Towing a fifth-wheel camper is a great way to see the country or simply enjoy a weekend getaway at a campground. However, fifth-wheel campers use a slightly different connection than your standard travel trailer, making installation a little more difficult. Thankfully, hooking up a fifth-wheel trailer isn’t hard once you understand what you’re doing. Here’s how to hook up a fifth-wheel trailer.
5 Steps to Hook up Your Fifth Wheel
Here’s what you need to know to hook up a fifth wheel!
1. Choose Your Location
To ensure a strong and easy connection, you should always connect your truck to your fifth wheel in a level and open location. Give yourself plenty of room to maneuver your vehicle. Connecting your truck and the fifth wheel on a flat location will help ensure your kingpin has a solid connection.
2. Prepare Your Fifth-Wheel
To prepare your fifth-wheel camper, you need to retract the lock bars and open the fifth wheel’s jaws, which gets it ready to couple with the truck. Generally, you can do this by pulling the handles on the side of the coupler and moving it into an open position.
3. Align Your Truck and Back up
Once your camper is ready to receive the hitch, the first step is to lower your truck bed. Forgetting this step will likely end with a large dent in the back of your truck. Align your truck and slowly back up towards the kingpin box of your trailer.
Have a partner stand behind the truck and to the side to help guide you into the kingpin box. They can help direct you and let you know when the hitch head is about 4″ from the box. At that point, put the truck in park.
At this point, you’ll want to adjust your trailer jacks until your king pin box is about ½” lower than your fifth wheel head.
4. Close the Fifth-Wheel’s Jaws to Secure Your Connection
Once everything is in the correct position, you can slowly back up your truck the rest of the way. The pin box should ramp up into the hitch plate if you adjusted your height correctly. Once everything is set in position, you can fully close and lock the jaws of your fifth wheel around the hitch.
5. Test Your Connection
After connecting your fifth-wheel camper to your truck, it’s important to double-check your connections and ensure all lights are working properly. To check your hard connections, release the emergency brake in your truck and slowly let up on the regular break. Your truck should begin to inch forward. At this point, you should feel resistance as you begin to tug the camper behind you. If no resistance is felt, put your truck in park, and double-check the kingpin box connection.
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