15 Best Fifth Wheel Hitches Buying Guide
This article is your guide to choosing the perfect fifth wheel hitch. We will be providing useful insights and important information to make it easier for you to choose from the 15 hitches on this list.
This article will be covering topics on the available types of fifth wheels, essential factors that need to be considered, reviews on the best products on the market, and other inquiries that you might have in mind about the products and fifth wheels in general.
Let’s try to make your buying experience as easy and convenient as possible. I am a user of recreational vans myself, so believe me when I say it is quite troublesome and stressful to search for excellent and efficient recreational vehicle parts. This is where I come in and offer a helping hand to make it less stressful for you.
I believe that driving a recreational van or living in a motor home should about enjoying the experience. It should not be about fussing about what seems trivial but important matters. For example, which type of fifth wheel you should invest in. Therefore, I’ll be your guide in this selection process as you find the most ideal fifth wheel that will cater to your needs, whether big or small.
Please, continue reading and let’s work together to make this search for your fifth wheel as simple and easy as possible. This won’t leave you with regrets.
The 15 Best Fifth Wheel Hitches of 2024
What You Need To Know About 5th Wheel Hitches
It is straightforward and difficult to search for the best fifth-wheel hitch for your fifth-wheel trailer. When you are checking out your options and making your shortlist, things can look complicated and present as a challenge. But you don’t have to make it more difficult for yourself. I have come up with a number of the essential factors that really need to be considered. Its aim is to guide you to the best fifth-wheel hitch for your needs.
The process of choosing a fifth wheel is complicated at first look, but this guide will be of significant help.
It goes without saying that the maximum capacity load is one of the greatest factors. You can immediately bring down your number of choices by checking those fifth-wheel hitches’ limit.
Some people think it really doesn’t matter and tend to think that there isn’t much difference. But then, you should know better than to wait for an accident to teach you a lesson.
Imagine your fifth-wheel hitch giving up on you while you are driving downhill. Or would you rather imagine driving in a sharp corner? It’s really unpleasant to settle for something less that piles up the complication until it becomes a full-blown danger.
It’s best not to underestimate your fifth-wheel trailer’s weight. I strongly advise you to get a fifth-wheel hitch that has a higher capacity than the actual weight of your fifth-wheel trailer if you can afford it. I totally agree with the saying: Better safe than sorry. Or get a fifth-wheel hitch that has a capacity that is equal to your trailer’s weight.
But if you have plans to change into a bigger fifth-wheel trailer in the future, save yourself from more expenses by buying a fifth-wheel hitch that has a higher capacity. You don’t want to spend twice for the same item. After all, a good fifth-wheel hitch can cost you a small fortune.
Other companies, like CURT, offer three different capacity options for some models. Their Q-Series can be 18,000 lbs., 24,000 lbs., or 25,000 lbs.
There are numerous ways to install fifth-wheel hitches, so you will have to make your choice for this one as well. The rail system is the most common mounting style, so it is expected that you’ll have plenty of models to choose from. Competition has driven it to give rise to a lot of high-quality fifth-wheel hitches.
There are also other mounting setups ideal for some fifth-wheel hitches. For example, you can find some hitches that are mounted under the truck bed and some that are on the truck bed. You have to consider which one is the best arrangement for your needs.
A hitch that is set up under the truck bed requires you to have holes drilled into the bed of your truck. With the brackets installed under the truck bed, you can use your bed to transport other things when you sign off temporarily from RVing.
Hitches that are mounted on the truck bed cannot be completely removed when you are not towing. The brackets are left which can be an obstruction and may cause you not to use your truck bed for reasons other than carrying the hitch. However, to install this type of hitch is much easier.
The flexibility of your truck-tow connection is dictated by which pivot system the hitch is equipped with. There are not plenty of options on this one, so it also is easy which one are you looking for.
Your decision is only torn between a two-way pivot and a four-way pivot system.
