Have you ever wondered how much does it cost to install a 5rh wheel hitch? well, you have decided that routine is dull, and you have chosen adventure in the form of a 5th Wheel.
Life is all about discovering new things and seeing new sights, and you now have the means to achieve it.
You might be eager to get on the road and get started but how much does it cost to install a hitch so that you may be on your merry way?
How much does it cost to install a 5th Wheel Hitch near me? In general, you should expect to pay around $500 for installation by a qualified technician, and your hitch cost. Quality hitch prices range from $350 to $1200 plus. In total, you would pay $ 850-$1700 for quality labor and parts.
However, the cost of installing a fifth wheel hitch varies in price between professional installers.
If you are ready to embark on your travels, we have made choosing your fifth wheel hitch more simple for you.
Read on to find some tips and 7 of the best fifth wheel hitches to suit your particular needs.
How Does a 5th Wheel Hitch Work?
Fifth wheel hitches are specifically designed to carry more weight than your typical ball hitch system and are ideal for fifth wheels.
The attachment point is the truck’s bed, not the bumper, and the trailer’s weight presses down between the truck’s cab and the rear axle.
This distribution of weight ensures that the truck can carry significantly more weight than the traditional ball hitches.
The fifth wheel hitch has a large flat plate secured to the pickup’s bed in a U-shaped formation based on metal rails attached to the truck’s frame.
The trailer connects to the fifth wheel through a king pin, which faces downwards and locks securely within the hitch.
The hitch allows the kingpin to pivot to accommodate turns and movement.
Things to Consider Before You Install Your Hitch
- Your Vehicle’s Rated Towing Capacity is the most crucial consideration when choosing your hitch. If your vehicle rating is under the towing weight, you need a new vehicle, and there is no way around the fact. You need to consult your owner’s manual to find your specifications or contact the manufacturer.
- Your Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) is also an essential factor in considering your appropriate hitch. You should always calculate in your fifth wheel’s weight when fully loaded and compare this to your tow vehicle rating.
- The Hitch Rated Towing Capacity needs so meet or exceed the fully loaded trailer, but it does not exceed the vehicle’s tow rating.
- Your trailer size and weight
- The length of your truck bed
- Whether you need a removable hitch
- Whether you need removable rails
- What price range and performance you prefer.
Related reading: How Much Does It Cost to Install a Trailer Hitch? (with 9 examples)
5th Wheel Hitch Installation
Unless you are mechanically gifted, it is recommended that you leave the installation of your fifth wheel to the experts.
The costs can vary from company to company greatly, so you should do your homework before committing to a price.
You should bear in mind that installation will involve drilling and may need special wiring for lights.
When considering DIY installation, you should consider the tools you will need to perform the job, such as:
- High-quality drill
- Various sized drill bits
- Socket and torque wrenches
- Safety glasses
Should You Install a Fifth Wheel Yourself?
Unless you have a background in mechanics, it is not advisable to install it yourself.
The installation can be a technical process, and if you make an error, it may cost you not only your fifth wheel but worse.
Carrying a weight such as a fifth wheel on the open road can be deadly if something goes wrong.
Even if you don’t intend to install the system yourself, it is good to know how the system works to check on all the working parts before setting off for a journey.
The Hitch Installation Process
- Installing your rails. You need to ensure that the rails are correctly attached to your truck bed for safety. Spay on bed liners is fine for railing installation, but ensure plastic liners do not form your railings base. The plastic may pose a hazard later in your travels.
- Mounting the hitch. The rail is attached to a bracket that is bolted to the frame under the bed. First, the hitch is placed over the rails, then tightened in with bolts.
- Hooking up the wiring. Typically a hole is drilled through the bed of the truck to allow a wiring harness to pass through. The harness connects to the truck’s factory connecters to allow a lighting or a braking system if necessary.
Fifth Wheel Hitch Installation >> Check out the video below:
How Long Does It Take To Install A Fifth Wheel Hitch?
The time it takes to install a fifth wheel hitch is dependent on whether you have a customized model for your truck or not.
Customized railings fit into pre-existing pucks already drilled into your truck bed, and it cuts much of the time of installation.
If you fit universal railings, you would need to drill holes in your truck bed to fit your hitch.
How long does it take to install a 5th wheel hitch? well, on average you can expect between 4 to 7 hours. However it depends on the vehicle and the make you choose.
Some hitches may require working from the underside of your truck and could involve removing things like heat shields. Which is time consuming.
Installation can therefore vary from an hour to several hours depending on the fitting of your hitch.
If you need to install a slider or roller in your truck, it will take you longer than average.
