5.0TA: Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel, Rail vs. Gooseneck Mount? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-25-2020, 06:54 PM   #1
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5.0TA: Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel, Rail vs. Gooseneck Mount?

We'll be picking up our 5.0TA next month and trying to determine what Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection to install: rail mount or gooseneck mount.

From what I've read, we would need to install a gooseneck hitch or rails into the truck bed/underbelly for these mounts to work, correct? What brands of gooseneck hitches and rails do you recommend? My assumption is that rails would not be as heavy and are less expensive than a gooseneck hitch...?

We'll be getting an F-150 with either a 5'6" or 6'6" bed, still undecided and depends on what's available. We're getting the high lift axle as well. It sounds like either bed size could work because the following are adjustable (please correct me if I'm wrong, this is all new to me):
  • trailer's pinbox can be retracted or extended
  • location of where the gooseneck hitch and rails are installed in the truck bed (or is this determined by the rear axle and has to be installed at a specific mounting location?)
  • adjustable height of the ultimate ball
  • two positions for the kingpin coupler block
  • two directions for the base unit (rail mount only): closer or further away from tailgate

Unfortunately, we won't be able to go to Trademasters in Chilliwack for hitch install prior to trailer pick up because the borders are closed. I'm hoping to find an installer in WA state familiar with Andersen hitches and Escape 5.0TAs to help ease my concerns of picking up our trailer and finding out that our hitch is not suitable for our truck and trailer

Escape recently came out with their "Towing Compatibility Guidelines" too which I imagine would be helpful for a hitch installer to review.

Any tips/recommendations on these mounts and how to best work with installers who might be unfamiliar with Escapes trailers and/or Andersen hitches would be appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 05-25-2020, 07:12 PM   #2
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Once you get either a gooseneck ball or rails installed in your bed, you can easily install the Andersen hitch yourself - that's one of the nice things about it, it's very lightweight and easy to remove from the truck bed when desired. You will also have to install the Andersen kingpin adapter on the trailer when you pick it up - again, not a big deal.

The advantage to a gooseneck ball, especially a removable one like the B&W Turnover Ball, is that with the hitch out the truck bed is completely flat and unobstructed, vs. having the rails still bolted in place. This may or may not be a factor for you depending on what else you tend to haul in your truck.

The F150 is probably the most common tow vehicle for the 5.0TA so you are unlikely to have any issues as far as compatibility with your hitch/trailer with any version of F150. One advantage to the longer bed is that it allows room for a tool box in front of the hitch - see the photo below, I don't have an Andersen hitch but it shows how a toolbox can fit. This is true of the rail mounted version, the base of the gooseneck Andersen hitch is quite a bit larger and does not leave enough room for most toolboxes in front of the hitch.

You'll probably also want to get a 7-pin connector installed in your bed when they install either the rails or gooseneck ball. This is a simple and inexpensive matter, just a jumper that plugs into the truck wiring, and allows you to have the trailer power cord in the back of the truck rather than hanging over the tailgate to the bumper connector.
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:46 PM   #3
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Andersen hitch

Seems like everyone is partial to the hitch, tow vehicle, and trailer that they have chosen! Iím no different! I have a 5.0 TA, 6 1/2 bed Tundra, B&W gooseneck ball, in bed 7 way outlet, and aluminum Andersen hitch. It all works well. F150 is also an excellent choice. Better mileage and bed load capacity. Iíd recommend the 6 1/2 bed which will eliminate clearance issues and have plenty of room for storage or tool box. The gooseneck ball version leaves a completely unobstructed bed when not towing. The aluminum Andersen is so light and easy to install and remove. The rail mount version does have a smaller footprint but I prefer the clean flat bed of the gooseneck when the hitch is removed. I also think the in bed electrical outlet is a must. I purchased the Andersen hitch and B&W gooseneck hitch from a truck accessory store here in Spokane. They also did the installation. Iím sure there are several similar vendors in Seattle. Good luck and Iím sure you will love the trailer!
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Old 05-25-2020, 10:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rootedoutside View Post
We'll be picking up our 5.0TA next month and trying to determine what Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection to install: rail mount or gooseneck mount.

