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Old 11-19-2013, 01:43 PM   #1
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Smile First 5th wheel!

Hey everyone. I should be picking up our Wildcat 344QB-OK today and would like a few tips for hooking and towing it. Thanks for any help, and I will post pics if all goes well!
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:56 PM   #2
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Step #1.....Put tailgate down.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:00 PM   #3
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Congratulations. Here are a few tips - you'll get many more, I'm sure.

1. ALWAYS make sure the 5ver's wheels are chocked before hitching up or unhitching. As soon as you get your 5th wheel situated where you want it, CHOCK IT before unhitching, and make pulling chocks the last thing you do AFTER hitching up and doing a pull test. This can, at a minimum, save you expensive damage to your truck bed and 5th wheel.

2. Adjust your hitch and/or pin box for a minimum of 6" of clearance between the 5th wheel overhang and the truck bed rails - 8" to 9" is preferred if you can get it with the 5th wheel reasonably level.

3. Be sure to check your lights and trailer brakes for functionality after plugging in the 5th wheel umbilical to the truck when hitching up. Hook your breakaway cable to the truck bed, NOT to the hitch so that it will engage the trailer brakes in the remote case of a hitch failure.

4. Remember to swing wide in turns - the 5th wheel will track inside of the truck's path through a corner.

Rusty
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:28 PM   #4
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As long as you have an adequate tow vehicle I have a few observations that you may benefit from. 5th wheels tow very well assuming again that you have an adequate tow vehicle. That said their road manners are very good. No swaying or pulling you over unto another lane when a truck passes like when towing a tag along. 5ers track to the inside of a turn (a tag along tracks the tow vehicle) so always remember to take your turns wider then you think you need to. Also a 5th wheel when backing is very slow to turn. You almost need to get the trailer and truck at 90 degrees before a 5er starts turning hard so you need way more room to back up a 5er as opposed to a tag along. 5ers are heavy so you will experience some pulling from the 5er but that is normal. Just relax and never go down a road you dont know what's at the other end. It takes a lot of room to turn a 5er around and you do not want to back it up 5 blocks or even 1 block.

Have you and your passenger work out hand signals and do not back up until you have a clear understanding of what signals mean what or better yet, get a set of FSR trancievers to comminicate on while backing. If you can't see your helper in your mirrors they can't see you either. Do not back up until your helper learns to stay in your mirrors while backing. They will need to move so they are always in your mirrors. Make certain you have good side mirrors. Do not tow unless you can see both sides of your trailer. Have a good flashlight in your truck for backing at night, or better yet, add 6 55 watt halogens to your sides of the trailer that turn on when backing. Watch out for trees and low hanging branches. They will tear your roof in a heartbeat. I have the aforementioned halogens on my trailer as well as a Sreamlight super stinger in a charging station in my truck.
Always have 2 25 ft water hoses and an electrical 30 ft extension for your electrical drop cord of your particular trailer whether it is 50 amp or 30 amp. If your trailer is a 50 amp drop cord, get at least one well made dog bone for 30- 50 amp cords. There nothing worse after a long day towing, that you can not have a shower or power because your drop cord or hose it not long enough.

There are plenty of other things like a set of links levelers, wheel chocks, watter pressure regulator etc, etc , but you will learn which ones you need. Be sure to have good bubble levels on both the front and near the landing gear switch so you know level side to side and front to rear.
Take it easy and try to relax and enjoy your new toy.
-Paul R. Haller-
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:38 PM   #5
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Watch out for "tail swing." I learned the (really) hard way.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I have pulled a 28' & 38' tag-along for 9yrs. And wanted a 5th wheel since I hear it is so much better, but if you need more room to park it, is the only benefit no sway?
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:59 PM   #7
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I don't know that you need that much more room to park it, rather it just requires exaggerated tow vehicle movement as compared to a bumper pull since the pivot point is roughly over the rear axle centerline rather than at/behind the rear bumper. Remember, the truck/5th wheel overall length is shorter than a comparable travel trailer, so in that sense you have more room to maneuver the 5th wheel. After a few trips, backing it will become 2nd nature.

Rusty
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Old 11-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #8
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Thanks Rusty. Hopefully I won't embarrass myself on the first pull lol. If have anymore questions I'll be sure to ask.

-Arthur-
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:19 PM   #9
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And while the chocks are still in place and you have retracted the front jack about 1/2" ground clearance. Get in the truck, manually trip the trailer brakes and pull forward slightly to make sure you are hitched....a test tug. Better to let the trailer drop 1/2" rather than on the bed of the truck.

Ken
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
And while the chocks are still in place and you have retracted the front jack about 1/2" ground clearance. Get in the truck, manually trip the trailer brakes and pull forward slightly to make sure you are hitched....a test tug. Better to let the trailer drop 1/2" rather than on the bed of the truck.

Ken
BUT, Then remember to raise the front jacks completely
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:14 AM   #11
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There are several videos on Youtube about hitching and unhitching 5ers! Seriously! Anyway, just pay attention to what you are doing and always remember to do a pull test before you put the front jacks all the way up. Take some time in an empty parking lot and just turn it around and back it up several times to get a feel of how it is going to react. Also, in that parking lot, turn using the curbs as reference and it will give you an idea of how far to swing out. Most of all, have fun learning with the new rig. By now, you've already gotten it home and the first 'jitters'are over. Take it, play with it and have fun. You'll love pulling your new 5er! Happy camping and send pics!
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:53 AM   #12
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Well still waiting on paper work and prep, but it should be finished today!
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:28 PM   #13
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Finally! Pulled great, little jerky on the bumps but the first thing I did was back it out of the hitch shop since I have a goose neck and had them add the adapter with an offset. Maybe it's just me but I didn't notice a big difference backing it into the RV lot. It was getting dark so I'll try to get a better pic sometime soon. Thanks for all the replies everyone. -Arthur-
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:57 AM   #14
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Great looking rig! Congrats!
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