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Old 12-21-2012, 11:32 PM   #15
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Folks - your comments and tips are much appreciated. It's so true that ones state of mind is under ones own control. But it's good to be reminded once in a while so thank you.


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Old 12-21-2012, 11:49 PM   #16
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I have seen many pickup trucks that I thought were not heavy enough for the trailer/fifth wheel. The 150 will pull a lot of rvs,but it will not be able to stop. Better to be a little overkill on your vehicle. Their are a few professional driving schools that will teach you how to drive your RV. I hear it is money well spent. Best of luck in your future plans.

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Old 12-22-2012, 12:57 AM   #17
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I too worry about traffic behind me. I have a 33' Class A with a Suzuki TV. My main concern is to slow down when I come to passing lanes to allow as many vehicles to pass as possible, and the fact that I am never in a hurry helps to keep the stress down. It would be nice if those who were in much more of a hurry showed their appreciation of the courtesy shown them. In particular, stopping completely is a real pain as I get back up to speed over several kilometers and use a lot more gas. Just a simple toot would show they understand that I am making it as easy as possible for them.
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:06 AM   #18
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Towing can be, but doesn't necessarily have to be stressful. The 1st thing you talked about was tailgating. I very seldom drive out of my rearview mirror, mainly because I have no control of anything that is behind me anyway. Also once you hook up to your TV you generally can't see who's behind you. But don't worry no one will tailgate you for too long while your towing. People just hate to be behind any vehicle that is in tandem so they will pass you as soon as they can and immediately cut back into your lane and slow down so they can turn into the shopping center 100 ft ahead.

I think towing requires you be on guard and driving defensively 100% of the time for everything that is in front of you including the side road traffic waiting (or not) to enter your lane. However, if you normally drive the speed limit anyway, don't worry about what's behind you, don't wait until the last second to hit your brakes, or feel the need to tailgate yourself because the driver who just cut in front of you has wronged you, you should be fine.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:39 AM   #19
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I have been stressed twice. When my tv was undersized for my trailer and when i had troubles unhitching my fifth wheel due to uneven terrain.
The undersized tv was corrected as i now tow with a f350 dually cc. The unhitching comes with experience. Towing undersized leads to dangerous braking conditions and white knuckle driving being pushed around by buffeting.

Good luck.

Btw, you don't mention where you are but if you are in cincinnati, i'd be willing to show you what my lessons learned have been
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:50 AM   #20
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get a bumper sticker for the back of the trailer that says "BACK OFF OR I WILL FLUSH".dont worry about the guy behind you.you dont have control of what happen behind you just what happens in front of you. :-)
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:06 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post
Houdi folks - new to the forum, don't have an RV, never towed anything larger than a log splitter with my F150. But my wife and I are seriously considering the full-time lifestyle upon "retirement". And 5th wheels are the most attractive to us. We've been doing a lot of looking around at shows and such.

Here's the thing (and I've searched around for threads on this but didn't find much).

Sometimes it's stressful enough just driving a car...given all the people out there who don't seem to have a clue about proper driving...let alone defensive driving. Seems like I'm almost constantly tailgated. I'm not a slow-poke driver but do generally obey the speed limit.

So I'm thinkin'....holy cow...with a 30+ foot 10-15K pound 5th wheel behind me, the tailgatin' and other impatient behavior from my fellow road users must get worse. Maybe a lot worse. And it just seems like that would be really stressful.

And I hear folks on the forum talking about liking to take more scenic, two-lane roads instead of multi-lane interstates so they can enjoy the scenery. But again, it seems like it's only a matter of minutes before someone is going to be on your tail.

So my question is this. How do you handle this? Don't you arrive at your destination frazzled and stressed???....which seems to defeat the whole idea of the relaxed rv lifestyle.

Bottom line. I'm trying to figure out if I'm wired correctly for this or if I will be an early coronary patient from the stress.

Thanks very much in advance for your words of wisdom.

Your noting "defensive driving" makes you well suited in my book for towing or motoring! Be aware of your surroundings, road and driving conditions. Take your time and enjoy the drive or ride! Best of luck in your decision. Hope to see you on down the road sometime!
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:37 AM   #22
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You will have folks tailgating you more than in a car driving alone at the same speed. I've found that both with trailer tow and now with a motorhome. Folks just think that an RV means a potential slowdown on hills and corners and they don't like being blocked from the view of what is in front of them. I've always appreciated RV drivers that are courteous and move over in passing areas even if driving the speed limit and I do the same. I also do watch for if there is a pileup behind me even if it is impatient drivers that want to go 70 in a 55. If I can get out of the way, I do. Else they will just need to wait. I never drive over 60 due to fuel savings and stopping distance, so some 75 mph interstates mean keeping right at all times.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:43 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post
Houdi folks - new to the forum, don't have an RV, never towed anything larger than a log splitter with my F150. But my wife and I are seriously considering the full-time lifestyle upon "retirement". And 5th wheels are the most attractive to us. We've been doing a lot of looking around at shows and such.

