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Old 12-16-2007, 06:36 AM   #1
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Some Tips from the pros sought

As everyone probably knows we are now taking delivery of our first 5er next Saturday.
We are really excited but now I want to tap all you pro 5er haulers.
Could someone give me a step by step procedure for hooking up. Don't take anything for knowledge for granted.
And a step by step procedure for off loading the trailer at your storage or camp site. Again don't take it for granted of any prior knowledge. Particularly the correct use of the front jacks, hitching to the 5th wheel plate, unhitching from the 5th wheel plate and things to double check.
I don't want to drop my 5er onto the truck as I saw one fella in camp do.
Also I know someone said that the front jack bolts may need replacing or may break. I need to know how to avoid any trouble with that as I have no clue on cause of these problems and how to avoid them. I hear it had something to do with too much extension or retraction.

I know this is a pain so I can understand if no one wants to go to this much trouble.

Thanks all in advance
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:57 AM   #2
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Bob, I'll take a stab at it. I'll post as soon as I write it up
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Old 12-16-2007, 07:22 AM   #3
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You are going to enjoy your new 5er. They tow much better than the bumper tow trailers. Before the 5er we had a TT for 25 years. It's been hard for me to back the 5er. You'll find out when you start turning you'll need to reverse your turn to follow the trailer much sooner. Also the 5er will cheat more going around corners, so make wider turns.

All the steps ar obvious if you think out them. Block the tires first when disconecting. Then landing gear down, lifting some of the wight off the truck. Take out the electric cord & safety cable. Drop your tail gate. Pull away from your rig slowly.
Have a great time learning,

I'm sure others can improve on this but it's a starter.
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Old 12-16-2007, 07:45 AM   #4
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If you haven't already seen it, try the homepage, Click on "Related Links" down at the bottom of the page. Then look for "Checklists"

I found: http://www.angelfire.com/trek/buenav...s/FW_Hitch.txt

OH, I'm hardly a pro but I hope this helps.
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Old 12-16-2007, 07:59 AM   #5
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Safty notes. When ever getting out of the truck, put on the emergancy brake.

1) Make sure your site is high enough to back into.
2) Maks sure you have clearance for your slides to come out, and perhaps your awning as well.
3) Are you satisfied with the site and placement of the 5er, if so pull /back into that location (Have someone help guide you from behind).
3) Back/pull in and check level side to side
3a) if not level pull up/back to allow room for leveling boards/"Legos"
3b) If needed put "Legos" or 2x6, 2x8, or 2x10 inder low side to level then pull onto boards/"Legos"
4) Once level side to side, put chawks on wheels of 5er
5) Now you can start to lower front Landing Pads. I use 6"x6"x 2' blocks so I don't have to lower the pads as far, and have a bigger footbring on the ground. I also prefer not to manually extend the thiner legs, just use the motor to lower the pads.
5a) Lower the pads until you take all the pressure off the Hitch. (You can tell this by watching the back of the truck and hitch once you see the pinset come up from the hitch.) Be careful so you do not try to raise the back of the truck this may cause the fuse to blow.
5b) Now you can try to pull the hitch lever out. If it is tight, get back into the truck and put it into revers remove the brake, and move the truck about 1 inch put on the break first then into park, and try to pull the lever, if still tight, put truck into drive, remove brake and move forward about 1 inch, put on brake and then into park and pull lever. If still tight, you probably are either too high or to low with the landing pads.
5c) Once you can pull the lever all the way back, you should be free, and now need to disconnect the power cord and safty brake line.
5d) Remember to lower your tail gate and you should be able to pull the truck away SLOWLY and look to make sure you are free before moving very far. Then move the truck clear of the 5er.
6) Check to see what you need to hook up before moving any slides out, most often its the sewer line.
6a) Hook only those up first, and the power cable after testing for proper voltage and phases or using a surge protector.
6b) Now raise or lower the Landing gear to level the 5er front to rear. Once level, lower the rear jacks.
Here I use 4"x4"x2' so I don have to lower the rear as much same as the front.
Once level and all pads/jacks/stablizers are down and in place you are set to hook up everything else.
6c) Hook up the water, sewer, Electric if not already done.
6d) Once water is hooked up and electric is on, check to see if the hatwater tank has water in it and the bypass valve is off. Now you can turn on the hot water elect switch usually in the hot water tank compartment.
6e) If you have a Stove that is on a slide, or can not get to it with the slide in, move this to 7a) if not, you can also turn on the propane tank, go into the 5er and turn on the stove burner and light it. There will be air in the line so it nay take a few seconds. Once the air is out of the line you will be able to also set up you refrigrater and furnace.
7) Now that the 5er is level you can open the Slides
7c) With the slides out check the seals and toppers.

