How To Backup A Fifth Wheel Trailer

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The dynamics of backing up a 5th wheel trailer is unlike anything you have ever towed. Main ingredient to success is patience and to try, try again.
1. Start by pulling beyond the camping spot, by at least 15 feet, being sure your truck and 5th wheel are aligned straight.
2. Now, put the truck in reverse. Start reversing straight, slowly until your 5th wheel tires get to the edge of your camping spot. Now, if your camping spot is on your left, place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and rotating the steering wheel slightly to the left. Slightly means less than 10 inches. This will cause the rear of the trailer to go left.
3. Continue in reverse slowly, while looking out the left window over your left shoulder. Your truck bumper will begin to go to the right and your back bumper of the fifth wheel will continue to go to the left. If you have a guide standing outside the turn, make sure they are watching the direction of the rear bumper of the 5th wheel, not your truck. They should be in your side mirrors.
4. As the truck/5th wheel turns into the camping spot, about half way through the turn (you are not totally parallel aligned to the camping spot yet) you need to turn the truck front wheels back straight by turning the bottom of the steering wheel to the right. Again, slightly, i.e. 10 inches or less. Continuing slowly to backup. Your truck back bumper will eventually rotate back to the right, pushing the 5th wheel further to the left into the camping spot. Your wheels should be straight.
5. Let the truck follow the 5th wheel until you are in parallel alignment with the camping spot, but not all the way into the camping spot. If you go too far, reverse the steering part way and pull forward to re-aim the rear and then back again. The whole process will be slow with lots of corrections. It’s OK to give up on a turn, pull out and start over again.
6. Then turn the bottom of the steering wheel again slightly to the right, while continuing to backup. Continue until the truck is aligned straight with the 5th wheel. Then turn the bottom of the steering wheel back to the left until the truck wheels are straight once again. Continue to back into the camping space. With the truck and 5th wheel all straight and aligned, the 5th wheel no longer turns left, but goes straight into the camping spot. You’re done! You made it! Congratulations.

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Just remember, all movements of the steering wheel are small, short moves. Do not do huge, desperate cranking of the steering wheel. You will only endup in a crooked, bent alignment, totally useless. Remember, have patience when waiting for the rear to change direction.

The process is exactly the same for a camping spot on your right. Just reverse the movement of the steering wheel (i.e. for every left, turn right instead) as given in these instructions.

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