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Old 03-15-2014, 06:40 AM   #1
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Basic Fifth Wheel Question

I just got my first fifth wheel and there is something I don't understand about the mechanics of the hitch. The model that we had installed is a Draw Tite 16K. I don't understand exactly what the locking lever does. To hook up, you put the lever in the lock position then back into the kingpin. The hitch jaws spread out around the kingpin and then snap back once the kingpin is in the proper position. What prevents the kingpin from slipping back out when you pull forward? If the jaws will spring open when you back into them, why won't they do the same when you pull forward? I know it works, but don't understand why.
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Old 03-15-2014, 06:52 AM   #2
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I just got my first fifth wheel and there is something I don't understand about the mechanics of the hitch. The model that we had installed is a Draw Tite 16K. I don't understand exactly what the locking lever does. To hook up, you put the lever in the lock position then back into the kingpin. The hitch jaws spread out around the kingpin and then snap back once the kingpin is in the proper position. What prevents the kingpin from slipping back out when you pull forward? If the jaws will spring open when you back into them, why won't they do the same when you pull forward? I know it works, but don't understand why.
I can not answer your question directly, but what I did with my hitch I took a bar and used it like my pin to see what happens when I back into my hitch, After that I was able to figure it out, and couldn't do that with the trailer in the way. You might try that if you can.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:15 AM   #3
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my hitch came with a plastic pin just like the one on the 5th wheel. I was curious like you and used it to figure it out. I have a Curt hitch, and on it, the left side drops down after both sides close, locking them in place.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:55 AM   #4
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The unlock lever you pull opens and latches the hitch jaws. They spring closed when the kingpin enters the hitch while you back. The hitch lever moves as well, indicating the hitch jaws are closed. Some hitches have a pin that holds the lever in the closed position. See here for the DT website for your hitch. Look at the install instructions there for a full explanation of how the hitch operates on pages 5-8.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:56 AM   #5
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Basically it is spring tension on a lever.

As you pull on the handle you are pulling on a spring that holds the jaws shut thru leverage.

Is this the one?

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...62922401,d.cGU
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:03 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone. Good info. I am learning.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:07 AM   #7
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The important thing is to be confident with your equipment and know its capabilities and limitations.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:32 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone. Good info. I am learning.

Always, always give your trailer a tug test before moving. Raise the landing gear so it's barely off the ground and give it a good tug to make sure it's latched up properly. Could save your bed but more importantly it could save someone's life.
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Old 03-15-2014, 09:58 AM   #9
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Always, always give your trailer a tug test before moving. Raise the landing gear so it's barely off the ground and give it a good tug to make sure it's latched up properly. Could save your bed but more importantly it could save someone's life.

FINALLY! Thanks! It made no sense to me to do the test pull with the landing gear supporting weight of the trailer, as (IMO) it could warp the landing gear (by dragging it) during the test pull.

"barely off the ground" makes sense. With ours, it's so minimal you *might* be able to shove a tree leaf under it, but with enough clearance that the feet don't drag.
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Old 03-15-2014, 11:32 AM   #10
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I lift the landing gear just off the ground and manually engage the trailer brakes for the pull test.
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