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Old 08-21-2014, 08:12 PM   #1
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Fifthwheel pulling tips

Well it's only been a month since we got the 350 but for fun we are looking at bunkhouse fifth wheels. The end of season deals around my area are hard to believe, seems like nobody want stock on their lots this winter. We told the sales guy we really didn't plan on buying this year and he says I bet I can change that. On the spot he offered us 5k more for our trailer than I paid for it. Nuts.. He says take anything you want for the weekend just pick one. I said I didn't have a hitch he says they will put one in no charge. So for fun We are testing a 380bh5 which comes in at 13000lbs and 43" this coming weekend.

Any tips for a first time fifthwheel pull?
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:39 PM   #2
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Well it's only been a month since we got the 350 but for fun we are looking at bunkhouse fifth wheels. The end of season deals around my area are hard to believe, seems like nobody want stock on their lots this winter. We told the sales guy we really didn't plan on buying this year and he says I bet I can change that. On the spot he offered us 5k more for our trailer than I paid for it. Nuts.. He says take anything you want for the weekend just pick one. I said I didn't have a hitch he says they will put one in no charge. So for fun We are testing a 380bh5 which comes in at 13000lbs and 43" this coming weekend.

Any tips for a first time fifthwheel pull?
Uh...Yeah...Have fun!
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:51 PM   #3
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Big difference than a tow behind, I wouldn't go back. Enjoy your new purchase, eer I mean your test 5er.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:03 PM   #4
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Wow talk about sweetening the pot! Have fun. You will be surprized how it tows.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:15 PM   #5
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Uh oh, here we go. Just go ahead and say good bye to the tt now. Let's see towing tips I have learned in my vast 1 month experience of owning a fiver. Pay attention to your new height in relation to underpasses, over head wires and branches. You need to pull farther into the intersection before starting a turn. Mine is 39' long and it seems like pulling till my rear axle enters the intersection and then cutting my turn seems to work best (watch a few semis turn, you will get the idea). Towing forward is a lot easier and more stable.... watch your speed it is easy to go too fast. Backing up is a little different. The concepts are the same but the reaction is different. The trailer takes longer to start turning but once it starts to respond it turns quicker. Using the S turn to get the back of the fiver started in the correct direction before going backwArds is very helpful. It is harder to straighten back out when backing in a tighter turn, pulling forward will be your friend here. I was terrified to tow this thing but it came easier than I thought it would. My first big challenge will be my tight back in spot next weekend. Enjoy your Maiden voyage and go ahead and note the things you want fixed before taking possession of your soon to be new fiver.


Ps is that a Sierra? If so, come check out the Forest river forums and the other FROGs in the pond there!
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:21 PM   #6
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S truck?
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:27 PM   #7
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S truck?
Stupid auto correct. Changed to S turn.
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Old 08-21-2014, 09:50 PM   #8
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Well it's only been a month since we got the 350 but for fun we are looking at bunkhouse fifth wheels. The end of season deals around my area are hard to believe, seems like nobody want stock on their lots this winter. We told the sales guy we really didn't plan on buying this year and he says I bet I can change that. On the spot he offered us 5k more for our trailer than I paid for it. Nuts.. He says take anything you want for the weekend just pick one. I said I didn't have a hitch he says they will put one in no charge. So for fun We are testing a 380bh5 which comes in at 13000lbs and 43" this coming weekend.

Any tips for a first time fifthwheel pull?
After pulling your BP with your previous truck and then the 350 when you hit the road with the 5th wheel your BP is toast. I hope you left it at the dealer because you will not want to tow it again.

On the serious side all the info you are getting is good. Be very aware of low bridges, you are a lot taller. Watch the big rigs, if they can do it so can you. Spend a little time getting used to the turning, it will turn way inside of your BP. When backing don't look at the trailer, look at the trailer tires and point them where you want to go. It will fell awkward but put your steering hand at the very bottom of the wheel. Move it in the direction you want the trailer to go. If you want the trailer to go to the right move your hand to the right. It will take getting used to but it's the easiest way I found to do it until you get a few miles on it.

I don't know how you and your ground guide work but you have to have one to back it, at least for a while. And the $25 FRS walkie talkies work great. 40+ ft is a long way to holler. Try for a pull thru slot for the trial run.

And most of all relax and have fun. I'm sure we will hear about it next week, probably all week
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:30 AM   #9
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our backing routine includes the bluetooth thru the truck for my cell phone and the wife with hers out back ...
I tell her to keep talking so I know we still have a connection and if I don't hear her, I stop...
If I stop, then she has to stop talking so I can tell HER something (that's the hardest part!)

re height... on the interstates EVERYTHING is 13'6 or above unless CLEARLY marked... when we got our first 5er, the rule was we both read the height sings out loud so we would at least notice them...
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:46 AM   #10
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I never really considered the height issue as we often take the route less traveled. I would hate to get caught at a low bridge, talk about a nightmare. Thanks for the tip about pulling further in to the intersection. We are pulling to a local resort which has nice wide roads and pull though sites.

