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Old 12-29-2011, 01:49 AM   #1
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While musing around I have a question for the group.



Why do travel trailers have 5th wheel hitches and equipment trailers have gooseneck?



I asked this of Hensley Hitches and they couldn't find an answer, stumped them.



You can get both with up to 26k ratings, probably more but requires a CDL. I've never seen a horse trailer with a 5th wheel hitch, excluding the ones made for big rigs. Even the ones with living quarters that would rival any TT. (You think a 5'ver is expensive, look at a 40' all aluminum horse trailer w/quarters)



Conversely, never seen a travel trailer with a gooseneck, not standard anyway. I know they are available as an option on some units.



The best Hensley could say was, "That's the way it's always been"



Ideas, opinions, facts????



Why are safety chains required for a gooseneck and not a 5th wheel hitch?Edited by: avvidclif
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:04 AM   #2
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When I asked the question about changing to a gooseneck what I was told was that the fifth wheel on travel trailers are not designed with enough strength to support the lateral forces caused by a gooseneck. Don't know if that's true or not but that's what I was told.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:31 AM   #3
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I think that horse trailers and equipment trailers are designed with GN hitches so the bed of the truck is free and clear for hauling other cargo when the trailer is not being used. No messing with removing a big 5'er hitch. JMHO.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:09 AM   #4
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I just always thought that the ball of the GN allowed for more (for lack of better term) flexible connection. As in going over rough terrain, think pasture or crop field, construction site. The hitch can rotate on the ball and take a little more movement. Horse and equipment trailers are designed to take the GN stress's, better reinforcement, thus more expensive. A fifth wheel does not give and take as much, no need to they are pretty much on pavement or gravel 99% of the time. a flatter mounting surface more contact area not as much frame reinforcement required, thus a little less pricey. Note: No seintific facts to back this up. As far as safety chains, no clue, but it has always struck me as kind of odd that fifth wheel is not required to have them.



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Old 12-29-2011, 05:15 AM   #5
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As a fabricator I will say the support and braces on a goose neck trailer are far greater than a fifth wheel trailer frame. If you take a look at a goose neck trailer you will see what I'm talking about. A fifth wheel hitch is designed to support the trailer load evenly on a horizontal plain while pulling straight and turning. A goose neck changes the plain drastically by moving the pivot point and stressing areas that a fifth wheel frame was not designed to stress at. Goose necks have been around far longer then fifth wheels and were designed to pull beyond heavy loads, then came the fifth wheel travel trailer that used its own hitch system. A goose neck will also give more trailer articulation for the farmer or person who may be using their trailer of road etc. I myself would do a goose neck to fifth wheel conversion but not the other way around. http://tweetys.com/popupindustriesgn...uplertube.aspx
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:01 AM   #6
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Ok, if you do the gooseneck to 5th wheel conversion do you have to have safety chains?



Keeping the pot stirred.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avvidclif
Ok, if you do the gooseneck to 5th wheel conversion do you have to have safety chains?





Keeping the pot stirred.

The answer is yes. Here is the reason why. There is only a single size king pin, so chains are not needed. But there are multiple size balls and someone could use a 1-7/8 inch ball with a 2" coupler and the error is not visible to anyone, so chains will keep the trailer under better control than just depending on the breakaway circuit. Besides, with this error, disconnection is most likely at highway speeds. With a fifth wheel, "high hitching" generally results in disconnection immediately at low speed.

Back to the original question. GN trailers are built for strength and the main frame rails that carry the axles converge at the center line of the trailer for the hitch mount. The GN frame above the truck bed can be as high as needed for good clearance because no one expects to be able to stand up in the front of a GN trailer. Fifth wheel frames are designed to provide the maximum headroom height in the bedroom with minimum external height, so the main frame rails DIVERGE to the full trailer width and the cross members are minimum height yet span the full trailer width.

These big differences in the frames are the reason why a GN adaptor on a fifth wheel trailer is a bad idea. In my opinion, if someone wants the strength of a GN frame with the standup height of a fifth wheel trailer, then the answer is to scrap the typical pickup truck bed for a flat bed truck with lower sides. That way the frame can run under the gooseneck area rather than at the extreme ends of the gooseneck area.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avvidclif
Ok, if you do the gooseneck to 5th wheel conversion do you have to have safety chains?





Keeping the pot stirred.
If you go from 5th wheel to goose neck, Yes. If you convert your goose neck to 5th wheel, I would say No.
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:40 AM   #9
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Not sure if there are multipal ball sizes for GN I believe all are 2-5/16" and as for height all need to clear the box rails whether it's a 5W plate riser or GN "neck". As for strength I know a guy that got T-Boned and pushed into a ditch sideways,the truck never unhitched.The trailer was totaled as the frame pulled down from the rest of the coach.Truck also totaled.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by we-canoe
Not sure if there are multipal ball sizes for GN I believe all are 2-5/16"

You just made my point, the GN coupler is 2-5/16" but balls are available in 1-7/8", 2" and 2-5/16", all with 1 inch or 1-1/4" shank diameters. The GN coupler will drop down over any size ball, but the safety pin will not be effective if an undersized ball is used. Therefore safety chains are required.
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