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Old 10-16-2019, 08:45 PM   #1
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Dropping landing gear before opening hitch jaws... bad idea?

The instructions for our Ground Control 3 leveling system say to first chock the wheels of our fifth wheel, then to open the jaws of our hitch, then to lower the landing gear. When our RV is on a slope with the rear being lower this makes me nervous. More than once we have had the RV roll backwards when the hitch jaws were opened. Fortunately the chocks were up to the task and it didn't roll away. Still, it's nerve racking to see your RV rolling away with nothing you can do about it even if it turns out to be just a couple inches.

What I'm wondering is if people sometimes drop their landing gear before opening the hitch jaws in order to reduce the chances of a roll-away. My thinking is that we should be able to lower the gear as long as we avoid pulling up on the hitch with the kingpin. Then once the gear is down open the hitch jaws then.

What's wrong with this method, if anything?
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:14 PM   #2
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Lowering the landing gear on my Landmark is the first thing I do. Had the fifth wheel move an inch or two several times without any trouble .At least you avoid dropping the nose of the trailer crushing the pickup bed.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:18 PM   #3
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Humm, I needed to raise my 5th wheel just a tiny bit off the hitch for me to open my 5th wheel hitch jaw. So I would chock the wheels then raise the front. Tailgate down and power cord to the truck disconnected I would pull my truck forward and out of the way.

With the wheels chocked I was never worried about the 5th wheel getting away. Now, it was always on mostly level ground when I disconnected from the truck.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:35 PM   #4
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Agree with Halwiseguy. I NEVER open hitch jaws without having the landing gear down. Just lower them until the take a bit of the load (you'll see the truck raise up about 1/2 inch or so) and you should be good, or more importantly, SAFE.
Likewise when hitching up.... I ALWAYS do a pull test with landing gear no more than an inch above the ground to ensure hitch is latched....only takes a minute, but could save a lot of grief.
I personally know of two different cases where someone dropped their 5er on the truck. One case when unhooking....opened hitch with legs up, and one case where the guy hooked up and pulled out of spot without latching the hitch.
Happy Trails,
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:13 PM   #5
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My SOP is that 5th wheel hitch remains locked until



1. Gear pins inspected for proper positioning (fully inserted through adjustment holes).



2. legs are extended and landed.



No exceptions.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
Humm, I needed to raise my 5th wheel just a tiny bit off the hitch for me to open my 5th wheel hitch jaw. So I would chock the wheels then raise the front. Tailgate down and power cord to the truck disconnected I would pull my truck forward and out of the way.

With the wheels chocked I was never worried about the 5th wheel getting away. Now, it was always on mostly level ground when I disconnected from the truck.
Same procedure. Chock, lower front legs ,lower tailgate/remove cord, raise to get weight off hitch then unlatch. Pull truck out of way , hook up shore power, then push auto-level. I can't open jaws unless 5er raised a little off plate.. Currently use a B&W Patriot and was the same when I had a reese.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:49 PM   #7
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What in the world could the rational be to unlock the hitch before putting down the landing gear? Ludicrous.
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:51 PM   #8
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Same procedure. Chock, lower front legs ,lower tailgate/remove cord, raise to get weight off hitch then unlatch. Pull truck out of way , hook up shore power, then push auto-level. I can't open jaws unless 5er raised a little off plate.. Currently use a B&W Patriot and was the same when I had a reese.
What about your break-away wire?
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:40 PM   #9
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Chocks suck....get some X chocks and use them....if jaws won't unlock, after installing, back up a hair....
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:00 AM   #10
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Never open your hitch with out the landing gear supporting the trailer....fastest way to smashing a bed...or worse
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:44 AM   #11
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Agree with Halwiseguy. I NEVER open hitch jaws without having the landing gear down. Just lower them until the take a bit of the load (you'll see the truck raise up about 1/2 inch or so) and you should be good, or more importantly, SAFE.
Likewise when hitching up.... I ALWAYS do a pull test with landing gear no more than an inch above the ground to ensure hitch is latched....only takes a minute, but could save a lot of grief.
I personally know of two different cases where someone dropped their 5er on the truck. One case when unhooking....opened hitch with legs up, and one case where the guy hooked up and pulled out of spot without latching the hitch.
Happy Trails,
I do the exact same thing. Never had a sketchy moment using this method.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:15 AM   #12
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Makes no sense to me I always lower the gear first, chock the wheels then unlatch. Sometimes if there is pressure on the pin I have to wiggle the truck to release it.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:55 AM   #13
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What about your break-away wire?
Sitting in my recliner half a sleep . Add that to unplugging wire cord as I hook mine on a loop by outlet.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:39 AM   #14
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Chocks suck....get some X chocks....

In as much as I would like to do that the x chock instructions say you must also use chocks. I just canít see having two tools for the same job.
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