RobertNormanEditor's Note: We welcome a new guest blogger to our site, Robert Norman who works for Valley RV Supercenter in Kent, WA and has been in the RV business since 2013. Robert shares his experiences with the public writing about RV tech tips, how to’s, destinations and culture. He has a wonderful wife, 2 sons and a Labradoodle named Chocolate that enjoy traveling and the outdoors every chance they get.

Learning how to hitch is a basic to owning an RV or Travel Trailer. Some of us have had to learn the hard way, while others have had the knowledge readily available. If you have been searching the internet lately, you’ve probably seen a lot of resources out there on hitching. Some of those resources can leave you asking even more questions, creating confusion, while others are so thorough you get lost in the sea of details. We will try to blaze a path through the middle of those two extremes and arrive at a good understanding of how to hitch up your RV.

Let’s start with some first steps before you begin hitching up and then we will give you two sets of step by step instructions on how to hitch starting with the most modern type of weight distribution and then the earlier model hitch. So that whatever hitch you have, you will be left with a solid understanding of how to hitch up to your RV.

First Steps before Hitching

1. Consult your local RV Dealership. They should be able to offer some great tips.
2. Read the towing section in your owner’s manual first. Be aware of your towing capacity.
3. Make sure that the lowest weight rating of your hitch components meet or exceed the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)
4. Test your tow vehicle’s wiring. You want to make sure that your wires are carefully inspected and are working correctly.
5. Make sure the trailer ball and hitch are meeting the minimum gross vehicle weight rating and that the sizes match each other.

Modern Hitches (Examples are Recurve 3 and 6)

Modern Hitch1. Chock your trailer wheels.
2. Raise the tongue of the trailer jack up until the hitch coupler will clear the tow vehicle.
3. Back up to the trailer until the hitch ball is under the coupler on the trailer. Get someone to help with this step.
4. Lower the tongue jack and secure the tongue latch onto the ball.
5. Put in the coupler safety pin in the coupler locking lever (Or use a padlock to make it tamper proof).
6. Lift the trailer using the tongue jack to make sure there is a strong connection between the trailer and the hitch (The tow vehicle will come up with it if it’s latched correctly).
7. Insert one of the bars into the top of the hitch weight distribution.
8. Then use the snap-up bar to lock the other end of bar onto the trailer and secure it with the locking pin.
9. Repeat on the other side.
10. Adjust sway control (See manufacturer’s instructions).
11. Raise and secure the tongue jack for towing.
12. Hook up safety chains (Crossing them), hook up electrical cord for lights and attach the breakaway cable.

For Older Version Hitches (Example: Eaz-Lift Elite)

Early Model Hitch1. Chock your trailer wheels.
2. Raise the tongue of the trailer jack up until the hitch coupler will clear the tow vehicle.
3. Back up to the trailer until the hitch ball is under the coupler on the trailer. Get someone to help with this step.
4. Lower the tongue jack and secure the tongue latch onto the ball.
5. Put in the coupler safety pin in the coupler locking lever (Or use a padlock to make it tamper proof).
6. Lift the trailer using the tongue jack to make sure there is a strong connection between the trailer and the hitch (The tow vehicle will come up with it if it’s latched correctly).
7. Now attach the weight distribution hitch. The tongue should already be raised. This makes it easier to install the spring bars.
8. Insert one end of the spring bars into the hitch head.
9. Lower the snap-up bracket or saddle and place the proper chain link onto the hook. Use the 3rd or 4th link or until the bar sits level with the tongue. Be sure the links hang loose.
10. Make sure all wires, chains and cords are up off the ground and free from being pinched if you are to make turns with your trailer.
11. Using your snap-up bar, raise the saddle back up to its normal position fastening the chain and then secure it with a safety clip.
12. Repeat for the spring bar on the other side.
13. Reel up your Tongue jack so it is up off the ground and clear for riding.
14. Now attach the sway bar.
15. Attach the sway bar to the hitch ball and frame ball. Secure it with the cotter pins.
16. Tighten the bar by turning the lever crank slightly.
17. The sway bar should be tight, but not too tight.
18. Plug the travel trailer electrical cord into the receptacle on the tow vehicle.
19. Remove any boards on the ground where the tongue jack was sitting and chocks.
20. Step back to see if the trailer is level (Slightly uphill is ok).
21. Hook up the safety chains, making sure to cross them and attach them to the frame (Chains should be underneath the hitch with a little slack but not too much. Chains should never drag).
22. Connect the breakaway switch. The breakaway cable should not be attached to any part of the hitch assembly, but attach it to your tow vehicle.
23. Check all the running lights, signals and brake lights. Get a second person to help.
24. Then check your brake controller to see if it has a good connection.

Learning how to hitch, as you know is an important basic to owning a travel trailer. We do hope this will be a helpful resource to you. Thank you for reading and happy trails!

 

Comments   

+2 #1 Mike Skehan 2017-12-28 16:44
25. Before driving off, do a walk-around to see what you have forgotten (TV antenna up?, Vent open, still plugged into cable box?, etc). I learned the hard way on this one.
Good article Robert.
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