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Beware of parking lots


dswhite

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We had a wierd thing happen when returning from a rally. Nothing like this has ever happened in all our years of rving.

We had stopped at a Walmart outside of Salt Lake City. When we were leaving the store heading back to the trailer we saw an older man walking closely alongside the trailer heading towards the rear. He crossed the rest of the parking lot & climbed into an 18 wheeler.

We pulled slowly out of the parking lot then accelerated hard to pull into traffic. All of a sudden we heard a loud bang and the trailer jerked hard backwards.

When we pulled over to see what had happened we found the slider handle was now in the unlocked position and the hitch had slid to the rear about a foot.

As this had NEVER happened before we suspect a dangerous prank? Coincidence? ummmm.

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It sure sounds like someone did it based on what you've said. Did it ruin your bed? There's a product that can save your truck should that happen even unintentionally... it can be found here: http://5thwheellatchkit.com/index.htm

 

A lock in place of the pin on my hitch makes this less likely to happen. On my old hitch (PullRite SuperGlide), you could place a lock through the slot making it impossible to lift the handle to release it.

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It sure sounds like someone did it based on what you've said. Did it ruin your bed? There's a product that can save your truck should that happen even unintentionally... it can be found here: http://5thwheellatchkit.com/index.htm

 

A lock in place of the pin on my hitch makes this less likely to happen. On my old hitch (PullRite SuperGlide), you could place a lock through the slot making it impossible to lift the handle to release it.

 

As I understood his post, it was a slider hitch and someone unlocked the slider allowing the hitch to move rearward.

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Part of our training when I drove at UPS was whenever you leave the vehicle to always check your pin on both the tractor and the dolly if pulling doubles so I still check in my own vehicle ad good practice to keep, so always check your hitch.

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GOAL is written on a lot of the outside mirrors of trucks, have you noticed? If you look closely under it are the words Get Out And Look. If the drive didn't do a walk around coming back to the truck it's a reminder that they should always get out and look before moving either forward or back.

 

Rod

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As I understood his post, it was a slider hitch and someone unlocked the slider allowing the hitch to move rearward.

You're right. It was the slider that was unlocked and the trailer slid back about a foot. We were probably lucky we had a lock on the king pin release handle.

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I'm glad no-one was hurt or there was no property damage. I saw the results of this "prank" in a rest stop many years ago. Difference was, the 5er dropped on the bed rails. From that day forward I always used a small padlock on anything that could be unlatched. It is inconvenient for me, but well-worth the aggravation.

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.....When we pulled over to see what had happened we found the slider handle was now in the unlocked position and the hitch had slid to the rear about a foot.

As this had NEVER happened before we suspect a dangerous prank? Coincidence? ummmm.

We've spent many many nights in WalMart lots and some in the RV section of Truck Stops and never once had any kind of problem. This is scary. Now one of us will check and do a walk-around before leaving in the AM.

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I think it's pretty sad that someone, especially a professional driver, might have deliberately vandalized the safety of your hitch. This is very scary stuff.

 

Now I'll make a double-check each and every time I return to my vehicle. Better safe than sorry.

 

Thanks for sharing this incident with us all and I'm just glad it didn't result in more damage.

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Just a point of discussion. There was a debate on the HDT forum regarding locking the hitch to prevent such an event or not locking in case of a tire fire or other emergency requiring a relatively safe but quick disconnect to at least salvage the tow vehicle. It comes down to personal choice but I now do not padlock my hitch, but make a point of checking it after every stop no matter how brief. If it is a big fire, DW and I are bailing and I'll deal with my insurer.

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We are in the same mind set as Suite Success. If there is a fire we want to be able to dump the trailer from the truck as fast as possible. A lock would be a problem.

 

The Toad is also unlocked for the same reasons. The only time the Toad doors are locked is as we leave Mission, TX to past Falfurrias.

 

We do not stop on a days trip and leave the rig.

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We have a lock, that goes on the hitch during the walk-around. It comes off during the pre-trip walk. Some may question the value of 2 walks, without moving the vehicle. Such is the way of the world. The lock provides me piece of mind when it's on, and when it's in the door pocket, going down the road.

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Every one that posted here has jumped to the conclusion that the pin was pulled intentionally. There is no evidence in the OP's statement that this is so.

 

I have a sliding hitch, a TrailerSaver TS3, and I had the pin pull out and the hitch slid back because the pin hole was a bit too small for the pin due to the paint that was in the hole didn't allow the pin to be pushed in as far as it should have been.

 

Sometimes these things happen and it's not a malicious thing.

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When ever we overnight at a casino or Walmart, or stop for lunch or fuel, I do a walk around and check every connection to our toad. I also look under the coach to see if anything is under there or near the tires. I also check the pressure on all tires before rolling.

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Being in aviation most of my life, a walk around and a check of oil, fuel, tires, etc has become a natural as tying my shoe laces. It is a good practice as most of the above posters have stated. Besides it gets your brain focused on starting the trip and makes us all safer.

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I don't want to believe there are people out there mean spirited enough to do this. Surely the OP just forgot to latch it?

Not pleasant, but true. Sadly today is not like we remember decades past. Even though we now have a MH, I still have my 5er hitch padlock in my truck toolbox. I don't have every connection on my tow-bar locked, but I inspect everything each time we stop, it's the last thing I do before starting the MH engine.

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We've had this same hitch for some years now and have never had a problem until the time described in our original post. When we discovered the problem we returned the slide lever to the forward locked position and continued with our trip. It stayed in the proper position for quite a few hundred miles. Really don't think it was a hardware malfunction.

The intent of this posting was not to condem any segment of society but to make our friends on this forum aware of a potential problem area.

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