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Old 04-30-2015, 06:04 PM   #1
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Backing Up Still A Big Problem

I hate to be a whiner, when I feel so lucky to own an A/S, but because of my fear of backing up (and I've had a couple of big mishaps already), I find myself limiting getaways unless my husband can come along and that is not very often. So there she sits in her aluminum splendor while we pay a monthly storage fee.
I've watched LoLoHo's backing up video on Youtube. I've tried it in a parking lot for practice. I was so off. I don't know if I should use the mirrors to see the back? Look over my shoulder? It is all so backward. Surely, there is one perfect tip, video, book, step-by-step guide that will help. Anyone? Anyone? I know living inside aluminum must do something magical to our brains. Those of you who have been Streamers for years must have some wise words for me.

Thank you.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:10 PM   #2
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Practice! And go very slowly when you back up. A turtle would be faster than I am when backing up. No one gets a prize for backing up quickly.

One good thing to practice in a big deserted parking lot is backing up in a straight line for a hundred or more feet (follow the lines at the top of the parking spaces.) Take it slow and pay attention to the movements of the steering wheel needed to keep/get you back in a straight line. If you can't back up in a straight line consistently and confidently, you'll have a lot of trouble backing up while turning.

Having said that, it's a challenge to back up without a spotter. It means a lot more jumping in and out of the tow vehicle every few feet or so to check your spacing.

Remember, hundreds of thousands of people with less talent that you have mastered this skill. You'll get it.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:11 PM   #3
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It's like anything: understand the fundementals, then practice until you are proficient.
Some folks say use a big empty parking lot, and some cones or cardboard boxes. And my opinion is, use the mirrors, and don't try backing by looking over your shoulder.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
It's like anything: understand the fundementals, then practice until you are proficient.
Some folks say use a big empty parking lot, and some cones or cardboard boxes. And my opinion is, use the mirrors, and don't try backing by looking over your shoulder.
Great advice! Definitely use the mirrors, forget about looking over your shoulder.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:14 PM   #5
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Quick hint: when backing, place your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. Whatever direction the bottom of the wheel goes (and your hands) is the direction the back of the trailer is going to go.

It really helps.

Mike
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:20 PM   #6
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Backing Up Still A Big Problem

Backing a trailer is one of those things that is hard to do until a person "gets it", and then it is easy.

Too many people give up too soon and never make it to the "gets it" stage.

Set up a couple cones in an empty parking lot and practice until what is counter intuitive starts too become second nature.

Start out by learning to slowly back a long way while keeping the trailer straight.. And then start working into shallow turns, keeping the bend between truck and trailer at a minimum... and then straightening...

Go slow, and get out and look where the trailer is, and is heading.

NEVER be ashamed to get out and look.

And,,, the hand on the bottom of the wheel thing is a great tip.

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Old 04-30-2015, 06:31 PM   #7
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One trick to backing straight is to rock the steering wheel back and forth a couple of inches while your moving.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:32 PM   #8
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I understand your pain but with practice you will master it. First let me state I am no expert at backing up our AS However I do have a routine that I usually follow when I get to our site. First I will drive around the road if it is not a one way road to see what is the best angle to back into the site. Next I get out and look at the site to note where the trees are and other obstacles. I then pull up as far as possible on the road to ensure my AS is far enough up from the site to allow me to begin my backing into the site. I do use my mirrows to assist me as they are the extendable kind but I often find it necessary to get out of the TV to look at my progress.

Take it slow and easy when backing make sure you turn the TV steering wheel in small increments. If necessary pull forward onto the site across from you if it makes it easier for you. Most campers will even move their vehicle for you. Also don't hesitate to ask another camper to be your back up guide.
I cannot stress this enough that we have all gone through this and to this day I am still not all that good at it so when I see other campers around I tell them to get a beer and their lawn chair and watch the free entertainment.