Two-way Pivot System
This type of pivot is flexible but it doesn’t have the ability to sway which is another important thing if you have plans of driving on back roads. On smoother pavements, a fifth-wheel hitch head that pivots forward and backward will do a good job.
Four-way Pivot System
This is the type you need if you want to take better care of hitching and unhitching on rough pavements. If you plan to go across badlands, open roads, and the like, it will be much easier and more convenient if your fifth-wheel hitch is equipped with a four-way pivot system.
Swaying is smooth because the four-way pivot system also allows it to go sideways on top of being able to go forward and backward. Of course, you’d expect four-way pivot systems to be much more expensive than the two-way.
You can save yourself some money if you go for the wheel hitch that features a two-way pivot system. But thoroughly evaluate where you might drive your fifth-wheel trailer. I say that having a four-way pivot system might take you to more places.
The weight of your fifth-wheel trailer will dictate the configuration of the jaws that you need.
To help secure a 25,000 pound-fifth wheel trailer, it’s best to buy a wheel hitch that is equipped with a single jaw. This type of jaw is designed to fully wrap the kingpin to provide superb jaw-pin contact. This means that you will experience a quieter ride because this type of jaw significantly reduces chuckling and noise.
If your fifth-wheel trailer weighs less than 25,000 pounds, it will be more convenient to go for a fifth-wheel hitch that has a pair of jaws. This type also wraps around the kingpin to reduce the noise while you are driving.
Slide Bar Jaw
This type of jaw is the cheapest among the three contenders. It will secure your fifth-wheel trailer, but the fit is looser. That means that it will be a not-so-quiet ride. But the good thing about it is that it automatically wraps the kingpin when it is in place. Single and double jaws don’t have that feature.
Generally, buying a fifth-wheel hitch will bore holes in your pockets. The best models will cost you an arm and a leg. The heavier your fifth-wheel trailer is, the higher you have to pay for the fifth-wheel hitch.
You have to thoroughly evaluate the features of the fifth-wheel hitch model and assess whether you are willing to pay for it. It’s best if you have solid ground on what you are looking for.
I would advise splurging on a fifth-wheel hitch that has a higher capacity than the actual weight of your fifth-wheel trailer if you can afford it. That way, you don’t have to buy another hitch in case you wish to get yourself a bigger and heavier fifth-wheel trailer. More expensive fifth-wheel hitches are also equipped with cutting-edge technology, so they obviously outperform cheaper ones.
However, if you are on a budget, you better stick and just browse the fifth-wheel hitch models that qualify for your budget. This means you are taking care of your current needs and avoiding temptations that really are features that are uncalled for if you don’t have plans of changing your fifth-wheel trailer.
The fifth wheel hitch’s quality is, of course, the heaviest consideration you have to account for. I may have listed it at number 6, but it is as essential as the others, or probably even more.
It is even hard to tell which fifth-wheel hitch is the best by just looking at them in physical stores. Some are made of aluminum, while some are made with coated steel.
The easiest way to know about their durability is to read what people who already bought them think. It sounds boring. I know. You go to Amazon and read the product reviews. But at least you can learn a lot from these verified buyers. And you can also cut the time it takes by disregarding the trivial complaints you might encounter. This should be the best way unless you have peers who can make recommendations. Remember that you will be spending a lot of money, so you really have to make sure it’s the one you want.
MORE FACTORS TO THINK ABOUT
We now go to the section where I discuss a few general knowledge about fifth wheel hitches that will guide you to understand further what they are and how they help you on the road. I will be talking about what the fifth wheel is, its various classifications, what its mechanism is, the level of difficulty of the installation, and why you need one.
What is a 5th-wheel hitch?
I have mentioned fifth-wheel hitches probably a hundred times before you got to this part. What are they for? These questions need to be answered before you would be willing to spend a huge amount, so here we go.
