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Old 09-10-2005, 03:55 PM   #1
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Is there anyway, anyplace, anyhow that offers lessons or classes on TT or 5th wheel pulling?

We don't currently own an RV but expect to purchase this winter or spring '06. We had a 1990 Coachman Class A that my wife wouldn't drive because it was too loose in the steering.

This time we are determined to get a rig that she can drive.

We plan to be spending more than 50% of our time on the road, so we want something that is big but drivable by both of us.

Thanks,
Curt Baker
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Old 09-10-2005, 03:55 PM   #2
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Is there anyway, anyplace, anyhow that offers lessons or classes on TT or 5th wheel pulling?

We don't currently own an RV but expect to purchase this winter or spring '06. We had a 1990 Coachman Class A that my wife wouldn't drive because it was too loose in the steering.

This time we are determined to get a rig that she can drive.

We plan to be spending more than 50% of our time on the road, so we want something that is big but drivable by both of us.

Thanks,
Curt Baker
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Old 09-10-2005, 04:16 PM   #3
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Curt:

I had never towed anything bigger than a rowboat when we got our fiver six years ago.

After a couple of hours in various sessions in a parking lot, (empty), with traffic cones to learn how to back the beast and practice our verbal FRS skills in guidance, we were set to go.

It was slow and tentative for the first miles but in very short order I quickly almost forgot the trailer was there and we just zoomed along with the traffic.

I would not worry too much about driving a trailer rig, specially since you have already driven a large vehicle, just get out there and enjoy it.

I really do not know what I would have gotten out of a "formal" school, but maybe that is just my personality trait.

Good luck to you.

Bob
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Old 09-10-2005, 07:42 PM   #4
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5ver 101
The best advice I can give is get a truck with more power and brakes than you think you'll need for the size of trailer and towing will be easy on both of you. This will make the rig safe at all speeds , easy to park, back and stop. Then make sure you have good hitch, rocker is best for easy un hitching (less binding). Also an excellent brake controller properly setup. If your Tow vehical and setup is correct your rig will drive/stop like a dream. If it's not it will scare the life out of you and your bride. The hardest part is the backing but this just comes with practice. and some simple rules:
1a. Stay cool-ignore the crowd gathering. Pull up on the side of the road the site is on so truck and trailer have room to swing. It's always easier to park in a site on the drivers side since the other side is blind, but you usually dont have a choice.
1b Get out and carefully survey the site, watch for low branches ditches and drops, using cones as markers to hit may help, some use frs walkies...we tried but found visual was best for us.
1c Keep your window open so you can hear wife.
1d Dont backup unless you can see your wife in the mirror.
1e steer with one hand on the bottom of the wheel and turn it in the direction you want the trailer to turn. Cut your wheels then follow the trailer back.
1f Pull ahead to straighten the rig if needed then continue backing.
2 Jacks down, chocks behind tires ,Tailgate down, unhitch.
3 Grab a beer and relax, it just gets easier.Now you have your tow vehical to explore/shop with. I wouldn't go with anything but a 5ver for stability towing and flexibility camping.
Cheers
Lesson over.
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Old 09-11-2005, 03:32 PM   #5
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We've just moved up to a 5th 13,000 lbs GVWR from a smaller one. I used used to drive buses and tractor trailer 35 years ago but had to get an endorsement for this rig. Turned out to be the best thing I could have done at 60 years old. It got my skills back up to speed along with modern techniques as well as a refresher in modern driving technique from a pro truck driving school. She who Must Be Obeyed is doing it as well and enjoys it. Money well spent. This school most defintely was not intimidating. They want good competent righandlers out there with them on the road.
David
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:01 AM   #6
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First of all, Welcome to the Site.

I'm sure one of the Moderators will also come up with some info for you. If you buy your RV from a larger dealer, they may offer classes or even let you drive the rig around on there property. The largest dealer in this area gives Classroom lesions and driving instructions.

Once you have it back there, and get a few hundred miles under the belt, you might wonder were the trailer is. It becomes a routine when towing.

Dave
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Old 09-12-2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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I went from a S10 ext cab to a F350 crew cab dually. A year later we had a 27' 5th wheel. Besides the fact that I had never camped a day in my life, I now had to move this thing. I hitched up perfect at the dealer - never done it since, but hey!

