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Post Info TOPIC: My First Time Hitching and Towing!


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My First Time Hitching and Towing!


I thought I'd post this in the Solo RVer category since I will mostly be hitching up and towing solo.

Any advice or suggestions?  biggrin

Here's the video I made, to help remind myself what to do! confuse 





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2004 Fleetwood Fiesta 26Q Class A

 



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Im pretty sure that you shouldn't wrap the emergency brake cable around the sway bar??

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Yeah, maybe, but that's what my instructor told me.... but honestly, he doesn't seem too bright.... and now that you mention it, yeah, probably not. Thanks for the reality check. :)

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For what it's worth I would have a tendency to listen to my instructor before I would a poster on the internet who isn't even sure of their own answer.

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I think what the instructor meant is that you don't want the emergency cable to be dragging... so don't wrap it tight, but it's okay to loop it if it drags on the ground.

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Carol Kerr Welch

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Yes, that cable seemed a little long, maybe 6" off the ground, donor dragging, and not wrapped tight

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2004 Fleetwood Fiesta 26Q Class A

 



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Good idea making a video, Hina. I just hooked up my TT for it's first drag around the neighborhood this past weekend :) I THOUGHT I'd taken pretty good notes at the RV place, but had forgotten how the 'ninja bars' went on (up underside of the hitch).

I still stink at backing it in, but I did manage to get it square onto it's leveling pads after like six back and forths. May have provided entertainment for my neighbors. Frustrating because I can back any truck or car up confidently with just mirrors, but add something on a hitch and my mind can't accommodate yet!! But I guess if that's the worst thing, it's not too bad.

I am itching to go on the road. Would so love to go to the SW desert this winter. I am a solo-er also,and can't quite financially make it work for 2012 but I am planning on 2013. Local New England trips until then.

I like your posts- you just jump right in as a newbie. It gives me confidence as a newbie too.

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Never feel bad about providing entertainment to your neighbors,via backing into a campsite. We've RV'd for 40+ yrs, now F/T. I too, can back up just about any type of vehicle,even got to backing our previous rig, a TT, perfectly 90% of the time. Then we got this 5th wheel. Higher, longer,different pivot point. I'm back to providing campground entertainment once again. At least this 5th wheel has auto level,so I can eliminate that excercise. You'll get used to it (at least that's what I tell myself).

Best,

R



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Hi Soody! I had to practice simply parking the truck for a week; although I have driven big vehicles, something about the Excursion makes it hard to center in a space. confuse I had help getting it hitched the first time, and my next purchase is going to be these Hitchin' Rods  http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/magnetic-hitchin-rods/28563 They're these magnetic things, and when you get it aligned and back up right, one falls off... looks silly, but should work, for less than $30.

I'm ready to roll too, I may take my first trip next month, somewhere close, and flat and easy to drive to! biggrin We do have the Pacific ocean here, and the end of October should be out of season, and cheaper (As well as cold and windy, but hey, dramatic scenery!) Or maybe somewhere deeper north, here in Wine Country, or maybe in the Redwood forest.

Thanks R, for the encouragement! I'm not too scared to look dumb, and, although I am an intrepid and resourceful female, fuddling through things in public usually elecits the "knight in shining armour" instinct of any male who happens to be witnessing, so, I figure I'll get some help until I'm an old hand!

Jane



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I love your thinking Hina.......you will do well out here!!!



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We are not lost in the Woods.....Just Extreme boondocking!!!!!!



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Hina wrote:

Yes, that cable seemed a little long, maybe 6" off the ground, donor dragging, and not wrapped tight


 

FWIW- and I am nobody's maji- I also noticed that my cable was a bit long. Following the advice of the mechanic at the local RV dealer (where I had the TT serviced) I threaded the cable through one of the safety chains. Looping it through all the links in the chain took a lot of the slack out of it, and left enough at the end to clip to the reciver.



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If I may offer a thought or two about the safety breakaway cable. It must be attached to something that is separate from the hitching devices. The idea is that it will provide braking if the hitch is uncoupled or something breaks. Threading through the safety chain seems to defeat the purpose. If the safety chain is intact, no emergency breakaway device will lock the trailer brakes. Wrapping around the load tensioning bar may also defeat it's purpose.
If the cable is too long, get out the duct tape and take a reef in it.
Always attach the cable to the tow vehicle, not to any part of the hitch. Remember, it is to assist in the event of catastrophe. Think your way through all the "whatifs" and attach it to something that will remain constant through all the unforeseen events.

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Ken and Fran 2006 Sunnybrook F250 SD CC PSD


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53 Merc wrote:

If I may offer a thought or two about the safety breakaway cable. It must be attached to something that is separate from the hitching devices. The idea is that it will provide braking if the hitch is uncoupled or something breaks. Threading through the safety chain seems to defeat the purpose. If the safety chain is intact, no emergency breakaway device will lock the trailer brakes. Wrapping around the load tensioning bar may also defeat it's purpose.
If the cable is too long, get out the duct tape and take a reef in it.
Always attach the cable to the tow vehicle, not to any part of the hitch. Remember, it is to assist in the event of catastrophe. Think your way through all the "whatifs" and attach it to something that will remain constant through all the unforeseen events.


