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Fitting our fifth inside


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I thought I'd see if any of you wise RV'ers have advice before we have to put a new, larger garage door in. We took the plunge and have purchased our new (beautiful cobalt blue) Winnebago Minnie Plus 25rks. Wahoo! Anyways, she's 11'10" tall. Pole barn garage door is 12' tall, should be no problem right? wrong. When it's hooked up to hubby's truck (2017 gmc Sierra 6.2l w/ max tow pkg w/ air shocks), it's almost a foot too high. Hubby & son tried digging "ditches" inside the gravel floor to drop it down and bottomed out the trailer. So, now we're looking to raise the garage door up by a foot but that's going to be a +/- $1400 expenditure for a new door being installed. If we have to, we have to. But if there's any other way....Hubby does have a small JD tractor but it's not big enough to use to move the trailer w/o the truck. It's always something, lol. 

On a side note, I tried to attach a picture of our new get up that is taken w/ my phone but site says the file is too big...


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Once upon a time I owned a body shop. My painter was short and back then the cars were BIG. He used to let the air out of the tires so he could paint the roof.

Sounds like the current GD (that's Garage Door, OK?) has stopped in it's tracks with maybe 10" still below the building overhead. If so, try pulling the GD further back on it's tracks than the springs currently take it.  Good luck....

You'd have to see the movie to understand..........

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There aren't very many fivers that will fit under a 12' overhead door.  I'm not sure there are very many solutions that won't cost you some money.  Is there room on the side of the building to have a port or lean-to installed that you could park the fiver under instead of pulling it into the building?  Of course this would still cost some bucks but maybe not as much?

Joe & Cindy

Newmar 4369 Ventana

Pulling 24' enclosed (Mini Cooper, Harley, 2 Kayaks)

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5 hours ago, RachelLynn said:

On a side note, I tried to attach a picture of our new get up that is taken w/ my phone but site says the file is too big... 

You can always send the picture to your computer and resize it there.

2014 Winnebago Aspect 27K
2011 Kia Soul


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Like said, try to raise the upper limits of your door.  If that don't work, raise the door.  I would have them put in the tallest door possible so maybe the RV your eventually upgrade to, will also fit.  I'm going to build a pole barn but make the door 14ft even though my camper is only 12'4" at the moment.  It's only money, can't take it with you, right?  Good luck and welcome to the forum.

2002 Fifth Avenue RV (RIP) 2015 Ram 3500 Mega-cab DRW(38k miles), 6.7L Cummins Diesel, A668RFE, 3.73, 14,000 GVWR, 5,630 Payload, 27,300 GCWR, 18,460 Max Trailer Weight Rating(For Sale) , living in the frigid north, ND.

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This won’t help in the short term, but most large 5th wheels are over 13’ tall at the air conditioner.  The maximum legal height to drive down a road in the US is 13’6”.  My current 5th wheel is 13’4”.  When I built my shop, I didn’t want any height issues with the doors so I made them 15’ tall.  I probably could have gotten away with 14’ if the approach to the shop was level, but I have a slight incline in the approach and added the extra foot of height just in case.


As to posting pictures here use this site.  Drop your picture in the box and it will give you a URL you can post here that will make your picture show up in the post regardless of what size it is.

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That only gives you 2"of clearance even if the specified height is accurate. It sounds like you may have a height that doesn't account for the air conditioner. I would start by getting an accurate height of the trailer. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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Thanks guys. we do have an accurate measurement of the trailer but for some reason once it's hooked up is when we are a foot taller. The tresses In hubbys pole barn are at 14 foot and right now it looks like the tallest we can go is 13"3" which should take care of it. So, that's looking like that's what we'll do. This RVing thing is all a learning curve hopefully not quite as steep with all you wise people. 

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You may not have to replace the door you can by extra panels and parts for the track. Or raise the current track springs and stuff and make a hinged panel on the bottom of the door (inside). Does the trailer hit in the middle or the front, back? Most fivers seem to be higher in front.maybe you could dig out in front of the door.  Or you could co with barn doors or a slider.

On the HDT forum there is a link for posting pictures no changes heeded. Works best on a real computer but will work with a phone.

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Not sure I understand how putting a fiver on a pickup raises the high point 1 full foot?   Must really be nose-high towing?

Using the mfg height w/o an AC?   

If all info is correct, then getting the door all the way up in the track may help?  If can't do this, sounds like new door is needed--hope the building walls allow for that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

 jblo, just saw your reply to my post. The mfg height did inc the air conditioner.  It's my hubbys truck, not sure why it raises it up so much but we are having a new door installed. It will work as we have 14 ft. tresses and room to raise it 15" to a total of 13'3'". Yeah. hopefully problem is now solved. 

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On 11/15/2018 at 7:23 AM, ms60ocb said:

Is sounds like someone borrowed my young grandson's ruler. Grandson told his mother, "Sometimes my ruler makes errors"


Sounds like they did not calculate that they are towing nose high.  A 5th wheel on a new truck will be nose high unless you add risers to the 5th wheel.  GMCs have been tall the longest.  Ram start in 2013.  Not sure about Ford.  

