Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stirring up a Fifth Wheel to Gooseneck Conversion Storm! :o)

 What the heck... I'm bored! :o)

I've never hauled our 30' Jayco with anything other than the Gooseneck Conversion hitch we have... and I've dragged it something on the order of 50,000 miles... and 10,000 or so of those with a 550lb motorcycle sitting on the motorcycle carrier I built on the tail end. (another thing they said "you can't do" safely...) ... uh... with no change in handling I might add... and... I Don't have a heavy, or re-enforced pin box.

A Gooseneck Hitch is so superior in capability, to my mind, and so simple in function, I don't know why anyone would prefer a fifth wheel setup.

Now, I know, it's all over the net... people squallin' that it puts more stress on the pin box and such 'stuff'...I've even heard a fella claim it made his trailer unstable... ??? Huh? ... if your trailer is unstable... you better look real close at your tires, your axles, and your loading... 'cause you've got something real wrong, and it ain't the hitch.

If it wasn't unstable before changing to a gooseneck... the gooseneck conversion is Not gonna make it so!

Now, for that pin box stress thing... I've asked many times... and the answer to the question "How?" has always been; "Well... it does." ... they'll never say How... sorry... ya'll gotta do better than that.

Think about this... for a minute... for yourself...

We're talking about leverage here... simple geometry... To increase the stress... the Lever has to either get longer... or the force against the Lever has to get heavier... Right?

So... if you are pulling with the same truck, at the same speed, same weights, yadda yadda yadda... that eliminates that heavier force... don't it?

So we're down to the length of the Lever... the Lever... is your Hitch. Now here's the deal... Park your truck... under your Fiver in Hitching position... now imagine the hitch is gone... The Distance between the pin box... and the bed of your truck... is the length of the Lever.

Now... whether you install a fifth wheel hitch or a fifth wheel to gooseneck conversion... that distance remains the same. Properly installed... the relationship (distance) between the truck and the pinbox should be unchanged.

The thing that does change is the articulation range of the Hitch... and the pivot point. With a Fifth Wheel the pivot is at the top... on a gooseneck... the pivot is at the bottom... the Lever length, remains the same.

The only time you're going to get leverage against the pin when that articulation movement gets bound up... when it runs out of room to move. Remember, once that movement gets 'Frozen' the Lever length is the same.

A Fifth Wheel Hitch has about 5-7 degrees maximum... of available movement, side to side. I don't know for sure what the range of motion of a Gooseneck is in degrees... just that, the trailer is going to run into the side of the truck before that Gooseneck Hitch ever runs out of articulation movement.

So...what does that mean?

You're out RV Boondocking... you're pulling back into a dispersed camping site in the National Forest... and the Truck Tilts left 8 degrees... while the trailer tilts back the other way... another 8 degrees... Total difference between the truck and trailer... 16 degrees...

What happens?

If you have a Fifth Wheel Hitch: You ran out of hitch tilt at around 7 degrees... so the additional 9 degrees of movement gets slammed into your truck frame, the hitch and pin box... and the trailer frame... Wanna talk excessive stress?

If you have a Gooseneck Conversion: The gooseneck simply rotates smoothly around the ball, without issue, and you get positioned where you wanted... You back the trailer into that sweet campsite you found... and you never see any of the stress the Fifth Wheel experiences... 'cause with a goose... it ain't there!

One of the last things I want to say is this... Much has been said about pin boxes cracking and such, after making the conversion... I've looked, I've asked, I've never been able to find one...

I'm always told; "I heard about it from a guy who talked to a guy who was told by a fella that he heard about one that happened somewhere they can't remember."

My guess?... the Trailer that cracked (if it exists), was either, as are way too many, badly overloaded, and had way too heavy a pin weight to begin with... or it had a manufacturing defect.

Either way,  It was Going To Crack, no matter what... and it was simply a matter of miles... not the Hitch style

So, if a Gooseneck is so superior, why don't the Big Rigs use 'em?... a couple main reasons...
1. Ease of hookup. With a goose you have to stop precisely under the hitch to hook up... with a fifth wheel you can back into it, and it locks on automatically... something those big rig drivers like when they can't even see the hitch.

2. They stay on the pavement... They stay flat, and don't need the side to side, flexibility to go boondocking.

Recently, a fella sent me a link to a company that builds air ride hitches... I'd always thought that would be yet another improvement for Gooseneck RV Hitches... but I'd never seen it for 'em...

Well... Hensley Mfg is building what looks to me to be an awful fine air ride fifth wheel to gooseneck conversion hitch... as soon as I can fit one in my austere budget... I'm gonna give it a real hard look.

Such a hitch will take a lot of the road shock away that any hitch style endures... If you don't like my gooseneck set up... those guys make some fine Air Ride Fifth Wheel units too! :o)

What Ya'll do is your choice and your responsibility... all I'm doin' here is relating what's worked for me for a long time... Just use your own heads to sort out the 'facts'... try not to swallow too much hype... folks get hung up on defending their 'position' at all cost, and loose sight of the purpose... To Make Things Better!

... and now... I'll wait for the storm! :o)

Take Good Care

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Anonymous said...

Which explains why farmers and ranchers almost exclusively use goose-necks trailers. Judy

Brian said...

:) ... yeah! a bunch of dumb ol' farmers an' ranchers figured out what works... who'd a thunk it?! :o)

Myrddin said...

In our travels I've seen many 5th wheels parked on uneven sites and the owners had to put blocks under the truck wheels on one side to get them hooked back up again.

You won't have that problem with a goosneck.


Brian said...

...Or... your Motorhome! :o) ... hmmmm ...

A motorhome... pulling a nice cargo trailer... full of Shiny Motorcycles! Suh-Wheet! :o)

Myrddin said...

Met a guy in Northern Florida that had diesel pusher MH that was pulling a large cargo trailer with a full-sized Dodge P/U and a full-dress Harley in it.

Something to think about, but probably not real good for boon-docking in the woods as it took him an acre and a half to make a turn. :-)


Anonymous said...

thanks for the info Brian, i have been towing a gooseneck flatbed for 5 years now, i am just buying a fifth wheel camper, moving up from the travel trailer, everyone I have spoken to as well keeps telling me that an adapter voids my camper warranty. My mindset is like yours, much more room to move. I have a 2500 chevy hd duramax with a quad cab. have you ever used the offset adapter or known of anyone who has? Thanks for you time


Glenn said...

We just bought a used F350. It has a ball hitch for bumper pull and a hideaway gooseneck that has been modified so that it doesn't actually hide any more. And rails for a 5th wheel. I've been wondering about maybe doing this using the gooseneck, your post here was some very fine reading. Thanks!