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Old 02-05-2011, 06:13 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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Finally bought one!

We live in Moscow, Idaho, and we'd been looking at fifth wheels for a long time. We finally bought a 2011 Chevy 2500 diesel in November, and last week we at long last purchased a 2011 Montana 2055RL which we will pick up in Michigan in the spring (May, probably). Can hardly wait!

We have never pulled anything longer than a 12' Jayco tent trailer, so will have a LOT to learn. I'm starting to make a list of equipment we'll need to get, so will be looking from all sorts of ideas from experienced people.

The dealer will give us 4 days or so at their free campground to familiarize ourselves with our new rig, and will give us the basics of towing and backing something that size, but I feel we need more detailed training to make us safe on the road. Any ideas in our end of the country?
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Old 02-05-2011, 06:30 AM   #2
capn chris
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The apprehension and anxiety far exceed the reality of towing your first 5th wheel. You'll do fine. Piece of cake if you take your time. Also, take a look at the home page for some helpful checklists. CONGRATS and WELCOME!
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Old 02-05-2011, 06:31 AM   #3
H. John Kohl
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Know the maximum height of your AC so you do not take it off on a low over hang.

A spotter for backing and great communications between the two. If you can not see your spotter in the BIG (not fish eye) mirror stop until you can.

Find an open parking lot and use the lines to learn turning corners both forward and backing. Note you have to pull almost two times farther forward than you first think before you start backing into a parking pad at a camp grounds.

I try to put my front trailer tire about two feet before the edge of the corner before I start turning with the truck. Yes you have "box" the corners with the truck on the outside edge of the box. NOTE: the back end of the trailer does swing out about a foot and maybe two on a 90 sharp corner. Make sure you have that room on the non turning side of the trailer.

Lots more and I know others will be along to help

Welcome to the forum. Great questions. Read and learn from our mistakes.
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Old 02-05-2011, 07:19 AM   #4
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Congratulations on your new rig. Besides the spotter, here's a little hint when backing. Grab the bottom of the steering wheel and when you want the rear of the trailer to go right, move your hand to the right. I agree with John, find an open parking lot (try early Sunday morning) and practice. It will help a lot.
Reading other threads on the forum will give you ideas for stocking and outfitting your trailer. Feel free to ask any questions that come to mind.
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:09 PM   #5
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Congratulations on your new rig!
Iím sure you will enjoy it immensely; however it will seem like an eternity waiting until pick-up day. Sounds like good advice youíve gotten so far. I will say after towing several different pull behinds the fifth wheel is by far the easiest & smoothest while towing. Oh, welcome to the forum & enjoy your new Montana.
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Old 02-05-2011, 01:22 PM   #6
stiles watson
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Great!! Hope it exceeds your expectations. Happy RVing..............

As to training, Escapees Club is holding a rally in Gillette, Wyoming. It is called an Escapade. You might look up Escapees online for details. For newbies, they have a "boot camp". Dianna and I attended and thought it was helpful. The Escapade we attended was in Gillette and it was a great experience, well worth the price of going.
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Old 02-05-2011, 03:40 PM   #7
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Congrats and welcome to the MOC family. Enjoy that new Montana!!!
Darwin & Maureen DeBackere
Minnedosa, Manitoba, Canada
2017/3721RL/Legacy Pkg./Pressure-Pro
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:07 AM   #8
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Welcome to the MOC and congratulations on your new Montana! Agree with the sound advice above...I believe you will find that practice, as already suggested, will make you much more confident on the road. Again, congratulations and enjoy!
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:47 AM   #9
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Congratulations on your new unit.
Dennis & Linda Ward
Paola, Kansas
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:53 AM   #10
bob n pam
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Both you and your wife should learn to drive, handle and set up your new rig. Oh, yes, and welcome to the forum!
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:51 AM   #11
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Here is my list of my lessons learned towing a fifth wheel for the first time:

1)Never assume that the yellow pole your wife or spotter is trying to warn you about is the yellow pole you clearly see on your side of the tow vehicle. She might be warning you about the about the yellow pole on "her side". This lesson caused me to tear off the awning supports and put a big hole in the side of the trailer.

2)There is always a tree branch waiting to tear your rubber roof in National Parks. Give trees a lot of room when turning or backing. Spotters need to look up as well as around.

3)Always keep your spotter in view, agree on some basic hand signals and stop backing whenever you lose sight of the spotter.

4)Street curves always seem to move and jump under your trailer tires so make all your turns wide. This saves on tire sidewalls.

5)Donít assume that height clearance signs at gas stations were measured from the stall lights. For some reason gas station owners get very upset when you take down their gas stall overhead lights. Post a sticker on your dash to remind you of your trailer height.

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Old 02-16-2011, 11:20 AM   #12
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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M.O.C. #11053
Thanks to everyone who responded here -- what a wonderful welcome! I need to learn how to add a signature like all of you have.

Our Montana comes equipped with TWO AC's, so I'll be checking carefully to make sure I know just how high they are. I've heard lots of stories of people running under things (gas station roofs are fair game, it sounds like) and dread having that happen to us. Yes, both I and my husband will be learning to pull it, back it, and set it up -- as well as sharing the driving. I had heard about the Escapade in Gillette, and it may be a possibility for us in July. Will look into it in more detail -- thanks for the idea.

We expect much of our camping experience will be in Forest Service camps, National Parks, and other fairly "rustic" areas, so we'll have to always be on the lookout for tree limbs and such, and will need to develop a system of signs to use as spotters. It was never an issue with our tent trailer, as we could see the spotter behind us over the top of the thing -- not so with the Montana. So much to learn!

Thanks again for the welcome!

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Old 02-16-2011, 05:01 PM   #13
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Welcome to MOC! You'll learn to tow, back and setup the unit in no time at all. Just take your time and don't be in a hurry! Check out the PDI's on the home page of the forum and become aquainted with them before you head to Michigan to pick up your new unit. I don't think you will have any problem towing your 2055 with a 2500 Chevy, especially if it is the new units that have a lot more towing and braking power. If you have any questions concerning the unit, tow vehicle, hitches or anything-- ask away. You'll get plenty of help on this Forum. That's what it was set up for! Sharon-- if you want to learn more about the unit and towing it, you both need to attend the Fall Rally in Goshen, IN in September. They have a class specifically for the ladies and there are no men allowed in the class OR even watch. It is a great learning experience and my DW took it two years ago and she took over the wheel, nearly all the way across Iowa,coming home from the Rally and gave me a break for a while. She did an excellent job and I know now that if something would happen to me, she would be able to get the unit on down the road. Hope you can make the Fall Rally. IF you get a chance to come to Nebraska in July, we will be hosting the second MOC Central Plains Regional Rally the 13th-18th. Hope you can make it, too. Check on other Rallies posted here on the MOC too. Again welcome aboard and enjoy your new unit!
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