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Old 06-22-2007, 04:48 PM   #1
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Towing school

I'm not exactly sure which category this should be under but I have not been able to find any other threads on the subject.

I have been reading this forum for several months in preparation for buying an AS. I can be pretty analytical at times. You all have convinced me that I will be better served with a 3/4 ton truck and plan to buy one in the next few weeks. I'm looking for a nearly new 23' Safari but who knows when I will find exactly the right one.

Meanwhile, I have some reservations about towing. I have pulled small motorcycle trailers long ago but this is a different level all together. I have some concerns about backing into a camp site and driving in heavy traffic. When I started riding a motorcycle, I attended the new riders course and learned the basics. It seems like there should be the same type of training for new trailer owners. I Googled the subject and found many courses but they were all in Europe. I know I can get in a large parking lot and practice, and I probably will do that, but does anyone know of any formal training that may be available on towing trailers?
Thanks,
Slim
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:01 PM   #2
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This is a really good idea, Jim, unfortunately I don't think many people would consider it for it's inherent value. I too ride a motorcycle and I attended a local rider's school with my wife when she was learning to ride. It was indeed a very valuable experience.

I've seen advertisements for RV driving schools on the internet. I believe they were geared towards owners of class A big rigs, not trailers.

The wbcci rallies and the international often have classroom venues devoted to this. You can also gain a lot of insight just asking questions and learning from other's experience. However, it's probably not a substitute for sitting behind the wheel with a professional driving instructor at your side!
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Old 06-22-2007, 05:01 PM   #3
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I havent heard of any.

If you can give yourself a couple hours practice in a big lot, you will just about cover everything you can and give yourself the basic skills needed to get your trailer into a spot. Only actually doing it is going to make you better. Lots of times their are hedges, trees, cramped quaters to navigate through.

You are probably worrying yourself over much about it though. It isnt difficult.

As for towing in traffic, the trailer is going to follow your truck so dont worry. Watch your mirrors and take it easy. Sometimes taking a turn a bit wide is needed, but you will quickly learn when that is the case. One of the most important things is making sure you give yourself enough stopping distance. Even with trailer brakes, you are going to need additional room.

If you only get a 23' trailer a 1/2 ton like a F-150 would suit your needs. Just use your weight distribution and anti-sway setup and your golden.
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:38 PM   #4
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Here's what you need to know

Go find a big parking lot. Settle your mind and just be patient.

Place your hands at the bottom of the steering wheel.


Want the trailer back bumper to go to the drivers side? With your hands at the bottom of the steering wheel move your hands towards the drivers door.

To go right move your hands towards the passenger door.

Every thing else is just practice and fine tuning. Oh by the way your Airstream will be easier to back up than your motorcycle trailer.

While you are in this empty parking lot make turns like corners and watch your mirrors. You will get a good idea on how much your trailer wheels move in from where your truck wheels went.

Driving in traffic is not hard you just need to be patient when other drivers are not and leave plenty of stopping room.

Believe me you can do this.
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Old 06-23-2007, 12:06 AM   #5
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All the above mentioned advice all sounds great and good. Please do not go through metro Atlanta traffic at rush hour unless you have a full tank of gas, multi-sandwiches, chips, popcorn, and the latest in video entertainment.
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Old 06-23-2007, 07:25 AM   #6
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I conducted an informal backing up seminar a few years ago. Check out the attached pdf to see the brochure I made up for the seminar. Perhaps this will provide you with some helpful tips.

Good luck and, as others have said, practice, practice, practice!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BackingUp_Seminar.pdf (184.9 KB, 240 views)
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Old 06-23-2007, 07:40 AM   #7
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I dont know of an schools out there. I tow for work day in and day out. Dont worry about it to much. Just take it easy and slow until you get the feel. You would be better off $ wise in my opinon renting a 24 foot box trailer and drive it around for a day. Find some folks in your neiborhood to let you back into their driveways a few times. Also, if you have another person with you, those little FRS radios are real handy backing into tight spots when you cant see. We use them all the time. I just got my 34 and it tows like a dream.
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Old 06-23-2007, 07:44 AM   #8
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I know there is an Outdoors Womens course that teaches how to pull and back up boat trailers. I'm not kidding or being silly.It's a great course and should just be called Outdoor courses for everyone. I tried to back up a gooseneck trailer the other day and it is an entirely different animal than my AS.I suggest putting up cones in a parking lot. That is what I had to do with the gooseneck.
Good Luck
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlimJim
I'm not exactly sure which category this should be under but

Meanwhile, I have some reservations about towing. I have pulled small motorcycle trailers long ago but this is a different level all together. I have some concerns about backing into a camp site and driving in heavy traffic. When I started riding a motorcycle, I attended the new riders course and learned the basics. It seems like there should be the same type of training for new trailer owners. I Googled the subject and found many courses but they were all in Europe. I know I can get in a large parking lot and practice, and I probably will do that, but does anyone know of any formal training that may be available on towing trailers?
Thanks,
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:48 AM   #10
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I think that Good Sam's Club has an annual school, strikes me that one in summer is in Idaho annually, that includes instruction. You might try that search and see if anything is posted about "school" for rv's and trailers. ~G
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:12 AM   #11
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Try this:
www.rvschool.com
All the above advice is great. Not that difficult, go slow and practice in a lot the first time.

good luck.
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:38 AM   #12
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Slim... I'd suggest getting a U-Haul trailer and go to a big parking lot. It's a great idea, tow school, but I too haven't seen any. I learned to tow when I moved using a U-Haul trailer. From there a boat, to finally an Airstream. It can take some time, but taker 'er slow and in time you'll be just fine.

As for a 3/4 ton for a 23', I surely won't tell you it's a bad idea, but a 1/2 ton could tow a 23' very well. Going much larger than a 23 though, my suggestions would be different in terms of a tow vehicle.
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:53 AM   #13
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Try RV Life on Wheels Educational Conferences as they have conferences and training in a number of states. One of our past forum members who use to live in Crossville, TN. took a driving school and said she learned much which gave her confidence. During the training she pulled out of a gas station and the steering pump shaft on her then new Suburban broke (replaced under warranty). She was thankful her instructor was with her at the time. I do not recall where she aquired the training and haven't heard from her in awhile since she went out to Colorado.
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Old 06-24-2007, 01:13 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the suggestions, brochures and encouragement. The game you provided, toastie, made my wife say we would be staying in hotels . I do know that I can do this with practice and I will be taking your suggestions to heart.
Silver Twinkie, I've read many of your posts on truck size and know that a 1/2 ton would do the job but as many of you say, "It's better to have too much than just enough". Who knows, a great deal on a 25' may pop up and I'll be glad I have the bigger truck.
Thanks again and I'll continue to hang around a learn from the experts.
Slim
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