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Gooseneck Hitch vs. Fifth Wheel

If you have a heavier load than a class 3 and 4 hitch can handle (such as a tow-behind RV or a horse trailer), then you need a heavier duty hitch. Try a gooseneck hitch or a fifth wheel hitch. These hitches are designed to mount in the bed of your truck to allow you to tow larger loads than you could with a standard hitch that mounts under your bumper. Your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet store can order any fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch from Curt Manufacturing’s catalog. We also offer installation in our service centers. Either call your local store’s Automotive Service Center or request a quote online.

What’s the difference between a fifth wheel hitch and a gooseneck hitch?

Gooseneck hitch

A gooseneck hitch is a metal plate that mounts on or under the bed of your truck box, and uses a ball and coupler for its vehicle-to-trailer connection. Gooseneck hitches come in a variety of styles. Some have a fixed ball that is welded solid to its mounting plate, and others have a detachable ball so you can use different sized balls if you have trailers with different sized couplers. There is even a folding model that allows the ball to fold down into the bed of the truck, which keeps the hitch from taking up space in your box. In most states, passengers are not allowed to ride in a trailer being towed by a gooseneck hitch. These hitches are most often used for horse trailers and toy haulers.

Fifth wheel hitch

A fifth wheel hitch is made by bolting two steel rails to your truck bed, and then mounting an adjustable hitch on them. The hitch itself has jaws that lock around a king pin that points downward from the trailer’s tow plate. It works a lot like the connection between a semi truck and its trailer. Passengers are allowed to ride in trailers pulled by fifth wheel hitches, so they are very popular for towing RVs and camper trailers. Unlike the gooseneck hitch, there is no style of fifth wheel hitch that won’t cause at least some obstruction in the space of your truck box.

How do I know if I need a fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch?

The first thing to consider before getting a gooseneck or fifth wheel hitch, just like selecting any hitch, is your truck’s towing capacity. You can find this number in your truck’s owner’s manual. You will need a 3/4-ton, 1-ton, or larger full-size pickup to safely use either a 5th wheel or gooseneck hitch. This is because the average weight of trailers with 5th wheel and gooseneck hitch couplers is at or above the towing capacity of most 1/2-ton trucks. So, if you want to tow a gooseneck or 5th wheel trailer, you’ll need a vehicle that’s capable of towing over 10,000 pounds.

gooseneck hitch
Determining whether you need a gooseneck hitch or a fifth wheel depends on whether or not you intend for passengers to ride in the trailer.

The next thing you need to consider is your trailer. The main thing to check here is whether it has a standard, toungue-mounted coupler, a gooseneck coupler, or a king pin arm and box. Also, if it weighs over 10,000 pounds loaded, then you should consider using a fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch. You can find your trailer’s weight by looking at the numbers on its VIN (vehicle identification number) plate. The number that tells you the loaded weight of the trailer is the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). If this number is more than 10,000 pounds, you need to consider a fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch.

Third, you need to think about whether or not you would want to have passengers ride in the trailer while you’re towing it. If you do, you should go with a fifth wheel hitch setup. If you have an RV or camper trailer, a fifth wheel is the way to go. A fifth wheel hitch costs much more than most gooseneck hitch models.

Finally, if you plan to do a lot of hauling in the truck’s box when you’re not towing, you will probably prefer the gooseneck hitch, since it doesn’t take up much, if any, space in your box.


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