A fifth wheel hitch is like the regular ball hitch except that it can support heavier loads. That is also why fifth-wheel hitches are on the truck’s bed while ball hitches connect at the back bumper. The placement of the fifth wheel hitch has been strategically thought about so that you can get yourself a bigger and more comfortable recreational vehicle or motor home.
Fifth-wheel hitches are responsible for making sure that your trailer and your truck make it to the destination safe and sound. Good hitches will eliminate some degree of your stress while you are towing.
You will also discover that it is essential but very expensive. You might decide to settle on the cheapest option only to realize that its price is all that you have in your account. Fifth-wheel hitch prices range from very expensive to ultra-expensive. But you also know that peace of mind is rarely cheap.
How Does a 5th Wheel Hitch Work?
A fifth-wheel hitch is installed on a truck’s bed rather than a back bumper. This positioning is to allow the weight of the trailer to press down and be supported by the rear axle.
You have to bear in mind that fifth-wheel hitches don’t feature a hitch ball mount. They have a kingpin in its place which is a pin that faces downward. The kingpin is accompanied by a plate that goes on top of the hitch plate and couples onto the trailer.
Kingpin is responsible for securing it into place while still allowing it to sway when you drive around a corner. The flat plates of the trailer and the fifth wheel hitch are always in contact.
While you are towing, the two plates slide against one another. That means that you have to lubricate them from time to time to ensure a smooth connection between them. Neglecting to provide sufficient lubrication will cause them to be worn out due to the persistent resistance. You don’t want that because it will start a string of complications that can get you in bigger trouble.
Although it seems difficult to imagine how they work, witnessing and using them will teach you until you find them easier to use. Fifth-wheel hitches are lifesavers and with them, you never will never have to worry about a lot of problems that come with owning a fifth-wheel trailer.
Connecting your fifth-wheel hitch to your recreational vehicle will be breezy after you have done it a few times. And that small action will save you from many inconveniences and stress.
5th Wheel Hitch Classifications
All fifth-wheel hitches have the same job of making it easier for you to tow your fifth-wheel trailer and safely make it to your destination. The different types were introduced to accommodate more levels of comfort.
I will only be talking about six main types which I think are enough to be your parameters in making your decision: single jaw, dual jaws, two-way pivot head, four-way pivot head, sliding hitch, and gooseneck hitch.
I will keep each description and difference brief.
If you have a 25,000-pound fifth-wheel trailer to haul, I would strongly advise you to look for a fifth-wheel hitch that has only one jaw. Hitches of this design are a lot stronger than the common hitch. They are tasked to support the additional weight while performing their best.
You do not even have to look into buying a fifth-wheel hitch that has a pair of jaws. You will be towing a 25,000-pound trailer which is your home away from home. If you are really taking your safety into account, you would just look for fifth-wheel hitches that have a single jaw.
A single jaw fifth wheel hitch is designed to fully wrap around the kingpin. The secret to reduced chuckling and noise is to have a jaw that is in full contact with the kingpin.
This type of 5th wheel will save you from worrying about the clunking connection. You can drive around quietly and without the headaches caused by the noise.
As an owner of a huge fifth-wheel trailer, you should move around and get to your destination without making a dangerous environment around you. I know that it is overwhelming; however, given the huge circumstances of your huge recreational vehicle, spending a huge amount of money on a fifth-wheel hitch that is completely capable is also a success on your part.
With this, I hope that your shortlist has shrunk.
A dual-jaw fifth-wheel hitch, as you might have already guessed, has a pair of jaws to wrap around the kingpin. The jaws usually interlock together, but not always. Still, this type of fifth-wheel hitch is more snug and secure compared to the sliding hitch type.
This type of hitch also does a good job of minimizing the noise caused by the movement of the kingpin. It also restricts the fifth-wheel trailer from moving around too much while you are towing it. Thereby ensuring your safety and making a safer environment around you, like for the other drivers around you.
The downside of having an interlocking dual jaw, instead of just one whole jaw, is the decrease in its strength. This could be problematic in other situations.
