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April '14

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rv-pro.com April 2014 • RV PRo • 27 ment was highly overrated for what the truck's capability was and also the trailers that were available. Meaning that, if we had a 25K hitch, it wasn't that long ago that there wasn't a truck that could pull close to that, and there wasn't a trailer weighing close to that. But today, there are." Curt Manufacturing has been meeting the J2638 standard since 2006. "We have a 40,000-square-foot research and development and testing facility in Wixom, Mich., where we test all of our fifth wheel hitches, both statically and dynamically, to meet this standard," says Greg Hooks, CEO of Curt Manufacturing. "Quite honestly, the most important thing is the fatigue testing – the dynamic testing – because a fifth wheel hitch is a working piece. It has to flex, it has to work with the towing vehicle. It allows us to build algorithms to understand how a fifth wheel hitch behaves in the back of a pickup." T oday's RV dealers have far more options when selling fifth wheel hitches than they did even a few years ago when it comes to varying weight ratings and con- figurations. ese hitches also are stronger, more durable, have better kingpin (jaw) latching systems, and provide better features than hitches made just five years ago, according to multiple hitch suppliers who spoke with RV PRO for this article. Best yet—all of the manufacturers make at least one rail kit and mounting system that is common throughout the industry, so there is finally some standardization. Hitch manufacturers say they have devoted time and resources to designing and engineering fifth wheel hitches to meet the heavier loads today's pickups can carry and heftier towed trailers. For example, Cequent Performance Products runs its fifth wheel hitches and mounting rails through 900,000-cycle tests to mimic the life of the product; that testing exceeds Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE) J2638 standards, according to Tom Romero, national sales and technical training director at Cequent. "e reason for these higher testing standards is because trucks can pull more and trailers are weighing more," Romero says. "It wasn't that long ago that some of the equip- PullRite President Randy Pulliam (right) shares details regarding PullRite's OE series hitches with dealers at the NTP Distribution show in Las Vegas. RVPApr.indd 27 3/19/14 3:16 PM

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