Any of you experienced "5th wheel tower's" care to share your driving experiences? Any tips for a newbie towing their 5th wheel home for the first time? 220miles, mostly interstate from Ocala, FL to Sarasota, FL. I have never towed anything other than a U-Haul with a Gremlin. (Ha!) Of course now I know I must have been out of my mind!
I drove up to take my "Driver Confidence" course at Lazy Days yesterday, only to find a sign on the door saying "canceled".
Any tips on exiting and entering the freeway. This is one busy interstate with lots of big trucks and little cars driving like there is no tomorrow.
I'll be pulling a 28ft Montana with a 2001 Cummins Turbo Diesel, tow package, one ton dully, long bed, 4sp auto. Podigy. RBW Little Rocker.
You got the truck to tow it with. The only advice I have is to take corners wide. A 5th does not track the same as a TT...a 5th cuts corners more. Use your mirrors all the time. Take it slow until you are comfortable and remember you're not in a race. You should be ok and enjoy your new toys. They sould like fun.
You've got a great package for towing that will give you no problems. Like Jeff said, the fifth will track slightly inside the truck so allow more room on turns. Remember that you accelerate slower with that much weight so you need more room to merge on the interstate. Knowing the roads going down from Ocalla, you'll probably get cut off at least once on the trip home. Best bet is to try to double your normal following distance.
Worst part of the trip will probably getting through Sarasota ( we used to spend time on Siesta Key). Good Luck and enjoy!
On the first trip I pulled the FW I was paranoid about making wide turns. I never had a problem there. However I almost damaged a truck while pulling into a Pull through at a campground. It required a real sharp right turn on a narrow street, and the rear of the FW swung way out coming close to a vehicle parked on the left side. If the man camping there had not come over and told me how close I had come to his truck I would never had known it. I am ever so thankful he did otherwise I would have continued being ignorant of the issue until I did hit something. Now I’m paranoid about wide turns, and how far out the rear of the trailer is going to swing when turning.
The walkie talkie idea is good, I use FRS radios. They have a 2 mile range and go from $60 to $200 a pair. I have the $60 ones from walmart Bellsouth makes them. They are the basic model and work great.
If you've towed any trailer before, you should be ok. Just be patient, and remember to relax. I have to remind myself to breathe deeply and relax my grip on the steering wheel sometimes. If your wife or buddy is in the truck with you, she can help look for vehicles in blind spots, etc. - so long as you two work well together. For some people no help is the best help.
Backing will be the hardest thing. Go very slow and try to get the trailer going where you want it and follow with the truck. For me the slower the better. I also pull forward little bits often rather than long pulls once or twice. I also get out often look around and think before I back. Last time I rushed, I hit the house.
All said, you should do just fine, relax and enjoy. Our trailer is so easy the wife feels comfortable pulling it on interstates.
Frank in CO
2000 KZ Sportsmen 2205QSS
2002 F350 4X4 Crew Cab
If you can, have the wife follow in another car, with walkie-talkies, so when yu do a corner, etc you get some first-hand feedback. My first several I thought I was plenty wide, but got the message "you cleared that curb by only inches." then I learned how to adjust the wide-angle rt. mirror so I could actually see the front edge of the first tire and watch the curb clearances.
Others have posted their rules here, including NEVER back up without a walkie-talkie observer, which is no guarantee that everything will clear, but a MUST DO in my book now. (Yes, I met Mr. Pine once, not at ground level, but a high branch that stole the virginity of my 1 month old rubber roof. Neither of us saw it, looked like there was plenty of room. (famous last words). So I was glad I'd bought a tube of the special "self-levleing" rubber roof caulk at the RV store and had a caulking gun along.
With your setup, you should be able to act like a trucker on entrance ramps; just go for it and let the little guys get out of the way; most every trucker will pull over for you, the cars just gotta give way whether they like it or not, they've got the ability, you don't.
Oh yeah, don't try a BK drive-thru, you won't make it; you will gain an appreciation for the bus-and-trucker-friendly parking lots though.
Bob & Marty Howe Full-time Street People
2002 Cougar 286efs 5er, 2000 F250SD 4x4/sc/sb/V-10, rhino-lined; Valley/Husky 16K slider; Jordan 2020 Ultima b/c; 2 Honda EU2000's; 4 T-105's; TM500A BatteryMonitor; rewiring for 50amp. Now with SUREflo Sensor 5.7 pump. Mobile internet via PCS Vision/Toshiba 2032pocketPC and/or N400
I've got a few tips for you if you don't mind.
The only trailer I pull now is a 35' Titanium 5th wheel, but before retiremint I trained TT drivers for UPS. Here are 3 rules I can think of that might help.
1. Watch where you're going & watch where you've been! That means checking your mirrors while you're rounding turns, so that you don't run in anything with your trailer wheels.
2. Color code when you pass. This means; if you pass a Red car, look for a Red car in your mirror before pulling back in the right lane.
3. Leave a SPACE CUSHION around your vehicle. This will help in any emergency stopping situations and help avoid most accidents.
2010 Open Range 391RES 5th Wheel
2002 Silverado 2500HD, 4x4, Duramax/Allison, CC
2- Honda EU 2000 gens
Thanks for replys. Wife? No wife here. I'm a single female. Walkie-Talkies? Nope, won't have anyone to walkie-talkie to. Guess I should have mentioned I'm going solo.
Yeah I loved my Gremlin X. Unfortunately I basically drove it to death living in the Ozarks on unpaved roads. Drove it for 8 years though. I sold it for $300 if that tells you anything. Who knows it may still be out there somewhere, although I haven't seen one for years.
All good advice. The best is take your time. Be confident, watch your mirrors and try not to pick it up during rush hour. Hopefully your onramps won't bring you to a dead stop, you don't want to have to get on the expressway from a standstill if you don't have to.
Most other vehicles will get out of your way in an effort to not have to follow you. This also presents the problem of them speeding up to get in front of you as well. If you take your time and pay attention you should be fine.
I would be very put out that I drove 220 miles for a canceled class, they should give you something for that.
What happened to the Gremlin? I loved those cars, the Pacer too was really cool.
2001 Sprinter 380BWS in a seasonal park.
Friend of Bills.....