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Old 03-14-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
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5th wheel stability

I am buying my first fifth wheel camper it is a 25' long unit. My wife and I are big people. Do I need to buy a fifth wheel tripod for stability to use the bedroom?
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:17 AM   #2
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If you're asking if it will flip over on its nose, the answer is no. If you're asking if the tripod is necessary to reduce any movement in the bedroom area, it depends how sensitive you are to motion. I'd suggest trying it without the tripod, then if you find that you need one, buy it.

We've owned 5th wheels since 1996 and have never thought for a minute that we needed a tripod or any other such devices beyond the stabilizer jacks that came on the RV. Certainly, YMMV.

Rusty
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:09 PM   #3
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When someone is walking around inside the 5er it will bounce/wiggle. Rubber tires will bounce, suspension systems are made to bounce. To eliminate the bouncing/wiggling you need to keep the weight from pushing down on the tires and suspension by making sure your stabilizers are tight between the 5er and the ground. Don’t just let them out far enough to touch the ground, turn the crank more to make sure they are tight so they will not allow the 5er to push down on the tires. Use a bipod/tripod under the king pin. Make sure it is tight between the ground and the king pin, don’t just adjust it till it touches, tighten it so the front overhang will not move. Make sure to check the stabilizers and bipod/tripod every couple of days because they will loosen up over time. Doesn’t make sense spending a lot of money on landing jack stabilizers when the landing jacks are stable and don’t bounce up and down. If you have properly adjusted the stabilizers and bipod/tripod then you shouldn’t have any bouncing/wiggling. This has worked for me over the past 15 years.
Chocks are to keep the 5er from rolling forward or backwards. They do not eliminate the weight of the 5er from pushing down and causing the bouncing/wiggling. If you park on a site that has a incline/decline then you probably want to use chocks to keep your 5er from rolling when you unhitch.
There are a lot of other options out there to “eliminate” the bouncing/wiggling if you have the extra money and want to spend it.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:45 PM   #4
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if you are just buying it - get an auto leveling system !

That's the one thing I missed on ours - stops that motion and makes setup and tear down MUCH quicker ...
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:00 PM   #5
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JohnBoy

I am just buying it but it is an older one 1975 in fact. There are no leaks in the roof or anything it is just my first 5er.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:18 AM   #6
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I tried a tripod under the kingpin one time and it never did a thing for taking the wiggle out of the trailer. I gave it to someone at a park I was in. A previous poster said that the problem is with the trailer sitting on the tires and suspension. That is correct but you cannot pick up the weight of the trailer by using the stabilizers, they are not nearly strong enough. You can tighten them up and take some of the movement out, but not all. The best way is to use a much stronger leveling system which was not available at the time your trailer was built.

Good luck.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:25 PM   #7
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I use a $39 solution. Four travel trailer jack stands, the aluminum kind with the screw jacks. You only need snug them by hand in front and rear of the axles. They keep the suspension from moving up and down, thus the motion inside. These with the rear stabilizers and landing gear keep it solid.

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Old 03-15-2013, 12:41 PM   #8
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The easiest and least expensive solution is just don't worry about it. I often put the landing gear down, but don't bother to put my stabilizer jacks down. Sure, I can feel the 5er move a little as we walk around, but so what? The movement just isn't a problem. W ignore it.

Joel
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:27 PM   #9
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A tripod is a pain to mess with in my option. I have the auto 6 point leveling and use one if I'm going to be there for at least a month because our w&d are in the nose and it helps take the bounce out from them when there running. But I try to get by with out because its a pain.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:14 PM   #10
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I put a couple of large scissor jacks behind the rear wheels and run them up tight. Makes a huge difference in trailer movements.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:07 PM   #11
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I was thinking of the scissor jack idea as well. Thanks for all the good advice here. I will see what we think of the movement once we set it up and yes if too bad we will begin adding things one at a time until we get the stability we would like.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:10 PM   #12
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Thanks for all this information.
I am also buying a "new-to-me" 5er. I was also considering the tripod and scissors jack for elimination of some of the motion. It is not major motion, but the standard motion due to our moving around in the RV.
Thanks for saving me a bunch of money and some frustration - if/when I find that I wasted money.
There is so many ways to spend our bucks on enhancements- gotta do it wisely.
I love good forums.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:27 AM   #13
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We put supports for slide outs on ours, locking/ratcheting wheel locks, front and rear landing gear and final is the tripod and unit is solid as a rock. I also put our sign out over on the tripod that being said it acts as safety to keep kids on bikes etc... from getting in trouble.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:17 PM   #14
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Slide out supports are NOT RECOMMENDED by any manufacturer that I know of. In fact, their use is strongly discouraged. If the 5th wheel settles and the slides do not, you can disengage the slideout seals and ultimately damage the slideout and/or sidewall framing structures.

One of those things (like gooseneck adapters) that are on the market that really shouldn't be.

Rusty
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