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RE: Picking a new rig

I've owned 3 fifth wheels and only this last one was bought new. Three years ago we bought a Grand Design Reflection 27RL new from a reputable dealer. We were in a hurry to take delivery and leave town on our first trip. The salesman told us to get out and enjoy the trip, shake it down and let them know of any problems. We had several issues but I believe some of that was just my fault for not checking things out good before we left. Some of the issues I corrected myself and about three others required trips back to the dealership. The most critical was the fresh water holding tank would not hold one gallon of water. The tank had to be replaced. The other critical issue was the brakes had massive amount of thin runny grease leaking out of the seals and all four brake clusters had to be replaced. You cannot remove grease from a brake shoe. Grand Design was very easy to deal with and addressed all of our issues quickly. The dealer was also very good. All RV's are manufactured very rapidly and there are no quality control processes before it leaves the factory. This is dealer responsibility and I did not allow the dealer much time. I highly urge you to be sure the tanks are filled, all plumbing checked out and all valves are working. Be sure all systems function properly!! There will be issues both large and small. Grand Design builds a good trailer and back their product !! Just check everything out real good before you pull it off the dealers lot. Right then is the best time to address issues.
Likes to tow 12/05/20 04:17am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Long Road trip

I've owned 4 truck campers and 3 5th wheels. By far the most pleasurable travel was with the truck campers. If you are going to stop at a specific place and set down for a while then the 5th wheel is the most comfortable plus you have the truck to run all over the area and site see. Also you don't have to repack and put away items to go somewhere. The 5th wheel can be towed to a campground if you have mechanical problems with the truck and this keeps you out of motels plus you don't have to worry about packing up all your valuables to send your motorhome off to a repair facility. Things like firearms and jewelry are targets for theives. 5th wheels are sometimes difficult to maneuver it tight fuel stops and narrow small town streets but so is a motorhome!! Truck campers are just easy. You can park or drive anywhere you normally drive a pickup. You always have a meal or a bathroom with you!! I was practically never turned away from a crowded campground because they can normally find a spot somewhere on the property if you ask nicely and are polite. Only trouble with truck campers is the storage space but with modern 4 door extended cab trucks you have a really big secure dry area to put things. I'd go back to a truck camper if the wife would give up our 5th wheel. Friends who have a motor home are very limited to certain destinations and they MUST pull a small car with them everywhere. So if you are going to pull something.......make it a 5th wheel. Old motorhomes have practically no value on resale. Many older trailers are desirable to anyone wanting to set up a permanent camp somewhere. Our neighbor has a big motorhome and has tried to sell it for the past 5 years. Nobody is interested in a 15 year old coach plus now it has set for so long I doubt it would start. Other than having that big windshield in a class A to see the road ahead of you I can think of no advantage to a motorhome!!
Likes to tow 11/26/20 05:49am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Battery Disconnect

I bought a disconnect at Wal Mart and it clamps to the positive lead of the battery. All the wires go to the end of it and there is a large knob to tighten it up on the battery. Works great, very quick, simple to install and simple to use....did I also mention cheap.
Likes to tow 10/19/20 02:58pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: I need new Tires

Goodyear Endurance only choice. Made in USA and a top quality tire
Likes to tow 10/19/20 04:58am Fifth-Wheels
RE: camping sites for a 42' fifth wheel?

Not sure if you are aware of the current state of RV travel but there have been some horror stories of people having great difficulty in finding available camping sites. With the pandemic issues, significant numbers of people have taken to the RV lifestyle and this has caused major problems with reservations and availability. In many places you have to reserve months or even a year ahead to get a spot !! You may be shooting yourself in the foot by purchasing such a large RV. It will complicate the process of finding a campground.
Likes to tow 10/18/20 06:03am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

