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Old 09-15-2020, 03:48 PM   #1
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Hitching and unhitching

Two questions:
1. Do you have tips for newbies on how to get lined up to hitch up? We have the Dodge Ram 3500 with a tonneau cover that is affecting our camera view. I have trouble telling my significant other how to line up the truck as he backs up
2. Can we stay hitched up for one night and is there anything else besides unplugging the electrical cord? I apologize if this was answered some place else. Hard to find on my phone. A big thank you for any help in either question.
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by JeanBean70 View Post
Two questions:
1. Do you have tips for newbies on how to get lined up to hitch up? We have the Dodge Ram 3500 with a tonneau cover that is affecting our camera view. I have trouble telling my significant other how to line up the truck as he backs up
2. Can we stay hitched up for one night and is there anything else besides unplugging the electrical cord? I apologize if this was answered some place else. Hard to find on my phone. A big thank you for any help in either question.
This is a fifth wheel forum, do you have a fifth wheel? I just turn around and look at the hitch and trailer pin out my back window or are you saying the rolled up cover blocks your view out the back window?
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Old 09-15-2020, 04:39 PM   #3
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Yes we have a pinnacle 5th wheel. We think there is something wrong with the camera. We can’t see in the very center of it. Just needed some tips to help my guy back up and get lined up
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Old 09-15-2020, 04:39 PM   #4
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My guy has neck and shoulder problems. It’s hard for him to turn around.
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:19 PM   #5
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My guy has neck and shoulder problems. Itís hard for him to turn around.
Ahhh... that explains it.

In my truck the camera is on the tail gate and not at all useful for hitching up a fifth wheel although it works great with my two utility trailers.
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:26 PM   #6
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I too cannot see my FW hitch due to my roll up bed cover.

I bought the two extendable balls with a magnetic base used to align the ball and tongue on a bumper pull. I set one of the balls at its lowest height at the center front of the FW hitch coupler. I place the second on the FW hitch frame towards the back of the bed so both are aligned on the centerline of the hitch. I extend the second (rearmost) ball rod so it is at the same vertical elevation as the front ball.

I can then see the balls in the rear view mirror and by keeping them aligned with the king pin, I am on center 100% of the time. I back up until the king pin pushes over the first ball which places my king pin close to the FW coupler. I get out and remove the balls before adjusting the FW king pin height and backing up to couple to the FW.

https://www.amazon.ca/DLLJ-Trailer-A...CQMSRMRQZWVPYE

Yes, you can stay hitched overnight on a level spot.
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:54 PM   #7
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We have a Ram 3500 with the 3 head rests in the back seat. The center head rest is almost the width of the trailer pin box when viewed through the rear view mirror. Using the rear view mirror, I center the rear head rest with the pin box. My wife can watch the distance and let me know when I'm close to hitching. I then get out and check hitch height and how much further to touch down. If I'm aligned good enough and pin box height is good, I finish connecting. It takes a little practice to be dead center with the hitch pin.
Just remember to keep your head centered when looking through the mirror. If you tilt your head, the alignment changes.
If there's no rear head rest, a piece of tape on the rear cab window and one on the pin box can be used for alignment.
This of course is when the truck is in line with the trailer.


This may not work as well as eow's method but just thought I'd offer another method.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:22 PM   #8
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what about an aftermarket backup camera and just valcro or hook and loop it in the bed?
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:25 PM   #9
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Couple thoughts; You mention the center of the camera is hard to see. Crazy question, but has anyone tried cleaning it? If it has always been that way there maybe a piece of manufacturing film to protect the lens. Or some other debris on it. Just a thought.

The magnetic tennis ball trick works for a lot of people. https://www.amazon.com/TruePower-20-...motive&sr=1-11

My dad has a piece of red tape on his tonneau cover, that he uses to tell him where center of the cover is as a reference mark. Maybe challenging if he has a hard time looking back.

If you are helping, guide him back. Key things I think help, is very clear hand positions. When my DW first started to help back me up. Her stop and turn signals looked the same, as she did everything right in-front of her body, and I just could not tell. Sometimes lighting and distance made it even worse. Now with many years of practice. She clearly puts her hand or hands to out to the direction I need to go. Also if we are backing up on the hitch, as we get close, her hands get increasing closer together which represents the distance between the truck and hitch. In your case make sure you stand in a place you can clearly see his face in the mirror. If you can not see his happy face, he can not see yours. We also have a rear opening window on our truck, so if I am working with a newbie, like my son backing up the truck onto the hitch, I keep the windows open so we can also use verbal commands too. That leads up to the last suggestion. Have you tried using your cell phones to communicate? He puts his on speaker phone, and you can guide him back. I do not recommend using the words right or left. Find a set of words that work for you, such as passenger side or driver side. That way there is no confusion over who's right or left. Just takes time to find what works for you. After you get hooked up, ask how was it, and ask for recommendations to improve. Back to clear communications.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:51 PM   #10
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When I back up to a my 5er to hitch, I use my mirrors to center the truck to the trailer. in other words I see the same amount of trailer on each side of the truck. I can see in my center rear view how close my tail gate is to the truck and then I get out and make sure its lined up and it usually is and close the tail gate and finish the hitch. It takes practice but if you use your mirrors you don't have to turn around in the seat.



