Awesome! So...serious question - why do they call it a fifth wheel? And what’s the difference between a gooseneck and a fifthwheel if there is one at all? The only thing I can think is the former term tends to be used more agricultural trailers while the latter term seems to be is used most often for recreational trailers, both sharing the same general body type and bolting into a hitch in the bed of the truck.
Still, fifth wheel...I never understood where that came from
A gooseneck trailer is usually industrial/farm trailers; the ball is in the bed of the pickup. A fifth wheel has the ball (king pin) on the trailer, and attaches to a hitch plate in the bed of the truck.
The fifth wheel got its name from its original design. They were initially invented for horse-drawn carriages in the mid 1850s. Manufacturers (who at the time built the components by hand) placed a horizontal wheel on the cargo frame or “truck” that allowed the front axle to pivot on its own. This worked wonders for stability and maneuverability.
Since there is a great explanation as to the origin of the term fifth wheel I will leave that part alone. Far as the difference between a goose neck and fifth wheel hitches, yes, they both do essentially the same thing, but in a different fashion. This is a goose neck hitch: It bolts to the truck and the hitch part of the trailer fits over the ball. They also require safety chains. A fifth wheel hitch also bolts to the truck, but looks like this: or some variation, and the trailer has a pin that gets clamped into the jaws of the hitch. They do not require safety chains.