The didadvantage to towing  nose high is that you put more weight on the rear 5ver wheels.

But taking some air out of the tires should help fitting into the barn.

2015 Ram 3500 RC DRW CTD AISIN 410 rear

2016 Mobile Suites 38RSB3

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Some terms.

A "Pole Barn"  or now called "Modern Post Frame" construction is an all wooden frame consisting of pressure treated posts sunk 2.5-4 feet in the ground depending on sidewall height. They use trusses that are typically triangular in shape and the bottom of the trusses span the building from side to side and on the ends form the gables. It is skinned in galvanized and/or painted steel panels.

A steel building uses steel frames and purlins, among other structural parts and depend on concrete footers or slabs to attach to at the bottom by bolts. and has no triangular trusses instead the inside of the building is open to the peak in most cases. It is also sheathed in galvanized or steel panels.

I am not sure or may have missed whether your building is Post Frame or steel frame.

Generally folks use two types of doors with very different headroom requirements. Panel garage doors like residential buildings use, and roll up steel doors like used in industrial buildings.

The measurements and headroom vary from one manufacturer to another so the below are just ball park figures for a level installation in a post frame building with a slab. Your mileage will vary with terrain not level, type and size of dirt pad, type and brand of door, and concrete pad or not.

You say garage doors but both type of construction use both garage panel type doors and roll up doors. Both types of door require space above the door frame to either roll up, or for the panel door tracks to make a curve that allows the door to make the curve and not jam because the arc is too tight.

If your building is a pole barn, the door opening cannot be taller than the bottom of the trusses.

Put another way by a builder online:

"What is the big deal about building heights? Isn’t a 12′ tall building a 12′ tall building?

This is a very confusing subject. Most pole buildings are sold by eave height. Eave height is the measure from the bottom of the pressure treated skirt (or splash) board to the top of the sidewall where it meets the roof steel. To determine interior clear height, the thickness of the roof purlins (typically 6 or 8 inches), the roof trusses (six inches or more) and the concrete floor thickness need to be deducted.

While Hansen Pole Buildings would prefer to sell our buildings by INTERIOR CLEAR HEIGHT, this concept is contrary to industry sales practices. We design our buildings to allow for the maximum amount of usable interior clear height in relationship to eave height. In most cases, the remaining measure from the top of the future concrete floor to the bottom of the roof trusses will be only 10 inches less than the eave height. This is the true measure of usable space."

Source: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/pole-building-faqs/our-pole-buildings/

Another factor is whether the door entrance or building apron is at an angle or level with the interior floor of the building. This is because with a trailer the tow vehicles wheels will be at an angle to the building and the trailer nose or rear cap could be sticking up in the air until the trailer is all the way in and all the tow vehicle and trailer tires are inside and level with one another.

To better answer your question is your building wood framed with a clear span defined in height by the bottom of the trusses or steel framed?

When I helped our customers design their post frame buildings on site, for RVs I recommended two feet taller sidewalls than the height of their vehicle which on a trussed building will allow the door and inside space to allow for the door installation requirements, and the variances from angled entry aprons/drives.

Standard garage doors require about 18" of headroom to account for vehicle variances, and 24" if the garage door will be motorized go to the bottom of this page:


Roll up doors get larger at the top when rolled up and can be confusing for folks not accustomed to modern post frame construction and door openings. Here are pictures that show it better.


In a post frame wood truss clear span building a roll up door on either gable end can provide a maximum opening because it can roll up above the trusses as it is mounted inside the end truss. However making a taller door on the gable end does not make the truss bottoms any taller inside the building.

Installing a roll up door on a sidewall means the door must roll up under the trusses which normally means the openings will be 18-24 inches less than on a side wall.

A panel type garage door requires from 6" to 18-24 inches from the bottom of the trusses because it must extend under them when open. This remains the same whether they are installed on the gable or the side walls.

With most customers it was necessary to have them at our demo building location so they could see what the headroom requirements for each door type were. I always recommended two feet taller sidewalls than the inside clearance needed.

We always poured a slab into the framed buildings we built so there were no allowances for trying to dig below grade. In fact we always built a dirt pad that we compacted from 12" up. Some flood zone building codes require more and that is when the angle of the drive can interfere by not having the truck wheels and trailer wheel on the level at the same time.

If you were local I could show you on my post frame building.

I was a member of the National Frame Builder's Association (NFBA) and we went to the annual shows for the latest tech and to get with other builders and share experiences. There is a lot of info on their website that has pics and can help with these kinds of design questions here:


Remember to measure twice build once.

Hope that helps.



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When we built our RV garage (pole barn) I used a sliding door to eliminate the wasted space above an overhead door, and so I may walk around on the RV roof without obstructions. I have a 14' tall X 20' wide sliding door with 15' side walls.  If I want, there is a power mechanism available to automate the sliding door.


2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961


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