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Old 04-08-2015, 12:06 PM   #1
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Do you know your TV and A/S turning ratios?

Hi all:

NINE days....in NINE days, my beautiful A/S is arriving from Sausalito California to my uniquely shaped driveway. So, my question to all those experts out there is:
Do you know how to figure out the turning ratio of a truck and A/S? I am trying to not lose sleep wondering it it will make the turn into the driveway.
There's more than one sharp turn in my driveway because of the way it's set back from the road, and it splits off from my neighbour.

Would love some input. I like my sleep! I'm much nicer when I have it.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:24 PM   #2
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Very difficult question to answer because it depends a lot on the tow vehicle, but I will tell you with most any typical tow vehicle you can turn a 30 footer around in a normal sized culdesac (SP?).
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:19 PM   #3
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The simple turning radius is not going to answer your question. The width of the driveway comes into consideration as a trailer does not follow the TVs tracks.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:23 PM   #4
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I think the only way to know is to spend some time in a parking driving around in circles.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:39 PM   #5
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Do NOT back in by yourself. please have a "spotter" and when backing, turn down/off the trailer brakes.

As posted, you cannot ml know the "radius of the turn" but it will be dependent upon your skill and TV as to how the trailer will repond. I back my 34' on a 45 degree angle to the street and use about 12-16' of the width on side of house.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:52 PM   #6
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Some times there is no alternative to backing by one's self. It is a valuable skill that everyone in the trailer needs to develop. Frequently get out and look at your position and progress. It is not a race.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:58 PM   #7
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You may question this at first but the longer a trailer is the easier it is to back up. It all comes down to reaction time.

If there are trees involved make sure you watch your outside front fender on the TV. They have a habit of kissing the tree you did not see as you attempt to straighten the combination out.
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:24 PM   #8
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The turning radius of my rig (27' FB plus F-250 Crew Cab with Extended bed) is basically Arizona.

Seriously, though, the advice you have been given about going to a large empty parking lot and practicing a variety of maneuvers is very sound. Also, make sure you have a spotting partner to help keep you from damaging something. My wife and I use walkie-talkies which we find more helpful than hand signals or yelling.
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwf View Post
Do NOT back in by yourself. please have a "spotter" and when backing, turn down/off the trailer brakes.

As posted, you cannot ml know the "radius of the turn" but it will be dependent upon your skill and TV as to how the trailer will repond. I back my 34' on a 45 degree angle to the street and use about 12-16' of the width on side of house.
Agreed on the use of a spotter. Prior to us both carrying cell phones without roaming restrictions, we used to use two way radios. Saved a lot of yelling and if Patty got out of my sight, I'd still know where I was going.

Practice is what you need. I remember when I got my first travel trailer, I went up to a business that was closed on Sunday. I took two plastic trash cans with brooms placed in them. With that I set up backing points with the trash cans. If I screwed up, the trash can tipped over and no harm was done. Today I prefer back in sites. At home I have to navigate a cul-de-sac and back into my drive which is on the cup-de-sac. It took a few times to figure the angles but it's pretty much cut and dry today. I know the spots, when to turn and the angles. I can back the trailer into the drive without the trailer or tow vehicle tires ever touching the center island curb.

One thing I am curious about is the statement about turning down or off the trailer brakes. I've been towing with electric trailer brakes since 1982 and I never have had any issues with trailer brakes when backing. Is there an issue here that I never have experienced?

Jack
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:05 PM   #10
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One thing I am curious about is the statement about turning down or off the trailer brakes. I've been towing with electric trailer brakes since 1982 and I never have had any issues with trailer brakes when backing. Is there an issue here that I never have experienced?

Jack
There is NO REASON to turn the trailer brakes off. They come in handy when backing down a hill.

Trailer brakes work in both directions. While they are designed to apply more force while going forward you still need them while backing.

If you are question your ability to back up a trailer start with this exorcize. Find a large parking lot, most commercial lots are empty on the weekends. Drive along one side of the lot, about 20 ft. off the edge of the lot on the drivers side, for a couple hundred feet to the far end. Now back the trailer up all the way to where you started keeping the trailer 20 ft off the edge. Once you can do this comfortably do it on the passenger side. If the lot has parking spots marked off, drive down one of the isles and back into a spot on the drivers side. I say drivers side because it is easier to control a trailer while backing to that side. Then try backing into a spot on the "Blind Side", passenger side.
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
If you are question your ability to back up a trailer start with this exorcize. Find a large parking lot, most commercial lots are empty on the weekends. Drive along one side of the lot, about 20 ft. off the edge of the lot on the drivers side, for a couple hundred feet to the far end. Now back the trailer up all the way to where you started keeping the trailer 20 ft off the edge.
Very good advice! Being able to back the trailer straight for a couple hundred feet goes a long way towards preparing you to back it up while turning. DO NOT underestimate the difficulty of backing up straight or the value of being able to do so competently!
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:06 PM   #12
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Having backed into dozens of spots in truck stops (about 3' on each side) and many campgrounds IMO one does not want to use a spotter. Simply learn the technique, and do it very slowly. In some campgrounds where the space is irregular, poorly marked, I.e., difficult to see landmarks while backing, I will often get out and check where things are. This would be like an irregular drive.

The previous advice is good especially about making certain the TV nose does not hook a tree.

Not using a spotter for me means if I hit something it is all my fault. If I rely on my spotter and hit something.....difficult time.

Good luck


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Old 04-08-2015, 08:32 PM   #13
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You've all made me feel a little bit better about being a real newbie.
My biggest concern is causing an accident or hurting someone.

I will be taking the A/S down to the town beach parking lot for LOTS of practise.

Now if only the 100 year old maples weren't lining the driveway!

Thank you so much!
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:41 PM   #14
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KiraR - my wife and I spent our first weekend with our trailer at a local Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training center that offered an RV Safe Drivers course. 80% of the exercises were backing up (which told us the going forward part was going to be easier than expected :-) ).

Highly recommended!!

Good luck!
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