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Old 07-30-2012, 11:08 AM   #1
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How level is level (when towing)?

I've been reading that my fiver should be "level" when hitched up for towing. How precisely level does it need to be? I've seen some people say it should be within 1" and others who have towed with as much as 3".

I want to be safe as I read here about tire blowouts and other risks when riding high. (My truck is beefy enough to handle taking more pin weight when riding low) My dealer didn't seem to care -- they were more interested in getting adequate clearance between the trailer and the truck bed. I'll get it weighed once I hit the road, but I can still have the dealer make adjustments now if you guys recommend them.

Thanks!
-Ken

My Setup:
Truck: 2012 GMC 3500HD Ext Cab SRW 4x4 Duramax Diesel 6.6L V-8 Turbo
5th Wheel: 2012 Columbus Palomnio 320RS
Hitch: AirSafe Quad-airbags 25,000K with a Holland/Binkley head

Note: I don't know if my fiver has weight equalizing axles. Any Columbus Palominio 320RS owners know this?
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:24 AM   #2
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It's always best to have both truck and camper level. The issue is to have adequate clearance of 6" above the truck's bed rails, the fiver frequently has to be nose up. This seems to be more of an issue with the newer trucks.

Dave
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:31 AM   #3
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Should I be measuring "level" using a large "box level" like a carpenter would use? Or am I measuring the height from the ground at both the front and the back?

The dealer just seemed to "eye it" and was satisfied by that. I thought it looked like it was riding high. I had a tape measure on me but I didn't know what "tolerance" was acceptable -- such as "it should be level within one inch".
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:38 AM   #4
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Best to measure from the frame to the ground, both front and rear.

How much clearance do you have above the truck's bed rails?

Dave
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:44 AM   #5
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The dealer used the "two fists" measuring method to check bed-to-trailer clearance so I don't know exactly. (My two fists measure about 5 3/4") Plus, the ground was gravel and clearly wasn't level side-to-side because the airbags on my hitch were reading differently on each side.
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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Next time you're hitched up, take it to a level parking lot and measure the clearance at the truck and the ground to camper front and rear. Remember if it's 3" difference front to rear, you only have to drop the front 1 1/2" to get level.

Dave
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Old 07-30-2012, 11:54 AM   #7
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Thanks! I'll do that when I visit the dealer this weekend.
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:53 PM   #8
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Why two fists clearance or approx 6"?
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:01 PM   #9
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RickV: I'm not sure what you meant by...
Quote:
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Why two fists clearance or approx 6"?
Can you elaborate for me?
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Old 07-30-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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Why level is important.

Suppose you have a 10,000 5th wheel; you are perfectly balanced with a 20 percent pin weight to Gross ratio - 2000 pound pin load) and you sit perfectly level on 2 - 4200 rated pound axles. Each axle will "see" 4000 pounds of that load (2000 on each tire rated at 2250 each). Everything is in limits.

If you are out of level nose high (ok a lot out of level in our example) your axle load will not be even front axle to back. You can actually see this by the back tires being more "squashed" than the front.

The aft axle may be carrying 4600 pounds of the 8000, while the front axle carrying 3400 pounds. The aft axle will be overloaded as well as the tires.

If you are not towing level you should always weight the individual camper axles to make sure each is still below their individual limits.

The same goes for nose low towing. Almost never a problem with 5th wheels, I see travel trailers with this condition all the time. (normally due to mis-rigged WD hitches) Travel trailers also need to watch for nose high as well but that only happens with smaller trailers and higher framed (or jacked up) trucks
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