How Does A Fifth-Wheel to Gooseneck Adapter Work?
Most fifth-wheel to gooseneck adapters extend from the kingpin assembly with a long tube that extends down to the gooseneck ball in the truck bed. One end bolts onto the kingpin assembly, and the other has a coupler that fits over the hitch ball, as a standard gooseneck hitch might work. The trailer connection rotates over and around the hitch ball, allowing the unit to respond to the towing vehicle’s movements.
These adapters are often height adjustable, and generally can tow up to 24k lbs of GTW (Gross Trailer Weight). The Ranch Hitch Universal is an example of a standard fifth-wheel to gooseneck adapter hitch.
Some fifth-wheel adapters require the replacement of the standard kingpin with a gooseneck pin box. These hitches are more expensive and require more installation but put less stress on the towing vehicle’s frame. The Gen-Y Hitch Shock Absorbing 5th Wheel-Gooseneck Pin Box is an example of this type of adapter.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Fifth Wheel Adapter?
There are several factors to consider when using a gooseneck hitch adapter to tow a fifth-wheel trailer.
The Pros Of An Adapter
Since an adapter uses a coupler to sit on a gooseneck ball, the primary advantage of an adapter is that it takes up less space in the cargo bed. A standard fifth-wheel hitch connects the kingpin assembly to a cumbersome U-shaped hitch that takes up most of the pickup truck’s bed. Using an adapter means there is still room in the cargo bed for other items like a cooler or suitcases.
If you have ever tried lifting a standard fifth-wheel hitch assembly, you know they are not light. Many standard hitches can be 100 lbs or more). RV owners may need help lifting and placing their fifth wheel hitch onto the mounting rails. A gooseneck adapter doesn’t require the strain on an RV owner’s back because there is only a small hitch ball to contend with.
RV owners who use their trucks for multiple purposes, like pulling a livestock trailer one day, and a camper on the weekends, love that they don’t have to agonize over lifting a heavy hitch into the truck bed. (They just unhook their horse trailer and pull the pickup truck around to hook up their camper).
Another advantage of gooseneck hitches is that they are less expensive than standard fifth-wheel ones. RV owners operating on tight budgets can save money by not having to spend up to $1,000 for a hitch.
Gooseneck adapters are considered a safe method of towing if the RV is below the maximum weight limit of the adapter. For example, if your adapter is rated for 24k lbs of GTW, and your trailer is only pushing 13k lbs, you should be fine to tow with a fifth-wheel to gooseneck adapter. However, if you are pushing the upper limits, you would be better off replacing the pin box or investing in a heavy-duty fifth-wheel hitch.
The Cons Of An Adapter
There are some disadvantages to gooseneck adapters. While both gooseneck and fifth-wheel hitches provide a more stable ride than a bumper-pulled trailer, a gooseneck adapter does not have the long-term stability of a standard fifth-wheel hitch. Most RV owners find that the locking jaws a fifth wheel hitch use provide a more quiet and stable towing experience.
Long tube adapters can put undue stress on a pickup truck’s frame. (Owners should ensure that the use of the adapter does not void the truck’s frame warranty). Shorter adapters or fifth-wheel pin box replacements like the Reese 94716 Gooseneck RV Coupler tend to have similar stress forces to a traditional fifth-wheel assembly but are more expensive.
Can A Fifth Wheel Hitch Be Converted To Gooseneck?
You can use the existing fifth wheel frames to install a raised frame with a gooseneck ball. Andersen Hitches makes an excellent adapter of high-density aluminum and bolts right onto the fifth-wheel hitch mounting rails. The best thing about this frame is that it weighs around 35 lbs, making it perfect for busy travelers constantly using their trucks.
Are Gooseneck Adapters Safe To Use?
Most gooseneck adapters are safe to use when installed correctly. It is essential to ensure that the adapter is rated for the weight of your trailer and cargo when fully loaded. Many RV accidents occur every year due to negligence concerning weight issues. When you ask your truck’s hitch to handle more weight than it should, you create many issues. Not only is it risky for travelers on the road with you, but an overloaded hitch can complicate an accident scenario. In addition, you will put more strain on the tow vehicle’s components. You should expect higher and more frequent repair bills if you push the maximum GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Ratio) limits.
What Size of Truck Can Pull A Fifth Wheel Trailer?
A gooseneck or fifth-wheel hitch will allow you to tow more weight than a bumper pull. If your travel trailer is heavy, like the Jayco Pinnacle 38FLGS, you should consider towing with a full-ton truck. However, many smaller and mid-sized fifth-wheel campers like the Jayco Eagle 24RE can be pulled by half-ton pickups since they only push the 10k weight mark.
Will Using A Fifth Wheel Adapter Void My Truck Warranty?
If a certified technician installs your gooseneck ball correctly, it should not void the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if you install the unit yourself and do not do it correctly, there is always a possibility that you could void your warranty. It is also a good idea to check with your insurance company or trailer manufacturer to ensure that they do not prohibit the use of a fifth wheel to gooseneck adapter.
Are There State Regulations Concerning Fifth Wheel Trailers?
Some states require safety chains when using a gooseneck hitch, but generally, these rules don’t apply to a 5th-wheel hitch. Most states don’t allow RV vehicles longer than 40 - 45 feet. In addition, if you are towing a vehicle under 10,000 lbs, you will not need to stop at weigh stations. (States usually reserve these stations for commercial vehicles only, but not in every case).
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane