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Just Cowboy Up and Do It!
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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. :thumbdown

Live and learn...
 

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Registered
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6 Posts
Yes the B&W turnover ball with Fifth wheel conversion hitch is the best invention ever made. I love mine.
 

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I Eat Rice
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2,155 Posts
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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Senior Member
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8,265 Posts
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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Just Cowboy Up and Do It!
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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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Administrator
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8,879 Posts
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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Senior Member
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2,126 Posts
Fifth Wheel trailers are much safer than goosenecks anyways. I will personally never have a gooseneck trailer, only 5th wheel.
 

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Just Cowboy Up and Do It!
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37 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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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Member
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191 Posts
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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SLAPS President
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3,027 Posts
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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Registered
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162 Posts
Thank you to all that posted, with the exception of the 5th wheel is safer than gooseneck statement. I have a 3 horse slant gooseneck with front tack and living room. I just bought a 28 ft 5th wheel today and will obviously do an inspection now after reading this thread. It came with the gooseneck adapter.
 

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The DUDE!!
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1,806 Posts
I've heard both sides of this and i can see both points of argument. I personally have a 30' 5er with a colbert gooseneck adapter on it and have never had a problem. I've had this set up for three years now. Several of our inspectors that i work with have the same set up. One of which has been using for 10 years and has traveled up and down the east coast from texas to florida to new jersey and all over in between and he has never had a problem. I've also heard stories like yours where stuff has gone wrong and could be catastrophic. If i would have my truck i have now when i bought my 5er i would have gotten the companion since i had a B&W installed on it. Just didn't get the companion since i already had the adapter. I didn't write this to say that adapter don't pose any problem, cause they do. the stress is added at a different location that what it is designed for, as an engineer, trust me i did some calculations. Just adding my own personal experiences and share what i've seen from others. I do like your post from your own personal experience telling us what an adapter did to your trailer. thanks for the good post. Always good to hear personal experiences
 

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Gear jammin fool
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869 Posts
A buddy just bought a 40ft travel trailer and was going to put an adapter on it for gooseneck hitch. Same reason, wanted more room in the bed when not pulling trailer. I told him NO!! Better call the manufacture and ask them first. Of course they said NO, and any warranty would be void if it came back broken.

Not worth it in my eyes as MOST trailers aren't build sufficient enough to support the added leverage that a long arm imposes.

Which is better? GN or 5er? I pulled my Haulmark for 9 yrs as a GN and the only bear was getting hooked up. I then started using my Mack truck and put 5er plate on trailer. Much easier to hitch to(more room for error-just back up and bang you're done), though you loose some of the off-center manuveurability that the ball had. Granted for a pickup you can get a 5er hitch that floats more, but the ol Mack don't have that option.

Both hitches pull dead straight, never a problem going down the road.
 

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The DUDE!!
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1,806 Posts
Tell him to get a B&W turnover ball and then get the Companion hitch. It's the best of both worlds and the product is great!!!

http://www.turnoverball.com/
 

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Diesel Kid
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4,580 Posts
Thanks for the thread. We are going to be buying a 40ft toy hauler sometime soon and thought about getting the adapter. Now i think we will do the B&W, sense we already have their goosneck ball that hides in the bed.
 

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Formerly NATTYGASMECH
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633 Posts
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.......
I will say that not all trailers are created equal. I welded the freshwater tank brackets back in place on a trailer that costs much more than mine and I wa surprised to see the shotty factory welds he had on his. Made me look at mine and I was pleasantly surprised. :thumbsup
I've heard both sides of this and i can see both points of argument. I personally have a 30' 5er with a colbert gooseneck adapter on it and have never had a problem. I've had this set up for three years now. Several of our inspectors that i work with have the same set up. One of which has been using for 10 years and has traveled up and down the east coast from texas to florida to new jersey and all over in between and he has never had a problem. I've also heard stories like yours where stuff has gone wrong and could be catastrophic. If i would have my truck i have now when i bought my 5er i would have gotten the companion since i had a B&W installed on it. Just didn't get the companion since i already had the adapter. I didn't write this to say that adapter don't pose any problem, cause they do. the stress is added at a different location that what it is designed for, as an engineer, trust me i did some calculations. Just adding my own personal experiences and share what i've seen from others. I do like your post from your own personal experience telling us what an adapter did to your trailer. thanks for the good post. Always good to hear personal experiences
I want to go with the companion personally. I just don't think it will work with my flatbed. I have the solid 1 axis GN plate. I don't like it at all.
I agree that the added stress should be calculated out for that exact reason.
We used to use one of the adapters, but later decided to take it off. It did not seem right to me.
Once again it doesn't seem right. In my case the 1 axis plate still doesn't seem right. You need the side to side pivot on your hitch. That is creating an enormous stress when you enter or exit a drive on an angle. Sometimes your can't help your angle of approach or exit. It just has to be that way or you are not getting into the drive.:thumbdown
 

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Inline Junky!
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1,705 Posts
You simply can beet a 18k 4-way pivot fifth wheel plate. Its hands down the best way to tow a 5th. And same with a goose neck hands down must be an under bed ball system.

5th's i prefer, use, and sell the Reese Signature series 18k 4 way pivot plate
Gooseneck i prefer, use and sell a Drop-n-lock 35k

I have them both installed in my truck so i never need to adapt anything!
 

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Senior Member
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606 Posts
The gooseneck has its place. I seen more on animal trailers because of the rough terrain they might have to travel. It gives a whole lot more clearance over the bed. The 5th wheels work great for the highway use. I don't think one is safer than the other. Now trying to adapt one to the other changes everything. That would be out of my comfort level.
 

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Senior Member
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302 Posts
They both have their intended purpose and they both work well when used for that purpose. I would think that if the 5ver manufacturers would ok the use of a gooseneck they would offer that as on option. :thumbsup:usflag
 
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