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Old 10-31-2010, 04:45 PM   #1
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A few additions to the 5th wheel

The past few weeks have seen a few changes to our 5th wheel. I didn't get any pictures of the generator install, or of the transfer switch/Progressive Dynamics converter install. I also installed a new 5th Airborne pinbox. Yesterday, saw the addition of electric rear stabilizer jacks. Here's a picture of some of the mess, I had going yesterday:



In the picture, you can also see the new pinbox and the generator door modification. Also obvious, is the muffler hanging out from under the generator. As you can see, we live on a hill. I had a total of six chocks on the trailer. Two between the tires and four under the tires!

When I measured for the electric jack install, I had some real space concerns. With the coach steps and spare tire locations, my only option was to mount the jacks as far back as possible. My only problem, was the fact that there just wasn't enough frame, to properly mount the jacks to it. Here's a picture of the only available mounting position:



My solution to this problem, was to use a pair of two inch square steel tubes and extend the frame a few inches. This picture shows the steel tube. You can see how short I was, on the frame.



I used a pair of bottle jacks, to hold the tubes in place for drilling. Here's another view:



After getting everything drilled, I bolted it all up. A can of black spray paint made everything look pretty.


For a power supply, I ran twelve gauge wire to the rear of the coach. It is wired to the bus bars in the battery compartment. Since I really wasn't thrilled about the idea of cutting a hole in the side of the coach, I mounted the switch box in the underside of the rear fiberglass cap. In this picture, you can see the switch box door hanging down:



And here it is, all installed and (mostly) retracted:



The legs are self-leveling and come down kind of odd. In the above picture, you can see that the slide-side jack was not fully up. The jacks do help a lot with the trailer wiggling, but do not eliminate it. I am thrilled with them and I am very happy to not have to crank the scissor jacks anymore! I did leave the scissor jacks installed for now. We're not sure if they will remain on the trailer. These electric jacks cost us $35.00 at the last liquidation sale at the Northwood plant, which close a couple of years ago. They were never installed!

When I installed the generator, mounting the remote switch was one of Kitty's "Necessities" We mounted it just under the vanity. The closet to the right, has a huge hole under the bottom drawer. Routing the remote wiring, was easy as cake!



Last thing from this weekend, is a new fresh water tank drain. The cheap white plastic drain valve is junk and took days to drain the tank.

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Old 10-31-2010, 09:00 PM   #2
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Gary and Kitty

Neat work!!! Thanks for sharing.

The rear electric stabilizers, how do they work? Is each pad independent? Do they crank down and torque out to stop so they are preloaded where ever they land?

The fresh tank drain upgrade, yup a for sure mod. The plastic stock petcock thing is (was) pretty poor.

The air pin box, have you towed with it yet?

John
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:12 AM   #3
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My fifth wheel has the electric rear stabilizers also (a Lippert model) and I love them. If Gary's are like mine, they both drop until they make contact and then raise equally. So if you are level to start with, but the ground isn't, you're still level after deploying the jacks.

Nice work on the mods. I, too, am curious how you like the fifth airborn. I've been considering the Mor/Ryde pin box which works differently, but has no airbags...just a rubber shear spring.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
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The rear electric stabilizers, how do they work? Is each pad independent? Do they crank down and torque out to stop so they are preloaded where ever they land?

The fresh tank drain upgrade, yup a for sure mod. The plastic stock petcock thing is (was) pretty poor.

The air pin box, have you towed with it yet?

John
The electric stabs have an outer rail, that bolts to the trailer frame. Inside that is the inner rail, which the legs connect to. The motor is mounted to the inner rail and the acme screw is up inside it. The inner rail can slide inside the outer rail. The braces on each leg are mounted to the outer rail, via the mounting brackets. They are then attached to each leg. When you extend the legs, they come down equally. If one contacts the ground first, the inner rail will slide until the second leg makes contact. Once it does, they both push down with equal pressure. I wrongly assumed that they were the same as scissor jacks. I thought you would want to keep them from extending very far. I read in the manual that the further they are extended, the more lifting power they have.

I have them extended down to the blocks I used for the scissor jacks (Here, at home.) and they do not extend very far. I am going to try using a single piece of treated deck lumber, which will allow them to extend another foot down. With that much more extension and lifting force, I am hoping they make the "wiggles" that much less!
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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Gary Kitty, the mods look Great!! For the generator install did you have to seal the compartment at all to prevent fumes from the fuel from entering into the 5'ver? I am asking as I was thinking of keeping our portable generator in the same front compartment as where you have installed the generator.

