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Old 06-23-2013, 03:34 PM   #1
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First Newbie Post..

Dear folks,
Thank you for the warm welcome after our introduction in the New Member forum yesterday. We are about to purchase our first RV; a used 30' 5th wheel in another state. From research, I understand that a controversary exists here. However, it will be necessary to use a 5th wheel to gooseneck adaptor for a one time only 1100 mile lengthy trip from the rv dealer back to my home. Then later, one or two short trips in my local area. After that, I can make other arrangements. I defer to the braintrust here for advice. Do you think this scenario described above would be successful and doable? Best regards to everyone!
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:06 PM   #2
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I'm sure it'd be fine. I def. wouldn't do it all the time.
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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The only thing wrong with a gooseneck adapter on a fifth wheel RV is some 5ers do now have strong enough frame under the overhang. Because of the additional leverage, a gooseneck adapter puts a lot more stress on the framing near the pin box than it was designed to handle. Therefore most fifth wheel manufacturers will not honor the warranty on the 5er if you use a gooseneck adapter.

But gobs of folks use gooseneck adapters every day with no big bad boogey man coming to get them. So I wouldn't worry about it. But keep an eye on the frame around the pin box under the overhang, and if it seens to be bending or warping any, then have a good welding/blacksmith shop beef up the frame with added junk iron.

Our local farmers' welding/blacksmith shop adds gooseneck adapters all the time. He even has one on his personal 5er. But part of installation of the adapter is to beef up the frame around the pinbox with a lot of additional iron.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:16 PM   #4
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All it takes is one time to stress a frame and start the damage. You might get by with the G/N adapter and then you may not. The smaller 5ers do not appear to be as prone to frame damage as do the larger ones. A 30' will fall in the middle range.

You did not say what brand trailer you are getting or the age. You also need to find out if it has a Lippert (LCI) frame. They have a history of providing weak frames and are more prone to damage.

So it is up to you to decide if you want to risk the possible damage. Personally, I'd get a 5th wheel hitch in the truck before I hauled the trailer.

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Old 06-23-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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The "controversies" you read on this forum and in other places stem from the fact that with exception of few (pricey) manufacturers the RV industry builds terribly cheap frames welded by equally incompetent welders.

And it doesn't take much to end up with this, particularly in the area of the pinbox.




Anytime you increase the pin box "reach" you increase the forces acting on that area.
Sounds like you don't have other options, I would keep you speed way down particularly on bad stretches of road and you can probably "get away with". But it doesn't take much to damage the forward frame with the way these are built.

This is how they should be built and welded (New Horizon),



but you will not see that kind of quality on many other brands.

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Old 06-24-2013, 08:44 AM   #6
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I thank each of you for your replies and comments. As stated, this would have been a one time only 1100 mile trip all driven on an interstate highway.

The 5th wheel in question is a 2000 Alpenlite Spyglass 29RL, weighing in at 12,500 lbs. My truck is a well maintained 1997 F250 heavy duty, power stroke turbo diesel. At this time, the truck has a custom built gooseneck hitch solidly welded to the frame with care by a craftsman.

I originally wanted to install a B&W Companion 5th wheel hitch as I wanted it to be removable with no rails in the truck bed. However, I found that this could not be done without the removal of the gooseneck hitch and the installation of the new lower support assembly under the bed. This would have necessitated in this case removal of the bed, cutting out the old hitch with an acetylene torch, grinding down the frame and replacing the new support assembly under the bed. I just did not want to do this to the truck for fear of problems in removal and possible weakening of the truck frame. Plus the additional expense of buying and installing the B&W would have been an undue financial burden at this time.

Now that I have considered your advice, maybe a new option should be considered here. Rather than spending $414 for the adaptor, it might be wiser to add a rail type 5th wheel hitch, leaving the old gooseneck under the bed; the downside being rails in the bed. What would you guys do? Thank you for all your advice!

Best Regards to all
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:22 AM   #7
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Rails! I see no downside to them. They are places to strap too, rarely (once ever) have gotten in the way.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letzroll View Post
Rather than spending $414 for the adaptor, it might be wiser to add a rail type 5th wheel hitch, leaving the old gooseneck under the bed; the downside being rails in the bed. What would you guys do?
I pulled a 5er with a Reese 16k hitch for a dozen years. The bed rails are not a big problem. But if you really hate them, you can remove them with few minutes of wrench twisting. Then fill the holes in the bed with short round-head bolts.

Reese makes cheap 5er hitches as well as good ones. I would not buy the cheap one, called the Pro series. I threw away one of those after about a year of putting up with it. Move up to the 16K select series, sometimes just called the Reese 16k. Here's one for $484.95 plus the install kit.

Reese Fifth Wheel for Ford F-250 and F-350 Heavy Duty 1997 - RP30047

The "universal" install kit that will work on your '97 is $125.

Reese Universal Base Rails and Installation Kit for 5th Wheel Trailer Hitches - 10 Bolt Reese Fifth Wheel Installation Kit RP30035

That install kit requires drilling into the frame of the pickup. No fun. Reese makes a "quick install kit" for '99-up SuperDuty pickups for more money that uses existing holes in the frame , but I don't see one for a '97. Maybe contact Reese or a vendor and ask about those quick install kits for your '97. If you can get one, it's well worth the $50 or so extra cost to not have to drill holes in the truck frame, which is very hard steel.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:49 PM   #9
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I'd go with rails and spend the money on the fifth hitch. The rails and the ball might be a pain if you want to use the truck for other purposes, but it would still have plenty of uses.
12,500 lbs on a 29 footer is a lot of weight, don't know how they built them to get them up there, could be good if it's part of the structure.
I checked them out, nice layout on the 29 footer.

hjs
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