Gooseneck Adapter for Fifth Wheel, just say NO! - Diesel Truck Forum - TheDieselGarage.com
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Gooseneck Adapter for Fifth Wheel, just say NO!

I put this post on one of the other forums, and it struck me it might be important enough to throw in here somewhere. So heads up to anyone thinking about doing this.

I'm not aware of any travel trailers that come equipped from the factory with a gooseneck type hitch. They generally come with a fifth wheel type hitch. There are "adapters" out there to replace the fifth wheel hitch with a gooseneck type hitch. These are very popular with folks who also pull gooseneck trailers and they only have the ball hitch mounted in their trucks.

The problem with this set up comes when you put the gooseneck adapter on a trailer originally designed as a fifthwheel. Because the gooseneck adapter is longer, (it has to reach all the way down to the bed of the truck instead just about the top of the fenders,) it puts a great deal of stress on where the hitch is welded to the trailer.

I speak from personal experience. I put one of these conversions on a 34 foot, 10,000 pound Jayco Eagle. Worked great for a couple of years, and then I noticed screws missing from the sheetmetal underneath the "hood" of the trailer. The frame of the hood was flexing so much from the additional stress of the hitch adapter, I was slowly breaking EVERY weld underneath the hood. When I took the sheetmetal off to see what was going on, I had two small pieces of angle iron holding the entire front of my trailer on. Both ends were cracked, but not completely broken (yet!). Had those two welds finished breaking going the road about 70 mph, the result would've been ugly, I don't care who you are.

Several additional pieces of angle iron, some judicious welding, and sheetmetal being replaced with heavy diamond plate has fixed the problem. I still pull this trailer with the gooseneck adapter, but only because of the work I did to the front of the trailer. If and when I trade trailers, I'll keep the fifth wheel, and get a B&W companion to go with my turnover ball.

The reason I say this I want folks to learn from my mistake. What sounds like a good idea really isn't. Anyone buying a trailer with a gooseneck adapter should have the entire front of the trailer inspected underneath the sheet metal. If you don't see any problems, put the fifth wheel back on and go from there. Do not continue to use a gooseneck adapter on a fifth wheel trailer without beefing up the front end of the trailer. My results could have been truly tragic, but I was lucky.

Live and learn...

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 06:22 PM
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Yes the B&W turnover ball with Fifth wheel conversion hitch is the best invention ever made. I love mine.

Dusty...
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 06:23 PM
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I too thought about getting the adapter so there was more room in my bed. But decided against it because I figured there was too much strees for it to work over the long road. Good post. Should steer people away from getting the so called Jack of all trades, master of none.

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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 06:29 PM
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I moved this into the camper section.

I've seen those and often wondered about stress problems...especially with the "extended 5th wheel pins" than now come on fivers so they can be pulled by shortbed trucks.

I don't suppose you grabbed any pictures of the damage did ya?

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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No I didn't I couldn't get my welder fired up quick enough to repair the damage. I was honestly afraid the whole front end of my trailer would fall off.

If you pull the underside hood sheet metal and look at the metal frame, any damage will be readily apparent. Those frames are not very heavy to start with due to weight considerations, and it doesn't take much torque to start breaking things apart.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 08:02 PM
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Thanks for the post. I debated on buying an adapter hitch last Fall when we bought our 5th wheel. After reading many sites and seeing what people had to saw about not doing it, I bought a 5th B&W 5th wheel companion.

I am sure glad I made that decision.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 03:02 AM
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Fifth Wheel trailers are much safer than goosenecks anyways. I will personally never have a gooseneck trailer, only 5th wheel.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-22-2009, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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Just out of curiousity...

How many hundreds of miles have you pulled a gooseneck? What statistics can you bring to your argument to back up your statement? What evidence do have, if any, to back up such a statement?

You certainly have the right to choose what type of towing arrangement you feel most comfortable with. But to say fifth wheels are safer than goosenecks, I fear you know not about which you speak.

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-24-2009, 12:04 AM
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I agree where do you get your info that goosenecks arnt as safe as a 5th wheel. Ive pulled goosnecks thousands of miles and never had a problem of any kind. Personally the way alot of the 5th wheel hitches are fastened to the truck I would say the exact opposite of what you claim. Ive got a adapter on a small 5th wheel that doestn see alot of miles so I feel comfortable with it, if it were a big trailer that got alot of miles I would probably feel differantly.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2009, 06:55 AM
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I pulled a 28' Jayco with a gooseneck adapter on it for 2 years........ Never had a problem one. Just out of curiousity, I did take a look at the frame under the neck of mine at one point... What I found actually surprised me... The frame under the neck of that trailer was just as stout as the neck frame of my 16' stock trailer.......

Maybe it depends on how old the trailer is (that 5er is 12 years old) but it certainly was stout enough for the adapter and the pin box had no stress cracks either....

That said, when we got the new camper (which is much larger and heavier), I opted to get the B&W companion setup to pull it. In retrospect, I wish I had gone this route with the old one. Not due to the issues mentioned by the OP but rather due to the fact hooking up and unhooking is so much easier to do.......

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