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Old 08-14-2006, 08:54 AM   #15
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Here is another shot of the concrete. I cannot modify the city street -- so it is either change the slope of the drive or go with the temporary lumber idea that has been mentioned. My rig will be blocking a city street while I am backing, so whatever I do has to be simple and quick. The more I think about it the more I feel the board idea can work.

This rig has a Hensley hitch. Does anyone know if you can crank down on the hitch and raise the backend?

Thanks again for the suggestions. I have seriously considered all of them and appreciate your input.
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Old 08-14-2006, 09:27 AM   #16
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Hi bradjbolt--Your pictures are great, makes it easier to see your concern. In reading your thread it seems you may not have tried to back in yet. If not give it a try to see if you do make contact, as where the contact points are on the A/S and the drive are important in determining a solution.

Looking at your first photo, seems to me, you might be able to back in over the curb and grass, to the side of the drive, then straighten out on the upper part of the drive as you start to go through the door.--Frank S
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:48 AM   #17
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Hi Brad,

When I decided to have an RV pad poured next to my house I made a big mistake and didnít bring the trailer up to the house so the contractor could eyeball it. The driveway bypasses a large elm tree by only three or four feet and, since he didnít want to damage the tree roots there was a rather sharp incline for the twenty-five or so feet after passing the sidewalk. I was pretty sick the first time I backed my 34 foot trailer up the driveway; it really gouged the new concrete. To make a bad situation worse, the PO had installed a receiver hitch under the rear bumper of the trailer.

I got by for a while by using some planks as suggested by someone in an above post. I considered a caster wheel in the receiver, casters on each side of the frame, etc. Then I thought better of it and had the receiver removed which helped, but it still was a problem. One thing that helped a lot at the time was to come in at as extreme an angle as I could, then cramp the wheel quickly to straighten out the trailer, then back the rest of the way to my parking space (my pad and drive combo are in excess of seventy-five feet). Since all this maneuvering made me hate to take the trailer out, I decided to bite the bullet and have the problem area (about twenty-five feet of driveway plus a six foot wide sidewalk) redone. It cost more to fix the boo-boo than the total cost of the original seventy-five feet, but Iím glad I had it done.

From what I can tell by your pictures you may not have much of a problem with your twenty-eight foot trailer length. Your Excursion will be high at the receiver hitch so it will be mandatory for you to remove your hitch torsion bars to achieve maximum drop at the hitch ball (thus raising the rear of your Airstream) before you attempt to back it in. If you drag too much you might get by with approaching at an angle from the street, then quickly straighten the trailer. This helps even if you donít get both sides of your axles on the driveway before you have to straighten the trailer. However, based on my own experience, if it is still a hassle, bite the bullet and take out the sharp angle. If you donít, youíll not enjoy taking the Airstream out for spontaneous trips.

Gene
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Old 08-14-2006, 04:06 PM   #18
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brad

i have a very similar problem as my drive has a steep apron on it. the easyiest solution to the problem is to not have any excess weight in the trailer. empty the tanks and remove any heavy items before you put it into storage.

i also have an inexpensive drawbar with about 4 inch drop and a 2 and 5/16 ball on it i use for parking the trailer. it is aproximately 2 inches lower than my regular hitch. by using both methods i am able to get across my driveway apron without dragging anything!

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Old 08-14-2006, 10:01 PM   #19
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Hello Brad -- Seeing your setup gives me one idea from other experiences. With non-towing situations in a single vehicle I have been able to clear objects on a diagonal I never could have cleared going straight up or down. This could involve modifying the approach and more difficult hook entries to the garage -- not much different than what I do all the time in a storage area with narrow lanes.

Short of that I like the board idea. And I really like john hd's idea of a hitch bar just for backing with the ball set low. A Hensley is the ultimate anti-sway device. On the other hand if you unhooked the weight distribution aspect of its function, the trailer-tow vehicle could drop at the hitch and raise the tail ... . At least that's the way it is with my Reese. Any Hensley owners out there to comment on this thought?

What is the width and height of that door?