If your fifth-wheel trailer is less than 25,000 pounds, this type is definitely the ideal choice.
Two-way Pivot Head Type
Hitches that belong to the two-way pivot head type have only two movements: forward and back. They don’t have the ability to sway from side to side so it is limited to certain road conditions.
If you are the type of recreational vehicle owner who travels far and wide surely encountering rough roads and road curves, you better move on to the next type because this is not going to do the job for you. Unless you want to be cheap and deal with the resistance that will surely give you headaches. I hope I sound discouraging enough.
This type is only good when your travel plans are limited to smooth and mostly flat roads.
I believe that owning a recreational vehicle is about hitting the road anytime you want and sometimes being on the road despite not having a clear destination in mind. You should have fewer restrictions and be able to roam to a lot of places.
Well, at least that’s the case for me so I’m passing on this one.
Four-way Pivot Head Type
A fifth-wheel hitch of this type is much more capable than the previously mentioned two-way pivot type. Aside from being able to move forward and backward, it is also capable of swaying from side to side. And of course, this is also my favorite type among the types I’m mentioning here.
If you buy a fifth-wheel hitch of this type, you will be able to conquer any road condition. It will take care of your fifth-wheel trailer and guarantee better performance than the two-way type.
You don’t have to be extra careful when you are getting across bumpy and broken roads. You can turn corners smoothly. You can afford to make detours when there is a traffic jam. In short, the connection between your truck and your fifth-wheel trailer is as secure and safe as it can be. It will have more flexibility now than ever if I can convince you to buy this type.
And even if you have no plans of going to the wild, I would still recommend this one for you. If you don’t mind paying the difference between this and the two-way type, you’ll be driving on without much worries, or maybe even no worries at all.
Now, this is an option for you only if the truck that you drive is under eight feet. This type of hitch makes sure that your recreational vehicle does not collide with your truck while you are driving at a sharp corner.
The problem with this type of hitch is that it needs you to slide it manually, that’s a hassle. Imagine getting out of your truck before a sharp turn, making adjustments to your recreational vehicle’s connection, locking the hitch into place, getting in the truck, and resetting it after you pass the corner. That took a lot of words to describe and it will even take more time to perform.
It’s totally far from the ideal and convenient towing experience. Manufacturers have tried their best and went back to the drawing board. Automatic sliding hitches are now available in the market. But making it automated also added some digits to its price.
If your truck bed is short, you have to weigh whether a manual sliding hitch is worth the additional hassle or not. If you decide to get an automatic sliding hitch, just be prepared to see how much is written on your bill.
This type is perfect when your recreational vehicle hangs over at the back of your truck’s bed. Trailers of this type need more strength in order to handle the heavy pin weight. Enter the gooseneck hitch.
Actually, gooseneck hitches are designed the way they are to be compatible with these types of recreational vehicles and will ensure that you have pivot enough while towing. Plus, they also make sure that the load is evenly distributed, so you can be confident that your trailer and truck are both safe while you are in transit.
Gooseneck hitches are totally compatible with gooseneck trailers. It is certainly not for someone who goes around with a fifth-wheel trailer. You can remove this from your options and make your choice between a four-way and two-way pivot hitch.
But I might be wrong because there are instances when a gooseneck hitch’s high load rating might be useful. After all, this search is about the best fifth-wheel hitch for your needs. If you think that a gooseneck hitch will do the job for you, you can find excellent hitches of this type.
Ease of Use and the Difficulty Level of the Installation
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to Rebel Cowboys Recreational Vehicles
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to Big Truck Big RV
To guess how difficult it is to install a fifth-wheel hitch, you should consider the collaboration of your truck and the hitch you have your eyes on. To put it simply, some hitches are already designed to fit some specific truck models while there is also an industry standard model.
If you can install it with your truck’s preexisting design, you will not need to pay for a professional to help you put it into place.
