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Old 07-30-2015, 09:50 AM   #1
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Hitch pivot point

I'm writing this post for a friend as I have a motor home.

My friends complaint is that when backing up the coach, it does not respond in a rapid way like a pull trailer does.

We checked the location of the pin with a string and plumb bobs, it is approximately 1 inch toward the cab in relation of the center of the rear axel. Clearance from coach to cab is not a problem. We can move the hitch in 2" increments both front or rear.

Would moving the pin location forward or back help improve the response of the coach when backing?
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:57 AM   #2
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No, it will not help. The pull trailer's pivot point is 3-4' behind the trucks axle while the 5er pivot point is nearly over the rear axle (ideally, a few inches in front of the axle) which causes the 5er to respond in a different manner that one must get used to. When turning a corner the travel trailer will follow the trucks wheels while a 5er will turn inside the truck, climbing curbs and so on.

It is just different - have your friend find an empty parking lot and practice - kinda like you did when you first got the MH...

Tim
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:31 PM   #3
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I had the same "problem" when I went from a TT to a 5ver. Takes a little practice to learn the difference between the two, but he'll get the hang of it soon.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:05 AM   #4
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The 5er just reacts very slow compared to the TT. There is a difference in where the hitch placement is, but as long as it's close to the axle centerline in will be nearly unnoticeable. Good news is... The 5er is way more maneuverable than the TT and in time you'll find it much easier than a TT ever was.

As to the trailer wheels and curbs, talk to a truck driver about a "button hook turn" it is where you go in tighter to the curb before making a right turn then taking the cab sharp left, then sharp right. When you make the sharp left it actually steers your trailer tires out away from the curb then the sharp right brings them back around to complete the turn without hitting the curb.

Its a must have survival skill for the in town delivery drivers in big rigs. Watch 'em and you"ll see.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:27 PM   #5
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The ONLY good thing about a TT is it's easier to backup than a 5er!

Industry standard is for the center of the kingpin top be 2" forward of the centerline of the rear axle.
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:55 PM   #6
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With close to a million fifth wheel/gooseneck hitched miles, I find it way easier than a TT. I can back a fifth wheel or a gooseneck around a block no sweat, wouldn't try it with a bumper pull. I suppose what you're most used to is easier, but there's no way the TT can out maneuver the 5er. That alone makes it easier to me.
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:03 PM   #7
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I have just the thing to make this better. Join me in the 38' DP with a 30' tag enclosed trailer and we will back that sucker up to the shop which is 90 degrees to the lane. If I start cutting it the day before, in the previous state, I can make it on the first try every time.
Then just about everything else will seem downright responsive.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:25 AM   #8
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Thanks to all for the feedback. I shall pass on this info to my friend.
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Old 08-01-2015, 06:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.C.Gray View Post
With close to a million fifth wheel/gooseneck hitched miles, I find it way easier than a TT. I can back a fifth wheel or a gooseneck around a block no sweat, wouldn't try it with a bumper pull. I suppose what you're most used to is easier, but there's no way the TT can out maneuver the 5er. That alone makes it easier to me.

Definitely second this. Fivers are significantly more maneuverable that bumper-pulls.


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Old 08-08-2015, 09:57 AM   #10
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He just needs to be patient and get used to it. There's definitely a learning curve there but once he figures it out he'll love backing the 5er vs a TT. Slower initially to react but needs less input as you're backing. It's all in getting that starting angle figured out and how much to pull forward before he begins backing.
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Old 08-08-2015, 11:47 AM   #11
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I say I can back my 5th wheel into a shoe box if I go slow. A 5th wheel will almost pivot I have both a 5th wheel and TT. I would rather back my 5th wheel.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:26 PM   #12
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When I was taking the CA DMV Class A non-commercial test I had to back it into the 'shoe box'. They call it the 'alley dock'. Not allowed to get out of the truck to check out the space. Had to 'wing it'. This was with a new 5ver! Learning during the test. Required to back within 2 ft of a small line painted on the asphalt that was 50 ft behind me, then honk horn when I thought I was finished. Hit a cone one time but allowed to try again. Nailed it. The secret was to pull forward far enough to see the rear end of the trailer and the beginning of the docking space.


Backing from the drivers side is a piece of cake. Backing from the Passenger side takes some planning.
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