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Old 09-02-2017, 11:19 AM   #1
acadiaforever
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A little worried about doing the driving...

Hi, All,

My husband and I are shopping for a 5th wheel (probably Montana!!) and a short-bed, crew cab, DRW. I have test driven the trucks we're considering; great fun! I do 99% of our vacation driving -- 1000's of miles -- New Zealand, U.S. -- my husband gets back spasms so I have to be ready to drive at any time.

So here's the thing --- we're seriously considering a Montana model (3810MS, among others) that are all around 40 feet in length. Would any of you please share your experience with driving/towing such a big rig? I understand that there are RV driving schools which sounds terrific. But I'd really like to hear from some new friends here. Thanks!

We will be in Hershey in September!
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Old 09-02-2017, 12:06 PM   #2
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Kathe,
Several of us will be at the Hershey show on opening day, Wednesday. Call me at 252-671-3591 so you can meet up with us. I'm an RV driving instructor with the RV Driving School. With a lesson and a bit of practice, you will be surprised how easy it is to pull a fifth wheel. I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have.
Jim Fischer
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:06 PM   #3
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When we bought our 3075RL new in 2007 and started to pull out of the dealer lot, I turned to my wife and said "Wow that thing is long". Had never towed any thing but a short utility trailer. But once I got over the initial uneasiness it was no big deal. Main thing I found was to always be aware on your turns. So easy to jump a curb if you are not careful. And of course the occasional low overhang, especially trees in a campground. Otherwise it is really no problem.

If a long travel day the wife will drive part of the time and is not intimidated by it. Although she has never tried parking it.
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:18 PM   #4
1retired06
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Nothing to worry about, with a little experience. Remember when I went from a tagalong to our first fifth wheel, and thought what did I get myself into. 30 minutes down the road, piece of cake. Difference with the longer trailers is need for wider turns.
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Old 09-02-2017, 03:08 PM   #5
DQDick
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As stated by those above our last two 40' Montana's have been easier to pull and maneuver than the 18' pull behind we had before that.
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Old 09-02-2017, 03:21 PM   #6
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These things are long. After the first day you will forget its back there. It's really a piece of cake. Watch your turns and low limbs while you are off the road, nothing to it. The main thing ENJOY it.
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Old 09-02-2017, 09:17 PM   #7
Texan
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It's easy for some people to be intimidated by these long trailers but going down the road you won't notice any difference between 30' or 40'. As has been stated by others on this forum, allow for the extra length when turning and be cognizant of the height as with all rv's whether 30' or 40' rv's. The big advantage with long rv's is that it is harder to jackknife the longer trailers than the short ones.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:16 AM   #8
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This retired trucker says it makes no difference what the length is...they all tow the same. Just be careful of the tail-swing when making tighter turns.
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:12 AM   #9
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We bought a 36' Montana, not as long as yours but here are my observations:
1. If you are alert driver with good spatial awareness, you will be fine with lane changes, turning, and backing. Be extra careful in the beginning.
2. I get a lot more tired driving the truck & trailer than a car or truck alone, so don't get too ambitious with long distances per day.
3. Make sure you have good mirrors and get used to using them on the highway. On my F350 I find the large convex mirrors are my main rear-views and are wonderful.
4. When backing up a good spotter is absolutely required. I still prefer pull-through campsites, especially for overnights. Backup cameras are useful but have serious limitations.
5. I never pull into a parking lot or anywhere else without knowing how I will get out. If it looks tight, park on the shoulder and walk in.
6. When you reach the crest of a tall hill (or mountain!), you absolutely MUST have control of your speed. You can't start down the hill with excessive speed. This also applies to blind curves.
These are the tips I can quickly think of. With practice and experience you will be more confident. Good luck!!
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:47 AM   #10
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Why a short bed dually? Many advantages to the 8 foot bed.
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Old 09-03-2017, 08:47 AM   #11
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Helen can and does do everything with the RV ,Drive, Park, Hook, Unhook, Dump tanks.. Unless there is a medical reason one can not do those things there is no reason one can not do them. It makes for a pleasant RV experience when both contribute. Practice and experience it all it takes.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by CORattler View Post
Why a short bed dually? Many advantages to the 8 foot bed.
Do they make a short bed dually?
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:26 AM   #13
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On our travels, we frequently are passed by an obviously new truck pulling a new trailer at freeway speeds; 70+ mph. We both say at the same time; "There goes another newby". The two best things I can say to new RVers are (1) slow down; 62-65 mph is plenty fast enough and you will get there almost as quickly, will use less fuel and your tires will love you for it, and (2) 300 miles is a long day. The chances of finding an empty space at the campground are so much better at 3:00pm than they are at 5-6:00pm.
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Old 11-10-2017, 06:15 PM   #14
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Do they make a short bed dually?
When I bought mine in '07, Chevy/GMC did not offer the shortbed in the one ton, SRW or DRW. Ford did, and I think still does. Not sure about the Ram.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:47 PM   #15
BuilderBob
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After towing a while you won't even know it's behind you take your time no need to drive
super fast and watch it on the turns. y do you want a short box?