Another way to determine the ease of installation is by checking that you have a laundry list of the parts and accessories. It would be a bummer to have already spent a lot of money on a hitch just to realize that you will have to spend more on the parts that do not come with the package.
Take your time to go over the product description or ask a representative about the product that you are interested in. Make sure that installation is really going to be convenient and easy for you.
Don’t buy a fifth-wheel hitch without an idea of how to install it. Make another checklist for the requirements of the installation. You don’t want to receive the package excitedly only to be disappointed when you are trying to fit the pieces together.
Aside from the installation, also check how difficult or easy it is to connect and disconnect from the base.
For example, knowing well that your truck is short and sharp turns are obstacles because you have to get off and in your truck, keep away from the sliding hitch that is manual. Go the extra mile and choose to have an automatic sliding hitch or check out the other options. Doing so will save you from frustrations.
Reasons to have a 5th wheel hitch
To be frank, not all recreational vehicle owners are required to have a fifth-wheel hitch. Unless you own a fifth-wheel trailer. You will have an extremely difficult and frustrating ride while you drag your fifth-wheel trailer behind your truck. I don’t think it is even doable for non-hero people.
However, you would not be reading this far if you were not looking into buying a fifth-wheel hitch. You must have found out that buying a fifth-wheel trailer also requires buying a fifth-wheel hitch. Or probably you have already experienced firsthand how difficult it is to move around without a fifth wheel hitch.
Getting the fifth wheel hitch that checks all of your requirements will make sure you improve your RV life. You will be able to take it easy knowing that your truck and your fifth-wheel trailer are well-bonded.
Once you get a superb fifth-wheel hitch, you will be living the dream of the other recreational vehicle owners who still are putting up with the inconvenience of not having one. And you will remember how you envisioned the RV life you had the first time you got that fifth-wheel trailer.
RV Hitch Frequently Asked Questions
You might still have questions that I haven’t answered yet. And I’m hoping it’s one of the questions below.
What should I know about fifth-wheel hitch rails before buying a hitch?
One of the most valuable accessories when towing a fifth-wheel trailer is a fifth-wheel hitch rail. You will not need a fifth-wheel hitch if you do not have a fifth-wheel trail on your truck. I do not know how you will ever secure your fifth-wheel trailer on your truck without one.
A fifth-wheel hitch and a fifth-wheel hitch rail should be both present. And then you can have a delightful towing experience. But not any type of fifth-wheel hitch rail will do. Not all fifth-wheel hitch rails are the same. You have to look for the right one that is compatible with your trailer and your truck.
Most fifth-wheel hitch rails comply with the industry standard dimensions. They also go by the name universal fifth wheel rails. If you have a universal fifth wheel hitch rail, you can have a lot of fifth-wheel hitch to choose from. You don’t have to worry about the rail dimensions when you are looking for a fifth-wheel hitch.
But you should also note that although you have a universal rail, the hitch and the slider under the rails might not be universal, either. They can be unique, so you have to check out the details because you might miss it and end up with a fifth-wheel hitch that cannot fit.
Don’t be too dependent on the information that most fifth-wheel rails fit almost all fifth-wheel hitches. You really have to check that the position of the rail is exactly where your hitch wants it to be. Even the slightest miscalculation will render them impossible to connect. You have to see into it that the hitch fits into the rail like a glove. You can avoid making an error by installing the rails and the hitch together.
Can I just randomly settle on any fifth-wheel hitches because I think they are all the same?
This is a very important question that needs to be addressed right now.
No. You cannot be thinking of getting any fifth-wheel hitch. I know it is painstaking to go over the types again and again just to make sure you will not regret your purchase. There are not just two, or three types of fifth-wheel hitches. You have to choose how many ways does it pivot, or do you get a sliding hitch? If so, will it be a manual or an automatic sliding hitch? And there is also the choice of the maximum load capacity.
As you can already tell, there’s no getting away from making decisions above decisions. Evidently, fifth-wheel hitches can be different slightly or entirely. Even their ways of doing their jobs are also different. The only two things they all have in common are their purpose and, yes, every one of them is expensive.
