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Old 06-30-2015, 04:34 AM   #15
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all you have to remember is turn your steering wheel in the opposite direction you want the back of your fifth wheel to go. I learnt this after 40 years of semi driving lol. heck I got so good I could back up doubles in a compound on the ny thruway fairly good. itwill become second nature to you after some practice

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Old 06-30-2015, 04:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by coolhand108 View Post
all you have to remember is turn your steering wheel in the opposite direction you want the back of your fifth wheel to go...
A good way to remember which way to turn the wheel when backing any trailer is to put your hand on the BOTTOM of the steering wheel and push your hand in the direction you want the back of the trailer to go.

I use the above method to remember which way to turn the wheel, but it's the timing I can't seem to get. Reading this thread helps me feel like I'm not alone.

I used to back the 26' TT we had years ago with ease, but the fiver is a different story. As many have commented, it takes longer to start the fiver to start turning (partly because most fivers are longer than most TTs); and once it starts, it takes longer to make a correction. I need to find a place to practice, practice, practice.

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Old 06-30-2015, 05:06 AM   #17
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It sounds like you are having trouble with the difference of the arc of the trailer wheels. Because the pivot point of the 5th wheel if approximately 4' further forward than that of a travel trailer, you have to get used to the difference and position the 5er wheels in a different spot when you start your turn into your driveway. Through the years I have backed up many different types of trailers and they all back up a little different, but you just have to get used to the different arcs and position the start of your turn and when to catch the TV up to the trailer. You will be fine once you have a little practice. Don't get discouraged.
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:18 AM   #18
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A couple of things: get walkie-talkies for communication. It cuts way down on the screaming and works with co-pilots who don't get the stay in my mirror thing.
For me, once I get the rig jacked at 45 degrees, it is time to turn the wheel the other way and chase the fiver. And we all prefer to back so we can see the target in our driver side mirror if possible, otherwise we are blind.
Just a few days ago, I had to back into a service bay at a spring shop for some work. After two seriously failed tries, I let one of the shop guys do it and he nailed it in one try. Still some learning to do!
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:24 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by grassy View Post
I am in my mid 50's...not old enough for a MH yet....
OUCH !!!
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:48 AM   #20
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I hate to say it but when I had my 5er I did not have any trouble backing. I backed it like I would any other trailer. it was 38' long
I guess practice practice practice
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:11 AM   #21
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Here is a good description of the Z-method described at the beginning of this thread:
Z Method for Backing a 5th Wheel | Michigan Traveler

This helped me picture it better and it seems to make good sense. Now if I could only get the DW to understand that when she says the other way and I turn the wheel the other way, that it takes time before she will see results. She just keeps yelling "No, the other way!"
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:09 PM   #22
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I go slow when backing and think I can back into a shoebox. I like the way a 5th wheel backs. It can almost pivot if needed.

It is driving forward with a 5th wheel where you have to make wide turns with the truck and the 5th wheel (tracking way inside the trucks path) still comes close to the curb...or worse yet...that tree!!!
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:05 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by grassy View Post
I was told by some that backing up a 5th is the easiest...ah, no..not for me..

I have been towing for years (decades) and I now own a 5th. Easiest to pull but i just cannot get the hang of backing up into my driveway where you don't have acres of space for maneuvering..

I have watched some youtube but still bad..

Does anyone have a really good vid in their collection to show how to do this ?

Feling like a newbie again..

I see one thing that has not been mention but everyone assumes that you may know this. You may know this already but it is still good to go over.

My only point I have to make is pull up parallel to the driveway and hugging the side that the driveway is on. This will allow enough room to maneuver the truck and trailer into the driveway. I also have a spotter the DW who position the rear of the trailer in the same spot every time. She uses the street drain grate (this doesn't move). She signals me to stop and then I can start backing up slowly into the driveway.

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Old 06-30-2015, 06:29 PM   #24
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Man, this is great advice !

Skismuggs, thanks for the link. I do visuals better. Actually, I am also looking for a toy 5th wheel and TV on Thursday so I can play...tomorrow is a holiday

..further to the discussion, I know one things I am doing wrong. I am parking perpendicular to our driveway..on my driver's side...and trying to maneuver the rig in from there...da*n... this has been a ding dong moment..

Thanks !
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:05 PM   #25
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I have older brothers who are Truck Drivers, and they stress to me about not turning too much. I have to Blind Side back mine into its parking spot, and I have learned to start the swing, then CHASE it into the slot. Once it starts turning, it will turn very fast and a DRW CCLB 4X4 does not turn very fast!
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:19 PM   #26
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:00 AM   #27
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Interesting discussion. Until I bought our fifth wheel 4 years ago, I had never towed anything - not a boat, utility trailer, nothing. So I had a quick learning curve. Fortunaely my neighbour was a long haul trucker, so he taught me a lot.
I park beside my house, and I only have 17" extra width clearance to park this rig. I used to make 3 or 4 tries before being successful, but now I am getting comfortable and can do it in one go. I may have to move forward to straighten up, but that's OK. It just takes practice.
A few tips we have learned. My wife directs me. usually with hand signals. If I can't see her directly or in my mirrors, then I just stop. We also tried (FSR) walkie talkies. But if you each have a cell phone, have one person phone the other. Put them on speaker phone and you have hands free communication. Better than FSR radios, because you can both talk. And finally, if the fifth wheel is straight in line with your final position, but the truck isn't, you won't be able to continue straight back. You need to start straightening the truck before the RV is straight. Keep practising.
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Old 07-01-2015, 04:58 AM   #28
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My first camper was a 5th wheel, so i had to get used to it QUICK! I felt silly watching YouTube tutorials and getting coaching from my dad(he's been a trucker all his life). I'm glad i took the time to watch and listen, I gained a lot of confidence. As the article says..."always try to find a way to back up on the driver side"....this is ideal! I can park it by myself on the left side, but right side i need a spotter for sure. Practice practice practice!! I've been planning on going to an empty parking lot and having my wife practice backing up the camper so she can understand the struggles of listening to her poor guiding. Has anyone else done this?

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