Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer Towing Tips

I am glad that after roughly 35,000 miles of fifth wheel travel trailer towing I have never damaged the trailer, had a blow out, ran out of fuel or been stuck.  I started out as a complete newbie, never having towed a thing in my life. The first thing I did was off to the nearest big open parking area and practice, practice, practice!

Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer Towing Tips

Practice, practice, practice!

This has to be the all time best tip you can get. You can read all the information you want but the only way to truly learn is by doing it over and over. It’s how you learned to drive your car, right?  Take some cones and mark out pretend scenarios like backing into a campsite, turning through some tight corners, etc. Learn how your rig reacts and how long it takes the trailer to turn and how much extra room it takes. This is also a good time to get a feel for the braking.  Towing a trailer makes the stopping distance greater and the braking practice will give you a sense of how much distance is going to be a safe distance to stop.

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Respect the Weight

One thing you have to appreciate is how much mass you are moving around. With the trailer hooked up your movements must be slow, steady and deliberate. If you perform any jerky movements you’re not going to be able to correct the motion the same way as in a car. I see this issue all the time on the freeway when folks pulling trailers do a jerky quick lane change and then spend 10 seconds trying to get the trailer to stop fish tailing. When braking , remember that even though you may have electric trailer brakes they won`t stop on a dime. Always give plenty of space in front in case a panic stop takes place ahead.  I have had more than one occasion where I rounded a corner only to find a line of dead stopped cars waiting in a construction zone.

Hitching and Unhitching

This can be a little different depending on the type of hitch you have but here are a few basic tips.

  1. Make sure the tailgate is down! Seen all those trucks with bashed up tail gates now you can imagine why. Also on the flip side when done make sure the tailgate is up or you will carve out a nice hole in the front trailer cargo bay door.

  2. Always attach the emergency brake cable, at least in the unlikely event the trailer comes unhitched it will stop itself.

  3. Before raising the front jacks too far after hookup give the trailer a tug test with the truck to make sure the hitch jaws are fully engaged. That step can save your truck bed rails from getting squished by a falling fifth wheel.  This is a good time to check the trailer brakes are working too.

  4. Always chock your wheels even if the ground seems really flat, you never know, better safe than sorry.

  5. Don’t let people distract you while doing the hitch operations. To many bad things can happen if you forget something.

  6. Keep the hitch lubed and clean. I  use a round plastic type lube plate on my pin and works great. Check the nut and bolt torque settings every once in a while too

I have a routine for hitching and unhitching and do it the same every time, that way it becomes second nature, and I’m less likely to forget something. Just before departure  my wife goes through our checklist and I confirm the tasks were done.

No Distractions

When your towing it is your responsibility to have complete attention on the truck, trailer and road. Don’t be chatting on the phone, playing with the radio, trying to read the map,etc. Unlike a car your recovery and reaction time is limited due to the weight and size of the rig. Every second counts if an emergency maneuver is required.  I won`t even let Anne play a podcast while we drive unless we are on a very wide open expressway with little traffic or she uses headphones. I like to listen to all the noises and sounds so if anything sounds different I’ll know.  Hearing a tire hissing or axle bearing squealing early can mean the difference between slowly pulling over or frantically trying to maintain control.

Tow Mirrors

Tow mirrors

Mirrors, use them!

Mirrors are your best friend when towing. Make sure you set yourself up with ones big enough and far out from the vehicle enough to see all the way down the trailer side to the back. Mine are set so I can see the trailer walls and the tires. This way I can see if a tire is running low or worse is blown. The next thing to do is add blind spot fish eye type mirrors as an add-on. With these you can see vehicles that sneak up beside you, your trailer roof line and they are an aid when backing up the trailer. Always keep your mirrors as clean as you can and check them often to watch what’s happening behind you.

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Cornering

The fifth wheel is going to demand some extra care and attention when taking sharp corners. When you take the corner the trailer is going to track a path inside that of your tow vehicle. How much depends of the length and it is something that is important to get to know. The more you practice the better feel you’ll have as to how wide of turn you need. During the turn take it slow and check your mirror to make sure the trailer is clearing the corner.  Also keep in mind the back-end of the trailer will swing wider than the tow vehicle path so allow space for this. Very important in tight campgrounds where I’ve been witness to many small crunches to people’s trailer sides as they scrape an obstacle such as a tree or post. Worse yet the electrical pedestal or water tap!

