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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 4847
Location: Kunda Park
State:: Queensland
Current Bushtracker owner:: Yes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:41 am    Post subject: HOW DO 5TH WHEELS OR GOOSENECKS GO IN THE BUSH? Reply with quote

We have made them, and rebuilt them like on mine... I have to travel with horses, so we at Bushtracker have been working with them for over twelve years now...

There is a distinct problem with them, that makes them near useless in the good parts of Australia. Look at this one, 31', by design 5th Wheels have the suspension about 75% to 80% back. Here is the minimum tow vehicle, my last rig, an F-450 with Air Brakes over hydraulic...

Now here it is done properly, with a MAN truck, diff locks front and rear...

What is wrong, is as soon as the tow vehicle drops over the edge of a river bed, even a dry one, and the front of the Gooseneck goes to ground. As soon as it drops off, the suspension is not there yet, so it pulls the Gooseneck into the ground. Then when you go up the other side of a riverbed or large gulley, as soon as the tow vehicle crests the top and goes flat, it again pulls the Gooseneck into the ground. I mean you can hardly go anywhere...

I have no choice, with horses I have to travel with the whole back end on hydraulics opening up to a ramp.. But for off-road travel in Oz? Near hopeless. Anywhere a 5th Wheel will go, you might as well leave your money in the Bank and fly to Resorts. You cannot even get over large cattle grates or jump ups. It just does not work in Australia, it is pretty much a bitumen running thing that looks cute in America as the roads are paved everywhere..

You would not get into the best places in Australia, articulation problems side by side, clearance up and down over and up banks, and worse yet it cuts corners by a HUGE margin. On any track, you cannot turn down another track as the 5th Wheel or Gooseneck really needs about the width of four lanes to take the corner. 5th Wheels are near hopeless and need to stay on the main highway. It is not just not worth the travel in a 5th Wheel, might as well fly and stay in the resorts as you are going to be stuck with busses of Tourists to go see anything...

Nuff said, bloody hopeless they are... I know, towed with several and 5 different tow vehicles over ten years and you just cannot resolve the problems.. I even tried to go HUGE and it still just does not work, in fact it all gets worse yet... Large and small, we have tried them all, here are some of them:

All the way down to a modest one in 27', this was the first one we built about 12 years ago, and it still does not work for off-road... Rolling Eyes

Even more modern vehicles, with the 5th Wheel elevated on the hitch in front, and it is still hopeless and will not go anywhere off road. And you cannot move the suspension forward, as there are maximum overhangs, and further a stability problem. Even if you conquer the $10,000 Air Brakes problem, Offroad? It just does not work... Wink

You can hardly get out of a driveway without bottoming out, and that was after I added 6" and Air Bags over, and $10,000 in air brakes...

Anyway, enough, money no object in 12 years, they just do not work off-road.. My best was the last F-450... And you still suffer..

I have now gotten ridiculous with the biggest personal 4x4 Ute in Australia, and off-road is very limited, even with 280mm lift in air suspension of the MAN possible... 5TH Wheels Off-Road are NEAR USELESS, and you cannot turn a tight turn on a track anyway, you need about a four lane track to do it... You want to spend a ton of money you can do it with a Rig this big, but forget caravan parks or sharp right hand turns, or river beds and banks... Laughing Laughing Laughing

And here is the MAN, 18,000 winch, diff-locks front and rear, centre locking, the works.... And even with one of the toughest 4x4 rigs in Australia, a 5th Wheel is nearly useless off-road...

Look, if you really wanted to travel Oz and do it right with a 5th Wheel, first of all you need Air Brakes... A lot of those you see were only legal when new and unloaded, but loaded and travelling they are illegally over loaded. Second of all, you need a lot of ground clearance and a special suspension.

This is about the minimums in vehicle capability you need. I did it well with a full import F-450, but the air brakes were a bit light with the 12volt pump running it all and I ran out of air a couple of times. This burned up and smoked brakes before you knew it as they gradually came on, and was really not that adequate of air brakes anyway..

This is only a 31' Gooseneck with cargo bays underneath to reduce length. It does not look bad in the perspective above, but what about this:

Then you want to drag this thing through when it bottoms out going over an edge into a river bed, and the suspension is not there yet..? Or when it comes up out of a riverbed and the truck is on the flat dragging the 5th wheel into the ground because the suspension is so far back on a 5th wheel? Here is a truck made to do the job, Diff locks front and rear, and adequate clearances:

Then I am still limited, as it cuts corners terribly. 5th wheels really need to just stay on the road or in Show Grounds, or Station Paddocks where mine goes... You might as well stay in the resorts and go out with the bussloads of Tourists, as you are going to be with them anyway... 5th Wheels and Goosenecks just do not travel well in the places a Bushtracker will go... Now I do it, but that is because of my horses, can't build a bunk big enough for them in a normal Bushtracker van.. Laughing Laughing Laughing

The Bushtracker will just Track along behind you in the Bush.. I will build you a Gooseneck or 5th Wheel, but this is the best advice on the matter you are going to get.. We will tell you the truth of the matter, we do it all the time... Wink
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