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Old 08-04-2004, 05:09 PM   #1
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Campground's entertainment...

On our camping trip last week I became the campground's entertainment

The campground is basically a cement parking lot with hedges seperating the sites. I had to back in. Which I have done a few times now and *thought* I was getting better at it

There were two cars on both sides of my truck that I had to back up through and angle the trailer in. I went back and forth several times. Pulling forward then back, forward then back. Even quit and drove around again to start over.

Finally, after at least 30 minutes, got it in crooked and left lots of rubber marks on the cement.

Two nights later about 10pm I heard a truck pull in. He was in the same situation as me but this time he had to back up between my truck and someone else's. I was about to go out and offer to move but this guy backed right in perfectly the first time. Didn't even have to pull forward!

How'd he do that
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:18 PM   #2
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practice, practice, practice and prayer can't hurt !
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:19 PM   #3
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1) There are magnets in the concrete and you just set your controls to automatic...................
2) He was alone on a weekend getaway from his wife and 5 kids and wanted to make the most of his time away................................
3) He put the truck in reverse when he meant to put it in park so he could get out and look around, but by the time he realized he was going backwards he hit the brake and stopped in exactly the right spot......................................
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:20 PM   #4
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Oh Let's not forget Dumb Luck!
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:51 PM   #5
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It's easy...you just put it in Reverse and follow the trailer into the parking space.
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:56 PM   #6
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Backing a trailer is like most anything else, it just takes lots of practice. I'm lucky in that respect, I guess. I have grown up in the country on a Texas ranch and have been involved in ranching and agriculture all my life. There aren't many days that I don't pull a trailer of some sort ranging from big gooseneck cattle trailers to 12' bumper pull utility trailers and everything in between. We have about 15 specialized working trailers and the Airstream. After 50+ years of pulling and backing into places under all kinds of conditions, I don't even have to think about it much anymore. I can back up and center the ball over the hitch almost without fail just using my mirrors and without any assistance. I can jackknife a trailer into a parking spot or up to a cattle loading chute and hardly think about it, but I've been doing this most every day for a long time.

In circumstances like you describe where you are jackknifing into a site and space is limited for maneuvering the tow vehicle I have three suggestions that might help you. 1) If possible jackknife the trailer in such a way that you can see the trailer at all times through your driver's side mirror. With this mirror you can see so much better by simply moving your head a little while on the passenger side mirror, it is far more difficult to see additional area such as where the rear bumper of the trailer is at all times. For some reason, many campgrounds are not set up to allow you to use the driver's side mirror when backing into a parking spot. 2) Consider removing the passenger side wide view mirror and replacing it with a standard mirror. Most manufacturers offer these. I routinely have the dealer change out my passenger side mirror before taking delivery when I buy any new truck. The wide view mirrors are great in all situations except when backing up trailers. You really can't gauge how far an object is from you when looking through them. The down side is that removal of the wide angle mirror will create a profound blind spot for you when changing lanes whether towing or not. Without that mirror, lane changes should be kept at a minimum, if done at all, when driving alone. 3) The final suggestion is somewhat difficult to explain, but it involves doing most of your maneuvering, if at all possible, before either your trailer or tow rig gets to the confined area such that you already have it turning in the right direction so that you simply just have to follow the trailer into the spot by straightening up your tow vehicle's steering wheel as the combination travels backward into where it is that you are trying to place the trailer.

Don't be too hard on yourself. It takes time and practice to be good at anything you do and depending upon how often you use your trailer, you may never really get proficient at it. That's OK! Just as long as you are aware of your limitations and make allowances for them. I may can back a trailer, but I can assure you there are many other things for which I have no aptitude.
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:05 PM   #7
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Gstephens, I use the CIPA additional slip on towing mirrors. This extra mirror is not wide angle, so then on the passenger side, I have both the wide angle and the straight mirror. The combination seems to work fine and permit both lane changes and good backing....at least it does for me.
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
Two nights later about 10pm I heard a truck pull in. He was in the same situation as me but this time he had to back up between my truck and someone else's. I was about to go out and offer to move but this guy backed right in perfectly the first time. Didn't even have to pull forward!

How'd he do that
One thing you can't control is where the trailer wheels are relative to the rear end of the trailer. That alone makes a big difference in backing and turning your trailer and tow vehicle. That may be one of the major differences. Second is wheel base of the tow vehicle and its turning radius.

