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Old 01-01-2019, 12:33 PM   #1
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Lining it up without a trailer caster

As a TT noob, I'm not new to towing....towed things like motorcycles, car trailers, boats etc... ALL of the things I've towed, the trailer always had a drop down caster wheel to "position" the trailer "over" the ball, drop....and off we went.

So I was thinking about the logistics and it dawned on me that the AS doesn't have this. My TV (2016 Yukon XL) has a backup camera I "think" that will make the job easy enough, does anyone ever "add" a caster wheel to help move it into position on a LEVEL surface? Does it make any sense to do such a thing for being able to simply drop the AS on the hitch instead of playing the back and forth left/right game with the TV?

Seems like that would be an "easier" option, but not exactly sure if it makes sense to add or not?

Search engine isn't as helpful as I'd thought, or I'm just looking or asking it the wrong thing...

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:41 PM   #2
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Hi Chris.

The problem with a caster on the tongue jack is that you will have no effective brakes on the trailer. With anything other than completely level, that would be a huge liability.

Also consider that these larger trailers are upwards of 4k-9k lbs, with ~1k tongue weights. Casually pushing around the tongue to line things up is not going to happen.

Best practice is to play the TV back and forth game. Don't worry, you'll get very good in time, especially with a camera. Even better with a spotter.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:56 PM   #3
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While a bak-up camera is great, the best option is a trusted copilot you can guide you back until the ball and hitch are aligned.

Just make sure you agree in advance as to the hand signals. 👈🏻 👉🏻 ✋🏻 🙌🏻 🙏🏻
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:57 PM   #4
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Camera should help. We don't currently have a camera so can't say for sure.

Not all spotters are the same - a spouse/significant other may do a good job as a spotter but you'll need to agree on hand signals so you can understand each other.

My method is to do it by myself - I back up, stop short, get out check the distance and whether I'm centered, back up a bit more, steer if needed, get out and check again, repeat as needed. I very seldom have to pull forward and start over.

As pteck mentioned, the wheel/caster on the jack is not a good idea.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:10 PM   #5
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^^^^^ x2

Well said, Lucius.

Once you have done it a few times, it gets easier, like riding a bike.

Very easy to over-think this . . .

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Old 01-01-2019, 01:40 PM   #6
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I made an anti divorce device for hitching.

It’s a blind spot mirror on the tongue jack and I view it from truck rear view. Allows pretty good view when I’m about 4’ out and closer. Added yellow reflective tape on hitch components to help guide.

Still married.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
... My method is to do it by myself - I back up, stop short, get out check the distance and whether I'm centered, back up a bit more, steer if needed, get out and check again, repeat as needed. I very seldom have to pull forward and start over.

As pteck mentioned, the wheel/caster on the jack is not a good idea.
It's very easy to do it by yourself without cameras or help.

First, control your breathing and say your personal mantra.

Next, get a clear visual image of the hitch and coupler. Continue your slow breathing. Slowly place your vehicle in gear and loosely grip the steering wheel.

Repeat your mantra. Close your eyes. In your mind, reach out and touch the coupler. Be the coupler.

Slowly release the brakes. Visualize the hitch ball approaching the coupler.

You will know when the ball is perfectly positioned under the coupler. Set the brake and exit the vehicle.

Be sure to properly latch the coupler before driving forward.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:56 PM   #8
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I had a B/U camera on the Burb but the Hitch'n Rods work better for me...locates both the AS & the reciever.
Plus O' rings will help with the height 👍

Bob
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:14 PM   #9
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You cannot move the tongue of an Airsyream around by hand. With the backup camera, you will be right on target. Simple.
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
It's very easy to do it by yourself without cameras or help.



First, control your breathing and say your personal mantra.



Next, get a clear visual image of the hitch and coupler. Continue your slow breathing. Slowly place your vehicle in gear and loosely grip the steering wheel.



Repeat your mantra. Close your eyes. In your mind, reach out and touch the coupler. Be the coupler.



Slowly release the brakes. Visualize the hitch ball approaching the coupler.



You will know when the ball is perfectly positioned under the coupler. Set the brake and exit the vehicle.



Be sure to properly latch the coupler before driving forward.


Zen and the art of trailer coupling!

We have a backup camera because I am not “One with the ball and coupler”. 🤣
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:41 PM   #11
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Seems pretty clear and a consensus, thanks to all for the feedback. Wife and I will work out the signaling and there will be plenty of practice....LOL.

Happy new year to all.

Chris
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:49 PM   #12
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I use the tennis ball on radio antenna looking things to hookup solo with no problems. Haven't dinged up a bumper, yet.
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Old 01-01-2019, 05:03 PM   #13
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Before back-up cameras I used the 2 magnetic poles to help with alignment. They worked pretty well but after doing it a few times I got pretty good of centering myself just using my side view mirrors. Now I just mean "pretty good". Most of the time It took me a few shots to get it right but I preferred doing it myself to a human guide. Haven't used the poles for many years. Now I have a back-up camera and that really takes the guesswork out of it. It's no FUN anymore took all the challenge out of it.
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:26 PM   #14
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Lining it up without a trailer caster

Greetings Chris!

I have towed my travel trailers solo since 1980, and found that I prefer to do the hitching solo. Over the years, I have had several magnetic, convex mirrors that attach to the "A-Frame" hitch and provide a view of the coupler and the trailer hitch that make it possible to line up the two with minimal trouble. The hitching mirror that I now utilize is quite similar to this one offered by Camping World.


Good luck with your investigation!


Kevin
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