Still wrestling with this event and analyzing the potential problem. All of this for the benefit of anyone who reads this post and will communicate it to others who tow trailers.....any kind of trailer including boats and utility. Many good comments have been made which have given me things to consider. About the lug nuts being over-tightened. I'm doubting this and here's why. I took my torque wrench and set it in loosen mode at 100 lbs then increased it to the point at which in the loosen mode it would click when loosening the nuts. None began to loosen at more than 120 lbs. Most between 100 AND 110. In my opinion none were overly tight to cause seperation of the stud. I would think that would be well over that amount, maybe 150+? ? Last summer when doing annual maintenance I just apparently did not tighten this particular wheel enough and through the thousands of miles in the past year it worked loose due to brake drums getting hot in the Rockies and the fact this trailer has aluminum rims. I think steel brake drums and aluminum wheels would expand and contact at different rates. Now combine that with the fact I never checked lug nuts after the initial first 50 miles nor at any time since. They worked loose and continued to work loose until just recently the wheel apparently was vibrating on the drum!! When they let go they all sheared off even with the drum. Metal fatigue right at that point. So beware of proper lug nut maintenance along with your brakes, bearing seals and grease. Tighten lug nuts good and check again after a few miles of travel when you have removed a tire. Use a torque wrench set at manufacturers recommendation. I was so fortunate to not have had a bad accident running on one tire without my being aware of it. Thankfully the tire was on the curb side and rolled away without striking a person or property.
Likes to tow 09/27/20 06:53am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

I don't believe I was running at speed when the wheel came off. I may have been in a tight turn in an intersection or turning onto a different road. The plastic dressing around the wheel well was totally undamaged. Had the tire came off at highway speed I think it would have damaged it in some way. Decades ago, my Dad lost a wheel going down I-75...how did he notice...it went rolling by on a downhill. Luckly no one hurt. No damage to the skirting. We figure when it came off, it was rolling at the same speed as the trailer. As long as it got clear before it took a bounce, make sense that there would be no damage. If you were on an uphill, you likely would have pulled away from it. TPMS are good but I also check the tires in the mirrors every few minutes (especially after a hard bump). I will admit, I don't put a torque wrench on them every travel day but I do a walk around and check the pressure and at stops, I feel the hubs for heat. I'm with some of the others wondering how you didn't notice until you went inside? Backing into a site, I watch the tires to plot my turning line...then of course when I go to chock the wheels, I think I would notice. My 5th wheel has the auto leveling feature and the control for it is on the driver side (left) of the trailer. When backing in I was looking mostly on that side of the trailer due to the angle of the campsite plus the driver side has better visability. After exiting the truck I raised the door on the left side (driver) and plugged into AC, then pushed the up button on the control to raise the king pin just off the hitch, pulled the lever, pulled forward enough to allow the auto level feature to have clearance. When it was all finished I then walked around to the curb side (righ) of the trailer to enter. The door is just in front of the front axle. I looked down and was in total shock for a period of time! The cammpsite is totally level, did not need to chock tires.
Likes to tow 09/27/20 06:17am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

This is a great video showing an exact representation of what my wheel hub looked like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfpZP9vw8ak
Likes to tow 09/26/20 06:53pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

The Dexter chart I COPIED from the Internet said to torque first to 60lbs then do it all again to get them at 90 to 120lbs. That's a 30 lb variance and looks like to me this makes it not overly critical. Just get them tight. I'm doing 90 from here on. However I believe the most important part of torquing wheel lug nuts to to do it again after a few miles and then check it regularly like you would tire pressure. Like one poster mentioned, the heating and cooling of brake drums may make this more critical. When I'm doing an engine overhaul I always go exactly as the manual says and that is a specific torque setting.......not a big variation. Rod bearings and cylinder head bolts have a specific recommendation. Apparently wheels do not.
Likes to tow 09/26/20 06:39pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

