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Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > It's getting easier

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DutchmenSport

Between Anderson, Pendleton, & Lapel, Indiana

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Posted: 12/06/18 05:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, easier!

It's been almost 3 months now since we took delivery of our new 5er and we've been on several trips and outings in this short time.

Tomorrow it goes back to my dealer so they can do their 90 day inspection of the unit. It goes back so any warranty items can be identified and fixed, anything the owner is not happy with will be looked at and fixed if its a real issue, and a time to give feed back to the dealer.

There is only a couple small problems with mine, and that is one pull blind came apart the first time we pulled it. The front door (passenger side) drags at the top and needs adjustment. And, the water hose hook-up leaks. So, we've been using the fresh water tank and not hooking up directly to the water spigot. But, we never hooked up to a water spigot anyway with our last camper. Still, it has to be hooked up to fill the fresh water tank, unlike the last trailer that was simply gravity filled. Those are the only issues. Little things, I've simply fixed myself.

Now, about getting "easier." So, considering I'm taking it back to the dealer tomorrow morning, I hitched up tonight. It took about 10 minutes to hitch up, from start to finish. I even impressed myself.

I've done a couple things to make hitching a whole lot easier. First is that 4 foot step ladder so I can reach over the fat fenders of the dually. I can easily reach the release lever for the jaws on the 5er hitch now.

Next, I tied a knot in that long break-away cable and found a good spot to hook it. I'm using a D-ring with the spring loaded snap. It works great! There again, the ladder makes it possible to reach everything easily.

Next, I got a set of those yellow balls on the end of an antenna rod. One attaches on the 5er king pin area, the other on the 5er hitch in the bed of the truck. A third line, 2 inches of black tape, and when all 3 are in alignment, I' know I'm right spot on for hooking-up!

Next, I had problems getting the 5er raised high enough to actually hitch up. I'd back up and raise the hitch, and raise again, and raise again. Then it would be too high, then too low. It was frustrating getting it just right.

Once when it was hitched, I raised the trailer to unhitch. Then I took a Command hook and put it on the side corner of the over hang. I took a long stick and put a hook in the end. I then measured the exact distance from the Command Hook to the ground and cut the wooden rod exactly. I can now hang the wooded rod on the Command Hook and when it just clears the ground, I know the 5er king pin is as exactly the right height to hitch up. I also use it to unhitch, once it clears the ground and swings free, I know the trailer is high enough to comfortably unhitch. It took a while to come up with this idea, but it works so well now. I'm hoping, in time, I won't need that crutch any more. But for now, it works marvelously.

I'm pretty much conquered backing into the drive way and campsites. using empty parking lots and did a lot of measurements and placing objects on the ground to figure out how much distance I need to make the trailer pivot at just the right spot and how much swing my trailer and truck require. These self-taught lessons have paid off. I find backing from the "blind" side, actually easier than from the driver side. Which is bizzare, because all my travel trailers, backing on the blind side was something I absolutely hated. It's actually pretty easy with the 5er now. I like right hand backing much more now than left hand backing. Amazing. It's actually easier. So .. PLUS ONE for the 5er!

The actual hitching time is about the same still. It's just getting easier now. Practice, practice, practice, experience, and time it's working for me.

Anyway, there's my 3 month report for anyone following my drama ... which is easier... TT or 5er?


DutchmenSport

2019 Montana High Country 375FL Fifth Wheel
2014 Chevy Silverado 3500 Duramax Dually

2 Dachshunds, 1 cat, 2 even older folks now, but still lots of love!
And yes, it really does have a door on the opposite side:


Lwiddis

Los Angeles :(

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Posted: 12/06/18 05:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not drama! I’m following and interested.


2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for US flag. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.


transamz9

Lawrenceburg Ky

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Posted: 12/06/18 05:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great right up. It will continue to get easier. It usually takes no longer than 5 minutes for me from the time I first step out of the truck to getting back to the boat to hook it to the truck.


2016 Ram 3500 Mega Cab Limited/2013 Ram 3500 SRW Cummins(sold)/2005 RAM 2500 Cummins/2011 Sandpiper 345 RET (sold) 2015 Sanibel 3601/2008 Nitro Z9 Mercury 250 PRO XS the best motor made.

