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Old 09-06-2017, 11:15 AM   #1
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2008 28' Safari
Kirkland , Washington
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Tow mirrors adjustments?

Picking up the Airstream tomorrow - first time towing, A/S'ing, everything.

Got telescoping tow mirrors installed a couple of weeks ago. Glad I got some time to get used to them, but have yet to use them to tow.

Advice on best use? Best angles? What exactly do I want to see? What's going to keep me out of trouble? How do you angle yours?

For just the TV, I settled on the upper larger mirrors as usual, and the lower mirrors adjusted to cover blind spots.

TV is a Nissan Armada, A/S is 2008 28-foot Safari.

Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:42 AM   #2
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Hi

A lot depends on exactly how your specific mirrors are designed. Some do a pretty good job others are a compromise no matter how you set them. It's tough to give a proper "one size fits all" set of directions for that reason.

Getting things fully adjusted is only possible with the trailer attached. You want to be able to see the side of the TV and the front of the trailer on one edge of the mirror. The other edge will give you as much of the lane(s) as possible. You must be able to spot a car in the next lane beside you. How far back you can see is a combo between the two mirror segments.

Bob
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:50 PM   #3
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bliss,
I believe that I can be of some help with your question, which is quite an excellent question that I don't think people consider adequately.

Here's my procedure:
  1. Hook up the trailer and try to get the weight distribution hitch set up so that your tow vehicle is level and your trailer is also level. This can take several hours and is something that will require some tweaking the first several times that you tow. The weight distribution hitch procedures are a separate discussion, I'm just mentioning it here as that is a prerequisite to setting the mirrors properly.
  2. Pull straight ahead so that the tow vehicle and trailer are exactly aligned on the same center-line.
  3. Make sure your towing mirrors are pulled outward as far as possible from the vehicle.
  4. Looking at the left mirror, it should be tilted fore or aft so that you are able to see behind the trailer five to ten trailer lengths behind you. Then adjust the left mirror in or out until the side wall of the trailer is easily visible and you are able to see the lane of traffic to the left of the trailer. If you have a convex mirror, you should be able to see about the same image as in the flat mirror except you want to be sure that the outside edge of the convex mirror can pretty well eliminate any blind spot on the left side.
  5. The right side mirrors should be adjusted in the same fashion except for the right side.
These are the basics. Try to drive around with the mirrors on your tow vehicle without the trailer for practice before you try towing. Get used to only using the tow mirrors and ignore your center mirror as it won't be usable when you are towing.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:17 AM   #4
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What we like to see.....

Bob
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
What we like to see.....

Bob
Bob, you're showing things the correct way in my view. Your picture is worth a thousand words! The top flat mirror is aligned perpendicular to the side of the trailer so you can see what's behind you as well as is possible and also what is to your left. I would make a small change to your bottom convex mirror by turning it outboard slightly (to the left on the left side) to better see what might be in your blind spot abeam the aft portion of your tow vehicle.
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
What we like to see.....



Bob



Hey, that's perfect - thanks!

Funny as the lesson I got today during my first tow, my instruct had the lower mirror focused on the trailer wheels, to make sure they didn't cut the lanes and to ensure I was driving in the center of the lane.

Will have to experiment more with this. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:30 AM   #7
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Great post thanks
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:30 PM   #8
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Follow up question - I'm not towing, and my mirrors look like Bob's above.

So I'm clear - I'm NOT supposed to be able to see the back corner of my trailer?

A well meaning non-AS rv'er made a huge to-do about it, and insisted I get new mirrors that extend further out to ensure I can see the back corner of the trailer.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:04 AM   #9
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Seat posture is first. Forward enough that feet can be planted on firewall behind pedals. Seat bottom so that forward edge isn't cutting circulation. Upright so that one is never leaning, AND that one can reach any portion of the wheel with both hands.

Mirrors out as far as possible. Horizon should intersect mirror centerline. Vehicle edges appear in mirror WITH ones head facing forward (against headrest) in peripheral vision.

Left side mirror more for distance. Right side mirror will wind up being lower on horizon to see "best" amount of rig AND any traffic next to rig. The blind spot.

Convex mirrors are about the lanes next to one. Barest capture of vehicle for registration, low enough on horizon to include as much of adjacent lanes as possible up to drivers door. BUT the convex are vital for cornering so as not to hit obstacles, thus they need to remain high enough to "capture" the trailer picture in a sharp turn. (You'll have to stop and get out for overhead obstacle avoidance).

Don't expect to get it the first time. Takes me a few tries even at 3-4K per week.

And the free bonus tip. Cleaning the windshield is good practice. But clean the mirrors and side glass (in & out) at every stop. They matter more.

And, FWIW, I would not find ROBERT CROSS sight picture acceptable. I'm assuming camera angle was off (and understand I could instruct someone in all things re combined vehicles simply by having them read his posts exclusively; this is an anomaly; unless it's just the pleasure of an empty highway, ha!). Why? There's no convergence point possible. At approximately 110' (by law; with big truck) both L/R mirrors should reflect the same scene.

The convergence point is basic.

The ancient stand-by were McKesh Towing Mirrors. The originals looked like the EAGLE brand I've seen advertised. These are better than any OEM towing mirrors, especially when a large convex is used. Easy to use. Set & forget.

What U-Haul has on box vans would be the best size as to the flat and convex glass. (Also seen on the short school bus). Black housing on black metal arm.

That which is behind us is and overtaking is about to be our future. Maintaining space ahead and beside the vehicle is fairly easy.

Managing passing traffic is what separates men from boys. On a multi-lane downslope is where even the experienced are working hard: hitch tension, acceleration room, etc.

Surrounded by other traffic out on an Interstate? Epic fail in driving skill. Buck up, get best mirrors and practice.

.
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