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Old 02-02-2007, 05:43 AM   #15
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I have a question off topic a little. Did you say that your teenagers were IN the trailer at the time? I did not even know that was legal. I don't think it would be wise, even if it was legal. For one thing, incidents like what happened to you could be fatal. And I can't help but seeing images from the Lucy/Desi movie "The Long, Long Trailer". I hope that you did not let them ride in the trailer after that. I would be a nervous wreck.

Not being antagonistic, just making an observation.
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Old 02-02-2007, 01:52 PM   #16
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Hi Jeffrey, You are going to LOVE Dauphin Island. Have you ever been there? It's a great park. We stayed there last summer for about 3 days. Nice large sites, southern, homestyle hospitality, and the gulf is just down the path. It's beautiful! Just remember that when you get off the main highway to go out to the island it's about a 35 to 45 minute drive, so if you need anything from town, or civilization, I suggest you get it prior to heading out to the island. If you haven't been, and you like this kind of stuff, visit the battleship there in Mobile. We had a great time, and our teenage boys actually enjoyed it. The park loved all 4 of our dogs. The common comment among everyone we met at all the parks last summer was..."That's the biggest dog I've ever seen". Our male mastiff is about 36" at the shoulders and weighs in at 190lbs now. Enjoy your trip. Stay safe.

Brenda
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Old 02-02-2007, 02:00 PM   #17
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Hi Mamaloya,
Yes, in California it is legal to have people ride in a 5th wheel, but not a trailer, due to the fact that a 5th wheel sits over the back axles of the TV. You also have to have some sort of 2-way communication, ie..walkies or speaker system. We had walkies with cell phone backups. And yes, it scared the &(*&& out of me. That's why I am thankful it happened when & where it happened. No, they did not ride in the 5th wl after that. And there was no way I was going to put my new RV back onto that hitch. So, we now have a 2006 Ford F350, PSD, Super Duty Doolie, with crew cab. The boys rode in the truck, but the dogs stayed in the 5th wl. We put them in their kennels when we travel.
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:14 PM   #18
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Sorry to hear of your accident! Since this is one of my greatest fears while towing I got a Bed Saver by Blue Ox.

I realize this is like closing the barn door after the horse got out but you may want to check into this product for the future.

I got mine from the RVUpgradeStore.com; the cost was $188.?? with tax and shipping. It only took me a few minutes to attach it to the Valley Hitch (that's right, I've got one too).

The link that will give you a look at this device is:

http://www.rvupgradestore.com/index....S&Category=253

Hope this helps,

Frank
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Old 02-03-2007, 10:50 AM   #19
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Good Morning Frank. Thank you for the suggestion. We no longer use the Valley Hitch. After the accident we had to be towed to Flagstaff (75miles). There we purchased our new 2006 Ford and we purchased and had installed a new Reese 16K hitch, which we like much better than the Valley. The Reese head pivots in nearly every direction a 5th whl will take it. ie...Turns, backing, Highway 1 in California (if you've never driven HWY 1 it's an extremely winding road, 2 lanes. It's a sports cars' dream road. ZoomZoom! Anyways, we believe that the accident was a once-in-a-million accident, we just happen to be the one. I'm not familiar with this device you are talking about, but I suggest you keep an eye on your Valley Hitch when you do any backing. Also, just an FYI - Valley Hitch is now Thule Towing Systems. Thanks for the feedback. Travel safe.
Brenda
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:36 AM   #20
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You mention you got a new hitch, one that swivels this time. Any possibility that you had a non swivel hitch, and upon exiting the gas station, you put the hitch in too much of a bind from the truck leaning one way and the camper the other?

Many moons ago, I worked in a cabinet shop. We pulled 40' delivery trailers. We had 5th wheel hitches. There was no such thing as a swivel hitch back then. Several times we popped them loose just as you described when the trailer would lean one way and the truck was leaning the other.

If that was the case, it WILL pop out and it would be user error.
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:31 PM   #21
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Hi Charliez, Thank you for joining the discussion. No, the trailer was not leaning and nor was the truck. We backed up and pulled around on level ground. We may have gone over a gas tank manhole cover, but that shouldn't have made a difference. We had the hitch looked at today by the Hitch company and they say it looks like a good hitch, but that there is no signs of toploading or damage to the hitch. So, we are in uncharted territory. We'll keep you all updated. Thanks.
Brenda
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Old 02-07-2007, 07:39 PM   #22
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Hello Brenda & Earl.
Welcome to this site.My suggestion for peace
of mind would be to look into a safety device
which is available . It is a simple bolt on
bar or strap mounted behind the pin area.
This device will catch the trailer if it ever
detaches from the hitch.Maybe someone else could
direct you to find this as I do not have any
further info. Cheers.
Brian.
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Old 02-08-2007, 04:32 AM   #23
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Another major saftey item is the use of a padlock instead of the tethered pin to lock the mechanism. Anyone can easily mess with it at any time without you noticing, but if it's padlocked, they can;t unles they have the key.

I still think you had it high pinned and didn't realize it. In order for that to come loose after being properly latched, something would have to be opened or broken.

BTW. If anyone has ever seen a bed of a pickup on one that has come loose, you would agree that you'd be leary about driving it untill repair. I have seen one. It looked like building fell on it. I wouldn't go buy a new truck and expect insurance or any mfg to reimburse me for it, but for sure, you would relly be in a bind if that ever happened to you one the road.

I keep my hitch stored inside when not in use, and I clean it and lube it all the time. I even keep any paint nicks touched up. These things need to be in 100% condition at all times. And not just the hitch, the pin as well. The use of a friction ring will cut down on grease that attracks dirt, which a big killer to the latch parts.
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:59 AM   #24
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Don't know if i should post this here , i'm a little new here and only been pulling 5th wheel for 4 years allthow i've driven truck for alot of years. What is a high hitch? Need to know so it never happens to me.
Thanks, David
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Old 02-09-2007, 06:22 AM   #25
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If you notice the kingpin on the 5th wheel RV, there's a groove cut into the kingpin with a lip below the groove. The jaws (in the case of my hitch) are designed to fit into the groove and secure the pin to prevent horizontal and vertical movement. Due to the design of my hitch, the handle will not return to the locked position unless the jaws are in the groove of the pin.

On some hitches, however, if the trailer is too high when hitching, the hitch will not fully engage in the groove in the pin - it will engage the lip below the groove. In this case, the hitch may secure the trailer horizontally, but a sharp bump, etc. may allow the pin to move up and out of the hitched position since the lip can't restrain vertical movement in a "high hitch" situation. Once the pin moves up enough, the RV is effectively unhitched from the truck!

This is why it's so important to visually check the hitch engagement and to do a bump check when hitching up.

Rusty
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Old 02-09-2007, 10:50 AM   #26
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Ok, that explanes that, i allways look under the hitch to see if jaw is closed and do a pull test but how would u do a bump test.Thanks
David
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Old 02-09-2007, 11:30 AM   #27
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Pull test = bump test.

Rusty
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:33 PM   #28
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And some call it a "tug test". What ever you call it, I retract the front landing gear about 1/4" over the pads and leave my wheel chocks in place. First I manually energize the trailer brakes and push in reverse to make sure it is seated. Then I put the truck in Drive and tug or pull forward against the brakes and chocks. Once satisfied on this, I get out and visually check to see that the bar on my hitch is in place, them I lock it all down with a pad lock.

I've seen a bed that had a trailer drop on it and it is not a pretty sight.

Ken
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