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With the 2013 model year, Ram introduced a factory 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Towing Prep Group for the Ram 3500. It's also available for 2014 and 2015 Ram 2500's and 3500's.
This $400 option provides an in-bed trailer 7-pin wiring connector on the driver-side wall on the interior of the bed, and a set of 5 quick-disconnect mounts attached to the frame and the accompanying holes in the bed. The center hole is for a Quick Disconnect Gooseneck ball, and the outer 4 are for attaching a 5th Wheel Hitch.
The Factory 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Towing Prep Group installed in our 2014 Ram 3500. It also has the factory Spray In Bedliner.
The Bed Mounted Trailer Electrical Connector
What it turned out to be is a good idea with a very flawed roll-out implementation. To be blunt, Ram screwed up. They started shipping trucks with the prep group installed, but it wasn't technically complete because they didn't have the parts ready to use with it. It took until early 2014 for items to become commonly available. When we picked our truck up in late December of 2013, the factory support items were not in stock at the dealer.
There have also been a lot of reports from the field of trucks delievered without the trim rings and covers for the holes in the bed included with this package. Those are included as part of the prep group, and the dealer can obtain them if they were missing or lost.
The installation sheet for the trim rings and covers included with the 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Towing Prep Group. They come in a large zip-lock bag with this sheet.
The 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Towing Prep Group with the trim rings installed
The 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Towing Prep Group with the trim rings and covers installed. The covers are easliy removed for access to the mounting points.
All the Factory Prep Group gives you are the mounting points in the bed, and the bed-mounted trailer wiring connector. You still have to buy the parts to go with it.
For the 5th Wheel portion, Ram intended to supply (at an additional cost of $575) a square "picture frame", where the corners attach to the QD connections in the bed. You then bolt your 5th Wheel Hitch to that. It provides quickly removable rails that are normally permanently installed in the truck.
The Mopar part number for that picture-frame adapter is 82213667. There were manufacturing issues with them, and until early 2014 were in short supply. Our dealer had none in stock when we picked up our truck. The same for the QD gooseneck balls which run $250 each.
As of 03-January-2014, the folks in Media Relations at Chrysler corporate told me that all three kits are available in-stock for dealer/consumer fulfillment.
Understandably, many existing owners were quite unhappy about the delays. If they wanted to tow at the time they drove off of the lot, they either had to locate one of these very hard-to-find adapters (on which they could then mount their 5th Wheel hitch), or they had to have their 5th wheel hitches mounted in their truck bed with yet additional holes and rails.
In my opinion, the whole setup was a brilliant idea, but releasing it without having all of the needed supporting parts available in needed quantities was a major mistake. Many say that they should have included the gooseneck ball and the frame adapter in the package, and I have to admit that I agree with that. They should have included at least the 2 5/16" gooseneck ball and the "picture frame" as a part of the prep group. If you paid for that, you should be able to go from the dealership ready to tow - after all, that's generally why people buy trucks like this. The kit should have been complete and included with the truck.
Even knowing it wasn't complete at the time, when we picked out our 2014 Ram 3500, this factory option was still one of the features we wanted. We figured it was only a matter of time before other manufacturers took the opportunity to build on that system - and we had the luxury of time before we pick up the trailer.
It took a good bit of time, but other companies have put their systems on the market to take advantage of this factory package group. As of January-2015, there were options for every application - completed hitches, frames onto which regular hitches can be mounted, and gooseneck balls and accessories.
The following is a complete (as far as we know) list of items as of 26-February-2015.
We have received their Model RVK3600 Companion Fifth Wheel Hitch. It's designed to drop right into the factory package. It's rated for 25,000 lbs. trailer weight and 6,250 lbs. trailer tongue weight. It is the most capable unit on the market so far.
Our First Look Video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps-6WL4fRy0&list=UUThfO4FutufDywtPa7EIrTQ
Our review of the B&W RVK3600 is here.
This is a photo of the first unit they sent. The base unit did not perfectly fit. They discovered some variances in measurements, and as of late on the 24th of March we have a replacement. They re-designed the interface system (shown in the photo below), and it works perfectly.
You will note that the feet on the new one are a bit different. They are designed to adjust to your individual Ram 2500/3500 (a one-time process). This one adjusted easily and dropped right in. All future installs of this unit just drop in too. There will be more to come on this unit shortly.
As of 28-November-2014 Curt Manufacturing is offering a Gooseneck ball, as well as several models of 5th wheel hitches that drop right into the factory prep group using their leg kit.
The Curt 60601 Gooseneck Ball (2 5/16") drops right in. The latching handle at the top is somewhat different than the Reese and Mopar units. They do not offer a 3" ball.
The Curt 16041 E-16 Hitch is rated for 16,000 lbs towing and 4000 lbs vertical weight
The Curt 16043 Q16 Hitch is rated for 16,000 lbs towing and 4000 lbs vertical weight
The Curt 16045 Q20 Hitch is rated for 20,000 lbs towing and 5000 lbs vertical weight
The Curt 16047 Q24 Hitch is rated for 24,000 lbs towing and 6000 lbs vertical weight
The Curt 16021 Leg Kit is available if you already have a Curt hitch
On 26-February-2015 I located yet another "picture frame" adapter. This one is a little different than the others.
Like the PullRite adapter it requires some assembly, but it does not come out in 4 pieces. It's one solid frame with assemblies that are put together in each corner.
Demco 6099 Dodge Prep Rail Bracket
As mentioned above, MOPAR has the following offerings...
Hitch Mounting Bracket (Picture Frame) #82213667. $575 MSRP - this is a one-piece unit onto which you mount any industry-standard 5th Wheel hitch. It forms the rails that you normally permanently mount in the bed of your truck, and comes out as one piece.
They also offer two Gooseneck balls that go in the center hole of the prep group - the Mopar part number 82213631 in a 3" ball (MSRP $250) or Mopar part number 82213632 in a 2 5/16" ball (MSRP $250). Both include the QD ball unit that goes into the center hole and two safety chain tie-downs that mount in the outer QD holes. These are rated at 30,000 pounds. These are essentially identical to the Reese units.
PullRite has announced their #4439 "Picture Frame" Adapter that allows you to mount any industry standard 5th Wheel Hitch into a Ram Truck equipped with the factory prep group. Theirs supports towing up to 25,000 pounds.
It also comes apart in 4 pieces, which is different than both the Mopar and Reese adapters. If you have difficulty lifting substantial weights, this is a VERY helpful option.
The PullRite #4439 "Picture Frame" Adapter. This offers the advantage of being assembled in the truck, helping you lift less weight in and out each time.
It is technically 8 pieces (the 4 pieces which go into the pucks (installed first), and then the 4 sides - plus the pins and clips. It's a neat design.
Reese has a 5th wheel hitch, gooseneck ball, and a "picture frame" in their offerings.
The Reese 30160 5th Wheel Hitch is rated for 20,000 lbs towing and 5000 lbs vertical weight
The #30140 Elite Under-bed Gooseneck Accessories Kit for the Ram with the factory 5th wheel/gooseneck group. It includes: (1) 2-5/16" Pop-In™ Ball #19311, (1) Storage Bag, (2) Safety Chain Attachments & (1) Hole Cover. The Reese 19314 3" Gooseneck ball is also available separately.
The Reese 30140 Kit - The included hole cover is not shown
The Reese 30140 Kit Installed
Our review of the Reese 30140 Kit is here.
The Reese #30154 Rail Kit Mounting Adapter (their identical version of the Mopar "picture frame") which is a one-piece unit.
This gives you rails onto which you can mount any industry-standard 5th wheel hitch.
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