If your planning on a DIY job, it would generally take longer than a professional installation, which would take between an hour to an hour and a half spending on wether the hitch is customized to your truck or not.
Where Should You Get Your New 5th Wheel Hitch Installed?
It may be an idea to ask the RV dealer where you purchase your trailer for an inclusive price with the installation of a hitch.
If you have already purchased your fifth wheel, you should consider comparing the prices elsewhere as RV dealerships usually carry a higher hourly labor rate than automotive centers.
5th Wheel Hitch Installation Near Me
Where should you get your 5th Wheel Hitch installed? well, below you can find a list of great Hitch installation centers:
|Comment||5th Wheel Hitch Installation Centers Near Me|
|U-Haul tow hitch installation||U haul offers hitch installation at competitive prices if you happen to be near a branch.|
The good news: U-Haul fifth wheel hitch installation locations everywhere. Literally.
The company has over 1,500 locations nationwide, and most offer tow hitch installation.
|Pep Boys tow hitch installation||You may already know Pep Boys as a household name for auto repair—and with an easy-to-use online appointment scheduler and a large lineup of tow hitches to choose from, it’s a reliable place for tow hitch installation too.||Pepboys.com|
|Amazon Home Services tow hitch installation||Amazon Home Services’ marketplace is a hub for finding third-party professional tow hitch installers in your area.|
When you request help via Amazon Home Services, mechanics will offer estimates for you to compare.
This makes it easy to see which bids are best for your budget and your timeline.
You may enquire at general hitch installation centers and not only those that specialize in fifth wheels and RVs.
These centers are usually equipped to install hitches on most vehicle and trailer types.
U haul offers hitch installation at competitive prices if you happen to be near a branch.
How Much Does It Cost To Install a Gooseneck Hitch?
Professional installation services in a specialized RV fitment service provider will cost you between $200 to $500 for labor depending on whether you opt for an under bed installation or above bed hitches.
Generally, labor costs you between $80 to $150 per hour; non-customized installations may set you back as much as $400.
How much does it cost to install a gooseneck hitch? With a quality gooseneck hitch costing between $350 to $1,200, you should expect to pay between $750 to $2,500 for the kit and the installation.
How Much Does It Cost To Have a Tow Package installed?
The cost of a tow package installation is dependent on your which vehicle model and make that you are planning to fit.
Some car makes and models require customization to fit particular hitches, and the installer would need to adapt a universal system such as railing in your truck bed.
You also need to factor in what type of hitch you require and whether your truck already has customized fittings for your hitch.
If you considering an under bed gooseneck hitch, your labor would cost you more than a no-drill installation.
You also need to figure in your wiring harness cost or whether you would need an auxiliary transmission cooler.
How much does it cost to have a tow package installed? Professional installation will cost you between $100 and $150 per hour, and depending on the complexity of the fitting and the necessary customization, your labor alone could cost you between $100 and $800.
Stores that offer specialized services such as RV retailers generally will cost more in labor than a general automotive service provider such as U haul, so you should shop around for prices.
Maintenance Costs of your Hitch
You should ensure your hitch is lubricated before each trip, and you should use a lithium grease ideally. Pay particular attention to the pivot points where the hitch head moves forward and back.
A king pin lube plate is highly recommended to protect contact between the king pin and the fifth wheel head unit.
You should aim to clean and lubricate your hitch twice a year or when you travel over 60,000 miles.
It is essential to inspect your hitch for any damage regularly and especially before travel. The best way to check your working parts is to degrease them.
Grease can become compacted over time and attract dirt from your travels.
You should check for hairline cracks, or damaged/ missing components. Regular cleaning allows you to anticipate aspects such as mechanical failure before they pose danger for you on the open road.
Can You Put a 5th Wheel On a Short Bed Truck?
You may install a fifth wheel hitch on a short bed truck as there are hitches designed for that particular use.
Fifth wheel hitches designed for short bed trucks generally make allowances because the trailer sits closer to the cab than in a long bed truck.
Problems arise in situations where the driver needs to make sharp turns, and the trailer is too close to the truck.
You would generally need a slider hitch with a roller, which allows you the necessary clearance required by the short bed trucks.
The roller smoothly rolls the fifth wheel head forward and back to lock securely into position and provide 12’’ of displacement, unlike the 10’’ standard hitches.
This extra clearance allows your trailer to make turns safely. An excellent example of the short bed fifth wheel hitch is CURT 16516 E16 5th Wheel Slider.
Alternatively, you can use a sidewinder that prevents the truck and trailer from pivoting on the hitch.
The hitch pivot point is located closer to the truck’s rear, making more clearance between the trailer and the truck during sharp turns.
