Heavy Haulers Daily Blog

What’s the Difference Between a 5th Wheel Hitch and a Gooseneck Hitch?

Safety is a critical aspect when it comes to heavy vehicle combinations. As an expert in bulk transport and shipping, you are familiar with gooseneck and 5th wheel hitch. They’re both heavy-duty hitches connecting or mounting large trailers to a truck’s bed.

While both serve a paramount purpose in heavy transport, these hitches are different. Heavy Haulers understand and present a variation thereof to meet your fifth-wheel shipping needs and services.

What is a Fifth Wheel Hitch?

A 5th-wheel hitch is mainly used to tow recreational vehicles, such as travel trailers, large campers, tractors, and RV trailers. This hitch is a large horseshoe-shaped metal plate coupling that links or connects a semi-trailer and the towing unit. Also, the coupling system is on the vehicle side.

It makes the two components articulate, steer, and navigate around comfortably in heavy-load transport and shipping. The fifth-wheel hitch has a bulky and heavier design sitting in the tow truck’s bed.

The hitch has a head with jaws and a plate that mounts around the fifth-wheel trailer kingpin. At Heavy Haulers, you can choose these 5th wheel hitches from different options and capacities ranging from about 15,000 to over 25,000 lbs. Others have slider options as well.

When to Use the 5th Wheel Hitch

Since these hitches are generally larger, quieter, and more intrusive when installed in the truck bed, they’re your best fit for recreational towing. The 5th-wheel coupling system consists of:

  • Fifth wheel
  • Kingpin
  • Hitch head
  • Base rails
  • Cross members
  • Stanchions

Still, Heavy Haulers do not recommend using the 5th wheel hitch if there’s insufficient towing capacity, short bed trucks and trailer clearance, and rough terrain or off-roading.

What is a Gooseneck Hitch?

The gooseneck hitch is designed with a ball as a mounting point for the gooseneck coupling. While it looks like a conventional hitch, it’s much larger, fitting into a hole in the truck bed. In a gooseneck connection, the coupling system is on the trailer side.

When you choose the gooseneck hitch, you get greater towing capacity, simplicity, and compact size, and can haul over 30,000 pounds, which is at least 3,000 pounds more than the 5th wheel hitch. Generally, the safety chain anchors and ball hitch take or occupy little space in the truck bed, and they are easy to install and remove.

When to Use A Gooseneck Hitch

The gooseneck hitch is ideal when you are towing agricultural and construction heavy loads and when you need or use:

  • Higher towing capacity
  • Towing gooseneck trailers
  • Short bed trucks
  • Maneuverability and versatility

However, a gooseneck is unsuitable where short-bed trucks have clearance issues, especially when making sharp turns. The gooseneck hitch is not recommended when parking or maneuvering in tight spaces.

How To Choose Which Hitch Is Best For Transport

Heavy Haulers have years of experience working with various hitching systems like the 5th wheel. When you need to choose the right trailer for transporting and shipping your heavy load, like the RGN transport services, our experts will guide you in choosing the appropriate hitch and coupling systems for your needs.

Picking the right 5th wheel or gooseneck hitch is easy, but with expert guidance, you only need to choose the right receiver size and your vehicle’s towing capacity to meet your needs. Here are factors you should consider to guide you.

  • Your vehicle’s towing capacity
  • Hitch class
  • Tongue weight
  • Vehicle make and model
  • Towing needs and compatibility
  • accessories
  • Budget
  • Safety and braking features
  • Destination or towing location

You need to understand that different trailers need different hitch types. With Heavy Haulers experts, you can determine if your trailer has gooseneck coupling or a 5th wheel kingpin. These are vital for you to understand if the hitch you choose can handle the weight of your trailer and if it will effectively meet all your heavy transport and shipping needs.

Also, when you understand the payload capacity and tongue weight capacity of the 5th wheel or gooseneck hitch, you can quickly meet your towing needs. This is because the payload capacity is the maximum weight the hitch can handle, and the tongue weight is the downward force exerted on the hitch by the trailer.

Choosing a 5th wheel hitch or the gooseneck with the guidance of reputable experts like Heavy Haulers is crucial to ensuring your transport and shipping needs are met.