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Post Info TOPIC: 5th wheel set up procedure


RV-Dreams Family Member

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5th wheel set up procedure


Hello

We are torn between getting a fifth wheel or a MH and have never had an rv before so I was wondering if those that have fifth wheels could explain to me your procedure for setting up and the time it takes you?  Are there options that would make it easier and faster?  Is there any heavy lifting or something that an old person may have a hard time with?  This may have already been asked here on this site  but I couldnt find it.
Not asking you to compare a 5th to a MH, just want to know more about 5th wheel set up procedures.
Any information would be a great help.

Thanks
Dixie




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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Setting up the 5th wheel is pretty straight forward
1. pull into or back into the site and check side to side level and front to back positioning
2. put a board or two under the low side wheels to level side to side. Some folks may lift up the 5th wheel and slide the board under the wheels but I prefer to pull or back onto the board xd.gif
3. Chock the 5th wheel wheels. I use the expanding chocks that go between the wheels and expand out
3. put down the front stabilizer jacks to take the weight off the hitch. For me that's pushing in an electric switch
4. unhook the electrical cord between the truck and 4th wheel, put down the tailgate, unhook the breakaway cable.
5. Unlatch your hitch and pull the truck out of the way
6. level front to back using the front stabilizer jacks, put down the rear stabilizer jacks
, again, pressing an electric switch for me.
So no heavy lifting in steps 1 through 6

Next, Hook up the water, sewer and electric. For me, the only heavy lift is the 50 foot, 50 amp electrical cable. Mine is coiled up in a milk crate and probably weighs 30 lbs. Some 5th wheels have the electric cable on a reel, so you can just pull it out and then roll it back up when you're ready to leave. If that's the case, you've got no heavy lifting at all.

The above is pretty simplified, and everyone has their own routine, or checklist, and may do things differently than I.

Reverse the above process for hitching up and driving away, again no heavy lifting for me except the electrical cable. 

In  observing others set up, the more demanding part of setting up can be the process of bending over or getting down on the ground and getting back up again to put blocks under jacks, or put in the sewer hose, etc, not any heavy lifting.

Good luck, and stay loose.

Lance






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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Thanks Lance.  So as far as options to make it easier, I guess a Big Foot would help and buy some chokes? Am I missing anything?  Hope some more folks chime in to answer my question. Dixie

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Hey Dixie:

The MH / 5th wheel thing is definitely a personal preference and even your preference could change depending on your situation.  “Big Foot” levers are a good thing on either a 5th wheel or motor home as commented already. They really make either much easier to set up.  But there is no heavy lifting for either type of rig. But “heavy” could be based on your personal situation.

That said here’s a suggestion:  Go to an RV dealer who sells 5th wheels.  A lot of them, maybe even one that doesn’t sell motor homes.  (You don’t want bias and “generally” MH cost more so they could be trying to make a bigger $$$ sale.)  Then after you’ve “toured” a few 5th wheels, ask them to go get their truck and show you exactly how it works.  That way you can see about the hitching and unhitching – setup, etc.  Tell ‘em you need to know if you’re going to purchase one.

You could then try the same thing with a motor home dealer and ask them to show you about connecting and un-hitching a toad. (Tag along car.)  I assume you will want one of those with the motor home.

This might give you a good idea about the procedure. Neither is “easier” as such, IMO.  Both have their “issues” and it’s really a personal preference in most cases.

In my opinion, the water, sewer and power are no different between the two.

Safe travels

Bill



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2012 Chevy 3500HD Duramax-Allison \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Dixie,

One of the issues with a fifth wheel is unlatching the fifth wheel when preparing to unhook.  In my case, I have a Ford F450 dually, so I'm considering keeping a fold down step stool handy to step up on in order to grasp the handle and pull.  The one we have we bought at Walmart that folds out in an "A" shape and then folds down flat.

