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Old 10-07-2017, 07:10 AM   #1
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Backing into narrow driveway

Hi there.
My husband & I are interested in purchasing the Airstream trailer 22 FB, but we are concerned it might not fit into our 11' 5" driveway opening, backing it in from a 20' 5" narrow street. I've researched rentals, seems nothing is out there. Would be nice if they had leasing to try it out! Is there a possible formula that exists that could be used to determine successful entry into our driveway? There is the possibility of finding someone in our area, Tarrytown NY, who owns the 22 FB trailer, offer to pay them to bring the trailer & see if they can back it into our driveway I suppose. Any suggestions would be very appreciated. The closest Airstream dealer I've found is Colonial Airstream in Lakewood NJ. Does anyone know of another dealer in the area? We would prefer some bargaining ability! Of course, would like the very best price, as they are expensive. Thank you so much.
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:21 AM   #2
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Trailer Turn Calculator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Actor101 View Post
Hi there.
My husband & I are interested in purchasing the Airstream trailer 22 FB, but we are concerned it might not fit into our 11' 5" driveway opening, backing it in from a 20' 5" narrow street. ... Is there a possible formula that exists that could be used to determine successful entry into our driveway? ...
Here is a link to a trailer turn calculator that you can try. http://toxiccelery.co.uk/Offtrack/Wh...d_to_know.html

Some people also use a trailer mover to help manage manoeuvring in tight spaces.
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:08 AM   #3
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Probably someone with trailer backing experience could eyeball it and give you a pretty good idea, without actually having to back a trailer in. Doesn’t necessarily have to be Airstream experience. Without experience yourself, you want a “piece of cake” answer, not an “oh yeh, I could back it in (emphasis on I)” answer. A friend of mine built an enclosure for me, and swished my Airstream into it first try. It still gives me chills whenever I have to back into it, off a street that is usually busy. Early Sunday mornings are the only times I’ll attempt it.
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:14 AM   #4
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Hi

The turn radius of your tow vehicle also gets into any "tight" backing situation. The calculator above is fine for a simple curve. In some cases, you will back in with a multi pass approach. (back, turn, pull forward, back again, turn, pull forward ....). There may or may not be enough room for this in your case. Angles and obstacles matter a lot in this case. Trees and fire hydrants are a bigger issue than bushes and the lawn ....

Simple question: Can a truck get into your driveway? If so how large a truck? If anything over a small pickup truck is a "no go", you likely have an issue. If the furniture delivery guy pulls up to the front door .... you are ok. How about the UPS guy? You still likely are ok.

For playing around, the local U-Haul outfit will be *very* happy to rent you a fairly large trailer to fiddle with. A lot depends on what they have in stock.

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Old 10-07-2017, 10:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
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My husband & I are interested in purchasing the Airstream trailer 22 FB, but we are concerned it might not fit into our 11' 5" driveway opening, backing it in from a 20' 5" narrow street.
You should also consider mounting a ball on the front of your truck so that you can drive right in. There are several threads on this. GL, Dave
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:37 AM   #6
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Have a 22FB, back it into a 12' wide barn no problem. Key is, how long is your driveway? Need to maneuver it so that the trailer and TT are fairly straight as you backup. Transition from the street to driveway will need to be your focus.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:49 AM   #7
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Hi

Yet another "guaranteed" way to get the trailer in: Buy an ATV and put a hitch ball and brake wires on it. You can't go very fast that way ( = it's dangerous to do so). It's a *bad* idea if you have any sort of incline. It will get a trailer into a lot of places. If this is a "twice a year" sort of thing, rent a fork lift and put a ball on it.

Yes, any of these wacky approaches will take some practice and a bit of patience.....

Bob
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Old 10-07-2017, 02:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Actor101 View Post
The closest Airstream dealer I've found is Colonial Airstream in Lakewood NJ. Does anyone know of another dealer in the area? We would prefer some bargaining ability! Of course, would like the very best price, as they are expensive. Thank you so much.
Colonial is the nearest dealer to Tarrytown, and you're likely to do fairly good on price there from what I've heard.

Have you considered a lightly used one or two year old model? You'll save quite a bit and likely get a very nice unit, which probably has had all its teething issues resolved. And someone else will have taken the initial depreciation hit.

Good luck!