You will get many opinions here, but I think the studs sheared from over tightening or, more probable, defective studs. You might want to replace all of the studs, and for sure, replace the other tire from that side. The remaining tire took the whole load from that side and may be compromised. I'm glad you avoided other damage. JK Now this raises a question.....defective studs?? I will check the others. Wheel studs that have been over torqued are considered compromised. They weren’t “defective” until they got stretched by over tightening. All wheel studs have a tightening sequence and pattern as well as a specified torque value. It is humanly possible to torque wheel nuts very close to the correct spec in an emergency without a pesky torque wrench if you practice a bit. A wheel off incident is super dangerous to people and property until the energy in the wheel assembly is dissipated. I don't believe I was running at speed when the wheel came off. I may have been in a tight turn in an intersection or turning onto a different road. The plastic dressing around the wheel well was totally undamaged. Had the tire came off at highway speed I think it would have damaged it in some way.
Likes to tow 09/26/20 04:46pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

Put a real torque wrench on the other wheels and see just how tight you made them. My guess is over tightening is the issue. When you had the new tires installed, was there another party involved? No other party involved. I took the wheels off, went to the tire shop and had them installed and balanced. Then returned home and installed them. About two months later I started my annual maintenance of pulling each wheel, doing seals, bearing lube and brake cleaning and adjustment. If a wheel was left not correctly tightened or over tightened it was totally my fault. However I have done this for decades and never over tightened one.
Likes to tow 09/26/20 04:42pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

You will get many opinions here, but I think the studs sheared from over tightening or, more probable, defective studs. You might want to replace all of the studs, and for sure, replace the other tire from that side. The remaining tire took the whole load from that side and may be compromised. I'm glad you avoided other damage. JK Now this raises a question.....defective studs?? I will check the others.
Likes to tow 09/26/20 07:26am Fifth-Wheels
RE: Near tragic event!!

Air pressure gauge & TQ Wrench EVERY MORNING. Dedicated tools. Not borrowed from other tool boxes. This is their sole use. (Second to none does not equal no TQ Wrench) As a member of that same club, the above is correct: something else somewhere has some shortcuts in it. Dig em out. Where’s the video of you coming down the steps? (Great description). If I had a video I could submit it to America's Funniest Home Videos on tv and win first place. The look on my face must have been comical. Nobody was in the area however.
Likes to tow 09/26/20 07:25am Fifth-Wheels
Near tragic event!!

I'm not new at this. I have pulled boat trailers since I was 17 and Rv's for the past 16 years. I've owned 3 fifth wheels. My maintenance procedures are second to none in my opinion......up until last Sunday! I'm thorough on wheel bearing maintenance, tire pressure and brake adjustment. Never had a problem! Last Sunday after arriving at my campsite 90 miles from home I got all set up and plugged in. When I started up the steps to enter the camper my eyes were drawn to the most unbelievable site I have ever seen. I stood there looking at it for probably a full minute and could not believe what I saw. My complete wheel was missing on the front axle!!!!!!!!!! Most of my 90 mile journey was Interstate and I did not notice anything different in towing nor did I hear any noise or vibration. All of the lug bolts were sheared off even with the surface on the drum, the dust cap was missing and obviously the axle was sagging down on that side. Last August 2019 I performed my yearly maintenance in preparation for a trip West. All wheels removed one at a time, new grease seals, clean bearings and repack, clean and inspect brake shoes & adjust and check tire pressure. We drove 4500 miles through Colorado and New Mexico. In October we had a trip into southern Ky and late October we went to the Smoky Mts. Then this year 2020 in May we went to North Carolina/Virginia and lastly in July we went to the mountains of West Virginia. I'm thinking all these trips were near 5000 miles + of trailer towing. Flawless enjoyable towing and travel. Since we canceled our long range travel this year due to the out of control violence in our nation I had not done any maintenance in 2020 and the season is coming to an end for us until the we feel more secure traveling. My advice to anyone pulling a trailer is this. Follow instructions on the torque specs on the lug nuts. I've never used a torque wrench on wheels and simply relied on tightening them really good. The only thing I can think of is this particular wheel was not tight and the many miles of travel just allowed them to loosen up, vibrating and shaking, then shearing off the studs. I also thought of the possibility of someone loosening the lug nuts. I hate to think of anyone doing this but in today's world it's hard to comprehend what we see going on everywhere. Had I failed to tighten the lug nuts in August 2019 how did I travel 5000+ miles with no problem?? I suppose it would take that long to begin to loosen up the nuts?? If this had been on a passenger vehicle you would feel the vibration or noise and stop to check it out. On a trailer you hear or feel nothing !!! I checked the other three wheels on my return yesterday using a torque wrench and all were between 90-110 pounds. I took one day to remove the brake drum and take it to a local tire shop where new studs were pressed into the wheel and put the spare on for my trip home. I did not come back on three wheels!! One last observation. Last year I put 4 new Goodyear Endurance tires on and removed the China Bomb Westlakes. I truly believe that the single Endurance carrying the entire load for how ever many miles after this happened enabled me to arrive safely. The Westlake or any China bomb would have blown under the increased load it was temporarily carrying. The wheel could have come off in the first part of my 90 mile trip or toward the end, I have no idea. CHECK LUG NUT TORQUE AS PART OF YOUR MAINTENANCE !! Even if you do not do any maintenance on your axles you can at least put a lug wrench on your wheels and check for tightness. Do it often. My procedure now will be after removing a wheel I will tighten to proper specs with a torque wrench......then check again after driving a few miles.
Likes to tow 09/26/20 06:29am Fifth-Wheels
RE: 75 Speed Limit - How Fast

