Having been around a lot of cars,trucks,motorcycles and RV's, I sit back at times and have to laugh about some of the things I have come across and witnessed. It may be as simple as reading a story somewhere on the internet or seeing a video on *Youtube, and the laughable mishaps come to mind. I know I shouldnt laugh at lifes mishaps, but some are totally preventable. (Just bare with me as these are not in the order of occurances).I came across a middle aged gentleman a few years back, who figured that if he just drilled a few holes into the bed of his pick up truck he could mount his 5th wheel rails and be all set to pull what ever he wanted and when he wanted,
Welllllll alrightyyy then,, he had the basic concept, that 1,, the hitch rails *DO* need to be bolted down in the bed of the truck.
And 2, they need to be properly spaced for the hitch cradle to mount to. Sounds like he had the right plan, and completed the task at hand.
I decided to take a peek at the method he used to mount and secure the rails to the truck bed. He drilled a total of 8 holes,, 4 for each rail through the truck bed and dropped a 9/16ths bolt down through each hole, and put a washer and a nut and snugged it up firmly. Simple enough,, We all can understand that. Ok,, now pay attention,(but only if you really want to,,, you can sip a beverage or glance at the TV inbetween reading this,, Its up to you). If you back up a few lines you will notice, I said he dropped bolts down through the bed of the truck and tightened the nuts and bolts securly. Ok,, now,,, let that sink in for a couple minutes, (Jeopardy theme in the back ground). RULE 1.
5th wheel hitch rails MUST be secured to the truck FRAME.
(See there,, ya lernt sumpin new). If you have a tendency to forget these things, I highly recommend getting out your writing paper and crayons and jot that down for a possible future reference.
Now this ole boy was a pretty smart ole country boy and ya can't tell him no different on how things should be done. I met up with him again a few months later and got to chatting with him and while chatting I looked in the back of his truck and the floor of the bed was tore up something fierce. (kind of looked like the Terminator went all spazz back there). The front of the bed was bent out and his back window was missing I asked what happened,(even tho I had a real good idea).
He kind of looked down and said he had hooked up his ole trailer and got to toodling on down the road and had to stop kind of abruptly and thats when it all went to hell in a hand basket. He said them bolts tore right up through the truck bed and that ole trailer smashed right up into the front part of the truck bed and busting his back window out.
I was like WOW.!!!! (I say to myself,, it would have been better if it was bolted to the frame). Now don't get me wrong,, thinking I take pleasure in others mis-fortunes, But thats what I call, a,,,,,,You should have thought that out a little better,, type moment..
To add a happy end to this poor guys circumstances,,, he has resorted to pulling a bumper trailer with a class 3 frame hitch.
Have you ever come across a fellow RV'er along side the road with a flat tire? Its common nature to stop and help.. its what we do.
I came across a young couple in their mid to late 20's out on vacation with their suburban and 25 ft, Mallard bumper pull. The Rv had a flat on the drivers side front axle and the young gentleman had the wheels on the passenger side chocked for safety,, triangles down the road for safety along with his emergency flashers, and his trusty 10 ton bottle jack under the axle with the wheel off the ground a good 3 or so inches.His wife had a lawn chair out, and was sitting off the shoulder in the grass waiting patiently for her honey to change the tire.
I pulled off to see if I could be of assistance and notice the young gentleman is spinning the tire round and round and round, ( I was almost getting dizzy watching him). I say a friendly hello and introduce myself. We exchanged pleasantries. I ask if he is getting the tire changed out ok? He sighed and said, he is having one heck of a time getting the lug bolts loose. I stand there looking over the situation trying my best to keep from busting out in a roll on the floor laugh,, biting my tongue, curling my lip and stiffling a smirk. I compose myself and ask him,,,,, Did you by chance,, try loosening the lug bolts BEFORE jacking the wheel up off the ground? He said he tried, but the lug wrench kept hitting the ground and getting stuck. (I almost choke, holding back a well deserved laugh). and just said, ohhhhhhh ok... So what was your plan after you got the wheel up? He said he was going to try and get the wheel spinning and then shove the lug wrench on a nut and hopefully it would grab and break free. I about lost it, but being a nice guy, I said excuse me a moment and went back to my truck to get a sip of coffee and re-compose myself.
I walk back over to the gentleman and I tell him, I will give you a hand,,,he was so grateful, saying he was about to give up and just drive to the next town and hopefully find a tire shop. I lower the jack and drop the tire back on the ground and I loosen the 5 lug nuts with the tire iron,, then jack the wheel back up off the ground,, spin off the lugs,pull the blown tire off and put his spare on,, I spin the lugs back on, lower the tire,, and snug the lugs up nice and tight.. He was in awe at how easy I made that look. I told him, sometimes it takes years to master a difficult tire change. Him and his wife couldnt thank me enough and even offered to buy me dinner for the help, and I declined and just told them to be safe and enjoy their vacation. He collected his triangles and chocks and stowed them away and I watched them cruise off into the mainstream of traffic...
I came across another couple pulled off to the side of the road, and stopped to ask if everything was alright. The only reason I stopped was the very fresh skid marks about 2 miles long that started from the shoulder, and down the road to where they was sitting. Apparently his trailer brakes had locked up on him. I look at his brake controller and do the push button test and the little red light comes on, along with the trailer brake lights. OK,,, he has power to them.. I go back to the hitch and 1st thing I see is, his break away box, with NO PULL pin in it.. I point this out and he said, oh yea,, we stopped back down the road and this cable thing was dragging on the ground, so I pulled and pulled on it and it finally broke loose and I tossed it... He said he didnt want any sparks going up onto the front mounted propane tanks on the rv trailer. If you know anything about break away switches,,, that pull pin MUST be in place in order for the brakes to work properly. When the pin is pulled,, usually resulting from the trailer comming loose from the tow vehicle, the trailer brakes use the onboard battery power to engage the trailer brakes to bring the trailer to a stop.
I explained this to him and I remidied the problem by opening the break away switch box and sliding a pencil wrapped with electrical tape to the right thickness diameter of a pull pin,, and making sure it seperated the contacts so the brakes would release, and reassembled the box and ran some 8 guage wire I had from the pencil to his reese hitch,, Not the prettiest configuration, but at least the trailer will roll and he can get another break away pin and cable at his soonest convenience. Another happy camper fixed and road bound.
Ok, Thats was just a couple of the humorous mishaps I have come across and still chuckle about..
We ALL start out as Newbies and we learn as we go and with a little help from our friends,, and to this day, I still learn new stuff, and I enjoy helping a fellow RV'er who gets into a pickle, because I have been there myself many times. We may be a rare breed but die hard RV'ers help their own.
And remember, be safe, have fun, and cherish the memories.