Now you are all set to enjoy.

1) Turn off propane, and Hot Water heater electric sw
2) Check toppers for heavy debris and remove it befor closing slides
2a) Check inside to ensure slides can be retracted with out interferance
2b) Close slides
2c) Check seals and toppers.
3) Disconnect Sewer, water and electric (and any other items like satelite) and stow.
3a) If you have stablizers, loosen them or remove then as needed.
4) Raise rear jacks and stow blocks.
5) Check windows, and campground for any other item to close or stow (except chawks).
6) Lower TV tail gate and back TV up near (but not too close to 5er.
6a) Extend front pads until pin is high enough that you think you can hook up.
6b) Back truck up being careful that the pin is high enough so it will not hit the lowered tail gate. If high enough try to hook up GENTLY. If not high enough, park and raise 5er, if too high lower 5er.
6c) Once you think you are hookd up, park and make sure hitch lever is all the way in, and check to see that lever is behind the PIN hokding it in and that you can see the bottom of the pin below the lever.
6d) Connect the emergency break wire, and the power cable. Now check by truning on the flashers to see that you have lights on the 5er.
6e) Assuming you have a break controller, apply full break from the controller and try to move forward a little. If you can not move forward you are hooked up and your breaks are working.
7) Make sure your parking brake is on. Now you can retract the front landing pads, this may cause the 5er to slightly move forward or back. Once retracted fully, stow the boards/Legos
7a) Do a walkaround make sure everything is as you want it
7b) You should be ready to leave.

I'm sure if I've missed anything someone will add or corret it.

Edit: Do not forget to raise the tail gate and check the Lug Nuts.
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:20 PM   #6
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Bob, The FIRST thing I do is: Check CG Power pedestal for proper power. I do not want to go through a lengthy checklist and setup only to find out the CG power is out of whack. Been there, done it, had to move and set up again. Twice in one day is very frustrating......
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:25 PM   #7
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All I can add to this is;

If you aren't comfortable doing this alone, having a helper to guide you is a good thing. A helper can see things that you can't, and stop you before it's too late.

This helper should be someone you don't sleep with, or one who loves you enough to know that just because you are speaking in a loud voice, doesn't mean you are angry, only that you wish to be heard .

Having 2 or more helpers is....well........ just 2 or more helpers too many, not a good thing.

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Old 12-16-2007, 12:26 PM   #8
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Great list there Bob!

I do things just a little different as far as hitching and unhitching. For me, I will raise the pin just a tad higher than the hitch plate and will use the weight of the kingpin to "squat" the truck as I back into it. Sure makes that auto locking feature on the Superglide work easier. For unhitching, I will set my landing gear where I want them and again raise the kingpin just enough to take some pressure off the hitch. If the release handle will unlatch with ease, I know I have brought the kingpin high enough to pull out. I will then pull out from under the kingpin, letting the truck "rise" as it comes out from under the kingpin. This is just the method that I found works best for me, I am sure you will find with a few tries what will work best for you.
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Old 12-16-2007, 03:17 PM   #9
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Dropping the trailer on your TV can be avoided with a simple addition of a "Tug Test". The lists above include this, but if your dealership was like mine the brush right over this part. It is a required test for semi drivers every hookup but you see them drop a trailer when they skip this occasionally also. After you are hooked up with all blocks and wheel chocks picked up and the trailer plugged in to your truck, simply lower your landing gear almost to the ground. Then get in your truck and manually apply the trailer brakes. With the trailer brakes applied try to move the truck ahead. If you are hooked up correctly your trailer brakes will stop you. If your trailer is not hooked up correctly your truck will move forward and your trailer will come unhooked but not fall due to your landing gear being down. They also make a product called a "Bed Saver" that mounts to your hitch to catch the trailer also for around $220.00. Any way you choose, get in a routine and stick with it. Our camping friends here were digging out and turning their trailer around yesterday for a easier access for their trip south the first of the year. It was cold and snowing and he was in a hurry. He skipped this step and dropped it on his bed and tailgate. As he was just moving it a few feet his landing gear was not up all the way and did save the bed from total destruction, but still caused at least $2500 damage. Good luck, welcome aboard!!
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:58 AM   #10
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I know it is different for each, but when unhooking I raise the 5er till I see a tiny gap between the pin and hitch plate. Then pull the handle etc. That way I get little or no wobble on the trailer. Yes, the truck will still rise up some.

