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Old 06-30-2007, 06:40 AM   #1
Tony Fricano
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Location: The Dalles
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5th wheel drivers training school

My first 5th wheel will be a 33.7 ft Montana, I have never towed anything that big. I was wondering if anybody out there in Oregon knows of a good 5th wheel drivers training school? I read about one when reading different posts that had someone in California talk about a 5th wheel drivers training school there, but I can't find that post anymore. My brother-in-law has a 5th wheel and will teach me on his 25 ft 5th wheel, but mine will be 8 feet longer and a lot heavy. The dealership, Gresham RV doesn't offer a program.
Tony & Vic
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Old 06-30-2007, 07:33 AM   #2
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I too would like to know if there any training center in Eastern MA.

We had a mishap while "test driving" our unit back in April --

My wife took the turn into our street too sharp and clocked a pole

She tore off the Living Room Slide topper, damaged the gutter and security light on our 2955

Camping World sells a towing video, which I just ordered -- I will let you know -- if its any good -- I expect to have it by the end of next week.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:47 AM   #3
Glenn and Lorraine
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Many of the Camping World stores offer a 5th wheel driver training course and they supply the 5er to train with.
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Old 06-30-2007, 09:08 AM   #4
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Try a church parking lot during a week day, set up some cans, ropes and similar items and go practice. The ONE thing to remember...wide turns.
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Old 06-30-2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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I did mine in Alaska thru a professional truck driving school. You may have to just call some of them in the phone book and try to find one that will offer the training......I think it was money well spent........

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Old 06-30-2007, 05:33 PM   #6
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Watch a semi driver drive you go all the way in to the turn before turning ,then turn hard right as the trailer is coming around ,, it helps to have some background in trucking but remember don't turn left before you turn rt , thats a old farmer , go straight on your corase then slow you make a hard rt turn ,, you will find the trailer came around just fine . don't drive like a old woman as they say , practice makes perfect , sq corner to the rt and turning left on a 2 lane left turn corner take the rt of the 2 left turn lanes as you can then slip a little to the rt as you come around .. i strong ly sugest no church parking lots as you will get kicked out as you tear up the soft blacktop in the summer , go to walmart they have semis all the time ,, take some time and follow a schnieder truck , the big orange ones , they have class here in gb, wis and if you follow them in your car or truck you will learn a lot
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:03 PM   #7
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A drivers training school is never a bad idea but I think you'll find if you master the 25 footer you won't have any trouble with the longer, heavier fifthwheel. You'll just have to allow a bit more room when turning, both in forward and backward directions. Otherwise our 39 footer tows about like our 24, 25, 31, and 36 footers did. But a school is still not a bad idea.
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:43 PM   #8
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I think if your unsure of yourself, training is good. But you can get all the training in the world, and if the cars at the intersection don't know you need to make a wide turn, your stuck. I watch Samuel very closley in case I ever have to drive the 5'er. You turn just like a tractor trailer. Go wide to the left and then right. You are sometimes even in the lane coming from the right. Cars don't seem to have a clue what it takes to turn these trailers. And while I'm on the subject of towing a 5th wheel, they also seem to think you can stop on a dime. When approching an on ramp, Samuel tries to get into the left lane of an interstate. They will come flying off and not even look.

Enough of my advise. Safe travels and happy trailes.
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:36 PM   #9
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It is a real good idea to take a RV drivers training course. I think you should not be allowed to drive a RV off the lot till you demonstrate your ability to operate one. In my bus drivers job I might drive a transit style bus, a conventional style bus and 3 different lengths of bus all in the same day..Then go home and pull truck and 3400 combo. They all handle differently and you better have a handle on that. Find a school and take the course...it will be well worth it...
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:07 PM   #10
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Try Ask.com and look for RV Driving Schools. Many listed from which to choose.
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Old 07-05-2007, 04:05 AM   #11
Capt Kidd
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I don't know but the most important thing to remember is if another large rig is coming your way to just CLOSE YOUR EYES! Just kidding, the comment about a large deserted parking lot and some cones is a very good one. I will be stopping at a Camping World tomorrow and will try to remember to ask them about their training classes.
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:37 AM   #12
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Yes the deserted parking lot is good practice however careening around a parking lot is no substitute for a good drivers training course. You need to have the theory as well as the practicial training. We did drivers training for schools buses and what I dreaded to hear from a new bus driver was... Oh.. I iv'e been driving Rv's for years..I can do this.This guy/gal usually had every bad habit in the book and had to be "re programmed"
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Old 07-06-2007, 01:21 PM   #13
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found this site on backing (semi) and found it very interesting and useful
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Old 07-06-2007, 04:33 PM   #14
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Thanks, Tom. That is very interesting.
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:34 AM   #15
Tony Fricano
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Thank all of you, I found several driving schools an good info on the subject.
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Old 07-08-2007, 05:33 AM   #16
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A school would be a really good thing. I too am learning anew. Moved from a 26' TT to a 38' 5er. Big difference in backing. A bit more room needed for forward turns because of the pivot point and extra length (about 4.5' more from bumper to 5er wheelset. Learned a life lesson yesterday that I will pass on, keep the clutter in your truck bed - leveling boards,etc - clear of your break-away cable. The clutter can capture the cable and cause an embarassing and sudden stop during a turn. I was at a very low speed and there was no traffic so no damage was done other than to my nerves. New motto "A clean truck bed makes for a clean pull." Never stop learning! Go RVing and the learning experience is eternal.(Tom, thanks for the link)
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Old 07-20-2007, 11:18 AM   #17
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We also were looking for a driving school. The only one around Seattle is Dick Reed's and he's only at the LOW in Idaho. I contacted a truck driving school and they referred me to a truck driver and part time instructor here in the Seattle area. After talking to him yesterday, we feel he could be very helpful so will be setting up at least one session and maybe two (depending on how hard this will be for me.....I'm a lefty and just can't seem to function at 100% in a right handed world I know all about "righty-tighty and lefty-loosey, but need a lot more help than that Now all we need is our 5th wheel The other problem is of course driving it from about 50 miles north of Seattle on I-5 to North Bend which is another 30 miles east of Seattle. Then we have to back it into a pretty tight spot so the first day will probably be a little stessful. I'm hoping we can find someone in the RV park to help us out at least on the backing and setup.

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