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Old 12-21-2012, 04:34 PM   #1
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Rookie question - isn't towing stressful?

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.

James
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:03 PM   #2
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Trying to tow a trailer with too small of a truck will be stressful. Be sure to learn the towing terms and calculations. NEVER believe the RV or truck sales person...most them were shoe salesman last week.

Also, plan your trips to average about 300 miles for a comfortable day on the road.


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Old 12-21-2012, 05:03 PM   #3
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I've towed a 5th wheel. I found that I was definitely not speeding, ever. There will always be someone who wants to go faster than you are going. They will only be on your tailgate for a little while when they can pass. Many times I just pulled over when safe to do so and let them by, but typically only when 3 or more cars start piling up. Just one, well they can pass at will when safe to do so, but a string of cars are at the mercy of the dotted line.

You will learn to just relax and let the traffic go with the flow, as there is really nothig you can do about it. You will get rid of any "Type A" tendencies you may have and drop down in class considerably. Just remember, you'll be retired and you don't have to hurry anymore.

Welcome to the forum James. Others should be along shortly with their words of wisdom, or not.

Happy trails.

Edit: as Ken stated. Don't underpower yourself with a small truck. In my case I had a F350 King Ranch, Crew Cab, Long Bed and i was towing 13,000 pounds of 39' 8" of trailer.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:12 PM   #4
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"whatsa behind me, she don't matter" that's from the old movie the Gumball Rally.

Seriously, the only time I care much about folks behind me is when I'm on LA freeways and there's a good chance of getting rear-ended when traffic stacks. Never been concerned much when RV-ing.

On long grades or two-lane I'll pull over and let folks by. Most states have laws regarding this, but I've never seen them enforced.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:13 PM   #5
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I feel that the destination has much to do with the stress factor. Towing a log splitter means work, towing an RV means fun and relaxation. It's all about the mindset. After you get your rookie trips under your belt the stress just melts away.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:15 PM   #6
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maybe i'm the one thats not wired right,but i worry more about the people in front and beside me,i don't even think about people behind me thats their problem.I go as fast as i feel safe doing so and if i have to back traffic up behind me to make a sharp turn,then so be it. When we had a 5th wheel i worried more about trying to back that monster into a cramped space. I love driving a motorhome and towing a car behind it,it's much easier to back into a cramped space and a lot of other good reasons.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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I have towed more things than I care to talk about ... Grew up on a farm, and well, Farmers tow a lot of stuff. Including "Stuff". but we won't talk about that save to say I got a lot of practice backing that particular trailer in between the cattle pens. Several times a day.

At first towing is indeed.. not so much stressful, as different, You need to get used to the way the tow vehicle handles when towing, Best way to do that is your local big shopping mall parking lot after hours, the bigger the better, Practice both foward only driving and backing into a parking spot with the trailer. Doing it this way the only thign you can hit should be ... The brakes.

But with your tow vehicle (F-150) Seriously consider an upgrade I see far too many trailers that woudl be a hard tow for an F-250, some even for an F-350, Pulled by an F-150 and that... Is what scares me.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:33 PM   #8
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Keep your daily travels to 300 miles or less, that could equate to 6 hours on the road. I travel the speed limit, here in Ca. there are two lane highways that have a max speed for towing at 55 mph while the speed limit is 65 mph for vehicles not towing. I am not going to get a ticket (combo tickets in Ca. are very expensive) for exceeding the max speed limit, but I do hug the white line when it is safe so the driver behind me can see better to pass. I pull over in marked turnouts when I get someone behind me, even if it is one vehicle. I don't like being stuck behind a slow moving vehicle any more then the next guy so I do my best to let them by, which I think most people appreciate. Not letting them pass as soon as they can only creates a bad impression of people driving RVs. Letting them pass solves the tailgating problem too. You can only do what you can do, don't overdrive the conditions because somebody behind you is tailgating. Another thing I learned early was it doesn't pay to pull over in a dirt turnout to let traffic pass, use marked turnouts only.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:52 PM   #9
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Towing is only as stressful as you allow it to be. As you doit you will find it to be less stressful. If the people behind you are impatient to bad for them they can go around you. I use to pull over to let them pass then one winter day while driving thru a national forest I moved over to make it easier for them to pass and I slowly became stuck in the snow. This was before cell phones. The last building or pay phone was twenty minutes back in good weather and I knew there was not one for another twenty ahead. Forty minutes had gone by and low and behold a van comes by stops and throws me some scrap carpeting and says throw this under your wheels. That guy saved the day god bless him. What I learned was the people can wait and there is no sense in getting stressed out over people behind you. People will also just want to pass you just because your bigger than the even if your not going slow.
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:59 PM   #10
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I have been towing for over 40 years. One of the things my dad taught me before he would allow me to get my drivers license. I used to spend about 60K miles a year on the road driving. Now with the MH I take my time and when in doubt drive slow. When we had the TT my DW was more stressed then me because of the noise the TT made. We leave early, drive at or below the speed limit, stop if tired, have fun with the kids, and listen to music. Driving anything is only as stressful as you make it. As for a 5er make sure you have a proper TV.

Happy Trails
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:06 PM   #11
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As for backing up. If you are by your self or unsure stop get out and look. If you have someone with you I find those two way radios work wonderful.i just give one to the wife and she goes back there and I can hear her and she can hear me. No stress. Then we watch other people arrive at the campground and try to back their trailers in and very easily stress out. Not the way to start your vacation if you ask me. A couple of time I went over and asked if they wanted some help when they said yes I hand the driver a radio afterwards he said wow that made it so much better
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:14 PM   #12
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Towing a 5th wheel with the right truck is easy. My very 1st towing of my 5er was 1,000 miles from Florida to Ohio. There were no close calls, no white knuckles, no wind pushing me when I passed semi-trucks or when they passed me. I am very very happy with the way my rig goes down the road. I have a newer F-450 . A F-350 dually would have been just a good I think.

Backing a 5er is also easy. Just go slow and get out of the truck to look around for all the trees.

Where I have problems is on city streets were I sometimes turn too sharp and the inside tires of the 5er hit the curb. Just like a semi-truck, you gotta make wide turns.

Oh - forgot to mention, the newer diesel trucks have a lot of power and will tow big 5ers easy. I can go up Pa. mountains at 65mph
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffr2 View Post
Towing a 5th wheel with the right truck is easy. My very 1st towing of my 5er was 1,000 miles from Florida to Ohio. There were no close calls, no white knuckles, no wind pushing me when I passed semi-trucks or when they passed me. I am very very happy with the way my rig goes down the road. I have a newer F-450 . A F-350 dually would have been just a good I think.

Backing a 5er is also easy. Just go slow and get out of the truck to look around for all the trees.

Where I have problems is on city streets were I sometimes turn too sharp and the inside tires of the 5er hit the curb. Just like a semi-truck, you gotta make wide turns.

Oh - forgot to mention, the newer diesel trucks have a lot of power and will tow big 5ers easy. I can go up Pa. mountains at 65mph
I agree with tuffr2 5fth wheels go down the road better than bumper pulls and because the pivot point is over the axel it is easier to back up.I learned on a 24ft 5er with a 1 ton that had a 454-4speed manual duely. But I opted for the bumper pull due to not the need for the ability to pull that much weight. If I want to change from a pickup to a van I can
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:21 AM   #14
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Started with a TT behind a '69 Camaro, now up to a 41' MH, a dolly and Honda van. Doesn't bother me a bit.
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