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Thread: I dropped my 303

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    I dropped my 303

    I dropped my 303 Friday morning as we were leaving the campground. The cause was simple, I forgot to padlock the hitch latch closed as usual, just a dangerous, stupid error. We had been out camping all summer covering 8000+ miles and were heading home on the last short leg of the trip. I pulled out of the camping spot making almost a 180 degree turn onto the exit road. I heard an unusual noise and decided to test the trailer brakes to make sure everything was tightly connected. Bad decision. I watched in the rear view mirror as the trailer pulled out of the truck followed by a loud noise. We were barely moving and, when I stopped, we were close enough that the umbilical to the truck was still attached and not stretched. The tailgate was lying in the road between the truck and trailer and the trailer was sitting (kneeling?) on its front leveling jacks. After looking at the damages, I believe that the king pin pulled out of the hitch, the rv came down on the truck siderails (minor denting), and then ripped the tailgate on out as it was falling down. The emergency brake sensor pulled and I believe the RV had stopped moving before it hit the ground (no skid marks or distortion on the snap-pads). After some work, we managed to get the tailgate into the back seat of the truck and rehitch. To my surprise, there was enough throw in the front jacks to take the pin up above the hitch and I was able to hitch up as usual - yes, this time carefully padlocking the hitch closed. We had an uneventful rest of the trip and arrived home about an hour later than expected, of course with a heck of a mess to clean up. On inspection, I canít find any significant damage to the camper. The leveling jacks work as before. The only other part of the camper to touch the ground was a corner of the frame that holds the stairs into the camper. The stairs still go in and out but with a bit more friction and I will need to straighten that slightly. My question to learned members of the forum is what should I be looking for and how can I make sure I donít miss any problems? There is no obvious damage to the beams or welds or structure in the front of the unit where it landed. My working assumption is that the tailgate basically took one for the team and cushioned the fall as it ripped completely out the back of the truck. The body shop will fix the truck. I hope I donít need similar work on the RV but want to be as sure as practical.
    2018 Reflection 303rls
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    Check the front jack mounting brackets where they attach to the frame. That is where all of the force is applied when a trailer is dropped.

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    Don't we all do a "tug test" before we pull out ?

    ...VTX-Al

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    I have a pullrite superglide. There is no place to put a padlock.
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    Site Team D2Reid's Avatar
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    Like a lot of things in life there are two categories, those that have, and those that will. It sounds like you got off with minimal damage. It's good to have professionals evaluate you trailer for cracks in the frame and damage to the landing gear, but in reality, they are pretty strong will handle some abuse.

    After 8 years of doing this I am still in the "it will happen some day" category. I tug test, I don't have a padlock but I do have a hitch pin that requires effort. I have a special flashlight in the bed of the truck solely for the purpose of observing the hitch latch position before hooking up wiring.

    Sorry about the tail gate. Glad it wasn't worse.
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    Wow hopefully the trailer is fine. Thank you for sharing and it's a good reminder for all of us to double check everything when hitching up. This is my biggest fear with my trailer. With almost 4000 pounds of pin weight I cringe to think
    what that would do to the truck and the landing gear!!
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    Well, that sucks. There are probably things hidden to check out. @2hams dropped their 303 but it was a more violent drop as they were driving down the freeway. They may have advice what to look at that you might not otherwise think of.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTX-AL View Post
    Don't we all do a "tug test" before we pull out ?

    ...VTX-Al
    To be clear, a test pull doesn’t solve the problem. The hitch was completely closed as usual around the pin and the test pull works just fine. The retaining pin which locks the hitch closed was what was missing (I use a padlock). I assume it was the 180 degree turn that worked the jaws open since they weren’t locked closed. The good news from that is it happened in the campground, not on the freeway. I was surprised by how fast the pin left the hitch in human reaction terms. My conclusion was if you test pull without the jacks down, it will be hard to avoid damage if there is an issue with the hitching.
    2018 Reflection 303rls
    2017 Ford F-350 CC SB SRW 6.7L Diesel
    Blue Ox Super Ride hitch

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    Something we have all done many many times over can be easy to miss that one step which causes an issue. This could happen to any of us. Hope there wasn't any structural damage and thank you for sharing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew View Post
    To be clear, a test pull doesn’t solve the problem. The hitch was completely closed as usual around the pin and the test pull works just fine. The retaining pin which locks the hitch closed was what was missing (I use a padlock). I assume it was the 180 degree turn that worked the jaws open since they weren’t locked closed. The good news from that is it happened in the campground, not on the freeway. I was surprised by how fast the pin left the hitch in human reaction terms. My conclusion was if you test pull without the jacks down, it will be hard to avoid damage if there is an issue with the hitching.
    I hear ya !! My comment was meant to be a little "tongue in cheek" , hence the rolling eyes smiley.

    ...VTX-Al

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