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Old 05-08-2013, 10:00 PM   #1
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Backing and Pulling a Fifth Wheel

I know many of you started with a TT and moved up to a fifth wheel. What was the learning curve for you on backing and maneuvering the unit through traffic vs the TT?

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Old 05-08-2013, 10:09 PM   #2
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I came from a bumper-pull popup and not a whole lot of experience. The fifth wheel cuts off corners more when making turns. The best tip that I got for that was to watch the wheels on the inside of the corner and don't turn hard until the wheel clears the obstacle (once it does- you can turn as hard as you need).

For backing up, it took me a long time to realize that the fifth wheel would respond slower. It finally made sense when I realized that the "pivot point" was in the middle of my truck bed. The trailer wouldn't turn until that point was able to move sideways (a few feet).

And then it was a matter of learning to unwind out of the backing up and to not over correct too much.

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Old 05-08-2013, 10:15 PM   #3
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Thanks, I currently have a Flagstaff 30 WRKSS and thats a very long TT. I will take delivery of my 5th wheel around the 18th. I had hoped to find some videos online but looks like its time to hit the open parking lots and field for some self training....
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by brw549 View Post
I know many of you started with a TT and moved up to a fifth wheel. What was the learning curve for you on backing and maneuvering the unit through traffic vs the TT?
Maneuvering through traffic.... no problem!! 'Easy pleasy, lemon squeezy.' (sorry...heard my granddaughter say that)

As far as backing in, I felt like I was a real pro at backing in the TT; sure the neighbors "awwwwwwwwed" as they watched me back into the driveway and fellow campers were praising my prowess as I wowed them with my backing skills at the campground.

Then I tried backing the new Crusader 5er into the drive... Musta taken twenty minutes and 30 tries... I could hear the neighborhood laughter and 'newbie' remarks at the state park.

It has been a couple months now and I'm making progress. Nothing beats practice in the 5er backing department. Did it first shot last trip and sighed bigtime, then celebrated quietly with a glass of Texas Red following setup... As far as the difference in towing the 5er vs. TT? Night and Day; 5er by a landslide...

Is the difference/convenience/comfort going to a 5er worth the switch? IMO, Heck yea...
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:32 PM   #5
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Thanks Scratch, I think I'm looking forward to the six point leveling system more than anything. As for towing through traffic or around town, my TT was 38 ft V nose on the bumper...this should be easier in that department. Backing may be a different story.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:34 AM   #6
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Well, let's see. I've had my 5er now for 3 years. I'm still learning. Now admittedly, I only take mine out 6 - 8 times a year, so I don't get as much practice as some. I'm okay with it, but it still takes some thinking and concentration. The learning curve from the TT to the 5er I didn't think was too bad, but again...practice. If you have a big parking lot around the area (school, park, etc.), that is an ideal place to get the feel.

Good luck, and keep us posted!
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:41 AM   #7
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When I went from a TT to a FW I found going forward and turning easier. Backing the FW was different due to the pivot point. I looked up on youtube about backing FW and Semi's(same concept) which helped me.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:20 AM   #8
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Agreed that backing is the tough part. I often am given a pull-through spot so don't get near as much backing practice as I need. A friend gave me this advice which I find most helpful:

Create the angle between your TV and 5er while you're going forward. Let's say you are backing into a slot on the passenger side of the road. When you get close to where you need to start backing (still going forward), swing into the left lane and then immediately straighten out in the left lane (oncoming traffic). Now you've got that angle. As you start to back, your 5er will already be going into the slot. Just turn your wheels to get the truck lined up with the 5er as needed to fine-tune the backing angle.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:37 AM   #9
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brw, if you are going from such a long bumper hitch to a fifth, I doubt you will find it any harder to maneuver.
I guess I have had fifth wheels so long I have no idea why others find it an issue.
Enjoy the new unit!
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:49 AM   #10
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Yes there is a slight learning curve but once you get used to it you will never want to go back to a bumper pull..........

As others have said the pivot point is several feet forward so backing is a little harder at first........... I own 5 different trailers & my bumper pull 5 x 8 is much harder to back than our current 36' fifth wheel........... Just takes a little practice not that big of deal............

Take it to an empty parking lot get ya a couple of larger cardboard boxes to back between.........

Good Luck..................



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