for the hitch I'm still up in the air.
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Old 03-29-2015, 12:16 AM   #9
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I tried a ht fiver with my ram 3500 and it was way too high on the nose. Barely 5 inches clearance near the back of the bed also. Tried ordering it with 16 wheels and jayco said couldn't be done. Good luck and hope it works for you
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:29 PM   #10
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.Since your F250 was ok with the trailer I'm hoping I will also be ok. I have looked, but not measured, but I don't think there is much height difference between the 4 x 4's and the 2wd's. Mine sits level, has good clearance between the bed. The dealer mentioned it because he said that the HT's were not equipped to raise the trailer. Said something about there not being any "holes" to adjust the height.
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