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Solution for Fifth Wheel Dragging When Entering Steep Driveway

Question:

We own a 2013 Cedar Creek Silverback 33RL fifth wheel that we purchased new. This trailer measures just under 37 feet from the tip of the pin box to the back of the bumper. We recently purchased a new home that has a long steep driveway, and I knew going in that backing the trailer up the driveway could be an issue. Sure enough, on first attempt the manufacturer installed hitch/rear bumper was the first to bottom out. The rear of the trailer body is sloped to accommodate some inclines when backing, and the bumper/hitch installed seems to defeat that purpose because it extends approximately 8 inches below the body at the farthest point. This trailer has lots of modifications to make it perfect for us, so buying something else really isnt an option. I dont need the bumper/hitch, so that will be the first thing I remove. But getting to the point of my question, Id like to know what you think of the following options should the bumper/hitch removal prove to not be enough it will be very close: 1. Can I install drag/skid wheels, such as the Ultra-Fab Weld On 2inch Wide x 2 ┬╝inch Tall, at the rear of the frame, to support the frame as I back the trailer up the driveway? Im convinced the drag wheels will only engage for a short distance as the rear trailer wheels engage the steepest part of the slope. This fifth wheel has opposing 12 foot slides in the back, so Im concerned about tweaking the frame such that it will interfere with slide operation. I cant imagine the forces on the frame being greater than the rear stabilization jacks, which are mounted only a few feet forward of the back of the frame. 2. What is your opinion of installing air bags on both trailer axles, to raise the body above the frame by a few inches, to allow additional clearance. I envision something like what U-Haul installs on its box trucks to raise and lower the rear of the truck to facilitate easier loading of cargo. These would only be deployed when backing up the driveway, and deflated when stored or normal towing. Would very much appreciate your thoughts, or any other ideas you may have.

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Expert Reply:

Skid wheels like the part # UF48-979021 that you referenced installed on the hitch and frame would be one solution to help prevent the dragging. While we don't have an air bag system we do have a lift kit part # LC407131 that will give you an additional 2 inches of height on the trailer which could help give additional clearance.

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Jameson C

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