As in all things, practice, practice, practice.


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Old 09-16-2020, 04:59 AM   #11
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The magnet/ball method is what my one neighbor does. Works well for him. Semi trucks dont have rear view mirrors so the HAVE to use their side mirrors and line the truck up with the trailer sides. I use both my side mirrors and rear mirror. I'll get fairly close with the side mirrors then fine tune with the rear mirror. There is a cord loop that sticks up over the top of the middle rear seat. I use the rear mirror to line that up with the center of the pin box. I can only see so much of the pin box and the closer I get to it eventually I cant see it anymore because of my tonneau cover. At that point it doesn't matter because I'm within a foot of it being coupled and it slides right in. That's what works for me...

I've stayed hooked up to the truck for an entire weekend due to a front jack that broke at home. I dropped the front gear and put enough weight on the one leg to take a little off the truck. I then put the rear jacks down for some stability and that worked pretty good.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:26 AM   #12
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As long as you are reasonably level, there is no issue staying hooked up. I often do when we have an overnight stop during a trip.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:35 AM   #13
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I use an old truck mirror mounted on top of the pin box. When backing up, I can see the nose end of the pin box and the fifth wheel hitch. By using this method I can use my rear view mirror to hook up when I am off angle and can,t use side mirrors effectively. I too have had neck surgery.
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:27 AM   #14
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Welcome to the site from SW Michigan! Hope it is all working out for ya. Happy trails!
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:03 AM   #15
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I have a. Siding hitch I slide it back I can see it in my mirrors and by turning around . makes it very easy to see. My cover blocks view in forward position. Works great
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Old 09-16-2020, 12:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eow View Post
I too cannot see my FW hitch due to my roll up bed cover.

I bought the two extendable balls with a magnetic base used to align the ball and tongue on a bumper pull. I set one of the balls at its lowest height at the center front of the FW hitch coupler.

https://www.amazon.ca/DLLJ-Trailer-A...CQMSRMRQZWVPYE
That's exactly what I bought. Best idea ever.

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Old 09-16-2020, 12:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eow View Post
I too cannot see my FW hitch due to my roll up bed cover.

I bought the two extendable balls with a magnetic base used to align the ball and tongue on a bumper pull. I set one of the balls at its lowest height at the center front of the FW hitch coupler. I place the second on the FW hitch frame towards the back of the bed so both are aligned on the centerline of the hitch. I extend the second (rearmost) ball rod so it is at the same vertical elevation as the front ball.

I can then see the balls in the rear view mirror and by keeping them aligned with the king pin, I am on center 100% of the time. I back up until the king pin pushes over the first ball which places my king pin close to the FW coupler. I get out and remove the balls before adjusting the FW king pin height and backing up to couple to the FW.

https://www.amazon.ca/DLLJ-Trailer-A...CQMSRMRQZWVPYE

Yes, you can stay hitched overnight on a level spot.
I use a variation of this method (only one of the magnetic hitching aids) and it works pretty well. I may try the second hitching aid, makes sense. I bought my hitch aids at HF
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:46 PM   #18
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I have a camera on the cab mounted brake light on my Ford. I also have a roll up bed cover but can still see my most of my bed including my hitch. That doesn't help you but you indicate you have a camera that may need some attention. That may be your answer if it is a cab mounted camera.
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:18 PM   #19
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After having my rig and the old truck for 9 years, I was a expert in slipping the hitchpin onto my old hitch without even rocking the camper.
We recently moved up to a newer truck and a different hitch. I'm still feeling like a newbie but it's getting better. I may even have a bed camera that I don't know about yet! LOL
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eow View Post
I too cannot see my FW hitch due to my roll up bed cover.

I bought the two extendable balls with a magnetic base used to align the ball and tongue on a bumper pull. I set one of the balls at its lowest height at the center front of the FW hitch coupler. I place the second on the FW hitch frame towards the back of the bed so both are aligned on the centerline of the hitch. I extend the second (rearmost) ball rod so it is at the same vertical elevation as the front ball.

I can then see the balls in the rear view mirror and by keeping them aligned with the king pin, I am on center 100% of the time. I back up until the king pin pushes over the first ball which places my king pin close to the FW coupler. I get out and remove the balls before adjusting the FW king pin height and backing up to couple to the FW.

https://www.amazon.ca/DLLJ-Trailer-A...CQMSRMRQZWVPYE

Yes, you can stay hitched overnight on a level spot.

Here are a few pictures of how to set up the balls:

Click image for larger version

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The point at which I stop to lower the FW:

Click image for larger version

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