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Old 10-24-2011, 08:53 PM   #1
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2009 23' International
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Blind Trailer Hookups

i've been looking at the variety of gadgets used to hook the tow vehicle to RV trailer without a hookup partner. any suggestions as they can run from $20.00 magnetic ball to backup cameras for over $300.00

thank you

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Old 10-24-2011, 09:19 PM   #2
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I have the magnetic tennis balls.... we use them even when the DW is helping me and it makes it completely effortless.

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Old 10-24-2011, 09:29 PM   #3
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Love them magnetic tennis balls. They have restored domestic tranquility and elevated us to a state of marital bliss.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:31 PM   #4
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Greetings minnesotajim!

Welcome to the Forums!

Originally Posted by minnesotajim View Post
i've been looking at the variety of gadgets used to hook the tow vehicle to RV trailer without a hookup partner. any suggestions as they can run from $20.00 magnetic ball to backup cameras for over $300.00

thank you

minnesotajim @
I have been hitching up my trailers solo for more than 30 years, and have had a series of three convex mirrors that magnetically mout to either the tongue jack or to the A-Frame itself. Campingworld sells what it calls the Hitch Ball Finder that is very similar to the setup that I am currently utilizing. I also have a setup similar to the Hitch-Up Mirror, but it isn't quite as stable as the Hitch Ball Finder. It does take a little practice to make effective use of the mirror system, but once everything is adjusted it is a quick and easy means of hitching according to my experience.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:32 PM   #5
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I had a backup camera. It worked well until I left the monitor on the truck dash. Someone thought it was a GPS and it vanished. I used the magnets with the vertical rods. Not bad. I put a Vee on the middle of the back window of the cap on the truck and a target on the rock guard on the window of the airstream. It did good on alignment but I had to get out and check how far back I needed to come. Usually only had to get out once each time. I tried the mirror mounted to the airstream jack post. Not bad in the light.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:38 PM   #6
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My tow vehicle has a back up camera built in; it's useful but not perfect as it's offset from the car's centre line by a good couple of inches. I'm getting better at offsetting the offset (as it were), particularly in terms of the movement backwards but it's still hard work getting the approach angle right. I am very fortunate to have both a very good spotter (Mrs Toad) and a nice cheap set of walkie-talkies.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:56 PM   #7
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I back to a wheel chock, just like backing up to a no touch dock. Even with a helper, I back to a wheel chock.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:57 PM   #8
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Hi, minnesotajim from South Carolina! (I'm sure there's a story there somewhere. )

Welcome to the forums!

Actually, with a little practice you can get by without any of these things.

What I mean is that you can judge the side-to-side alignment of the hitch and the ball by the look of the trailer in the rear view mirrors. Equal amount of trailer showing on both sides? Alignment look right--trailer in line with tow vehicle? I back up till I think I'm about there and then get out and look. Most of the time I can get within half a ball diameter side-to-side on the first try and within a foot of alignment fore and aft. Then I estimate the distance remaining to back up and back up that much while looking at a point of reference to the side of the truck. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get it close enough fore-and-aft. Back real slowly so you don't damage anything if you bump.

If you are within half a ball diameter side-to-side you can push the hitch sideways by that much with your foot as the hitch comes down--at least I can on my half-ton pickup.

I didn't know any better when I started towing an Airstream years ago and learned to do it this way without any visual aids or assistance. (I would rather not have assistance, actually.) Nowadays I suspect I can get the job done quicker by my "by guess and by gosh" method than it would take to rummage around in the back of the pickup and get out the magnetic mirrors, tennis balls, or what-have-you. And I can do it with the truck so full of stuff that I can't use the inside rear view mirror, and in the dark.

You just have to learn to "trust in the Force", as they said in Star Wars. . .
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:02 PM   #9
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I am single, and for years I have used a convex mirror on the hitch jack and it has worked fairly well. A bit hard to see exactly in some lighting situations but has generally been ok. I have tried the magnetic rods with no success at all, probably I don't understand how they are supposed to work.

But I just got a new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland with a built in back up camera, and it is fantastic to use for hitching up. It even has lines in the center of the picture showing the car/hitch center so you can back up directly using them, and when the ball disappears, you just stop the rig and go back and lower the coupling. I am impressed. But not an inexpensive solution...LOL.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:27 PM   #10
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Swift Hitch..purhased on Amazon.
Love it!
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:20 AM   #11
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We just had an insanely long thread on this very topic... I don't think much has changed in the world of hooking up solo since the last post in September.
1995 Airstream Classic 30' Excella 1000
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by MrUKToad View Post
and a nice cheap set of walkie-talkies.
A little trick someone told me about with those walkie-talkies. I don't know if it applies to all brands but worked well with a set of Midland and a set of Motorola ones that we have.....

I used to find that there was a significant lag between the time you push the talk button and the time the unit would actually start transmitting - I tried explaining this to my wife but she never seemed to grasp it! Te result was that I never heard most of what she was saying!

It was then explained to me that if you don't use the privacy code, the transmit lag goes away completely. IE instead of using a channel like 7-7, just use 7.

It made a world of difference to the usefulness of ours, we use them all the time now - before they were just a frustration!

Hope it might help someone else!


Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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