The tremendous popularity of fifth-wheel RV trailers has been a major factor in the steady growth of heavy-duty pickups. The trailers are not only getting bigger, heavier and more luxurious, they’re getting harder to handle, especially for those new to towing. These novices are not used to the rattling and road shocks transferred through the hitch to the truck, and they’re frustration levels rise proportionally to the tightness of a turn or difficulty in backing into a parking place.
So it’s no surprise that towing and utility equipment are in high profile at the SEMA Show. We spotted this demonstration at the Cequent booth, a company that also has such well-known towing brands as DrawTite, Reese and Hidden Hitch.
The 5th Airborne and Sidewinder from FifthGear are two products that can be used separately or together to smooth out the ride and simplify towing performance for novices and experienced RV owners. The technology has been around for little more than a year, under a different brand, until Cequent acquired it about six months ago. Cequent is now busy building awareness for the products and improving the manufacturing process, so this is the first time many have seen it.
The 5th Airborne is an air-ride coupler that features an adjustable air spring and a shock absorber to reduce vertical shock and side-to-side chucking. The unit also has a streamlined design to dress up the front of the trailer. The Sidewinder is a pin-box coupler designed primarily for short-box (6 ½-foot bed) pickups. The Sidewinder relocates the pivot point to the rear by 20 inches without affecting the kingpin weight over the truck’s rear axle. Now a truck can handle a 90-degree turn with out the cab hitting the trailer. The pivoting pin box also allows for trailer hookup at just about any angle. Obviously, the trick setup is to combine the two products into the 5th Airborne Sidewinder to maximize the benefits of both.
Officials say the MSRP for the 5th Airborne is $795; Sidewinder is $910 and 5th Airborne Sidewinder ranges between $1,900 and $2,100.