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Old 09-18-2019, 03:48 PM   #1
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2014 22' FB Sport
Atlanta , Georgia
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Is there any Atlanta AS-er who can help me learn to back this behemoth?

As you can see from my flurry of other posts, we just brought our new 2020 FC 25' FB "home" and I'm having issues trying to figure it out.

The biggest issue--the one that keeps me awake at night--is that I can't back the thing into a space. I can't figure out where the pivot point is on the trailer. Can't figure out how the combination of the new truck and new trailer and new hitch will ever allow me to back into a space smaller than, like, Rhode Island.

So I'm wondering if there's anyone out there in the Atlanta area who can come out and talk me through this. I'm willing to compensate you--not looking for someone to work for free.

For what it's worth, at the end of my 5 year marriage to our 22' Sport, I could back it pretty much anyplace with a minimum of mayhem. So I know I'm capable and will get it. I just would like to get it before I put a bunch of holes in all that nice shiny aluminum.

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Old 09-18-2019, 04:20 PM   #2
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2015 28' International
Ofallon , Missouri
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Wish I was there Id be glad to help. If you want to come out to 4 Corners area .....

If you mastered the 22’ Im sure you will get confident with the 25’. We moved from a 25 to 28 and it felt very little different, if any.

Take your wife / traveling companion and go to an empty shopping center lot. There you can practice not only backing but also communication! My wife and I learned communication is just as important as backing skills. Hence the embroidered pillow at Camping World: “I’m sorry for what I said when we were backing the trailer.”

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Old 09-18-2019, 04:44 PM   #3
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
Hendersonville , North Carolina
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Backing up

Your 22' was a single axle trailer. It reacted to steering inputs very quickly. Your new 25' is tandem axle and reacts much more slowly to steering inputs. keep this is mind when in reverse. It is generally considered easier to back up a tandem axle rig than a single axle rig because you can jack knife the singe pretty quickly.

If your new truck is 4 wheel drive the turning radius may be larger. That means it will be harder to "Catch Up" with the trailer once you have it in a turn.

Practice makes perfect. Go to an empty lot and get comfy. You will get it..

This is from a CDL driver with almost 2 million miles driving class 8 trucks. I have probably 10k miles backing up. The longer the trailer the easier it is to back up. Keep the faith. Happy travels.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:56 PM   #4
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2019 30' International
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There is, in my opinion, no better recommendation than what I've read here, and that is, find a wide open space and back her up. Watch it in the mirrors, pay attention to how quickly it responds.

Then try and back it up in a straight line, that's excellent practice!
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:59 PM   #5
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Broomfield , Colorado
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Originally Posted by majorairhead;
There is, in my opinion, no better recommendation than what I've read here, and that is, find a wide open space and back her up. Watch it in the mirrors, pay attention to how quickly it responds.

Then try and back it up in a straight line, that's excellent practice!

^^^ X2.

I picked up my 25í from a smaller dealer early on a Sunday morning. Had never towed anything before. Headed straight to local mall and practiced backing up for an hour. Have never looked back.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:44 PM   #6
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2014 22' FB Sport
Atlanta , Georgia
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Wait--how do you back up if you never look back? :-)

I just spent an hour backing all over a huge empty parking lot. At the end, I managed to stick the thing into a space 160" wide. Huge progress!!!

I discovered a lot in doing this: Camera's useless. My extra added side towing mirrors are useless. The human spotter is a wonderful partner and companion, but for backing a trailer ... well, you know. Going with the flow without thinking too much: useful. I re-reminded myself today that the rhythm is turn/unwind, turn/unwind, slow incremental adjustments and let the trailer lead the truck.

The thing I have to wrap my head around is that at some point the angle between the trailer and the truck is so acute that neither turning right or left will take you out of the turn. But why that acute angle sticks you into a death spiral I don't understand.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:41 AM   #7
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Trent Woods , North Carolina
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Actually it can be a great source of entertainment, like watching boats come into the dock. I was recently at a campground where almost every site required complicated backing as the sites were narrow, close together, and the access road was a circle. Some people who had years of experience were just thrown by the difficulty, a few had no problems. One guys with a 35 ft. SOB actually asked me to back his trailer in for him. I had never done that, but I did it, and it took a while. Just don't be in a hurry and don't worry about what the crowd is thinking.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:15 AM   #8
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Canfield , Ohio
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I've been backing my Airstream trailers up for 3 1/2 years now and we travel a lot. I thought I knew everything about it, until last week.

I have to back into a space in our storage area that is between two long buildings about 150' apart. They are parallel to each other. I needed to back the trailer up to one of the building and perpendicular to that building. Easy, huh?

My wife was spotting me so I could get close to the building. Do you think I could get it perpendicular? No! I tried and tried. What seemed like the perfect turn and maneuvering the trailer into position effortlessly, I was way off on being perpendicular. There were no references on the gravel pavement and that's what threw me off.

Our next trip back to storage I brought a can of red contractors spray paint and drew two short lines on the ground representing the front of the trailer. Backed her right in.

