Troubleshooting Hard Connect and Disconnect of Sidewinder on 2004 Montana 5th Wheel Trailer

Question:

We have a reese hitch,just bought a 2004 montana with a king pin on the trailer,it is very hard to connect and disconnect,seems the front of the king pin tilts up a little could this be our problem?

Expert Reply:

There are several reasons why the trailer might be hard to connect and disconnect from the 5th wheel hitch. First, check the pin weight of your trailer. If the trailer has the truck suspension compressed a great deal then the pressure between the hitch and pin box can cause disconnect to be hard. Hooking up and unhooking on level ground is also a big factor in ease of hook up.

Next, check the lubrication of the fifth-wheel hitch. Make sure all of the recommended locations are lubed correctly (see instructions) and that the skid plate is lubed. If you are using a lube plate, item # RP83001, on the hitch the skid plate will not need to be lubed. The lube plate should be no more than 5/16 inch thick. You can also lube the recessed 2 inch part of the king pin to aid in hooking and unhooking the trailer, this will also extend the life of the jaw in the fifth-wheel head.

Next, check the position of the Universal King Pin Locking Wedge on the Sidewinder, see instructions. If this wedge is positioned too closely to the king pin it may be causing the issue you are having, readjust as needed.

Another thing that may help is cleaning and lubing the head. Take the head off and turn it over. Use some spray lubricant like WD40 and spray the moving parts especially the linkage for the handle and then re-lube with lithium grease, item # L11354.

Be sure that the king pin jaw is fully released from the head when attempting to hook up and unhook and that the trailer wheels are securely chocked so the trailer is not trying to move with the truck when hooking and unhooking.

Finally, if none of the above suggestions works you should have the trailer and fifth-wheel hitch inspected, at a local RV dealer that carries these products, to be sure the Sidewinder and fifth-Wheel hitch are installed properly and in safe working order. The tilt of the Sidewinder may indicate that it has moved on the pin box and needs to be adjusted and tightened.

expert reply by:
Robert G

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