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Post Info TOPIC: Accessories that make towing easier and safer?


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Accessories that make towing easier and safer?


Hi all,

 

I'm new to towing, and a bit scared.

 

Are there any accessories that will make hitching easier?  Are there any that prevent fish tailing?

 

Basically, I'm looking for things that will make towing safer.

 

Thanks, Margarethmm



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Margaret


RV-Dreams Community Member

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what are you towing?

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Rich and Carol Dynaquest DQ 340XL


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Margaret,

Practice, practice, practice will take away the scary part of hitching.

Have someone knowledgeable of the proper hitching process show you how and then practice it until you are comfortable with it.
Be sure to practice hitching where the tow vehicle and trailer aren't in a straight line. And if you can find a uneven spot practice unhitching and hitching when the trailer and tow vehicle are off-kilter.

Same thing with towing.... practice towing in a big empty parking lot. Practice backing, tight turns, evasive maneuvers, panic stops to feel more confident out on the road.

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"Small House, Big Yard "

"May the FOREST be with you"
Alfa See-Ya 5'er and 2007 Kodiak C4500 Monroe



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Margaret,

If you are referring to towing a travel trailer instead of a fifth wheel, then depending on the weight, I'd highly suggest load stabilizing bars, which will help in keeping more weight on the steering axle of the tow vehicle.  To limit "fishtailing," you would probably also want an anti-sway bar added as well.  If you are towing a fifth wheel, neither of those will apply as fifth wheels just naturally seem to be more stable and better distribute the weight of the trailer.

Extendable outside mirrors are almost a necessity on the tow vehicle to better see the sides and somewhat around the trailer.

As for your fear of towing, remember the old phrase, "All we have to fear is fear itself."  See if you can find an RV driving school to get instructions on towing.  Practice and more towing will definitely alleviate many of your fears.  That said, I always remember a phrase from when I used to drive 18-wheeler trucks..."Always be just a bit afraid of the situation.  As soon as one thinks that they have "this thing" down pat, that's when something will go wrong to humble oneself."

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2014 Ford Expedition 4X4 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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White tape. Put tape on hitch and pin box. Easier to line up especially looking thru a camera.

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2003 Teton Grand Freedon  2006 Mobile Suites 32TK3 SOLD     2006 Freightliner Century 120 with Detroit 14L singled, ultrashift,  hauling a 2016 Smart Passion



RV-Dreams Family Member

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fly2low wrote:

what are you towing?


 I haven't bought a camper yet, but a truck camper would be too small for my needs.

 

So, as soon as I buy something, I'll let you know.

 

Margaret



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Margaret


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The Bear II wrote:

Margaret,

Practice, practice, practice will take away the scary part of hitching.

Have someone knowledgeable of the proper hitching process show you how and then practice it until you are comfortable with it.
Be sure to practice hitching where the tow vehicle and trailer aren't in a straight line. And if you can find a uneven spot practice unhitching and hitching when the trailer and tow vehicle are off-kilter.

Same thing with towing.... practice towing in a big empty parking lot. Practice backing, tight turns, evasive maneuvers, panic stops to feel more confident out on the road.


 Great advice on what types of maneuvers to practice.  It reminds me of when I learned to drive  on ice and snow!  I hope I can find someone knowledgeable!

 

Margaret



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Margaret


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Terry and Jo wrote:

Margaret,

If you are referring to towing a travel trailer instead of a fifth wheel, then depending on the weight, I'd highly suggest load stabilizing bars, which will help in keeping more weight on the steering axle of the tow vehicle.  To limit "fishtailing," you would probably also want an anti-sway bar added as well.  If you are towing a fifth wheel, neither of those will apply as fifth wheels just naturally seem to be more stable and better distribute the weight of the trailer.

Extendable outside mirrors are almost a necessity on the tow vehicle to better see the sides and somewhat around the trailer.

As for your fear of towing, remember the old phrase, "All we have to fear is fear itself."  See if you can find an RV driving school to get instructions on towing.  Practice and more towing will definitely alleviate many of your fears.  That said, I always remember a phrase from when I used to drive 18-wheeler trucks..."Always be just a bit afraid of the situation.  As soon as one thinks that they have "this thing" down pat, that's when something will go wrong to humble oneself."

Terry


 Terry,

 

Kudos for a good response. 

 

Is it true that the problem with a fifth wheeler is that you have to take it with you wherever you drive (i.e. unhitching is complicated)?

 

Yes, I know about fear, but I need to be informed, in case I'm making an incredibly stupid decision!

 

Margaret



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Margaret


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lonelyroad wrote:

 Terry,

Kudos for a good response. 

Is it true that the problem with a fifth wheeler is that you have to take it with you wherever you drive (i.e. unhitching is complicated)?