Plan Your Route

This can save you much time and aggravation. When you are touring around in a car it’s so easy to turn around, get fuel, and deal with any type of roadway. Not so much when your 40 –65 feet long and 12-14 feet high. Always plan ahead and know where your going with the trailer before departing. Some of the apps I use are listed in this post.  It is important to know the terrain you’ll be towing through, is it hilly? too curvy? rough road? etc.  Where are the easy in and out fuel stops. Nothing worse than being in some unknown town with low fuel trying to jam yourself into a tight situation to refuel.  Cities take extra planning such as knowing when rush hour might be, what’s the bypass route and if they have tolls. The internet is a wonderful resource and if in doubt about the routing go to one of the many good forums like RV.net, IRV2.com, RVForum.net and just ask. You’ll usually get a boat load of information back from folks that have done the same route or have intimate local knowledge.

Pay attention to your Tires

A big one problem fifth wheels trailers face is blow outs of the tires. All the weight and stress eventually is on the little patch of rubber meeting the road. I watch my tires like a hawk. Before every tow I check the pressure, lug nut torque, visually inspect the sidewall and treads. Also when stopped for a rest break I feel the tires for overheating along with the bearings. Many people invest in a tire pressure monitoring system and it is on my upgrade list. Replace your tires after 5-7 years whether they look like they need it or not.  Tires can look perfect but be rotten on the inside. This is especially true if they sit for long periods of time without use.

Our Gusty Friend Wind

I find wind to be the biggest enemy to my travel trailer towing experience. Being that the rig is near 13 feet high and box-shaped any sort of wind has a dramatic effect. The worse scenario is on the big Interstate Highways  when traveling among the tractor trailers. When it’s really gusty and they are passing by you pushing a lot of air themselves there is a push-pull effect that happens that you must be aware of. Wind also devastates fuel mileage and is hard on the truck trying to pull the trailer through it, worse if you add hills in to the equation.  So I always check the weather and tend to plan my tow days around the wind. Many times I will leave a day early or a day late to get the least wind. One time we were towing across South Dakota’s rolling hill country into 30 mph winds, had enough and just pulled into a fancy RV Resort to wait it out. May as well spend the money on a nice place then diesel fuel and no fun towing. I figure anything above 25 mph in wind is no fun.

Backing it up

This can be the most intimidating part of fifth wheel ownership. The dreaded backing into a campsite with the local peanut gallery watching.

  • First tip is take your time, rushing it is only going to enhance the chance of problems. Fifth wheels respond to your steering input in a delayed manner, by going slow you have a better chance to correct a miss guided path. It will help if you can pull a good distance ahead before backing in to allow plenty of space for a gradual turn into the spot.

  • Second use a spotter always!!  Also have a good simple set of hand signals and have the spotter always visible in your mirrors.  A set of two way radios or cell phones for communication is another good option.

  • Third is GOAL. GOAL stands for get out and look. I will sometimes do this twice or more if in doubt, no shame in looking.  It’s actually an acronym used by professional truckers.

  • Fourth, look at your tires. I always watch the path the tires are taking as that is where the trailer will go. If you watch the back of the trailer it can get you out of line quickly as there is a large swing to the end and doesn’t follow the same arc as the tires. When backing don’t forget about the front of the truck. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the looking back you crash into something right in front of yourself.

  • Finally always look up and have your spotter look up. It is easy to forget how high the rigs are. A low tree limb can ruin your camping trip.

For more help on backing the trailer check out my post specifically on backing a fifth wheel trailer

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Take your Time

Traveling in the RV is not a race. It is meant to be enjoyable. Make sure you don’t over do the mileage. I tend to stick to between 100-250 miles as a nice distance in a day. I feel any longer than that and you start to speed and get tired. Two really bad things on the highway. If you feel tired at all pull over somewhere and take a nap, you have your house with you after all.  Instead of taking the fastest Interstate Highway, try a slower secondary road and discover things.

Well that’s my Fifth Wheel Travel Trailer Tips. Hope this helps some of the new to towing RVers. If any experienced travel trailer towers would like to add a tip feel free to comment below.

Follow our RV adventures! Sign up for the free monthly Love Your RV Newsletter – Receive the eBook “Tips for the RV Life” as a gift. Also head on over to the RV Happy Hour and chat with me and other RVers about all things RV. – Cheers Ray





  • Maggie Poling

    How far do you raise the jacks? How many holes from m the bottom of the jack?

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      That depends what the level of the site and what height of blocks your using. On a fairly level site about 6 holes with 2 inch wood blocks. I find the more the solid inner sleeve of the jacks is out the more stable the front of the trailer is as far as wiggle goes, but you don’t want to over extend them and blow a fuse or damage the gears. As you learn to level the rig you’ll start to get a feel for how far to extend the legs.

