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Old 04-06-2007, 02:02 AM   #1
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Cool You've mastered backing, now the next level... Parallel Parking!

Okay, I'm pretty good at backing trailers. Lucky me, I have to back three of them, from 8 to 18 feet, into my parking lot off a busy street every evening, into tight spots not directly inline with the gate. Thank goodness I have a place that my 31' Streamline can stay put! Anyway, this maneuver is kind of like parallel parking, only without a pesky curb, but with a "curb" of customers' not-to-be-scratched vehicles that must be an even 18" or less away front to back on the driver's side. With a little back and forth sometimes still, I've gotten pretty good at that. Learning to guide the trailer's bumper, and not to concern myself so much with what the axle was doing, was kind of the "aha moment" for me there.
Actual parallel parking with a trailer at a CURB on the passenger side is somewhat more exacting. I am referring to situations where the only place to park is not much longer than the TV and trailer, and you want the trailer body to be an even 3-6" from the curb. You have to mind that the back of the trailer doesn't scud along the curb/landscaping, or tango with the tree branches!
This is the maneuver that I can't seem to master, and luckily I can usually pull in straight. When I DO have to back in to a spot at the curb, I can't seem to get down to a reasonable number of back-and-forths. Often the trailer is perfect but the front of the TV sticks way out... then vice versa with the trailer. Or perhaps harder to deal with, the whole rig perfectly straight but somewhat too far from the curb. You'd think it would be easy enough to reverse-engineer pulling OUT of the space, but I seem to have trouble with this.
Does anyone have a special trick for parallel parking at a curb like this, where you have to back in?
Thanks,
Silversausage
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Old 04-06-2007, 06:00 AM   #2
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Hi Silvr -- Is this shuffling of trailers going to be with you long term? Any chance of redesigning the access and parking locations? I have to s-curve between two brick posts that I never want to move, but I bring the Safari home only on either end of trip preparations. Your backing has to have gotten very good!

When you have the trailer most of where you want it, do you ever rehitch the tow vehicle at a different angle to give it that final tweak? Ever thought of putting a hitch bar on the front of your tow vehicle? It's fun watching RV dealerships move trailers around with a ball on the front of a forklift (or similar machinery). They can do a lot real quick.
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:53 AM   #3
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Depending on how heavy the trailers are, you can use a small garden tractor with a ball monted in the hole for the hitch. If the trailers are pretty light, you can get a jockey from Northern Tool, costs about $60 or so. You put it under the tongue, and move the trailer by hand.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:21 AM   #4
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We just got these from Harbor Freight: Hydraulic Wheel Dollies



With our "new" trailer being 3 feet longer than Maxwell, we found them to be a big help in getting the trialer "just right" in our backyard. Of course, they only work on single axle trailers...but combined with the garden tractor to get it in the yard, we can manipulate it into place just fine. We actually got Birdy parked in about 10 mins the first time! We were geared up for a tough manuvering session & were disappointed that we got her in place so easily!

The space we park in is 21'-1" wide X 33' long. Doesn't sound to bad except it is perpendicular to a narrow alley with a neighbors garage on the property line of the alley...hard to explain, but it is tough. The angles when turning narrowly miss the garage, fence posts, side fence & our jacuzzi...anyway, the combo of the tractor & wheel dollies do the trick.

Now obviously, you can't take these on the road for parallel parking in tight locations...but if I come up against a "nowhere-else-to-park-except-the-parallel-parking-spot" I think I'd really have to consider moving on to the next town!

Shari
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:28 AM   #5
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention...we haven't put the gate in the back yet because we aren't sure exactly where it's going to go...yet. So, we have a temporary fence with a removable sleeved center post. We remove two sections of fence and a couple of fence slats to park...then put it back up.

We are also going to replace the existing 10x10 slab with a 22x25 one this spring. Here's a picture of Birdy's resting spot ~ the slats aren't back up on the fence(you can see the removable post)...but the trailer is all tucked in.

Shari
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:43 AM   #6
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Hey, I can parallel park quite well - the only problem is my wife then says it's okay, we can hike to the curb as long as we brought enough food to get us there .

Actually, the way I parallel park with the trailer, we get our daily walk in at the same time because I always go find a pull through somewhere, no matter how far away it is, and we walk to where ever it is we are going.

Shari, I hadn't seen those hydraulic casters before. Thanks for sharing that piece of info. I can see a set coming up real quick. These would make a great anniversary present for my wife don't you think? Oh, not that they'd help her directly, but she wouldn't have to listen to me moaning and groaning for days after getting the trailer into the shop and putting it up onto the non-hydraulic ones we have now so I can push it into the back corner...

Barry
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:45 AM   #7
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Hey Shari, I just realized you got another Airstream...very sharp looking Safari......ok back to the regular thread.
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Old 05-22-2007, 08:04 PM   #8
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Cool

Sorry I've been away so long; life has been busy.

Those "hydraulic caster things" are known as go-jacks. they work real good, provided the surface is hard and smooth. you *can* use them on a tandem axle trailer, just get two more for twice the price! A set of name brand ones will set you back around $600. I got a pair of chinese knock-offs for my auto shop; a 2900# car bent the caster arms up so the hydraulic unit casting scraped on the ground briefly; now the reservoir has to be filled with each use.

Anyway... for the medium-term, I must continue to back three trailers into my lot five times a week; great practice!

the secret of parallel parking with a trailer? I haven't tried it with my 31' streamline which is in storage, but on smaller trailers with axle(s) in the middle of the trailer this method seems to work best.

Back toward the curb at a relatively *sharp* angle; say 20 to thirty degrees, less the longer the trailer. Aim the back of the trailer toward the curb, at a point that will be slightly behind the hitch when parked. As the rear of the trailer approaches the curb, begin a relatively sharp turn, so that the trailer aims to be parallel. Right before the trailer is exactly parallel, the rear should be about the correct distance, but the front of the trailer should be out a little, and the TV at a sharp angle still. Turn the front wheels sharply so the tv begins straightening, BUT not so sharp that the tail of the trailer starts to go the other way. If the angles are right, the trailer will remain straight, andthe TV will deftly straighten out too; you will only need to pull forward ~6 feet and back again once to fine-tune the straightness. If the trailer wheels are too far from the curb at this point, pull out and start again, otherwise it will be 20 mincing back-and-forths.

Have a spotter if the tail of the trailer is lower than the curb!

Hope it helps,
-SilverSausage
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It seems I love the mountains and deserts more than my friends do. I sure miss them!

1971 Streamline Imperial project "Silver Snausage", 1985 Coleman tent trailer, 1964 Little Dipper, 1975 Northwest "Proto Toyhauler", 2004 Harbor Freight folding, still seeking my Airstream.
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Old 05-22-2007, 08:40 PM   #9
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This is how I learned how to park. Flash games - Java games
Perhaps you use it to fine tune your parallel parking skills.
It's called "Pepere and his trailer"
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