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Guide to Fifth Wheel Hitches

Dec 22 2022

If you’re planning to purchase a fifth wheel RV, you probably know that you’ll need a fifth wheel hitch in order to tow it. A fifth wheel hitch is an essential piece of equipment for connecting your RV to your tow vehicle.

However, fifth wheel hitches are not all created equal. There are different types of fifth wheel hitches for different RVs, tow vehicles, budgets, and needs. Keep reading for a beginner’s guide to choosing the right fifth wheel hitch for your particular needs.

What Is a Fifth Wheel Hitch?

A fifth wheel hitch secures directly to your truck bed, which then provides a place to attach the hitch ball to your RV. The hitch has to support the weight of your RV and allow it to have some movement while being towed.

These hitches are u-shaped couplings and are not always straightforward to install. If you need professional help installing a fifth wheel hitch, you can visit any Action store for professional installation and advice on any additional equipment you might need to properly use your fifth wheel.

Fifth Wheel Hitch

Different Types of Fifth Wheel Hitches

There are several different types of fifth wheel hitches. Let’s take a look at the common types and what they do.

2-way pivot head - a standard hitch that pivots forward and back. This allows the tow vehicle to move up a hill before the fifth wheel gets to it. This prevents stress on the hitch.

4-way pivot head - similar to a 2-way pivot head, but it can move side to side as well as back and forth. This makes travel on uneven surfaces easier and smoother.

Universal rail hitch - can be used with almost any trailer. This hitch doesn’t require holes drilled into the truck frame.

Custom rail hitch - similar to the universal hitch but also allows personalized fifth wheel hitch rails.

Single jaw option - has one grab jaw to make an easy connection. This is the safest type.

Double jaw option - offers twice the power of the single jaw option.

Fifth Wheel Hitch

Selecting a Hitch

When it comes to selecting a hitch, you’ll have to consider various factors. The best place to start is with your tow vehicle. Search for hitches that fit your specific model of vehicle. This will rule out certain options that won’t work. Weight limit is another consideration. You don’t want to buy a hitch that is too heavy for your vehicle. There are strict weight limits for vehicles, and you’ll need to make sure that the hitch, the RV, passengers, and cargo all fall within the weight capacity of your tow vehicle.

You may also need to consider the features of your tow vehicle. For example, your tow vehicle might have metal rails or a plastic liner in the bed. Your truck may also have pre-drilled holes to accommodate a hitch.

Truck bed length is the next factor. If you have a short bed, you may need to look specifically at fifth wheel hitches for short bed trucks, otherwise, you may have trouble turning your fifth wheel while towing it.

Finally, we get to the budget consideration. It’s important to have a budget for the reason that you should generally buy the highest quality hitch that you can afford. If you need it installed, you’ll want to include that in your budget as well.

Traditional Fifth Wheel Hitches

There are two types of hitches that fit into this category: standard fixed hitch and air ride. The former type of hitch is one that’s fixed into place and has nothing to cushion it from bumps or jostles. The air ride hitch is a system that cushions against uneven roads.

This is a high-quality, anti-shock system, but it’s also pretty expensive and not easy to move from one truck to another. Traditional fifth wheel hitches fit in standard or long bed trucks.

Slider Fifth Wheel Hitch

This type of hitch is made for trucks with short beds. There are both manual and automatic types of this hitch. For a manual slider, you’ll need to manually slide the hitch into place. The auto slider hitch engages automatically, but the downside is that it’s heavier and more expensive than a manual sliding hitch.

Gooseneck Adapter

If your tow vehicle already has a towing system for a gooseneck trailer, then you can use a fifth wheel hitch adapter to pull a fifth wheel. These adapters usually attach to your gooseneck ball or the ball hose of the gooseneck hitch. There are four types of gooseneck adapters that install a little differently, including the following:

  1. Replaces the trailer pin box
  2. Installs in the ball hole of the hitch
  3. Attaches to a ball in the truck bed
  4. Bolts to the king pin plate

When searching for a fifth wheel hitch on the Action site, start with the year, make, and model of your tow vehicle. You can then use additional features to narrow down what you might need. You can choose from actual fifth wheel hitches or fifth wheel hitch accessories.

Finally, depending on your truck’s capability and age, you may want to consider adding a Timbren SES to boost your suspension in dealing with the extra weight from the hitch and trailer.

Find fifth wheel hitches for sale at Action Car and Truck Accessories. Along with fifth wheel hitches, we also sell a variety of accessories like fifth wheel hitch adapters, fifth wheel hitch locks, fifth wheel hitch covers, and fifth wheel hitch pins.

Come into any Action location to get professional installation and expert advice.

Fifth Wheel Hitch