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Old 10-24-2005, 10:21 PM   #21
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Once it's pointed toward where you want it to go you have to start unwinding the turn, that is correcting to straigthen out. As long as the front wheels are in a turn the trailer will continue to move to a sharper angle with the truck. It takes trial and error to get a feeling for when and how much to start correcting. The guy in tha back is in charge, like in a canoe. Real test spousal patiences.
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Old 10-24-2005, 10:47 PM   #22
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Over59's point is a good one, and others also made great points. Practice backing in a straight line and getting comfortable with the minor adjustments needed to keep going straight. In a real situation, pull well ahead of the spot, make sure your trailer and TV are straight, and back up gently. Picture where your trailer wheels are and, relying mostly on mirrors, begin a gentle turn (hand on the bottom of the wheel, at least for beginners). Once you get the right arc going, just keep pushing things around that same arc - don't try to sharpen it. Start straightening again just prior to your trailer being on a straight path into the spot.

On another point, I got myself into a jam in the Refugio campground near Santa Barbara trying to get out of a spot I had entered quite smoothly three days earlier. The applause I got the first day was gone and a small crowd began to watch as my wife and I went back-and-forth, getting ever closer to a large palm and some hanging branches of another tree. Thank God we were using the radios - our marriage would probably have ended right there. The final shameless solution: I unhitched my truck entirely, repositioned myself so I was at about a 60 degree angle to the trailer, hithced up again, and we pulled out without a problem.

The moral: The natural inclination is to hitch up with your truck and trailer in a straight line, but there are situations where starting at an angle will work far better.
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:35 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by cammur
The moral: The natural inclination is to hitch up with your truck and trailer in a straight line, but there are situations where starting at an angle will work far better.

Amen! ... "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken."
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Old 10-25-2005, 09:33 PM   #24
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Wow, lots of good advice here. I guess it's too late to suggest that you grow up on a farm. That's where I learned to back up a trailer, sometimes a baler with a wagon behind it.

If the site looks like it will be a challenge to get into, or if there are a lot of obstacles I usually walk around it first so I'm familiar with where the fire pit, picnic table, trees, etc, are. Also look for overhanging branches. Often I'll get out and take another look when I'm backing in, just to make sure I'm on track.

Sometimes it's easier to back in from one direction than the other. In many cases you can ignore the One Way signs in the park and approach the site from the direction that suits you.

One of the most important things is to stay calm. If you've got an audience and things aren't going well it just makes it worse to get flustered. Take a deep breath, get out and look, think about where you want the trailer to be and take your time. Most of the people watching you are probably glad they're not trying to do it.

Practice with someone helping you, and without. You need to be ready to do it on your own. For me the only difference in having my wife direct me is that it saves me getting out to look. If I'm on my own and it's a tight spot I'll get out and look several times to make sure I'm on track and not going to hit something.

I never let anyone other than my wife direct me. Last July I let a worker at the camp site direct me into a site and I came within an inch of hitting a picnic shelter which would have dented the trailer and bent an awning arm. While directing me back he was only watching one side of the trailer, the drivers side which I could already see. I thought he was checking the other side too but when we both looked at how close I was to the roof overhang of the picnic shelter he admitted that he wasn't watching that side because he thought there was lots of room. The awning arm was touching the shelter, but not with enough pressure to damage it. Now I trust my wife, and no one else.
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Old 10-26-2005, 09:28 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by DavidsonOverlander
Wow, lots of good advice here.
Grant good stuff, especially on the backing help. I've posted this before but my only backing accident came when someone attempted to help me and distracted me from Patty's advice. Thankfully I didn't damage the trailer but I did put a small crease on the TV door on the passenger side. So if you see me backing up, thanks for the offer but I don't need any help if Patty is back there directing things.

Other things to consider backing. Think about the hookups. Some campgrounds have a nasty habit of putting that sewer hookup way to far towards the front of the site. My 20' hose has saved me many times there. Also watch that curb side and make sure you have enough clearance from trees and shelters. (Something you always remember too late since I know from my standpoint the awing is one of the last things I do on setup). And finally for you slide out folks make sure you clear the utility posts and other vegetation on that street side.

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Old 10-26-2005, 10:52 AM   #26
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Greetings.

A few things that I have learned:

1) Make sure that the site you pull into is not a reservable site, unless of course you are the one that reserved it.

I know this is obvious, BUT, it happened to me a few trips ago: The sign on the site number post was angled just so, and it appeared to me to be a non-reservable site. WRONG. I found this out after leveling, awning out, and pluged in. And it was about 95 degrees outside...

2) As mentioned from posts above, check out the lay of the site so you have a mental picture of where you are heading, and obsticles you may encounter. How will the awning(s) open? And one thing to be aware of: are there any tell-tale giant seed-ball things in the site? A sign that some tree will have a field day with your exterior.

3) It is a good idea to anticipate how you are going to have to level out your rig. I too often forget to take into account front and back level-atude. When leveling front to back, you may or may not be able to use the jack stand (trumpet looking thing), which is when a piece of 2x6 comes in handy. I see at campgrounds where it looks like some of the folks camping almost have the tongues of their trailer's on the ground, just to get level. I carry a small torpedo level with me to check this.On most of my trips, I travel alone, until I pick up the Mrs. from the train to join me. So I'm on my own as far as getting into a spot. So far very few problems....

4) Before pulling in to a spot that has hook-up(s) I use a small electric tester to make sure that there is actually power going to the electric panel. I've been to some sites where it looked like someone drove off the site still connected to the box!!! Sometimes if the 30amp socketed is busted, the 15amp may still be OK. If you are not using the aircond. 15 amp may be OK.

