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Old 04-24-2003, 12:20 PM   #1
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Unhappy Hitch Ball Alignment

My sweet wife and I almost come to blows everytime she "guides" me as I attempt to align the hitch ball with the trailer. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to take the frustration out of this activity?
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:44 PM   #2
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Hitch alignment

Temporarily mount a tilted mirror above the connection. The bigger the better. The previous owner of our trailer purchased a convex mirror with a quick release mount to the propane tank bracket. I do not know if they are still available.
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:45 PM   #3
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Learn to do it alone!

I can hook up 5 times faster by myself, having someone "help" me does no good at all, it just slows down the process. Learn how to use your mirrors!!
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:52 PM   #4
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A FIFTH OF JACK DANIELS MIGHT HELP. OTHER THAN THAT I HAVE NO IDEA

GOOD LUCK
BILLY
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Old 04-24-2003, 12:54 PM   #5
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Is it the left/right or when to stop that is the issue?

I have seen people place a section of PVC on the tounge of the trailer that has a "T" at the bottom to keep it stable. This is visible in the rearview mirror. Then they place one or two lines on the bck window ot the tow vehicle. When the lines line up or the ole is in the middle as viewed in the rear view mirror you are good. You could alos set a mark on the window tha corresponds to the top of the pipe on the trailer that would give you an indication on where to stop. The marks would be made while sitting under the reciver, but not connected. Height will change some unless you allways are connecting /disconnecting on a level surface.


One other thing we used was to have her point the direction the ball or back of the trailer (when parking) should go. It was up to me to figure out how to make it happen. Less confusion on my left or her right.....
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Old 04-24-2003, 01:02 PM   #6
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I generally do it myself, but on those occasions when I have to have my wife help, we use our GMRS/FRS two-way radios. Seems to work better for some reason and the surrounding campsites don't hear our shouting at each other as much.
Jace
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Old 04-24-2003, 01:19 PM   #7
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Learn some landmarks

The first few times hitching the Hensley Arrow led us both to wonder if our relationship could survive the A/S. I quickly learned some fixed landmarks on the both the truck and the A/S. On our Sport Trac, at the very back edge of the factory bed cover, is an elevated cover for the lock and this is lateral, dead center of truck. My other landmark is the center brace behind our front "solar" rock guard as it is at the centerline of the A/S. Using the inside rear view mirror (since it is in the center of the truck, I minimize parallax issues and by started 10-15 ft from the A/S and aligning my landmarks, the exercise has become almost childs play. The Hensley does require that no last minute direction changes be made as the draw bar is long and has to insert quite a ways into the Hensley before we can latch it in place.

A really neat device that has also helped replaces your normal jack pad. This device is a called a tongue twister and what it allows is for you to easily move the trailer tongue left or right several inches if you are off just a bit

So between the power jack, the tongue twister, and learning my landmarks, I usually get the lateral alignment dead-on the first attempt and then by simply raising or lowering the tongue as needed, complete the hitch up by simply continuing to back up.

David
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Old 04-24-2003, 01:51 PM   #8
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I find it much easier and quicker to do it myself. I align the trailer with the center of my rear window (high mount brake light in top center of window centered on Bambi front window frame). I use the rear view mirror when backing. Back up, stop get out and look, adjust, back some more. I maybe hop in and out 4-6 times in this process, but it only takes me maybe 25 minutes to completely hitch up and be ready to go. I do find if I feel time pressured, it is better to make the backing in small increments, hopping out to check more often.

Only time I will ask my wife to help is if we are trying to back into a tight space at night. Then she is only there to tell me if I am going to hit something.
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Old 04-24-2003, 02:24 PM   #9
 
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After 12 years of doing that, here is what Mike has learned from me:
"You don't like the way I give direction....do it yourself"

He is better (he says) at giving directions, and I am much better at following directions. ("pull ahead 1 foot" does not mean "pull ahead 20 feet")

90% of the time, he directs & I drive. Works great that way.

About maneuvering the rig in general:

2 way radios help, and a good flashlight at night. I still have to teach him that in the dark, with a 60' rig, and pretty tight stop to get into, little movements with a finger is not the best way to signal. The fact that most of the time he confuses his left & his right adds to the challange.
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Old 04-24-2003, 02:24 PM   #10
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Smile

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have a SnugTop on my truck and was not smart enough to open the back window of my truck and the top so I could get a good view of the trailer. We do use 2-way radios, a suggestion I picked up on this forum a while back. I'm thinking that a mirror, mounted on the propane tank cover and tilted at the right angle, might help a lot. I usually end up off to the left or right about half the width of the ball, or I run just past it as her command to stop and my reaction time conspire to bury the trailer tongue in my rear bumper. Has anyone noticed that the more beautiful a woman is the more spatially challenged they are?
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Old 04-24-2003, 02:31 PM   #11
 
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Thank you, I think, for the comment.

I always compliment Mike on how cute he is.

I haven't checked if anybody said that:

signal with your hands, one above the other, to show the distance left.
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Old 04-24-2003, 02:36 PM   #12
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Get the tongue twister

Order a tongue twister (www.hensleymfg.com) and then you can just move the trailer tongue left or right the needed amount without having to pull up, move over, backup again, etc. I think I paid about $35 for the device. Well worth the investment.

david
02 Bambi LS
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Old 04-24-2003, 02:59 PM   #13
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Does the tongue twister work with any hitch or with just the Hensley Arrow? If it works with any hitch my wife may lose her job security.
Wayne
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Old 04-24-2003, 03:02 PM   #14
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Tongue twister

It works with ANY hitch. It has a cup that the trailer tongue jack post slids into as you raise the trailer tongue. The cup is attacted to a slide with a jack screw running along the bottom. To move the tongue, the jack screw is rotated (with the the included ratchet) left or right. If you look on the Hensley website they have pics that make it all very clear.

david
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