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Old 03-29-2014, 02:07 PM   #1
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Is towing/backing a 5th wheel easier than a TT ?

I have always had bumper pull RV's, the latest is/ was 31 feet long from the ball. My street is narrow, but we have a wide, long driveway, and I never had any trouble backing that RV in anywhere. Next Friday, we are picking up our first 5er, which is 41 ft long. Minus what is hanging over the bed of the truck. I intend to pull into a large parking lot on the way home and practice a bit, of course, but I'm wondering what you guys have to say about the ease of backing up with a 5er vs a bumper pull.

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:18 PM   #2
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MUCH easier once you understand the pivot is about 4'-5' closer to you and is in front of the rear axle.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:26 PM   #3
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The fiver is actually much easier to back once you get used to it. Like Old Coot said, the pivot point is different and that takes a little getting used to, but it won't take you much. You'll need to be careful pulling out from parking lots and making turns at stop signs, as the trailer will tend to cut shorter than what you are used to and you'll drag the side of it down a stop sign or hop a curb if you aren't careful. Once you get used to the differences, you'll wonder why you didn't go to a fifth wheel much sooner. They are so much more stable on the interstate.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:35 PM   #4
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It's very different with regard to how quickly the combo will jackknife, and what I found strangest is how you can fold a 5er tighter than you ever could a TT. Without even getting close to maxing out I had the front axle sliding sideways. I don't like putting the suspension in a bind like that so I lessened my arc but was impressed nonetheless.

That said, like OC said, it's much easier once you get used to it, the assembly reacts much faster thus gives you more options with available space.

Once at the lot, have an assistant watch from outside for clearance issues and fold it up going backwards. Find out where the max is, will the cab hit the box or will the pinbox hit the side of the bed? On mine, the pinbox is a bigger contact threat than the cab is especially if you're on uneven turf as you back in.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
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It's very different with regard to how quickly the combo will jackknife, and what I found strangest is how you can fold a 5er tighter than you ever could a TT. Without even getting close to maxing out I had the front axle sliding sideways. I don't like putting the suspension in a bind like that so I lessened my arc but was impressed nonetheless.

That said, like OC said, it's much easier once you get used to it, the assembly reacts much faster thus gives you more options with available space.

Once at the lot, have an assistant watch from outside for clearance issues and fold it up going backwards. Find out where the max is, will the cab hit the box or will the pinbox hit the side of the bed? On mine, the pinbox is a bigger contact threat than 'the cab is especially if you're on uneven turf as you back in.
What do you mean by " folding" and "front axle sliding sideways"
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:29 PM   #6
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It will turn PDQ so short turns of the steering wheel are mandatory and everything will be backwards to what you are used to doing.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:32 PM   #7
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I assume that he means scrubbing the tires sideways, which can be more pronounced in a tight turn in a 5er. AS long as the tires are at max rated pressure and are ST's, there should not be a problem. There is an adjustment period tho between the TT and 5er.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:42 PM   #8
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By folding I mean pivoting the truck in relation to the trailer, like folding a piece of paper. Too much and it gets to the point of jack knifing, or folded shut.

As for the axle sliding, when you turn the front axle and the rear axle track in very slightly different lines in relation to each other. Going forward you'll never really see or notice it.

But backing up you can induce a much sharper angle than going forward. Eventually the trailer starts doing more spinning on an axis than moving backwards, for some reason the rear axle tends to stay put while the front axle slides usually though I've seen the rear scrubbing also.

A TT will scrub the tires but you can't get to a sharp enough angle to mimic what a 5er can do.

This photo is of a tractor trailer, but the description is the same.



Also, this is a fundamental difference between passenger/LT tires and trailer tires. Trailer tires are built to endure the side loading caused by this phenomenon.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:17 PM   #9
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So trailer tires have a completely different sidewall, Is that what you are saying at the end
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:24 PM   #10
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So trailer tires have a completely different sidewall, Is that what you are saying at the end
That's correct. Many people switch to LT tires because they are trying to get away from the "China bombs", which is understandable. However, ST tires do have sidewalls that are designed to handle the loads put on them in trailer service.
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