trailers in America are often referred to as Gooseneck
trailers, or just Goosenecks.
The suspension on the 5th
Wheel trailer carries most of its gross weight with the
balance of weight distributed forward of the rear
suspension over the differential rather than the extreme
rear of the tow vehicle. 5th Wheel
trailers are reported to be more stable to tow and
reverse than conventional caravans or travel trailers.
The body of the 5th Wheel
trailer extends over the body of the tow vehicle.
The 5th Wheel trailer can be detached from
the tow vehicle and used separately.
A large number of 5th Wheelers
are imported into Australia. Conversion to 240V,
trailer lighting to Australian Standards and
installation of a left hand door is required. Gas
conversion to obtain certification is also required.
Due to demand in Australia some 5th
Wheelers made in the USA are built and designed to suit
There are also 5th wheelers
built in Australia such as Venture 5th
Wheelers which are built in Toowoomba and Dryden
Trailerhomes at Yatala, Brisbane, Queensland.
Owners of 5th Wheelers are
eligible to join the Campervan and Motorhome Club of
Australia Limited (CMCA).
It is unlikely you will want for anything
Wheel trailers come equipped with gas bottles and all
the modern conveniences such as insulation, roof
hatches, air conditioning, gas/electric hot water
storage system, deep cycle batteries, 240V with 12V
converter and 30 amp battery charger, water pumps,
shower, basin and vanity cupboards, water tank level
monitors, LP gas detector and smoke alarms, TV, CD
player, cooktop, oven, microwave and standard 3 way
There are options for electric step,
compressor type 12V refrigeration, solar panels, arm
chair layout, LCD flat screen TV, satellite TV
reception, single or double beds, DVD player and annex.
Check out the specification list for the
Wheeler you intend to purchase.
They are equipped with a swivel toilet
with a removable cassette. Some models provide for an
internal and external shower. For the shower and
toilet there is a ‘fresh’ water tank for your taps,
toilet flush and shower. There is an option of a
‘grey’ water tank for sullage.
What sort of tow vehicle is
required for a 5th wheeler
The tow vehicle must be legally rated to
tow a 5th
You will need to know the weight of the 5th
Wheeler and check your tow vehicle has the capacity to
tow that weight. This towing capacity of your
vehicle is found in the vehicle Owner's Manual.
As an example only, is it is likely a
Toyota Landcruiser will allow you to pull up to a 30
foot unit and a Nissan Navara or a Nissan Patrol will
pull some of the lighter weight units.
A F Series or a Chevrolet will pull up to
a 36 foot unit.
Wheelers come with electric brakes ?
Yes. They are also fitted with a
Will they fit on a conventional caravan site ?
Generally, yes, but it depends on the
length of the 5th
Wheeler. Remember it doesn’t have a draw bar or A
Frame. This makes the 5th Wheeler more
the vehicle can approach at much tighter
How wide are they?
Most 5th Wheelers are 8 foot wide.
The slide-outs can add up to another 2 – 4 feet. By
comparison, caravans usually come in widths of 7 foot 6 inches or 7
foot 8 inches.
Do I need a special
licence for a 5th
This will depend on the type of tow
vehicle you purchase, but most 5th Wheelers
can be towed throughout Australia with an
ordinary passenger Class ‘C’ vehicle licence.
Are there any disadvantages to owning a 5th
disadvantage of the fifth-wheel is the choice of tow
vehicle dictates how many people can be carried.
Much of the truck bed space is unavailable as the
fifth-wheel hitch will occupy the centre of the tow
vehicle truck bed and the hitch pin should be in front
of the tow vehicles rear axel.
Standard utilities have only two seats
although some are fitted with a bench seat which will
allow 3 people. Space cabs also known as Extra
cabs or Freestyle cabs have a back seat but it is not
full size. It may be suitable for children but it
would be too small for an adult for long trips.
Dual cabs generally are larger and would provide more
space for an adult for general touring but check first
if it is suitable for a fifth-wheel hitch.