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Old 04-02-2021, 04:31 PM   #1
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What can happen when your hook up routine is interrupted

I have a set routine so I never miss anything, well, today I went to pick up my 5th wheel from service.

When they set the trailer down, they had the legs all the way up, and the jacks all the way down. Not only that, but the battery was dead, juice pack barely kept it at 12.9, but no capacity. I couldn't get under it to plug in, so they had to bring the fork lift out and raise it up to drop the jacks. OK, now I can back under. When I did one of the guys grabbed my pigtail and plugged it in for power. Great, thanks.

Thats what disrupted my routine.

Well the wheels were chocked, which is always step 1, hooking, unhooking and in this case, were the first thing I grabbed from storage.

The next thing I do is back under and set the pin. OK, did that, tugged, everything is good.

Then THIS is what screwed my routine up, I grab the pigtail from above the pinbox, and at the same time, if a bolt is in place, the breakaway cable is attached to it. I don't normally keep a bolt in the pinbox when parked at home or campsite because I swing it out of the way. I only use the bolt if someone else will be moving it, like at the dealer. Of course I forgot.

Guess which step I missed because the pigtail was already pulled, and the break away was hanging loose! Yep, forgot to check the bolt and sure enough, it was there. You know what happens to the 5th wheel when you make a turn with it wedged and locked? Makes a BIG popping noise.

Don't try, its not fun. I can only blame myself for not checking the pinbox before hooking up. Their techs wouldn't know to reattach the breakaway to the bolt like I do. That and being that I have not seen the trailer since the 4th of November.

New 5th wheel is ordered and will arrive on Monday. Lesson learned, and will be adding a nice BIG note to CHECK FOR LOCK BOLT on the pinbox. Thankfully only the 5th wheel got destroyed and not the Sidewinder, it's still straight, and only a few nicks on the kingpin.
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Old 04-02-2021, 05:30 PM   #2
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A couple pics of the damage. The base itself is untouched, not a single mark. Amazing how much that center twisted though considering it is a solid casting.
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Old 04-02-2021, 06:15 PM   #3
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Sorry for your troubles. You're not alone. I've done some damage after being distracted while hitching/unhitching, too. Number 1 rule now is: Leave me alone when I'm hooking up.
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Old 04-02-2021, 07:31 PM   #4
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Sorry for your troubles. You're not alone. I've done some damage after being distracted while hitching/unhitching, too. Number 1 rule now is: Leave me alone when I'm hooking up.
And please, don't try to help!
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Old 04-02-2021, 08:17 PM   #5
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YES to both!! Whats funny is last year when I bought the hitch, I could find replacement head units that were just the plate and pin. The base is 100% OK, so I could just replace the part I busted up, but not now. grrr.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:17 AM   #6
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And please, don't try to help!
Friends and I have the same agreement with each other and were good with it. Thank you but please don't help unless I ask.
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Old 04-03-2021, 07:33 AM   #7
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Twice in 25 years I've dropped my fiver on the bed rails after being distracted.

There are worse feelings than hearing that "thump/crunch", but I put it in the top ( or bottom) ten.

Rich Phillips
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Old 04-04-2021, 01:35 PM   #8
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What can happen when your hook up routine is interrupted

I have done pop-ups, 5000lb Boy Scout trailers, Hybrids and now a Motorhome, if I don't keep a routine, something gets screwed up. With the Boy Scout trailer, I always had to check lights, brake and wiring because others were not always carful. Every time I connected I would check everything and people would get impatient and I found the best way to deal with impatient people is slow down for each comment and start repeating your checklist. The reasons for this is interruptions cause failures and my life and anyone in my vehicle is more important than speed, the fact that it annoys impatient people is just a bonus.

Glad you are safe.
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Old 04-04-2021, 02:58 PM   #9
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Happened to me first trip out (to cat scales) couple days ago. Brand new TT.

Forgot what powered backup camera (parking lights on TV) so was inside looking at the switch panel and had the steps down. Distracted.

Once I remembered to turn the parking lights on which solved the problem, I took off with the door open and the steps down. Yikes. Could not see in mirrors because we were turning out of driveway.

Heard terrible racket and stopped.

Thank God hardly any damage, which was amazing. Aluminum Lippert steps bent just a hair but since aluminum was easy to bend back so good as new.

