Dropped 5th wheel

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Dropped 5th wheel

Postby carlajesse93 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:36 am

I need help. Last week Wife and I loaded up the Creek and set off for a short trip. We hitched the 5th wheel like normal set the latch inserted pins locked latch. We drove about a 1/4 mile many turns and speed bumps pulled out on highway off comes the rig bounces off the bed of the truck and comes to rest on the landing gear.I was able to raise the creek and load it back up on the hitch.Now I know I latched it all down in the begining because I had to remove the pin and release the hitch inorder the rehitch it after I got it back on the truck. So after checking out the truck and the creek we decided to go on with the trip with no problems.We had some damage to the bed of the truck($10,000 estimate for a new bed apparently they dont fix creased side rails and $2500.00 estimate for fiber glass repair on the Creek Thank the lord for insurance ) So my question is has this happened to anyone else and what did I do wrong Thanks Jesse.

Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby sody » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:40 am

Just a guess but you might have had it "high pinned". I'm not sure what type of hitch you have so it is hard to say but that can happen if the trailer is too high when you hitch and it appears to catch but doesn't. Don't feel awful, it has happened to lots of us. At least when we did it, it was only $3,000 to replace the truck bed and we didn't damage the 5th wheel (not our Creek). To keep this from happening again, the jaws of our hitch are painted white and I visually look at the way it is hitched even though the jaws have "slammed shut".
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby Hotel California » Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:23 am

It was certainly "high-hitched". We dropped ours once the same way. Still have the dent in
the pickup bed after 5 years.

To avoid this problem, make sure that the trailer is about 1" lower than the height of the
truck hitch when backing onto the hitch. The pin needs to "ride up" the hitch before latching.
This will solve the problem.
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby Dave & Jill » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:00 am

Here is something you might be interested in: http://tweetys.com/blueoxbedsaver-1.aspx
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby jimjan » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:03 am

Been there done that. :( Sorry to hear it happened to you but glad you didn't mention personal injury.
Only about $2300 to repair the truck. But replacement is a better idea. The repairs in mine began to fail after only 6 months.
I suspected 'high hitch' problem too but last spring, I had a fella take it apart because it didn't seem to be working properly. He found that a part of the mechanism was misaligned which was causing the abnormal behaviour. The repair was a little heat and a gusset welded in for support and we're back to proper operation.
Here's the catch. In discussion, he said it could have been the reason the latch opened when the rig "dropped". The idea being that it hadn't fully closed when I hitched up in the first place. But, not having looked at it immediately after, he couldn't say for certain. Now, it's just one of those things I check fairly regularly. I haven't painted the jaws white but I do follow the practice that you have received from Doug and John.
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby Pasadena Gil & Deb » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:43 pm

hey guys,

Got another one for you.

We just had a Trail-Air Tri-Glide Pin installed. Anyone with these types of Pins knows how much LOWER the pin needs to be to get the proper match when hooking-up, because of the Air Spring's compression. ( remember, this is our first 5'er).

When I put the Front Landing Gear down this Sunday to Un-Hitch, I had what I thought was the proper height, but BOY was I wrong.

Due, again, to the pin's "de-compression", my Creek almost landed in the bed of the Dodge (pin was about 4" off the bed and the nose was about 2" off the bedside on Driver's side and just touching on the other.

Luckily, using the Front Legs and Level-Up (Creek was on a slant), we were able to get thing straight and no damage.

where are "rub-rails" when you need them ?

Still learning,

Gil S.
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby davidk4x4 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:19 am

Gil, two things are happening

- The truck springs decompress thus raising the truck closer to the trailer, You just have to get use to your truck as to how much to raise the trailer (this would be the "2" off the bedside")

- Then there the trailer air expanding I don't own one but I stayed in a town with a Holiday Inn Express last night, The air bag well expand and you well just have to experiment with how much it does and adjust accordantly. You should be able to watch the shock absorber to determine if the trailer is high enough to safely unhitch.

Good Luck David

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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby Pasadena Gil & Deb » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:51 am


Shock absorber reference is super, thanks.

Air Bag @ the Hoilday Inn Express expanding......I'm not going near that!

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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby skypilot » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:05 pm

I don't have the 'Tri-Glide' model but do have the Trail-Air pinbox -- I raise the trailer until I actually see the pin box pull away from the hitch saddle, and then I lower it back down about an inch -- if left up higher I've had problems getting the pressure off the hitch release to open the jaws, by going back down the inch, I don't have that problem plus I'm also able to set my sights (eyeball it, used to use a string with a ball on it but kids knocked it off so...). regardless, much easier. As several have said, the truck springs decompress as well, the whole unit raises several inches before I actually see the separation.

Hope this helps.

Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby Pasadena Gil & Deb » Thu May 13, 2010 9:57 am

Hey "guys"

Deb and I spent a nice long weekend at Shenandoah Crossing ( part of a sales pitch "reduced fee" Vacation Club package from Bass Pro, southwest of Richmond, Va: incredible RV park: not much in package for RV'ers) last week.

