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Jaws on Reese 16K 5th Wheel Trailer Hitch Will Not Close Around the Trailer King Pin

Question:

We just purchased the reese 16k #30051 and we can not get the rv to latch. Husband is getting pretty upset. Hope you can help.

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Expert Reply:

The jaws on a new 5th wheel hitch can be pretty stiff to the point where you would have to physically close the handle and jaws yourself. If the jaw opens and closes like it should without a trailer present then this is likely the issue and it will get better.

If you are using a lube plate with the trailer/hitch then that might be causing the king pin to not seat down far enough. You could use grease instead of the lube plate or use approved lube plate # RP83002.

It may also be binding up and moving the truck slightly forward or backward could help relieve that tension. Also, make sure that when hooking up, the hitch head is angled towards the back of the truck and that the trailer king pin ramps up into the hitch jaws so that it seats properly. The jaws need to be going around the narrow part of the king pin.

If the jaws are not opening and closing freely with no trailer present then there could be something wrong in the head (a spring for example). Or it may need to be lubricated. I have linked instructions to the right. Take a look at the hitching procedure section and make sure you are following this procedure. If you are and the jaws still will not close properly around the king pin then there is likely an issue inside the head of the hitch.

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