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Old 01-26-2023, 08:56 AM   #1
Izzy1313
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General Maintenance of 5th wheel?

Hi All! Still a newbie and about to take off on my first trip with my family across the country here 1.5 months. We have a 40 ft 3855BR, and will be traveling westwards from TN (Basecamp) to CA. Its is still fairly new as it was purchased in August. We moved in full time to adjust to the lifestyle back in October. No real issues, and I have only taking it out 3-4 times to practice driving and for fixes at the dealership.

My question is if there is any maintenance that I need to do before traveling it across the country. Thoughts on 50 pt inspection, repacking of bearings (although it really hasn't moved in the 5 months) re-sealing the entire 5th wheel? I am unsure and still a little ignorant to this topic specifically, and don't want to just spend money if I don't need too, or overlook a maintenance issue.

Any thoughts and/or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 01-26-2023, 10:47 AM   #2
Richard Blackwell
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Just a safety thought for your planned travels...

If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to consider a TPMS system to cover your 5v'r tires for that trip...

Having early warnings about low pressure and losing pressure will save you money and headaches in the long run.

Since your rig is relatively new, brakes and battery shouldn't be an issue yet. You might want to check or "refresh" your water holding tank. We use bottled water for consumption, saving holding tank or city hook up water for bathing, dish washing. This avoids personal system complications from drinking water from different geographic locations.

Each day you start that day's travels...do a complete walk around checking lighting (clearance markers, tail-brake lights, etc), jack retracted height, and double check the hitch connection before moving.

Enjoy the trip and wave as you pass through our low desert (Coachella Valley) on your way!
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Old 01-26-2023, 11:04 AM   #3
DutchmenSport
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In my opinion, probably not.

As you travel you will want to keep checking on things. But being a new trailer with minimal travel, you'll be good to go for a while.

Repacking bearings? Once a year.

Inspecting roof? as often as you can, ever time you go up there. Check the roof for rips and tears if you have pulled through a wooded campground with low hanging branches over the road. I have in the past, knocked off those round covers on the air vent pipes.

It always a good thing to constantly monitor your trailer tires. If you have a tire monitoring system that is good. Otherwise, check your tire pressure often. A lot of folks (me included) check the tire pressure at the start of ever trip. Some check them every morning before a new day of travel. Personally, I check them at the start of every trip and every morning when traveling and we've sat overnight at a new (unknown and unfamiliar) location to me. I just like to make sure no one has fiddled with anything in the middle of the night, or kids playing pranks by letting air out. I'm a bit paranoid here. Nothing wrong with that.

Every time you exit the vehicle when in tow, always double check the trailer unbilical cord that is attached to the tow vehicle and always take a quick look at your fifth wheel hitch. In time, this will become so automatic, you'll not even realize you are doing it. If anything seems out of line, or out of the ordinary here, take the time to explore it. People are nasty and cruel and mean. It takes only 1 time for someone to pull the fifth wheel catch as as a very, very costly joke on you.

Also, when stopping, always do a walk around your camper before jumping back into the truck and look for anything out of the ordinary. Check the tires quickly, look up and make sure all the windows are still closed and nothing has popped open, check to make sure your license plate is still there (really!). Again, in time, this will become so routine to do, you'll not even realize you are doing in. You just do it.

Keep on eye on your propane usage. Check the tanks often, by simply lifting them up and feeling how heavy they are (unless you have a monitor on them). In time, you'll just instinctively know how much propane you are using. But until then, monitor them closely. You don't want both to run out at the same time if you are using the automatic switch over.

Do not depend on your black and grey tank sensors and lights to work correct. More than likely, since you've already used your camper a few time, they are not working right any more anyway. That is perfectly normal as we've all experienced that with the sensors. TP and "crud" attaches to the sensors and creates false readings. In time, you'll just automatically know when it's time to dump. The sound of the toilet flushing and the sound of the water hitting the bottom of the tank will tell you when it's time. Again, in time, you'll just know this. Meanwhile, push the toilet peddle and look down with a flashlight every time you flush. It will help you identify the sound with the water level. This works, and again.... in time, you'll just know "when" its time to dump.

Pull your awning in at night. Pull your awning in if you are not physically, right at the camper. Wind can pop-up any time and destroy your awning. So, at night, always pull it in. And when site seeing and away, always pull it in.

Again, these are things that you should be vigilant and watchful for when actually traveling. Until then, I personally think you are ready to go.

