Australian 5th wheelers
Q: What is a 5th wheeler? What does 5th wheel mean?
A: The name ‘fifth wheel’ comes from the fact that the hitch/turntable, where the RV attaches to the towing vehicle, looks like a wheel , and the RVs generally have 4 wheels, so the turntable is the “fifth wheel’ .
The RV has an extension on the front of the van which extends over the back of the tow vehicle (commonly a ute, pick-up truck, or light commercial in Australia), and sits on a horizontal wheel-looking plate on the tray back. The 5th wheel usually sits in the centre of the tray back directly over the rear axles – this provides the support for the RV.
To attach the 5thwheel, the fifth wheelers are fitted with a hitch (also called a gooseneck hitch). The 5th wheel attachment on the towing vehicle tray back is a removable component.
5th wheeler RVs are growing in popularity in Australia, as their safety benefits and other advantages are recognised by a growing ‘safety conscious’ market.
Please note: all Winjana RV hitches are fully ADR compliant.
The 5th wheel has been around a long time, in fact, the principle of the “5th wheel” has actually been around for centuries. In modern times, the benefits and stability of the ‘5th wheel’ led manufacturers of RVs in the USA to start using the 5th wheel hitch principle on caravans in the 1960s, and now they are a very common and popular RV sold in North America today.
Semi-trailers which have a similar 5th wheel principle have been using them for about 100 years – so the concept is not new – it is just new to the RV market in Australia, where they started appearing in the early-mid 1990’s.
To see how easy it is to hitch and un-hitch a Winjana RV please watch our videos.
Winjana RV (previously sold under the name of Venture Van caravans) have specialised in manufacturing 5th-wheel recreational vehicles since the company commenced in 2000.