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Old 06-12-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
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5th Wheel vs. Gooseneck

I have owned several RV's, but never a trailer. I am considering a smaller 5th wheel, but I would like to avoid using the type of 5th wheel hitches that I see routinely, and instead, have a recessed ball below the level of the truck bed. I see farm trailers and very large horse trailers with living quarters that use a gooseneck hitch, but it does not appear that it is common for towing 5th wheel travel trailers. Adapters are available.

After I acquire my first 5th wheel trailer, I would on occasions, like to load my 8' pop up pickup camper for back country, and the recessed ball would not require removing a bulky hitch mechanism. My truck is an '07 GMC Classic, 4X4 Duramax with 8' bed so I do not anticipate any problem with the weight of a 24'-26' 5th wheel trailer.
I would appreciate any comments, pros or cons, and can anyone explain why it is not used more frequently with 5th wheel travel trailers.
Thanks, Wayne
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:33 PM   #2
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Wayne, I see this is your first post, so

I could go through a long technical discussion of the effect a gooseneck adapter has on a 5th wheel frame (if you're interested in the details, I'd suggest a search on the term "gooseneck adapter" in the search box at the top of the screen). In a nutshell, though, a gooseneck adapter is like bolting a cheater pipe to the pinbox - it's going to amplify the loading into the pinbox and is going to introduce torsional loads that are not present with a 5th wheel hitch due to the anti-rotation effect of the load plates on the hitch and pin box. 5th wheel frames, as a rule, are not designed for these loads - that's why a gooseneck trailer has all the gusseting in the crown above the gooseneck post. Can the 5th wheel frame survive this loading? Perhaps, and perhaps not. You'll undoubtedly have some individuals post their subjective positive experiences, but others have had frame failures. You pay your money and you take your chances.

If you're going to be purchasing a new 5th wheel, ask the RV manufacturer (NOT the RV dealer or gooseneck adapter seller) to confirm in writing that the use of a gooseneck adapter will not void your structural warranty. If the manufacturer is willing to do this, go for it. If not, the risk will be on you as many (most?) RV manufacturers will void the structural warranty if a gooseneck adapter is used.

There are alternates that will provide proper 5th wheel hitches with a clean bed floor when the 5th wheel hitch is not in use. One such system is the B&W Turnoverball gooseneck hitch used in conjunction with the B&W Companion 5th wheel hitch. More information on this system is available HERE.

Rusty
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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Rusty: Thanks for the helpful info re: goodneck vs.5th wheel hitch. In addition to looking at available trailer options, I am considering a custom built trailer, mfg. by ATC Trailers in Indiana. They can mfg. the trailer to my spec's, and with either a goose neck or 5th wheel hitch mechanism. In this case, an adapter would not be required. I assume that in this case, the potential problems that you mention would not be an issue. ???
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:06 PM   #4
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Right - if they build you a gooseneck trailer, you shouldn't have a problem. The problems I described come from trying to turn a 5th wheel trailer into a gooseneck trailer - something the 5th wheel isn't designed to be.

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Old 06-12-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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Hello Wayne, hi Rusty.
A question like yours pops up and goes through discussion rather regular.
If you are already looking at a unit designed from the ground up for a ball hitch, you are better off going that route as it will serve you best.
As Rusty mentioned if you search, you can read for hours.
And welcome.
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