The one thing that will be stressful is having not enough truck for your load. Your 1/2 ton F150 will be able to pull some of the smaller 5th wheels, but probably not what you would want for full-timing. You will want to get at least a 3/4 ton, if not a 1 ton truck.

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Old 12-22-2012, 07:47 AM   #24
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Having a properly sized and powered tow vehicle will help reduce your anxiety.
When we bought our first TT in 1997 from an RV dealer in Orlando, he assured us that we would have no problems towing a 34 foot Airstream with our 6 cylinder E-150 ford van. They set up the tow package with brake controller for us, and sent us on our way.
The 4 hour drive home was horrifying! I know my way around a trailer pretty well as I've pulled boats and utility trailer since I was 16, but this was another animal altogether. Several things became apparent right away.
1) Lack of power. Pulling into traffic now required much more time and space.
Merging onto an interstate was white knuckle driving, nobody will give you a break here.
2) Poor handling. An 9,000 pound trailer will have it's way with a 5,000 pound van. When you make a turn with the van, the trailer still wants to go straight. A case of the tail wagging the dog.
3) Poor braking. Even with brakes on my TT, I had trouble when having to stop at several red lights in a row. With the built up heat in the brakes they became less efficient. When they are marginal to start with, any reduction in efficiency becomes dangerous.
4 ) Fuel consumption. Trying to move the combined weight of the rig with the small engine required full throttle most of the time. I never figured MPG, but it sucked gas rapidly.
The next month I traded my van for a new E350 with V10. This is a 1 ton truck chassis and was rated to tow 10,000 pounds. This improved everything about the towing experience. I now had plenty of power to keep up with traffic, and the additional weight of the E350 was less influenced by the weight of the TT.
The brakes now were designed to stop, and I had no problems.
Even fuel mileage improved dramatically, pulling at 65 MPH on the interstate, I could get 9.5 MPG. The downside though, was fuel consumption was still only 13.5 when I wasn't towing.
Having the extra power and weight capacity will definitely reduce your anxiety while towing.
I would recommend that you look into a larger tow vehicle right from the start.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:53 AM   #25
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When we were weekend and vacation camping, it was stressful. Using what ever truck we had at the time (that often was not a good combo,) combined with the pressure to get there so that we could squezze the most out of every minute made it so.

Now that we are retired, with a good tow set up, there is no stress and towing becomes a "Sunday ride."
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:59 AM   #26
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I haven't found towing a 30' FW anymore stressful than driving a 36' Class A. Most of the time I towed a toad behind the Class A, too.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:59 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by LegalTender View Post

So my question is this. How do you handle this? Don't you arrive at your destination frazzled and stressed???....which seems to defeat the whole idea of the relaxed rv lifestyle.

Bottom line. I'm trying to figure out if I'm wired correctly for this or if I will be an early coronary patient from the stress.

Thanks very much in advance for your words of wisdom.

Only worry about the folks in front of you always leave a good space in between, yes folks will cram in there but that's just cause they don't have weight/mass theory of stopping engrained in their brains yet. I try to leave at least four seconds or more in between me and the next vehicle. The folks behind you are not a concern. Think where your axles are and watch for drive through bank roofed. Lol
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:18 PM   #28
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I don't think the average motorist is going to be able to safely pull a trailer of any type. Most do not anticipate possible problems and so find themselves having to make an emergency maneuver at the last instant. They can get away with it most of the time with a car or small truck but it is not going to work when towing.

Driving a class B or C motorhome is going to be easier than pulling a trailer. For many couples it is the preferred choice in part for that ease of operation and especially important if both are going to take turns at the wheel. So your question is a valid one and people pulling trailers will only provide half an answer.

When I am in a high traffic area where I know I am going to be going slower than the average motorist I will make a point of following a tractor and its trailer(s) and become part of a mini-convoy. When there is a string of trailers being towed it forces motorists to exercise more patience and caution most of the time.

I avoid holiday and weekend and commuter traffic as that is when people are the most hyper and when they tend to make foolish mistakes that get people killed. I also avoid highways that I know have a higher percentage of idiots driving on them. Usually that means avoiding the interstates and taking state highways. The state highways are usually more scenic anyway and more likely to be passing closer to places I want to stop and explore.

I would not recommend pulling a trailer to go for weekend trips and coming back into town with the Sunday afternoon traffic. Now that is guaranteed to be stressful in most parts of the country.

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