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Old 03-12-2013, 04:13 PM   #29
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
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Backing is an art that most people get better at over time unless they are scared of it. Going slowly and ignoring the people watching is good advice. If you are unsure of something, get out and look around. If someone is waiting on an access road, let them wait. If you are tired after a long day on the road, expect it to be more difficult and then back in.

There's nothing wrong with using pull thrus as much as possible. They are there for trailers and very long motorhomes.

There are lots of stories about spouses who get into an argument about backing. I've have never seen that (I keep hoping to, but I have been disappointed so far), but I'm sure it happens sometimes. I expect people who fight over backing have a lot more problems than backing a trailer. We have walkie talkies, but have never used them; it is still a good idea. My wife sometimes becomes invisible and I either yell for her to move one way or the other, or get out and look myself.

When on an access road, be sure to have the back of the trailer at least 10' past the entrance to the space. That gives you a chance to slowly back the trailer at less of an angle than if you are right at the entrance. Of course, if the access road is really narrow, you don't have much space to do use the width of the road to your advantage. If you have to back at a severe angle, watch that your taillights don't hit the trailer. It is easier to back with maybe a half turn of the wheel than crank it all the way, though sometimes you have to get in a space. Memorize how many turns lock to lock your steering wheel goes—make sure you know how much you've turned it, then when you straighten the wheel, you have a better chance of getting it straight without looking out the window to see where the wheels are.

I always use the bottom of the wheel method. That way when you turn the wheel to the left (or right) the trailer turns the same way. If you use the top of the wheel, you have to think backwards and that gets confusing. I mostly use the mirrors, but sometimes you just have to look back and see what's going on, especially on the right side of the trailer. That's when you get the wheel turning confused, so take a moment and think through what you are doing.

When trying to change the direction the trailer is going from left to right or right to left, expect it to respond slowly no matter how much you turn the wheel—then suddenly it will change fast. Again, moving slowly will help you control this.

Watch what is in front of you, especially when a narrow access road has big rocks, posts or other items on the edge of the road. This is common in campgrounds on public lands, but also happens at private ones—you don't want to run into something because the front of the tow vehicle hits something in front as the front wheels turn or you move forward and don't see something low.

Backing is easy for some people and not so easy for others. You'll get better with experience, just like anything else. If you feel intimidated by it for a while, you are in good company. And sometimes it goes easily and others times it just seems like the hardest thing you've done in a long time—when I back into our parking space at home, sometimes I get it in one shot and other times have to go back and forth 5 times. It depends how tired I am and whether it is dark out.

Those people watching you have probably screwed it up more than once. I know I have and I watch people backing too. If someone is laughing, you can stop it by asking them to help guide you.


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Old 03-12-2013, 04:44 PM   #30
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1988 32' Excella
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Another tip if you have 4wd with a 2-speed transfer case, (while not really good on pavement) use 4lo to be able to more easily maneuver at slower speeds.

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Old 03-12-2013, 05:06 PM   #31
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Van Wert , Ohio
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All the above advice is excellent and will help, but perhaps one more thought. When I am preparing to back into a site I do the "swoop and turn" or the "scoop" maneuver. This is easier to show than explain, but I drive the TV nose toward the site entrance and then turn away toward the opposite side of the drive and watch the tail of the trailer as it lines up with the entrance to the site. Start backing and watch the trailer thought the mirrors. Small moves make a big difference so take your time, relax, and enjoy learning the skill. Remember even the most experience backer occasionally out maneuvers him/herself and has to pull a round for a second try.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:11 PM   #32
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Tub City , British Columbia
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Backing In

Here's a little video, specifically for AIRSTREAM trailer owners.
Everything you will ever need to know.

THE SCOOP: How to Back up a Towable RV - YouTube

and one more for your entertainment.
Question?? Why would he start this from his blind side??

"LOVE and LOSS, are two of the greatest emotions one can experience. -- I went to school to learn about "WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN" but I had to live my life to learn the lesson of: 'WITH LOVE THERE WILL BE SORROW'."
David Stewart. (after loosing my NAVIGATOR)
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:03 PM   #33
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It took me a while toget hang, I am alone 95% of time. I refresh in a large parking lot each season, putting a cooler next to wear I want my left rear tire to end up. I just do it over and over til I get it. My panic sets in at home when I sometimes have cars waiting while I make the backin.

