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Old 03-17-2019, 06:37 AM   #1
Teosails
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landing gear question

I am somewhat new to RVing and have difficulty hooking and unhooking. When I lower the landing gear it becomes very difficult to unlock the hitch. I notice that when lowering the landing gear I can see them skip across the ground an inch or so and often it blows the motor fuse. Same thing when attempting to raise them; they seem to skip across the ground and blows many fuses. I begin by leveling, then chocking, then putting tv in neutral to take stress off, then in park. What am I missing?
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Old 03-17-2019, 06:42 AM   #2
Javi
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Don't level until you're unhooked. Set your chocks front and back before unhooking.
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Old 03-17-2019, 06:44 AM   #3
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Chock both sides 1st, then level (without auto level should be close to level using blocks before unhooking), unhook, lower rear stabilizers, then extend slides.
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Old 03-17-2019, 06:53 AM   #4
Teosails
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I get it level side to side first, then chock both sides, then lower landing gear until they have weight on them, then unlock hitch, then raise enough to move tv, then level front to back.
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:12 AM   #5
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As a note... I've had Auto Level for nearly 5 years now... I just don't even think about having to back up on blocks to level...

So if you do.... then listen to them other folks...
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:11 AM   #6
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Tell us a little more about your rig and hitch. That might help. If your truck and the 5er are too far off from each other regarding level and your hitch doesn’t articulate enough it could be there’s too much pressure on the hitch to disengage.
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:12 PM   #7
Teosails
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Keystone Challenger 33'. TV is Ram 2500. Hitch is a fully articulated 5th Airborn. Trailer is very near level when hooked up.
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:19 PM   #8
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Install chocks on both sides to prevent back and forth movement of trailer, pull the hitch release handle if you can. Often times I have to put the truck into reverse to relieve pressure on the pin so I can pull the release handle (I put it back in park as soon as I can pull the handle). Make sure the tailgate is down, the break away cable is unhooked and the umbilical chord is unplugged . Lower the front legs just enough to take the weight off of the hitch and pull away.
When hitching up, do not remove any wheel chocks until the pin is solidly in the hitch and you are ready to do a pull test. I have actually left them in place until after the pull test instead of relying just on the trailer brakes for the test.

This got wordier than intended but I keep remembering mistakes I have made.
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Old 03-18-2019, 06:06 AM   #9
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There are two basic types of fifth wheel hitch. One uses a slide bar to slide across the king pin flange, locking the trailer to the hitch, the other uses a rotating "clip" to encircle the king pin, locking the trailer to the hitch. In both types, if there is any pressure on the moving parts, they can be very difficult to move to the "unlock position". Also, if there is any "side to side torque" from either the trailer being backed onto leveling blocks (the truck isn't in the same attitude) or to put it another way, if the truck and trailer aren't "on the same level" then it can be difficult to unlock the king pin.

Most fifth wheel hitches have a rotating head pan that's mounted on a pivot beam. That allows for "some" difference in side to side variation between the truck and the trailer. More important than that "horizontal alignment" from what you describe: "sometimes the landing gear will slide forward or back several inches" tells me that you have not positioned the truck/trailer properly and that when you're trying to unlock the hitch, the truck is either "pulling or pushing" against the king pin. If the rig is "backed into the spot" and you're pushing the trailer "up onto chocks" then the trailer is trying to roll down those chocks and/or the truck is in park, keeping the trailer in position. Even if the truck is put in park and rolls forward slightly, there's 7000-8000 pounds of weight on the hitch and king pin and it's difficult to unlock.

Try getting the pivot beam level, the truck positioned so it's not pulling/pushing on the trailer and lower the landing gear so that it slighty lifts the king pin flange to release any binding on the slide mechanism in the hitch. That might help make unlocking easier.

Also, have you performed any "cleaning/adjusting/lubricating" on your hitch? If so, did you make any adjustments that might be making the problem worse? And, if not, the hitch mechanism typically needs lubricating so the parts can slide against each other. Without that, it's not a "well oiled machine" which might be making the binding worse than it needs to be...
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