If you’re towing a fifth wheel behind your pickup, you have to have a special plate installed to connect it.
There are several different configurations that allow you to attach the fifth wheel using a king pin connection or a gooseneck ball. There are also a variety of weight ratings, but the cost will vary.
So, how much does it cost to install a fifth wheel hitch?
You can expect to spend anywhere from $500-2000 on the entire job, including parts and labor. The exact cost will depend on several factors like weight rating, configuration, and labor charges.
Fifth Wheel Hitch Installation Cost Explained
Because there are so many factors that will contribute to the cost of your hitch installation, it’s important to go through these items and understand what they mean and why they cost what they do.
There are three different types of fifth wheel hitches that you can purchase, each with a different price tag. The first is the standard fifth wheel hitch which typically starts at around $500.
This type of hitch uses a king pin connection to attach the trailer directly to the truck’s frame.
The second type is the gooseneck fifth wheel hitch. This type of hitch uses a ball mount that attaches to the truck’s bed and allows you to pivot the trailer.
These types of hitches are typically more expensive, starting at around $1000. That’s because fifth wheels don’t come with this type of connection. You have to purchase extra equipment to convert the connection to a gooseneck.
The third type is the slider fifth wheel hitch. This type of hitch shares the same king pin connection, but it has a sliding mechanism that allows you to move the trailer back and forth.
These types of hitches are also more expensive, starting at around $1200. That’s because they offer more maneuverability when you’re making turns.
These types of hitches are required for pickups with shorter beds, but not necessary on long beds.
5th Wheel Hitch Weight Ratings
The weight rating is another factor that will affect the price of your fifth wheel hitch. The weight rating is the amount of weight that the hitch can safely tow.
Most fifth wheels have a weight rating between 12,000 and 25,000 pounds, but you can certainly get hitches that will pull up to 40,000 pounds if needed.
The higher the weight rating, the more expensive the hitch will be. That’s because hitches with higher weight ratings are made with stronger materials and have more reinforcement.
If you’re not sure what weight rating you need, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and get a hitch that’s rated for more weight than you think you’ll ever need.
Finally, labor charges will also affect the cost of your fifth wheel hitch installation.
If you’re having the hitch installed by a professional, they will charge an hourly rate for their services. The average labor cost is between $50 and $100 per hour.
Luckily, installing fifth wheel hitches doesn’t take that long, so this won’t be the most significant portion of your bill.
If your pickup has a puck system, it’s already prepped for a fifth wheel hitch, which makes installation go faster. It may only take an hour or two.
If your pickup isn’t equipped for the installation, it could take up to four hours, which will add to your labor cost.
Related: Average height of a 5th wheel.
Different Types Of 5th Wheel Hitches
As I’ve already mentioned, there are three main types of fifth wheel hitches, and the kind you need will depend on the kind of pickup you have as well as a bit of your personal preference.
Standard King Pin
Standard king pin fifth wheel hitches are the most common type. They’re also the most affordable, typically starting at around $500. This type of hitch uses a king pin connection to attach the trailer directly to the truck’s frame.
A king pin connection includes a round steel shaft that’s connected to the tongue of the fifth wheel.
This shaft slides into the fifth wheel plate in the bed of your pickup, and then the jaws of the plate clamp down around it. The plate is attached to the trailer’s frame.
The king pin connection is very strong and is the most secure way to connect a fifth wheel trailer to a pickup. It’s also the easiest type of hitch to install, which is why it’s so popular.
The main downside of a king pin connection is that it can be less forgiving when you’re making turns.
That’s because the king pin is attached directly to the truck’s frame, so it can’t pivot the way a gooseneck or slider hitch can.
Gooseneck Ball Mount
Gooseneck ball mount fifth wheel hitches are less common than king pin hitches, but they’re gaining in popularity.
That’s because they offer more maneuverability than a king pin hitch, which comes in handy when you’re making tight turns.
A gooseneck hitch attaches to the truck’s frame in the same way a king pin hitch does, but instead of a plate with jaws, it uses a gooseneck ball.
This ball is similar to the one you’d use for towing a gooseneck trailer. It’s attached to the fifth wheel’s tongue with a metal plate.
The gooseneck ball allows the fifth wheel to pivot on its axis, which gives you more control when you’re making turns.
The downside of a gooseneck hitch is that it can be more difficult to install than a king pin hitch and it’s more expensive.
You also have to convert your trailer’s king pin shaft to something that will receive the gooseneck ball.
Purchasing these conversion kits will add to your cost and can weaken the connection somewhat.
Slider hitches are the most expensive type of fifth wheel hitch, but they offer the most maneuverability. That’s because they allow the fifth wheel to slide back and forth on a rail that’s installed in the pickup’s bed.
This gives you more room to make turns without having to worry about hitting something with the back of your trailer.
Slider hitches are also the most difficult to install, and they require a special rail system that’s installed in the truck’s bed. This system can be expensive, so it will add to your overall cost.
Pickup trucks with shorter beds will benefit the most from slider hitches because they provide the most clearance.
Your installation professional may even tell you that your pickup requires this type of hitch. If you have a long bed pickup, you may not need a slider hitch, and a king pin or gooseneck hitch will probably suffice.
Related: The Best 5th Wheel Campers Revealed.
What Are The Best 5th Wheel Hitches?
For solid and reliable towing of your fifth wheel, you want to make sure you get the best hitch for the job.
There are dozens of manufacturers producing a wide variety of hitches, so it’s important to do your research before purchasing one.