The step stool will probably need to be kept in the basement of the fifth wheel since I have been warned to NOT HAVE ANYTHING LIGHT in the back of the pickup.  Evidently, the wind flow creates suction enough to pull things out of the bed.

The step stool idea would be especially important if one has arthritis and can't raise their arms too high to reach over the side of the pickup to reach the fifth wheel handle.

Also, you might consider going to a nearby RV park and talking to some of those that are there.  Someone might even offer to demonstrate  With a fifth wheel, it may be very important to have an itemized list of setup/hookup instructions so one doesn't forget something such as forgetting to verify that the fifth wheel has latched.

If you've read Howard and Linda's daily journal, you may have seen them comment on it.  The check list can be created with the intent of getting each "procedure" in order so that it isn't forgotten.

Jo and I considered both a diesel pusher MH and the fifth wheel.  Because of cost issues, we went with the fifth wheel.  Also, for a few years, we will be "static" full timers and will have the need for the tow vehicle plus a "daily driver" vehicle.  With a MH, you would be limited to the MH plus the one toad.

Feel free to ask questions as you need, and don't forget that you can send a private message to anyone with questions.

Have fun in your researching.

Terry


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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2010 Ford F150 as Tag-along or Scout

Two minor works in progess....pictures taken over the years and a webblog:

Our photos on Photobucket

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



RV-Dreams Family Member

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The procedure as outlined is right on the money and my wife has no problem doing any of it. There is no real strength required. As Terry said, a folding step tool is needed to get into the truck to release the safety cable and jaw. We carry ours in the back of the truck without any problems.

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Fred Wishnie

Full time since Feb 06 in Carriage Cameo 35KS3 and Ford F350


“If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”


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I feel setting up a 5ver is very easy. Pull in and get it level. Hook up power cord while DW opens slides and does the inside thing. Now she has ac. Get a beer. Hook up water and cable. Get another beer. Hook up sewer and open awning. Set up complete. Closing up is different. Drink coffee and flush black tank. Sweep off slides if needed. Go inside and get another cup of coffee. Complete flush of black tank, put away sewer hose and water hose. Disconnect cable, put up back jacks. Get another cup of coffee. Hood up tow vehicle. DW does all inside stuff. Disconnect power cord and put away. DW comes out, lock everything up, do a complete walk around to include looking up top. Drive up to garbage dump, get rid of trash do another walk around and go on down the road. Just one caution, check double check and triple check to make sure the king pin is locked in!! Failure to do so will cost about $5000.00 to get truck fixed and the embarrassment when everyone looks at you when you drop the trailer on your truck!!

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Doris and Dave
2005 Winnebago Vectr
2013 Ford Focus Toad

www.doris-and-dave.blogspot.com



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Taking our time we set up in about 45-60 minutes and that includes everything, even setting up the satellite. Take down is about the same. When we are only staying overnight cut all times in half. This is with a 5th wheel and 3 dogs.

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Jesse
traveling in
www.kram-a-lotinn.blogspot.com



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To augment the check list above, I use a product from Snaps Mfg, called "The Wedge". It replaces the boards under the low side tires on the 5er. It allows you to level side to side in infinite amounts. With boards, you are limited to your combination of board thicknesses. Another item is an electronic level from RV Innovations. Removes the "you didn't get it very level this time" remarks later.

We back into the approximate location, assess the side to side level and place the wedges behind the low side tires. Then, take out the electronic level, turn it on, place in the chosen position (always exactly the same spot) and slowly back into position. When all lights "go green", DW gives the stop signal, and I put the truck in park, releasing the brake. This allows the slack to be taken up, achieving real position. If all lights remain green, We continue with set up, as described above.

Notice, I always said back. Always backing up as a last action will allow you to release the hitch lever easily. If your last action was pulling forward, the jaws on the hitch will remain under tension, and you cannot release the hitch lever.

The wedges can be found at www.snapsmfg.com and the electronic level can be gotten from Camping World at http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/rv-ez-level/35617

Goes without saying, I have no business relationship with either company.

