We are reasonably new to fifth wheel pullin and others with more exp will get further into if for sure.
The major differences is that the fifth is much more stable on the road than a tt. When tractor trailers go past you don't even feel them. The unit is bigger than a trailer for the same length do to the fact part of the unit is in the bed of the truck reducing the amount of "length pulled" if you understand what I mean. I guess what I mean is the unit utilizes it's length more efficiently.
Hookin up is much easier than a trailer. You can see the hitch and drive you truck right into it without havein to get in and out trying to find the ball. I believe the "hookup" is also a safer methiod for pulling. Other than the weight you don't know it's there. It's also easier on the tow vehicle.
In the past I have towed severial tt from 20 to 38 feet. I also still own a truck camper(much to my wifes dismay). The fifth wheel is beyond question the way to go as far as I am concerned. The only draw backs I see are the initial cost(about 4 to 5 k more than a trailer of the same length) and you need a tow vehicle that can handle the weight on the hitch.
Gary did a good job with his answer but in more detail, the pivot point with a TT is at the ball which is maybe 4ft behind the tow vehicles axle. This gives a leverage effect for both side-to-side (sway) and up-and-down (bounce) movement. Both cause stability problems that must be controlled or minimized for a safe rig. In addition, how much control is needed can vary as the load in the trailer varies from day to day.
The hitch for a 5th wheel places the pivot point directly over the truck axle and eliminates both bounce and sway. However the point is about 15 inches above the axle that does act as a vertical lever on the truck's frame. During braking, more weight is applied to the front axle and during acceleration, weight is removed from it.
The big negtives with a 5th wheel are more wind resistance, you must have a pickup truck and restricted use of the truck bed. Higher cost and weight for a 5th wheel is typically pretty small when calculated based on actual living area.
If you hook up a 5th wheel incorrectly, it will fall on the truck bed rails and you won't get on the road. If you hook up a TT incorrectly, you may not find out until things go bad at 60mph.
Smitty, I have been towing a 5th wheel for 3 years and got it because I didn't like the TT before it. Towing is absolutely more comfortable. About the only disadvantage is that you must tow with a truck as the tow vehicle, which for me hasn't been a problem. We are now in the process of trying to sell the 5th wheel and truck to get a MH. Ours is a lite model and gross is 6500#, but pulls really well with a 1/2 ton truck. John H.
Hi Smitty, I'm a soon to be 50 year old single grandmother. I pull a 30ft tt with a 2001 4 door 2500hd chevy. (This does make a long train) If I can hook up and pull this so can you. My tt is a 1991 Salem bh. I wanted a tt because of the room inside and one level. I have pulled it accoss Colorado,Utah, Kansas, and Missouri with my 10 year old granddaughter and dog. I've had no accidents and enjoy my tt and go "at least" one weekend a month. Spetty
All gave some very good answers. I have been towing for 40 yrs both TT and one 5th wheel. With the proper towing packages, vehicle, hitches, sway controls a Tt is fine but, the 5th wheel was the best of all with the ease of hook up, set up and total length the biggest plus for me. I would not own another TT or 5th without a slide. I loved the 5th wheel but, the time for a MH came for us. I have only talked with one person that said he would never own another fiver and I would bet it was because he did not have the proper tow vehicle. You should have the truck for a pretty nice TT or 5th wheel. Just be sure and match them up. Go with which ever suits your needs and price. AJMO