From what I've read, we would need to install a gooseneck hitch or rails into the truck bed/underbelly for these mounts to work, correct? What brands of gooseneck hitches and rails do you recommend? My assumption is that rails would not be as heavy and are less expensive than a gooseneck hitch...?

We'll be getting an F-150 with either a 5'6" or 6'6" bed, still undecided and depends on what's available. We're getting the high lift axle as well. It sounds like either bed size could work because the following are adjustable (please correct me if I'm wrong, this is all new to me):
  • trailer's pinbox can be retracted or extended
  • location of where the gooseneck hitch and rails are installed in the truck bed (or is this determined by the rear axle and has to be installed at a specific mounting location?)
  • adjustable height of the ultimate ball
  • two positions for the kingpin coupler block
  • two directions for the base unit (rail mount only): closer or further away from tailgate

Unfortunately, we won't be able to go to Trademasters in Chilliwack for hitch install prior to trailer pick up because the borders are closed. I'm hoping to find an installer in WA state familiar with Andersen hitches and Escape 5.0TAs to help ease my concerns of picking up our trailer and finding out that our hitch is not suitable for our truck and trailer

Escape recently came out with their "Towing Compatibility Guidelines" too which I imagine would be helpful for a hitch installer to review.

Any tips/recommendations on these mounts and how to best work with installers who might be unfamiliar with Escapes trailers and/or Andersen hitches would be appreciated! Thank you!
I would agree with Dave that how you use your truck when not towing should guide your choice between the rail mount or turnover ball. If you use your truck for loose materials like mulch, gravel etc, a lot then go for the turnover ball. The “cost” of that approach, is that the Andersen gooseneck Mount has a larger footprint in the bed. So you have less room for other items. This could be a critical factor with a 5.5 foot short bed. A cargo box would not fit in that case. With a rail mount Anderson, a box would fit in either a 6.5 or 5.5 foot bed.

If you rarely use your truck for loose materials, go with the rail mount.

I have the B&W turnover ball in my 5.5 foot Bed Tundra. But we have chickens and lots of gardens so I use my truck to haul stuff all the time. Even still, when towing, I wish I had a cargo box behind the cab.
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Old 05-26-2020, 07:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rootedoutside View Post
We'll be picking up our 5.0TA next month and trying to determine what Andersen Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection to install: rail mount or gooseneck mount.

From what I've read, we would need to install a gooseneck hitch or rails into the truck bed/underbelly for these mounts to work, correct? What brands of gooseneck hitches and rails do you recommend? My assumption is that rails would not be as heavy and are less expensive than a gooseneck hitch...?

We'll be getting an F-150 with either a 5'6" or 6'6" bed, still undecided and depends on what's available. We're getting the high lift axle as well. It sounds like either bed size could work because the following are adjustable (please correct me if I'm wrong, this is all new to me):
  • trailer's pinbox can be retracted or extended
  • location of where the gooseneck hitch and rails are installed in the truck bed (or is this determined by the rear axle and has to be installed at a specific mounting location?)
  • adjustable height of the ultimate ball
  • two positions for the kingpin coupler block
  • two directions for the base unit (rail mount only): closer or further away from tailgate

Unfortunately, we won't be able to go to Trademasters in Chilliwack for hitch install prior to trailer pick up because the borders are closed. I'm hoping to find an installer in WA state familiar with Andersen hitches and Escape 5.0TAs to help ease my concerns of picking up our trailer and finding out that our hitch is not suitable for our truck and trailer

Escape recently came out with their "Towing Compatibility Guidelines" too which I imagine would be helpful for a hitch installer to review.