Moral of the story, life doesn't always appear the same when you are looking back.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:14 AM   #9
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2012 30' Flying Cloud
London , Ontario
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We went from a 25 to 30’ and streamlined our communication . Normally we call each other on cell and talk it through but recently ( after a small stair adjustment ) we added arm signs so as not to confuse left / right instructions ( game changer ) and always make sure she can see my rear view mirror ...
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:20 AM   #10
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2019 25' International
Washington , Washington, D.C.
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Belbein - I know exactly what you're talking about. The truck and trailer get so angled/close together that I always fear I'll crimp either the truck tail light or the corner of the AS ; so I constantly get in and out of the truck to check how close they are. My best teachers were the ones who saw my dilemma in campgrounds where I was backing in and would come over and help me. We would talk about this very issue. Their answers always had something to do with pulling forward a little, then backing in again, repeating as necessary. It was counter-intuitive to me for a while. I think I would have gotten a lot better at it if I hadn't always opted for pull-through sites whenever possible, versus back-in.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:29 AM   #11
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Call me at 770-601-1469 Hal Breedlove

I live in Monroe where are you located?
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:50 AM   #12
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Great helpful video - as a guy who jumped from a 16'T@B to the Int'l 25 all I can say is practice.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:55 AM   #13
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Lightbulb great backer video

I found this video hugely helpful. Especially how far 'off line' (with 12:00 straight ahead on on line with the trailer) to take the nose of the truck (10:00 or 2:00) before bringing it back into alignment with the trailer. Super useful vid.

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Old 09-19-2019, 10:06 AM   #14
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Kennesaw , Georgia
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I live in Kennesaw and would help you now except we are camping in Virginia as I type this. Expect to be home in 2 weeks. If you still need help, private message me then. In the mean time, there are excellent you tube videos that should help. For myself, I towed the trailer to a large movie theater parking lot in the morning when lot is empty. Traffic cones make great guides to practice backing into tight spots. I carry the cones with me in case of roadside emergency, so they serve a double purpose.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:25 AM   #15
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Monroe , Georgia
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I also own a 28 AS and like you we are huge UGA fans. Would love to meet up with you one day. Hal Breedlove Monroe Ga.

Go Dawgs beat Notre Dame this weekend!!
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:38 AM   #16
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Here are some thoughts from my learning experience.

Cell phones with my wife really helped me. Plus she has learned to stop saying go left or right and started saying I need the bumper to go to drivers side or to passenger side...and I finally got her to quit caring what the neighbors think.

Start the trailer turning before you start backing. Meaning I pull past my space and start to arc the rig so the backend is starting to head where I want it.

try adjusting your mirrors so you can see trailer tires. Generally I watch driver side tires and put them where I want them. I figure the passenger side will follow.

Donít be afraid to stop mid course get out and look at where you are.

Donít be afraid to pull forward to straighten. Then return to backing.

Remember in reverse you are walking the trailer so I like to do continuous little inputs to walk it where I want it.

Remember once the trailer starts turning it will continue to turn until you stop it.

I also think the camera is useless except with the way mine is set it does let me see when I want to get close to but not hit an obstacle.

Hope that helps.

If you really canít get comfortable have someone mount a hitch on the front of your truck. Not convient but it will give you better control.
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:02 AM   #17
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Tucson , Arizona
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I use a bright yellow rope and place it alongside of the area I want to park in, my husband spots from the rear. I look in my side view and he points direction I want rear of trailer to go. I put my hand on bottom of steering wheel and turn wheel in direction he points,. I use rope to fine tune the parking, once I am in the space. Learned this at a Lazy Days one day newbies class. That and a big empty parking lot will have you backing like a pro in no time. Good luck!
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:09 AM   #18
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Shelby , North Carolina
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I come from an aviation background, so I always look at backing a trailer the same way I looked at an approach. A good start is essential. Move slowly and make SMALL corrections. If it starts going squirrely, execute a "missed approach", pull forward and start over again. Never push a bad hand.

The trick for me is to always have a ground reference point to line the trailer up by, because you can't park it right if you don't have anything to reference it to. You want to line the side of the camper up with the side of the site. The truck doesn't really matter that much.

In both aviation and RVing, the number one goal is to not "bend metal".
Happy travels!
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:20 AM   #19
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2019 27' Tommy Bahama
Midland , MI
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Long is better than short!

I learned to back a trailer many years ago and am quite proficient now as I expect most AS owners are. I came home from work one day and my wife asked me to help my neighbor put his new boat in his driveway. She said he had been trying since noon and it was now about 6. So with some hesitation I went over and asked him if he would like my help. He said please. The first thing I did was put it where he wanted it. After his profuse thanks, I pulled it back out and put it right back where it had been. The look on his face was priceless. I taught him how to use his mirrors because IMHO mirrors are much better than the Desi Arnez over the shoulder approach. I also explained how doing a little backup, some forwarding, and repeat etc. gave him more control. His boat was on a singe axle trailer with short wheelbase so it reacted quickly and that was really his primary problem. He always went just a little too far. We went down to a nearby school and I set us soccer cones and he began improving. Within an hour he had it.

I think the shorter the trailer the more difficult it is. A semi is easier than a TT and a TY is easier than A Sea Doo. Anyway good luck and use your mirrors.
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:39 AM   #20
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Go to an empty parking lot to practice. The suggestions above will help a lot. I know from experience that having a line or hose or rope on the ground to give you a target is a great idea.


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