Redneck Trailer Supplies

RTS 101: Hitches & Towing Accessories

RTS 101 provides basic trailer parts information for the DIYer or for the business owner. For more information, please call Redneck Trailer Supplies toll free at (877) 9 REDNECK (973-3632).

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What is a gooseneck hitch?

A gooseneck hitch is designed to move the trailer's tongue weight over/slightly forward of a pickup truck's rear axle. The gooseneck ball mounts vertically on the truck bed. Some designs can be folded down or quickly removed to allow full access to the truck bed when the trailer is not hooked up.

In what type of towing situations is a gooseneck hitch primarily used?

Typical applications for a gooseneck include livestock trailers, car and toy haulers, and industrial/commercial trailers.

I am more familiar with and have always used bumper hitches. Why should I consider using a gooseneck hitch instead?

Gooseneck hitches can haul significantly more weight than bumper hitches and handle up to 30,000-pound trailers with 6,000 pounds of tongue weight.  

What are the primary advantages of a gooseneck hitch?

  • Increased load and towing capacity
  • Better maneuverability, cornering, and stability

Are gooseneck hitches more expensive than bumper hitches?

In most cases, quality gooseneck hitches like the popular B&W Turnoverball™ are usually in the neighborhood of 65% higher than a standard bumper hitch. Even so, your load is much more secure and safe with a gooseneck hitch as compared to a bumper hitch.

If I install a gooseneck hitch in my pick-up bed, won’t that disrupt the normal use of my bed when I am not towing?

Some gooseneck hitches like the popular B&W Turnoverball™ are “a hitch when you need it... a level bed when you don’t.” The B&W Turnoverball™ gooseneck hitch converts to a level bed in seconds, so your bed is completely and totally useable when not towing. Not all gooseneck hitches have this feature.

How does the weight distribution of a gooseneck hitch differ from that of a bumper hitch?

The trailer's tongue weight is moved slightly forward of a pickup truck's rear axle. With a bumper hitch, all of the tongue weight is sitting on the back of the truck frame, which limits towing capacity. A gooseneck trailer can be towed with significantly more tongue weight than a traditional bumper hitch allows.

Will I have less trailer sway when I am towing with a gooseneck hitch?

Yes. When towing a gooseneck trailer, the sway experienced should be considerably less than when towing a bumper pull trailer. That being said, trailer sway is always an issue if the load on the trailer is not balanced properly.

Does a gooseneck hitch make it easier for me to make tighter and sharper turns as compared to a bumper hitch?

Yes. A gooseneck trailer will allow for tighter turns. A word of caution: If you drive a short-bed truck, you should take extra precautions to ensure damage does not occur to the cab.

I have a short-bed truck. Will the B&W Gooseneck Turnoverball™ hitch work with my truck?

Yes. The Turnoverball™ can be installed on most full-sized trucks on the market. It is very important that turning clearance is considered for every truck and trailer combination that will be used.

B&W offers a 4-inch extender (BW4085) that plugs into the receiver socket of the Turnoverball and moves the pivot point 4 inches rearward. B&W also offers the Extend-A-Goose Coupler, which offsets your trailer 10" (TEXA4200).  

How difficult is it to install a gooseneck hitch?

The difficulty of the install usually depends on the knowledge, experience, and expertise of the individual installing the hitch. A B&W Turnoverball™ can be installed by a novice, but installation times vary with experience of the installer and availability of tools (such as a lift or impact wrenches). 

Other styles and models very in complexity and tend to follow the same guidelines as above. You should consider yourself a “hardcore” do it yourselfer if you are going to install your own hitch. Keep in mind, hole(s) must be cut in the bed of your truck. Therefore, you must be confident in your abilities to complete this installation.

Are gooseneck hitches affordable?

Yes. There are many different styles available and prices vary by manufacturer depending on the features of the hitch, as well as the origin of manufacture. The B&W Turnoverball™, which is the most popular gooseneck hitch on the market, is made in the USA.

What type or brand of gooseneck hitches do you recommend?

We strongly recommend the B&W Turnoverball™. It has many outstanding features and is renowned as the best gooseneck hitch available. That being said, there are other brands available that may be less costly than the B&W Turnoverball™ and still do the job for you.

What are the advantages of the B&W Turnoverball™ as compared to other brands that are available?