  • WALT

    We Have An 03 Diesel Silverado And Have Owned Trailers In The Past. We Are Looking At Fifth Wheels, The Truck Does Not Have Dual Rear Wheels. Question Is What Length Would Be Most Suitable For This Truck ? We Are Looking At Units Around 30 Feet. We Also Need One That Is Under 12 Feet High So I Can Get It In A Building. Seems Like Cougar Makes Some That Are Under 12 Feet Any More Out There That You Know Of ? Also Does A System Like The Banks Help Out With Power And Fuel Mileage? Looks Like The Power Would Be There But Not So Sure About Economy. Anybody Else Have Experience With This ? Also What Hitch Is The Best ? Lots Of Questions I Know But That Is Pretty Normal And Experience Has Always Been The Best Teacher. Thanks Walt

  • derek

    is having a meshed end gate on my truck going to get me better fuel econemy

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      I doubt it, especially when towing.

  • http://fishhook.us Evan McBroom

    We are getting ready for a summer RV rental trip and your blog is filled with great info. It will not be a 5th Wheel, but so much useful stuff here. Thanks!

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      You’re welcome Evan, hope you have a great summer RVing.

  • Jeff

    Beginning the journey to purchase our retirement rig which we’ll also use to haul or motorcycles & a raft. Thank you for the terrific info. Will keep everyone posted on the steps we follow & will refer to your site often.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Thanks Jeff, appreciate the comment. Have fun picking out a rig! :)

  • joe

    could you please tell me what is the shortest truck bed you can have and not need a sliderhitch. I have had 2 rv dealers tell me 6.5 I wouldnt need one. I had 1 rv dealer and 2 truck dealers tell me any bed under 8ft and I need slider. im looking at f250 with 6.5 ft bed but don’t want to buy if I need slider. thank you for any help.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      It all depends on the truck and trailer combo. Some will need them. some may not. Many newer fifth-wheels have specially molded corners to give extra clearance in a turn. I have a 8 foot bed so has never been a concern. One thing to think about is even though it may clear fine on even ground, it may hit the cab when backing on uneven ground.

    • http://longlongwaytotipperary.com Chad @ Long Long Way

      Hi Joe,
      We have a Dodge Mega Cab which has a 6’8″ bed and pull a Montana Mountaineer. My hitch has a slider but I’ve never used it in two years. I can get a very sharp angle, and I figure if I get any sharper than is possible then I need to rethink the spot I’m going into :)

      You can see our rig here: http://longlongwaytotipperary.com/our-rig
      -Chad

    • Mike

      First, they make some really slick sliders now. They’re a little pricey, but they are automatic so you don’t have to do anything. Second, I have a ford F250 with a 6.5 foot bed and no slider and I can do 90 degrees without a problem, but my fiver is designed to be towed with an F150 with a 5.5 foot bed. If your fiver isn’t, then go ahead and get a 6.5 foot bed anyway if it’s the truck you want. It would be unusual if it needed a slider, but if it does, you can make it work with a custom pin box and/or a slider.

  • G4Hayes

    Me and my wife always wanted to get a fifth wheel so we went and brought a new 42′ fifth wheel to haul on my F350 Diesel. Problem is we never have towed and was looking for any pointers for 1st timers.

  • Leo

    Hello,

    I am new to Fifth Wheeling and retire in December I am taking the camper to Mesa Az from Maine s the best route the one I picked I81 to I40 , I am leaving Nov 19th,
    Leo

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Weather is the biggest concern. The route is good but during the winter there are some higher elevations in New Mexico and AZ 6 or 7 thousand feet that could be cold and have snow. You would want to really watch the weather forecasts. You may need to drop down and take a more southern route. I10 is much flatter and goes right through Phoenix/Mesa area. Northern AZ is fairly high in elevation. Look at a topographical map of the area and plan your route to stay in the warmer, lower elevations. http://www.yellowmaps.com/maps/img/US/reference/new_mexico_ref_2001.jpg

  • Terry

    Just got our new 5th wheel 41′ cyclone….first one I might add. Definitely taking it slow. Bought it in Michigan and taking it home to Wyoming. So far so good, love the helpful suggestions.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Hey Terry, thanks for the comment. 41′ that’s a biggie, must be pretty deluxe!

