Installing a gooseneck hitch into your truck involves removing the spare tire, measuring and drilling a hole for the ball, bolting the brackets and hitch head into place and installing the operating handle. Some installations also require trimming a heat shield or fender liner.
In this helpful guide, we will walk through step-by-step how to install a gooseneck hitch. Every gooseneck install is different. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions included with your particular hitch.
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Example how to install a gooseneck hitch video
Step 1: Remove the spare tire and trim
Installing a gooseneck hitch requires access to the underside of your truck bed. Removing the spare tire will give you more room to work.
You may also need to remove or even cut trim pieces on the truck to provide space for the gooseneck hitch. These may include the heat shield and the wheel well liners. Follow the instructions for your specific hitch to remove / trim only what is needed.
Step 2: Measure and drill the ball hole
Measure where the gooseneck ball hole will need to be cut in your truck bed. The ball hole should be located above or slightly forward of the rear truck axle, and centered between the wheel wells.
First, double-check and triple-check all measurements, according to the manufacturer instructions. Then, drill a pilot hole. Next, drill the full-size hole with the appropriate hole saw. Finally, cover any exposed metal edges with touchup paint to help prevent corrosion.
Step 3: Insert the crossarm brackets
Insert the rear crossarm bracket from the rear wheel well access point. Be careful not to damage any brake lines or wiring!
Once in position, centered on the truck frame, use a wrench to rotate the crossarm to the proper orientation. On some models, the bolt holes will be perpendicular with the truck bed, and on others, parallel.
Next, insert the front crossarm bracket and position it as specified in the instruction manual.
Step 4: Install the gooseneck center section
Prepare the gooseneck center section to be installed by attaching any necessary hardware.
Then, lift the center section into place, under the truck bed. You may need a friend to help at this time. Gooseneck hitches can weigh as much as 50 pounds or more. Some hitches are specially designed to install with just one person; others are compatible with special installation tools to help lift them into place.
Once in place, attach the necessary hardware to secure the gooseneck center section to the crossarm brackets.
Step 5: Attach the side plate brackets
Attach the side plate brackets to the crossarms with the included hardware. These will bolt into place inside the wheel wells. On some trucks, fishwiring hardware through the frame may be necessary.
When attaching the side plates, make sure the gooseneck hitch is squared up with the truck frame. Install side plate brackets on both the driver side and passenger side.
Step 6: Torque the hardware
Torque the hardware on the gooseneck hitch to the values specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes nuts and bolts on the center section, brackets and side plates.
Step 7: Install the safety chain anchors
To attach the safety chain anchors, holes will need to be drilled into the truck bed. Use the gooseneck center section already installed as a template. Simply drill up from underneath the bed.
With the holes drilled and touchup paint applied, drop in the safety chain loops and attach the necessary hardware.
Step 8: Install the operating handle
First, install the locking pin mechanism for the gooseneck ball into the side of the ball hole. Then, slide the operating handle in through the wheel well access point, passing it through the hitch center section and into the locking pin.
Attach the appropriate fasteners, and test the operation of the ball. Also, if a ball trim ring is included with your hitch, install it at this time.
Finally, replace the spare tire and reinstall any factory trim pieces as specified in the instructions.