There are many reasons to choose B&W:

  • Solid, machined 2 5/16" ball
  • Durable powder-coat finish
  • A small hole must be drilled in the bed (not a 14”x18” hole like folding balls require)
  • Bolts to existing holes in the frame with no drilling or welding
  • Solid, one-piece machined receiver socket
  • Flexible latch pin handle attached to a spring loaded, 5/8" steel locking pin that goes completely through the ball
  • Made in the USA
  • Limited lifetime warranty

I have a friend who has a B&W Gooseneck Turnoverball™ hitch in his Chevy truck but doesn’t tow anymore. Can I remove his hitch and use on my Dodge truck?

No. B&W Turnoverball™ hitches are made to fit a particular year and make of truck and cannot be moved to a different make of truck. In a few limited cases, a hitch can be moved from an older to a newer truck of the same make.

I have a truck with a custom flatbed. Does it require a special hitch or can I use the standard B&W Turnoverball™?

B&W offers the BW1500 gooseneck hitch designed specifically for most flatbeds.

I have a spray in truck bed liner; will it be ruined if I install a B&W Turnoverball™ in my truck?

No. Spray in bed liners should not cause any installation issues when installing a B&W Turnoverball™.

Are there any special tools that would make the installation of my B&W Turnoverball™ easier?

Yes. A drill, hole-saw, and various wrenches. Please note the Hitch Helper by B&W is an excellent tool to assist in the installation of the B&W Turnoverball™. This tool (GNXA8030) will hold the gooseneck in place during installation.  

What kind of accessories should I consider buying in conjunction with my B & W gooseneck hitch?

Here is a list of the most popular B&W Turnoverball™ accessories:

  • BW3500 - COMPANION RV 5TH WHEEL HITCH
  • BW3400 – COMPANION RV 5TH WHEEL SLIDER HITCH
  • BW2000 - 2 5/16" BALL (REPLACEMENT)
  • BW2050 - 2 5/16" BALL W/ 1” RISE
  • BW4085 - 2 5/16" BALL W/ 4” OFFSET

What is a receiver hitch?

A receiver hitch is a type of trailer hitch consisting of a portion that mounts to the frame of the vehicle.  This portion of the receiver hitch incorporates a rearward-facing opening that accepts a receiver tube that may be used to place a ball mount for towing a trailer, as well as used to attach hitch bike racks, cargo carriers, or other hitch mounted accessories.

What information must I have to order the correct receiver hitch for my vehicle?

To order the proper receiver hitch for your vehicle, you must have the correct make, year, and model of your vehicle. In some cases, more information may be required, but having correct make, year, and model information is absolutely necessary.

Why is so much information needed to order a receiver hitch?

Vehicle manufacturers often make numerous changes to their vehicles on an annual basis. These changes often impact the way a receiver hitch must be designed and installed, therefore the hitch that fit the previous year model may not fit the new year model.

As a result, when buying or installing a hitch, you must have the correct information as it relates to make, year, and model of the vehicle.

Are there different categories of receiver hitches?

Yes. Receiver hitches are categorized by classes. These classes range from Class 1 to Class 5 and are sometimes represented as Roman numerals by the various hitch manufacturers.

What are the different ratings associated with each receiver hitch class?

Class I hitches are rated to tow up to 2,000 lbs GTW (gross trailer weight) and 200 lbs TW (tongue weight). These hitches all incorporate a 1 ¼” receiver tube.

Class II hitches are rated to tow up to 3,500 lbs GTW (gross trailer weight) and 350 lbs TW (tongue weight). These hitches all incorporate a 1 ¼” receiver tube.

Class III hitches have a variable towing range from 3,500-8000 lbs GTW (gross trailer weight) and 350-800 lbs TW (tongue weight). Class III hitches incorporate a 2” receiver tube. 

In some cases, their towing range can be increased to 12,000 lbs GTW and 1,200 lbs TW when used in combination with a weight distribution hitch.

Class IV hitches are rated to tow up to 10,000 lbs GTW (gross trailer weight) and 1,000 lbs TW (tongue weight). Class IV hitches incorporate a 2” receiver tube.  In some cases, their towing range can be increased to 14,000 lbs GTW and 1,400 lbs TW when used with a weight distribution hitch.

Class V hitches are extraordinarily heavy duty hitches and are not governed by typical SAE J684 towing regulations. Some manufacturers position and market Class V hitches as “commercial duty” or “xtra duty” / “heavy duty”, but there is no “defined” Class 5 standard according to SAE J684. These hitches can utilize a 2 or 2 ½” receiver tube depending on the manufacturer.