      • Terry

        Let’s just say it isn’t exactly roughing it :-)

  • Human

    These are some of the best tips/advice I have read. I just got a 5th wheel, so any information is helpful. Thanks I tend too do everything fast, so taking it slow will be my mantra.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Great, glad you liked them.

  • Patrick

    Great information. Had a 27′ Cougar for two years and just last week traded for a new 35′ Cougar 327RWES. So still a relative newbie and now with a lot more rig behind me. I appreciate the “take it slow” mentality as I am adopting as my motto for both my scuba diving as well as my RVing. Just makes everything easier (and safer). We are on our maiden voyage, a 4 day outing close to home, getting my sea legs so to speak with the new length. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is checking the adjustment on the trailer brake control. I think mine is okay as I made it here safely, but I just now looked up the manual online to actually learn how to correctly set the levels. I hate to admit that I have had it for a few years and have neglected to do this. Kind of wish I had done this before leaving the house.

  • Lynn Thomas

    I have a 40 ft 5th wheel and plan on adding a Swivel Wheel Trailer to carry my Golf Cart. Anyone have any experence doing this? The factory said that I will void my warranty on the frame. The Swivel Wheel people said that there will be no problem. Met two people at the camp ground that have the trailers installed, love them. These are connected with two receivers. Any suggestions?

    • kathy

      did you get the swivel wheel? we have one on our cardinal and are thinking of getting a cougar but we have to add a hitch, have you had any problems. thank

  • Brock

    i have a 5th wheel converted to a gooseneck hook up , my F250 is a little on the tall side so my 5th wheel sits higher in the front than the back , what is your opnion of putting the leaf springs on top of the axel , i have done some reaserch and this will change the center of gravity .what kind of issues will i incour and also is flipping the leaf spring on top of the axels a wise move ? any help would be great

  • Mike

    I really need some help. We bought a small 5th wheel (18′) to tow with my 1/2 ton Dodge. Everybody then told me I should not tow with that truck. So I bought a GMC Sierra Danali which has bigger motor and can handle the trailer. The truck bed sits higher off the ground than the Dodge. A friend told me that it looked like it would be too high off the ground and the trailer would sit with the front very high. So the question is, can I safely tow the trailer if the trailer is not level with the bed of the truck?

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      I see it all the time but it is less then ideal. You will probably experience a lot more “chucking” on uneven roads, which is a kind of tugging motion between the trailer and truck, very annoying. This is because when you have the fifth wheel nose high there will be less weight on the truck and more on the rear of the trailer. If it is really high it may cause to much weight to be transferred to the rear axle tires causing them to run hotter and more likely to blow.
      Many people will over come this with hitch adjustments, spacers in the trailer suspension or even flip the axles to gain height. http://www.rvwest.com/rv_tech_talk/article/rv_axle_flips_101

    • Mike

      If all else fails, try this. I had the same problem with a prior fiver. I went to a truck store and had the rear end of the truck lowered 2 inches. Problem solved and no problems created. Another solution, which I didn’t know about back then is a custom pin box for the fiver. My current fifth wheel has about 4 inches of vertical adjustment available in the pin box.

  • Eva Carley

    I enjoyed reading all the comments. We are in our 60’s and are planning to purchase a 5th wheel and truck for retirement. Don’t have a lot of experience but did own a 5th wheel many years ago. Never having pulled or hitched a 5th wheel had some interesting mishaps. Like a heavy picnic table stuck to my trailer sitting off the ground by two feet. Funny now but not so funny than. I will look forward to reading all the information before purchasing this one. I feel we have learned a lot over the years but still have a lot to learn. Thank you for the good insight on many topics.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Your welcome Eva, hope your on the road soon!

  • Sheldon Scutt

    My question is 5th wheel vs bumper hitch:
    We are first time Rv’ers and are still in the planning stages ( haven’t purchased tow vehicle or RV) and would like some advice. We are interested in a Outback 312BH. My concern is that a trailer of that length and weight would be easier and safer to haul in a 5th wheel version rather than a bumper hitch. Also, I am concerned about total length of truck and trailer combination and its ease of maneuverability on the road and in the campground. Seems to me a 5th wheel would be much better suited for a trailer that is 36 feet in length. I have driven a ’07 Dodge 350 diesel hauling freight on a 36′ flat bed trailer from coast to coast so I am familiar with how it handled. There were a few situations I don’t think I could have maneuvered had the trailer been a bumper hitch. Really like the like the weight being over the rear axle too. I would appreciate advice on whether to go 5th wheel or bumper hitch. Thanks

