How much work is towing a 5th wheel? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-18-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
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How much work is towing a 5th wheel?

Hi all! I'm thinking of moving up to a Scamp 5th wheel from my Compact Jr. but don't know if I'll be able to hitch up by myself. I'm pretty much old and short with a bad back. The Jr. I can just scooch to get the hitch over the ball; I'm guessing this is not the case with a 5th wheel...
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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I have a Scamp 5th whhel. It not too easy to line up, I have to leave the tail gate down till I'm close to hitching, get out and put it up then move more to couple. Put that all aside and it pulls great.
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:31 PM   #3
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I agree. We too have a Scamp 5er. Our previous trailer was a Scamp 16'.
We think the 5er really pulls nicer than a bumper tow trailer for sure.
Getting hitched up is more tricky. Since there are two of us, once we do the tailgate down/up for the hitch to get into the bed and get it lined up, my husband gets in the truck bed to do any necessary 'scooching' of the hitch onto the ball while I crank the front landing gear up till the hitch is completed. Of course if you have it lined up really well, there is no need to 'scooch' and it just cranks down onto the ball. Since we have the option to 'scooch' we can work with a little more 'error' in lining up.
Fran in NM


But there are several folks out there who do it with just one person.
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Old 09-18-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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Hooking up

My truck has clearance to hook up the trailer with the tailgate down for the entire process so that eliminates one issue. I place one Harbor Freight ball-on-a-stick on top of the hitch ball. I place the other ball-on-a-stick on the front lip of the hitch. The key to using the ball-on-a-stick is to use the rear view mirror, don't look over your sholder or things won't be quite centered. Back the truck up to with in 6" inches of each other then get out to check and make sure the trailer coupler clears the top of the ball. Then back the truck up until the ball-on-the-stick is knocked off the hitch ball. Then all you have to do is lower the trailer on the ball. He hardest part is reaching in and hooking up your chains and locking the hitch. I hook up by myself most of the time.
Eddie
I think Camping World has a remote wireless camera for yor truck bed for hooking up 5th wheels for about $140. Just saw a video on it last week somewhere.
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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It is easier to see the 5r hitch in the bed of the pick-up than seeing a standard bumper hitch.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
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We had a 16' Scamp for seven years before getting our 19' early last year and I've found hooking/unhooking to be at least as easy as before.

We have a 2012 Tacoma double cab and, like Eddie, can leave the tailgate down. Left to right alignment is straight forward using the side mirrors and fore/aft positioning is simplified by the camera cross hairs in the rear view mirror. I get it right most of the time without having to get in/out more than once. No difference in plugging up the wiring umbilical and the safety chains are much easier to attach. I use a cordless drill to raise/lower the landing gear so that's definitely less effort. From start to finish - five minutes to hookup and less than ten to unhook (level, chocks and rug).

For the sake of our marriage, this is normally a task I do alone but Cindy has hooked up several times on her own. She does admit to needing a stool to reach the lock and chains but claims no "scooching" was ever necessary.

The 16' towed fine, the 19' even better. No difference in backing that I've noticed.

If you're located anywhere near northeastern NC, you're more than welcome to drop by for a hands on experience.


Al & Cindy
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:10 PM   #7
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Hook'n up 5th wheeler

I like Eddies idea with the balls from Habor freight. Al and Cindy's use of the cordless drill is somthing I would like to see pictures of. The Tacoma I have has a fiberglass bed and it took some work to tie the 5th wheel mount to the frame. I'm new to this forum and when I log in it takes a while for me to navagate to this thread.
KJ
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CeliaL View Post
Hi all! I'm thinking of moving up to a Scamp 5th wheel from my Compact Jr. but don't know if I'll be able to hitch up by myself. I'm pretty much old and short with a bad back. The Jr. I can just scooch to get the hitch over the ball; I'm guessing this is not the case with a 5th wheel...
Hi: CeliaL... I will second others easy towing and easy hitching!!! Our Escape 5.0 is a true fifth wheel hitch just like a semi only smaller. Here's a pic. of the coupling and I use a decal on the rear truck window to line up with. All pluging and unpluging is done without need to bend and stretch and with electric levelers it's push button easy.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
Attached Thumbnails
almost there.jpg   That's it!!!.jpg  

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Old 09-18-2012, 09:00 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the info! Last year I spent seven months on the road and I kept dreaming of a bed separate from my table, a three way fridge, and heat when I wasn't on shore power. I'm looking at getting the little Toyota pickup so I'm glad that some of you have the same setup. Al & Cindy K - I'd love to see (or help) with hitching up but you're a long way from Boston...
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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Toyota for 5th wheel

CeliaL,
Be aware that the newer Tacomas have a fiberglass bed and the factory mount for the Scamp will need to be attached through the bed to the frame. There are no commercial kits made to do this. You would need it custom made.
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kenny in Ohio View Post
CeliaL,
Be aware that the newer Tacomas have a fiberglass bed and the factory mount for the Scamp will need to be attached through the bed to the frame. There are no commercial kits made to do this. You would need it custom made.
Kenny is correct - the 05 and later Tacomas have a composite bed and, as far as I know, none of the hitch mfrs offer a direct fit solution. I purchased the complete kit from Scamp Fifth Wheel Hitch Complete and fabbed my own with some flat stock I had laying around my shop. No welding or special tools required. I mounted the Scamp hitch to the flat stock then drilled 1/2" holes in each piece that lined up with the three bolts on each side of the Tacoma's bed. Cut the cross member to the appropriate length and done. This is a pic of the setup in the 05 and I was able to transfer it to the 2012 in fifteen minutes or so.

There are many other fiver/Tacoma owners with more elegant solutions but this is a sub $200 hitch that can be fabbed without welding or modifyiing the vehicle. Kenny, any chance of getting pictures of how you did yours?

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Old 09-19-2012, 08:26 PM   #12
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Yes, it is important to check what material the bed is made of. We have a 4wd Frontier Pro4X and it has a steel bed, but I believe the 2wd Frontiers have the composite bed.

Also, with the landing gear, we use two large wooden blocks under the landing gear so we don't have to crank them up or down very much. Someone we know had some scrap pieces from large wooden beams from a house renovation and they work great and don't weigh all that much. It also seems like not having to extend the landing gear too much helps the loft and the entire Scamp feel more solid - less sensation of wobbling as you move around inside.
Fran in NM
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Kenny in Ohio View Post
..... Al and Cindy's use of the cordless drill is something I would like to see pictures of.......
KJ
Nothing special Kenny, I'm not that talented - just lazy.

Steel rod and pipe from my scrap pile. I got the idea from another fiver owner who made his by cutting off the factory crank at the bend.

Insert the rod into the drill just as you would a bit and you've got power up and down. Be careful as you approach the upper or lower limits of the landing gear as the drill can easily torque around resulting in a sprained wrist.


Factory crank - imagine this being cut off just where it bends down
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:00 PM   #14
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I tow my Scamp 5'er with a Chevy Colorado. I simply look out the back window at the ball in my bed and back it up until everything lines up. Far easier than lining up a ball on a bumper you can't see. I do it myself and have the new style hitch that I would highly recommend.
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