How do I decide what class of receiver hitch is best for my vehicle?

Before you can determine what class of hitch you need, you will first need to know what weight your vehicle is capable of towing. This information will likely be in your owner’s manual.

If you don’t have the owner’s manual you can probably find the information on the Internet. If you need  additional help, you should contact the dealer of your car’s manufacturer. 

Once you have your vehicle’s towing capacity, you will also need to identify how much actual weight you will be towing. After obtaining the above information, you will then be able to determine what class of hitch is best for your specific needs.

How do receiver tubes vary by class?

Receiver tubes are available in various sizes and are designed and manufactured based on the weight requirements of the load they will carry. Sometimes there are also additional variables such as country of operation.  

In the majority of cases, class I & II receiver hitches have a 1 1⁄4” (31.8 mm) receiver tube, class III & IV have a 2” (50.8 mm) receiver tube and class V has either a 2” (50.8 mm) or 2 1⁄2” (63.5 mm) receiver tube.

What is a weight distribution hitch and what is its primary purpose?

A weight-distributing hitch can best be described as a "load-leveling" hitch. It is designed to be mounted on the tow vehicle. 

It uses a combination of spring bars and chains that, when placed in a load situation, distribute part of the trailer's hitch weight from the towing vehicle's rear axle to the towing vehicle's front axle, as well as the axles to the trailer.  

Weight distribution hitches are designed to help reduce trailer sway, or “fish tailing,” and provide a major safety feature when towing.

Will my Class 1 hitch support a hitch-mounted bike rack and bikes?

You must know all of the specific towing characteristics of your vehicle and of the bike rack before this can be determined. You should first check with the manufacturer of your bike rack; some manufacturers do not recommend the use of their racks with Class 1 hitches. 

Most bike racks have very specific weight tolerances that must be followed to ensure safe towing.    Remember, when calculating the weight of your load don’t forget to add the weight of the bike rack to the total weight.

Can I install the hitch myself?

Yes. Many individuals install their own hitches depending on their abilities as a do-it-yourselfer, as well as needed tools, safe area for installation, etc.  It is often quicker and easier for a professional technician to install the hitch. 

With that said, every hitch should come with specific installation instructions for your vehicle. In addition, you may be able to find an instructional video specific to your hitch installation on the Internet.

Should I weld my hitch to the frame of my vehicle?

You should never weld a hitch to the vehicle frame unless specified by the hitch manufacturer. In addition, all welding should be done by a certified professional who is insured and will guarantee their work. Improper welding can weaken both the hitch and the frame of your vehicle.

Will drilling in my frame void my warranty?

Typically, it will not. However, each vehicle manufacturer has specifics regarding their warranty as it relates to their various vehicles. To determine if drilling into your frame voids your warranty, it is recommended that you call your local dealer or contact the vehicle manufacturer.

Can I substitute the supplied hardware for my hitch with hardware of my own choosing?

Substituting hardware is not recommended, and the supplied hardware of your hitch is tested to meet the specs and towing capacity of your vehicle. You should not do this unless authorized by the manufacturer.  

Substituting hardware without authorization could void your hitch warranty and also lead to product failure.

What if the hardware supplied with my hitch seems too large and will not fit in my existing weld nuts?

Most likely, the existing weld nuts on the frame are of the correct size to match with the bolt hardware.  However, it is possible they may not seem to fit because the threads are corroded and dirty. 

It is very important to thoroughly clean the weld nuts on your vehicle. Specifically, vehicles that are more than a couple years old or that are used in a geographical location that truly experiences all four seasons are prone to rust and corrosion. 

On newer vehicles it is also possible that excessive underbody spray or undercoating can prevent the bolt from threading easily. To aid in installation, a penetrating lubricant such as PB Blaster (part # PB50) can be effective to help deteriorate any excessive rust.

After using the lubricant, it is also recommended that you thoroughly clean the nuts with a wire brush.

What is the primary purpose of a front mount hitch?

The primary purpose of a front mount receiver hitch is that it may provide a convenient mount for various hitch accessories such as a step pad, license plate holder, skid shield, spare tire mount, winch mount plate, etc.

A front mount receiver hitch can also provide an easy and excellent way to maneuver your boat when launching.

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