A gooseneck trailer is multi-functional, but can a semi truck pull one?
We will go through whether a gooseneck trailer can be attached to a semi truck or if you need a fifth wheel to connect to one.
We will also cover any regulations surrounding gooseneck trailers on semi trucks, and more.
Here’s a quick answer to whether you can pull a Gooseneck Trailer with a Semi Truck:
A gooseneck trailer can be pulled by a semi truck provided that the gooseneck kingpin and fifth wheel plate are at the correct height. If this is not possible, a ball can be mounted behind the 5th wheel to accommodate the gooseneck hitch. Alternately a 5th wheel gooseneck adapter can be used.
Table of Contents
What is a Gooseneck Trailer?
A gooseneck trailer is designed to be pulled by pickup trucks with the correct equipment to do the job. An RV or SUV can also tow them depending on the size of the bumper pull.
The gooseneck trailer can be longer, heavier, and broader than other bumper pulls. This helps with stability.
Is a Gooseneck Trailer a Semi Trailer?
A gooseneck trailer is not solely designed for a semi truck but can be pulled by one. Gooseneck trailers are all-rounder trailers. They come in different lengths and widths.
Some large ones have multiple axles with a superlow bed and extra length for hauling heavy machines. These are usually the ones we see with an escort of some kind due to the width and height of the goods.
Generally pulled along by a semi tractor. Then we have the smaller ones used by your day-to-day builder and farmer.
Are Gooseneck Trailers Better?
A gooseneck is better for towing hot-shot vehicles, agriculture, horses, and livestock. It is a good, general all-rounder for minor building, roadwork, and farming trades.
The gooseneck is not ideal for long hauling compared to a conventional trailer. It requires a different setup and would be advisable to stick to a semi trailer with more load capacity.
Can you pull a Gooseneck Trailer with a Semi Truck?
You can pull a gooseneck with a semi truck, but you must have the correct setup and not exceed the trailer’s load capacity.
A common setup is to have a ball mounted behind and under the fifth wheel for the gooseneck hitch. Having this fixture together with the fifth wheel plate allows you to accommodate most trailer types.
For weight limits, check with your state or the states you will be traveling through on their laws.
A guide to the maximum weight a gooseneck can pull will be on a plate found at the front side of the trailer. You can also check the DOT website for further details.
Can you pull a Gooseneck Trailer with a Standard 5th Wheel Plate?
You can pull a gooseneck trailer with a 5th wheel plate, provided you have the correct setup. The gooseneck will need to be at the correct height to connect to the 5th wheel plate.
The gooseneck will have to have a kingpin installed and can connect to the kingpin directly. For tandem axel semis, you may have to move the 5th wheel plate all the way to the back to achieve a good clearance.
Additionally, you could have the 5th wheel plate modified for this purpose, and you may need more components to make this work.
Are there Gooseneck 5th Wheel Adapters?
There are a few gooseneck fifth wheel adapters on the market. Here are some of the popular ones:
- GN5 4 inch round stem gooseneck to 5th wheel adapter – holds 30,000Ibs GVW for straight models and 24,000Ibs GVW for extended models. You can pick one up for around $200.
- Ranch hitch universal 5th wheel to gooseneck coupler adapter – has a 24,000Ibs tow capacity. You can pick one up for around $500.
- Bulldog gooseneck to 5th wheel adapter has a 25,000Ibs tow capacity. You can pick one up for around $200 – $300.
- Kingpin to 2-5/16 inch gooseneck ball adapter by Reese-hitches has a 30,000Ibs tow capacity. You can pick one up for around $250.
- Flip over semi hitch has two grades, one at 30,000Ibs and the other at 45,000Ibs tow capacity. You can pick one up for around $700 – $900.
- T-built 12” fifth wheel to gooseneck adapter has a 20,000Ibs tow capacity. You can pick one up for around $400.
Make sure you choose the correct one to fit your truck.
How to Pull a Gooseneck Trailer with a Semi Truck?
After making sure you have the correct trailer and connections. Make sure the trailer is at the right height for the tractor to reverse up and connect.
Once the gooseneck has been successfully locked into the fifth wheel, the airlines and brake cables have been attached. Do the tug test and functional checks.
Drive the semi truck as if you were driving your usual trailer. Treat every situation the same. A gooseneck trailer is safe to use and will only become dangerous when not operated correctly.
Do you need to Adjust the 5th Wheel of the Semi?
You may need to adjust the 5th wheel of the semi truck. It could be the height or the distance from the rear of the truck. The only way to find out is to line the truck up next to the trailer.
A tape measurer might work too. Make sure the truck and trailer are on a level solid surface and facing the right way. Lock the fifth wheel in place properly and secure all bolts before you attempt to mount the trailer.
What Hitch do you need to Attach the Gooseneck Trailer to the Semi Truck?
The hitch would depend on the weight capacity you want to pull and the style of the trailer.
You can use the following:
- B&W Turnover ball
- Bulldog gooseneck to fifth-wheel trailer coupling adapter
- Fabricated flatbed gooseneck hitch
- Flipover hitch
These products have different weight capacities and need to be researched before buying. They also come with installation instructions.
They may not fit all brands of semi trucks. You would need to ask the seller for specific details on your truck model.
How to Connect the Brakes and Electrics?
Gooseneck trailers typically use electric brakes. To connect the trailer electric brakes and the brake lights, you will need to have electric wires, and a suitable brake controller, and an “RV style” plug.
The brake controller will allow you to activate the trailer’s electric brakes.
In order to connect the brakes, you will have to install a brake controller in the cab with power coming from the brake light switch. It will supply the current to the brakes when you use the pedal.
You then run wires from the brake controller to the RV plug. To complete, the circuit, connect the RV plug to the trailer.
Using the wrong connectors or plugs can result in the tail brake lights staying on continuously or even not working at all.
Try not to use too many electrical adapters as it could cause a short circuit in the truck’s electrics.
Check that you have set and connected the trailer to the truck properly.
It is advisable to do a functional check to make sure everything is in working order and won’t leave you in a pickle.
After checking the airlines and cables are connected, make sure the landing gear has been raised. Ask someone to check the brakes lights and signals are working while you step on the pedal and work the controls.
Drive the vehicle forward a little to test the trailer is locked in place and brakes are functional. If you are satisfied, take the truck for a spin around the block for a short test.
What Load can a Semi Truck Pull with a Gooseneck Trailer?
Gooseneck trailers can handle anywhere from 20,000 to 35,000 pounds.
It is a combined tractor-trailer weight with a load. A semi truck is capable of pulling any weight on a gooseneck with the right connections.
It is not a good idea to use a semi truck to tow light gooseneck trailers. If possible, try to avoid this if you must pull it. Use the correct connections, spread your load evenly if possible.
Make sure the load is fully secured. There are flatbed gooseneck trailers that will most likely require goods to be strapped down.
An excellent guide to make sure you stay within the width limits of a load is to not pass the door mirrors of the truck with any goods on the trailer.
Are there any Regulations to be Weary of?
There are weight regulations. The maximum gross vehicle weight for a semi truck and trailer combination on the interstate is 80,000 lbs.
However, gooseneck trailers typically handle between 20,000 to 35,000 pounds of weight.
The weight regulations vary from state to state. As long as the vehicle meets the weight requirements and is safely connected, you will be within your legal limits.
The tires and brakes should be in good working condition. The brake system can be electrical or hydraulic, and this would depend on the setup. Newer trailers tend to have electric brakes.
The DOT website has the relevant information you may need. Check the state/s you will be entering for laws surrounding the weight and condition of the tractor-trailer combination.