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Old 10-13-2006, 11:21 AM   #41
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1964 22' Safari
SACRAMENTO , California
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Chock It Up

We just bought some brand new bright orange plastic leveling blocks, tongue chock, and yellow wheel chocks from Camping World..up till this point we had been using a couple of 1x12x 24 lengths of wood, a custom made wood wheel chock and a square of 2x4 for the tongue chock..I don't know if having all these new items will make backing up into the sites easier, but at least it's more colorful The wood leveling boards do show wear and cracks, though. So I'm hoping it'll all work when we use them at the NorCal rally next week

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Old 10-13-2006, 11:29 AM   #42
Frank S
1973 27' Overlander
peoria , Illinois
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Hi--Like moosetags I try to back in on the left, so I can see the left side of the A/S over my shoulder. Also similiar to moosetags I lay a yellow full size broom (which is stored in the rear A/S bumper) right where I want my left rear wheels to be. It is easier to back up using a line (the yellow broom handle) as a reference.--Frank S

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Old 10-13-2006, 11:32 AM   #43
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Austin (Hays County) , Texas
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Originally Posted by Streamer1
After viewing quite a few responses to the secrets of backing up, I've notice that no one has mentioned the use of a "camera system." Is it because they should not be used for such a purpose? Also, what do you do if you are a SINGLE camper with no help in sight? I backed my AS into a spot at the storage facility where we keep our trailer at, but it took me about 20 mini trips in and out of the TV to keep checking to make sure that I was never getting to close to the boat on a trailer next to me. Backing into a spot by yourself ain't easy, but it can be done. It does however take great care and patience not to damage your trailer or your neighbor's.
I really doubt that the camera is much aid except checking that no one is behind you in places like filling stations where you have to back up to get out.

I always back into the storage or camp sites solo. If I can see one side of the trailer in my mirrors or over my shoulder, I know that the other side is exactly 8' 5 1/2" away. I put the side I can see where it needs to be and the rest of the trailer follows.

That said, I do get out and check cleasrance behind when appropriate.
John W. Irwin
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Old 10-13-2006, 11:42 AM   #44
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Tee Shirts for Driver and Helper...

Helper's tee-shirt says, "Stop shouting at me!"

Driver' tee-shirt says, "I'm not shouting, D*@# It!"
Ken L
2019 Flying Cloud 27FB
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab 6.2L Max Tow
Four Corners Unit WBCCI #5783
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Old 10-13-2006, 12:10 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by klevan
Helper's tee-shirt says, "Stop shouting at me!"

Driver' tee-shirt says, "I'm not shouting, D*@# It!"
verrry funny, so true
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:59 AM   #46
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Tips for backing up trailer

#1 - Avoid backing up at all costs. Always have an escape route when you pull into an area. If you can't drive out, don't drive in.

When you have to back in, always have a spotter. My wife has gotten pretty good at it. Always survey the area you are backing into for low branches and holes.

When wife is spotter using a CB or cell phone, make sure she uses reference points i.e. fence on one side and house on the other side instead of "move to the right or move trailer to left".
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Old 08-21-2012, 12:06 PM   #47
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An ancient thread. And a fun one.

I don't use spotters while at work very much (backing 18-wheelers on drilling rig pads), but I am always more than happy when there is no "blind side" backing. The "fun ones" are when one must execute three consecutive 90-degree turns of which two are blind side.

Knowing where to start the whole process is half the battle: how to line up the rig before backing. When I'm tired I can misjudge this crucial aspect.

The tips about using cones/boxes at a parking lot are spot on: learn when one starts to follow the trailer. Crank the wheel over, start the maneuver, and then narrow down to the moment when one "brings the wheel back" a good portion of the way so that the TV is following the TT. If the TT axles are "here", then it is time to start the wheel into "following". Etc.

Different rigs will have different "moments" (distance from TV Drive Axle to TT Axle Center as determinant; then TV wheelbase, second; then TV "steering cut", third). The benefit of this sort of recreational travel is that one is not switching TV's or TT's. Practice will pay off.