Bob brings up a good point about communication. I rely on my wife to assist with backing up. After 4 outings, we are just now starting to speak the same language. Our first trips were all w/in a couple miles of home. Our last one we went to Mrytle Beach. By far our best trip in every aspect. Find a school etc and just practice. Personally, I like the way my 5'r handles. Much nicer than the backhoe I rented and towed!
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Old 09-12-2005, 01:11 PM   #8
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thanks for all the helpful responses...

We haven't RV'd for about ten years but plan to go for more than 6 months a year starting next spring/summer.

We will be hauling a HD-EGlide.

We drove a GS Endura Max (Toy Hauler,) my wife liked the way it drives very much but the cab-over sleeping arrangement means ya gotta wake up your spouse to pee...yikes!

I think a 5'er is in our future.

I want to look at the middle to top of the line 5th wheel Toy Hauler.

Is Alfa and KZ Escalade the top of the line?

Can I really pull one of those with a F-350?

Thanks,
Curt
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Old 09-13-2005, 12:30 PM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">


Can I really pull one of those with a F-350?

Thanks,
Curt </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Don't know what the ones you mentioned weigh, but what year, model and engine / trans / rear F350 do you have?

I have a '93 crew dually w/ the IDI 7.3 non turbo (until Saturday!) with a E4OD automatic and 4.10 gears and 123,000 miles. I won't win a race and many a truck will beat me up a hill, but I am 14,400 wet and get almost 12 mpg at 65 with the air on.
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:27 AM   #10
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Curt

As far as a driving school, I took a weekend course. Best $$$ I ever spent. It was a local truck driving school that was getting in to teaching RV driving. I've seen some others on the web. I might suggest you use Google to do some searching.

Now what trailer you can pull with what truck. There are many threads here regarding how to figure out trailer and truck combinations. It all comes down to weights of the truck, weight ratings of the truck and weights of the trailer. Just remember that a 5er will overload a pickup truck very easily. You will also see many posts about towing with overloaded tow vehicles. To do so is a personal choice, but not one that I will ever make. Do the math and let that drive your decision.
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Old 09-16-2005, 06:01 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by curtbaker:
Is there anyway, anyplace, anyhow that offers lessons or classes on TT or 5th wheel pulling?
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Yes, Here's a link to RV School. I took RV driving lessons through them and found it very worthwhile.
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Old 10-08-2005, 07:07 AM   #12
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We got our fiver in Norfork,Va. By the time they got the hitch on the truck and we were ready to go it was 5pm..I learned real quick!!Other than backing , it seems to really cut in when turning. You have to watch it in a turn. It tows much better than the tag along we had.
Tom
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Old 10-09-2005, 07:19 AM   #13
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Welcome Curt. There is a lot info on this and other forums if you look around. I offer 3 things to consider.

First, a fiver is unlike a traditional trailer in that it follows what in the fighter pilot world we call a pursuit curve. That is it always turns inside of the tow vehicle path. Swing wide and keep an eye on the inside mirror if it is even a little tight.

Second, do like the 18 wheelers do when it gets tight. Sit there and wait until people will get out of the way and let you make a safe turn. Don't get embarrassed or flumaxted. They eventually figure out that traffic will move when they help you and become part of the solution.

Finally, when backing into tight areas, your spotters most important job is to make sure you do no harm. After several years, mine still has a tendency to get fixated on trying to "help me" spot the trailer just right and forgets to keep watching the blind area on the outside of the turn. Good luck on that one. It got me a tear in the rubber foor this summer and a dent in the right rear fender last year. (We camp in rustic areas with tight sites.)

I'm sure a training course would give you more confidence in the beginning. Couldn't hurt. Enjoy.
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Old 10-09-2005, 07:54 AM   #14
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Like Bill stated, a 5er will cut the turn short so swing wide and watch the mirrr on the inside of the turn. When we are backing into a site, I stop and my wife and I walk the site to check for clearances and location of the utilities befoer I try to back in. We carry a pair of FRS radios and she gives me intructions backing on when to stop and when to turn. We also use hand signals and she knows to keep me in sight in the drivers mirror. If she is out of view in my mirror I stop and she knows why. Also she tells me to stop if she needs to check the other side.

If you don't get lined up right to start with, pull up or go around and try again. It takes practice, so do not get frustrated by someone that just cannnot wait until you are out of the way.

A really good practice is to head for a large open parking lot with some empty boxes and practice turns and backing. Let the copilot take the wheel and you get out and watch how the trailer tracks.

Just take yor time and enjoy.....

Ken
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