Any tips/recommendations on these mounts and how to best work with installers who might be unfamiliar with Escapes trailers and/or Andersen hitches would be appreciated! Thank you!
The 6.5í bed would absolutely be a better choice. The payload for the truck is probably the most important spec. More is better. The rail mount set up is the lighter and more economical set up. You donít need the high lift option, thereís plenty of clearance on my 2016 F150 4x4. Mine, equipped with with the 2.7 Ecoboost, effortlessly tows my 5.0TA.
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Old 05-26-2020, 09:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
I would agree with Dave that how you use your truck when not towing should guide your choice between the rail mount or turnover ball. If you use your truck for loose materials like mulch, gravel etc, a lot then go for the turnover ball. The ďcostĒ of that approach, is that the Andersen gooseneck Mount has a larger footprint in the bed. So you have less room for other items. This could be a critical factor with a 5.5 foot short bed. A cargo box would not fit in that case. With a rail mount Anderson, a box would fit in either a 6.5 or 5.5 foot bed.

If you rarely use your truck for loose materials, go with the rail mount.

I have the B&W turnover ball in my 5.5 foot Bed Tundra. But we have chickens and lots of gardens so I use my truck to haul stuff all the time. Even still, when towing, I wish I had a cargo box behind the cab.
For our first year of ownership we pulled our 5.0 with a 2015 F150, 3.5 EcoBoost, 6 1/2' bed, extended cab, with a rail-mounted Andersen hitch.

Last summer a friend wanted mulch, so we just put a tarp on the bottom of the bed and hauled the mulch. I've done this before and it's sooooooo much easier to clean out the bed. Just grab the tarp when there's about a couple of inches of mulch and pull the tarp out. Instant clean bed. OTOH if I was constantly using the bed for mulch or bedding and don't worry about the condition of the bed, the gooseneck version is probably easier, but you do give up unobstructed space.

I've hauled lots of plywood/2x4's/etc. with our rail version with no problems.,

The reason we purchased the rail version is you get more open space, because the footprint of the Andersen hitch is smaller on the rail version vs the gooseneck version. Our trike would not have fit in the bed with the gooseneck version. You can also store items underneath the Andersen hitch, but can't on the other standard 5th wheel hitches I've seen. That space comes in handy.

Last fall we got a great deal on a 2019 F150, Lariat, 3.5 EB, 6 1/2' bed, quad cab. We just found a hitch installer to move our hitch from the 2015 to the 2019. They do this all the time and you don't need someone familiar with Escape trailers to install an Andersen hitch. They were impressed with the hitch and were considering adding Andersen products to their lineup.

ANY competent 5th wheel hitch installer should be able to install the Andersen hitch.

Our 2015 had the 7 pin plug in back and we didn't like the cord hanging out the back of the bed. We had a 7 pin plug installed directly over the wheel well and it's perfect there.

We have the lift package. It puts the bottom of the trailer 2 1/2" higher and it's easier to crawl under the trailer to inspect. Our 2020 F150 has the heavy duty leaf springs in back so it's over 1/2" taller than the 2015, so we have more bedside clearance. We sometimes go in places others dare not to tread, such as getting through the wash into Cochise Stronghold.

We also have a large, adjustable step to go on the ground making exit/entry natural. I would have that step even if we didn't get the lift kit.

We put 18,000 miles just pulling the 5.0 with our 2015 F150 and have another 5,000 miles pulling the camper with our 2019. I'd definitely get the rail mounted Andersen hitch again.

Personally I think the 5 1/2' box is too small, but others like them. TETO!

We were worried about the quad cab being a foot longer, but so far, don't regret the extra length, and love the extra foot of interior space behind the front seats.

Food for thought,

Perry
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:45 AM   #7
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Here is a look at my setup. I drive a Toyota Tundra Crew Cab, short bed. Love it!

No one would install the rail mount but TradeMasters. I could not get up to do business with them so they helped me choose someone down here. They also advised going with the gooseneck setup and the standard Anderson setup. That was no problem. The gooseneck is in the lowest position.

I also have the B&W offset below the foam padding and chain loops. So the whole setup is offset about 4 inches to the rear. I use the lowest settings and I also have air bags with 55 lbs of pressure. To trim out the vehicle. It is pretty trimmed out could be slightly better.

