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Old 03-26-2014, 09:54 AM   #15
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I know you don't have this option as you are approaching from the front, not from the alley, but...
I park my trailer in the back yard. Access is from the alley. I used to pull up and back up repeatedly to get the trailer straight in the yard. Why? I don't know except for maybe OCD. After 4 years of this I decided to park it at an angle. It hit me all of a sudden that camp sites are angled for a very good reason. If I back the trailer into the back yard at an angle it only takes one shot. No more repeatedly pulling forward and backing up.
So, the result of this is, when I build an Airstream garage or pour a concrete parking pad it will be angled. This will also get the rear of the trailer closer to the water and electric.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:05 AM   #16
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I live on a cul-de-sac at the 10 o'clock position. I pull the trailer around the center island and pull away from my home with my tow vehicle heading for the neighbor's drive across the street that is the last home before the beginning of the cul-de-sac. I pull to the edge of her drive and begin the back in process. The trailer already is now angled towards the drive. As I back in the trailer is starting to move in the drive. I now start turning the wheel to increase the back in angle and the trailer starts to pivot. Since I have a two car garage and have a concrete drive, I have a seam at the center that separates the concrete. I'm watching that seam from my passenger mirror and am using that to keep the trailer angle proper. I also know that once my right rear tire hits the edge of the street and driveway, I'm within 1 foot of my garage door.

In my case I'm doing a blind side back in and am relying on my passenger door mirror to monitor the progress. Keep in mind I developed this method in conjunction with my wife who was holding a two way radio to keep me informed. After doing this for a while I picked up traits like the seam of the driveway, and the rear right tire position. Now I back in without her help.

So get someone to help you and establish a routine. Look for landmarks, things to line up on. It will take you a bit but you will figure it out.

The only thing that mucks up the works is if someone parks on the cul-de-sac. Dependent where they park in the circle, I may have to make more adjustments, and at times have my wife stand guard and help me thread the needle.

One interesting thing was when I had a 28' Safari, my back in was completely different in that I moved into the left side of the cul-de-sac and did a driver's side back in. When I bought the Classic and it's 3' more of length, I found that technique just didn't work due to the position of my house on the cul-de-sac.

Jack
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:24 AM   #17
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We are new to backing also. We asked for backing advice at a rally recently and these points have really helped us.

Longer trailer was easier than our popup.
When an option always back from your left shoulder/driver side position.
I the co-pilot stand at the left corner of where we are aiming to have the left corner of trailer. (Starting at the curb and then midway then all the way back)
Patience and practice.

We will also try Morgans advice to remove the WD bars for increased flexibility.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:32 AM   #18
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Get 100feet of rope. Lay the rope on the ground where you want your trailer's driver's side wheel to be (assuming you're able to turn in that direction) all the way from the road to it's final stopping place. Back very slowly over the rope. In daylight I used to use water sprayed from an empty dish detergent bottle - then I had to back at night in a state park with ZERO lighting and no moon. I used 5 little flash lights for that... so if you arrive at night I suppose you could use rope lights as long as you have someplace to plug them in.

I fulltime alone and backing has always been something that I don't do consistently well. An audience has a negative effect. So does being tired... or very hungry... or in need of a "comfort stop". So if you have to stop and nap or eat or whatever 1 mile from home - JUST DO IT.

Paula
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:45 AM   #19
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I went through this when I first bought my trailer and brought it home. I also live at the end of a tight cul-de-sac. I found that the anticipation was far worse than the reality. Take it slow and you won't have a problem. I had previously backed up only boat trailers and utility trailers. The longer Airstream is *much* easier to back up, much less sensitive.

Poppy
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:34 PM   #20
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Echoing some of the points listed above:

I would always try to back up so you can see the trailer, not a blind side turn.

Remember to think in terms of 360 degrees. When you are turning, you have to think about the rear of the trailer and where it swings, the vehicle path, and the front corner of the vehicle that may have to be swung wide to initiate a turn. Don't just focus on one point. Agree this approach with your spotter up front.

Use a spotter, and make sure they are positioned where you can see them. When my spotter walks across to the passenger side, I stop because I can't see them any longer. I wait until they are back where I can maintain visual contact. I have never used radios, but can see the logic.