See you on the road
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
Quick hint: when backing, place your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. Whatever direction the bottom of the wheel goes (and your hands) is the direction the back of the trailer is going to go.

It really helps.

Mike
Exactly what I was going to recommend. I find it key.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:39 PM   #10
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using your outside mirrors watch the rear corner(s) of the trailer to see if your are going straight or if turning, the direction of the turn . this will help you to make corrections as needed. don't hesitate to stop and think about which direction to turn the steering wheel to make the needed correction. and lastly its ok to pull forward a little as needed to get back to a straight position or correct a turn that's too deep.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:42 PM   #11
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One of the keys for me was putting my hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. When you pivot the wheel using your hand at the bottom, the rear of the trailer will move in the same direction as your hand. No need to get your head messed up, just resist the urge to place your hands on top of the wheel when you begin to back. When you move your hand to the left or right, the rear of the trailer will go in the same direction.

The other key when backing in is to make sure you pull forward past the location you are backing into. Many novices will pull past the site but will stop when the rear bumper of the trailer is at the edge of site. Problem is you then have to turn the wheel quite a bit since the trailer has to pivot greatly to get into the parking spot. That creates all kinds of issues in trying to get the trailer and tow vehicle straightened out. I pull past the site much more than what you would think you need. That allows me to slowly angle into the spot. In most cases you do not need more than a half turn of the wheel to get the trailer in (remember the hand on the bottom of the wheel?). This means that at the maximum my hand on the bottom of the wheel will move no further than the 12 o'clock position. So you start at 6 o'clock and move no further than 12. If you do, you probably didn't pull far enough forward.

Understand that as the trailer starts to slide into the spot, you will need to decrease the turn. So for example if the rear end is turning left and your hand at the bottom of the wheel is in the 9 o'clock position, you will start moving that hand back to 6. That will start bringing the trailer back into a straight position.

My suggestion is that if you have someone you know who has towed a trailer go out with you. Let that person do some back in's on an empty parking lot and let them tell you what they are doing as they back in. Do it step by step and don't feel afraid to tell that person to stop at a certain point. Get out of the tow vehicle and walk around and look at things. See where the hands are on the wheel, look at the angle of the trailer and tow vehicle. As long as the person who does the backing is experienced and practices good backing habits, you should pick up some tips.

Also have them critique you in backing. Tell them to stop you if they see a problem coming and explain to you what you did incorrectly. You can learn. The key is practice and I can't emphasize finding a parking lot to do this practice. Use cones or plastic cans with brooms in them. Give yourself a lot of width. Don't try to thread a needle. With practice and experience you will get better.

Don't be afraid to get out and look at your progress when backing (even if you have a spotter). This used to drive Patty nuts at first since she thought I didn't trust her. I did, but I wanted to get out and see for my self how I was doing. I back into my drive in my home most times without Patty watching. To this day I still get out 2 to 3 times during the back in just to be sure everything is going right.

Jack
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:46 PM   #12
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Thank you for the good tips. The take away advice I'm getting loud and clear is practice, practice, practice. Learn to ask for help. Small increments on the wheel. Hold wheel on the bottom and finally tell the other campers to pull up a chair, grab a beer, make their kids hug a tree and enjoy the show.
I hope to meet you on the road someday.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:55 PM   #13
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The practice my father started me out with was in a large open Walmart parking lot. Line the trailer up first in a set of spaces where the trailer and car are even with the white lines of two (or more) of the spaces then reverse. Your goal is to move over to the left one space and straighten out again as you move backwards into the the next parking row.

rinse, repeat.

You'll find out quickly that controlled and followed changes often come with no more than half a turn of the wheel.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:55 PM   #14
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I love all the advice here. I finally cheated and bought a license plate frame that has a wide -camera on it for the trailer, just like the type they install in new cars and trucks. I bought it on Amazon along with a little monitor. Someone posted a link here on the forums someplace. If anyone wants those links, I'll find them.
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