Problem is too many people won't "flow with traffic." If everyone would just try to stay close to the speed limit......give or take 5 mph there might be less accidents. The irresponsible people trying to run 10 to 15 over the posted speeds make it so hard to change lanes or prepare for your exit ramp.
Likes to tow 09/04/20 07:47am Fifth-Wheels
RE: 75 Speed Limit - How Fast

I continue to be amazed at how people are so sensitive to speed and others getting in their way!! If 60 mph in an RV (that's a mile per minute) is not fast enough maybe you should consider another mode of transportation. Driving in other types of vehicles is a different consideration and speeds can increase in a prudent manner. Any type of RV both those you drive or tow should travel somewhat slower or as close as possible to the posted speed. The vast majority of drivers today want to travel 10 to 15 mph over the posted speed.
Likes to tow 09/04/20 05:56am Fifth-Wheels
RE: 75 Speed Limit - How Fast

Boy are people sensitive to criticism about their speed!!!!!!!!
Likes to tow 09/01/20 08:10pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: 75 Speed Limit - How Fast

Never seen a post gain so much attention as this one on speed !! Seems that most folks are kind of sensitive about their speed. I can remember the oil embargo of the 70's, fuel rationing, long lines at the pumps and stations totally out of gas. When the speed limit was reduced to 55 most people adhered to it and I think some of them realized speed kills MPG on any vehicle. My last tow vehicle was a 96 Ford F250 with the 7.5 gas (460 cu in) and it got 9 and 10 miles to the gallon all the time. Once when running in fog early one morning after a fill up before hitting the Interstate I realized my fuel gauge was not moving much at my speed of 45/50 mph. I got off to top the tank and actually do a hand calculation and was amazed to see 14.4 mpg!! Speed kills mpg.
Likes to tow 08/30/20 11:07am Fifth-Wheels
RE: 75 Speed Limit - How Fast

I try to pull my 5th wheel at or close to 60. That equates to one mile per minute and if that is not fast enough then I should stay home. Too many people on the road with OEM China bomb tires!!! I'm running Goodyear Endurance and encourage everyone to think about their tires.
Likes to tow 08/28/20 03:48pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: No Bumper -- Where do you store the sewage hose?

Go to a home center like Lowe's or Home Depot, buy a section of the plastic fence post that is about 5 inches square. Mount it under your 5th wheel and use the plastic end caps to cover each end. I put a hinge on the appropriate end used a plastic gutter cut to length that slides perfectly inside the fence post. This is better than a square bumper!!
Likes to tow 08/27/20 07:14am Fifth-Wheels
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