Needless to say, it doesn't move an inch now without a complete circle check after I've finished everything.
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Old 04-04-2021, 06:04 PM   #10
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That is why I always do a walk around.
looking and verifying that everything is put up, put away, Do the lights work?
hitch, sway bars connected and secure, safety chains, break way connected

but if the wife or grandkids comes along in that process I start again.
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:52 AM   #11
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forgot to plug in pig tail

worst I have done is forgot to plug in pigtail, drove 100 miles on a nice highway, up and down hills, I didn't notice any difference in the breaking, the 2011 duramax has the nice features for down grades.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:15 AM   #12
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worst I have done is forgot to plug in pigtail, drove 100 miles on a nice highway, up and down hills, I didn't notice any difference in the breaking, the 2011 duramax has the nice features for down grades.
Yes, me to. As I drive away I am running the checklist in my mind, did I?
I have stoped and checked just a few miles down the road many times.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:55 AM   #13
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Since it's time for cornfessions, I have dropped the 5er onto the bedrails once, no damage luckily. Tried to tow the house behind the 5er once when I forgot to unplug from the house and put the tgate up when I should have left it down while I was unhooking. Tgate was ruined and the truck was being traded in on a new truck. Luckily the dealer asked if I had a Vgate, which I did and he didn't take any money off of the trade in deal. My wife says I'm perfect but there is another 7 letter word that starts with an A and ends with an E. When you get distracted bad things can happen.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:55 AM   #14
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Iím the same way, donít help me and leave me alone when Iím booking up. My wife doesnít understand why I do a walk around, sometimes twice before heading out. I also step back and do a quick look at the roof, caught the antenna up on a couple occasions, most likely because I got interrupted while prepping the inside for travel.
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Old 04-06-2021, 06:44 AM   #15
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While setting up at a campsite DH he could unhook by himself while I went ahead inside to unpack. He forgot to unhook "my" side of the hitch. So trailer wheels checked, tongue jack down and hitch off. Then he tried to move the truck - with a spring bar still attached! What a ratchet that made! Of course he was barely moving but it was a challenge to get that bar off! He won't forget again!
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:03 PM   #16
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LIke they say in avaition, there are those that HAVE landed wheels up, and there are those that WILL land wheels up. . . My YL and I are writing up a "checklist" for our TT. . . Thank you for sharing and getting me off dead center. . .
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:40 PM   #17
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LIke they say in avaition, there are those that HAVE landed wheels up, and there are those that WILL land wheels up. . . My YL and I are writing up a "checklist" for our TT. . . Thank you for sharing and getting me off dead center. . .
I hope not. In 20 years of flying fighters, I know of one person that landed wheels up.
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Old 04-06-2021, 10:48 PM   #18
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Well I have Bent landing gears, had ripped the mains off another but never landed wheels up. I have flipped a Mustang on it's back a couple times.
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:14 AM   #19
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That is why I always do a walk around.
looking and verifying that everything is put up, put away, Do the lights work?
hitch, sway bars connected and secure, safety chains, break way connected

but if the wife or grandkids comes along in that process I start again.
X2. Always make sure to make a couple of trips around TT, looking up and under, checking for wheel chocks, something I might have left under TT, and checking lights, hitch, etc.
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:35 AM   #20
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X2. Always make sure to make a couple of trips around TT, looking up and under, checking for wheel chocks, something I might have left under TT, and checking lights, hitch, etc.
That works very well IF you do the same thing every time. There are the one offs, like mine that can get screwed up because something was changed in the routine. If I had used the bolt each and every time I hooked it, it would have been found, but I have only used the bolt twice in all the times I have hooked up and my bolt routine is to hook the breakaway to the bolt so I know it is there. I walked around the trailer several times checking everything pertinent to towing, though I had this feeling I missed something, but just couldn't put a finger on it. The POP told me I did. When I looked in the mirror, that was when I realized what I missed.

Every time I hook up, I have the pinbox facing backwards, and swing it around. This last time since it was moved out by a forklift, the box was facing forward, but never gave thought to check that it was free, that and the fact the last time I hooked up to it was 5 months ago, and had the breakaway cable connected to the bolt when I dropped it off, I forgot all about the locking.

Anyway, I got a nice long remove before flight banner to drop in the hole at the back so I can never forgot to check it again. Lesson learned.
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