[on edit: I re-read some previous posts. Kudos to genearnold for coming up with the idea first about relaxing the WD bars.]
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Old 08-14-2006, 10:35 PM   #20
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Brad,
I must admit I have garage envy..... From your description I was picturing a much steeper entry than you described.. I'd try it with a real slow angled entry and straighten and square it off at the last second..what I'm saying is looking at the garage door while standing on the street, start from the left of the drive back it in and aim the rear like you are going to park it on the dirt to the right of the garage door this way you cross the highest point of the driveway rise at an angle (which will help protect the lowest hanging part, the waste dump pipes on street side/drivers side) (If you can't get the highest point over the angle you'll never get the lowest point over) bring a couple of trusted spotters for the first run and TAKE YOUR TIME you won't hit anything if you go slow and have trusted spotters. If you have a mobile phone with speaker phone have your spotter call you and put yours on speaker phone so you can keep your hands on the wheel then you don't need to worry about traffic noise as they yell and scream at you from outside. Who cares if you block traffic they'll just be looking at your new big shinny rig saying wow that's a beauty! Good luck.. Nice home for your new rig.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:35 PM   #21
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try a different approach

No matter what you are doing or how you are doing it, someone always thinks there is a better way, and I am no exception.

Consider this approach:

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Old 08-14-2006, 11:46 PM   #22
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the Ponz... nice diagram! That is along the same lines of my thinking... you may not even need to run it over the curb... I think you now have a few solid options Brad. Good Luck and we look forward to pictures of her in the garage!
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:39 AM   #23
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Awesome Responses

You folks are great -- I appreciate the ideas and the diagram.

I have considered modifying the drive to allow sloped entry from the left-- it would also make the approach a little easier.

A little history -- I built the storage building before considering an Airstream. Once we started really looking, we were taken by the styling of the Airstream -- but also dismayed at how low they sit compared to SOB's that we also considered.

The plan will be to try dead slow with the rear end up as far as it can go (thanks for the torsion bar advice), then add the timber to see if it can get in that way if needed. Long term, if it turns out a lot of fussing is neccessary to get it in and out, I will look at concrete mods -- either the left entry idea or redoing the whole drive.

The drive costs $3.75 per sf, plus labor to remove it. To completely replace it would cost $2,000 to $2,250. Money I do not want to spend, but cheaper than buggering up the trailer. I can just see myself not going slow enough one time or not putting a board in the exact right place and screwing it up.

On a more positive note, the Airstream in question came through town yesterday on its way to the dealer that is cleaning it up and inspecting it. We did not get a chance to try the drive however.

My wife and I are on the way to the tax office this morning to file the titles. We go to the dealership next week for training. We are excited and a little apprehensive -- our first time doing anything like this.
I will definitely post a pic of the trailer/tow vehicle in the garage.

Good weekend to all -b
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZstreamin
the Ponz... nice diagram!
I can back up pretty well when coming from the direction shown. I have to do that to get my Safari diagonally between two brick pillars 20' apart to get into my driveway -- you wouldn't believe... My experience has shown that you could back with much greater accuracy if you backed in from the direction opposite to that shown in the Ponz' diagram. You would be able to directly visualize the roadside of your Airstream as you worked the angles.

I haven't heard what your garage door dimensions are, so I printed out the photo and worked the ratios (assuming a 6'8" entry door). I came up with 9.5" tall -- probably actually a 10' x 10'. Right? Anyway ... be sure to put the tail in the first time, then walk across the street to make sure you have plenty of room to clear the air conditioner. A full 10' would clear in any event.

Enjoy the world of Airstreaming! May the traffic on your road always be patient.
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:17 AM   #25
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Door Dimensions

Sorry -- forgot to post the door dimesions -- it is a 12' x 10' door. I definitely plan on backing in and checking. According to the literature I have seen, I should have approximately 6" of clearance.

Canoe Stream -- you were close. Very impressive considering the angle that the shot was taken from. -b
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Old 10-06-2006, 09:32 AM   #26
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Brad,
Just curious. Did you get your new A/S backed in to the drive?

Gene
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Old 10-09-2006, 11:47 AM   #27
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Got it done

Sorry I have not replied in a while -- things have been beyond hectic. I am travelling a lot for work -- not much fun, but it pays the bills.

I did get the Airstream in the garage. I had the casters put on the back instead of skid plates, plus I expanded the drive on one side to make it easier to do a left hand back. I had the grade smoothed on this triangular extension and it works well. I dragged one of the torsion bars on the Hensley hitch just slightly. I had less than 1" clearance in the back between the lowest point on the trailer and the drive, but I did clear.

I promise that I will post some pics of the Airstream and its attendant Excursion tow vehicle parked in the garage and a pic of the drive extension as soon as I can get to it.

Thanks again to all for the ideas.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:19 PM   #28
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my 34' has the rear wheels as a standard they help in a long slow slope but will do nothing if it is a severe drop like at a gas station on an Indian reservation.
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