An excellent example of the sidewinder is the Reese 61412 Elite Airborne/Sidewinder.
How Long Does It Take To Install a B&W Hitch?
The time taken to install a B&W hitch depends on which type of hitch you wish to install and whether your truck bed is customized to the hitch’s particular model.
For example, gooseneck Turnoverball ©️ has an estimated installation time of 2 hours.
If your truck does not have pre-existing pucks for a fifth wheel hitch, it would require drilling and increasing labor time and your costs.
How Do You Put a Hitch On a Gooseneck Ball?
A fifth-wheel trailer can be pulled using a gooseneck hitch as long as the correct adapter is installed, and it is rated for the correct GVWR.
You would need to purchase a fifth wheel to gooseneck adapter plate to provide the rails appropriate for a fifth-wheel hitch.
Adapters such as the Reese Goose Box 5th-Wheel-to-Gooseneck Air Ride Adapter replace the standard pin box on a fifth-wheel trailer.
The Different Types of Fifth Wheel Hitches
There are various hitches available for fifth wheels, and they come in a wide variety of prices, from $50-$200 for entry-level hitches to thousands of dollars.
If you only plan short trips and don’t intend on extended travel, you might consider choosing a quality, less expensive hitch.
Generally, the more costly hitches a far more smooth (and safe) towing experience, and you can’t really put a price on peace of mind.
There are three main types of fifth wheel hitches available, and these are (The Slide Bar Hitch, The Double Jaw Hitch and The Single Hitch):
The Slide Bar Hitch
The manufacturers usually use these slide bar jaws for hitches rated below 20,000 lbs, and they are generally less expensive than the other style fifth wheel hitches.
Although they are considered safe and reliable, it can be the noisiest of the three hitch types. The difference between a slide and a dual jaw is how tightly the fifth wheel king pin is held.
The dual jaw holds the pin more tightly and prevents the pin from rattling around in transit. The noise of a slide jaw may be considered a nuisance on longer trips.
The Double Jaw Hitch
The double jaw is usually found on hitches rated between 20,000 and 24,000 lbs. This model holds the king pin more securely and provides for a quieter ride.
These models are typically less expensive than the single jaw and are rated highly for safety. However, some play in the pin, and although less than the slide bar, it still creates some noise when traveling.
The Single Jaw Hitch
Considered one of the best fifth wheel hitches on the market, and are rated for 25,000 hitch capacities and above.
The one-piece locking jaw mechanism acts as a wedge and takes any slack out of the connection.
When braking and accelerating, this lack of play in the king pin results in a smoother and quieter ride than the double or slide bar hitch.
Not only that, but it is also considered the safest of the fifth wheel hitches on the market.
This type of hitch is made to pull in excess of 30,000 lbs. However, you can comfortably use a gooseneck hitch for your 5th wheeler as long as you have a gooseneck adapter installed.
Goosenecks have the advantage of being lighter in weight than the traditional fifth wheel hitches and take up less space in the cab of your truck.
The disadvantages of the gooseneck hitch for your fifth wheel are that it provides less stability for taller trailers and can be rather noisy than fifth wheel hitches.
4-Way Pivot Head
All fifth wheel hitches have a two-way pivot system that allows a forward and back motion when the trailer experiences a gradient change.
This motion is to prevent stress or binding of the king pin and the hitch.
The better hitches also allow for side to side motion to cope with uneven road surfaces and are often called floating hitches.
Although the 4-way pivot head hitch is more expensive, its smoother action is an excellent option for those who intend to travel extensive distances.
Rails and Rail Kits
When purchasing your hitch, it is essential to consider that your hitch needs to be securely mounted onto your truck bed and frame.
An important factor in buying your hitch is whether it comes with a rail kit, not just the rails.
A rail kit will include all the proper bolts, brackets, and hardware you will need to install your hitch.
There are two types of rails:
- Custom rails are a hassle-free alternative to universal rails and are made to fit the pre-existing factory drilled holes in your truck bed.
- Universal rails can be used with various truck models and makes, but require that you drill holes through the truck’s frame. This system makes installation more challenging and often more expensive (especially when you need a professional’s services.)
The Top Seven Fifth Wheel Hitches 2020
#1. Best Overall Hitch:
The fully articulated head delivers one of the smoothest tows, and the widened stance provides strength and control.
Considered one of the best fifth wheel adapters, the companion attaches to your under-bed mounting system and adapt to either gooseneck or fifth wheel attachments.
The polyurethane bushings tamper down any rattles for a noise-free ride.
The B&W companion is rated to tow 20,000 lbs, and a 5,000 lbs VTW.
