Do 5th wheels need safety chains? (21+ states where is mandatory)

Do fifth wheels require safety chains?

In this blog post, we will answer the question: “Do fifth wheels require safety chains?” We will talk about safety chains and their requirements for fifth wheels. We will also describe choosing the right safety chain for your fifth wheel and list out the various steps for connecting the gooseneck coupler.

Do fifth wheels require safety chains?

No, fifth wheels do not require safety chains unless you use a gooseneck adapter. The hitch of a fifth wheel comes with a kingpin that will lock the RV or the truck in place. Fifth wheels are considered safe without safety chains or cables. However, if your hitch has a ball, you are required to have safety chains in most of the states in the US.

Let’s jump into this a little deeper and understand how to do the gooseneck adapter work, and why don’t you need safety chains. When you connect a fifth wheel pin box and the kingpin to a fifth wheel hitch, there is a secure and positive connection between your fifth wheel and the towing vehicle.

The fifth wheel will slide off in case it is not connected properly the moment you start towing. While safety chains might not be required, there is nothing wrong is having safety chains and nobody is going to stop you. Just remember that a gooseneck trailer will require a safe chain or a safety cable. If you have a kingpin on your fifth wheel, there is nothing to worry about.

What are the uses of a safety chain?

A safety chain has only one use and that is to act as a backup if the primary coupling device fails when towing. A safety chain is connected between the towed vehicle and the towing vehicle. These chains are built to prevent any separation between the towing vehicle and the towed vehicle. Safety chains can be used for any kind of vehicle that is towed.

Safety chain laws for fifth wheels

As we know, every state has its own rules and requirements when it comes to recreational vehicles. From speed limits to towing capacity, each state has listed its requirements. When it comes to fifth wheels and safety chains, it is pretty straightforward. As long as you do not have a gooseneck hitch there is no need for a safety chain.

At the end of the day, it all depends on the type of hitch that you have. To be on the safer side, it is best to have a safety chain on your fifth wheel. This will surely come in handy when you travel from one state to another. You need not worry about not having a safety chain irrespective of the hitch that you have. On the other hand, it is also going to provide you with extra safety.

Choosing the right safety chain for your fifth wheel

Assuming that you have a gooseneck hitch, you will need to pick up the right safety chain for your trailer. The length is pretty important when it comes to safety chains. A short safety chain will not fit and an extra-long safety chain is going to add extra weight. The preferred measurement is 5/16” or 3/8” for your fifth wheel. This length should be more than enough for your fifth wheel.

Connecting the gooseneck coupler

Gooseneck trailers connect to the center of the vehicle or the truck bed. Be sure that the ball receiver is suitable for the weight and size of the trailer. The load rating of the coupler will be listed on the gooseneck itself. It is advised to have a ball and support system that has a rating that will meet or exceed the GVWR of the trailer.

Be sure to check if the gooseneck ball is not damaged since this can detach from the tow vehicle during transit. Note that if your tow vehicle is equipped with a fifth-wheel hitch, you will need a gooseneck to kingpin adapter. There is plenty of gooseneck to kingpin adapters available to match your requirements.

Measure the height of the coupler and the truck bed

The most important part to note while connecting is that the trailer is on the level with the tow vehicle. You can always measure the height of your truck bed and the gooseneck ball from the ground. You will also need to measure the height of the coupler. The good news is that the coupler can be adjusted by removing the set bolt and load-bearing pin.

Adjust everything to the desired height and don’t forget to replace the load-bearing pin. Tighten the set bolts and nuts and always wear gloves while working for your safety. Check the ball and the coupler for any cracks or corrosion before attempting to connect the trailer. It is also recommended to maintain the ball pocket by adding grease once in a while.

The ball must be tight to support the structure. Lubricate the inside of the gooseneck ball receiver with grease. Make sure to crank the trailer to the height of the gooseneck ball. You will need to release the lock plate on the gooseneck ball receiver. Rotate it to a position where it allows the gooseneck ball to couple with the receiver.

Keep your tailgate down and back the tow vehicle and make sure that the gooseneck ball is aligned directly under the receiver. You might need help from another person to get this done. Now you will need to rotate the crank handle to lower the coupler on the ball. Be sure to secure the jack handle in the locked and stowed position.

Now you will see that the tow vehicle and the hitch are supporting the full weight of the tongue. You will need to move the spring-loaded lock plate on the receiver to the closed position. Double-check if the receiver is fully docked and the locking pin is holding the lock plate. You will be required to crank the trailer up by an inch.

Attaching safety chains to the trailer

Now you will need to attach the safety chains to the trailer. Before attaching the safety chains, be sure to check them if there is any damage. The safety chains will need to be attached to the chain receivers that are sitting on the bed of the truck. Remember not to attach the safety chains to the gooseneck ball or support structure.

Make sure there is sufficient slack to allow for a turn. On the other hand, make sure that the chains still can keep the trailer attached. You will now need to attach the brake system cable to the bed of the two-vehicle. Be sure not to attach the cable to the chain receiver, gooseneck trailer ball, safety chains, or support structure.

The last step will be to attach the seven-way plug to the port or the one that is under the tailgate. Make sure to close your tailgate. Once you have done this, you will need to check if all the signals and lights are functioning as usual. You should be ready to go ahead and tow your trailer or fifth wheel with the safety chains attached.

Connecting your trailer or fifth wheel with a gooseneck is not a hard task and this can be done on your own. Make sure to follow the right steps and always take a test drive before heading out to your destination. Attaching safety chains is pretty important and it is going to be an advantage in case any dangerous situations arises.

Remember that if you have a gooseneck hitch, it is required to have a safety chain. Every state has its laws for towing fifth wheels  and it’s better to be safe and secure while towing a fifth wheel. Be sure to check on the state laws for fifth wheels and safety chains if you are still not sure. The easy way out is to get a pair of chains to avoid trouble and stay safe.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have answered the question: “Do fifth wheels require safety chains?” We have talked about safety chains and their requirements for fifth wheels. We have also talked about choosing the right safety chain for your fifth wheel and listed out the various steps for connecting the gooseneck coupler.

Citations

https://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f10/5-0ta-hitch-safety-chains-7270.html
https://www.rvia.org/system/files/media/file/Safety%20Chain%20Requirement.pdf
https://moviecultists.com/do-gooseneck-trailers-need-safety-chains
https://talk.newagtalk.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=461564&DisplayType=nested&setCookie=1#:~:text=All%20gooseneck%20trailers%20are%20required,the%20ball%20in%20the%20bed.
https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f96/why-no-safety-chains-on-our-5th-wheels-39430.html
https://www.everything-about-rving.com/are-safety-chains-required-to-tow-a-5th-wheel-trailer-in-the-us.html
https://www.etrailer.com/question-66117.html
https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f6/safety-chains-on-a-fifth-wheel-59388.html
https://www.dieseltruckresource.com/forums/towing-hauling-rv-95/safety-chains-required-gooseneck-66118/

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