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 > Whoever said 5er's were easier

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Black Hills of SD

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Posted: 10/08/18 08:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tie a short rope to the breakaway cable to pull it up from the side of your pickup, then attach the end to your clip (I use a cheap carabiner), or somewhere else to keep it handy.

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Ellicott City, Maryland

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Posted: 10/08/18 09:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dutch I've suffered through same challenges you mentioned.I'm going to speed up your evolution.
1. keep a bucket or stool for home hitching use. Just keep it near wherever you park fiver.
2. Keep 2nd buck or milk crate in storage bin of fiver. Use it to hold your chocks or blocks. Make it the 1st thing you grab when setting up.
This keeps you from crawling in and out of truck to get the stool/bucket.
I also have a trifold tonneau cover. I put marks on cover and pin box to use a backup markings. Next I used a squeeze clamp on the hitch which extended the hitch by allowing be to see the clamp above the cover.
Spring Clamp.

For the breakaway cable. Get one of the coiled type. They are much easier to deal with

Lastly consider a camera for hitching. Like you I don't have a fancy newer truck with all the gadgets. But there's hope for us.
A swift hitch or Eyeball cam will make hitching a lot easier with your cover.

There is still a learning curve you will have to overcome.
However a few hints and gadgets will go along way towards sorting it all out

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Posted: 10/08/18 09:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a trifold tonneau and can't see my hitch to align it to the trailer. My trailer is 8 ft. wide as is my truck's dually fenders. I use the mirrors to align the fenders to the side of the trailer and I hook up near perfect every time. I hitch and unhitch by myself so there is a lot of getting out and looking.

I wouldn't use a bucket to stand on. Harbor Freight has a sturdy aluminum folding leg stool that I use for 20 bucks.

I installed a tail on my hitch so I can hook up the safety cable with an easy reach while standing.


No paticular place.

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Posted: 10/08/18 09:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like the majority is just teething pains you would have with any new RV.

Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
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Full Time spliting time between boat and 5er


Northern, Ca. , USA

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Posted: 10/08/18 10:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1. loop your break away cable to the 5th wheel handle. If needed add additional length to your break away cable.
2. paint a 1" white strip on the trailer hitch and then measure the middle of your rear window and put a 1" red piece of tape from the top to bottom of the rear window. Just line up the tape strip to the painted white strip.
3. Next time you start to back up go until the trailer hitch is close but not touching the plate hitch plate. Now measure under the trailer cab to the ground. Cut a 1" piece of PCP pipe to that measure meant. Put the pipe under the cab and lower of raise the trailer cab to it is almost touching. Take the pipe away and start to hook up the trailer.
4. Use your cell phones, CB radios and walkie- talkies so you can stay in constant contact when your partner is assisting you to back up.
5. When backing up the 5th wheel, tell your spotter NOT to use RIGHT OR LEFT DIRECTIONS but rather pick physical sites i.e. turn to the fence white RV or fence etc. on your left and turn to the tree, building etc. Its sounds weird but a spotter's RIGHT and LEFT behind you is just the OPPOSITE in your brain.
6. DO NOT forget to do a bump test right after you hook up your trailer and truck. remove your trailer chocks, put the truck in gear and push you electric brake switch closed, then just give the truck a little gas to make sure you are securely hooked up.

newman fulltimer


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Posted: 10/08/18 10:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am waiting for the post when he falls down the stairs in the middle of the night [emoticon]


Portland, OR

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Posted: 10/08/18 10:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DutchmenSport wrote:

I'd sure like to know what you are smokin'!

Because I'm just plain exhausted! Seems everything is a difficult learning curve on the new 5er opposed to over 30-40-50 years of bumper pull travel experience and first hand ownership for about about 20 years now!

First was the challenge of where to put everything I carried in the pick-up truck shell side door tool boxes and bed of the truck. In-out-in-out of the different outside cubby holes. Finally got that settled, somewhat. I'm still try to get things settled, after 2 weeks! Eliminated a lot of stuff that was specific for the previous TT, but still a lot of stuff!
Clear plastic totes are your friend!!

How about hitching up? Well, you know that break-away cable. Dag-gum that's a wretched thing to hook up to somewhere. Dealer told me most people hook them up into one of the front corner bed eyelet catches. But my cable is not long enough to reach. So, I end up crawling over the tail gate (open of course) and crawling around on the bed on my stomach to string that cable over the 5er hitch so I can hook it to a hole. I have a D style spring loaded catch on the end, same as I used for my TT. TT, just snapped it over the holes on the receiver hitch and done. Yuck. I feel like a fat worm crawling under there.

Put a ring where needed to hook it to.

And that danged artificial knee is no help when attempting to crawl around.

OK, so my wife and I are still having difficulty actually backing up the truck and aligning it just right to hitch. So, I painted a couple lines on the 5er hitch and the hitch pen box so she can line them up. She's always driven to hitch, and I've always guided her. It worked absolutely great! She hit it perfect first try after that.

With a 5er alignment doesn't need to be exact, that is why it is wider at the back end. Also make sure that the pin box is lower than the hitch, so it needs to ride up to prevent high hitching.

But today, I got a Taneou style cover -4 fold- over the bed of the truck, and with it folded up -3 folds-, from the truck driver seat, you can't see the hitch in the bed of the truck any more! Now, this is going to be fun.

See above

And those fat fenders. No matter what I do, I'm just a bit too short to reach anything standing on the ground inside the bed. Someone on these forums suggested getting a plastic bucket and using it for a step stool. I did and it works great! When I can reach it in the back of the truck!