As nice as this thing might be after thinking about it for a few hours last night the urgency of the dealer to sell at nearly any cost has me back on my heels a bit. We have a new addition to our family coming next month I'm travelling to Colombia and Turkey in the next 6 weeks so there will be maybe 1 other chance to use it this season. My wife thinks I'm nuts, she is not happy about the height, length or overall size she things I'm just showing off. Lets see how two days in it changes her opinion.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:47 AM   #11
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On this madian voyage you can work with hand signals set a routine together. Get out of the truck and discuss your approach (even if a pullthrough the first time). You will want to check where your hookups are. Lookup for obstacles remember you are tall now. If you can finmd an empty lot and do a little practicing to get a feel for it that would be good. You will be fine you know how to tow you are going to have more fun doing it now!
Cliff's tip about hand position and watch the tires is right on.
Best of luck have fun and dust off the Checkbook!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:48 AM   #12
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Well it's only been a month since we got the 350 but for fun we are looking at bunkhouse fifth wheels. The end of season deals around my area are hard to believe, seems like nobody want stock on their lots this winter. We told the sales guy we really didn't plan on buying this year and he says I bet I can change that. On the spot he offered us 5k more for our trailer than I paid for it. Nuts.. He says take anything you want for the weekend just pick one. I said I didn't have a hitch he says they will put one in no charge. So for fun We are testing a 380bh5 which comes in at 13000lbs and 43" this coming weekend.

Any tips for a first time fifthwheel pull?
Just remember---It's not how many dollars said dealer is giving you for your trade in, it's how many dollars that dealer wants you to give him ta boot.
The age old saying---If it sounds to good to be true------

Sorry for being the one throw a bucket of water here. Just a heads up.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:52 AM   #13
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Sage advice Lloyd especially since they have a "new" addition to the family
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:02 AM   #14
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Good Luck!
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:32 AM   #15
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One on my rules is that when you get into a unfamiliar situation...and you will, stop talking to the kids, turn off the radio, concentrate on the situation at hand and go slow. You will be surprised how fast a unfamiliar situation will go from comfortable to OOPS. This can happen in a gas station, unfamiliar campground, narrow street or simply an accident on the side of the road etc.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:16 PM   #16
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A couple of things to add...
-Always make sure your safety, emergency cable is attached so it can't bind. You don't want it coming out when turning. I put 1/2" plastic wire loom over mine.
-Always hook and unhook your trailer Yourself. Don't have others help or interrupt your process and then forget something. They always want to help. No!
-Double check the hitch assembly before starting out, ensuring all four pins are secure, handle locked, etc. Some have been known to "change" overnight.
-Do a walk around before starting out. Put on your emergency blinkers if alone to ensure both blinkers and brake light filaments work properly. Driving lights after.
-Check that all windows and vents are closed, tv antenna down, doors locked, and steps up, jacks up, awning secure, tires inflated, etc. Do it Yourself!
-Get a good sewer line assembly such as a Rhino. Get the electrical adapters before you need them, 50-30, 30-15, etc.
-Take your time, no hurry here.
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:57 PM   #17
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A few more things.... paint the jaws orange so you can see it is closed around the pin. Raise your landing gear a couple of inches (make sure stab jacks are up at this point) get in truck and do a quick pull test (hold trailer brakes on and try to pull forward). If the pin pops out and the trailer lands back on the landing gear, you were high hitched. Stays connected, you are hooked correctly. Only raise the landing gear enough that it won't crush The bed of the truck if the pin pops out of the hitch. Also Mark and other forum members turned me into This.

As others said pay attention to the out the door cost. I had one dealer explain to me they could give more for my trailer but then the sale price of the one I wanted would go up. Look at rvtrader.com you should be at or only slightly above the lowest prices there. I gave my dealership access to what I found at a dealership 3 hrs away. I had a firm offer for what they would sell it for in an e-mail to me. The other dealership had the same trailer for significantly less. I told my dealership I would give them an allowance for the 2nd AC and the upgraded insulation this one had and the other didn't. I also allowed them the difference I would save by not driving so far to get it. At first they said they couldn't do it. I told them ok I will go to VA for the other trailer then. I didn't make it out the door before they caved and agreed to my terms. Tell them you want that price plus what they offered you for your tt and the free hitch install.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:56 PM   #18
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anaro, you are a fast learner.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:58 PM   #19
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anaro, you are a fast learner.
Almost seems that way---------doesn't it?
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:17 PM   #20
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anaro, you are a fast learner.
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Almost seems that way---------doesn't it?
Hey, I prefaced my comments early on that I come from a whole month of fiver experience. But yes sensei, I do learn quickly and I'm sure coopers dad will too.
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