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Can a 5th Wheel Hitch Rated for Recreational Use be Used for a Commercial Trailer

Question:

Can a mini 5th wheel be used to pull a trailer with a standard 5th wheel plate and king pin.? Small trailer but the hitch s below the raised deck and has a 5th plate like a standard trailer. Customer wants to pull trailer with a gross of 23,500# with a RAM 5500 cab chassis equipped with mini 5th wheel.

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Expert Reply:

It is possible that you can tow a commercial trailer with a 5th wheel hitch rated for recreational use but it is not really a good idea for an extended period of time. The first issue as to why it might not be a good idea is because of the kingpin dimensions. The standard kingpin used on recreational trailers is 2" diameter. This is also the size used on most commercial trailers as well but they could utilize a 3-1/2" diameter kingpin so you will need to check this beforehand. If it does have a 3-1/2" diameter kingpin than a 5th wheel hitch rated for recreational use would not work.

The second issue you are going to run into is the amount of surface area on the skid plate. The skid plate on a commercial trailer is going to be much larger than the skid plate on a 5th wheel hitch rated for recreational use so you may run into issues with weight distribution and stability. The third issue that could be a problem is the weight of the commercial trailer in relation to the weight capacity of the 5th wheel hitch. The 23,500 lb figure that you quoted is near the upper end of the weight capacities for 5th wheel hitches rated for recreation so you will need to check this as well.

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Conner L

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