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Fifthwheel checklist

Fifthwheel Checklist by Doug Richards

Steps to hitch and unhitch fifthwheel trailer without dropping trailer on the ground or smashing your tailgate!

Trailer Towing CheckList (Departure Checklist)

NEVER, EVER BACK TRAILER WITHOUT FIRST POSTING A LOOKOUT WITH RADIO!

Trailer Interior

  • If local sewer connection was used, see Trailer Holding Tanks on page 4.
  • Furnace/Air Conditioner thermostat OFF.
  • Refrigerator OFF (unless it will be used with LP gas while traveling).
  • Refrigerator door SHUT.
  • TV antenna points aligned and RETRACTED.
  • Three vents closed.
  • Loose gear STOWED.
  • Water pump OFF.
  • Windows CLOSED.
  • Cabinets CLOSED.
  • SLIDE checked for debris on FLOOR and on ROOF.
  • Retract slide.
  • Secure chairs using black one-inch strap.

Exterior

 

  • Rugs and/or entry mat STOWED.
  • Trailer steps STOWED.
  • Water heater electrical switch to OFF.
  • LP gas tank valves OFF unless running refrigerator.
  • Awning STOWED and locked.
  • Shore power electrical (120 VAC) cord STOWED.
  • Fill fresh water tank 1/4th full (as required).
  • Shore fresh water hose STOWED.
  • Trailer door LOCKED and handle stowed.
  • Three basement doors LOCKED.

Hitching and Tow Vehicle

 

  • Tow vehicle mirrors ADJUSTED.
  • REAR STABILIZERS (if used) fully retracked.
  • Truck approach hitching position. Lower truck TAILGATE for better view of hitch.
  • Adjust fifth wheel KINGPIN using landing gear to proper hitch height of pickup.
  • Verify HITCH LOCKING BAR trip bar is out (Silver colored metal in hitch).
  • Back truck under kingpin until HITCH ENGAGES and trips kingpin hitch lock.
  • Visually check kingpin LOCK BAR is set (look for metal bar aft of kingpin).
  • Put truck in Drive with foot on brake. Then "BUMP" hitch to be sure it is locked. Trailer should move slightly.
  • Connect the umbilical cord and breakaway switch cable.
  • Raise truck TAILGATE.
  • Retract landing gear about 2 inches (Note: this is redundant step if locking occured).
  • Remove trailer wheel CHOCKS.
  • Drive forward gently about one foot. Stop movement with TRAILER brakes. This verifies hitch bar is locked.
  • Fully retract landing gear.
  • Driver verify LANDING GEAR and STABILIZERS are fully RETRACTED, and TAILGATE is UP prior to driving!

Trailer Use checklist (Arrival Checklist)

NEVER, EVER BACK TRAILER WITHOUT FIRST POSTING A LOOKOUT WITH RADIO!

Un-Hitching and Tow Vehicle

  • Pull into site and situate trailer where desired.
  • Level side to side using 2X6 boards.
  • Chock trailer wheels.
  • Remove pins and drop the landing gear. Re-pin landing gear.
  • Disconnect the umbilical cord and breakaway switch cable.
  • Lower the truck tailgate.
  • Driver verify Landing Gear is down, Umbilical and Break-away cables disconnected and Tailgate Down!
  • Gently put truck in REVERSE without giving any gas. This moves the kingpin off the locking bar which allows it to be more easily disengaged. (???)
  • Put truck in PARK, step on truck brake and apply parking brake.
  • Pull out Hitch Handle until it stays about 6 inches from closed position. This locks the Locking Bar OPEN. The bar will NOT be visible when unlocked.
  • Raise trailer kingpin about 1/8th inch off hitch using landing gear.
  • Carefully drive away from trailer.
  • Raise truck tailgate when clear of trailer.
  • Use torpedo level. Adjust trailer fore and aft to level using landing gear as required.
  • Extend REAR STABILIAZERS as required.

Exterior

 

  • If propane is to be used, TURN ON the gas at the primary tank (leave off at secondary tank). Verify you don't see the color red on the manifold, which indicates an empty tank. WAIT about 5 minutes before lighting gas appliances.
  • Lower TRAILER STEPS.
  • Connect to shore POWER and WATER (phone, cable TV as required).
  • Once water is connected, turn exterior WATER HEATER on/off rocker switch to ON if electric power is desired.

Interior

 

  • Verify VOLTAGE in the GREEN on volt meter prior to starting Air Conditioner!!
  • Turn on furnace or air conditioner as required.
  • Verify refrigerator is reasonably level using button level in refrigerator-freezer. Bubble should be at least 1/3rd in circle.
  • Turn the REFRIGERATOR ON. Set to AUTO - will use electric or LP if no electric.
  • Leave the water pump OFF unless NOT connected to shore water.
  • Light HOT WATER HEATER if using gas.

Camp Site Clean Up and Dump Checklist

NEVER, EVER BACK TRAILER WITHOUT FIRST POSTING A LOOKOUT WITH RADIO!

Camp Site

 

  • Check campsite for items on tables, clotheslines, etc.
  • Perform walk-around, checking tires (Trailer 65 PSI, Truck 50/80 PSI) and lug nuts , maneuvering clearance, hitch, steps and other hazards.

Trailer Holding Tanks

 

  • Irrigate both BLACK and both GRAY tanks using fresh water while connected to shore water. Use PLENTY of water. Fill BLACK to minimum of 2/3rds full; it's CHEAP insurance!
  • Clean toilet bowl and flush copiously.
  • Drive to dump station and empty BLACK then both GRAY tanks.
  • Thoroughly flush sewer hose with water. Store hose in green tub in basement.
  • Treat BLACK tank with odor control agent and flush toilet. Add ice cubes if available. Add odor control agent to GRAY tank as required/desired.
  • Maintain about 1-2 gallons in galley, bath and toilet holding tanks.
  • Turn OFF Water Pump.
  • Driver verify trailer door handle is stowed, T-valves closed.
  • Lock Trailer DOOR and stow handle if leaving camp site.

Storage Lot Trailer Checklist

NEVER, EVER BACK TRAILER WITHOUT FIRST POSTING A LOOKOUT WITH RADIO!

 

  • Open REFRIGERATOR DOOR, CABINET DOORS for ventilation.
  • Consider opening VENTS for ventilation
  • Remove FOOD products.
  • Wrap CHAIN around kingpin and lock
  • Disconnect BATTERY (and remove as required).

Packing Checklist

Four Chairs
Fan
Fishing Gear
Books, magazines
Food
Drink
Towels, etc from last trip
Weather radio
FRS radios
Pillows
Road Atlas and Maps
Garmin GPS
Spare keys