RobWNY

Jamestown, NY

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Posted: 12/06/18 06:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I smiled through your entire post. We got our first 5th wheel last April and have done our own version of everything you've done. Now, when I hook up, it goes so easy that I stand there for a minute because I'm sure I had to forget something. [emoticon] On a side note, because every site is a little different, I've gotten in the habit of carrying a small tape measure. I measure from the front of the pin box to the ground after I unhook and before I level front to back. That way I know what height I need the pin box to be raised to when preparing to hitch back up when leaving.

Super_Dave

Harrisville, UT

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Posted: 12/06/18 06:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Heads up on the warranty repairs. When I took my trailer in for our appointment I assumed that meant they would start working on it. I called after a week and they hadn’t even started. They claimed that all the repairs had to be approved by the manufacturer first and that could take some time. I had to scratch my head and ask what the point of having an appointment was?


Truck: 2006 Dodge 3500 Dually
Rig: 2018 Big Country 3155 RLK
Boat: 2003 Jetcraft 2125 - Yamaha 150 HP & 8 HP Kicker


one_strange_texan

New Caney, TX (when not on the road)

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Posted: 12/06/18 06:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Speaking of hitching, it is a good idea to lube your fifth wheel hitch every time (every day) you hook up and pull. Lube using the manufacturer's recommended lubricant. Mine is WD-40. A well lubricated hitch seems to be more forgiving of being at just the right height. Keep in mind that the king pin is kind of like a sled that needs to ride up on and depress the hitch and bed with the weight of the front end of the trailer.

As for putting a trailer in for repairs, it seems many repair shops want your rig in their possession before they even troubleshoot it and order parts (or even get in line for them to troubleshoot it and order parts). Due to the fact that many or even most of the manufacturers are notorious about shipping the wrong parts, you can give up the use of your RV for some time. For this reason, I have started using mobile RV repair whenever possible, especially since we are full timing, even though we pay a premium for this option.


one_strange_texan
2015 Montana 3402RL
2015 Ram Diesel 3500 4WD single axle


SDcampowneroperator

South Dakota

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Posted: 12/06/18 07:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good for you using a hitch height measuring stick. Weve been using one for years, recommend it to all I see having problems getting the tongue or hitch height right.
Now mark your slide out widths on the stick so that you can be walk around be certain of clearance from the hook ups, trees etc. before you unhook.
I do it a bit different, with the stick. I measure the unloaded height of the 5er hitch in the truck and cut my 1 x 2 a 1/2" shorter than that height. If the ground is uneven from hitch to camper- your method- it could change things.
Stick cut to 1/2" shorter than plate height when stood up leaning on pin box, then falls when pinbox is raised to proper hitch height is perfect for hooking up on even uneven ground. It also allows for that little bit of weight onto the tow to alleviate 'high pinning'
When unhooking, I raise until the pin raises a tiny bit off the plate, then lower it back down a bit to ensure an easy stress free unhook. That is the truckers method. They know.

camp-n-family

London, Ontario

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Posted: 12/06/18 08:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Next, I had problems getting the 5er raised high enough to actually hitch up. I'd back up and raise the hitch, and raise again, and raise again. Then it would be too high, then too low. It was frustrating getting it just right.


This is where the auto levelling system with hitch height memory feature is handy. One push of a button and it returns to the hitch height you unhooked at for easy hookup. Specs for your fiver shows it should have the auto leveling system. Does it not have the memory feature?


'17 Ram 2500 Crewcab Laramie CTD
'13 Keystone Bullet Premier 310BHPR
Hitched by Hensley


larry barnhart

wenatchee. wa usa

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Posted: 12/06/18 08:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have chain that attaches to the pin box that is used to know when to stop at the height needed. Not perfect because of the different ground levels but close enough for a start.

chevman


chevman
2001 35 ft avalon alpenlite RK
2005 3500 2wd duramax CC dually
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Vette Racer

Oklahoma

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Posted: 12/06/18 09:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I use a stick on level that has a slider bar so I can set the bar when I unhitch and just put the trailer back to where I unhitched it to hitch up.


KE5NCP
2016 Ram CC Dually, 2011 HitchHiker 349 RSB DA, 2018 Wrangler unlimited Rubicon


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