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Old 03-29-2011, 11:36 AM   #1
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Location: Brea, California
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Help-newby(previous tent campers)just bought montana 5th and f350

Hello Future Friends,
We just made our 1st purchase - a 333DB Montana 5th and a 2008 F350 Diesel Dually Crew Cab with a Hensley Hitch, airbags and auxillery fuel tank. We have never owned anything but a 4-man tent and a Volvo SUV previous to this purchase. I know this may sound crazy, but since we have never owned anything before, we have never pulled anything before and now we are jumping in with both feet. There will be a huge learning curve for us. We take delivery in a week and are very excited, but also nervous.

1. Is there anything you would recommend for us to do/see before we pick-up the 5th to get info on hitching, towing & driving
2. Are there some "must ask" questions/requirements before we leave the dealer's lot?

I just started looking at all of the threads and post and have come to the conclusion that we will definitely come to rely on this wonderful site with all of you very generous and experienced RV'ers.
Steve & Melissa and family

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Old 03-29-2011, 11:45 AM   #2
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Addional ???s from Newby w/ Montana & F350

Hello Again,
We also wanted to get opinions on a good generator "(and where to purchase) and the name of a good store in N. Orange Co. or website that we can purchase items and accessories for our 5th.
Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:37 PM   #3
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Help Newbie

Remember to swing wide on right turns, If you can take it home and park it spend the weekend in it and if you have to go into the house to get anything then you need it for the rig. Unless you are planning on dry camping a lot you might wait on the generator. We bought one and never used it. We enjoy the Full Hookups better. Get dedicated plates, silverware, bed linens and such to leave in the rig. Make a check list on hooking up and unhooking. Do a pull test everytime you hook up (hook up the rig attatch the brake lines raise the legs about 1/2" off the ground apply the trailer brakes only with the manual brake and try to pull forward. this way of it is not hooked up it will not fall on your truck rail beds.). Good luck, and have them do a thorough PDI, hater, propane, fridge and such. Check the tires for any defects. Good luck and Happy Camping
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:05 PM   #4
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Steve and Melissa

Welcome to iRV2. I have never owned a 5er but drove a 18 wheeler for a number of years. Same configuration you will have. I suggest you find an empty parking lot and practice turning and backing up. The most important part of backing up is the set up of TV and trailer. Prior to backing you should be in a jackknife position. Place your hand at the bottom of stering wheel. Turn stering wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go. go slow and use pull ups (pull forward than starting backing again) GO SLOW. It will take some time to get comfortable.

If there is a truck stop around you, you might consider going there and watch how the truckers set up and back up. Give you a better idea of what i'm saying. Could do the same by going to a RV park and watch people back in.

BTW have alot of good memories with the family.

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:14 PM   #5
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Before you even leave the dealer's lot go through the RV and see that each and every system works properly and learn how to do it.. Do not take no for an answer such as there is no propane or water in the tanks or the batteries are not charged. Insist on it and call ahead to tell them this is what you want so they are prepared to do it. While the testing is being done by the dealer's man, learn what he is doing. This will take 2 to 3 hours. This will show you anything not working properly and teach you how to operate everything.

Get the owners manual. Get the service manager's name and phone number. Get the owner's name and number.
Ralph & Snickers
2006 3500 Chevy Dually - 8.1 - Allison
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:18 PM   #6
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Walk through: If you have a video camera, record the walk through. It's amazing what you forget.

NEVER be embarrassed by stopping to look, or straighten up. Experienced drivers that make it look easy got that way by practicing and by getting out and starting over. The 'general rule' on right turns is to not start turning to the right until the back axle of the tow vehicle (TV) is at least even with the edge of the road you are turning on to. The TV needs to make square corners, just like the semi's do. Allow time to practice in the dealer's parking lot, or in the nearest large parking lot. Put cones, or pop bottles down and see what it takes to miss them. Left turn, right turn, etc. Back off and keep your distance from the car in front. You can do a panic stop with a trailer, but it won't be short. Get used to being passed (you're on vacation...what's the rush?)

Plan several short trips first that you can scout the route and the RV park. Tell the manager of the RV park that you are new and need an easy lot to get into. Watch and ask questions. RV'ers are friendly and most of us love to help, though we are not always right...

Measure the trailer/truck combination. Length, width and height. It's quite an adrenaline rush to misread a "Low clearance" sign at 65 MPH...

read, read, read.

