View Full Version : Backing 5th wheel up a driveway

05-16-2021, 06:11 AM
Good day - I'm in the market for my first 5th wheel and have a few concerns I want to run past you.

I have a '21 Silverado 3500 HD Diesel SRW short bed (6.5ft)

I want to purchase a 2013 Keystone Cougar 330 that measure at 37' length and about 13K GVW.

1) should I have any concerns backing it up my driveway incline with the transmission, etc. or should it be an easy day? Do I put it in 4WD for more traction or leave it in 2WD in reverse?

2) should I have concern about the bottom of the 5th wheel backend scraping the driveway before the wheels/axel get to the incline angle?

3) should I get a slider hitch to help with such a tight turn/incline in/out of my driveway?

Thanks for any thoughts and considerations I may be missing.

05-16-2021, 09:42 AM
John, first things first, thanks for your service. Second, welcome to the forum, and lastly, I don't see a problem at all with the slope of your driveway. You will only get an answer to the slider hitch by researching on this site and judging for yourself. There is no 'pat answer' by the way, contrary to what you may read here and there.

05-16-2021, 09:59 AM
Thank you very much for the warm welcome and informative response. I'm excited to pull the trigger and get started with memory making for our family, and less concerned now than I was previously about getting so consumed in the logistics of it.


05-16-2021, 10:19 AM
Your driveway should not be a problem at all.

I would recommend an auto slider for the short bed. It will remove all worries when backing in a tight turn.

Happy camping.

05-24-2021, 04:19 PM
Might be rough first few times. Go slow. Small inputs and youíll be fine. The centre of the rear axle wheels are your pivot point not the back of the trailer. ;). I have the 2019 Sierra 3500 HD dually and a 40í Raptor Toyhauler and I back up a 230í tree lined, slightly curved 15 degree incline lane every so often just to test my skills (and attend the in-laws). First two times I had to listen to Ďadviceí, took forever. Now itís a 10 min thing. Makes pretty much every other place we go look flat.

05-24-2021, 05:27 PM
You have a fine tow vehicle. That's TV in RV terminology. For about six months I thought people were talking about my television and it didn't make sense that people were pulling a trailer with that. To the point: If you have 4WD, put that thing in 4low and it will creep up your driveway like a Caterpillar! I always use 4 low when I'm parking or have to deal with any slope. It's geared very low so it moves slow and you can move carefully but with lots of torque and traction. For hitches, you have many choices, and you will hear lots of opinions, some of them will even be good! I've been around so I'll tell you this: Some folks say you can turn 90 degrees without a slider, in a short bed. These are the same folks who tell you "I can't even tell the trailer is back there!" I'm sure someone has done it, once, but don't take the chance. I have an Andersen "pyramid" hitch which brings the ball up to pin height and you add a ball cup adapter to the pin. These have seen some controversy in that they are not approved by the trailer manufacturer or were approved and then they changed their minds. The hitch is also made of aluminum which scares some ignorant folks who think beer can when they see aluminum. As a former USAF aircraft structures maintainer, an aviation enthusiast and have degrees in metals tech and professional aeronautics, I can tell you that aluminum is just fine when it's engineered for its intended use. The only drawback to a traditional Curt or B&W 5th wheel hitch is the weight of it when you have to remove it and the rails that stay behind can restrict your use of the truck bed. To avoid experimentation and possible controversy, go ahead and get a traditional slider and you won't have any problems with it. Message me with any other questions. I have RV experience but certainly do not know everything. I will never lie to you and I know how to say "I don't know" if I don't know something. I have good forums and other resources that can help with most any issue.

05-24-2021, 05:31 PM
GenY Executive Gooseneck baby!!!

05-24-2021, 07:24 PM
I too have a driveway that is up hill and looks similar to your incline and I don't have a problem. Based on your pictures, it would appear not be a problem for you.

My tv has a standard bed which is 6.5 ft. The rv dealer wasn't very convincing that I wouldn't have a problem. "Probably " wasn't the advise I was looking for. I was sure I needed to get a slider hitch until I discovered the Sidewinder king pin. Less moving parts than a slider and that appealed to me. I combined with a B&W Companion hitch. I am very happy with this combo. Obviously there are pros and cons to everything. This is another option to consider as you do your research.

Best wishes with your decision.

05-24-2021, 08:06 PM
Welcome aboard and thanks for your service. Keep digging. Iíve never heard anyone say ďI wish Iíd done less research.Ē If I put my truck in 4WD it hops like a bunny when I turn the wheel. Of course itís a Ram 3500 dually so why should I expect anything less? There is one park we frequent that has an extreme grade to get to the sites we like so I make my turn then stop and put it in 4WD low and it walks right on up even when itís wet.
Good luck,

05-24-2021, 08:25 PM
I had my trans start to heat up backing mine up a steep driveway and talked to the transmission shop and they told me to put it in 4wheel low and I didn't have any more problems. And easier on truck

terry and jo
06-01-2021, 12:04 PM
From what I can tell from your pictures, I kind of agree that you shouldn't have any issue with dragging of the rear of the trailer as you back up. That said, it depends on the "transition" area from the street to the driveway. That part of the driveway isn't too plain to me in the pictures. Just have a "spotter" standing towards the back of the trailer the first time you attempt the driveway.

I strongly recommend a slider hitch if you are going to stay with the short bed pickup. I've seen the corner of a fifth wheel take out the rear window of a pickup before when the guy didn't have a slider.

Now for the hard part. With regards to weights, go to your truck dealer and have them get you the vehicle's Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) and the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for your specific truck. A lot of the information needed to get those numbers are on your "data plate" at the driver's side door. GCWR is the combined weight of your truck and trailer at their heaviest. GAWR is the top limit of weight for the rear axle. Don't exceed either of those ratings. For your GCWR, take your truck to someplace to get it weighed with full fuel, passengers expected, and any other cargo that you plan to carry in the pickup. That will give you the actual maximum weight of your truck for calculating for GCWR. Then add the manufacturer's GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the trailer to the weight you got of the pickup and you have your gross combined weight.

My concern for the weight is because you have the single rear wheel axle.


fjr vfr
06-12-2021, 02:21 PM
Personally I don't know how a transmission could overheat backing in reverse? Reverse gear is so very low geared and you're moving at something like 2 mph.
My current truck is 2wd and my driveway is steeper than yours. I have a 6'4" standard bed truck. I bought a manual slider hitch and after 5 years traveling coast to coast and shorter trips every year have not used the hitch in the slide position. My trailer, like most today has a rounded nose. I'm backing up hill into my driveway at a full, (and sometimes past) 90 degrees and haven't been close to hitting the cab.
Also my previous 4wd truck would jump and hop cornering on dry pavement. The owners manual even stated to not use 4wd on dry pavement.
Now after saying all that, here's the disclaimer. This is my experience and your results may vary....lol
I would think a 2wd truck should level out better connected to a 5th wheel and hence less susceptible to a clearance issue than a 4wd truck. So your situation may be a little different? I had a bumper pull trailer I pulled with my previous 4wd truck.
Oh, one more thing, I've been dragging trailers around for decades and I do know it's back there even if it sometimes it doesn't feel like it.
I was a motor pool Sargent and did a lot of recovery work with my army wrecker, although a long time ago...I'm very old...lol I also worked as a truck mechanic back in the mid 60's. As I said, I'm old...ha