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 > Wife's first setup on her own, am I forgetting anything?

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subversive

Alberta

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Posted: 06/22/12 10:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok, my wife is going to be taking the trailer out to a campground next weekend for Canada day on Thursday without me, since I have to work. This will be her first time unhitching the trailer by herself, so she asked me to write up a list of instructions. Anyone care to proof read to see if I missed anything obvious?


Trailer Instructions

Hooking Up

1. Insert sleeve into hitch receiver
2. Insert hitch, ensure bolt is secured in 2nd hole (ie: hitch is furthest inserted possible). Insert facing to the driver side (ie: the pin is on the driver side)
3. Ensure hitch raised high enough to fit truck underneath
a. Wire from the power jack may need to be connected to the positive of the battery on the driver side. You can’t get a shock from it.
b. If it fails to work, pull the fuse out (it’s about halfway down the cable) and make sure it’s nice and dry, and insert it nice and tight. Sometimes you have to hold it in while trying to use the power jack.
4. Back truck up to under hitch head using backup camera.
5. Lower hitch onto ball, ensure latch is slid up and back
6. Once hitch drops onto ball, slide latch down and forward, put pin in, towards passenger side so loop is on driver side
7. Next, put sway bars on
8. Ensure only 2 links hanging loose on each side
9. Ensure links are not “pinched”, 2 extra links should be hanging loosely
10. Slide breakaway cable through loop on hitch pin and loop over pin in hitch receiver such that it will not fall off
11. Crisscross chains underneath and hook into holes on bottom if hitch receiver. Ensure latches closed on chain ends (wiggle them back and forth to get them to snap shut)
12. Plug trailer into truck receptacle tight (only fits one way)
13. Retract jack until leg is high enough that road bounces won’t cause it to touch the ground.
14. Remove wheel chocks, place in easy location to get at for when you arrive.
15. Double check all connections
a. Are your pins in place and secured?
b. Is your hitch latch down and forward?
c. Are your chains crossed and hooked securely?
d. Is the trailer plugged into truck receptacle
16. Do a light check (as well as possible with one person)
17. Close all doors, latch compartments
18. Do a final walk around.
19. Extend your mirrors.
20. Drive away slowly, use trailer brake with hand in truck (the slidy thing on the dashboard left of the steering wheel) to make sure you can feel the trailer “grab” behind you (do this while still driving slow)
21. Drive carefully, plan ahead for lane changes and exits.


Unhooking and Setting Up

1. Scout your stall, figure out where power, water, sewer are and where you want trailer to be relative to them.
a. Unload bikes from back rack if they are on there before backing into any stall.
b. Pull through stalls, bikes can likely be left until last.
2. Get positioned in the stall as close to side to side level as you can (use level from passenger side hatch). Drive onto a board if necessary.
3. Place wheel chocks under wheels.
4. Put blocks under jack leg.
5. Pull pin out and slide hitch latch up and back
6. Extend jack leg onto blocks, lift mostly off ball
7. Remove bars, be careful if they are still under any tension
8. Unhook chains, hook on pegs inside and under hitch so they are not sitting in wet mud or on the ground
9. Unhook breakaway cable, drape inside propane cover
10. Unhook power cable from truck receptacle, drape inside propane cover to keep out of rain
11. Lift hitch remaining way off ball, with enough space to move truck.
12. Do a walk around; make sure nothing is still connected.
13. Move truck out of way.
14. Turn on propane (keeps fridge cooling)
15. Use level to get trailer level front to back
16. Extend stabilizer jacks onto wood supports, tighten but do not lift
a. Ratchet for stabilizers is in passenger side hatch, hanging on wall
17. Connect electricity if you have it.
a. If you need extension cord, throw the spot where they join under the trailer so as to avoid moisture or rain
18. Connect water if you have it (make sure it’s tight, check for leaking water coming from under the tub in trailer bathroom)
a. If you have water, do not turn on water pump in trailer
19. If you have sewer, connect hose at trailer front pipe (do not open yet) and run to sewer pipe. Try to make it as straight as possible.
a. Once hose is safely down sewer, you can open the two connections which feed the front pipe (this is bathroom sink and tub water, plus toilet water)
20. Turn on water heater in trailer
21. Ensure switch on water heater on outside of trailer is set to “on” (this provides dual propane/electric capacity if we have electricity)
22. Extend slide outs
23. Put everything away where it was before initial hookup.
23. Interior prep.
24. Pour a glass of wine, and relax!


