Can You Pull A 5th Wheel With A Bumper Pull Adapter Hitch?
Yes, it is possible to pull a 5th wheel with your standard trailer hitch, and many RV owners have done so, although it might not be the safest way to tow. Since most 5th-wheel campers are heavy, many trucks and SUVs cannot tow the gross trailer weight. You must ensure that the towing agent (Pickup truck or SUV) is a heavy-duty vehicle equipped to handle the weight you intend to pull. Your vehicle’s manufacturer can tell you precisely what that number is.
While a bumper hitch adapter may accomplish the task, it might not be legal. You should check with your local Department of Public Safety to see if there are any regulations you should be aware of.
There is a reason that fifth-wheel trailers are designed to be pulled by a connection over the truck bed instead of by a receiver hitch on a bumper. Since a fifth-wheel camper is heavy and bulky, towing with a designated fifth-wheel hitch provides a better towing experience. Towing a fifth-wheel trailer from a bumper pull increases the chances for trailer sway and reduces steering control because the connection between the trailer and the tow vehicle is not as strong.
What is A Bumper Pull Adapter Hitch?
Even though it has the name bumper, most bumper pull hitches pull from the tow vehicle’s frame. The frame mount allows less wear and tear on the rear bumper, making the towing process more solid.
A bumper pull adapter is often also called a tag-along trailer. It is a separate small trailer with an axle that handles the increased weight of the fifth-wheel trailer. Instead of attaching the 5th wheel coupling to the hitch ball on the truck’s receiver directly, this type of connection is a mediator between the lower ball mount on the truck and the higher fifth-wheel coupling. The tow vehicle connects to the bumper pull trailer, and the fifth-wheel kingpin connects to the tag-along. Safety Towing Systems is an example of a bumper pull adapter hitch for both gooseneck and fifth-wheel applications.
What Are The Advantages To A Bumper Pull Adapter Hitch?
The bumper pull adapter trailer will extend your towing length by several feet and help spread the weight over all the axles rather than sag the rear end of the tow vehicle. The increased length of the towing means that you will have more clearance for turns, increased stability, and braking performance. (However, it should be noted that you may need more space for parking at a campsite due to the fact that your camper length is now extended).
One of the advantages of a bumper pull adapter is that the truck bed space is available for additional materials. For example, some livestock trailers are pulled by the bumper hitch, while filling the back of the pickup with hay bales. Since the hookup is not in the back of the truck bed, any additional cargo can be carried.
Adding a third axle also allows for a quick disconnect from the tow vehicle. Many of these mini-trailers have an automatic uncoupling feature that allows the trailer and mini-trailer to be parked. The tow vehicle becomes the primary vehicle for sightseeing or errands while the fifth wheel stays at the campsite.
What are Some Disadvantages?
There are some disadvantages to having a safety trailer between your tow vehicle and the fifth wheel. For one thing, the connection is not as strong with this kind of pull when compared to a standard fifth-wheel coupling. (A 5th wheel bumper pull is a less solid connection between the tow vehicle and trailer than centering the weight further front over the cargo bed). Since the connection is being pulled by the rear of the vehicle, the trailer is more susceptible to extraneous forces such as trailer sway and rollover. (Always check with your hitch manufacturer to ensure your mini-trailer meets all DOT regulations).
Most of these automated safety hitches are compatible with Class V receiver hitches. Before ordering one, you should check your tow vehicle’s hitch capacity. A Class V hitch is rated for loads up to 17,000 lbs, which is more than many pickup trucks can tow.
A fifth-wheel hitch adapter must be purchased to convert the kingpin into a coupler that will fit onto the ball mount extension. Many gooseneck adapters are effective in helping with the transition and cost around $500 - $750.
One of the most significant drawbacks to this kind of bumper pull is the cost. The tag-along can vary in price from a few thousand dollars to several thousand, depending on their features. According to a report from RVingknowhow, the installation of a fifth wheel hitch for your pickup truck will cost around $1800, depending on the manufacturer and the labor costs for installation.
Which is Better - A Bumper Pull Adapter or Fifth-Wheel Hitch?
It is better and safer to tow with an appropriately installed fifth-wheel hitch than a bumper pull. The fifth wheel hitch does add weight to the back of the tow vehicle, but because the weight is over the center, the weight is distributed evenly between the front and rear axles. A bumper pull (even with a safety trailer) will put more towing force on the tow vehicle’s rear end, leading to drivetrain issues, increased rear bumper and tire wear, and more stress on the back end.
Safety should always be a concern when towing. Standard fifth-wheel hitches are the safest way to tow a large camper. Many states have regulations concerning the amount of weight and how bumper pull trailers can be towed.