5th Wheel vs. Gooseneck

If you are an individual who spends most of your time on a farm or an estate, you will almost certainly need to haul large trailers at some point in time. 

There are many different types of trailers and equipment that require towing, and the hitch you choose for the job is paramount. There are many types of hitches made for various purposes, and some are more versatile than others. In this write-up, we aim to cover the basics of two of the most common hitches, the fifth wheel, and the gooseneck. These hitches have similarities, differences, benefits, and drawbacks. Read on for a breakdown of all you need to know about the fifth wheel and gooseneck hitches. 

Let’s Define The Two Hitches 

When using towing attachments, making tight turns and backing up both vehicle and trailer can be a complicated and challenging experience. However, thanks to the fifth wheel hitch's pivoting features and the smooth sliding of the gooseneck's ball hitch, the whole process becomes relatively easy. The intended purpose, components, installation method, and weight capacity of a fifth-wheel hitch and a gooseneck hitch differentiate them. Which is ideal for you is determined by the kind of trailers you need to tow. 

Fifth Wheel Hitch

Relatively larger than its counterpart, a fifth wheel hitch is primarily used for recreational towing, like RV trailers, travel trailers, and large campers. It can only be used to haul fifth-wheel trailers, and it has an overall heavier and more bulky design that sits in the bed of the tow truck. The mechanism of a fifth-wheel hitch consists of jaws and a kingpin connection. 

You can choose these hitches in different weight capacity options, ranging from 15,000 to 26,000 lbs, and some come with slider options as well. These are ideal for recreational towing because a fifth wheel hitch, compared to a gooseneck hitch, provides a smoother, quieter ride and more stable towing. 

Gooseneck Hitch 

While a fifth wheel hitch sits high and occupies a lot of space in the bed of a tow truck, a gooseneck hitch is installed on the bed floor and features a ball and coupler connection. The main body of the hitch attaches underneath the truck bed and is fastened to the vehicle frame with brackets, rather than sitting on the truck bed. It is typically used for commercial and agricultural towing, including livestock, flatbed, and horse trailers. 

Compared to the fifth wheel hitch, the gooseneck is minimally invasive and a less expensive mechanism. Also, it is capable of hauling up to 30,000 lbs of weight capacity. The gooseneck hitch has the benefit of being able to connect to a variety of attachments. 

How To Install The Hitch To The Truck Bed

Once you decide on what hitch would best suit your towing needs, it is time to look at how to connect the hitch to your pickup truck correctly. These hitches comprise many different components that work together to ensure a secure fit in the truck bed and the trailer. 

These hitches must be correctly installed on your pickup truck to ensure the safety of the trailer, passengers, and other drivers on the road. Each truck model can have different layouts and specifications beneath the truck bed. Therefore, it is generally preferable to hire a professional to attach your hitch to your truck as they are more skilled and have the necessary tools for the job. However, if you are confident in your mechanical skills and have the right equipment in your garage, go for it! 

Installing A Fifth Wheel Hitch

  • First, the two long metal rods that form the hitch's base should be parallel to the long sides of the truck bed, with their midpoints over the main axle.
  • The metal rods are then integrated into the bed by drilling holes dotted along the rod's length. Specialized screws, spacers, washers, and brackets secure them in place.

While the rest of the hitch may be disassembled, the rods always remain on your truck bed. Use a tape measure to determine where the rods should go to ensure that they are parallel to the bed. Also, ensure their midway is over the main axle, which supports the most weight. While following safety precautions, drill holes into the truck bed using the holes dotted along the rod. Secure the rods into the bed and truck frame with the help of screws, spacers, washers, and brackets. Note: there will be a great deal more drilling!

For a more demonstrative explanation, watch this guide to installing a fifth-wheel hitch. 

Installing A Gooseneck Hitch 

Gooseneck hitches are more challenging to install than fifth-wheel hitches. 

  • To create more area to work on, remove the spare tire and lower the exhaust pipe.
  • Cut out the exhaust heat shield from the rear cross member to the front cross member near the front of the truck bed. That is where the base of the hitch goes. 
  • According to the hitch's instructions, measure and drill holes where the hitch ball should be put on the truck bed.
  • According to instructions, cut a notch on the passenger side frame beneath the truck above the wheel.
  • Slide the angled rail and solid block of the hitch mechanism through the notch. 
  • Attach the base plate to the rails and ensure the handle is facing the driver’s side. 
  • Fix the frame plates between the rails and secure them with U-bolts. Make sure it does not pinch any cables underneath. 
  • Use the base of the hitch to drill holes for safety chain loops and attach them into place on the truck bed.
  • To prevent future rust, always apply spray paint on the drilled and cut surfaces.
  • Reinstall the spare tire and exhaust pipe.

Watch this guide for an excellent in-depth demonstration of installing a gooseneck hitch. 



Fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches are two of the most versatile hitches available. In simple terms, fifth-wheel trailer hitches are larger, more costly, and can only haul fifth-wheel trailers. On the other hand, gooseneck hitches are less expensive, take up less room in the truck bed, and pull a wide range of trailers. Goosenecks are often used to haul agricultural trailers, and fifth-wheels are ideal for recreational towing. Both of these hitches can be pretty difficult to install, but they can be securely attached to your pickup truck with the proper knowledge and tools.