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Old 11-05-2013, 07:50 AM   #57
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spotter

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Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
I always seem to be the odd man out on this subject: "only back up using a spotter". Does everybody else out there travel with another person when they go camping ? I travel solo. When I am towing my equipment trailer, I am almost always solo. When I am pulling the horse trailer, probably half the time I am solo.

To my mind, with my style of travel anyway, a logical thing to say to someone learning this is, "learn how to back up your trailer by yourself. It will come in handy for you sooner than you think."

As to pulling into someplace where after you get in there, you realize there is no "out"....ah well...it happens to all of occasionally. Just a few weeks ago I pulled into an unfamiliar JD dealership with the 35' horse trailer on the back. Oooops....no out from that lot. Had to back out the way I came....two opposing 90 degree turns. Just remember, if you managed to come in forward, then it can go back out the same way it came in.
I thought I was the only one on here with that thought process. I NEVER use a spotter. I will get out of the truck and check if I am in a tight spot but that is always faster than somebody else trying to tell me where to go, plus the better half never gets mad that way. Just use common sense. If in doubt check it out IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:02 AM   #58
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What are "trailer chicks"?
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:06 AM   #59
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I fixed the range issue by switching out the stock Ram 34 gallon tank for a 56 gallon tank by Titan. Since this is not an auxiliary tank, the fuel does not go stale. The only issue is the reused factory gage is not aware of the change in gallons capacity. Thus I use one of the trip meters to track miles since last fill up. I use a very conservative number for mpg so have no surprises at fill up time. But filling may require three passes of the credit card with the current $100 per fill limit at the car islands.

I also avoid Loves's truck stops due to bio-diesel up to 15% at both car and truck pumps. My preference is currently either Chevron or Shell for diesel.

I parked the 25FB solo at the storage unit all the time. I hop out and verify progress and to make sure I do not back into the 45+ foot motor home behind me.

The new longer trailer will require a spotter the first time or so to learn the reference locations for the longer back end and the steel posts supporting the storage roof.

One could always go to a large parking lot and have a spotter drop white powder below the outside corner of the rear end of the trailer to get the difference in track between the end of the trailer and the wheels.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:57 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by panheaddale View Post
I thought I was the only one on here with that thought process. I NEVER use a spotter. I will get out of the truck and check if I am in a tight spot but that is always faster than somebody else trying to tell me where to go, plus the better half never gets mad that way. Just use common sense. If in doubt check it out IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.
And if a curious little kid wanders behind your trailer after you have checked it out . . . ?
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:11 AM   #61
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"never" is always a tricky thing to throw out there now aint it.....but im sure many people safely and effectively back up solo...

I suppose I do not fully comprehend again why my logic stated earlier could break down:

IF the spotter is competent and the communication is very effective....then the end result would be a safe and effective backing...

never say never...but I am willing to grant that for many folks solo backing with proper experience, its no big deal really...watching for kids or animals is inherent to the task....and frankly, there are quite a few accidents with pickup trucks or other larger vehicles backing over children in drive-ways....back up cameras or proximity alarms are quite helpful in this manner...

Im not sure I fully understand the logic of categorically dismissing the benefits of a *good and effective* spotter would be....having said that, if I had to do it solo, I would simply take my time, recheck, re-evaluate, take my time, and could do it just fine I think...
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:15 AM   #62
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Backing is not "natural" feeling - to me it's really counter intuitive. The advice commonly given is "put your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel and move the wheel in the direction you want the rear end of the trailer to go" - Which works just fine IF you also understand that less is more when backing and nothing happens instantly. Your trailer's back end will pivot on both axles scrubbing the tires sideways as much as rolling them back but if you pull far enough beyond your space and move your hands less than 1/4 turn your backing experience will be much happier than if you wrench the wheel around half a turn then correct, then re-correct then re-correct. It's easy to get into the habit of watching JUST the rear bumper of your trailer and thinking "oops I'm going to end up half way in the next spot beyond the one I'm aiming at... yet if you look at the rear tire... it's headed directly for the pad you want to be on... and you're still turning gently... and your back end is still moving toward the spot you're aiming for. When I'm truly in "zen-parking" mode it's almost as though I'm merely following the trailer into it's chosen space. I use a stream of water almost like a railroad track to run the trailer into it's parking spot (normally an arc from the back of the driver's side rear wheel to the middle of the near side of the pad or gravel I want that tire to rest on when I'm ready to unhitch). I'll try to remember to take pictures the next time I do it. I suppose on grass I could use some of my orange extension cords for guidelines.

