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Old 02-05-2014, 03:29 PM   #1
Sheepdog
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Hitching up, well almost!

After years of hitching up the Montana I finally dropped one! My previous Ford F450 had a Reese Sig Ser 16K hitch with a Blue Ox bed saver. My new 2013 Ram has a B&W Companion that is a great hitch. Didn't get aroundtoit to install a bedsaver and while hitching up last Sat on BLM land near Yuma AZ, it happened! I backed up into the hitch pin, heard the clunk and got out to find the handle had not closed by itself, so I closed it and inserted the safety pin. Did a pull test with the front legs down all the way using the trailer brakes and everything checked out OK. When I pulled out to leave, I got about 30 yards and heard a crash. The trailer dropped crushing the tailgate and was resting on the bed rails! I was able to quickly lower the front jacks and raise the trailer. The hitch was still in the closed position with the safety pin in place! Opened it up and re-hitched up and tied up my crushed tailgate with ratchet straps for the trip. I was really bummed out that I did what I thought could never happen to me! What happened was the hitch pin was not forward enough "in" the jaws when I closed the handle, resulting in the pin behind the jaws but still resting on the hitch plate- until I pulled forward and the trailer slid off the hitch plate!

Lessons learned: I was somewhat distracted by saying goodbyes to friends that morning, I should have started the process over from the beginning. I did not back up completely to allow the jaws to close by them selves closing the handle.When I closed the handle, the jaws were closing in front of the hitch pin. I did not do a "visual" check from the rear of the closed jaws! I think I did the pull test with the parking brake on, which is why nothing moved! I have since painted two vertical white alignment marks on the hitch plate (bottom) and the trailer pin plate (top) when they are properly hitched up. Fortunately no one got hurt and the only damage was to the tailgate, that is now on my back seat for the rest of our Arizona trip. Picked up a Husky Aluminum 5th wheel louvered tailgate in Tucson yesterday. It looks great and I want to keep it that way. I hope this helps others out there who think this can never happen to them! Check out a Blue Ox Bedsaver or similar device! Stay safe my friends!
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:43 PM   #2
MDL
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Good lesson learned, and thanks for the pointers!
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:14 PM   #3
DQDick
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Sorry to hear about the incident, I know how you feel. I was lucky and dropped a Jayco while helping a neighbor of my sister move it. I was in a hurry and trusted him when I shouldn't have. I was lucky that it was a Jayco and all the damage was to the trailer. My truck just got some white bed rails for a while. Anyway, I know exactly how you feel and it's the reason we ordered a Butch's solution the next day.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:38 PM   #4
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Bummer! One more suggestion. Paint the jaws white, easier to see them locked behind pin. I dropped mine , luckily the jacks were partially down because they were not working right. There was no damage. Yet as in your case , I had an uninvited assistant. Stay safe and "thirsty" my friend.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:24 PM   #5
H. John Kohl
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Chuck, thanks for sharing. It is hard to admit an error. I hope others learn from this and get the bed saver or simular safety. Therre are two types of 5th wheel towers. Those that have dropped and those that will drop their unit on the bed rails. Just like motor cycle riders, those that have gone down and those that will.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:11 PM   #6
Artemus Gordon
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I remember a heated discussion about this on another RV site. I dropped mine last year, my fault. Just like you I was distracted. $4500.00 later it was repaired, insurance covered it. Several people jumped on me saying their "B&W Companion" will not allow a drop! It was impossible! No matter what I said, it was my hitch. I insisted it could happen to anyone and I was told otherwise! Thanks for your honesty and report ! It's a very costly lesson! I do a pull test and tell everyone to give me space! Lol
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:57 PM   #7
davidaf
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Sorry to hear but glad it wasn't worse. I always figured the pull test was a sure thing, guess not. Hopefully I only stay a member of the dented tailgate club!
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Old 02-06-2014, 02:11 AM   #8
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Happens more than you think! If your legs hit the ground during the drop, I would check them for proper alignment. I did a partial drop and bent the driver leg. Did not notice, and after a few trips, had to replace because of chewed up gears caused by the resultant stress during operation.
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:43 AM   #9
mach111
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I am so sorry for your accident. Dropping the fifth wheel has always been my fear. Our good friend Ozz suggested a Butch Safety Latch which I purchased and installed on my B & W Companion. Of course the Blue Ox is a great saver also. I am going to try to post link so you can see a pic which Ozz posted.

