I’m beginning to feel a little like a Crash Test Dummy. In the past two months, we’ve dropped the 5th wheel UNHOOKING, tangled and mangled with a tiny palm tree, dropped the RV on the tail gate HOOKING UP.
Where are the professional Dummies when you need one?
Do you remember the old Crash Test Dummies PSA adds? I’m including one here – and thought by sharing our experiences with you, I might either give you a laugh or save you from experiencing something similar.
The first incident was almost, but not quite entirely our fault. We unhitched according to the directions on the panel and the video. We only had one practice try at the RV dealership so we carefully read all the directions. We’d been warned of the dangers of dropping the RV in the truck bed when hitching up. We had no idea we might drop it unhitching.
We put the front jacks down and pulled ahead slightly, just enough to make sure we were unhooked and the RV fell on the little red box of safety cones. No damage that time. We didn’t know that with the automatic leveling system only one front jack lowered at a time. Since I’d been driving, I was on the left side and Heidi was working the panel on the left side. We had no idea the right jack hadn’t gone down.
We haven’t had that problem again. We certainly know to check both sides now!
Of course you already know all about my encounter with the palm tree. That was just stupidity on my part. Heidi was with the Jeep and I was new at driving the truck and at towing the 5th wheel. I turned a corner about $7000 worth too tightly. Good Sam was good to us and the repairs are set for February (when, yes, we will also get a bed saver installed). Maybe we should consider curb/tree feelers, too!
The next accident issue came as we were leaving one drilling company for another. Our FS worker showed up 2 hours early and was in a hurry to move us. He ‘helped’ us hitch up and we all thought it would be more expedient if he drove the RV from the pad. He pulled away and the RV failed to follow.
The damage to the RV was minimal. We couldn’t do the put the front jacks one inch off the ground test because we can’t override the auto leveling one foot at a time issue. Since that incident we’ve taken to putting one jack up a little and dragging the other one about two inches.
The tailgate didn’t fair so well this time. It refused to open after a couple of days. The Chevy dealership in Cuero took it off for us and we were able to get a 5th wheel gate in Katy at Camping World on our way to Livingston.
In Livingston, we found an RV repair shop that took a look at the hitch and said Well y’all clearly didn’t get this rigged up in Texas! No one puts this kind of grease on a hitch in Texas!
The grease that they put on it in Iowa was all gummed up with Texas caliche. They cleaned it and used a non-grease lube (yes, we bought a can) and now the jaws snap tight, just like they were supposed to all along.
By this time, we’d developed HUAD – Hitching Up Anxiety Disorder. No wonder, huh?
We spent a week waiting in Gonzales. Our mgr was waiting to put us back on rig we were with for a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving (although we didn’t know this and thought we were just waiting, period). We got word Thursday to be ready to move Saturday morning. Then we got a call Friday afternoon saying that they were ready to move us – right then. That’s the business, isn’t it? No complaints. We’re just thankful to be working again.
Fortunately, due to our severe case of HUAD, we had already hitched up Friday a.m., a day early, or so we thought. Not early after all as it turned out. We hitched up and unhitched without a hitch, (so to speak) this time!
We’ve made a lot of mistakes, but, as they say in the PSA, you could learn a lot from a Dummy! 😀
Maybe you can learn from us!
And Andrew – thanks again for the yellow tape video! At least I can line it right up every time! Here it is again.