How to Pull a 5th Wheel Trailer

How to Pull a 5th Wheel Trailer
Although pricey, fifth-wheel campers have increased in popularity for many outdoor traveling enthusiasts due to the convenience of traveling with a larger-capacity trailer that could not otherwise be towed with a conventional travel hitch. These campers utilize a sturdy gooseneck mechanism that connects to the truck bed itself rather than a hook on the tailgate, allowing better stability for these large-capacity units when being hauled. Understanding how to properly hitch your unit will safeguard you during your travels.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Lube grease Bricks or blocks Flares or road safety markers
  • Lube grease
  • Bricks or blocks
  • Flares or road safety markers
Step 1
Always hook up your hitch according to the manufacturer's instructions. Before hooking up the trailer, inspect the lube plate and grease well, if needed.
Step 2
Position the truck in front of the trailer and adjust the trailer up or down to the proper height (nearly touching the lube plate) in order to set the kingpin.
Step 3
If you do not have a specialty fifth-wheel tailgate, you will need to drop the tailgate if one is mounted on the truck. Unlock the hitch bar so you can back the trailer underneath. Be sure to line up the kingpin with the trailer opening and back the truck gently into the trailer in order to engage it. Secure the hitch lock bar.
Step 4
Move the truck from the parked position into first gear. Let your foot off the brake to allow the hitch to lock into place with the small forward motion that occurs when the truck tries to move forward. Do not accelerate or gun the gas.
Step 5
Connect the cables and cords that attach your brake and trailer lights, testing to make sure they are functioning properly in addition to your turn signals. If you have a tailgate, raise both it and the landing gear. Remove any blocks you may have securing the wheels of the trailer before driving off.

Tips & Warnings

 
Keep the lube plate lubricated with axle or chassis grease to ensure it remains well-functioning. Accelerate slowly when pulling into traffic, and leave plenty of distance between your truck and other vehicles. Use emergency flares or safety road markers when pulled over on the highway for repairs.
 
Keep the lube plate lubricated with axle or chassis grease to ensure it remains well-functioning.
 
Accelerate slowly when pulling into traffic, and leave plenty of distance between your truck and other vehicles.
 
Use emergency flares or safety road markers when pulled over on the highway for repairs.
 
Never operate a fifth wheel without fully functional brake and tail lights.

Article Written By Abaigeal Quinn

Abaigeal Quinn works as an international entertainment broker in the United States. She is a former news editor and insurance agent who began writing for a daily newspaper in 1995.

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