Another thing I have is a short piece of broom stick that "fits" between the fender well and the ground. Gives ya an idea of how far to raise (lower the legs) the truck.

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Old 12-17-2007, 04:16 PM   #11
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One thing I've found to be very helpful is a magnetic level that attaches to the pinbox. Once the pinbox is lowered/raised sufficiently, and the trailer is unhitched, I position this small magnet level so it shows to be level. I then use the level attached to the trailer to level the trailer front-to-back.

When it comes time to raise/lower the trailer's pinbox to facilitate hitching up, I simply use the landing gear to position the pinbox back to a position that allows the magnet level to be level again. This positions the pinbox at the same position as when it was unhitched. Saves a lot of guess work.

Hope what I said above makes sense.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:23 PM   #12
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Rick, good tip, now all I need to do is find the magnet level.

On edit, it sure beats putting a mark on the landing pad each time and then trying to find the right one again.
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:53 AM   #13
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All good tips.. Addition of a bed saver will guarantee one does not drop the fiver on the truck bed. I think the most important tip is that both you are your traveling partner are equally knowledgeable in the setup and take down procedure. We have a check list we follow and we check it independently(Ricks is a good one) Each of us check the others work and if I am driving Helen does the final walk around and gives the ''Clear for take off" command.. It takes some time..but it works.
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:20 AM   #14
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I use to use large home made blocks under the front legs so I wouldn't have lower and raise the legs as far.While hooking up at a cg I nudged the the 5'er and the front legs slide off the home made blocks and I had the pleasure of removing the 5'er off my tv.I do not use the blocks anymore on the front legs and I use wheel chocks and locks (lesson learned).Fortunately there was not much damage done.
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:42 AM   #15
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quote:Originally posted by rogue

Rick, good tip, now all I need to do is find the magnet level.

On edit, it sure beats putting a mark on the landing pad each time and then trying to find the right one again.
Good old CW has a stick on level for this purpose that has worked well for me; 3 years now. I stuck it inside the storage door where I access the landing switch. It has a movable tang on it to mark your position when unhooking. This serves as a reference point to return to when leaving and hitching up.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:14 AM   #16
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We also use that. It's called Hook-up memory and works great
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:39 AM   #17
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One additional thing I do is raise the tailgate and physically look at the king pin claw to see that it is fully around the king pin. It gives me a sense of relief that it's almost right - then the tug test.

I like the magnet level idea - will have to use that also.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:13 AM   #18
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Only thing I'd add to this wonderful discussion and rogue's list would be on his #4. After leveling sid to side, back against the rear chock, put a little pressure on it, then chock in front. Or, use your roto chock, then back slightly. This takes the pin pressure off the hitch and guarantees an easy release when it's time to undo the hitch. Friend told me, and it works every time if the pin is raised properly. Agree w/others, develop a routine and stick to it. If friends or folks stop by during your routine, ask them to "Standby." Distractions lead to skipped steps and possible disaster! Have fun and good luck. BTW, my dealer also installed a "landing gear remote" that is a key fob, like for your electric TV doors. I can adjust the landing gear/pin height from the TV cab if it isn't perfect for hitch-up. Works like a charm!!!
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:41 PM   #19
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There's some really great info in this thread and lots of time spent into putting it into words. This is what makes MOC so great.

I've used the bubble method for hitching height since my Dad gave me a bubble contraption in 1995. It works great.

Another little tip for you. Before unhitching, note whether the trailer is nose high or nose low. If it is nose high, obviously the nose needs to drop from where it is. If you just pull the pins and drop the landing gear, then raise the nose so you can unhitch, you will not be able to lower the nose beyond where you started. And thus you cannot get level, front to back. So you have to run the landing gear down aways before pulling the pins. Some of us (me) learned this the hard way.
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