    • J Brown

      I would recommend a fifth wheel version for something this long that you are trying to park in a campground as most are very close quarters. You also have weight considerations if you are going to haul a lot of stuff. Mostly it will depend on how many times you are going to use it and what it will be used for. Sounds like you are already familiar with the tow vehicle and hauling with a fifth wheel, so this may be your best avenue.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      I’ve always towed a fifth wheel, so can’t speak from experience with bumper pull. I’ve logged a lot of miles with my fifth wheel and never had any problems with sway or feeling out of control in wind, etc. Hookup seems to me to be a little faster and more simple. Downside is you have to take the corners a bit wider due to the pivot point being more forward but you learn the rig after a while and know how much space is needed and you loose a good amount of storage space in the truck bed.

  • Gary

    Different brands shouldn’t be a problem either, as long as both brands are about equal in quality. Just keep an eye on them and see how they wear and how they feel on the road. If things get to looking or feeling funky, check the tires. Also, it doesn’t hurt to balance all the tires, either with lead weights or beads installed inside the tire.

  • Jim

    I was in need for new tires on 5th wheel and little short on money so I bought 2 tires
    and 2mths later bought another two…was told all tires had to be replaced at sametime.
    true or false? they are the same size but diff. brand…should I buy two more to match the ones I just bought or will it be alright. Thanks

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      2 months difference isn’t a problem but different brands maybe. I think you should phone up some tire installers and get their opinions. If it was me I would buy two more and keep the others as spares Would be nice if you could carry two spares, many times when a trailer tire blows it damages the other tire as well.

  • Patti

    We have always had Motor Homes but now are the proud owners of a Ford Ranch King F250 Diesel and a 30 ft. 5th wheel trailer. Love the truck and trailer but when we are driving it is jerky. Scares me but hubby says they all do that. Do they really? Or how can we stop it. We’ve never had one before so I don’t believe him. :) Help me!

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

      Hi Patti, they all do it to some extent but usually only on a rougher type road or cement interstate highways with the cracks spaced every 50 feet or so. It’s called chucking. Sometimes it can be improved by shifting the cargo weight around so less or more is on the front hitch here is an article discussing this: http://www.etrailer.com/question-13754.html or getting a new pin box with a rubber cushion to absorb the shock: http://www.morryde.com/aftermarket/rubber-pin-box/rubber-pin-box-53.html
      I’m lucky in that my unit is very smooth, most times I don’t feel any chucking, only on extremely rough roads or when I cross a bridge. If you do a Google search for “fifth wheel chucking you’ll find much more information.

      • Ron M

        I have found that a set of AirRide suspension or Air Bags did the trick for me. It took some time to get a feel for the correct pressure, but finally found that sweet spot for my rig. Too, I am the only one who loads my RV, every thing has a place and every place has a thing!

  • James B

    I’m confused about tire pressures. I have a fifth wheel trailer and the manufacturers label says PSI should be 110. The national tire dealer where I purchased the tires put in 80 psi and said this is the correct pressure. The maximum on the sidewall is 110 psi. Would I be safe running at 100psi 14 ply tires. MAX GVWR is 15,2xx. Tire size is 235/85/16

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

      Hey James, Tire Pressure! Ack, one of the most hotly debated topics. Go to any RV Forum and you’ll find long threads of people arguing about this. If the trailers label says 110 psi and the tires say 110 psi as maximums then your fine running the tires at that pressure and most RVers always run at max. The other school of thought is to inflate the tires based on the actually load per tire. You weigh the load on each tire and then inflate it to match the tire manufactures load tables. Your OK to run them at max PSI so 100 PSI is safe. Check this blog out for a ton of info on the subject – http://fasteagletiretalk.blogspot.ca/

    • Gary N

      The tire rating on the sidewall is the MAXIMUM tire pressure that you should inflate to. It will deliver the best fuel economy, but a slightly harsher ride. Go for the max and save a few bucks on fuel.

      • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

        Sure need to save on fuel anyway we can these days. Good tip!

  • Stan B

    Have you heard of a fifth wheel coming unhitched on a slow curved turn because the hitch was over torqued. My king pin poped out even after it was properly hitched and locked and I had towed well over 20 miles on some country roads. Got it rehitched and towed home almost 150 miles. Crushed my tailgate and damaged my side rail. Never heard of such a thing from the dealer.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

      First I heard of it. Usually once they are properly locked in they should never pop out. I have the type of hitch that has a slider bar that slams shut and locks the pin in place. A lot of metal wold have to bend to shake it loose. Sorry for your bad luck. :(

  • http://energytowing.com Oliver

    This may sound cliche but I think Taking your time is the best tip on here. It’s all about enjoying yourself, safely. And slowing things down help you accomplish both. Great read, Thank you.