At a campground, I just get in and out many timesto check where I amand in all cases go very very very slow. I just got tow mirrows sine now my AS is 8' wide and Iam having trouble getting use to them, but I knowI will soon enough.sbb
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:12 PM   #34
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Practice, practice and practice until you understand how the TV + your rig move together. You can make all kinds of mistakes with orange cones and learn good stuff, so that when you're maneuvering up a hill between two trees, in the dark, in the rain, you won't completely freak out. I speak from experience, arriving at a hillside campground Thursday night after dark.. in the rain. Its a lot easier if you have a comfort level with how your TV and trailer respond to what kind of driver input.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:05 PM   #35
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Portland , Oregon
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Practicing with a smaller trailer definetly helps.

Also, backing to the driver's side is easier as I've found. Our storage spot requires coming in from the pass. side, which is no fun.

I also try to use the bottom of the wheel trick.

One thing my wife and I figured out, it's easier to me to read her hand signals, rather than left/right. She just points in the direction that the trailer needs to go, then when it's lined up motions me back. Just like the folks parking airplanes at the airport! No need for walkie talkies / cell phones.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:14 PM   #36
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:38 PM   #37
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Holladay , Utah
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Originally Posted by nilesrob View Post
We have worked out a flawless solution.

When we get to a campsite, my wife gets out and gets behind the trailer.

She guides me. I can't see her. I back up. Did I mention I can't see her? She guides me further. We arrive. We're both happy. Let the camping begin.
This is the very best advise I have seen in this forum, ever! I think you have just saved my marriage. Thank you thank you thank you.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:52 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Wazbro View Post

Even when they have their vehicle in your site?
I had to ask someone to move their vehicle so I could use the pull through site it was in, that I was assigned to.

The way some people park is quite inconvenient at times, while a vehicle blocking half the road might be far enough out of the way to drive past it, it can be blocking the possibility of backing into 3 sites.

So while it might be rude to ask someone to move their vehicle (which I think it would only be rude if more then 50% of other people could make it into the spot), they may have been even more rude to leave it there in the first place.

It's not like he said "ask them to move their RV." That would be rude.

Personally I would rather move my vehicle then have someone run into it, how about you?
Where I'm from, rude means disrespectful, discourteous, or bothersome. Asking someone to move a vehicle which is blocking my access is not rude. If I were blocking someone else, I would welcome someone pointing this out. But then, this kind of problem is one of the reasons I don't use public campgrounds much. I am much too rude.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:22 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by nilesrob View Post
We have worked out a flawless solution.

When we get to a campsite, my wife gets out and gets behind the trailer.

She guides me. I can't see her. I back up. Did I mention I can't see her? She guides me further. We arrive. We're both happy. Let the camping begin.
My wife and I have a similar experience She gets out to guide me, then becomes a chatterbox with whoever's around. I don't usually see her again until I put the steps down on the trailer.

It works well with big mirrors and practice
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:01 AM   #40
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I'm going to install a front hitch to my truck - makes it super easy to push the trailer into tight spots
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:21 AM   #41
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1 important thing to watch for when backing up low branches and other things up high, to many people forget to look up. Make sure you check for them before you backup and point them out to your spotter if you see them and remind your spotter to check overhead even if you don't see anything in the way.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:28 PM   #42
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Talk to each other on your cell phones and use a previously agreed upon set of signals. For instance, when the trailer needs to point more towards the road side the guider should say "turn to road side" and not "turn left" because left is a matter of view point and misunderstood directions will put expensive dents in your trailer.

Stop a lot and get out and look and then back up just a little bit more and look again. Setting up so that you're backing in a road side (left) turn is a good approach but someone needs to have eyeballs on the blind spots blocked by the trailer.

Don't let other drivers who are waiting for you to get out of the way rush you into making moves that you aren't certain of. Just smile and wave at them when they gesture to you that they think you're Number 1. More gesturing, then even more smiling and waving, and with any luck they'll have a stroke because you're thwarting their offensive tactics.

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
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