Every truck needs a receiver hitch in order to tow, although choosing the right hitch can be tricky. There are a variety of types available, each with their own unique features that are made for specific applications, which begs the question: which hitch is right for your rig?
Truck hitches come in a variety of different styles that offer different features and the correct hitch must be used in order to ensure you’re towing safely. These vary depending on what type of trailer you will be towing and the amount of weight you will be pulling. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a delightful and informative journey, exploring the world of gooseneck hitches and helping you make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with your unique towing needs. So, buckle up, sit back, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of gooseneck hitches!
In This Article
Gooseneck Trailer Hitches
Gooseneck hitches work similarly to 5th wheel hitches do, however, they are not used with campers, but are instead used for heavy-duty towing applications on farms and construction sites for towing livestock trailers, heavy equipment and utility trailers. They can tow up to 38,000 lbs. and like 5th wheel hitches, they also mount to the bed of a truck and increase the towing capabilities of the truck by distributing the weight of the trailer more evenly across the axles.
Gooseneck trailer hitches can only be used with a trailer designed for use with a gooseneck hitch. The gooseneck system is a tried and tested way of towing large, heavy trailers and commercial equipment safely and securely. The gooseneck hitch is simple and consists of a puck system which allows the gooseneck ball to be securely placed into the bed of the truck and locked into place. Once the ball is installed and secured, a gooseneck trailer can be mounted.
5th Wheel Trailer Hitches
A 5th wheel truck hitch is a different type of trailer hitch that is designed to mount in the bed of a pickup truck and is made specifically to tow 5th wheel trailers that can weigh up to 30,000 lbs. This specific style of trailer hitch is used to tow 5th wheel campers and features a kingpin style latch that is mostly used only with 5th wheel campers.
5th wheel hitches work by evenly distributing the weight of larger, heavier payloads across the axles of the truck which helps to control large, bulky and heavy trailers. They also help to maneuver larger trailers, as the trailer mounts in the bed of the truck providing improved agility and control. 5th wheel trailer hitches mount in the bed of a pickup truck on base rails, which must be installed prior to mounting the 5th wheel hitch. The base rails connect to the truck frame through the under-bed frame brackets, which connect to the truck frame and distribute the weight from heavy campers evenly.
How Does a Gooseneck Hitch Work?
A gooseneck hitch is comprised of a ball mounted on top of a platform within the truck bed. When hitched up, the ball connects to the gooseneck-style coupler on the trailer and allows the truck-trailer combination to turn and articulate as it drives down the road. Most gooseneck systems also have anchors to connect the safety chains.
Typically, the coupling point of a gooseneck connection is directly above the rear axle of the truck. Some hitches allow the ball to be stored or removed from the main body of the hitch to free up the truck bed for hauling cargo.
Gooseneck vs. Fifth-Wheel
Where gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailers primarily differ is the mechanism by which they connect to the trailer. A fifth-wheel uses a kingpin and a receiver, while a gooseneck hitch connects via a ball and coupler.
Each system has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, a gooseneck hitch weighs little, is relatively easy to operate, and is minimally invasive. However, it can be noisier than a fifth wheel, and the taller the trailer, the less stability you are likely to have. If you use your pickup primarily for towing, a fifth-wheel hitch may be the better option. However, if you use your truck for other tasks at least as often as for towing, you may prefer a gooseneck trailer because it takes up less space in the truck bed.
Gooseneck Hitch Types
The decision-making process is not over once you decide on a gooseneck hitch. There are multiple varieties available, and the type you choose depends on several different factors. To help make it easier for you, here is an overview of the three types of hitches for gooseneck trailers and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
- As the name implies, this type of gooseneck hitch installs underneath the bed of the pickup. Therefore, it requires creating a hole in the floor of the truck bed through which the ball of the hitch will extend into the cargo area. However, this hole is relatively small, usually no more than 4 inches. Most under-bed gooseneck hitches do not require drilling of the vehicle frame. Rather, they are custom-fit for each vehicle. Some varieties of under-bed gooseneck hitches allow you to either remove the hitch ball when not in use or else lower it down so that it is flush with the floor of the truck bed.
- This type of gooseneck hitch is similar to a fifth-wheel hitch in that it sits in the bed of the pickup and attaches to the same rails. This makes it the simplest type of gooseneck hitch to install. It can also be removed easily if you need more room in the bed of your pickup or if you need to switch out a different type of hitch.
- A fold-down gooseneck hitch is similar to an above-bed hitch in that it is mounted on a plate in your truck bed. However, it is also similar to an under-bed hitch in that it requires the installation of rails below your truck bed. The distinguishing feature of a fold-down hitch is that the ball has the ability to fold down out of sight when not in use. For this reason, it requires you to cut a hole in the bed of your pickup. The hole required for a fold-down hitch is larger than that for an under-bed installation.
If you know what kind of towing you will be doing, choosing the right truck hitch is not too difficult at all. From towing with a standard rear-mount hitch to 5th wheel towing and gooseneck towing, there are several options for varying purposes. Goosenecks and fifth-wheel trailers both allow you to keep your load steadier and haul greater weights than a bumper pull trailer would allow. Whether you are involved in farming, commercial uses, or hauling as a hobby, a gooseneck trailer and associated hitch from Milford Manufacturing, Inc. is something you should consider.
Choosing the right gooseneck hitch is an essential step in enjoying a delightful towing experience. By understanding the basics, considering your towing capacity, exploring hitch styles, and carefully assessing your trailer’s specifications, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision. With a cheerful and relaxed tone, we’ve covered all aspects of gooseneck hitches, ensuring your towing needs are met with confidence and enthusiasm. So, get ready to hit the road and embark on an unforgettable journey with the perfect gooseneck hitch by your side!