ive traded some work for a fifth wheel camp trailer ,25' and was thinking about making my own hitch , it wouldnt have to be fancy, just strong . i have tools, welders, and good steel.has anyone done one or seen one done that could give me some ideas,thanks,bob
My bet is you could buy one for less than you could build one. I doubt you could build the fifth wheel itself although a decent fabricator could make the mounts. You would need to buy the fifth wheel itself and the legs it mounts on. I think it would be very difficult to hand make the jaw kit and such to do the latching and if there was a problem with the hitch you would be on the hook as the manufacturer.
I supervise in a maintenance shop for a large trucking company and buying a new fifth wheel is in the $1300 range even with our national account buying power. I would guess a decent used one would be around $400 - $600 and you would still need the factory feet it mounts to.
If you're talking about making the frame mounts and rails the hitch attaches to, and you seem to have some fabrication skills then I don't see a problem with that. I don't forsee a home-shop fabricator making the actual 5th wheel hitch lock jaws and plate mechanism. You could save some money making the mounts and look for a used hitch like Believer said. He quoted prices for 18 wheeler hitches. The hitches RV'ers use in pickups are not as expensive. I see used ones for sale for $200-$400. I would buy the hitch first and then make the mounts for that hitch.