Here are my numbers.
1 AA_bw1257 bw underbed system toy tundra $479.00
1 BW_4585 B&W 4" Offset Ball for B&W Gooseneck hitches $157.99
1 CT_56070 T-CONNECTOR $80.00
1 AN_3220 Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection 2 (Gooseneck) -Aluminum ONLY 37 lbs! (now w/ball-funnel) $789.99
1 AN_3249 3249 - Ultimate Connection Safety Chains with Plate $139.99
1 FI_2445 air bags $558.29
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Old 05-28-2020, 12:32 PM   #8
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This is 6.5í box with rail mount.
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:08 PM   #9
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I had an old rail mount hitch in my previous truck. I towed a different 5th wheel with that for several years. I do use my truck for a variety of odd jobs and hauling. Even using a tarp I found the rails a pain. Small rocks and soil kept getting caught in them but I did find them useful for tying down loads such as wood to the rails. On my 2018 f150 I bought the B&W turnover ball with the light weight Anderson hitch (only 35lbs). Yes it does take up more bed space but I felt it worth the trade off. I was very excited when I found the Anderson hitch so I could get rid of the rails.

I did the install myself. If you are decent with tools and can carefully follow directions you could too. The hardest part was the emotional part of drilling a 4 inch hole in the bed of my new truck. Of course measure twice or maybe three times and drill once with a hole saw. After the hole in the bed of the truck it was all bolt in place with the B&W brand one. Some crawling around but not bad.

Definately install the 7 pin connector in the bed of the truck. The only challenge here is where to put the plug. Check on line and I am sure someone has already done it and made a video on where to install it on your vehicle. After the hole it is all just plug the wires together, no soldering, cutting or crimping required, just some zip ties.

The safety chains do not come with the hitch so purchase them too. These are a really good idea plus in some states it is the law.

My truck is the Supercrew with the 6.5 foot bed. I love the room and the better fuel mileage (old TV was a 2000 Tundra). This makes for a great tow vehicle but is long vehicle in parking lots.

Exciting adventures await!
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:29 PM   #10
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Driver's side, in back. Worth every penny to have that electrical line in the truck bed securely.
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Old 05-28-2020, 05:11 PM   #11
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Driver's side, in back. Worth every penny to have that electrical line in the truck bed securely.
I mounted mine higher, check out pic in previous post, so you don't loose that area for storage.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:36 AM   #12
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Driver's side, in back. Worth every penny to have that electrical line in the truck bed securely.
That's the last place I wanted it installed. They blew it the first time and put it where you have yours. You don't want that plug where you store items, where items can shift and wreck your plug, much less have the cord on the floor. It was a new employee who installed it down low, and the management immediately agreed that is the last place it should be installed. The next day they installed it above the wheel well where it belonged. They made a nice plate to cover the hole. No one is perfect.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:31 AM   #13
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That's the last place I wanted it installed. They blew it the first time and put it where you have yours. You don't want that plug where you store items, where items can shift and wreck your plug, much less have the cord on the floor. It was a new employee who installed it down low, and the management immediately agreed that is the last place it should be installed. The next day they installed it above the wheel well where it belonged. They made a nice plate to cover the hole. No one is perfect.

Enjoy,

Perry
So far, I don't store anything back there. I see that you can, but I do not have need to put anything back there. I do like the plug out of the way.
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Old 06-02-2020, 04:02 PM   #14
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One other thing.

See that loop? There is one on each corner and I have the optional rails too. That means lots of attachment points. Plus you can tie off lightly to the Anderson hitch (you don't need to).

I use cam straps for all packing. Whitewater captains know how to pack. None of my stuff ever moves. And they should not move.

https://www.nrs.com/search/?q=straps

Your point is a good one, I would have listened to it earlier. The only concern I would have is the electrical line is close to the top, I do like it down low. No biggie.
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:58 PM   #15
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Rooted Outside,


I have a 2018 F150 EB with 5.5' bed with Andersen Ultimate system. I strongly recommend the 6.5' bed. Our 5.0 touched and slightly dented our cab in a tight campsite in Oregon. I would gladly trade our extra space in the cab( SuperCrew) for the extra foot in the bed (Supercab). Hope that is helpful.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:52 AM   #16
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Rooted Outside,