As always, get out and go check. The more one does this (over time) the better one becomes in judgment. I do it all the time in travel trailer towing. I have no "pride" in making it in one set of moves. Or in not having to pull forward. Or in the shortest time. Etc.

Just yesterday was at a PATTERSON-UTI rig which was exceedingly narrow. I couldn't get around a refined products tanker as a result, and the space beyond them was not right for heading in and then turning the rig around. I'd have to back the length of the pad between housing and the derrick and then back around a tight 90. I let the tanker crew know that I'd be out of their way on an adjacent area off the pad site, but turned and ready to start. They hadn't (to my surprise) checked whether they could turn around or would have to back out. They chose the turn around which I watched in my mirrors from 300-yards away . . those guys disappeared around that corner for a full ten minutes, ha! (what is in your way on a rig pad tends to be either 20k of steel, or electrical, flammable, explosive or all of the above). And don't crush any telemetry cables while on the way. Or put the Drives across an emergency drainage. Etc.

Having walked off the area I "thought" I could get a 48' flatbed around the corner, but I in the end was able to get it far enough for the motorman to get the pallets off. Too many personal vehicles in the way, and I didn't want to find owners to move them.

Take your time. Those in a hurry while on the road . . or covering too many miles . . without proper rest breaks . . or in the dark . . just make the most likely time of TT damages an experience unnecessarily tense.

As we say, our job just consists of two things:

1] Loading & unloading
2] Everything else

The customer only cares about the first. For the most part, so does the employer. All else goes into making those times as easy as possible. As with golf, where the money is: Drive for show, putt for dough.

Arriving rested is the goal to which many details of planning and experience count heavily. That accomplished the rest is a detail.

Good luck.

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Old 08-21-2012, 03:05 PM   #48
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Gosh, I should have my wife read these, and then she will see we are not alone. She says backing in to a site is the most stressfull because...

We get out and look at our site, and discuss where I/we would like to be. It's all baby steps and at times they are really small and slow. We both get spooked a little, especially if there is a small crowd watching or waiting to pass.

This past weekend as I was backing up, there was a car waiting to pass. I had noticed the driver waving her hands trying to give some directions. I had ignored her and watched my wife - mainly because I knew what my wife was trying to do. I had no idea what the other person was trying to do. Later my wife had asked me who I was paying attention to and did I see our 'helper'. I said her and yes I saw here, but she was too far back...

Iin the end, besides being a communication issue, it is one of trust... any and all bumps and scratches will be painfull to her as well...
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:26 PM   #49
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You might want to put a different cover on it, just to preserve that last ounce of self respect.
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:10 PM   #50
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I have been a pilot, truck driver, crane operator, and boat captain,when my Wife gets out to be my spotter I can never understand her hand signals. Most I have never seen before and seldom are these hand signals ever duplicated.
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:39 PM   #51
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Backing up

When I was learning to back up, I had a friend of mine who was a rancher teach me the basics. We met at a large rv lot and he gave me tips and put me through my paces by placing a long rope on the ground and then having me back the rig next to it.

My lessons:

When possible back up so you can see the left/ drivers side of your rig and bring it close on that side.

If you can't see your spotter, stop and find them visually

Go slow

Turn the bottom of your steering wheel in the direction you want the rig to go

Make small adjustments in the wheel.

Don't be afraid to go back out and try again.

Practice in a large lot - it really helps

Only get help from spotters you trust.

When in doubt, pause, get out, and assess your position and then adjust.

Don't be embarrassed. Take your time and try again if you feel your position is wrong
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:21 PM   #52
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OK, seriously now.

All the various hand signals and verbal signals (not to mention the guys who show up to help the little lady out) just add to the chaos. We use walkie talkies and all I hear is "tail to the Left" ''Tail to the right" (Sometimes I hear " your other right" but that is a personal problem I'm working on.)

Those two commands seem to do it for us: the rest is just remembering that when you put a turn IN, you must also take that turn OUT or you end up looking at your trailer taillights out the side window. Airplane drivers have what they call a "standard Turn" It helps your spotter if the driver starts that first "tail to the left" about the same each time. going slowly, she can judge the effect and call for a steeper or shallower turn...