They share the same reason why they are bought. They are needed to get you to your destination without having to confront mishaps and accidents. They make the connection between your truck and your tow quiet and safe.
It’s sad for me to say that buying a fifth-wheel hitch will definitely make your wallet cry, perhaps you will cry. That’s why you should have a full conviction before you buy any fifth-wheel hitch.
So, all fifth-wheel hitches are expensive and share one purpose. However, there are many fifth-wheel hitch manufacturers who have come up with their own designs. If all fifth-wheel hitches were made the same, you would not need this guide.
Which brands of fifth-wheel hitches are worth considering?
The product review part of this article has already introduced the big names in manufacturing fifth wheel hitches. Still, I would like to reintroduce them and give you some knowledge of why they deserve to be included on this list.
Having a piece of background knowledge about these manufacturers might increase your confidence in their products. And you might find more reasons to buy from them when you read about their reputations.
“When only the best will do.”
Andersen Manufacturing, Inc. is headquartered in Idaho. They have been around for more than five decades. They specialized in custom metal machining, fabrication jobs, and manufacturing before they changed their focus to manufacturing towing products and accessories in 2000. They are confident in the quality of their products and precise engineering design among others.
Andersen assures that they have the facilities, experience, and skills to meet the demands of their customers. The safety of their clients is one of their priorities. They promise quality, safety, and durability with each of their products.
They carry the Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection which is the lightest and most affordable hitch.
Their customers are kings and their associates are their greatest asset.
CURT is the leading brand of hitches that are USA-made. They have been providing high-standard fifth wheel hitches for a good number of decades by keeping on to setting the standard for manufacturing, the innovation of products, and testing safety. They employ cutting-edge technology from planning to execution. These are their tools, and together with their dedicated associates, they are succeeding in leading.
CURT fifth wheel hitches have maximum load capacities from 16,000 pounds to 25,000 pounds. They have introduced three series that have their own unique advantages. Their fifth wheel line offers plenty of mounting choices to cater to your needs. They also have fifth-wheel rollers, legs, and puck system items that are OEM.
“We didn’t invent the trailer hitch, but we made everyone else reinvent theirs.”
They came up with the idea of a type of ball storage and mounting system which is still being used today by nearly all gooseneck manufacturers. They are a proud American company. They build their products in America in order to oversee production.
They get the steel that they use straight from the American Heartland and they trust the mills who supply them. They are committed to manufacturing with the best labor. They take pride in their craftsmen who are innovative thinkers on top of being hard workers, so they push the limits of towing.
You are on the right path if you are making your choice among these three brands. Any fifth-wheel hitch from these three is confidently made to be efficient at their jobs and stress-free.
But of course, every brand that manufactures fifth-wheel hitches on this list is excellent and produces high-quality products. I only highlighted these three recognizing how many of their fifth-wheel hitches have made it to this list. It does mean a lot to have multiple products getting good ratings and commendations from their users.
How much do I expect to pay for a fifth-wheel hitch?
If you skipped here without reading the product section, prepare to be astonished. No matter which fifth-wheel hitch you buy, it will surely hurt your bank account. Fifth-wheel hitches never come cheap.
If you have seen the product review part, you might have already noticed it yourself that one of the factors that affect the price is the maximum load capacity. The cheapest fifth-wheel hitch on this list has the lowest load capacity. The higher the weight of your fifth-wheel trailer is, the more money you have to spend on a fifth-wheel hitch.
Aside from the maximum load capacity, the price of a fifth-wheel hitch is also affected by the cost of additional features and the type of the fifth-wheel hitch. Like for example, if you’re deciding between a manual and an automatic sliding hitch, you would not expect them to have just a little difference between their prices. An automatic one is expected to offer more convenience to its user, and that is also reflected in the price.