I had put white electrical tape on the smaller leg of the Trailair's Shock Absorber, when the CC was UNHITCHED at the house, just below the upper "sleeve" of the shock.
When we were setting the front gear to disconnect, I rised the CC up to see the top of the Tape and off she came...no fuss....no muss....no drama !

One comment though. It was super to have Deb pull the Dodge away, keep an eye in the pin and adjust ( up) even further with the Remote.
It just amazes me how much the Air Spring Compresses.

Finally, for those of us with , or getting, the Level-Up System:

I put the Systems through many different tests and situations and came up with Two BIG mistakes I made in my "panic" to get the Front gear extended
when the Rig came down to almost sitting on the Dodge:

1) First and Foremost...Hit the Right Button ( my fat fingers)
2) More important- do NOT use the Level-Up Legs at the Wheels to lift the CC up from the Truck.
Once the system is in the Leveling Mode, the oppsite Front Leg will work OPPSITE of the side being raised; to counter any "twisting" of the Frame.
This is what caused the WHOLE mess to get " caddi-wompass" .
( Chesapeake Bay Boater's word for "All Out of Wack and Position" - like when the Boat gets Sideways in the Slip when you're trying to dock it).

To get the system back to normal.....turn the whole system OFF......wait about 15 seconds...turn it back on and raise the Front Gear.
Sounds simple.....but......we love our TOYS.....and don't want to see them get hurt....so I guess I just got nervous.

Gil S.
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby CumminZ » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:01 pm

One of the things that we have started doing is place 2 wheel chocks behind the rear tires whether you are up hill or down. This will prevent any accident caused by the rig rolling back if the jaws do not latch. I am unaware of the term high hitched? This is my take.... Whether you have an air bag system or not... when you back under the RV plate with your hitch (a plate also) and both surfaces are flat together there is no way your jaws should not lock up. Watch the operating handle when you get all the way under. It should slap to locking position. Next thing is look at jaws...Are they closed? Then place your safety pin of what ever king your hitch uses into it's slot. THEN lower the RV maybe an inch and slightly pull ahead. It should stay together unless you have a part broke inside. One reason I dislike a 15k or 16k hitch hauling a 15k RV. You have no room for error. This is not rocket science.

Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby dickhix1 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:59 pm

While not Rocket Science, a little friendly advice from folks who have been there and done that is a wonderful thing.

"High Hitching" is not that unusual and in fact is discussed with the manual that came with my hitch. It occurs when jaws rap around the bottom of the King Pin rather than the middle. It has happened to me, but I caught it when I inspected the jaws and saw they were rapped on the bottom instead of the middle. Letting the pin plate ride up onto the hitch plate should keep it from high hitching and certainly letting the truck idle forward before you bring up the landing legs and removing the chocks is the way to go also.

As far as there being no room for error - I think if you can find the manufacturing test specs, you will find that a 15 or 16K hitch is tested to a much higher standard than the advertised capacity. They have to do that in order to get a Federal or Canadian certification. I am certainly not advocating towing a 20K trailer with a 15K hitch but I am not worried about my 16K hitch handling my 15K+ trailer.

Just my two cents
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby CumminZ » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:58 pm

It is impossible for the latch to wrap around the bottom of the kingpin and latch.

Dick's quote
" It has happened to me, but I caught it when I inspected the jaws and saw they were rapped on the bottom instead of the middle".

The jaws are machined to fit the groove in the middle of the kingpin. If it trys to wrap at the bottom the operating handle will not go to the latched position to place your safety pin.
Last edited by CumminZ on Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby wbonta123 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:04 pm

All I can say is I experienced "high hitching" with my Trailair pinbox. On my first Cedar Creek that did not have an "air pin box" I would back into the trailer to "hitch-up" and the locking arm would move out and then snap back into place when the pin was locked into place. I was hooking up with the new "air pin box" and the locking arm moved out and then snapped back into place just as before. However, when I moved forward to move off of a leveling block, the front of the trailer came down on the bedrail of my truck. $3700 worth of damage. I couldn't figure out how that had happened with the locking arm snapping back into place like it was locked. The next day while hooking up, eveything went as before and the locking arm moved out and then snapped back into locking position. Only this time I checked to see that everything was hooked up properly, guess what the kingpin was sitting on top of the locking jaws. There is enough pressure in the air pin box to open and close the locking jaws.

As a result, everytime I connect now I look to make sure that the king pin is locked in the jaws. Dick Hicks had a good idea, he painted his locking jaws white so they would be easier to see if they were closed. I have mine painted bright yellow so they are easier to see if they are closed and locked. I think this is called EXPERIENCE. B.J.
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Re: Dropped 5th wheel

Postby CumminZ » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:12 am


I will again say that if you back together and both plates (truck and RV hitch are flat together the jaws will come together. If the kingpin is sitting on top of jaws the plates will not be tight together.


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