If you plan to do some serious towing – such as hauling around a huge RV or trailer of horses – you are going to need a hitch that can accommodate that kind of weight. There are many different types of hitches ranging from a Class I, which is designed for relatively small loads, all the way up to a Class V hitch – such as the gooseneck hitch – which is able to haul upwards of 30,000 pounds.
In many ways the gooseneck hitch is similar to that of the fifth wheel hitch in that both are mounted in the bed of your truck as opposed to extending from the back of the towing vehicle like a standard hitch. However, while a fifth wheel hitch sits above the bed mounted by rails and brackets, a gooseneck hitch is usually positioned under the bed and uses a traditional style hitch ball to attached to the trailer. Gooseneck hitches are desirable for both their strength and their ability to haul trailers that are able to make incredibly sharp turns when compared to their standard-hitch counterpart. As you would expect, there are several different styles of gooseneck hitch – each of which will be discussed herein.
Ok, so you think that a gooseneck hitch sounds like something you would be interested in. That’s great, but first you must make sure that you have the right setup to properly utilize one. Even though you want to haul a huge load, and thus purchase a gooseneck hitch to haul said load, you must remember that YOUR TOWING SYSTEM IS ONLY AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST LINK. What this means is that your gooseneck hitch rated at 30,000 pounds will not be able to tow safely at its maximum potential if you are using it on a truck with a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. Therefore, before you buy, it is imperative that you do the following:
- Estimate the weight of the average load that you will be hauling (or the Gross Trailer Weight)
- Check the maximum weight capacities of your trailer.
- Check the towing capacity of your truck. This information can be obtained from the manufacturer of your specific tow vehicle.
Now that you have established the weight of what you will be towing, and have further established that both your trailer and tow vehicle can accommodate that weight, you can look to purchase the appropriate gooseneck hitch. The gooseneck hitch must be able to support both the estimated weight of both the expected load as well as the weight of the trailer.
It would not be a bad idea to choose a gooseneck hitch that is able to haul more than your expected load just to be on the safe side. Please be safe here – a failure to use the correct equipment or an attempt to tow beyond your truck or trailer’s ability can result in serious, serious consequences.
The installation process for each gooseneck hitch will vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and model purchased. While many purchasers choose to install the gooseneck hitch themselves, you do have the option to take the hitch to a mechanic, as most would be happy to help out for a fee.If you do choose to complete the installation yourself, it is imperative that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions in great detail. You will typically need a drill, a variety of wrenches, and possibly a saw. Plan to take lots of measurements, as you want to make sure that the hitch ball is placed in correct location and that everything is properly aligned according to the specifications given by the manufacturer in the installation guide.
As previously stated, the gooseneck hitch and the fifth wheel hitch are similar in both their towing capacity and their increased strength resulting from their mounting in the tow vehicle bed as opposed to the rear of the vehicle. The most significant difference between the two is the way in which they connect to the bed of the tow vehicle. Gooseneck hitches are most often used with horse and other agricultural trailers, while fifth wheel hitches are most commonly used with travel trailers and recreational vehicles.
We at HitchAnything have chosen not to take sides, but rather have opted to point out the pros and cons of each and allow you to decide which type is best for you. Also note that many manufacturers make a gooseneck mounting system for fifth wheel rails, such as the Curt Spyder, which allow the user to have the best of both worlds.
Gooseneck Hitch Pros
- Does not take up the entire bed of the truck. Most gooseneck systems give the user complete access to the truck bed when not in use.
- Easier for one person to detach and reconnect
Flexible neck allows for improved flexibility – which can be useful if driving on an uneven terrain such as farmland.
Gooseneck Hitch Cons
- Often require accessories that create clutter- such as safety chains
- Some recreational vehicles require that a fifth wheel hitch is used
- Passenger is not able to ride in the trailer
- Typically have to drill a four inch hole in the middle of your truck bed
- Installation can be difficult – often have to remove the truck bed in order to install the frame.
Fifth Wheel Hitch Pros
- No additional accessories such as safety chains
- Passenger may ride in the trailer
- Can accommodate the towing of a second trailer by attaching to the rear of the first one (please note, however, that this is not legal in every state)
- Best choice for beginners because of simplicity and safety
Fifth Wheel Hitch Cons
- Installation can be complicated and time consuming
- Takes up the majority of the truck bed and is difficult to detach and remove if use of the truck bed is needed
There you have it. If you plan to haul items of the smaller variety a standard rear-mounted hitch should do the job just fine. However, if you plan to haul large items such as a livestock trailer or large RV with your heavy-duty truck, a gooseneck hitch is a strong option. Gooseneck hitches are desirable for both their strength and their attachment point in the bed of the truck which allows for a significant increase in maneuverability. If you do decide that a gooseneck hitch is right for you, it is imperative that you do your research to make sure that: (1) you have the correct equipment for the job you need to do; and (2) you install and use the hitch correctly in adherence to the manufacturer’s specifications. As always, we at HitchAnything are always available if you have any questions. Good luck and happy towing!
Gooseneck Hitch Guides & Articles
Basic information on installing a gooseneck hitch into your truck. Installation usually takes a few hours with no welding at all.
Towing a gooseneck trailer for the first time, follow our How to hook up a gooseneck trailer guide to learn how.
Not sure if you should get a gooseneck hitch? Read through our introduction to trailer hitches to see if they are a fit for your towing needs.