I have a 2018 F150 EB with 5.5' bed with Andersen Ultimate system. I strongly recommend the 6.5' bed. Our 5.0 touched and slightly dented our cab in a tight campsite in Oregon. I would gladly trade our extra space in the cab( SuperCrew) for the extra foot in the bed (Supercab). Hope that is helpful.
You're exactly right, the 5.5 can work, the 6.5 totally does, I can get the trailer 90 degrees to cab and still have clearance. The extra foot of space also allows room for a decent size toolbox.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:03 PM   #17
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Rooted Outside,


I have a 2018 F150 EB with 5.5' bed with Andersen Ultimate system. I strongly recommend the 6.5' bed. Our 5.0 touched and slightly dented our cab in a tight campsite in Oregon. I would gladly trade our extra space in the cab( SuperCrew) for the extra foot in the bed (Supercab). Hope that is helpful.
Oh goodness, that's a bummer, sorry to hear! Thanks for the tip!

-----

And thanks everyone for your advice!!! SO HELPFUL!

Some updates on our end. We recently found and purchased a 2020 F-150 3.5L SuperCab with 6.5 ft bed, super happy with the decision! It's just my partner and I (and small little fur baby) using the truck so we'll have great storage in both the truck bed and the back seat.

We decided to go with the rail version of the Andersen Ultimate. We don't anticipate needing an empty truck bed so we decided the rail version was better for us because of its smaller footprint and lower price.

We're getting quotes for installing the rails for the Andersen Ultimate...getting close to having our truck all prepped for pick up!

And whoa...so many tonneau covers!!! Paradox of choice!
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:26 PM   #18
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Definitely install the 7 pin connector in the bed of the truck. The only challenge here is where to put the plug. Check on line and I am sure someone has already done it and made a video on where to install it on your vehicle. After the hole it is all just plug the wires together, no soldering, cutting or crimping required, just some zip ties.

The safety chains do not come with the hitch so purchase them too. These are a really good idea plus in some states it is the law.
Very enlightening tip re: having a 7-pin connector installed in the truck bed! The truck we got has the 7-pin plug near the license plate. What potential issues are there with the plug's current location and towing the 5.0? (Newbie to towing )

Good call and reminder for buying the safety chains too! On Andersen's website for the rail version, it says "Safety chains available: parts #3249, #3230 and #3215." It looks like I would need part #3215 since it's installed into the rails, correct?

Thanks!!
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:40 PM   #19
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Oh goodness, that's a bummer, sorry to hear! Thanks for the tip!

-----

And thanks everyone for your advice!!! SO HELPFUL!

Some updates on our end. We recently found and purchased a 2020 F-150 3.5L SuperCab with 6.5 ft bed, super happy with the decision! It's just my partner and I (and small little fur baby) using the truck so we'll have great storage in both the truck bed and the back seat.

We decided to go with the rail version of the Andersen Ultimate. We don't anticipate needing an empty truck bed so we decided the rail version was better for us because of its smaller footprint and lower price.

We're getting quotes for installing the rails for the Andersen Ultimate...getting close to having our truck all prepped for pick up!

And whoa...so many tonneau covers!!! Paradox of choice!
Check out Fold a Cover. It the one I have. Itís a hard cover with 4 sections. Locking and has a great toolbox option. You can find cheaper but not many that are better. Couple others on this forum have 1 and they are happy with theirs also.
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Old 06-04-2020, 02:15 PM   #20
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The truck we got has the 7-pin plug near the license plate. What potential issues are there with the plug's current location and towing the 5.0?
Just that the cable from the trailer will need to be draped over the tailgate to reach the receptacle in the bumper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rootedoutside View Post
On Andersen's website for the rail version, it says "Safety chains available: parts #3249, #3230 and #3215." It looks like I would need part #3215 since it's installed into the rails, correct?
Correct - #3249 is to attach safety chains to the truck with the "gooseneck" version (not your rail-mount), #3230 is the current version of the kit of chains and hardware to attach them to the coupler on the trailer, #3214 is the the parts to attach the chain to the rails. #3215 is #3230 plus #3214, so it is everything you need for a rail-mount installation.
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