For RVers with 5th wheels, and especially those that enjoy full time RV living, sometimes we just need a little more cargo-carrying capacity! Especially if you want to bring along the motorcycle or the scooter! I had this problem until I decided to build my own 5th wheel platform to carry my 305 pound Honda Scooter.
Getting around in the Freightliner Sportchassis can sometimes be a challenge when you just want to make a quick trip to the store. So we decided to get the Honda scooter to fill in the gaps. Its has worked out great! It gets 70 miles to the gallon compared to the trucks ten. It’s a truck and we don’t really care about that because its job is to pull our heavy full time RV living home. But, the scooter is just so much fun!
The first time to we wanted to move with this new addition we had to come up with a way to transport the scooter and not have to try and get it on the back of the Freightliner truck bed. It is just too difficult to get it up on the bed and not be in the way of the 5th wheel while in travel mode. So, I came up with an idea to build a 5th wheel platform that would carry the scooter and other items as needed.
Building Your Own 5th Wheel Platform!
Before I decided to do this I did check the cargo-carrying capacity on my rig to assure that I would not be exceeding the GVWR for the 5th wheel. The scooter weighs a little over 300 pounds and the platform is right around 100 pounds, so I was okay given the other cargo that I have onboard. For more information on this subject, you can visit a post I wrote for this website.
Now I did not build this 5th wheel platform all by myself. I am not a welder but having an engineering mind I knew there was a way to get the job done. I recruited the assistance of an RV tech that was working in a park I was staying at. He turned out to be a welder as well. So, he knew about RV’s and how to fix welds on them.
I had him look at the under structure of my Newmar 5th wheel and see if he agreed that we could weld two receiver bars to the main frame allowing for a removable platform. The beauty of the two receiver bars was that it created a sturdy foundation to build the rest of the platform on.
So, my RV tech friend added some extra welds to the existing skid plates that attached to the main frame rails of the RV. He welded a bar between the skid plates to allow for attachment of the receiver bars. Once he had welded those in place he was able to then build the steel platform using flat and angle stock, and the metal grid material you see here in the photos.
I had him weld the flat stock to the angle iron to give the platform rigidity from left to right. He estimated I could carry 800 – 1000 pounds on the 5th wheel platform, but I would not put that much on there! But, if I upgrade to a 600 pound scooter I know I would be okay carrying it.
I have discovered this platform has more uses than just carrying stuff on the back. It sure makes it easier to clean the back of the RV, put the window screens on, get on the roof, and carry my generator during travel. When dry camping at rest areas or truck stops it’s easy to plug the RV into the generator sitting on the back platform as it is always set up and ready to go.
The 5th wheel platform is removable if need be. I have been using it for quite a while now and have not had a need to take it off. The two receiver bars have the typical hitch pin that holds the square iron stock in the receiver bars. For extra security, I put a locking hitch pin just to be sure the platform would not disappear. You never know if someone may decide they like it more than I do.
In this photo, you can see the two receiver bars welded to the crossbar that is welded to the skid plates. The 2×2 iron stock is inserted into the receiver bars. From there, the rest of the platform was built on top of those two pieces of steel.
I use a Condor Scooter Chock to hold the scooter on the platform during travel. When parked I remove it to keep it from rusting. I have a folding ramp that makes it easy to load the scooter on the platform. Given that the platform is only a few feet off the ground it is easy to walk the scooter up the ramp using the scooters own power. Once loaded, the generator goes on and I am ready to hit the road!
I hope this has given you some ideas of how you can create your own 5th wheel platform. It is a cheap method to haul your extra stuff during those times when the RV hits the road!
I am sorry I don’t have pictures of the scooter loaded on the platform at the time of this writing. I will add them next time I am traveling. I had not planned to write about this topic, but I am finding more and more people asking about my creation so I thought I would share it here on yourfulltimervliving.com!
If you have any questons, leave me a comment before you go!
Howard and Pam
Thanks for this article! I have a 2004 Newmar Mountain Aire that I want to build a tray to haul my kayak trailer while the kayaks are on the trailer roof.
I have one question. I see your spare tire in the photo. Is your spare contained in a “bumper drawer”? Does your bumper clear the tray…of course with the scooter out of the way.
The spare tire is on a drop down cable system. What I was showing was the receiver bars attached to cross members, that are welded to the skid plates, that are welded directly to the main frame rails of the 5th wheel. The tray can be removed from the two receiver bars if need be. The tray sits just below the bumper but had no clearance problems when negotiating driveway aprons.