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Old 02-24-2010, 08:54 AM   #1
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Question How is driving a 5r different?

We're buying a new fifth wheel soon. I've driven lots of different kinds of vehicles and towed lots of things but never a fifth wheel trailer. How is it different?

Turning corners and missing the curb and staying in my lane seem like it may be a challenge.

Any hints about how to back it into my driveway?

What about lane choices on the freeway and merging with other traffic?

Any other driving advice would be helpful.


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Old 02-24-2010, 09:05 AM   #2
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The easiest trick for backing up a trailer/5er (or any kind) is to put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move your hand the direction you want the trailer to go. Once you master that things are backward from the way you think you can train yourself to do it the "regular" way.
Driving with a 5er is just the same as anything else except that you are longer and you have to plan farther in advance. Don't wait until you are right up on the exit, get over and be prepared to exit when space allows and not just when you are getting close.

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Old 02-24-2010, 09:11 AM   #3
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One major difference in towing a fifth wheel versus a regular trailer is the wind and trucks going by won't affect you at all. You won't have any swaying in the rear. If you've pulled a trailer before, then you should be fine with the fiver. Changing lanes, just make sure you have enough room before pulling over. You'll get use to it. couple hundred miles and you'll be fine. )
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:21 AM   #4
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If you're used to a bumper-pull trailer, you'll find that the wheels of the 5th wheel track more to the inside of the turn than a conventional (bumper-pull) trailer. The worst case is when you have to make a tight radius right turn with a curb on the inside. In that case, you can either cheat and take up some of the lane to your left before you make the turn (that's why semi's have the "this truck makes wide turns" sign on the back) or go deeper into the intersection and then turn sharply right (or even into the 2nd lane) to make sure the 5th wheel's inside wheels clear the curb.

The other difference is, when backing, the 5th wheel will react more slowly than a bumper-pull trailer. That's because the hinge point is over the rear axle instead of at the back bumper, so any change in orientation of the truck isn't amplified by the overhang from the rear axle to the rear bumper as is the case with a bumper-pull trailer.

Find a deserted parking lot and practice, practice, practice.

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Old 02-24-2010, 05:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RustyJC View Post
Find a deserted parking lot and practice, practice, practice.

Not to be doom and gloom, but find one of the "out of business" car dealership lots. Some will have lanes marked for even better practice.

Like Rusty, practice, practice, practice and preferably not on the interstate in front of me.
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:33 PM   #6
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Some Information that "may" be useful.

Having pulled a 14000 pound tt, 12000 pound goosneck, and a 14000 pount 5er, and now a MH, there are similarities and there are differences. You will find handling a 5er, in my opinion, is easier than a tt. There will be a lot less sway with a 5er than a tt. If you have ever pulled a tt without an anti-sway bar you will appreciate the 5er. Although the pivot points are different, the turning is going to be basically the same to keep from going over the curb, or the center line if turning left. Practice, practice, practice is good advice, and then practice some more. And, when doing anything except going forward with traffic and speed limits, GO SLOW and always have a ground person when backing.

Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:59 PM   #7
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A 5er tracks much wider in tight cornering. Our 40'5er has an 8' difference in tight corners. This means I must swing the truck away from the corner just before the intersection to allow for the tracking curve of the 5er. Never allow space for a car to drive between your rig and the curb when making a turn, some idiot will if possible.
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:26 AM   #8
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depending on your setup you may get some "chucking". This will be different than anything else you have felt, all it is, is the front of the 5vr moving up and down on the 5th wheel hitch. This is simple to fix just by adding some weight to the front of the 5vr or removing some weight from the rear of the 5vr. Make sure you check the clearance between the bottem of the 5vr and the top of the truck bed also, 6" is the minimum clearance needed.
You didn't say what you are going to be pulling with, a shorbed or long bed. This is important because turnng with the two different bed lenghts are different. Long beds don't have any real problems when turning. Shortbeds can be very expensive if you don't have a slider hitch. You can end up with bed buck repairs to your truck and 5vr without one.

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