I just bought a beeyootiful Ford F-350 Diesel to replace the Dodge 1500 that my cousin used to let all the feral cats sleep in. It has those rails in the back for a 5th wheel hitch. (Nothing else, just those rail thingies.) The previous owner had an RV -- I don't know how heavy it was. I am buying a two-horse gooseneck that I guess will weigh around 6000 lbs. It's a Hawk with the option to load the horses either reversed or forward, needs a little extra room inside for that.
So what's the best, safest hitch for this outfit? Do I simply buy one of those plates with a ball hitch in the middle or opt for one of the hitches that flip down so the truckbed is flat and uncluttered? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each? Or is there another option I'm not considering, but should?
Any advice will be appreciated! Thanks in advance!
If truck already has the rails, you can just buy the plate and pins to put plate on, lock it to the rails. Check weight rating, but should be fine for trailer you mentioned. Plate should be available to just order or buy at a dealer. Dealer should have all information on load capacity, if you can't find it online.
I was planning on a set up like that for my next truck, but hitch was already in the truck we bought. I thought the rail and plate setup was very nice, let you use the bed for hay or other loads we haul. Much less sticking up than the bolted in plate hitches to trip over. Previous truck had the fold down hitch, not the flip over one. Still bolt heads sticking up.
If you already have the rails installed, your cheapest route would be to just buy the plate. However, if I had to do it over again, I would get a turnover ball....makes the bed of your truck much more useful if you don't have crap mounted in it.
A 2H GN at 6000#? That sounds a little high. I have a 3H GN with a large dressing room (20 feet on the floor), built like a tank, that weighs 5000#. Regardless, a quality, appropriate hitch should easily be able to handle it.
My BO's truck has the 5th wheel conversion hitch (the plate on the rails). The big problem with that isI have never seen a trailer sit level while hooked up to her truck. I don't think people realize that not only are the horses then having to stand on an incline, but they are also causing the tires to wear unevenly. Plus, there are quite a few driveways around here that would cause the back end of my trailer to hit if it were any lower.
I have the B&W hitch that I absolutely love. As the other poster said, it's easy to have installed and the ability to have a flat bed is very helpful. When I bought my truck it had the rails in it as well, but those were the first thing to go, especially because my truck already sits fairly high.
A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham
The ball up on the rails in the bed leaves the hitch too high for almost any horse trailer/truck combination. The trailer should be level when on level ground-saves wear and tear on axles, tires, brakes, and horses. Don't go by what you see most of the time. Most horse trailers are pulled out of level.
When it works it's great and you don't have to get in and out of the back of the truck. To keep it working it has to be lubed with silicone spray under the bed-a bit of a pain. The good thing about it is that I can always drop it without getting in the bed even if I have to tap on the handle with a hammer.
But any detritus which invariably collects aroung the ball will keep it from popping up and then, even though it's not hard, becomes a 2 person job since one has to get into the bed to pull the ball up while the other pulls the handle out.
The B&W can always be operated by one person but you always have to get in and out of the bed to flip the ball over. http://www.turnoverball.com/
Last time I checked Valley Vet had the best price on the B&W.
With us, I'm almost never alone so the PopUp works fine.
If I had a B&W, I'd take the ball out and store it in the toolbox in an old sock in a ziplock bag and keep a round plumbing pipe cleaning brush to clean the socket out before putting the ball back in.
I'm leaning towards the B&W hitch. The truck bed is 3'3" off the ground, and I'm thinking that the extra couple of inches with the rail, plate and hitch will make the trailer unlevel. Heck, I hope my beeyootiful new truck is not TOO tall!
Did I mention I've never owned a gooseneck trailer before? My cousin had a couple for the ranch, but up till now my trailers have all been bumper pull.
I have the B+W ... I installed it DIY. 7 years ago. Would choose it again.
Purchasing the GN plate for your existing rails will be the easiest route. But to get a flat truck bed, that plate is a bear to wrestle out. If you decide to go the plate route, make sure the previous installer included the spacers to support the rails on the frame under the bed. If the rails are just sitting on the bed, the bed will crush with a horse trailer on it. Those RV's aren't as heavy as a horse trailer.
I looked at B&W, but opted for www.una-goose.com. It doesn't leave the little chain hookups in the bed of your truck, but comes out completely flush. I store the ball in a small plastic toolbox in my truck, along with gloves, a rag and lube.
Tom King: I never understood the advantage of the pop-ups -- don't you have to get in the bed of your truck anyway to hook up the chains and plug in the brakes?
Good points, hosspuller. My cousin had a big stock GN "custom" made that had these angled sheets of steel from the GN to the body of the trailer. For added strength, I suppose. The problem was, when turning or maneuvering on the rough ranch roads, the trailer and truck would hit each other. It didn't take long for the truck to show the battle scars from this awful design! Clearance was obviously insufficient for our purposes.
Ooh! I really like the looks of the Una-goose hitch! OK, so it's either the B & W or Una-goose. No matter which option I go with, plate or removable/flip hitch, I WILL have the installer check that the installation is adequate for a horse trailer...
quote: "Tom King: I never understood the advantage of the pop-ups -- don't you have to get in the bed of your truck anyway to hook up the chains and plug in the brakes?"
I can hook the chains and latch the hitch by leaning in over the side while standing on the tire or running board, but can't pull the ball up by doing that. My lights and brakes plug in right inside the tailgate so I plug in just before I close the tailgate. But even if you aren't able to do that it's either an additional trip in and out of the bed or you would have to jack the trailer way above the ball when you unhitch it so you can do the switch while it's in position.
Last edited by Tom King; Oct. 10, 2008 at 05:59 PM.
Tom King: My friend had the pop up ball in her truck. Driving down the road (at 60mph), she blew the rear tire on her truck, hitting the handle in the wheel well and popping the ball down. Now the trailer was sitting on the bed of her truck. She managed to stop fine, but then had to put the foot down on the trailer and crank it up so she could get the ball popped up again. She promptly took the truck in and had it replaced with the flip over ball.
~I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.~
That's a rare one. I've even thought about the possibility,but that's the first time I've ever heard of it happening. The blowout would have to be severe enough and in just the right place at the instant the hitch was unweighted going over a bump.
The ball is captive in the hitch so worst case it still won't come unhitched. It can only go down about an inch and the heavy frame for the hitch is right below the bed.
It's not something I would worry about since nothing major would happen anyway other than scarring up the truck bed and having to use the trailer jack to raise it back up.
I'll save wear and tear on me and worry about stuff that would happen more often-like getting struck by lightning.