 If the safety chain is intact and connected, then the umbilical is also plugged in. In that event you don't need the emergency brake to activate. You can handle the braking yourself as you bring it out of harm's way. The break-away cable is to be activated when the TT is completely disconnected. Even looped through the chain it will still work, because it is clipped to the receiver- not the hitch. If it all comes loose then the cable will get pulled out, activating the brakes.



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Well, I had my 2nd time hitching and towing, and didn't wrap that cable. I went about 5 miles each way, my first time in traffic; a few left turns, a few right turns, 4 underpasses, and I only bumped over 1 curb in the parking lot at the grocery store. A cop drove right by me without any incident, so I must've been doing OK! My pet canary somehow got out of her cage, and was sitting on the floor, but no worse for wear. Had some practice with all sorts of RV stuff today, such as fine tuning my methods for stowing when I tow; a few books came out, as well as the stuff on the microwave, but it's all good! :) Next, a real, actual trip!

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Its nice to know your canary has survival instincts and can get out of the cage to take cover durring your practice runs........I know in my heart that the canary will now have enough practice to survive hurricane impact should you choose to go south!!!


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 1998 ...Harney Renegade DP  class A

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My Service dog and life partner " Nikki"......Klee Kia Miniature Husky....(she Runs the ship!!)

We are not lost in the Woods.....Just Extreme boondocking!!!!!!



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Hina,
I love your courage and your independence! You just lay it all out there and go for it!
Safe and fun travels to you!

~Sherry

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BRDof3 wrote:
53 Merc wrote:

If I may offer a thought or two about the safety breakaway cable. It must be attached to something that is separate from the hitching devices. The idea is that it will provide braking if the hitch is uncoupled or something breaks. Threading through the safety chain seems to defeat the purpose. If the safety chain is intact, no emergency breakaway device will lock the trailer brakes. Wrapping around the load tensioning bar may also defeat it's purpose.
If the cable is too long, get out the duct tape and take a reef in it.
Always attach the cable to the tow vehicle, not to any part of the hitch. Remember, it is to assist in the event of catastrophe. Think your way through all the "whatifs" and attach it to something that will remain constant through all the unforeseen events.


 If the safety chain is intact and connected, then the umbilical is also plugged in. In that event you don't need the emergency brake to activate. You can handle the braking yourself as you bring it out of harm's way. The break-away cable is to be activated when the TT is completely disconnected. Even looped through the chain it will still work, because it is clipped to the receiver- not the hitch. If it all comes loose then the cable will get pulled out, activating the brakes.


 Actually, if the safety chain is attached to the hitch as most people do, the cable will still be a part of the hitch and inoperative.  The horror stories I have heard all indicate the hitch leaves the receiver due to pin loss.  That is why I specifially said it must not be attached to any part of the hitching device.  Many events can cause a decoupling, I just prefer to look at the whole situation and take reasonable precautions.  Not the least of which is to keep all safety devices able to operate on their own.



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I think I was misunderstood. The chains and cable are clipped to the retaining rings attached to the receiver which is in turn attached to the frame, NOT the hitch. The hitch can come completely out of the receiver and both chains and cable will still be attached to the vehicle.

The point I was trying to make was that the cable is properly attached, and is using the chains only to take up slack so it doesn't drag the ground. If the TT comes unhitched and the chains either break or come unclipped, the cable will be pulled out and will activate the TT brakes. As long as the chains are intact, the TT brakes do not need to activate automatically.

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Since the topic of safety chains came up, I've got a little story that is even still an important topic.  Back in the days when they came out and required safety chains on trailers, my dad didn't trust the idea.  (He was even a semi-trailer rig driver.)  So, he had a tendency to tie the end of the chain to the vehicle by using baling wire.

His idea was that if the trailer came loose, he wanted that trailer to go off into the ditch without affecting the tow vehicle.  Then one day, the hitch came off of the hitch ball and dropped back to where the chains were pulling the trailer.  He got out and checked things out and found that the baling wire did NOT break and allow the trailer to go off on its own.

His experience showed him that even with pulling the trailer on baling wire, it was as solid as a rock in handling.  At least until he had to stop.  By stopping easily and slowly, he didn't even damage anything.  When he got back to town, he immediately went to the hardware store and bought proper hooks with which to attach the safety chains.  He had seen first hand they they worked well, safely, and still allowed him to control the truck and trailer without any problems.

The lesson in all this is to be sure and use them if your rig has them.  Trailers coming loose just might not careen off into a ditch.

Terry



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Yeah, and the receiver is attached to the frame with 4 to eight bolts. I still maintain the cable is a redundant safety device and should not be compromised by threading through another safety device. All devices should be stand-alone and separate. I'm done.

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