Yes, I know about fear, but I need to be informed, in case I'm making an incredibly stupid decision!

Margaret


 Margaret,

Having a fifth wheel is less of a hooking up problem than a travel trailer, and it tows in a much more stable way.  I've never experienced "fishtailing" with either of our two different fifth wheel trailers.  All that there is to hitching/unhitching is to watch things.

If the ground isn't level, be sure and chock the wheels on the trailer, whether it is a travel trailer or a fifth wheel.

When unhooking, make sure that the trailer's landing gear is extended properly and the hitch sufficiently lifted from the hitch.

Unhook the electrical "umbilical" cord and any safety devices.

With a fifth wheel, there is no need of having an equalizing hitch and anti-sway bar to install/uninstall.

With either, after "hitching up," look to make sure that all locking devices are securely locked in place.  On our fifth wheel hitch, I even put a padlock on the fifth wheel hitch to insure that someone doesn't pull the lever on my hitch when I'm not physically at the trailer for some reason.

Terry



__________________

Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2014 Ford Expedition 4X4 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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Posts: 29
Date:

Terry and Jo wrote:
lonelyroad wrote:

 Terry,

Kudos for a good response. 

Is it true that the problem with a fifth wheeler is that you have to take it with you wherever you drive (i.e. unhitching is complicated)?

Yes, I know about fear, but I need to be informed, in case I'm making an incredibly stupid decision!

Margaret


 Margaret,

Having a fifth wheel is less of a hooking up problem than a travel trailer, and it tows in a much more stable way.  I've never experienced "fishtailing" with either of our two different fifth wheel trailers.  All that there is to hitching/unhitching is to watch things.

If the ground isn't level, be sure and chock the wheels on the trailer, whether it is a travel trailer or a fifth wheel.

When unhooking, make sure that the trailer's landing gear is extended properly and the hitch sufficiently lifted from the hitch.

Unhook the electrical "umbilical" cord and any safety devices.

With a fifth wheel, there is no need of having an equalizing hitch and anti-sway bar to install/uninstall.

With either, after "hitching up," look to make sure that all locking devices are securely locked in place.  On our fifth wheel hitch, I even put a padlock on the fifth wheel hitch to insure that someone doesn't pull the lever on my hitch when I'm not physically at the trailer for some reason.

Terry


 Really?  I thought it was supposed to be harder, or at least that's what the (casita or scamp; don't remember) manufacturer told me.  What kind of truck would be required to tow a fifth wheeler?

 

Thanks, Margaret



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Margaret


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lonelyroad wrote:

 Really?  I thought it was supposed to be harder, or at least that's what the (casita or scamp; don't remember) manufacturer told me.  What kind of truck would be required to tow a fifth wheeler?


Depends on the fifth wheel. Depending on size, gross weight, and pin weight you could get away with something as small as a 250/2500 series truck…maybe even a 150/1500 if it was really light. From there you go all the way up through the 5500HD that some of us have for our 40 foot heavy New Horizons.

Physically the size of the 150/250/350/450/550 trucks doesn't change very much…what you get with the larger ones is bigger rear axle and towing capacity.

What you need to do…assuming you want a 5ver…is pick out the rig first then get sufficient truck to pull it. Once you know the rig and it's total and pin weights…all the numbers are in the associated specs or you can come back here and there are lots of smart folks who will help you understand the numbers.

I never towed anything larger than a 16 foot boat on a trailer behind a Toyota Corolla before we bought the rig…and I was almost immediately comfortable with our 40 footer and F450 truck…it's actually easier to tow than the boat was…you just need to learn to turn wide and make square turns to not clip anything, easy peasy. We upgraded recently to a 5500HD truck for a variety of reasons. For my money…the 40 foot 5ver is way easier to tow, is more docile on the road, and is way easier to back into a site than the bumper hitch 16 foot boat trailer was to back onto the launch ramp.

For general discussion purposes…and I'm generalizing plenty here…most 5vers that weigh say 16,000 pounds loaded are probably towable within the specs for a 350/3500, almost definitely with a 450/3500HD and maybe even doable with a 250/2500. Don't take that as gospel though…as I said pick the rig first then an appropriate truck…and there's lots of help here.

 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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I have a simple tool that I use to make towing as safe as it can be. I use a BAT. (Big @-- Truck)

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MarkS & Jackie
MSgt, USAF, Ret
2004 Volvo 780 530 HP Cummins 13 speed
2014 Trilogy 3650RE
fulltime since Oct 8, 2016



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x2

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2003 Teton Grand Freedon  2006 Mobile Suites 32TK3 SOLD     2006 Freightliner Century 120 with Detroit 14L singled, ultrashift,  hauling a 2016 Smart Passion

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