To give an estimate on the price, I would say you should prepare to cough out between $300 and $1,500. The fifth wheel hitches which are the most excellent, most durable, and have the most innovative features are way on top. If I had enough money, I would choose an expensive fifth-wheel hitch to ensure I would not have to deal with issues with a fifth-wheel hitch even in the distant future. I think I had better choose the best money can afford rather than to find myself back at my computer table looking for a replacement for the fifth-wheel hitch I just recently bought.
Buying a fifth-wheel hitch is not a joke. Choosing the ideal one to cater to all your needs is difficult. But at least you will also be putting a stop to unsafe and noisy towing experiences. It will make you feel better that you are not just securing yourself, but you are also making considerations for the safety of the other people who are driving in front of you and behind you.
Can I remove my fifth-wheel hitch from my truck’s bed?
The answer depends on which brand and model of fifth-wheel hitch you have. Most fifth-wheel hitches cannot be totally removed; the mounting bar and brackets remain.
Commercial trucks usually have permanent hitches due to the demand for use. But for the kind of trucks that you drive, it is different. You might be able to remove the hitch by pulling some pins; however, you cannot remove all traces of it.
If you have fifth-wheel hitch rails and brackets that are permanent, you can only detach the hitch. Now, you are probably wondering how to lift a colossal hitch all by yourself. Some models of hitches are designed to be easily taken apart when you want them removed. You can probably do it by yourself, but I would still recommend you to ask for someone’s help to do this job to make it all convenient and less strenuous. It sucks to have your adventure plans foiled by back pains and muscle aches. Hitches are made with durable materials so you expect them to be heavyweights.
Some models of fifth-wheel hitches can be completely detached. That means you can use the bed of your truck for other purposes. Not to advertise here, but you are probably looking for something like B&W Companion RVK3500. This is an example of a fifth-wheel hitch that will give you an empty truck bed. On the days when you are not towing your trailer, you could use it for transporting other things.
Some fifth wheel hitches with lower load capacity have a base that weighs light that you can remove in a matter of a minute by only one person. If you are looking for this type, go ahead and check out the Andersen Ultimate series.
How do I install a fifth-wheel hitch?
You have to make sure that your towing vehicle or truck is capable of handling the weight of the fifth-wheel hitch. It should be one of the first considerations you make. Don’t be one of the guys who overlooked this kind of precaution.
To know whether it can support the weight of a fifth-wheel hitch, consult your vehicle’s manual. If you cannot find the manual or have trouble looking up the information, make a call to your manufacturer. You really have to be certain that your truck will not break down when you install and use a fifth-wheel hitch.
After identifying your truck’s load capacity, check how the installation of the fifth wheel hitch should be. A properly installed fifth-wheel hitch should direct the weight of the trailer between the rear axle and the cab.
Your fifth-wheel hitch purchase includes the manual instructions on how to install it. It will guide you on where to precisely place it for optimum performance. That’s just the first part. You can’t just easily put the hitch in place and hit the road.
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to Horizon Global Americas
Of course, if you have a fifth-wheel hitch, it is only useful if you have a matching fifth-wheel hitch rail that is its foundation. The rail kit and the brackets are connected to your tow truck or car. Rails that are set up on bed liners made of plastic are no good.
Fifth-wheel hitch rails on plastic truck bed liners may seem secured tightly. However, since it is made of plastic, you cannot expect them to withstand a number of uses. Soon you will have a hitch that is loosely connected. If the hitch is loose, you will be experiencing a lot of complications and troubles. I would recommend asking for professional help if you have any doubts about what you are doing. It is an additional expense, but safety should be your priority.
You should be ashamed of admitting defeat and consulting a professional. In my case, I would doubtlessly choose to be helped over pretending to know what I am doing.
How can a fifth-wheel trailer be attached to a fifth-wheel hitch?
The steps of attaching a fifth-wheel trailer and a fifth-wheel hitch together are not very complicated. It is actually simple, and you will agree with me after you read this. First, you have to identify which is the kingpin. A kingpin makes their connection.
