Anyone with a little know-how of towing must be familiar with the 5th wheel hitches. Their application is wide and is not only limited to professional towing jobs. RV camping trailer types, pickup trucks, tractors, and many more setups use these hitches for a variety of reasons. However, 5th wheel hitches are regularly used for heavy-duty towing jobs because of their stability and towing capacity.
The fifth wheel hitch installation is fairly easy and can be accomplished by yourself if you feel confident enough. If you are not up for it, a professional can always be hired but it will cost you. However, with a simple toolbox and by following the instructions that come with the hitch, it can be done. However, you have to take care of some things like starting only after you have made sure that the towing capacity of the vehicle is more than enough for the hitch. Also, to mount the hitch on your truck bed it needs to be bolted on the truck bed. If your truck doesn’t have those holes, we suggest seeking professional expertise.
The mechanism of 5th wheel hitches is quite simple yet efficient. It’s mounted on the truck bed and it is then coupled on the 5th wheel trailer through the kingpin. The kingpin is then secured employing metal jaws or a locking bar. To provide necessary movements and to make sure the trailer tow smoothly even on bumpy roads, a pivoting head is provided. The weight distribution on the 5th wheel hitch is what makes it so desirable for towing.
As the hitch is placed directly above the rear axle, it distributes the weight evenly throughout the vehicle with no risk of snapping. This is a massive upgrade from the traditional bumper towing systems which would immediately snap if loaded with such heavyweights. There is a slight variation with gooseneck hitches, commonly used for industrial purposes or for towing livestock as they use a hitch ball which gives room for more maneuvering.
If you are looking to add a 5th wheel hitch to your truck, you should first determine your truck’s payload capacity. It would be given in your truck’s brochure along with the net weight of the truck. To be clear, your truck’s capacity is calculated after adding people, hitch’s weight, attached trailer’s weight et cetera. After adding everything including spare tires and tool boxes, you get the figure. To be on the safe side, it all must be way less than the payload capacity.
The 5th wheel hitches cost somewhere between $700 and $1500, depending upon the quality of the hitch. You should get one if you are considering towing a camper as it provides ample livable space. In case, you are considering professional towing, the 5th wheel hitches are still good as they provide maximum stability with comfortable room for maneuverability. Just take care of their regular maintenance and you will be good to go for a long while at least.