And oh, always have a good credit card available. Because sometimes, things DO happen on the road which will cost. Take some actual cash with you too. I know we live in a credit card / bank card / ATM card society now, but many places still take cash and some Mom and Pop stores still have problems with cards. Besides.... cash is needed if you use toll roads and do not have transponders. Our rule of thumb is to always have enough "cash" available to make sure we can purchase enough fuel to make it back home in the event our cards are ever lost, stolen or compromised by identity theft.

Those are my tips. Have a great trip!
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Old 01-26-2023, 11:38 AM   #4
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I second Blackwells post about TPMS. You can check the tires as often as you want, but if you get a nail that does no good. I had one on a rest stop near Las crusez, NM. pulled on to I10 and got about 1/2 mile and TPMS alarm went off. Down to about 45 psi. Of course this happened JUST as I passed an off ramp. Pulled over on top of the overpass as psi was down to 25 by then. Put out the warning lights on the highway and by then tire resting on the rims.
Others have posted here many times about destroying steps, fenders, etc from the tire getting shredded to the tune of $1500 or more. So $300 for a TPMS is a good investment.

Oh, we always carry 2 DIFFERENT credit cards. If you lose it or someone hacks it, you can stop the first one and start using the 2nd one. I got a new card mailed out to me while traveling up to AK. Of course I didn't know this since my mail isn't forwarded. After 30 days, they cancel your credit card. Card worked fine one day and the next tried to book a fly /drive from Fairbanks and no go!!
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Old 01-26-2023, 12:38 PM   #5
Izzy1313
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@Richard Blackwell: Thank you so much for the info. I do have a TPMS system installed. It was one of the first upgrades I had installed. For the most part we only do bottled water, and have only used water for bathing and washing. We will most likely keep that same practice going as we travel.

And great point about making sure to do a COMPLETE walk through. Im both anxious and excited for those travel days.

stand by for a wave as we pass by!
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Old 01-26-2023, 12:44 PM   #6
Izzy1313
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@DutchmanSport Thank you for the important tips. As you mentioned eventually it will become second nature. But the important thing is making it a habit first and being meticulous about it. And its so unfortunate that sometimes you have to be extra vigilant for harmful/naughty actors. I think I might have some of those important aspects covered. I have a propane gauge, multiple cards and always pull the awning in. However, as I have been base camped for the fast couple months, I have not had to use the Black Tank yet. We only shower and wash in here. We have a full bathroom available. So its going to be interesting incorporating that into our life now. Albeit, I have been religious about treating and flushing tank regularly.
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Old 01-26-2023, 12:45 PM   #7
Izzy1313
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Thanks for the comments @stwindman. These are extremely important tips to try and avoid a total disaster. Makes me so much better about getting that TPMS installed ASAP.
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Old 01-26-2023, 01:11 PM   #8
Rick A
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Also, every chance you get do a safety check of your 5th wheel hitch to make sure that the breakaway cable is prorperly connected and look at all of the hitches pins, etc. I once had a Husky two piece hitch. The top saddle pivits side to side and this was held in place to the base of the hitch by a big pin. The pin has a safety pin in one end so the pin cannot slide out. In doing my walk around I noticed a safety pin laying in the bed of the truck. That didn't seem right! It took a bit of looking to discover where it came from and to notice that the big pin that holds the saddle on was just about to fall out. Another few miles and I would have lost everything!!!
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Old 01-26-2023, 01:49 PM   #9
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Another helpful thing to do, and this will help when you do have an urgent question, go to the UseCP in the brown bar above and put your trailer year and model along with your tow vehicle. It will also help if you get this info into a signature line that shows up in your posts, and click the save button.

One thing I did early on, and this was after having the brakes all greased up after using the EZ Lube system on the axles, was a suggestion from a salesman at a Redneck Trailer Supply store, was to carry a set of wheel bearings, races, and seal. It was several years later when that saved us when we had a bearing failure. I carry tools that enabled me to do the repair on the side of the road, but just having the parts, even if you had to have the repair done by someone else, would help get you back on the road much quicker.
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Old 01-27-2023, 03:51 AM   #10
Mikendebbie
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Forum member ChuckS has a YouTube channel with some good videos that address many of your questions. He has a 2013 Alpine but the systems are identical to Montana systems. Look up ďThe Alpine Fifth Wheel GuyĒ on YouTube.
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Old 01-27-2023, 08:39 AM   #11
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Periodic roof inspection, annual roof cleaning and sealing! Keep the roof clean of leaves and debris. Oh and did I mention the roof? I only mention this because the only reason I have this 2022 is I didn't do the above
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Old 01-27-2023, 10:52 AM   #12
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In the files section there is a Dexter Axle service manual. In the back of it, it has the recommended scheduled maintenance for the wheels and suspension.
I believe in the files section someone has uploaded a maintenance schedule they put together for the whole rig.

