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Old 08-23-2016, 08:18 AM   #1
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Question Backing a 5th Wheel

Can anyone share their experience on either switching to a 5th wheel Escape or starting out with a 5th Wheel Escape and how it went learning to back up? Most of what I find on other sites assume that a 5th wheel will be bigger than a hitch mount so that extra variable is always there.

My experience towing has been with a utility trailer, about 12' total length. I'm completely comfortable towing and backing with it. My assumption is the Escape 21 would be an easier transition instead of going to the 5.0 TA, but that is really just an assumption.

So is it true that the 5.0 TA would be more difficult to back than the 21' for someone with no 5th wheel experience?
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:24 AM   #2
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I purchased my first all-molded-towable in 2002. When I picked up Ten Forward in Sumas in 2014, I had never towed or backed up a 5er. I find it's not difficult, just different than a bumper pull. The pivot point is about 4' closer to where I sit, so I need to remember that when I go to back into a site. Pull further forward first!
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I purchased my first all-molded-towable in 2002. When I picked up Ten Forward in Sumas in 2014, I had never towed or backed up a 5er. I find it's not difficult, just different than a bumper pull. The pivot point is about 4' closer to where I sit, so I need to remember that when I go to back into a site. Pull further forward first!
Hi: MikeS... Donna D is correct... Not difficult, just different!!! If you don't give yourself enough room to reverse in you tend to make a bigger steering correction resulting in a "Jack knife". The single axle 5.0 was worse that the 5.0TA, but the ease of hooking up trumps the backing up technique. Alf
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
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Sure, no big deal to the forum experts, but isn't that sorta like Bill Gates telling you computers are easy?
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:08 AM   #5
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I'm far from an expert. But I do get better each time I go out. My circumstances are a bit different since I travel solo. No one to help me backup or hitchup. But I get it done and don't damage anything (knock wood). To me that's success.


I don't know of anyone that's born with a backup gene
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:05 AM   #6
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Backing a 5th Wheel

Donna sometimes having no help is a bigger help
(Running and ducking for cover)
Cheers
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Sure, no big deal to the forum experts, but isn't that sorta like Bill Gates telling you computers are easy?
I believe the bigger difference is going from a single axle to the dual axle. The 5.0TA turns slower backing in then the single axle tow behind which would turn on a dime.

You have to get some practice, it's relatively simple, just not easy. I was decent at it by the time we finished our first 5 week trip traveling out west.

I try to do the same things every time. Like aligning a certain point (rear truck wheels) with the beginning of the campsite pad. Cut the truck to the other side of the road, pull forward, cut the wheels the other way and continue forward till you see the trailer is lined up with the campsite. Put it in reverse and see how you did when the trailer starts to turn. As often as not I have to give it another jog to get it properly aligned. Once in a while more then 1 jog.

Just remember the trailer starts it's rearward turn a bit after the truck, same when you try and stop it from turning.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:02 AM   #8
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Over the year plus I've been on this forum, I think I've read about every thread I could find on backing up the trailers. I've done it with an enclosed trailer some years ago, but I wasn't the greatest at it. Reading the directions from others just confuses me.

So, my solution will be to go to a driving school and have one of their instructors teach me with The Trailer. There are two in the Seattle area. I could go to the one next to ETI if I wanted to cross back over the border. I'll decide what to do closer to the time we get it. We plan to bring the trailer straight home and since it won't have a bed or blinds in it, I'm not too keen on spending a night in it near ETI. I want to bring it home, get it all outfitted and then head out.

A driving school might be an option for you. Just look for one that will teach you how to pull a trailer as most schools just teach you basic driving.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin View Post
I believe the bigger difference is going from a single axle to the dual axle. The 5.0TA turns slower backing in then the single axle tow behind which would turn on a dime.

You have to get some practice, it's relatively simple, just not easy. I was decent at it by the time we finished our first 5 week trip traveling out west.

I try to do the same things every time. Like aligning a certain point (rear truck wheels) with the beginning of the campsite pad. Cut the truck to the other side of the road, pull forward, cut the wheels the other way and continue forward till you see the trailer is lined up with the campsite. Put it in reverse and see how you did when the trailer starts to turn. As often as not I have to give it another jog to get it properly aligned. Once in a while more then 1 jog.

Just remember the trailer starts it's rearward turn a bit after the truck, same when you try and stop it from turning.

Excellent description Bob! I am in the process of teaching Debbie, and your wording is perfect. I do the same as you, but was having difficulty explaining it without cursing.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Sure, no big deal to the forum experts, but isn't that sorta like Bill Gates telling you computers are easy?
If you have experiencing backing any trailer, the learning curve will not be steep. It comes quickly, and any perceived increase in size of the 5th Wheel is a non issue. You still have to use your side mirrors, and a camera if you have one can be helpful. I also agree with Doug. Sometimes it is better not to have an assistant. My assistant doesn't seem to understand that small circular hand motions at waist level,behind the back, or at some wierd angle do not convey useful information, and my assistant also doesn't understand that steering changes do not produce instantaneous results at the trailer. When the trailer is being backed, the assistant has to anticipate how soon a steering correction will result in a change of direction. Apparently, this is exceedingly difficult for some assistants. Typically, after three unsuccesful positioning attemps I will tell my assistant just to make sure the 5th Wheel doesn't jackknife and neither the TV or the trailer isn't going to hit anything. On the "unassisted" attempt, I usually get it exactly where I want it.
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