One of the biggest mistakes I see that most people make in backing is not pulling past their back in site far enough. Instead of sliding in at a slight angle they must almost immediately have to make a hard turn with the tow vehicle to get the trailer turning into the backin site. This leaves you in a position of then having to pull forward to reverse the extreme angle you put yourself into.

I saw this at Mill Creek campground which had a narrow road and back in sites. I navigated my trailer back into the site without having to jockey the trailer back and forth. The key was pulling past the site far enough to allow a smaller turn of the tow vehicle's wheels. Once you do that its just a matter of the tow vehicle following the trailer back into the site, with only small corrections of the steering needed.

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Old 08-04-2004, 07:12 PM   #9
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dscluchfc
You are right on in your advice. Think I'll get something like that. On the one hand, I hated to advise anyone to remove the wide-angle mirror, but of necessity most of us rural folks got in the habit of doing that because of the way we must use our trucks every day and also because we dont have to contend with traffic and lane changes very often. Still, not thinking about the mirror attachments that are now on the market, I knew from experience that it really can be frustrating to the novice trying to back in with the wide-angle mirrors. Hopefully anyone reading this thread will read on down, see your advice and take it.

jcanavera

Id like to complement you on your ability to easily explain the maneuver I was attempting to explain. Your explanation made so much more sense than mine.

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Old 08-04-2004, 07:36 PM   #10
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Lot's of interesting comments here. Thanks to all.

Jack seems to hit the nail on the head for my specific circumstance.

I sketched a diagram that may help visualize my situation.

The red circle is my spot where I needed to get to. The rectangules are cars to the left and right of me and of course my 23' truck and 23' trailer are in the center.

I think I started backing up when the rear of the trailer was even with the top part of the site.

Usually I try to swing in hard to the left and bring the nose of the truck out to the right before I start backing. But because of the other two vehicles I could not do it this time.
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Old 08-05-2004, 02:49 PM   #11
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I think what we're trying to say is that whether the cars or there or not, you should start your turn when the back of the trailer is about midway of the previous site unless there are trees or other obstructions out close to the road which would not allow you to do that. Get the trailer turning BEFORE you get to the cars. This will entail that your trailer and possibly your tow vehicle will pass through the opening between the cars at an angle. Quite possibly you will find that starting earlier, the tow vehicle will actually be able to pass through in a fairly straight manner. In any case, by starting earlier, you will not have to cut such a sharp angle while backing up. You won't have to manuever your tow vehicle much at all while near the two cars. Once clear of the cars, you can turn your steering wheel at a sharper angle and follow your trailer right in to the site. Try it. You'll get the hang of it.
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Old 08-05-2004, 03:18 PM   #12
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GStephens, thanks for your kind words. At first I thought I would probably take the mirrors off when not towing, but I have grown addicted to them because of the blind spot elimination ability, and so I leave them on all the time.
The 2002 GMC Crew Cab Duramax/Allison won't fit into the garage frontwise, so I have to back it in..(more overhang on the rear wheelbase over the bump stop enables the door to shut). With the mirrors on...I have 1 inch clearance total (1/2 inch per side) when backing in to not fold in the mirror....most of the time I hit the hole fine, but even that took some practice at first.
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Old 08-05-2004, 04:46 PM   #13
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I think it's difficult for folks who only occasionally back a trailer to figure out exactly where they need to start their turn while backing. Many I've spoken with want to know where the back of the trailer needs to be. Other than not hitting anything with it, the back of the trailer is actually irrelevent. It's the axle placement that's important, and that varies from trailer to trailer and with the number of axles. But, once you figure out where the axle needs to start to turn for your particular trailer, putting the trailer where you want it gets to be pretty easy. Tim, in your case part of your difficulty is a relatively short (23' Safari) trailer being backed by a long-wheelbase pickup. I had similar difficulties with my Safari when I towed it with a longbed extended cab F250. The wheelbase of the truck just made it difficult to cut short turns when the front end couldn't swing wide.

So, don't be too concerned about your backing prowess. That would have been a difficult situation for an experienced person to back through with your tow combo. You'll get it figured out.

Roger
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Old 08-05-2004, 05:33 PM   #14
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Thanks for that Roger

If I let my wife read your post maybe she'll give me my keys back
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