https://www.montanaowners.com/forums...hp?do=cat&id=3
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Old 01-27-2023, 04:51 PM   #13
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Bearings should be checked and make sure they go over things with for safety.
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Old 02-01-2023, 01:25 PM   #14
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Walkaround every time you stop for any reason is always a good idea. My fifth wheel hitch has a hole for a padlock so that no one can pull the lever. More piece of mind for me. I have heard stories about pissed off truckers pulling the lever when you pull over at a truck stop.
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Old 02-01-2023, 02:03 PM   #15
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Tips

If you donít have one, a good jack wth enough lift to allow you to change a tire. I also carry a Dewalt 20 volt impact wrench which greatly aids in changing tires along with a torque wrench.

You may never lose a rig tire or want to wait on a tire service but waiting can be forever.
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Old 02-01-2023, 02:46 PM   #16
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Everything listed above should be checked and cared for on a regular basis, but for me the most important thing is making sure that moving down the road at speed is not an issue.
I focus on the suspension. To me, it's the one thing that has the most chance of causing serious damage to equipment or life. I pay the most attention to:

Tires, PSI each morning through a TPMS, this includes the truck. Over 30,000 miles on this trailer with no issues until last year on the way back to FL and I can now say that my TPMS saved me thousands of dollars and who knows what else, when a tire goes at 60 mph it's good to know right away.

Wheel bearings, since we move back and forth between FL and CA each year, I grease them before each trip, that way I know the small trips in-between are good to go. As for having them pulled and repacked, I had that done at about 20,000 miles and was told they looked like new.

Wet bolts, I grease them at the same time as the wheel bearings. I have in my younger days, had a spring shackle come apart and drive the spring through the floor board, so I visually check the welds when I grease them.

The best thing I did to support the above was to buy a VIAIR 45053 compressor, I have used it more than any other tool I have.
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Old 02-01-2023, 03:38 PM   #17
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May I add one more "tip" that you definitely should be aware of? You should never "speed" when towing your camper. No .... I'm not talking about the posted road speed sign, I'm referring to the speed limit rating of your trailer tires. Every tire has a maximum speed limit rating. Your trailer tires may be rated at 65 mph or 80 mph. Don't be tempted to tow any faster than what your tires are rated at. Even if the speed limit is 80 mph (like some roads in the West) and there is absolutely no one else on a perfectly flat straight road, you should NOT exceed 65 mph. So.... check your tires, know exactly what they are rated for. This is truly one of the biggest preventative practices you can do.

Also, know exactly the height of your camper and write it down and stick in in the front of your truck cab where you can just glance up and see it. If you travel enough, you will be off the interstates and someday encounter a bridge overhead that has a questionable height clearance for your camper. Having it right in front of you, with a quick glance, will save you LOTS of headaches. I think (almost) everyone on these forums has had to experience backing up somewhere because of a low clearance bridge that they were not expecting. Having those numbers in your face is a constant preventative procedure you'll NEVER, EVER regret having.
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Old 02-01-2023, 07:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drjjj View Post
Walkaround every time you stop for any reason is always a good idea. My fifth wheel hitch has a hole for a padlock so that no one can pull the lever. More piece of mind for me. I have heard stories about pissed off truckers pulling the lever when you pull over at a truck stop.
Iv`e heard of truckers doing that to another trucker but never to an Rv owner. Move up to 1:11 to see the clown do his dirty work.

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Old 02-01-2023, 08:31 PM   #19
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If you have never changed a tire, I recommend practicing doing it just once so you know what to expect.
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Old 02-02-2023, 05:36 AM   #20
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Recommend that you read each of the manuals for all the STUFF in the RV--water heater, AC, microwave, refrig, etc. Then make a check list of each item with a column for when checks or maintenance is needed. Finally, I carry a dedicated spiral notebook with all records of maintenance--for who ever does it! I also keep a list of "TO DO" in the notebook. I also have a separate notebook for my truck and car. Sure helps when some salesman says you need to do some maintenance when you have your record of when you did it! Recently had my oil/filter changed, got a call that shop recommended diferential and transfer case fluid be changed. SAID NO--checked my record book when I was home and found I did it when it was recommended. Hope this helps!
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