5) And on the subject of electric, I bought and have used more often than I thought a 25' 30amp extension cord. We have been to sites where the power is on the curb-side, in between our site and the next. This extension has proven invalueable. I kiss and hug it every time I use it. Sometimes I will even sing some obscure medley of geat jazz standards to it. This creates quite a scene at the campground. Familys will keep their kids away when you do this. Just don't try it if you are actually connected!

Jonathan
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Old 10-26-2005, 10:54 AM   #27
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Cindy, I have a 27' International and try to always get a pull-through space. I think that men are born knowing how to back a trailer, I have a horrible time of it. I think that practice backing on a parking lot is a good idea. Also, no one told me this and I learned by experience, don't back with your sway bars on, take them off. Get some walkie-talkies and a sister to help you. Have fun, it is well woth the effort. K
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Old 10-28-2005, 03:26 AM   #28
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You turn the wheel in the opposite direction of where you want the end of the trailer to go. Just the opposite from when you have no trailer attached to your tow vehicle. I don't back up too often and find out I have to unlearn this practice.

Go slow.
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Old 10-28-2005, 05:16 AM   #29
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All excellent advise! Having a spotter is an absolute must. Radio's help allot, spotters never seem to stand where you can see them. When I park my trailer I back into a shop, the door is on the north side of the building, it is like backing into a black cave. Before I started using FRS radio's I could never see the spotter.

Have the spotter practice backing with you, they have to learn that they have to give enough room/time to change the direction of backing the trailer, and left is the drivers left etc. I agree with learn to back with the mirrors, I find it much easier that way. Also, you will notice the jackknife condition sooner. I never learned with the hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, even though it might work. I was one of the driving a tractor etc. as soon as you could push the clutch in farm type kid.

When I am helping folks back who are unsure of themselves I tell them to dial in some 'crook' between the tow vehicle and the trailer, maintain it or 'chase it' and then overtake it. I think one thing I think about when backing is steering the front of the trailer with the back of the truck (or the south end of a northbound horse).

Mostly, the practice helps allot.

All-in-all go-for-it!

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Old 01-03-2006, 03:37 PM   #30
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My wife is always spotting me, even when I don't think I need it. If I can't see her in the mirror then I don't move. She drives when we hook up. I never talk to her only give her hand signals. Point to the left and she turns the wheel left, to the right and the wheel goes right. We most always put it on the ball the first time. She backs very slowly and we can make the necessary corrections. The two way and cb are useless inside the dodge cummins. My last back-in to a site us most always a straight back. This allows her to check for level and get me close to my hook-ups.
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Old 01-03-2006, 06:30 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipso_facto
You turn the wheel in the opposite direction of where you want the end of the trailer to go. Just the opposite from when you have no trailer attached to your tow vehicle. I don't back up too often and find out I have to unlearn this practice.

Go slow.
Put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, and move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. Again, a little turn on the wheel goes a long way at the back of the trailer.
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Old 01-08-2006, 08:57 PM   #32
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I agree with UWE.

I got a pair of Walkie-Talkies for the wife and I after our first experience in backing up our Safari 25. She couldn't yell loud enough for me to hear her!

Best tool for backin up. LOL.

R/
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Old 01-08-2006, 09:22 PM   #33
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hi all, so not any person should feel badly about the hours of practice it takes, i have tried and tried with my 16 foot bambi and have yet to master it. it is a single axle and turns on a dime without any direction from me,,, in other words, it has a mind of its own. practice makes perfect,,, am a woman alone, so spotters are not always available. teen age daughters have better things to do. so, off to the nearest parking lot,, planning to do some practice with a 24 footer, so we will see, dieterdog,,, donna
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Old 01-08-2006, 09:42 PM   #34
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Quote:
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hi all, so not any person should feel badly about the hours of practice it takes, i have tried and tried with my 16 foot bambi and have yet to master it. it is a single axle and turns on a dime without any direction from me,,, in other words, it has a mind of its own. practice makes perfect,,, am a woman alone, so spotters are not always available. teen age daughters have better things to do. so, off to the nearest parking lot,, planning to do some practice with a 24 footer, so we will see, dieterdog,,, donna
Donna,
Don't feel bad.
Even though I got pretty efficient backing up my tandem axle Airstreams, a rented utility trailer made me seriously doubt my driving skills. A 16ft single axle will be very squirmish while backing up. It's not you....
My best advice would be to take it at very slow speeds, and just get out annd look where it's going. Eventually you will get the vibe of how it likes to be backed up.
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Old 01-09-2006, 12:00 AM   #35
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All of this is awesome advice.

I guess I did good growing up with a 31 foot AS at home all of the time.
I learned when I was 15. My mom and dad have a LONG driveway. The trailer always went to the very back.
My dad would give us all a rite of passage at 15. All three of us boys learned on that trailer and then moved to the 1963 16' Bambi. The Bambi was harder because it would correct quicker. This is because the "pivot point" is much shorter on a smaller trailer.
I have an 12 foot utility trailer and that thing is the HARDEST to back up.
Good luck and use any empty parking lot you can find to practice.
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Old 01-09-2006, 07:23 AM   #36
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We got a set of walkie talkies also and keep them in the glove compartment at all times. I still get tense when it comes to the backup. My husband does a great job. So far with the Airstream we have not been in tight areas except our driveway. We have to dodge mailboxes, guide wires. So now we have decided when we get home we unhitch from our tv and back the trailor in with our expoder makes things a little shorter.


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