Breathe deep and have fun!!
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:14 PM   #7
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Take your time

I PULL A 5ER AND I ALSO have been driving truck for over 40 years. Get yourself a ruteen hooking up and unhooking and dont let anyone help you. that way you know everything was done. I do the things outside and my wife takes care of the things in side, when we get to the RVpark or camp grounds. Good Luck
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:54 PM   #8
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Make sure your wheels are chocked when you hook up your tow vehicle. I had the opportunity to see a guy back up to connect his tow vehicle today and he rolled his 5th wheel backwards about 6 inches. It fell off of the 6" X 6" blocks his front hydrolics were on with a horrible clang on the whole RV as it hit the ground. His tow was a flat bed or he would have wrecked his truck bed and RV possibly.

I helped him use my hydrolic jacks to get it back on his wood blocks, chock his tires, so he could get it hooked up right. I would guess he will find some damage when he sets back up at his next CG. I'm thinking plumbing damage, gas line damage, AC damage, TV damage, Water Heater damage, Fridge damage. Might not have any damage, but dropping the whole front of a 37' RV 6" was a gut wrenching site to see.
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:51 AM   #9
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If you go to rv travel they have a book store. In their store they have a DVD dedicated to towing a fifth wheel. It will show you how to tow and back a 5er and explains handling the rig very well. If you order the DVD from them you usually have it within a week Here is their link .http://rvtravel.com/issue477.shtml I got the DVD to help show my wife how to direct me when backing into tight spots. It showed her what I couldn't explain to her. To me it was worth the money.
Thane & Sharon
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Old 04-17-2011, 04:55 PM   #10
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Good move to get a diesel and a dually. Many first timers believe the propaganda that a 3/4 ton will do the job...not true. Is your 5th wheel a Mountaineer...Montana does not have an RV that is a 333DB, all Montanas are four digits.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:40 PM   #11
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I hope you realize what a responsibility you have taken on driving that rig, both to yourselves and the other drivers on the road with you.

While driving that rig safely is not rocket science by any means, it does require experience, and from what you wrote, you have never even towed a trailer. Now you are going to a 20K plus combined weight in one move.

If you want a comparison, take the truck by itself to a busy california mall parking lot on a saturday and try backing it into a parking spot. Then imagine having a 36 foot trailer on top of that. I think you will quickly see just how much you have taken on.

I stongly suggest you try and hook up with someone you know or can meet and ride with them in their rig, or get them to go along with you on your "test" drives. Its always nice to have some experience in the truck with you.

Others have mentioned the turning, but dont forget the weight of that unit and how it will effect stopping and handling in general.

Good luck and dont forget saftey while playing with your new toy.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:16 AM   #12
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Ask for a pull-thru when available. If possible, don't arrive to your destination in the dark. Both you and your spotter need to be patience with each other, each park will be a learning experiance. My wife and I have found our cell phone to be helpfull in communicating, I place my on the dash in speaker phone mode. Watch the front of your truck as well as the back of the 5er. I used to travel 8-10 hr and then think I was going to park it just like that. Now If the drive has been long, I like to take a short rest to releave any tension from the drive before attempted to park. Don't worry about people watching, they'll only make you more nervous. If it takes you more than one try, hey you paid for that spot, back in and out all day long if you want. Allway's chock your wheels, even a minimal incline can get the 5er rolling once you pull that lever in the back of your truck. I can back my 36' into any spot, but will still take a pull-thru when possible. Don't get over anxious to unhook, take your time. Remember your there to have a good time, enjoy!
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:43 PM   #13
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My wife and I developed a great system for her to help me back in a space without a fight. Her job is to tell me if I'm about to hit something with a particular eye on tree limbs, picnic tables and hookup pedestals. Beyond that, she just watches. We used to have her direct me but found it didn't help much. Don't take this as a slight on her abilities. She was great at directing but we found our system to be better.
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SkiTrip View Post
Hello Future Friends,
We just made our 1st purchase - a 333DB Montana 5th and a 2008 F350 Diesel Dually Crew Cab with a Hensley Hitch...
You have a Hensley Hitch for your 5th wheel trailer? Didn't know they made them...


2017 Eagle HT 27.5 RLTS
2011 Chevy 2500HD Duramax Crew Cab 4WD
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