Pin Box (Done)

Go to my post titled RV Construction Methods – Pin Box for a summary and what I’ve decided to go with.

This is the part of the fifthwheel that attaches to the trailer hitch. A few people recommend miss-matching the pin with the suspension and the truck hitch. Others recommend sticking with the same manufacturer for both applications.

Having to trade out the pin later is at least a $600 mistake and maybe as high as $1,300 – plus installation. I plan on getting it right the first time.

  • Here is a good list from Trailer Life in 2012. (Start your research here)
  • I’m going to purchasing a long bed truck for the fifth wheel hitch. So I don’t have a need for a hitch that slides which would be required for a short bed truck.
  • Most everything I’m reading and most everyone I talk to direct me to the Morryde box. Lots of folks are buying rigs without the Morryde pin box. Then taking the rig to the Morryde factory and having their box installed. Although it looks like a fairly straight forward install if you want to switch the pin box out yourself. Morryde uses rubber rather than air.
  • Seems like the luxury and high end units, if not using Morryde, are going with Trailair – Air Ride which is Lippert product. Their newer pin is the Trailair -Flex Air. Not sure but it might be limited to an 18,000 pound capacity.
  •  5th Airborne by Reese is another popular one. It uses adjustable air bags like the Trailair.
5th Airborne by Reese

5th Airborne by Reese



Trailair Pin Box

Trailair – Air Ride by Lippert

flex-air pin box

Trailair – Flex  Air by Lippert

This would be an easy decision if every fifth wheel builder had an option to use any of the above. I’m leaning towards the Morryde. The only problem in there are some fifth wheels (in 2015) that I’m interested in that don’t offer it.  Maybe I’ll have to have a second choice for a pin box as well. Or join the crowd that are removing the pin from their brand new rig and replacing it with something else. Suppose one has to also consider what pin box works well with any given suspension system as the two work together along with the actually fifth wheel hitch. I’ve heard Lippert is doing away with the Trailair and replacing it with the Flexair. According to Lippert “The Flex Air Pin Box combines our time-tested Trailair air ride technology with our Rota-Flex pivoting head to create an unparalleled ride, eliminating chucking and the vertical tug-of-war between the fifth-wheel and tow vehicle.” Trading out a pin box is about an $1,100 plus expense.

As a side note, I’ve read about people placing a disc on the pin of the pin box above the hitch. This lubricates. Here is a link to the Lippert solution called the Whisper disc.

There are actually three decisions to make here. What pin box, what fifth wheel hitch and what suspension system. Does a combination work better? Some use the Morryde independent suspension which allows better up and down travel while using an air bag system for the pin. But others say the Morryde pin takes care of the “chucking” which is the jerking motion and then use air bags on the trailer hitch to handle the up and down issues. More important, some are saying one system may work against another. For example if you have an air bag on the pin and the hitch.

Oh, almost forgot, you have to consider what axle and brakes to use. My head hurts.

There are several directions in movement that effect the ride:

As I researched each of the above pins I had to consider side to side movement with back and fourth (called longitudinal and lateral), as well as up and down movement. Seemed like the Flexair, which is replacing the Trailair, had all the bases covered in their design. I guess one question would be does the Flexair do a better job with the longitudinal and lateral movement which is the chucking motion. I also wondered if the fifth wheel hitch would have a great effect on the up and down motion. Also would the pin weight of the fifth wheel make a difference in that the movement up and down would be transferred to the trucks suspension. I could see trailer movement rocking the truck up and down. Having the trailer level when towing makes a difference. In other words if the pin or whatever causes the trailer to ride high or low when hooked to the hitch that takes away from the ride. As I studied I also paid attention to the various trailer suspension systems as some allow for better travel distances up and down. For example the Morryde independent suspension absorbs 5 1/2 inches of up and down motion but adds up to four hundred fifty pounds of weight with 8,000 pound (axle) ratings.

You really need to read what each manufacturer says about their pins for a better view:

Reese 5th Airborne
Trailair – Flex Air
Trailair – Air Ride

I took a quick look in 2015 to see what a few are using on their stock trailers. I looked at luxury models in the 16,500 pound gross weight range and above:

(Go to my Fifth Wheel Manufacturers page for links)

DRV Mobile Suites (Heavy Rig): * MOR/ryde LRE Rubber Equalizer Suspension, Kodiak Automotive Disc Brakes, photos show they use the Morryde pin. Options include Trail-Air C/P Suspension/Tri-Glide Pin Box. Comes with 8,000 puns axles.

DRV Tradition (16,500 GVW): Trailair EquaFlex Suspension, photos show Trailair pin box, options list Kodiak Disc Brake Package with 8,000 pound axles. Standard is 7,000 pound axle.