Simply put, the kingpin will hold your fifth-wheel trailer and fifth-wheel hitch together. On top of the fifth wheel hitch, it should be set and locked facing downward. It should have a secured position but still be flexible to adapt when you drive at corners.
If you have successfully locked the kingpin into position, then you are now ready to tow your trailer. You have now acquired a safer towing capability. The plates of your trailer and your hitch are supposed to be in contact all of the time. The plates slide against each plate as soon as you start driving your vehicle. This mechanism will cause them to corrode, so it is essential to lubricate them to prevent corrosion from becoming a real problem.
It’s quite simple, isn’t it?
How do I use a fifth-wheel hitch?
After having an idea about the fifth-wheel hitch installation, we can now discuss how you use it. If you find it straightforward, you will find it even easier to use it.
But you cannot just back up your truck and stop when you hear a snap. That would be quite dangerous. You cannot expect me to oversimplify it. If you do not put in a proper amount of effort, you might end up replacing your truck’s tailgate.
First of all, prepare everything: the vehicle, trailer, and hitch. You need flat and sturdy ground to connect or disconnect your fifth-wheel trailer. It is a challenge if the ground is unleveled and soft. I recommend using wheelchocks on your fifth-wheel trailer for added security.
The hitch should be at the right height to allow your trailer to tow as level as it can be. Adjust the lifting jacks and measure the distance between the ground and the kingpin box skid plate. Yes, you have to bring out a measuring device. Next, measure the distance from the ground to your truck bed. You have to do the math by subtracting the two measurements. The difference is the right height for the hitch.
Before backing up your truck to the trailer, check that the locking mechanism is greased and the hitch is open for the connection. Lubricate your hitch to make sure both skid plates last longer.
To proceed with the coupling, it’s ideal to have someone driving the truck back and another person checking the position of the hitch and the trailer. When the hitch and the trailer are almost touching, you can now back up the truck slowly until the kingpin sits into the hitch’s opening on the head. You really need to inspect that the jaws are wrapping the kingpin.
Lastly, lock the fifth wheel with a safety pin, and then you can do a pull test.
It’s a good idea to check on things twice before you start your journey. Although improbable, you don’t want to take the risks.
Is there a checklist for hitching a fifth wheel?
To make sure that everything is set for your road trip, I have a checklist here. It is supposed to help you make no mistakes when you are coupling for truck and your fifth-wheel trailer.
- Bring down the height of the kingpin box skid plate of the trailer to the correct height.
- Open your truck’s hatch and your hitch for connection
- Back up your truck until the hitch and the trailer are almost touching.
- Connect the hitch and the trailer by using the kingpin.
- Do a visual inspection and insert the safety pin.
- Hook up the trailer breakaway cable.
- Check that both the lights and the brakes of the trailer are working.
- Close your truck’s hatch.
- Raise the landing gear of your trailer.
- Be sure you have not forgotten about the wheelchocks.
You will soon get used to coupling and uncoupling your vehicle and fifth-wheel trailer, but you should never forget to check things to ensure that everything is all set.
Step 11 is now up to you. Go have the adventure of your lifetime, or find yourself in exciting places on weekends or from time to time. You are now equipped with a fifth-wheel hitch that ensures your vehicle-tow connection.
I hope that by the time you are reading this, you have already gotten down to two fifth-wheel hitch choices. I think I have tried my best to give you all the essential information that you need. Now, I just have to trust you to make your own decision. And when that fifth-wheel hitch has settled behind your truck, please still be mindful and careful.
Fifth-wheel hitches are all-important, and the amount of money you will be spending on them is not a joke, too. Be sure you get a fifth-wheel hitch that is compatible with your truck, guarantees you are safe and sound, highly durable, and has optimum performance. Have a fifth wheel hitch that is a complete package.
You have read this far, so I hope that the information I shared was enough and was able to help you make up your mind. I guarantee you that your RV life will be upgraded with your purchase.