By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you’ve never hitched up a fifth wheel trailer, the whole thing may seem a bit mysterious. And if you’ve spotted a pickup truck where the owner “goofed” and dropped his fifth wheel onto the truck, the resulting damage may steer you away from even considering having a fiver.
No worries! By following a systematic approach to hitching or unhitching, you can leave those problems behind and get the advantages that a fifth wheel trailer provides.
- Adjust fifth wheel kingpin to proper hitch height
- Drop truck tailgate (Special fiver tailgates negate the need to drop your gate)
- Open the hitch locking bar
- Back under the trailer until hitch engages the kingpin
- Secure hitch locking bar on the fifth wheel hitch
- Put truck in forward gear, but stay off the accelerator, simply “bump” the hitch to make sure it’s locked
- Connect umbilical cord and breakaway switch cable
- Check trailer lights and brakes
- Raise truck tailgate as needed
- Raise the landing gear
- Remove wheel chocks from trailer wheels
- Pull into the site, situating the trailer where you want it.
- Chock the wheels tightly so the trailer will not move
- Drop the landing gear. This is IMPORTANT so it should be done first then you won’t forget!
- Disconnect the umbilical cord and breakaway switch cable
- Drop the truck tailgate if you don’t have a special tailgate
- Gently put your truck into reverse, again stay off the accelerator. This effectively moves the kingpin off the locking bar which will allow you to easily disengage it.
- Step on the brake and apply parking brake
- Disengage the locking bar and unhitch
- Drive away
- Raise truck tailgate as necessary
- Adjust fifth wheel height to proper front to back level