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How to Hitch a Fifth Wheel RV Travel Trailer

A Basic Checklist for Hitching and Unhitching an RV Fifth Wheel Trailer

By Steven Fletcher
I've seen people try to drive away with their 5th wheel landing gear still down. And I know people who have dropped their 5th wheel on the pickup bed because they forgot to drop the landing gear. Or pull their fifth wheel off it's leveling blocks because they didn't chock the wheels or release the king pin. It almost happened to me! Following a systematic procedure each time you hitch and unhitch will minimize the chance you will have similar problems.

Fifth Wheel Hitching

  • Raise or lower the 5th wheel trailer to set the 5th wheel kingpin to proper hitch height .
  • Drop truck tailgate ... if you don't have a special tailgate.*
  • Open locking bar on hitch.
  • Back under trailer until hitch engages the fifth wheel kingpin.
  • Secure hitch locking bar on the fifth wheel hitch.
  • Put truck in forward gear (don't give it any fuel/acceleration)
    and 'bump' the hitch to make sure it is locked.
  • Connect umbilical cord and breakaway switch cable.
  • Check fifth wheel trailer lights and brakes.
  • Raise pickup truck tailgate. *
  • Raise 5th wheel trailer Landing gear.
  • Raise/remove stabilizer jacks
  • Remove wheel chocks from trailer wheels.

Fifth Wheel Unhitching

  • Pull into the site/storage, and situate the trailer where you want it.
  • Chock the wheels tightly so the trailer will not move.
  • Drop the fifth wheel landing gear. (important!) Do this first so 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... don't give it any fuel/acceleration. This effectively moves the 5th wheel kingpin off the locking bar which will allow you to easily disengage it.
  • Shift in to neutral, step on brake and and apply parking brake.
  • Disengage the kingpin locking bar on fifth wheel hitch.
  • Slowly drive away. Making sure the kingpin is clear of anything in the truck bed and the umbilical cord and breakaway cable are not snagged.
  • Raise truck tailgate. *
  • Adjust 5th wheel height to proper front to back level.
  • Lower or set stabilizer jacks.

*Disregard this step if you have a notched fifth wheel tailgate or you do not have a tailgate.

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