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Old 10-02-2006, 06:03 AM   #1
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Has anyone out there had a 5th wheel that detached from the unit? I recently have and I am not sure what to do next. The damage to my truck and trailer is extensive. Would I be better off just having my insurance take care of the damage or should I fight for what we think is a manufacture default? I contacted the manufacture they want me to send the unit to them. Please help with any ideas or thoughts you may have.
Thank you,
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Old 10-02-2006, 06:03 AM   #2
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Has anyone out there had a 5th wheel that detached from the unit? I recently have and I am not sure what to do next. The damage to my truck and trailer is extensive. Would I be better off just having my insurance take care of the damage or should I fight for what we think is a manufacture default? I contacted the manufacture they want me to send the unit to them. Please help with any ideas or thoughts you may have.
Thank you,
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Old 10-02-2006, 12:32 PM   #3
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You do not mention trailer brand, year built, hitch brand etc, etc. It could have happened because of a hitch failure, pin box failure, or frame failure. Do you know what caused it? I think the easiest is to let the insurance company fix it and let them go after the manufacturer. But then again if the trailer mfg is wanting to have a look at it, make them pick it up and fix and return it to your house for free.
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Old 10-02-2006, 12:49 PM   #4
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First of all, seeing that this is your initial post, welcome to iRV2.com.

Hitch or pinbox failures are relatively rare. Most separations are the result of a "high hitch" or of a failure to close and lock the hitch jaws. A critical checklist item when hitching a 5th wheel is to bump-check the rig before moving the trailer. For anyone who may not be familiar with this procedure:

1. Back the truck under the 5th wheel and make the "hitch". To prevent a "high hitch", the load plate on the pinbox should be perhaps 1/2" lower than the load plate on the 5th wheel hitch such that the hitch lifts the pinbox as the two make engagement.

2. Get out of the truck and close/lock the hitch.

3. Visually inspect the hitch/kingpin to ensure that the hitch jaws engage the slot in the kingpin.

4. Raise the front landing legs of the trailer until the pads are 1/2" above the ground, support blocks, etc.

5. With the trailer wheels still securely chocked, get back in the truck, manually engage the trailer brake controller, shift into a forward gear and bump the truck forward, watching the hitch/pinbox area in the rear view mirror to ensure that the hitch/pinbox hookup is secure.

6. If the bump test indicates everything is OK, return the truck to Park (automatic), neutral (manual), engage the parking brake and complete preparations to travel (e.g., raise jacks, unchock, etc.)

Since you didn't provide details of your accident, it's difficult to speculate on what might have been the cause. If you have good, solid reason to believe a mechanical failure took place, it would be worth pursuing with the system manufacturer. Otherwise, I'd either pull out the checkbook or file an insurance claim, depending on the extent of damages and the insurance deductible.

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Old 10-02-2006, 04:18 PM   #5
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"Extensive damage" is the key to your post. I would turn this to the insurance company. Your premiums may rise, but they have the lawyers to properly fix the blame if the mfgr. is liable. You personally would have the repair expenses first, then your wallet would go flat hiring a law firm. Isn't this why we have insurance?
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Old 10-20-2006, 06:06 AM   #6
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I know of someone who has. It was a mess. Lucky for him, the nose smashed the bed like a beer can which kept his tailgate from opening, and held the camper to the truck in a way.

His was caused by the hitch sitting under a tree for several months, then being used without lube/degunk/desapping. Also, he would usually drop a lock in the hole on the handle, and this was the only time he didn't. It would have most likely be avoided if he would have locked it and because he would have seen it wasn't closed all the way.

He had his nose fixed at a body shop that worked on alot of boats, and we knew where the damage was, but still couldn't find the spot.

I've had my disconnect pulled before, and it will stop you on a dime. Luckily, I had slowed to about 10 mph when it happened. Lots of folks told me I was #1 till I figured it out and got moving again.
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Old 10-20-2006, 09:24 AM   #7
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Re. Item five on Rusty's list...

I always would bump in reverse first to insure the king pin was seated. I would then tug forward once or twice to insure it is locked.


Another thing to watch for:

A friend's FW came off the hitch and did significant damage. However, the hitch failure was caused by a crack in a weld on the hitch which subsequently failed while towing. The unit was just out of warranty.

At least once a year do a complete inspection of the welds on your hitch.
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:04 PM   #8
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Another thing to remember is "jealousy factor"! to some people, the fact you are towing a large 5th wheel is grounds for jealousy and entertainment at your expense. Padlock your hitch EVERY time to get into the habit.

Cracker Barrels along I-75 were having more than a normal number of trailers dropping on bed rails in their parking lots until they realized the "good-ol-boys" in the area were pulling the release handle and sitting in their pick-ups with a beer to watch the fun when Ma & Pop 5th wheeler tried to leave after a good dinner.
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Old 11-02-2006, 09:42 AM   #9
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I don't see how you would ever get a mfg to take the blame for this, especially when most if not all failures are user caused, wether it's lack of maintenance or improperly connecting, or even overloading the hitch system at one or more times. You will have to have undisputable evidence in hand that it was thier fault and it just came off insn't going to be enough.

Out of curiosity, were you driving down the road, and if so, how fast? Did the breakaway get pulled? Did the tailgate of the truck keep things somewhat together? How did you get it back on the road?
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:28 PM   #10
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His post was made on Oct 2 of 2006 and he has never came back to see what anyone had to say?
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:53 PM   #11
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Maybe he figured out it WAS his fault???
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:10 PM   #12
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Not to get off topic just a help full tip.Check into a BEDSAVER.
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