1. B&W Companion
The B&W Companion is by far one of the best fifth wheel hitches you can buy. It has a weight rating of 20,000 pounds and is less than $1000. It’s a great option for beginners because the cam-action latch is easy to use.
B&W is my personal favorite brand because they offer a wide variety of options. I have a B&W hitch on my pickup right now and it can pull 27,000 pounds. It’s easy to connect and I’ve never had any problems with a bumpy ride.
2. Anderson Ultimate
If you want to convert your king pin connection to a gooseneck connection, Anderson has some of the best products on the market.
The Ultimate Fifth Wheel Connection is a great option if you’re looking for a high-quality conversion kit. It comes with everything you need to make the switch, and it’s very easy to install.
If I were to convert my king pin connection to a gooseneck, I would choose Anderson over any other kit on the market.
I’ve talked to people that have used them and they’re simply the best and most reliable.
3. CURT A16
The CURT A16 is a slider hitch that has a 16,000 pound weight capacity. It’s one of the most affordable slider hitches on the market and the CURT brand is well-known and respected in the world of towing.
While I prefer the B&W brand for my fifth wheel plates, I know that CURT is another reliable option because I use them for my bumper hitch receivers, sleeves, and balls.
I think they have the widest variety of options when it comes to bumper pulls.
How Hard Is It to Install A Fifth Wheel Hitch: DIY or Professional?
Installing a fifth wheel hitch is not a difficult task, but it’s important to do it correctly. If you’re not comfortable working under your truck or don’t have the right tools, it’s best to hire a professional.
If you decide to install the hitch yourself, make sure you have all the necessary tools and instructions before starting the project.
It’s also important to follow all the safety precautions to avoid injury.
Doing It Yourself
In order to install a fifth wheel plate on your own, you’ll need a few tools.
- A drill.
- A 3/4″ drill bit.
- A 1/2″ socket and ratchet.
- A 9/16″ socket and ratchet.
- An impact wrench.
- A torque wrench.
You’ll also need a fifth wheel installation kit, which includes the bolts and plates needed to secure the hitch to your truck.
Once you have all the tools and parts, follow these instructions:
- Park your truck on level ground and put it in park. Set the emergency brake and chock the wheels to prevent the truck from rolling.
- Disconnect the battery to avoid electrocution while working under the truck.
- Raise the rear of the truck with a jack and support it with jack stands.
- Locate the frame rails under the bed of the truck. These are the metal beams that run the length of the truck and support the weight of the bed.
- Measure from one side of the frame rail to the other to find the center. Mark the center with a pencil or chalk.
- Drill a hole through the frame rail at the center mark. This will be where one of the bolts from the installation kit goes.
- Insert a bolt through the hole and secure it with a washer and nut.
- Repeat this process for the other frame rail.
- Place the fifth wheel plate on the frame rails so that the holes line up with the bolts.
- Insert the bolts through the holes and secure them with washers and nuts.
- Torque all the bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Reconnect the battery and lower the truck.
- Test the hitch by hooking up your trailer and making sure everything is secure before heading out on the road.
Hiring A Professional
If you’re not comfortable installing the hitch yourself, hiring a professional is always an option.
A qualified mechanic or RV technician can install the hitch for you, and they’ll know exactly how to do it properly. The average cost for professional installation is between $200 and $300.
When you’re looking for a qualified installer, make sure they have experience installing fifth wheel hitches. Ask to see pictures of previous installations, and read online reviews to get an idea of their work.
You should also ask about the warranty on the hitch and the installation. Most fifth wheel hitches come with a one-year warranty, but it’s always best to double-check before hiring someone.
How To Find 5th Wheel Hitch Installation Near Me
If you’re not comfortable installing the hitch yourself, the best way to find a qualified installer is by searching online. There are several websites that offer lists of qualified installers in your area.
Some options for installation professionals include:
- Trailer shops that sell hitches
- RV dealers
- Tire shops
You can also check with your local RV dealer or mechanic. They may be able to recommend a qualified installer if they can’t do the installation themselves.
How Long Does It Take To Install A 5th Wheel Hitch?
The time it takes to install a fifth wheel hitch varies depending on the make and model of your truck, as well as your own experience level.
If you’re experienced with installing hitches, it should only take a few hours. However, if you’re not familiar with the process, it could take half a day or more.
As a general rule, if you’re installing the hitch yourself, you should allow anywhere from 4-8 hours to get it done.
It’s always best to allow yourself plenty of time when installing a fifth wheel hitch. That way, you won’t feel rushed and you can take your time to make sure everything is done correctly.
Hiring a professional will cost more, but it will take a lot less time. Most professionals can install a hitch in 1-2 hours.
Even if they run into delays, it won’t take more than about 4 hours, no matter how complicated the job may be.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Gooseneck Hitch?
The cost of installing a gooseneck hitch can vary greatly depending on the type of vehicle and installation needed. Installation costs typically range anywhere from $100 to over $1,300.
The price includes labor, materials, and other fees associated with the installation. Additionally, some shops may offer discounted rates if multiple services are being performed at the same time.
It is important to remember that the cost of installation may be more or less depending on the shop and make/model of vehicle. To get an accurate quote, it is best to contact a local shop for pricing information.
Installing a fifth wheel hitch is a relatively easy process, but it’s important to take your time and make sure everything is done correctly.
The average cost for labor is between $50 and $100 an hour, plus the cost of the hitch itself, which can run anywhere from $500-2000.
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