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In this article lets understand the basic difference between a goosneck and 5th wheel hitch. Both of them have thier own pros and cons but it depends on the usage.
Difference in Operation between the two
Both the fifth wheel and the goosneck are installed and connected on the bed of the truck that tows the trailer. They both are similar but have few differences.
The basic difference is the way hitch operates. A fifth wheel hitch consists of an assembly that is locked around the point of the trailer. On the other hand in case of goosneck the trailer gets connected to a ball hitch. They both are attached at the center of the truck bed. So the difference is that the goosneck uses a ball along with a coupler where as the fifth wheel uses a kingpin and the receiver.
The usage : Goosneck is for commercial use
A trailer being pulled by a a car or a truck usually means lots of weight. The weight can be so much intimidating that it affects the driving in a big way. In fact, there’s no other thing as impactfull as the trailing weight that affects so much of driving experience.
When you compare goosneck and fifth wheel hitches the best differentiation for you to consider is their usage.
A goosneck is better suited and should be used for commercial pulling. When i say commercial it means a weight of more than 26,000 lbs.
Different states have different weight level that state a trailer is commercial or not. But, in most it will be around 26,000 lbs. This is the gross combined weight, that is the total weight of the vehicle and the trailer combined. And thus, if the weight cross this mark then a goosneck is the better one and should be used to pull the trailer.
A fifth wheel is better suited and should be used for non commercial or mostly recreation purposes that is weight lesser than 26,000 lbs.
Riding experience : Fifth wheel gives better driving experience
When it comes to rving, a good driving experience is something everybody wants. A smooth ride will only make the camping more enjoyable. Fifth wheel has the advantage if you comapre the driving experience. It gives a good smoother ride and thus makes it better for rving. A smaller rv being pulled by a fifth wheel gives you good driving experience. Its more stable and turning, backing up can also be little better with fifth wheel.
Towing capacity comparison for fifth wheel and gooseneck
A goosneck hitch is designed for more towing capacity where as a fifth wheel for little less towing weights. Both of them in general are for towing heavy trailers and should not be used for less weights.
Both the fifth wheel and goosneck are mounted on bed and mostly connected centrally on the truck. Its important to make sure the hitches are used with heavy duty trucks. A lesser duty wont be able to handle the towing with a goosneck or a fifth wheel.
Towing both commercial as well as non commercial
What do you do when you want the hitch to work for different pulling weights. If you want to pull a commercial as well as non commercial then its better to go for fifth wheel and use an adapter. Or similarly one can also use a gooseneck and use an adapter. But, its always better to go for the hitch that suits the weight for being a commercial or non commercial.
You will get adapter to convert either a fifth wheel to goosneck and also vice versa. By doing this you could tow a fifth wheel trailer using goosneck. The adapters comes with features that can help in adjusting heights, reduce vibration and bounces. And also designed to reduce wear and tear. But yes, no matter what its always better to opt for the right hitch, according to the usage. A weight lesser than 26,000 and you go for fifth wheel as rule of thumb.
On an average you can get such adapters at a price of around $370-$450. Also you need to be careful with the installations, it may take some time until you get adjusted with the adapters. Also, the installation may need you try adjusting while you drive for the first time and get it done in steps. When buying such adapters you also have to consider the disconnection, it should be easy t disconnect.
An adapter can help you to use a goosneck hitch to connect to a 5th wheel trailer without having to modify it.The adapter helps to attach the trailer to the ball hitch on the bed. This is a better solution and does not need any modification to your 5th wheel trailer.
Cost comparison : Fifth wheel is costly
Comparing cost can also be a factor when buying hitches. A fifth wheel hitch is much more expensive then a goosneck hitch. So, how much a does a goosneck hitch cost on an average? It costs around $190 – $450. A fifth wheel hitch on the other hand on an average costs you around $400- $900
Pasangers inside a trailer
Well, traveling inside a trailer is not only dangerous but also illegal in many states. But, in some states its allowed in fifth wheels. A goosneck hitch towed trailer cannot carry passengers legally, its not allowed. However, a fifth wheel hitch trailer can carry passengers in some states. Even though you can do this adventure legally in some parts of the united states as far as possible do not sit in a traveling trailer as it posses some risk.
Things to look for when buying hitch
No matter which hitch type you choose its better to make sure it satisfies certain points and criterias.
1. It should be 1 piece , its easy to remove and remains stable
2. It should not rattle
3. Installation should be easy and simple
4. Better to have height adjstment
5. It should be corrosion resistant
6. Know the gross weight before you buy it. Higher the gross weight better it is.
7. Check for warranty. Higher the warranty better it is.
8. Should be Easy to hookup
Different types of goosneck hitches
There can be three different types of installations in goosneck hitches. 1. Under the bed installations 2. Above the bed installations 3. Fold down installations. Lets understand each of these 3 different types of installations.
1. Under the bed installation goosneck hitch
These type of hitches have rails that can be attached to the pickup. They are the most popular types of goosneck hitches and are custom fit according to your vehicle need.
2. Above the bed goosneck hitches
These type of hitches are easy to remove. Their installation is also little easy as compared to other types. They mount on the same rail as the fifth wheel. They can be installed in pickup bed with a smaller hole which is not the case in following type.
3. Fold down type of goosneck hitches
These are similar to under the bed hitches. They also use rails under the pickup but the hitch ball is actually mounted on the plate in bed. The installation need larger hole in pickup bed.