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Ken and Fran 2006 Sunnybrook F250 SD CC PSD


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Do you have to unhitch your tow truck from the 5th wheel?  For example, if you have a short overnight stay somewhere?

Also, is leveling procedure very different than with a MH?  As in, more time-consuming?

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If we're just staying overnight and the spot is long enough, we often leave the truck hooked up. We do put on the emergency brake which we don't usually use.

Our front hydraulic jacks have adjustments so we don't ever use blocks.  We do carry some blocks that we put under the jack pads just to broaden the base and eliminate leaving an impression on hot pavement.  We've never put blocks under the wheels.

On our first long trip we were unhooked, set up and eating the steaks I grilled within 45 minutes of stopping.  Of course I had premade all the sides and just needed to pull them out of the fridge.  We each did our part and all went smoothly. 

I did have a MH with my ex.  We always had challenges getting parked and set up.  Nothing to do with the MH though... no  I think Johnny and I just work better together.   Communication is really important in setting up.

I don't really think there's any appreciable difference between the 2 in ease of set up.  The only heavy lifting with the 5er is the 50 amp power cord as previously mentioned.  We finally found a solution for that.  I made space and coil it into the compartment next to the power connection on the trailer.  Lots easier than lugging it around.

Also, as regards setting up the 5er alone.  Last summer Johnny had his ankle fuzed and could not help at all with hooking up / unhooking.  I was able to do everything myself and I'm just a girl  biggrin.  It took a little longer because I had to make more trips around the trailer, but it wasn't hard.

-- Edited by Ckerr on Monday 1st of November 2010 09:03:32 AM

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Carol 

Bentsen Palm RV Village, Retama Village and Bentsen Palm Development

Temporarily RVless, but looking and still living the RV life in Mission, TX!

 



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Kathryn wrote:
Do you have to unhitch your tow truck from the 5th wheel?  For example, if you have a short overnight stay somewhere?

I'd agree with all the above comments and, leveling manually using blocks is a question of what blocks you use. An assortment helps out dramatically.

As for the "not unhitching for o/n or short stops", we've done that with no problem. You just sometimes have to live in a slightly off-kilter rig but, you adapt to that for the convenience of not having to unhitch every time.

Paul

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Paul and Jo
Fulltiming since September, 2010. Visit us at
http://mlordandmlady.blogspot.com/
2011 Keystone Montana 3455SA 5th Wheeler / 2010 Ford F-350 Crew Cab Lariat 4X2 SWB
Our geocaching name at 
http://www.geocaching.com/ is M'Lord and m'lady


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Kathryn wrote:

Do you have to unhitch your tow truck from the 5th wheel?  For example, if you have a short overnight stay somewhere?

Also, is leveling procedure very different than with a MH?  As in, more time-consuming?



In most cases, no, you don’t have to unhook assuming the rig is not too unlevel- mostly front to back.  If you have to unhook, then you are really way off level IMO.

Left to right is almost never a problem when you’re connected.  Front to back may require either extra “blocks” under the rear wheels and naturally dropping the “landing gear” and jacking up the front some regardless just to take some weight off the truck and get a little better stability.  But it takes no more time than a MH in our experience for the same amount of “leveling.”

The MH vs. 5’er discussion – which is easier or faster – is an old one and the answer is neither.  It just depends on each situation and your preference.  I would rather unhook a truck than deal with a toad. I think it is easier.  But that is personal preference and those with toads will naturally feel the differently and for them, they're correct as well.

 Our 5’er has the same hydraulic leveling jacks as some MH and we level in “seconds” regardless of the conditions.  But before that we used blocks and never had to unhook just to level.

If we don’t have to unhook, we can be setup in 20 minutes and that includes satellite.  Unhooking takes about 5 minutes more, tops.  Just not a big deal in anyway.

Safe travels

Bill


 



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2012 Chevy 3500HD Duramax-Allison \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 

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