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Old 02-05-2013, 07:53 AM   #1
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Backing fivers

Well I just picked up my Sabre 281RLDS this weekend. Wanted to go to a large parking lot to get the feel of backing check clearance and such. Well on the way home a quite heavy rain/snow mix started so decided to go straight home. Left it in the driveway until the preciptation stopped then decided to put it in it's proper parking space. Whomever thinks a fiver backs better wasn't driving what I was. My tt I could place it on it's spot in one try. Twelve to fifteen attempts later I finally got the fiver on the pad although it is still a bit crooked. And I supposed to like this better? Not convinced yet. Any suggestions for a newbie fiver puller other than practice? ThanksJT
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jtant View Post
Well I just picked up my Sabre 281RLDS this weekend. Wanted to go to a large parking lot to get the feel of backing check clearance and such. Well on the way home a quite heavy rain/snow mix started so decided to go straight home. Left it in the driveway until the preciptation stopped then decided to put it in it's proper parking space. Whomever thinks a fiver backs better wasn't driving what I was. My tt I could place it on it's spot in one try. Twelve to fifteen attempts later I finally got the fiver on the pad although it is still a bit crooked. And I supposed to like this better? Not convinced yet. Any suggestions for a newbie fiver puller other than practice? ThanksJT
Just like backing a trailer for the first time it takes practice.
Your pivot point has moved forward several feet.
Like your tt you'll get a feel for it and get used to it.
Congrats on the new 5er!
Practice practice practice.
Report back at the end of the season and see if your opinion hasn't changed!


Turbs
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:09 AM   #3
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Jtant, I had the same problem. I have been pulling boats and farm trailers since I could reach the clutch, sitting on the front edge of the seat. When I bought my first 5th wheel I felt like the village idiot trying to back that thing. I went to an empty business parking lot on a rainy Saturday morning and spent about 3 hours backing around the parking lot until I could back it as well as a bumper pull. Trust me it will take a while to get use to the way it short steers, but once you have it, you will drive and back like a pro.

Just a cautionary note, it short steers going forward just as badly as it backs. Please be careful when driving in town and around trees in campground. Those light poles and tree limbs will reach out and grab the side of your camper. Allow yourself plenty of extra room when turning sharp corners in town.

Practice, practice, practice will give you your confidence back.

Trust me on the Interstate you will love towing the 5th wheel!
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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It's that pivot point thing that wrapped me up. I had very minor practice towing bumper pulls, so I didn't have a major adjustment. But, remember- your truck and trailer pivot from a spot in the middle of your bed. That spot has to move sideways before your trailers tail will move sideways. That means, you need a few feet of forward/backward movement with your turn before you see progress. I took me a while to figure that one out and my wife a while-er.

Secondly, I don't know how TTs are- but with the fiver, you have to come out of the turn and follow the trailer sooner than you expect. I found that I was constantly over-correcting because I would turn too far and stay turned before realizing that I went too far; then I'd go the other way and do it again. Now I aim for minor corrections/adjustments most of the time.

I posted a thread here with a stop-motion video of my first parking attempt of my fiver at the storage lot. 20 seconds of video captured the *50 minutes* of attempt. Finally made it and didn't hit the motorhome on the other side, but frustrating. Now, we (wife and I) are down to 5-minutes or so.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by PapaSmurf View Post
Jtant, I had the same problem. I have been pulling boats and farm trailers since I could reach the clutch, sitting on the front edge of the seat. When I bought my first 5th wheel I felt like the village idiot trying to back that thing. I went to an empty business parking lot on a rainy Saturday morning and spent about 3 hours backing around the parking lot until I could back it as well as a bumper pull. Trust me it will take a while to get use to the way it short steers, but once you have it, you will drive and back like a pro.

Just a cautionary note, it short steers going forward just as badly as it backs. Please be careful when driving in town and around trees in campground. Those light poles and tree limbs will reach out and grab the side of your camper. Allow yourself plenty of extra room when turning sharp corners in town.

Practice, practice, practice will give you your confidence back.

Trust me on the Interstate you will love towing the 5th wheel!
My feelings exactly. I think I have to be the biggest doofus in the whole world. It should not be a hard as it is for me to back this thing. Well maybe this weekend will be nice and I can get into the church parking lot on Saturday and figure this out. First trip is about 5 weeks off and I don't want to look like a fool trying to get into my space. Thanks for all the replies. If I am understanding the physics behind this I have to correct sooner but less than I would expect to do with my tt? Maybe I just don't get it? With my tt I could pull up to my space make an over-correction to get my tail end moving and then just glide anywhere I wanted. I'm all over the place now and can't get the truck and camper moving in the same direction. I feel foolish but it was my first attempt so surely it gets better. It better not get any worse or I may have to give up my favorite hobby. Thanks for the support. JT
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:58 AM   #6
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I had the same problem going from a TT to a FW. Backing was an issue, You will find you need to start turning the wheel in the opposite direction earlier then with a TT. You need to follow the track of the trailer tires with the front tires of the TV. Take a look on youtube for videos on backing up a semi. It is the same concept and it helped me. Now it is no problem.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:11 AM   #7
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Ok, I went looking for it. Here's the thread w/ link to the video of my first attempt:
Another first - parking at the storage lot

Video:


As for looking foolish your first time out. I'm pretty sure we've almost all have been there/done that before you. Heck, we had issues on a pull-thru site once! I just couldn't get lined up with the edge of the concrete pad to save me!

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Originally Posted by Jtant View Post
Maybe I just don't get it? With my tt I could pull up to my space make an over-correction to get my tail end moving and then just glide anywhere I wanted.
That's the thing - you have to pull up further than you expect since you have to go backwards before the tail will start to swing. You still may have to cut it hard, but you need that backward motion to get the center of your truck bed moving side to side.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:23 AM   #8
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I agree with all of the above discussions... and like anything you adapt to it and it'll become natural. The comment about tree branches is true so beware, curbs too when making right hand turns.

The beauty of it is going down the highway, they tow true and straight with little sway since the pivot point is right over the rear axle, not hanging off of the bumper.

It may be less responsive on quick maneuvers while backing, but in turn that gives you the ability to back long distances with a good deal of stability. I have to back about a half block to get to my RV access and it's a piece of cake.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:04 PM   #9
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The biggest thing I see with people backing 5th whls is the tendency to "Over Steer". It takes a lot less steering action to back a 5th wheel over a TT due to the location of the pivot point being over the rear axle vs behind the rear bumper.
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