I like the new fresh water drain. I have this mod on my to do list as well but have not yet gotten around to it.

I will be really interested to hear about your experience with the 5th airborne pinbox as I have been looking at getting one myself.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihsolutions View Post
Nice work on the mods. I, too, am curious how you like the fifth airborn. I've been considering the Mor/Ryde pin box which works differently, but has no airbags...just a rubber shear spring.
I have only towed once with it so far, and the difference is phenomenal! There is still a bit of chucking, but that's just the pin, in my Reese hitch jaws. As far as ride quality, I will have to tow with it a bit more.

This model 5th Airborne isn't the exact model for my 5er frame, but the price was right and I had help installing it. It did raise the 5er off the truck bed, another 3" and there's no more adjustment in it, or the hitch. I do have a plan to deal with it, but that's another mod and for a later date!
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
Gary Kitty, the mods look Great!! For the generator install did you have to seal the compartment at all to prevent fumes from the fuel from entering into the 5'ver? I am asking as I was thinking of keeping our portable generator in the same front compartment as where you have installed the generator.

I like the new fresh water drain. I have this mod on my to do list as well but have not yet gotten around to it.

I will be really interested to hear about your experience with the 5th airborne pinbox as I have been looking at getting one myself.
Hi Bill!

Our generator is a propane fueled one. The case is designed, to route all the airflow throughout the inside of the generator and exhaust hot air out the bottom of the trailer. The exhaust pipe extends just beyond the side of the trailer. Theoretically, no combustion exhaust should ever be able to get inside the compartment where the generator is installed.


However, being as paranoid about safety as I am, I will have a carbon monoxide detector mounted inside the trailer. I will also have a suitable sheet metal box fabricated and install it asap.

I just wanted the generator installed, so we could have some power if the lights go out in West Virginia....
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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Here are a few better pictures..

This is the new pin box:



This is the rear of the pin box. You can see the shock absorber and the air bag, which is just behind it. The original pin box had six one-half inch bolts holding it on each side. This one got seven nine-sixteenths bolts on each side.



When we're hitched up and ready to go, the bottom plate of the pin box is level. The "Fill to" line on the shock is right where it needs to be.

Here's a pic showing the new pinbox, the new opening in the generator compartment door and the generator's muffler and exhaust pipe.

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Old 11-21-2010, 05:47 PM   #9
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Hi Gary

Looks good!! Have you towed with it yet?

Learning 5er hitches... how do you charge the air bag? Does it have a Schrader type valve and you use a hand pump or compressor to top it off? Is there are gage? Or is this something you check each camp out just like the tires air pressure?

I thought you where leaning toward the Mor Ryide pin box. What changed your mind?

Looks good one there.

John
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Hi Gary

Looks good!! Have you towed with it yet?

Learning 5er hitches... how do you charge the air bag? Does it have a Schrader type valve and you use a hand pump or compressor to top it off? Is there are gage? Or is this something you check each camp out just like the tires air pressure?

I thought you where leaning toward the Mor Ryide pin box. What changed your mind?

Looks good one there.

John
Hey John..

There is a schrader valve on the under-side of the air bag. According to the instructions: "A good starting point for pressure setting is 80-100 psi. (Do Not Exceed 120 psi). If the ride is too soft, add more pressure. If the
ride is harsh, remove pressure. If the pressure adjustment cannot maintain a satisfactory ride, reposition the air spring." Now that the generator is fully installed, I will always have access to 120VAC. I have a compressor that is going to be mounted in the front compartment and will use it.

As far as choice goes, we got this $823 pin box for $150.... We couldn't pass up the deal!
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Old 11-21-2010, 06:40 PM   #11
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As far as choice goes, we got this $823 pin box for $150.... We couldn't pass up the deal!
Holy cow... Good for you!!!
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:57 PM   #12
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Gary,

WOW!!! That is a great price on the 5th Airborne pinbox. It looks great! I will look forward to hearing about your first tow with it.
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:19 PM   #13
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Gary,

WOW!!! That is a great price on the 5th Airborne pinbox. It looks great! I will look forward to hearing about your first tow with it.
I towed it home from where I installed it. That was a 36 mile trip. It did tow much better and the chucking was greatly reduced. I'm looking forward to towing it long distance, to get a real "Feel" for it!
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