Backing a 5er

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Well-known member
May 19, 2006
Houston, Tx
Hey Y'all,

We just don't seem to be getting it down, today was the 4th time we have hooked up our 36' 5er. Today's purpose was only to move it over about 8'. After one and a half hours we had gotten it squarely positioned 6' to the right. We cannot get a straight line into our storage spot, thus need to angle it back and forth. In theory I think I know what we should be doing, in practice, it's a whole nother ball game. Thank goodness no one else is around to witness this mess.

Does anyone know of any videos that actually demonstrate how this is done?  ??? ???

We have our first weekend trip coming up in 2 weeks and I REALLY do not want to spend 2 hours trying to park the darn thing in front of a bunch of experienced rv'ers. I'm sure it would either amuse them or terrify them, one or the other... lol


Unlike a truck or car towing a boat or travel trailer and backing up, 5th wheels are a little different because the pivot point is not at the rear of the rig, but somewhere forward; usually directly above the rear axle. Because of this, it usually takes a larger amount of steering wheel movement to get a small amount of turning of the trailer. That's the nature of the beast. The best suggestion I can make is to hook up, tow it to a large, empty parking lot (shopping centers are great for this), and practice, practice, practice. Use the painted lines or set up some cardboard boxes as your 'target' parking space. It's not uncommon to have to pull forward one or more times to get lined up for the final backing maneuver, and in some places it is nearly impossible to get in exactly as you would like. You may have to find one with easier access. Heck, even us class A owners have to do that once in a while, and we don't have to worry about maneuvering an articulated setup like yours. Patience is the keyword, and don't worry about what others think - they've all been there and didn't learn their skills overnight. Some never do! ;D
Patience and practice.    And don't be afraid to (1) get out of the truck and look at where you are and how you are positioned and (2) pull forward, straighten out and start over again.    And don't worry about the onlookers. Yeah, they are probably chuckling but probably because they've been there themselves...

I'm serious about the "start all over again". It's usually much better to do that than trying to correct when you have gotten yourself into an awkward position. And a lot easier on your nerves (and your partners as well).

These folks are right.  It just takes practice.  Someone could explain it out to you, but you'll learn a lot faster if you just do it enough yourself.  I will say this: If at all possible, set yourself up so you back to the left (driver's side).  You will be able to see a lot better.
We have our first weekend trip coming up in 2 weeks and I REALLY do not want to spend 2 hours trying to park the darn thing in front of a bunch of experienced rv'ers. I'm sure it would either amuse them or terrify them, one or the other... lol

Here are some hints:

1.  Think of back a trailer in terms of where you what the back end of the trailer to go.

2.  Grasp the bottom of your steering wheel.  Push the bottom in the direction that you want the rear of the trailer to go in.  It will go in that direction.

3.  Station just one person behind you on the blind, outside of the turn.  Have that person direct you in terms of where the rear end of the trailer needs to go.  Tell everybody else to either shut up or talk to that person only.

4.  Use your mirrors.  If they are power mirrors, adjust them constantly to give you a good view of what is happening back there.

5.    Start your turn from the middle of the accesss road.  You will need to leave room between your neighbors across the road from your site to permit your truck from getting pinned in the backing process.  Keep an eye pealed on your front clearance at all times.  Don't worry about blocking the road.  Everybody else in the campground is used to what is happening and know enough to either wait patiently, or to turn around and go out another way. 

6.  You will have to some cutting back and pulling forwards. Everybody does, don't worry just do it. 

7.    You are trying to site your trailer so that it is generally level side to side and your black/gray tank outlet is about 5-10  feet from the sewer inlet and uphill from it.  If you don't make it, a sewer hose support can usually make up the difference.  Water and electric is not as critical.

Relax, everyone in the park that pulls a trailer has gone thru what you are going thru.  Even experienced trailerites can get a turn wrong and have to pull out and start again.  Stuff happens.  ;D

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