Paula
Paula - when you reference the rear wheel on the driver's side, you are referring to the TT wheel and not the TV wheel, correct?
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:47 PM   #63
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Just to present the opposing spotter view, I nearly always use a spotter and she's darned good at it too. Sometimes she says nothing other than "stop", other times the directions are complex and precise (we use a walkie-talkie by the way). I can and have backed solo but it's so much easier when there are two.

I don't understand the view expressed that implies that using a spotter somehow diminishes your towing prowess; use any and every resource available, it's just common sense.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:58 PM   #64
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It's just common sense vs it's not rocket science

Heh heh

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Old 11-05-2013, 08:21 PM   #65
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Communication is Key

I had everything in my head that it was going to be fine…lol! I practiced with a 20 ft float trailer about a dozen times backing up and just getting around.
When we picked up the Airstream and brought it home, we had to get her into her spot; which was off the driveway, onto the grass through two sets of trees on either side, and finally the gravel driveway where she relaxes!

The best advice I as a newbie can give is, make sure you and the person helping you use the same communication….left is trailers left, or right is trailers right. Much anxiety and less yelling will be avoided.
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Old 11-06-2013, 12:09 AM   #66
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Pharm,

"Think Wide Thoughts"

Thats our mantra for towing. You want to be in a different mindset when you head out with the trailer.

When we set off with the trailer, we consider it the co-pilot's job to say "Think Wide Thoughts". And it doesn't feel like nagging, it's just how we get into the groove.

May your bunkhouse always be shiny!
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:31 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
I use a spotter to keep me from backing into a immovable object. I also get out and look. I have learned the hard way. Don't be lazy or think your such an excellent driver you don't need to check. I am no longer interested in impressing the trailer chicks. Also avoids feeling really dumb while the trailer chicks snicker.
What he said.
There are times when I am alone therefore have to do it by myself.
Get out and look as many times as you need to for comfort, assurance, peace of mind, and what have ya...
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:12 PM   #68
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What a great thread…glad I came across this one…I'm in the same boat picking my Airstream in a couple of weeks…no towing experience and just getting used to a massive F250…all sorts of anxieties about towing and finding myself in awkward situations with the Airstream…I'm going to settle into this thread and take some good notes…Thanks for the tips!
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:00 PM   #69
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Part of my goal when towing is to avoid surprise backing. While I consider myself good at backing, I avoid situations where having to back catches me by surprise. For example I avoid pulling into gas stations where the pumps are perpendicular with the store/building which may leave inadequate room to pull forward and turn, allowing your trailer to clear the pumps as you are turning. Especially those which allow vehicles to park in front of the store.

I avoid going into any business or gas station that has a steep dip (up or down) from the street into the business (can result in dragging the hitch or the rear of the trailer).

When pulling into a business where you have to park across multiple parking spaces (say a McDonalds that has no truck or RV parking). I'll use the spaces the furthest from the building and in many cases park my vehicle close to an obstacle in front of me. That way no one will park in front of me thus blocking my ability drive forward (while turning) when leaving the parking spot.

Not associated with parking is that sometimes you will exit the highway for gas and food. If the roads off the exit are heavily traveled and/or multi lanes I will only use businesses that have controlled intersections with the business. If that's not possible and in departing where you have to cross multiple lanes of busy traffic to get back to the exit ramp, I may make a right turn out to the road rather than try to cross multiple lanes. I'll look ahead where I can make either a safe left turn into a parking lot that has room for me to swing the trailer around in the lot. This now gives me a much safer right turn from the lot back onto the road heading to the Interstate ramp. The other method is if you can fathom the roads, look for an upcoming controlled intersection. Go past it to the next road and go right, right again at the next intersection, and one more right which will get you back to the controlled intersection where you can make a safe left.

Bottom line if I see the potential for a situation that might put me into an unsafe or difficult backing situation, I'll pass it by. It is not unusual for me to pull off the Interstate for gas and then see that my planned stop has difficulties or access issues. Once I see that I'll work my way back to the Interstate and choose the next stop. Typically that means stopping for gas once I drop to a half or just under half a tank. It makes it a lot easier to pass a food or gas stop by knowing you can still go further if necessary.

Jack
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:49 PM   #70
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Good advice Jack.

On those gas stations with the store directly in front of the pumps, and there are lots of them, I look for an open end pump, circle around so the truck is facing the exit. The trailer may be in the way of the store traffic a bit, so good idea to fill up and get out as soon as you can. Turn wide when going up to and leaving the pump so the trailer clears.
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