Hitchin up a fifth wheel right

Ok you have me properly concerned. I thought hitchin up a fifth wheel would be a snap. (no pun) I have it ordered but don't have it yet. What is the proper way to hitch up? I was thinkin if I put the breaks on the trailer and give some power to check the lock up if the thing isn't latched I'll have a problem anyway. Contrary to what most thought in another post I thought the pin catcher was a pretty good idea just in case. Ok how is it done? Do I leave the landing gear down just a bit short of the ground? If the pin slips out the gear will catch the rig before it hits the truck? Idono???



Souderton, Pa

C Nash

Senior Member
Hitchin up a fifth wheel right

Thumbs, hooking up the 5th wheel is a piece of cake. Never leave in a hurry!! Remember to let the tailgate down if you don't have the 5th wheel gate. Back under until the hitch locks. Raise the landing gear just off the ground. Hold the trailer brake or scotch wheels (trailer) pull forward to be sure the hitch has locked, safety pin in place and remember to fully raise front landing gear before pulling off. Course, I have assumed that you have already disconnected from shore power, sewer and water. Antenna down, walk around trailer, ck tires, steps, all storage doors closed and locked. Might want a check list to start with. Remember, ALWAYS blame that counsler if you mess up!!

Chelse L. Nash
Hitchin up a fifth wheel right

Hello Gary,

Perhaps I am one of the ones you mentioned that didnt see the need for the Pin Catcher and personally still dont. But thats just me.

You have the right idea about hitching. Tailgate down, perform the hitching process, leaving the landing gear down but off the ground - do a tug test.

The most important part in hitching is the hitch plate and trailer pin plate should slide together. The locking jaws in the hitch are tapered. This is to allow the pin to be slid into the jaws. Doing this will cause the locking arm to fully extend and retract when the pin is seated. The turn the hasp, lock the arm.


It seems the ones dropping thier rigs onto their bed walls are NOT the veterans of hitching, but the first/second-timers. If you learn and know how to hitch properly you shouldnt ever need it.

Here is a diagram I generated with Visio showing the right and wrong way to hitch (no different than the instructions that came with the Reese):

If you feel you need for the comfort, go buy one. I would like to believe that after hitching several times you would see that it may no longer be necessary.

Bruce & Carolyn Wittmeier
2001 Ford F250 PSD, Ext cab, Shortbed, Island Blue/Silver, 4X4 Off-road, Auto w/SOF, Alum Wheels, Chrome Step, Line-X bedliner, Reese 16K slider hitch, Jordan Ultima 2020, AirLift Airbags, Sunnybrook 30RKFS

Edited by - wittmeba on Sep 10 2002 12:10:25 AM
Hitchin up a fifth wheel right

Bruce & Carolyn Wittmeier

Hey thanks. As Chelse knows I know not of what I speak because I have never done it before. I will be picking up our new fifth in a couple of week though. I subscribe to Murphy's law. I have seen 18 wheelers hitched but of course it "ain't" there tractor of trailer.;-}

Another question would be can I visualy inspect to see that the lock is in place on the hitch? Is it also right to assume that if the locking pin doesn't go in all the way the the trailer isn't hitched properly? Maybe not.

The reason I thought the catcher may be a good thing was in that one in a thousand time when you just screw up. You guy's know better than I. The next time I hitch a fifth wheel will be my first.


Souderton, Pa