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Old 01-19-2015, 03:01 PM   #15
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1981 27' Excella II
mays landing , South Jersey
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Originally Posted by tyggeln View Post
Having also a CDL, I have found that many of the skills I learned transferred well to towing.

1) Use your side mirrors on every turn day or night to get an idea of where your wheels are going.
2) Only turn left from the rightmost left turn lane if there is a choice.
2) Keep your windows and side mirrors clean.
3) Keep your dashboard lighting down to minimum - this will help you to see down the sides of the rig under low light
4) If backing up, you can use your brake lights to illuminate what's behind. Better yet, get a spotter if its tight.
5) Take your time.
The only thing I would add is to kill the headlights and take some time for your eyes to acclimate to the environment. Sal

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Old 01-19-2015, 03:20 PM   #16
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2012 28' Flying Cloud
Avila Beach , California
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The only thing I would add, which I learned the hard way, is if you are using a Husky WD system with a larger AS in which the frame hangs down below the coupling. Hard turns put the ball plate up against the frame and then bend the ball forward. When this first happened to me I called Husky and they described the mechanism. They sent me a new plate but had to pay for install and because we couldn't get the ball off with a bent plate had to buy a new ball. The fix is for AS to remove the portion of frame that hangs below the coupling on large trailers, interestingly small trailers do not have this problem because the frame is smaller. Since the coupling is welded well back doing this will not weaken the frame. I plan to do it on my 28ft FC as soon as possible.

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Old 01-19-2015, 03:29 PM   #17
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RG why not get a WD system that won't require you to cut the frame?
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:30 PM   #18
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You might be able to wire in a switch that you could use to turn on your backup lights while moving forward.Not alot of light but might be some help and easy to do.
This is only temporary unless it works! Red Green
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:43 PM   #19
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Avila Beach , California
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I know it is a close call...but after buying a new WD system and setting it up (ie, weight measure and all) it just seems easier and less expensive to cut the frame. I can probably have the frame cut for $100. Airstream is aware of this but chooses to not make this modification.
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Old 01-19-2015, 04:35 PM   #20
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Hot Springs , Arkansas
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Practice and experience increase your skill and confidence.
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:28 PM   #21
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For night turns or back ups you might install docking lights designed for boats. They mount on the sides and could be canted down in the area of an obstruction or curb. Being near the banana wrap wiring should not be a problem.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:48 AM   #22
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1978 31' Excella 500
Barrie , Ontario
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As a retired transport driver I learned to "stay wide " making sharp turns as Tyggeln instructed and always get out and look.
I rarely trailer after dark with my AS but had to get around many sharp corners into narrow driveways with the big truck.
My AS is 31' and I find it doesn't off track much. Be careful and good luck.
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Old 01-20-2015, 09:11 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
This might be something that will just come to you with practice. You don't say how big your trailer is, but with our short trailer, we feel pretty confident about how it will track behind us in a turn, and know it will behave the same if we can see it or not.

Hmm...another challenge of having a humped air, 35 classic, with F350 dually crew cab...

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Old 01-20-2015, 03:45 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Air morgan View Post
It always bothers me when towing after dark and I need to make a turn into an unlighted street/ side road or even an RV park. I'm a big advocate of constantly glancing at my side mirrors whether going straight or especially in turns. When towing at night and I make these turns and look into the large side mirrors on my F250, I see NOTHING when I'm looking for the side of the trailer to clear. Typically there is a sign post, utility pole, ditch, or even another auto in that corner that has to be cleared by the AS. To date, I have never scraped nor clipped anything while doing this but it's still one of those dreaded moments for me we seem to have in our travels.
Does anyone know of any equipment , tricks, hints, or have any advice on how they navigate these situations and if there is a way to watch the sides of the trailer at night without installing cameras.
1) Visually clear the area where you will turn as you approach. The spill from the headlights should provide sufficient illumination to do this.

2) Experience will teach you where the trailer will track as you make the turn. Practice driving the "jughandle" during the day

3) Get out and look when making a critical turn
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:22 PM   #25
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Chances are the AS will turn the same way at night that it does during the day. So, go to a large parking lot, create an 'intersection' by marking 12' out from a 'light' pole in your path of travel and 90 degrees where you 'intend' the AS to pass. See how it 'behaves'. If you have some help, ask them to 'video' from behind as you maneuver the AS.

Now, 'square' your corner as follows...As you 'approach' the corner, slow down... position as far to the 'outside' of the turn as you can safely do. Continue into the 'intersection' you created until the front of your TV is to the 'far side' of the intersection and turn wheels 'sharply', to near maximum, but don't 'stick' them all the way. Since you are traveling slowly, the 'turn' will begin, sharply. This will cause 'rear end swing' of the AS... about 1/3-1/2 of the length BEHIND the tires will swing wide as you square the turn... depending upon how well you execute.

Due to personal visual handicap, we installed the RVS system. It RAWKS!! If you want more info, PM me.

To cover your AS lighting during turns and hitching, setup, etc.. you 'could' add some under bumper lights on your TV. I have 'Rock Tamer' mudflaps and might add them there so that I can 'remove' them when not towing. Another option is to use the kind that have really strong magnets to temporarily mount to the bumper. You can then 'aim' and wire to control switches at your drivers position... You can then use simple SAE connectors to connect the lights when you 'deploy' them.
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Old 01-21-2015, 04:48 PM   #26
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I look over my shoulder. It usually works...
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Old 01-21-2015, 06:27 PM   #27
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The perils of backing at night!
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:05 AM   #28
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What Tygglen said. Both my wife and I have CDLs. My wife drove a 41' school bus on city type and neighborhood type streets for 25 years. I ran a company and had a number of 18 wheelers and smaller trucks on the road every day and wanted to know what my guys do and how they do it, so I secured my CDL and used it often to help out.

The only way to know how to do it is to do it, to practice in an open area with cones, and do it until you know it will work. Put a cone at the furthest point into the turn you can go, then put a cone at the left and then right spots where you think a post or car might be and do it. We taught this to our new drivers including parallel parking and it's part of the CDL test both B for school bus and A for tractor trailers. It takes time and patience but once mastered one can approach almost every situation with confidence. PLUS don't be concerned about holding people up, take your time and wait for cars etc to move out of your way, even if a light changes, wait. Proceed only when you've got the confidence you can make the turn safely for you and others around you.

Then, we try to not travel at night, old eyes simply don't seem to work well at night and a dark rainy night is worse. But by practicing at least I know where my trailer is and what it will do in almost any type of turn, backing up, one of us is out with a two way radio and light if necessary.

Good Luck and Enjoy.


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