Today, we take you on a typical travel day as we move from Wilmington, NC, to Cape Hatteras, with a few tips along the way!

Pull Check / Tug Test!

In our opinion, a pull test is one hundred percent mandatory before towing our home! It's the only way to know for sure that the pin is seated and secured in the hitch. We've seen too many truck beds crushed from dropping fifth wheels on them from supposedly fool-proof hitches. Here's an overview of the process, as the details will vary by hitch and RV:

  1. Put the RV in hitch mode, which means:
    • All landing gear except the front are up.
    • The pin is at hitch height.
    • Wheel chocks are still in place.
  2. Hitch up! This means the pin, pin lock, 7-way cable, and breakaway cable are all connected and ready to tow, but leave the tailgate DOWN.
  3. Raise the front landing gear no more than an inch off the ground. Your other landing gear should already be up before you hitched. The process of getting the front gear both off the ground will vary. For our six-point hydraulic levelers, we have to raise one leg all the way up, let the other leg come an inch off the ground, then put the first leg back down till it's one inch off also.
    DO NOT do a pull check with ANY landing gear down, as this can damage the landing gear!
  4. With the brake controller manually engaged, try to pull away. Do this carefully with just enough force to test the connection. You should feel the RV holding the truck from moving. THIS is the TEST!
  5. If the connection holds, engage the truck emergency brake, put your tailgate up, raise the landing gear, un-chock, and tow! If your RV disconnects, start over.

Lunch Stops!

We love being able to stop for lunch and use our own kitchen by putting just the kitchen (passenger side) slide out.

The first step to this is finding a spot in a rest area that's fairly level or just slightly nose-down. To level in a nose-high setup, we have to come off the hitch, and we try to avoid that because it's more work, and the whole hitching process (including the pull test) has to be redone.

Before putting the slides out, we like to have our landing gear down. This is both for stability and to make sure we're level. While every RV will be different, the process with our Lippert six-point auto-level, is to level “manually” via the app. To do this, I first put down the front gear and try to get level front to back. When doing this, I keep an eye on the pin and hitch. Once the weight of the pin is no longer pressing down on the hitch (you start to see some slack in the connection), STOP! You do not want to have the RV lifting the rear of the truck! If I need to go higher to get level, I will come off the hitch.

Assuming we're able to get level front to back, I then ground the other (middle and rear) jacks. Once grounded, I level left to right.

Once level and supported by the landing gear, we lock down the driver-side slide and extend the passenger-side slide. To lock down one side, we have hydraulic shutoff valves in our passenger-side propane bay and simply close the one for the driver side.

To figure out which is which, you will just need to test this ahead of time. Also, if the valve is difficult to close, try running the slides out just a hair (one quick push of the “out”) to relieve pressure, then try again.

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