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Old 03-27-2015, 07:42 AM   #1
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How big a cul-de-sac needed to turn

Got a question for all of you experienced RVers pulling long 5th wheels since the last time I did it was close to 40 years ago.

We've been looking at view homes and many of them are not all that easy to get an RV into as some have a very long driveway and no room to turn at the top.

One we liked was at the end of a long driveway with no room to turn around at the house end. However the driveway starts at a cul-de-sac with room to build an RV garage there. The issue is I don't know how big of a cul-de-sac is needed to turn the rig we're looking at around. Once turned it would be easy to back it in from there.

So based on the following how big in diameter would a cul-de-sac need to make the 180 turn?

TV: Dodge 5500, or similar Ford, 4x4 with a 174" WB, 212" from nose to rear axle (hitch king pin location), 8' bed. (wheel base on the 3500 and 5500 are basically the same)

5er: New Horizons 42' long with the kingpin to center of the 3 axels of 28'. The tail swing is about 14' from the center of the three axles. Interesting side note, Jacks New Horizons is 44' but the kingpin to center of the 3 axels is the same 28' however the tail swing is about 16'. Wow, these rigs have very long tail swings compared to the horse trailer I used to pull:roll eyes:

Turning around is one thing I think a MH has over a 5th wheel setup. It's easier to maneuver. I can go either way, although I prefer the MH, but my DW likes the 5er and the truck better. Then happy wife is happy life so a 5th wheel it is.

Edit: I may have found a partial answer from this site. Still any input would be appreciated.

John (N6BER), Joyce, Lucas (Golden Retriever mix), Bella (Great Pyrenees) and Lance (Great Pyrenees).
Tustin, CA
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:55 AM   #2
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One thing to consider is: Can you turn your truck 90 or more to your 5er without the trailer coming in contact with the cab of your tow vehicle. That will have a lot to do on if you can maneuver enough to make the turn.

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Old 03-27-2015, 09:59 AM   #3
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You can't turn 90 degrees going forward. Maybe in reverse.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:48 PM   #4
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It's more of a question of how much side stress you can put on the tires. If you can get the TV to a 90 degree angle the tires will be sliding sideways more than they are rolling.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by drfife View Post
You can't turn 90 degrees going forward. Maybe in reverse.
What do you mean? I got stuck on a 2 lane road and as I turned around I got at least 90 going forward...

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Old 03-27-2015, 04:01 PM   #6
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I would go to a large empty parking lot with your truck and trailer. Take a tape measure and some chalk (or other marking device). Make your tight turn, mark wheel path, measure. IMO this would be better than having someone else guess at what your rig is capable of. Disclaimer : tight turns are hard on the trailer tires, the fewer the tight turns the better.
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:19 PM   #7
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It all depends upon how much patience you have when turning the 5er around.

I am assuming a turn around without an island. With an island there should be enough room to simply drive around it.

Without seeing the exact layout you are considering one of the options I would consider is to drive up the driveway far enough so you can start jack knifing the trailer into the cul-de-sac in reverse. Back up as far as reasonable, then drive forward, possibly driving part way up a neighbors driveway (ask if it is alright). Then reverse again, jack knifing to continue the turn until you have made the 180 turn. It also depends upon vehicles that may be parked or not in the cul-de-sac.

IMO unless there is a bunch of cars parked on the turn around you may be able to do it quite easily without resorting to back and forth movement. I think doing many small back and forth turns will be easier on the tires, axles and undercarriage of the 5er.

I have in the past successfully jack knifed and been able to keep the trailer wheels pretty much in one spot. I would avoid that situation if at all possible.
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:20 PM   #8
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This is not a simple question.

First, check the turning radius of the truck. This is generally published as a part of the truck specs. When turning with a fifth wheel in tow, the wheels of the fiver will track inside the rear wheels of the truck. It should be safe to assume that the fiver wheels will turn in a radius about 6" less that that of the truck

This fact tempts you to believe that if the truck can make the turn, then the whole rig should be able to make it. However, that is not always true. If the fiver's wheels are tracking close to the curb, the rear end of the fiver will likely overhang the curb. If there are no obstructions, you;ll be ok. However, if there happens to be a street sign, light post, fire hydrant, etc. close to the curb then there may be a problem.

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Old 03-27-2015, 08:24 PM   #9
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If the truck can make the turn the 5th wheel will follow. A F-450 can turn sharper than a F-350. I turn my F-450/37' 5 th wheel in a cul-de-sac where the truck is turning as sharp as it can. The 5th wheel inside tires take a beating as the are turning on a dime.

Not sure what a triple axle trailer inside tires would look like turning this sharp.

If I was at my house I could measure the cul-de-sac but I will not be there until mid may at the earliest.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:40 PM   #10
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Mine is 100' across and I turn it around and back it in ok. I have a 40' 5er and 8' bed Ford F-350.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:08 PM   #11
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Here is a Google map view. If you look at the sat view it's the darker driveway to the right at the end. The paved area of the cul-de-sack is about 50' although the property lines make it closet to 75. There is enough room on the property to create a large flat area and to cut into the slope. If you go to street view you can see it much better.

My thinking is one could stay to the left clost to the drop off then pull into the area which would be graded out. I'm thinking that one could back the tail over the drop off and then one would have room to finish the turn. From there you could back in to a building build next to the driveway. Generally there is not much to hit on the down hill side and on the other just have to miss the mailbox.

Looks doable but one has to look at the cost to build the garage including the excavation. If not this one we've found several kinda like it so with the information you guys have given I've got a good idea on the room needed. Thanks.
John (N6BER), Joyce, Lucas (Golden Retriever mix), Bella (Great Pyrenees) and Lance (Great Pyrenees).
Tustin, CA
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:15 AM   #12
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One MAIN POINT no ones mentioned is that you'll have to REALLY watch the tail swing of the 5th wheel. If there are mail boxes, light/telephone poles right along the edge of the curb you could very well wipe out the rear of your 5th wheel on them when doing a tight pivot turn with it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:29 AM   #13
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This is much like the question "Are you incontinent"? Depends!

Seriously, though, the parking lot suggestion above nailed it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 07:35 AM   #14
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As mentioned, if you can make the curve with the truck, the trailer will follow. My trailer was hit by the tail swing of a 5er that got too close, so be aware.

A driver should be able to make that cul-de-sac, and back the trailer as far up the driveway as needed.

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