  • Jim

    Looking for some help. Looking at a small fifth wheel trailer. RV dealer says I can tow it with a half ton pick that has a factory installed tow package and shortbed. Ford says I can do it, Ford dealer said no. Another rv dealer also said it can’t be done.
    Any advice??
    Thanks, Jim

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

      Here is a calculator http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-fw.shtml. I would want a 10-15% margin of safety on all my weights. Many 1/2 tons will pull the load fine but can they stop it and handle it in the corners. Also depends if your going to be doing a lot of hilly or mountain towing vs just mostly flat land.

      Keep in mind the fifth wheel will be much heavier once your loaded up for camping, plus all the gear and people in your truck, all that has to be taken into consideration. 1/2 tons generally fail the rear axle load weight or are very close to the limit.

  • http://4wheelonline.com/towing/Reese.177038 5thWheel Hitch

    Thanks for the tips. As you said towing gets better the more you put in some practice. I think anyone who wants to tow should pin this tips on their dashboard and in case of forgetting. The most important thing is to arrive safe with the cargo also safe.

    • Gary N

      The MOST important part of ANY trip is to arrive for dinner. If you can do that, it was a safe trip.

  • Gary

    I have a 40′ Keystone Fuzion pulled by a ford F-550 dually. I have pulled trailers without dual drive tires, but find that a crosswind is not as hard on the driver with the dual drives… the extra tires help to absorb the sway and give more stability.

    For fuel efficiency, I have set a speed limit for myself when towing the fifth-wheel at 60mph. Let the other guys go as fast as they want. You don’t have to keep up with the tractor/trailer that just blew past you. Most of those guys don’t pay for their own fuel, and there are a lot of cowboys driving the big rigs.

    If you pass a vehicle while towing be sure you have PLENTY of room to safely navigate back into the right lane. A lot of big rig drivers will flash their headlights to let you know it is safe to move over, but not all. At night, the big rig may flash his lights to the OFF position momentarily. If a big rig passes you at night, do NOT flash high beams to signal him back. He is looking in his mirror and your high beams will blind him. Just do a momentary OFF/ON blink of your headlights.

    A good investment is an air horn. They are relatively inexpensive, and are easy to mount. The air horn is preferred on the highway because big rigs can usually hear them as opposed to the stock horn that comes with your truck.

    The last tip I have is that you need to level your truck. There is nothing more annoying than someone pulling a trailer that is pushing the back of the truck down. This raises the front, and you low-beam headlights are now poised much higher than normal, causing you to blind oncoming traffic. Install a set of air bags to keep your truck level. This will also enhance steering as proper weight is maintained on the front tires if the truck is level.

    The most important thing about your trip is to arrive home for dinner.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

      Great tips Gary, thanks so much for commenting. :)

    • William

      Ray, I have a F250 4×4 crew cab disel and I’m trying to find out what size 5th wheel I can safely tow. Is there a rule of thumb I can use?

      • http://www.loveyourrv.com Ray

        Hi William, usually what limits most trucks is the amount of pin weight they can take. Try to find all the specs on your truck and then see how much pin weight it can take before exceeding the trucks Gross Vehicle Max weight and/or the Rear Axle Max weight. Once you know your max pin weight you can handle you can see what the max weight of a prospective fifth wheel is and expect %15-20 of that to be pin weight. Try to allow a 10-15% margin for safety. Here are a few links for you http://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-towing-guides/ and http://fifthwheelst.com/ Never believe an RV sales guy ;) They almost always will say the truck will tow it.

  • http://retiredbicycle.blogspot.com Allison

    Not a trailering tip so much as a general 5th wheel tip: Know how far you can retract the landing gear. We over retracted our landing gear and one side broke, shearing the jack screw. Fortunately we were still hitched to the truck at the time. After that, we painted a red ‘do no pass’ line on the legs. After owning a travel trailer we were expecting a fuse to blow, or a limiter switch or something, but no. So that’s my major 5th wheel tip.

    • http://www.loveyourrv.com/ Ray

      Great tip Allison. I have a black painted area on mine where I know not to go past. Although I know my unit will blow a fuse because one time I tried to jack up to release the hitch from the truck and went to far and was actually proceeding to lift the truck with the front trailer jacks and it popped a fuse. Doh!