Jim
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Old 10-07-2017, 02:35 PM   #9
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I'll second the recommendation for putting a receiver on the front of your tow vehicle. Then you can put a ball mount in it and drive the trailer in facing the trailer. I did this and it is MUCH easier than trying to back it in.

I got a 1000# rated caster wheel for the tongue jack to avoid putting the full tongue weight on the front suspension of the tow vehicle. I would drive to where I would start backing, put the caster wheel on the tongue jack and raise the trailer off the rear of the truck. Then I'd turn the truck around and re-hitch to the front ball. Once hitched I would lower the trailer until most of the tongue weight was on the caster and then drive it into the driveway.

Al
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:20 PM   #10
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You say you have 11'5" drive entrance. Is that just the ground width. Are there obstacles on either side right at that width. I.e. Are you trying to squeeze it between brick buildings. If you've got clear area to the sides and set back 10-15 feet you should be able to do it.
Photo would help.
Another option would be a power trailer dolly.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirstreamJim View Post
Colonial is the nearest dealer to Tarrytown, and you're likely to do fairly good on price there from what I've heard.

Have you considered a lightly used one or two year old model? You'll save quite a bit and likely get a very nice unit, which probably has had all its teething issues resolved. And someone else will have taken the initial depreciation hit.

Good luck!

Jim
Hi

My experience with multiple dealers:

Set A: You get a really good price almost immediately. From that point on, it's a back peddle process. "Of course that price didn't include wheels tires or axles ..."

Set B: You don't get a good price until you are ready to sign on the dotted line. Up to that point, you get prices with some "room".

Colonial is very much in the B category.

Another variable: If you are on the east coast and the dealer is on the west coast .... other than price, what do they have that will get you to drive cross country? In general, not much ...The drive *will* cost you something ....

Bob
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Old 10-08-2017, 11:23 AM   #12
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Rent a UHaul trailer with their insurance coverage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Actor101 View Post
Hi there.
My husband & I are interested in purchasing the Airstream trailer 22 FB, but we are concerned it might not fit into our 11' 5" driveway opening, backing it in from a 20' 5" narrow street. I've researched rentals, seems nothing is out there. Would be nice if they had leasing to try it out! Is there a possible formula that exists that could be used to determine successful entry into our driveway? There is the possibility of finding someone in our area, Tarrytown NY, who owns the 22 FB trailer, offer to pay them to bring the trailer & see if they can back it into our driveway I suppose. Any suggestions would be very appreciated. The closest Airstream dealer I've found is Colonial Airstream in Lakewood NJ. Does anyone know of another dealer in the area? We would prefer some bargaining ability! Of course, would like the very best price, as they are expensive. Thank you so much.
*******

Rent a UHaul or other similar trailer for a day. Use their ball and connect to your current tow vehicle. The Uhaul trailer ball is much smaller than the one you will use on your trailer.

Find the longest double axle trailer to work with that is available that would give you an idea. Purchase their insurance in the event you develop any 'issues' in learning to back up a trailer.

It would be cheaper and easier than finding a person willing to back THEIR Airstream in a difficult situation...

Backing up is hard to due. The shorter the trailer, the more difficult.

A warning. Some hitches and some tow vehicles at a tight angle will make contact of the tail light against the Airstream's aluminum. Just be aware of this BEFORE you discover this. The Toyota Tundra's in 2008 had 'bulging tail lights', that would dent your trailer just above the rock guard. Just check it out before discovering it too late using whatever hitch you will be planning to use.

Good luck. Reduce your caffeine intact the day you plan to do all of this. It will be frustrating, at first. Give it a year, or more, and you will be more proficient. Have your spouse... HELP YOU and DIRECT YOU as a team effort. Learn WHERE to put your hands on the steering wheel and teach yourself what happens when you are backing up and moving the steering wheel. This is learned and cannot be taught by watching or reading.

Do not be embarrassed. Do not be concerned what your neighbors think while observing you, from inside their homes, eating pop corn and you providing entertainment. You may sweat profusely at first... We all have learned. You will and right now your confidence level is down there below zero. We ALL have had to learn and... provide the video. I will provide the pop corn.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:19 PM   #13
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Sounds similar to my situation. 12' wide driveway off 20' wide side street with power pole directly beside driveway 16' back on one side and my well pump on the other side. I back my 31' in without issue. Just takes practice. As mentioned earlier go rent a uhaul car trailer and practice.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:25 PM   #14
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There are also powered trailer dollies on the market.
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