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Old 11-11-2017, 03:46 AM   #16
Phil P
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Hi

I purchased the truck in April as a birthday present for my wife (I canít even get a new key made) and the trailer in June.

I am a commercial driver so I taught my wife how to park this long bed quad cab dully by backing into the parking spaces. Then when we got the Montana I taught her how to make turns without having the trailer wheels running over curbs etc.

She drove the pickup as her primary driver for 2 years and would collect a crowd to watch her back the truck into a parking place. She has never damaged a fender or any other part of the truck.

By the way you canít tell it by looking at her but she is from birth blind in one eye.

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Old 11-11-2017, 12:48 PM   #17
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Arrrgghhhh. Well I wrote this big long reply and got booted off LOL. Welcome to the website and happy hunting for your new truck and 5thwheel! Nothing more fun than looking at all the campers. We have made Hershey in the past are considering going again this year. It really is a great show with lots of campers to view. You can easily spend a full day if not two looking around. As for your specific questions I have to ask why you would want the short bed truck? If your using the truck primarily for towing, I strongly recommend the long bed. And for a large camper I strongly recommend the 1 ton diesel dually. The advantages of engine braking and dually stability are not to be underestimated. Granted parking can occasionally be a slight hassle more due to the wider fenders than the length but first time you start down a windy mountain hill with that heavy 5th wheel or have a 20mph cross wind out west you will be glad that you got the bigger truck! As for driving with a larger trailer you have already gotten some good advice from other posters but I will add the following: If your not confident get some instruction from a patient instructor. Preferably one that uses models or at least drawings to illustrate the maneuvers especially backing up. Learn to back up! If nothing else take your rig to a giant vacant parking lot and practice backing it into a specific spot multiple times. It will give you confidence and some idea how your rig handles while backing. That will make it a lot easier when you actually have to maneuver into a tight spot in the real world. Learn to drive with the flow of traffic. Keep a big cushion up in front of you. That trailer won't stop on a dime. I like to sit in the rocking chair between EXPERIENCED 18wheeler drivers. The good drivers can click off hundreds of miles at a reasonable speed (say 65) while keeping a safe distance from each other the entire time. Good news is if your behind another large rig he probably can't stop faster than you and is clearing a path ahead as well as acting as an early warning of potential hazards. Learn to swing wide. You have a lot more distance between the hitch and the trailer wheels. You need to learn to anticipate sharp turns and know how your trailer wheels are going to track. Again nothing says you can't find a large parking lot, set out some cones and practice wide turns. Best wishes, see ya on the road.
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Old 11-11-2017, 01:27 PM   #18
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Why should it be assumed if I drive at "highway speed" and have a "newer truck" that I am a "newby"? Which I may be a newby on the forum and to this current camper, not a newby to towing, or camping. Just curious?
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Old 11-11-2017, 03:31 PM   #19
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Jsh, I think they were referring to the guys that decidedly drive to fast for conditions (including tire type). I am in the exact same boat as you with a brand new 381TH and a new Ram 1 ton dually. As mentioned above my thoughts are you drive WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC. And in our case the traffic we should be flowing with is experienced safe 18wheeler drivers. We aren't driving cars so we shouldn't be hot rodding down the interstate in heavy traffic weaving back and forth between lanes. I have raced cars in the past and know how to drive fast for sure but when I am towing a 5th wheel that is over 40' I slow down a bit and use some common sense. That doesn't mean I drive like a grandma but I don't drive like I am in a Corvette either. And Lord knows we do need some common sense on our highways.
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Old 11-11-2017, 05:31 PM   #20
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Jsh, I think they were referring to the guys that decidedly drive to fast for conditions (including tire type). I am in the exact same boat as you with a brand new 381TH and a new Ram 1 ton dually. As mentioned above my thoughts are you drive WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC. And in our case the traffic we should be flowing with is experienced safe 18wheeler drivers. We aren't driving cars so we shouldn't be hot rodding down the interstate in heavy traffic weaving back and forth between lanes. I have raced cars in the past and know how to drive fast for sure but when I am towing a 5th wheel that is over 40' I slow down a bit and use some common sense. That doesn't mean I drive like a grandma but I don't drive like I am in a Corvette either. And Lord knows we do need some common sense on our highways.
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