Evergreen Redwood (16,500): Falcon Integrated Technology with 7,000 pound axles. – Lippert builds the system for Evergreen (Thor Industries). The benefit being you have one company to go through for issues and that would be Redwood.

Continental Couch (Heavy): Morryde for suspension and axle, electric hydrolytic disc breaks. Can’t see what pin box looking at the photos. Looks more like a Reese. This is a custom builder so who knows.

New Horizons (Heavy): Morryde axle and suspension, optional Trailair pin box and antilock breaking which they claim to be the only one in industry to offer it. Can’t tell what pin they use from photos and even looked at Jack Meyers photos of his rig being built.

Lifestyles (Heavier): Using Dexter axles and morryde suspension, options listed were morryde pin and Dexter disc breaks. Photos on website clearly show all rigs with morryde pin.

Hitchhiker (16,500): Had to go back to 2013. NuWa invented the 5th wheel and stopped building them. Peterson (Excel) started building them again but went out of business in 2015. The model I looked at was using 7,000 pound axles with Trail Air Equa Flex rubber suspension but also offered the Mor Ryde IS Rubberized Suspension System. Using disc breaks. Optional 8,000 pound axles. Using custom Glide Ride pin which is built by Lippert.

Landmark 365 (18,000): 8000# Dexter axles with E-Z Flex suspension, Mor/ryde hitch pin is an option and so are disc breaks. Photo on website is a Morryde pin.

Keystone Montana (16,500 range): Dexter axles, Morryde suspension and pin. They also build the Alpine but the website does not get detailed on the pin/suspension. Photos are showing the Morryde pin box. When I viewed a couple 2015 Alpine photos I noticed the Lippert Roto Flex pin.

Forrest River Cedar Creek (16,500 range): Trailair pin is an option. Photos show a Lippert pin that’s not a trailair.

Grand Design Solitude (16,500 range): Trailair Pin Roto-Flex Box, Equa-Flex Suspension. There was nothing listed under their options section.

Heartland Big Horn (16,500 range): E-Z Flex™ suspension system by Dexter with quad shocks with Dexter axles, Morryde pin is an option. Photos have a cover over the pin, I’m guessing it’s one by Lippert.

  • Although I’ll cover this in my research on suspensions systems, I wanted to note Morryde has the equalizer system that uses an axle and the independent system that has no axle. They use a beam and each tire has it’s own suspension so bumps don’t transfer to the other side of the trailer.

So what are they saying in the forums as of 2015:

Opinions are everywhere. With all the options it’s no wonder. Morryde is the big thing and a lot are talking about going with Trailair or mix-matching the suspension with the pin and hitch to make for a comfortable ride. The Flexair just came out so there was not much written about it.

Some are cutting off or trading out what their new rig came with. Here is a good post by the owners of RV Dreams. Their rig came with a lower level Morryde suspension which they upgraded to a heavier Morryde independent suspension, upgraded their Dexter electric disc breaks to hydraulic with the Nev-R-Lube bearings. They say they would never own anything but a Morryde setup. The upgrade to the independent suspension system added weight to the trailer. One guy commented it added 450 pounds to his. I should add the guy at RV Dreams rig had come with the original Morryde pin box and the Morryde equalizer suspension. He upgraded to the better independent system. Before he changed out the suspension his wife could see the trailer going up and down from the back as she followed in another vehicle.

Here are some 2015 forum threads you can read through now that you have all the above information:

IRV2 Thread
RV Dreams
RV Net
Another RV Net
Open Range Owners Forum
Redwood Owners Forum
Heartland Owners Forum
(It’s an older thread but has a lot of good opinions)

So what am I considering going with? (Update 11/5/18 – The trailer we decided on comes with the Rotoflex pin.  Lots of similarities to the MorRyde. I decided to start off with what the trailer comes with as many owners are saying the Rotoflex is a good pin. Time will tell)

After much thought and going back over everything above, to include reading the forum links again, I’ve decided on two options.

1st Place RibbonMy first choice is the Morryde pin matched to the appropriate hitch and suspension system. I’m still studying hitches but am leaning towards having an air bag on the hitch with the Morryde pin.

2nd Place RibbonMy second choice is the newer Trailair – Flex Air pin by Lippert. Again, the pin would be matched with the appropriate suspension and hitch. This could change if the capacity is limited to 18,000 pounds.

3rd Place RibbonThe Trailair – Air Ride is my third choice. We may be buying a used rig so I want to keep the option open to using what comes with the rig. As of today (9/9/15) Lippert is still selling this Trailair pin.

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