What Is The Andersen Ultimate Hitch?
The Andersen Ultimate 5th-Wheel Connection is a gooseneck mount-style hitch for pulling 5th-wheel trailers. The sturdy aluminum frame sits directly on a gooseneck ball (or bolts to a rail mount) and raises the hitch ball to make it compatible with a kingpin with an adapter. The unit is rated for up to 24k pounds of gross trailer weight (GTW) and can handle 6k lbs of tongue weight (TW).
- An 8-inch offset ball allows for short-bed trucks
- Remote cable latch/unlatch system
- It fits any gooseneck ball hitch - 2 5/16 inches
- Three Vertical adjustment levels
- Easy Installation
- High-Grade Aluminum
- The Ultimate Connection base weighs 35 lbs.
- Meets all safety standards
- USA-made (Idaho Falls, Idaho)
The Positives Of The Andersen Ultimate Hitch
There is a lot to like concerning this hitch from Andersen Hitches. For one thing, it’s extremely lightweight and easy to carry. Unlike the heavy standard 5th wheel hitches, this frame is only 40 lbs (rail mount - 35 lbs for gooseneck), and it can be set into the bed and bolted into place in less than a minute. The fact that it is so light means converting your pickup from a gooseneck to a fifth-wheel pull is much more manageable. It allows much more freedom in how owners can use their trucks, and options are always a good thing in our book.
The frame fits any standard 2 5/16” gooseneck ball hitch and comes with three different height adjustments to support different 5th-wheel configurations. It has an 8 “ offset, which means that even short-bed trucks can haul lighter 5th-wheel campers with ease.
The unit also has a remote latch/unlatch system which is very convenient. The latch cable can be operated from the side of the pickup truck bed, so owners do not have to climb in to secure their campers (although we still like to make sure everything is stable - old habit). The real plus comes when you’ve pulled into the campsite and can easily unlatch your fifth wheel. This convenience frees your truck to become the primary sightseeing vehicle, so you don’t have to haul the Wrangler behind the RV camper (unless you want to).
Most Andersen products are greaseless, meaning the hitch ball and coupler adapter do not have to be slathered with grease before hooking up. (There are some days when I will pay money not to have to get my hands filthy from greasing a trailer ball. No matter how much soap you use, the oily smell lingers for days).
This hitch has a limited lifetime warranty on the connection base and coupler block. (One year on the latch cable). In addition, Andersen is so confident in this hitch that if your trailer warranty is denied by a truck-frame manufacturer, they offer an extended warranty to help replace components and get you back on the road. The only caveat is that you need to purchase the hitch through one of their certified local dealers.
Andersen Hitches is a USA-based company operating out of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The small company makes weight distribution hitches, ball mounts, accessories, and the Andersen Ultimate Connection. Andersen has enjoyed incredible success in recent years with the development of the hitch and Ranch adapter (converts the kingpin into a gooseneck coupler). The factory has grown from a single shop to a complex of over 100,000 square feet. The company has great customer service and is happy to answer questions about the Andersen coupler system.
The Andersen Ultimate hitch has positive reviews across the internet and is one of Amazon’s top choices for gooseneck connections. In addition, Andersen Hitches are often mentioned in best lists as the best gooseneck adapter for fifth-wheel hitches.
Is This Andersen Ultimate Safe?
The new configuration is very effective for normal towing duties with smaller to medium-sized fifth-wheel trailers. However, as positive as most RV owners are concerning this hitch mount, some complaints have been voiced about the integrity of the Andersen system.
One of the most common complaints centers around the aluminum frame and the ability to hold up during emergency braking. When the brakes are applied suddenly, there is a great deal of force that a heavy fifth wheel exerts on the back of the tow vehicle. Many incidents recorded that the frame buckled (which it is supposed to do), but as it did, the coupling failed, literally driving the fifth wheel’s nose down and into the rear of the cab. The benefits of a standard fifth-wheel hitch are that they are made of steel, and clamping force by the dual jaws tends to keep the camper’s kingpin center where it should be.
Andersen Hitches claim their Ultimate connection system is perfect for towing with a short bed truck. (They strongly encourage using their 8-inch offset to provide the room that a fifth-wheel trailer might need for turning clearance). However, there have been times when RV owners found the fifth wheel breaking the rear window of their truck cab. It can be disconcerting to make a turn and find the corner of your fifth-wheel trailer breaking through the back window and resting near your head. (We recommend not pulling a fifth wheel with a short-bed truck - I know, we are old school). Andersen touts that their hitch has passed all certified safety protocols and is capable of fifth-wheel towing with a shorter truck. (Even steel-made fifth-wheel hitches can fail. However, the RV owner needs to know what might happen and decide whether the convenience of not fooling with the kingpin is worth the risk.
There is a reason that a gooseneck hitch is centered into the back of a truck bed. The weight of the tongue needs to be evenly distributed over the axles of the tow vehicle so that towing becomes less and trailer sway is negated. While the Andersen Ultimate does perform this function well in most instances, there is still some work to do in the safety department.
(Our advice is never to overload the towing capacity that your truck is designed for towing.
Ensure that the trailer weight is appropriately distributed and that all connections are secure before setting out for travel)
It is clear that most Americans are willing to gamble the safety concerns with convenience because the Andersen Ultimate is the top-rated hitch for gooseneck in the market.
What Does A Ultimate Hitch Cost?
The price for the Andersen Ultimate Hitch is around $1000, and the Ranch Adapter is another $599. The Ultimate Connection can fit on the existing bed rails if you already have a standard fifth-wheel mounting plate. A typical dual jaw/kingpin 5th wheel hitch system would cost around $1,200 for the hitch and about $650 more for installation. A gooseneck hitch system with an adapter is cheaper, but you should consult with the manufacturer of your travel trailer for recommendations on what hitch mechanism is best.
What Other Types of Hitches Does Andersen Make?
Andersen Hitches also produces a weight-distribution hitch that uses “motion-dampening” chains rather than spring arms. The design is different than other standard WD systems and is built to reduce the amount of sway in a bumper pull trailer. The WD system is effective in helping keep the trailer in line with the tow vehicle, providing a safer, more stable towing experience.