Holding the steering wheel at the bottom never worked for me. When I learned as a teenager, my dad (who had me back it up while he decided where he wanted it placed) always used the terms 'left hand down' and 'right hand down' to describe required actions on the steering wheel. I use those same terms when coaching others. They can't be confused with left and right. Left and right can mean the steering wheel, the front of the vehicle, the rear of the vehicle, the trailer wheels, or the rear of the trailer. And that is after you agree that the left side of the vehicle is always the left, even if the spotter is facing to the back. Agree with your spotter what your standard phrases will be, such as 'the rear of the trailer needs to come more to the left' and not 'turn more' which can lead to frustration.

It seems like a lot to remember, but just go slow, there aren't points for backing speed.

Jeff
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:50 PM   #21
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Watch Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in "The Long, Long Trailer".
Then back into the driveway...
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Old 03-26-2014, 02:26 PM   #22
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Front Hitch

I second the use of a front hitch.

They're only a couple of hundred bucks at the more popular 'net trailer shops.

Don't be scared by limitations on dead weight or pull weight - you will be "going slow in the driveway" as the Rainman said.


The front mount hitch is also handy for throwing a bicycle or two out in front if you go to Disney.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:48 PM   #23
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The only problem with this is you can't see anything accept the body of the trailer. When you use the hitch on the back of your truck, you have the mirrors to help you see where the trailer is going. When you hook your front hitch to the trailer you see the front of the trailer and not much more.

Perry

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Originally Posted by richw46 View Post
A friend of mine has a ball hitch on the front of her 4Runner and she says it's a lifesaver. She has no trouble backing her trailer now and is very grateful to her father for having it put on for her.

The only other suggestion I would make is to have a ground guide with a walkie-talkie or cell phone. Be sure they watch the overhead as well as the sides.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:18 PM   #24
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I watch the trailer wheels and try to bend the trailer in the drive where the driveway and the road meet--- the trailer and TV will usually straighten out, but if not to your satisfaction don't be afraid to pull forward a little to get things going the right direction....Always have wife or whoever is helping you stand where you can see them anytime you are moving.. Lastly -- you will not always do it perfectly and anybody that says they never make a mess of it is not telling the truth....
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:27 PM   #25
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Don't be too OCD about getting it perfectly straight/parallel/perpendicular, either.
A crooked trailer won't hurt a thing.
It took me a long time to realize that, and life is easier for realizing that...
I found out nothing on my lot is square/parallel/perpendicular. It's all crooked except the house and the street. I discovered the alley isn't parallel to the street- the distance is greater on the north end of the lot. The south fence is crooked, as in not parallel with the property line. The north fence is also crooked. The shed and alley are parallel to each other, but not to the house. Nothing, fences or shed, is square to the house. That is another reason I decided to park the trailer at an angle like a camp site. If I got it parallel to the fence, then it was crooked in relationship to the house and vice versa.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:28 PM   #26
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Oh no!
My lot is a parallelogram, not a square!
What on earth are we going to do?
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:03 PM   #27
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all the stuff said and this too- I would pass the driveway and as soon as the front of the tow vehicle's front gets to the first edge of the driveway I would veer to the far opposite side of the street (from the driveway) and continue past the drive until the back of the trailer is past the closest side of the driveway you passed. That should add a bit of angle to the mix. Then begin the backing process remembering that left is right and right is left and, that going forward to correct the angle is a good thing. The rest is "feel" and will come with practice. I am still learning too.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:02 PM   #28
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All that, and I personally get out and see where I am and where I have to go. I am picking AS up from Spring work on Saturday, I will then go to parking lot and put cooler where I want back driver tire to be. No car music, cell phone off, a/c, heat blowers off, both front windows open. I take deep breath, and talk out loud the steps of backing up. I have single axel 19' bambi so it reacts quickly.

Travel very slow, zero mph and know as u start to turn, it takes trailer a little bit of footage to react. Hands on bottom.

In our house I am the backer upper. My husband will drive 2000 miles and tell me to relax and be ready to back the last 50' of a trip. Deep breath, u will be fine. Most os time I travel alone and back in alone when my husband is at work. Take my time, and wobble on it.you will be fine, SLOW
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