Have you just purchased a new or used fifth wheel?
Here is one of the most important 5 minute checks
you can make right now that will save you tremendous
stress in the future.
Your fifth wheel landing gear is probably electrically
operated from a switch on the side of the unit.
Imagine for a moment that you are in an RV park
and for some reason your landing gear fails. You
hit the switch and - nothing. Maybe the motor
burnt out or there is some electrical fault.
Not many people stop to think about a landing
gear failure, but it is equivelant to being in
a boat when the motor fails. You are not going
anywhere. You cannot raise or lower the rig to
get the truck hitched. You cannot use jacks safely
even if you have them. The jacks will more than
likely fall as the truck nudges the hitch to lock-in
causing your camper to fall into the bed of the
Landing gear failure is a very unpleasant scenario.
So the immediate 5 minute check for all new and
used RV owners is to go and make sure that you
have the landing gear crank handle so that the
landing gear can be raised and lowered by hand.
Get the crank handle and make sure that it does
fit and that it does raise and lower the rig
Most used campers will not have the crank handle
available and some will have the wrong crank handle.
To use the crank handle: There should be a 1/2
inch hole on the side of the fifth wheel above
the landing gear. Insert the crank handle until
it engages with the motor shaft. Turning the crank
handle should raise or lower the rig.
(This is also a good time to see how much effort
is needed to raise your rig a few inches as some
rigs are easier than others).
If you do have a used fifth wheel camper and it
is over 4 years old, have the landing gear inspected
and serviced. Even go so far as having the motor
replaced if you want to ensure that there are
no RV park surprises. The motors are not expensive
and well worth the money to prevent a failure.
There is not much to a fifth wheel campers landing
gear as can be seen in the diagram below. But
it that motor fails, you can be assured of a major