...and those other helpful fellows with all the rotational hand gestures??--Ignore all of them and dance with the one you brung.
TAC AL-26 WBCCI 2626

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Old 08-22-2012, 09:46 AM   #53
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Walkerton , Virginia
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When we pull up to a site, both of us get out and decide where we want to be. After checking overhead, I'll tell Page where I want the back bumper to be, then I follow her signals. No shouting, ever, and I trust her completely. When a neighbor tries to help, I just explain that we have our own system, and thanks so much.

Her signals are simple - just point which direction the back end should go. I take care of the rest.

The people who tickle me the most are the ones who signal by making big rotating motions with their arms. What the heck....?

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

AIR 3987
WBCCI 4596
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:59 AM   #54
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Send a message via Skype™ to chromis
Don't forgot to look forward occasionally and see where your front bumper is going as well...

My car bumper kissed a pine tree in Myrtle Beach state park.

More importantly the trailer was fine, plastic is easier to fix than aluminium...
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:47 AM   #55
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I usually do okay when I can see where I'm going. However, we were backing up into a site one night a few weeks ago, and due to trees, rain, and near darkness, I was backing completely blind. I was relying on my wife to tell me when I needed to straighten out, but she wasn't aware I needed that information (to be fair, I hadn't needed it before, because I could see where I was going), so it didn't go very well. It didn't help that the road was very narrow. We finally got it in on the umpteenth attempt, but we realized we needed more experience with that.
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:01 PM   #56
Capt W
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Jefferson , Massachusetts
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I trust my wife exclusively as my spotter. She uses only four arm (not hand, ARM) signals that I can easily see in the rear view mirrors. If I cannot see her, I stop until she is again visible. The signals are both arms waving straight up and down from her knees to over her head for straight back, left or right arm only in the same movement for left or right and both arms crossed in front of her for stop. That's all we need. No shouting or talking. Putting our AS in our long narrow driveway (120' long by 11' wide has given us the confidence we need.
Ask me about the time we missed the "Road Closed 2 Miles Ahead" on a narrow mountain road
Wayne and Sarah

Welcome aboard, Mary Joan, the Tin Wheeler
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:02 PM   #57
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I learned to back up and hitch solo- my partner both agreed that it was better if I did it alone! I got pretty good at it. The Tundra was longer and made it a bit of a chore to control where the trailer was going when backing. The new Pilot is shorter and turns a lot more quickly, and it is a lot easier to back and maneuver.
Wherever you go, there you are
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:07 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by FreshAir View Post
My lovely wife gets too panicky to direct me with backing up. When I really need her I tell her to just tell me when I am about to hit something. Now if I can just make her understand to stand so that I can see her in the rear view mirrors. I still love her. And no I did not say that for when she reads this post. She doesn't read this forum.
My husband is a brilliant backer upper and has gotten us into some amazing sites because he can. That said, we had exactly the same problem. I could never seem to tell him what to do next in a way that he understood and frankly, I really didn't get it. And,...I was never in the right place for him to see me. So, about 4 years into this adventure, as I watched him jump in and out of the truck to see where he was, I had a revelation. How about I drive and you tell me which way and how far to turn. The first time we tried this we totally nailed it so from now on, that's how we get backed into tight spots. He has the better sense of geometry but I can follow directions and I totally trust him to guide me.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:08 AM   #59
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1. Learn to back using your mirrors (like truckers do)
2. Go slow.
3. Get out and look.
4. Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and push the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go.
5. Go slow.

My Tundra has a rear view camera where I can see the trailer hitch. I use that to back the ball to the coupler.
The camera is so wide angle that it allows me to see cross traffic when I'm backing out of a parking space and can't see oncoming traffic.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:29 PM   #60
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-Walkie talkies...saves the yelling and no worries about cell service
-No hand signals, can’t always see her, no right side, left side commands because who’s right or left are we talking about.
-Instead my wife tells me “Drivers side” or Passenger side”. I clearly know towards which side she is telling me to maneuver. Best lesson I ever learned. Zero mistakes.
-Hand on the bottom of the wheel, push towards the direction you want the tail of the trailer to go.

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On
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