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Old 06-12-2016, 07:43 PM   #1
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Wink Do I need to do a test pull when hitching?

Well, the short answer is, "YES!".
Hitching this last Saturday didn't go as planned. Looking back (with 20/20 hindsight) I can say the hitch didn't sound like it should have. Looked OK tho, so I locked the release handle, raised the landing gear an inch or so and did my standard test pull. Truck drove right out from under the 5er and the rig dropped onto the LG. A little movement forward and the pin box dug into the tailgate cap. The damage seems confined to the plastic cap and will be abt about $300 to replace.
I made a few choice comments, extended the gear and hitched again. The next pull was good.
I'm not sure where I went wrong, everything looked good on a brief glance but wrong I went.
The future will endure a more thorough visual check.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:12 PM   #2
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Glad for you that more damage wasn't done to the truck or the camper. That can't be for the landing gear or pin box.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:15 PM   #3
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Lucky you. regardless of how rushed I might be I do this. It takes an additional 30 seconds to jump in and do it.

I have seen it go the wrong way 2x's and those bed rails were not happy.

Once when a noob I put the tailgate up and pulled out. King pin was 1/4 inch too low and ripped the tailgate cover off and dented my tailgate.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:41 PM   #4
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We always pull tested our fifth wheels, and I pull test the bumper pulls just to stay in the habit, although on the bumper pull it does no more than check the brakes. One thing you can do, is paint the locking jaw on the hitch white or some bright color, and paint the bottom portion of the king pin another color. Makes it easy to check to see if the jaw is indeed locked, or if you high hitched it. I always checked mine, even when leaving a restaurant or somewhere I had been parked for a bit as you have some sorry individuals in this world that like to pull the release as a joke. I had a lock on my hitch, but still checked it.
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Old 06-13-2016, 01:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJohnD View Post
We always pull tested our fifth wheels, and I pull test the bumper pulls just to stay in the habit, although on the bumper pull it does no more than check the brakes. One thing you can do, is paint the locking jaw on the hitch white or some bright color, and paint the bottom portion of the king pin another color. Makes it easy to check to see if the jaw is indeed locked, or if you high hitched it. I always checked mine, even when leaving a restaurant or somewhere I had been parked for a bit as you have some sorry individuals in this world that like to pull the release as a joke. I had a lock on my hitch, but still checked it.
That is a great idea! It's really difficult to see the jaws on a really sunny day. I will definitely be doing this.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:50 AM   #6
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Part of my hitch procedure is to always check the pin in the jaws to (1) make sure the jaws are closed around the pin and (2) make sure the pin is in the correct position vertically and is indeed inside the jaws and not on top. I make sure the teflon ring is tight against the hitch and then I'm good to go. I have a flashlight under my driver's seat just for this purpose and I never ever miss doing this.

I also check my hitch safety cable after returning from a rest stop or restaurant. I had a cap from a surge brake fluid reservoir stolen one time when at a rest stop. All the brake fluid was still there and why I saw it I have no clue. I looked around an found it half way across the parking lot. Some tur* was trying to be cute I guess.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:41 AM   #7
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I will always perform a pull test, it's part of my routine, I set the pin , check to make sure that the jaws are around my pin, lower the weight of the trailer on my truck, raise the landing gear about 1" off the ground, connect the wiring harness, manually set the brake and then do a slight bump against the hitch, it's the way I was taught and as I said its my routine.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedHorse1 View Post
Well, the short answer is, "YES!".
Hitching this last Saturday didn't go as planned. Looking back (with 20/20 hindsight) I can say the hitch didn't sound like it should have. Looked OK tho, so I locked the release handle, raised the landing gear an inch or so and did my standard test pull. Truck drove right out from under the 5er and the rig dropped onto the LG. A little movement forward and the pin box dug into the tailgate cap. The damage seems confined to the plastic cap and will be abt about $300 to replace.
I made a few choice comments, extended the gear and hitched again. The next pull was good.
I'm not sure where I went wrong, everything looked good on a brief glance but wrong I went.
The future will endure a more thorough visual check.
Attachment 24836

$300 seems a little steep. Do you have a integrated step tailgate? Looks like a King Ranch maybe?
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:30 AM   #9
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This is how NOT to do it?
I performed this stunt 2-3 years ago.
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:24 AM   #10
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So I am getting ready to take delivery of my first fifth wheel. I have decades of experience towing and am not worried about pulling the rig, but I am concerned about proper hook up procedures and how to verify everything is ready to go.


I follow a procedure when I hook up to leave now. I don't like to talk to anybody or have any interruptions during that fifteen minutes. I do everything the same way every time and it has worked well that way.


I'm sure that it wont take me long to get a new procedure in place, but I'd like to hear from others how they hook up their fifth wheels and what steps they go through to make sure it is safe to tow.


I purchased the B&W Patriot 18K hitch. It looks like the release can be locked into place with either a pin or a padlock. Given how easy it would be for a vandal to pull that lever I will likely use a lock on it if we were to leave the rig unattended for any period of time. I just want to be safe and continue to be accident free.
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