Mike & Melynda joined by rugrats Alexandra, Zoe, and Georgia
2010 Yukon XL 3/4 ton V8
2011 North Trail 32QBSS, Reese Dual Cam
Our trailer and camping pics


Golden_HVAC

Fulltime, CA, USA

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Posted: 06/22/12 11:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

I would recommend leaving the hitch in the tow vehicle a couple of days ahead of time, and lock it in place with a locking hitch pin.

I would recommend hitching the tow vehicle to the trailer before going to work, or even the night before, if possible.

I would recommend telling her the secret to backing up a trailer.

I would say "If you can leave the truck attached to the trailer, and it is not sticking out in the road, and it is fairly level, leave it to unhitch later.

Yet if you must unhitch, make sure it is fairly level side to side, the wheels are chocked, put a large block of wood under the jack, bring up the front of the trailer at least 8" before taking off the equalizer bars (this makes it so much easier). Then lower the jack most of the way, and unlock the hitch coupling to truck ball and unhook that. Raise the jack again about 1/2" clearance to the ball, undo the breakaway wire, unplug the wiring harness, and you are ready to pull out the truck and park it nearby. Raise or lower the jack to make it level front to back, put down the stabilizer jacks in the back (front if you have them).

Check the bubble level inside the refrigerator, if it is within 1/2 bubble, you are level enough. Hopefully if you have a slide, that side was a little bit high before opening the slide, it will sag a bit once open. Don't worry to much with a newer trailer if the RV is not level, the refrigerators built after 1995 will take a lot of being off level, and still run fine.

That secret to backing up - put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, turn it in the direction you want the back of the trailer to go! Never forget that!

I hope she is good at backing up the trailer before sending her off into the woods alone! I always think about where the tires will have to go when leaving a site, then put them there before backing into it. You never need to spend 1/2 an hour and pull back and forth 3 times when leaving a site. The rear bumper of the trailer needs to be further past the site than many think before you start backing in, and the trailer tires near that side of the road, your tow vehicle on the other side from the campsite.

Say you pull up to a site on your right, pull towards it with the whole vehicle, then pull the truck to the other side of the road a bit after your trailer passes the entrance, then first thing you need to do is bring the trailer rear to the right, so put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, start turning to the right about 1 turn, and then back up. See where the bumper is going, and adjust right or left depending on where you want the trailer to keep moving. Don't get into to sharp of a turn, if you did, then you probably started to close to the site entrance, and need to pull out again, and start about 5- 10' further from the site entrance.

If all else fails, take up 10 parking spots at the visitors center, and wait it out for you to arrive and back into a site, but hopefully mark a site, put a few chairs there to save it for later at night, when most campgrounds will be 90% full!

Have fun camping!

Fred.

subversive

Alberta

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Posted: 06/22/12 11:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Fred! It's actually a booked pull through stall, so no backing up necessary. And good idea on hooking it up before I go to work. I'll do it the night before and bring it over and park it on our street overnight. Also good idea about her just leaving it hooked to the truck. That might even work depending on the stall (haven't seen it yet). Good ideas all around!

Golden_HVAC

Fulltime, CA, USA

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Posted: 06/22/12 11:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One more thing,

Don't connect the sewer lines the first night, you rarely get the tank that full in one night unless you have a lot of kids taking showers. ALWAYS leave the toilet water valve closed until the tank is at least 1/2 full, then close the grey water before dumping, it is helpful to build up some grey water (say 1/2 tank or leave it closed the day before leaving a site) then fill the toilet with about 10 gallons of water before opening the black tank valve. The rush of water will take away some of the heavy material in the tank. Leaving the valve open (as suggested above) will cause only the water to drain down the tubing, leaving behind the brown mess, that will eventually clog the tank.

Also before attaching the water hose, attach the water pressure regulator. This will prevent a blowout of the water hose fitting from a campsite that is 40 or 50' downhill from the well house, where there might be 40 PSI, adding 50' of drop in elevation will increase the pressure by 25 PSI to way to much for your RV to handle.

Or leave the water hose in it's compartment, you can use the pump for a couple of nights, and hook that up later when you need to do dishes in a couple of days, and the sewer line is connected. Usually you will not overfill the grey tank if only running from the pump, but if hooked up to city water, . . ..

Hopefully she will have a good cell phone signal, in case something happens.