https://picasaweb.google.com/Jimsue1...eat=directlink
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:57 AM   #10
jfaberna
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Being a newbee, I worry about this a lot. I have the Reese R20. It has an odd problem that Reese says is normal until it breaks in. When I hitch up, I just turn the handle up and the jaws are still closed. I backup until the pin opens the jaws and then snap shut. I have a mechanical indicator in front that shows it's hitched up. But when I close the handle it doesn't go all the way down. When I do the pull test, the handle completes the fall down to a position that I can put in the safety pin. This works, Reese says it right, but their instructions fail to mention this happening.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:51 PM   #11
Exnavydiver
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Chuck, sorry to hear this happened. I am so glad I had my bed saver installed the THREE times I dropped mine. P.S. I know a place in Quartzsite that has rhinestones that would look great on that new louvered tailgate.
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Old 02-07-2014, 08:22 AM   #12
Hiller
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Thanks so much for your post. I am new to 5er's so when I was looking at a bed saver in CW a couple of weeks ago I was wondering why I might need that. After your post I now know why. I'll be getting one in the near future.

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Old 03-08-2014, 06:35 AM   #13
Phil805
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I to worry about dropping trailer. I have a 16k reese hitch. When hooking up, jaws always seem to have about 1/4 to 1/2 inch gap after securing handle.
Have never had a problem, but always wonder if that normal?
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:03 PM   #14
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The bedsaver no matter which one you buy, I prefer the Blue OX one but that's my personal choice, is the cheapest insurance you can get for damage to the TV both bedrails and tailgate. Have seen to many drops and the damage caused by them and do not want that to happen to mine TV, thus the Bedsaver! Chuck sorry that happened and hope you have it all fixed and as Dave said those rhinestones will look good on that new tailgate!
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Old 03-08-2014, 03:48 PM   #15
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We put the Butch on our B and W last year for peace of mind. Did question if we needed it. Thanks for sharing. Sorry about your truck.
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:54 PM   #16
DonandBonnie
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After a close call, we have made it a rule that if we have uninvited guests during hookup everything stops until they leave. Also, the tail gate does not get closed until the jaws are visually inspected.
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Old 03-08-2014, 05:23 PM   #17
jackel1959
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Wow....sorry to hear that. I know how easy it is to get distracted while hooking up or unhooking. We all have our routines and if we get distracted we can easily be thrown off. I know one time I tried to drive off with the scissor chocks still installed. I didn't get very far

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Old 03-09-2014, 10:11 AM   #18
Sheepdog
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Well, I got my new OEM tailgate this week thanks to State Farm and a local WA bodyshop. Fortunately the backup camera and locking solenoid was not damaged. Now I have two tailgates, OEM and a nice aircraft AL louvered one by Husky. Looking at installing the "Butch's" device on the B&W. Lesson to be learned; always inspect the jaws after hooking up!
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Old 03-09-2014, 01:26 PM   #19
Artemus Gordon
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by DonandBonnie

After a close call, we have made it a rule that if we have uninvited guests during hookup everything stops until they leave. Also, the tail gate does not get closed until the jaws are visually inspected.
We do the same thing exactly! I am polite, but adamant that we need to concentrate on the task.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:27 AM   #20
TLightning
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quote:Originally posted by Sheepdog

...I should have started the process over from the beginning...
Substitute the words "check list" for "process" and you have an old and wise aviation saying.
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