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Old 09-04-2016, 03:26 PM   #1
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5th wheel hitching and unhitching

Have a Reese Pro Series hitch. Best to have jaws closed or open? Today in the driveway I had jaws open, backed in, and pulled release and the jaws closed around it. What does everyone think is best?

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Old 09-04-2016, 03:38 PM   #2
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I would always store with it closed. Seems to me the spring may last longer in its unsprung state.

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Old 09-04-2016, 03:51 PM   #3
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From the Pro 20K manual:

"With handle in the closed position (See Fig. 10), back truck slowly into trailer. As the trailer king pin enters the hitch it will push the hitch jaws open and extend the handle (See Fig. 11). As king pin completely enters head, jaws will spring closed around king pin and handle will return to the closed position. (See Fig. 12)"

So the assumption is that starting from closed is best, as that is what the mfg. says to do.
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Old 09-04-2016, 04:42 PM   #4
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I always back into mine closed and hear it snap shut around the pin.

I can see the handle come out and snap around it.

The only time I lock it open is after the trailer is chocked, front stabs are down and I am ready to pull away from the rig.
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:06 PM   #5
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Interesting...I always open the jaws before hitching. Annnnnd, always open the jaws before unhitching

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Old 09-04-2016, 08:30 PM   #6
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Think it depends on the hitch being used. My Pullrite slider requires the jaw(s) to be locked in the open position before hitching and unhitching. I know the jaws are locked when the handle snaps back into the the locked position. Attempting to hook up with the jaws in the closed position is a recipe for breaking something...
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:51 PM   #7
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Always with the hitch closed. I'm able to watch it in the mirror and see that it reacts correctly. Additionally it's what the instructions say to do.

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Old 09-05-2016, 05:10 AM   #8
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Depends on the hitch and whether you have two jaws or a single "bar" (not sure what the correct term is). I have the Pro-Series 20k and leave the jaws closed, but unlocked, while hitching. A friend has a 16k with the "bar", and he has to lock open to hitch, but once he's back in properly the bar closes without him touching it. With either one, you should be able to hear the jaws lock around the pin.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:28 AM   #9
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I have an Elite Series head and mine must be in the open position to allow for the pin to enter. It's a single Jaw style, not the split plate style. Confirm what style locking mechanism you have.

There is a distinctive clicking once engaged and I have a safety pin to lock the jaw.

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Old 09-05-2016, 08:31 AM   #10
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Being a CDL driver the DOT requires the jaws open when hitching. Can't pass the CDL test if you don't, guess I am old school.
Here is a tip, paint your jaws of the kingpin red white or whatever color you like. So when you back in and hear the click of the kingpin engaging around the jaws you can visually check it. Never rely on the sound! Always visually check the kingpin and do a tug test prior to leaving your parking spot. I have seen folks rely on sound and only to have the F/w end up in the bed of the truck. Not a pretty sight.

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