- Weight Capacity: 20,000 pounds
- Hitch Weight: 131 pounds
- Frame Material: Steel
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
- Customer Review: 5 star
#2. Best Gooseneck/Fifth Wheel Hitch
The Anderson ultimate is one of the lightest and most innovative fifth wheel hitches on the market.
Weighing only 35lbs, you will no longer struggle with your hitch weight, and the base can be installed/uninstalled in under a minute.
They accommodate short bed trucks and have a patented ball funnel to make your coupling easy.
The custom ball system used in the Anderson gives almost 3’’ of height adjustment and features a greaseless coupler.
The ball system pivot gives you full swivel in every direction and delivers a smooth and noise-free ride even on uneven terrain.
The Anderson 3320 is rated at 24,000 lbs and 4,500 lbs tongue weight.
- Weight Capacity: 20,000 pounds
- Hitch Weight: 35 pounds
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Warranty: Lifetime
- Customer Review: 4.5 Star
#3. Best Value Hitch
The Curt 16115 has a double pivot head for smooth towing and has built-in anti-noise feature for a quiet ride.
The Curt 16115 has high standard safety tested and is rated to tow up to 16,000 lbs and can handle vertical loads up to 4000 lbs.
The auto-lock feature for easy coupling to the truck fits most standard rails(Rails and kit are not included.)
The 16115 comes with a carbide powder coat for durability and a lifetime warranty.
- Weight capacity: 16,000lbs
- Weight: 95 lbs
- Warranty: lifetime
- Customer reviews: 4.5 stars
#4. Best for Short Bed Trucks
The Curt 16516 features a dual pivot head of 10 degrees lateral movement for stable and smooth tow motion.
The auto-locking feature makes coupling easy, and the anti-rattle feature cuts down on noise during the tow.
The slider hitch allows for 12’’ of extra turning clearance, which makes it ideal for short bed trucks, and it mounts on universal rails (sold separately)
The Curt 165416 weighs a bit more than some fifth wheel hitches at 102.8 lbs but is highly safety rated and tows up to 16,000 lbs GTW and 4,000lbs vertical load.
#5. Easiest Assembly
The Elite series offers nifty features and comes pre-assembled for easier installation. The single jaw mechanism offers excellent jaw to kingpin contact for security as well as noise reduction.
The 9’’ funnel provides ample area to guide your kingpin into the hitch. The kingpin indicator won’t allow the mechanism to lock unless the connection is secure.
It is easily removable with a ¼ turn quick puck lock system and comes with a wiring harness and 7-way trailer connection.
- Weight capacity: 18,000lbs
- Hitch weight: 137lbs
- Vertically adjusts from 14-1/2″ to 18-1/4″
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
#6. The Quietest Fifth Wheel Hitch
The Q25 has been engineered to deliver the quietest fifth wheel hitch operation on the market.
The patented spherical axial bearing allows the head to tilt in any direction with minimal sound.
The Curt Q25 is easy to operate with one short throw handle for easier coupling and is lockable for security while in motion.
It is safety tested for 25,000 lbs load and an impressive 6,250 vertical load. It will fit most industry-standard base rails (they also provide rail kits sold separately)
- Maximum weight: 25,000 lbs
- Weight of hitch: 136 lbs
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
#7. Best Hitch With Kit Included
The auto-locking slide jaw mechanism delivers security and fit, and its 4 position height adjustment makes it easy to use for multiple towing applications.
The 2 pin removal system makes it easy for one person to remove, and the multi pivoting head has a 10-degree lateral motion for smooth towing.
The hitch includes a universal fitting kit as well as rails. the sturdy steel construction with black carbide finish makes the hitch tough and durable.
- Max Tow weight: 16,000 lbs. gross trailer weight and
- 4,000 lbs. vertical load
- Hitch height: 13″ – 17″
- 5-Year limited warranty.
How Much Can I Tow? (Don´t Be This Guy!)
I breakdown how to figure out your curb weight, GVWR, and GCWR. I also talk about what those numbers are and why they are important to know.
This is the responsibility of every person towing a trailer or hauling a camper on the road, you must know your numbers and be under the legal weight of your vehicle
Towing & Payload Capacity Explained- MUST WATCH IF TOWING! >> Check out the video below:
Although some hitches might appear more costly than others, you should consider your hitch as an investment.
Your fifth wheel’s security should take utmost importance, and then second you should consider ease of use and smooth, effective operation.
Factors such as the pivot system and claw to kingpin security can make a difference in your journey.
An extended road trip with a loud rattle will surely take away from the joy of the open road.