I have never figured those with 4X4 DRW will NOT get running boards that go wheel to wheel, and have a platform forward of the rear wheels.

Now, the blue tote? I haven't figured out a good spot to put it yet. I tried in front of the hitch and I tried behind. In front works better since I end up having to crawl into the back to attach that cable, but that also means making sure the tote (and now firewood) is loaded before actually hitching, like I could with the TT.

I'm hoping the bed cover will make things a bit easier, not having to remove everything once home, can simply close the cover and leave it in the bed, like I use to do with shell.

Crawling or climbing over the bed sides of the truck, from my bucket, is a site to behold and an experience that will not soon be forgotten. Dragging that numb knee over a cliff is, well ... exhilarating! -oh sheesh no!- It's a wonder I haven't broken my neck yet falling over. Never had that problem on the truck with the TT.

I suppose there are a few good things that have happened over the last week, much improvement... and that is the fact I've not knocked my head on the hitch box any more! And I figured out how the flood light attaches to my awning arm. And I figured out how to keep my on-board water pump from pulsating. And I've finally figured out how to use the auto levelers, to get the hitch box just the right height for hitching and unhitching now. And finally came up with a creative way to keep the cabinet doors from popping open when traveling, and getting in the way of the slides when opening them. Yikes... that actually happened twice already! And oh... that 50 amp power cord! Sheesh is that thing heavy! I finally figured out to roll it up in a laundry basket, instead of trying to roll it up in my arm like an extension cord.

Replace with a 6/4 SOO cable much lighter and far more flexible.

So, that animal is now manageable. And the last two attempts at backing into 1-the last campsite and 2-my own driveway, I hit it just right, first time! Backing IS getting easier.

I do think, about the ONLY thing that was immediately easier than my previous TT is the fact I can climb up the attached ladder and sweep of the slides from leaves and sticks falling from trees. Now, that is REALLY nice and a lot easier than getting my 7 foot ladder from the bed of the truck and trying to stabilize it on some pretty uneven terrain sometimes and reach over the ends of the slides to sweep them off. Definitely, having a ladder attached has saved a LOT of work and anxiety! It feels safer, it's easier, and that artificial knee has great lifting power, so getting up and down that ladder is no problem. But wow, is it different to crawl on!

However, that also raises one more thing that is extremely difficult with this 5er! And that's the fact the awning is so gosh danged high it doesn't even feel like it's there. To reach the awning arms to tip them down, requires a ladder to reach them and then to get high enough to turn the knob to hold them in place. And if the campsite ground is any bit unlevel, or the camper is on asphalt and the ground you stand is not, and it raises the awning arms another 4 or 5 inches taller, it's impossible to reach them! Thanks goodness they are electric. I really don't think I could handle a manual awning.

Easier? Um.... NO! Not yet anyway.

I've been doing nothing but going to work every day and coming home and attempting to figure out something on this new camper, or figure out how to address issues with the truck to make it easier! Then, camping the last 2 extended week-ends, and fiddling even more ...

Hey! I"M POOPED! When does it get easier?

See in blue

Russ & Paula the Beagle Belle.
2016 Ram Laramie 3500 Aisin DRW 4X4 Long bed.
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Posted: 10/09/18 05:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mt toneau cover is a roll up. When rolled up against the cab, I can easily see my hitch. I wanted the folding one, but went with this one specifically to avoid this problem. I hook my break away cable to the pin that holds the jaw handle - it has a retainer to keep it in place which provides an excellent place to loop it into. I'm surprised your cabinet doors come open while traveling. the latches on all mine don't allow that. I have all the "stuff" I need - tools, cables, etc. in a tote which stores in the basement. I can put my anti gravity chairs, patio mat, Arctic Cooler, charcoal grill/charcoal, folding table, oscillating fan, and my Thetford tote in the basement with room to spare to put in wheel chalks, power cord in there while under way. Bikes go on the back - have a 2 in receiver. I don't put anything in the bed except fire wood in front of the hitch - again in a tote. When we go to our annual beach resort, I don't need the tote, so that space is given to the beach stuff.

I can't imagine needing as much stuff to fill up the back of a 8' bed with a camper shell while camping. When moving - in your case from camper to camper, is always an excellent time to de-clutter.

Experience without good judgment is worthless; good judgment without experience is still good judgment!

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Windsor, Ontario,

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Posted: 10/09/18 05:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I use a folding plastic 3 step ladder to lean over the side of my dually. I attach the trailer break away cable, with a small padlock, where there is a hole to lock your hitch handle. I have seen mine come off while traveling when just thrown over the hitch handle. I have a tonneau cover that rolls up to the front but when it's in use I can open the front end and fold it back to fill my auxiliary fuel tank as well as get to the front of the box. I use my mirrors to back into my hitch. When I get close to the tgate, I stop, get out and see how close I am to being in line with the hitch and king pin, then proceed to hook up. My head has come into contact with the king pin and box a number of times, especially when wearing a peaked cap. I think by knocking my head up against the box my hard drive gets rid of excess brain cells to make more room for more info. I have a long box so my blue tote can go in behind the 5th wheel. I can put a 50 gal water bladder in front of the 5th wheel behind the aux fuel tank. or my 2 honda gennys with gas cans in a vinyl bag, depending on where we might be dry camping. I am sure you will get on to hauling a 5th wheel in no time Dutch. Piece of cake as long as you keep your mind on the job at hand and don't get distracted, lol.

Ontario, Canada
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Posted: 10/09/18 05:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I like my tri-fold are right it does block seeing the hitch...but that is ok...I'm lucky my truck has a cargo camera that is perfect for hitching.

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