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 box...is 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...
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
Return to the Home page of goin' RV Boondocking
Visit my "Ribbon of Highway" Blog on the Lil' sister to this site, Motorcycle Touring on Freedom Road
Share your experiences, Boondocking on Freedom Road with us!
... Your RV Destinations
... Your Custom RV
... Reader's RVing Tips
... Reader's RV Recreation Activities