Also your cell phones will run out of battery power faster when camping far away from a cell tower. This is because they need to run at 1 watt when trying to reach a distant tower, while in the city, they can run a 0.1 or 0.25 watts to reach out to a 3 mile away cell tower, and conserve battery power. So don't forget the charger.

Fred.

bob213

Fresno, CA

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Posted: 06/22/12 11:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great list. I agree with Golden_HVAC on the stabilizer bars. That's the beauty of the electric tongue jack...it will raise the back of the tow vehicle to release that tension.
Unhooking-setup
#14- I assume you keep your refrigerator off while you drive?
#19a.- I don't open my drains till I'm ready to drain my tanks.
20.-21 I like to open a hot water valve till I see water coming from it befor I turn on water heater.
If you have electric, why not save your propane and heat water with the campground's electricity? If you need faster recovery you can run both.
Everybody does things different. I'm not saying my way is right, just pointing out how we differ.
Your list is a great idea. I made a picture album with detailed instructions so the kids would know how to do it if they took the trailer by themselves.
Wish someone would have made me a list like yours when I started.
Tell her to have fun, be safe, and she can always ask a fellow camper for help.


You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality – Ayn Rand

ROBERTSUNRUS

Lakewood, Ca.

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Posted: 06/22/12 11:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi, I would replace the faulty in-line fuse holder and keep the tongue jack wire connected to the battery. Wouldn't want wife to have wrench on a positive post and touch ground with it while installing tongue jack wire.


Bob
2005 Airstream Safari 25-B
2000 Lincoln Navigator
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Yamaha 2400


Golden_HVAC

Fulltime, CA, USA

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Posted: 06/22/12 11:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another tip, make sure there will be space for the slide without hitting the tree or power post. Some carry a 4' broom with them, and walk around the trailer with it, near the slide especially, to make sure there is plenty of space.

Yes leaving the truck hooked up will work in most situations, unless the hitch needs to go down a lot. In that case, you would need to unhitch. Be careful not to use to tall of a block under the jack if you need it to come down 4-6", as the block will prevent it from coming down all the way, and the only way to remove the block is support the trailer on the truck hitch ball again, and start over.

I am sure she will get the hang of it soon enough.

Did you give her any tips on driving? Or has she done enough driving with the trailer? Swing wide when making a turn, ect.

Print this in case you want to read it again in the campground.

Fred.

Golden_HVAC

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Posted: 06/22/12 11:50pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ROBERTSUNRUS wrote:

Hi, I would replace the faulty in-line fuse holder and keep the tongue jack wire connected to the battery. Wouldn't want wife to have wrench on a positive post and touch ground with it while installing tongue jack wire.


Actually the jack motor really should not have a fuse holder of that type at all, it is a weak link that will fail again and again. Look for a 20 or 30 amp automatic reset circuit breaker at someplace like Napa Auto Parts, with 3/8" terminals on it. Wire some #10 wire from the battery + to the circuit breaker, then to the jack itself. Tighten everything up, and it will be good for years. The 1/4" slip on fuse terminal is a weak connection that will fail because start up amperage for any motor is very high (above 40 amps for that instant it is starting to move), and will overheat the 1/4" terminals that are on the end of a automotive fuse holder.

You can get proper solderless terminals at any good auto parts store, or Home Depot, and use vice grips to crimp them, or a bench vice will also work fine, if you don't have the proper crimping tool.

For a battery disconnect, Napa and other places sell a terminal that fits onto the battery, with a brass nut about 1" diameter, that you loosen to disconnect the battery, or tighten to connect it. This makes it safe to make wiring connections (with the battery disconnect open) then tighten the connection later after all the wiring is done. IT also prevents battery drain while in storage if there is not a way to plug in the RV. Wire any solar panels to the battery side of the disconnect, so it stays on 24/7 to keep the battery full in storage.

Fred.

RoyB

King George, VA

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Posted: 06/23/12 12:06am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In the real world your wife wont have to lift a finger. Just drive up and get out of the truck and just stand there. There will be ten guys there in a heart beat offering their help...


My Posts are IMHO based on my experiences - PM me
Roy and Carolyn
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mogman

Pitt Meadows, B.C. Canada

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Posted: 06/23/12 12:12am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

#10...not a good idea to fasten the break away cable to the hitch. In case of hitch failure(unlikely, I know)..should be fastened to something other than the hitch, vehicle frame for example.
Hope you both have a good time.


'11 Ford E350 extended SD. 6.8 V10 3.73
'12 Lance 1685

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