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Old 09-06-2011, 10:47 AM   #1
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Unhappy HELP getting 19' Bambi into steep driveway

We have a serious issue where it is taking approx. 2 hrs to get our trailer in & out of our newly poured driveway due to the steepness at the street side of the driveway. Where our previous gravel driveway scrape the bumper slightly, the new driveway causes a number of issues. I have attached an illustration that explains better than words could.
The 1st problem is with the bumper scraping/digging into the driveway. This is currently resolved by placing 2x6 widthways behind the trailer tires to lift the bumper sufficiently. This is tedious having to continually run behind and move and replace and is not manageable going forward.
The 2nd problem is once the bumper clears the slope, the spare tire mount begins to drag at almost the same time as the hitch/jack hit the dip where the sidewalk meets the road. Again the process of placing boards now behind the truck tire begins inching it back.
Finally (yep not done yet), once the trailer is at the top of the driveway where it levels off, the ability to maneuver it in line with the garage is extremely limited by the inability to move the truck very far forward to reposition.
The above is accomplished by removing the weight distribution hitch and replacing with a straight hitch. We have also tried using a hitch with an adjustable rise and drop ( by flipping it one way or the other). The problem with that is at first you need the drop to raise the trailer bumper then you need the rise to clear the spare & hitch.
Ramps & boards are not practical due to the 10+ feet of slope we need to navigate. We need at least 3 inches of clearance. Bumper wheels are a no go due to potential frame damage. Bigger tires have been suggested but we just got new tires & don’t think I could get 3” anyways. We are thinking of trying a powered trailer dolly but I am worried about the steep slope. The only other option I can see is getting the driveway re-paved so the slope starts right at the garage but the cost is exorbitant.
Can anyone either comment on power dollies and steepness or ideas other than getting the new driveway done again?
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File Type: pdf Airstream_Driveway_Problem.pdf (63.2 KB, 543 views)
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:00 AM   #2
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What a bummer. While I have no idea if the geometry of this can work, some folks have put a hitch box on the front of their truck. Perhaps a simple ball connection up front would give you both the geometry needed and the control needed at the end of the process?? I'll sure be interested in what the Veterans have to say.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:29 AM   #3
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On the old Cloud I have I mounted the axle below the springs. Not able on yours....so, how about trying 16 inch wheels? It may make just enough difference. Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:59 PM   #4
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Just some additional info - the slope is 10 degrees as best as I can figure. I have 1 ft of rise for 10 ft. From where the slope starts to the street is 18 ft.

May try to make some ramps with 4x8 sheets of plywood and doubling 2x6 at every foot. Too bad I can't cheaply get 3x6s.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:59 PM   #5
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Do you have room to make a diagonal approach? We have done this sometimes, if it looks like the bumper or tongue jack is going to scrape. This allows one wheel to clear the hump or dip at a time, which seems to keep stuff from hitting bottom.
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:06 AM   #6
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Thanks Phoenix - the angled approach is how we have always done it - just doesn't work anymore.
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:38 AM   #7
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Could you attach skid plates to the parts of the trailer that make contact and live with the noise as you back it up over the rise?

Another option is to live with the driveway and find an alternate place to store your AS.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:04 PM   #8
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Do you store the trailer in the garage? The reason I ask is inside storage is a much more valuable commodity and efforts to get it in there have more value. If its outside storage, perhaps its more "dime a dozen" and it wouldn't pay to bother with any modifications necessary, just find other place to store it.

Wonder if you could try a dolly with a refund policy?

I would expect any effort to lift the trailer would have expense over $2K to get 3 inches. Possibly an axle with more lift, possibly some kind of shim on the axle mount, and possibly taller tires. I don't know the logistics of it though. Certainly any modification would have its downsides too. You may want to research if anyone lifted their trailer for dirt roads.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:18 PM   #9
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Just some off hand thinking here. Perhaps taking 6+ 8' 2x4's. Sandwiching them together on edge, lag bolting them together. Taper one end for a ramp. Make two, one for each side. Put them behind the trailer lengthwise and drive up on them. Might need to adjust the width and be very accurate backing up. Other sizes may have to be adjusted. Might give you you the height.

Just another idear.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:45 PM   #10
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How about air shocks or air bags to raise the trailer when putting it away?
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:00 PM   #11
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No problem!

I use a tractor quite often, but then I have 3 of them. You could purchase a small tractor with a three point hitch, which accomadates a trailer hitch. The three point raises up and down, so tilt the trailer whichever way is needed at the time. And even a small tractor will have plenty of power to handle that trailer (I also have a 19' Bambi), and they are very good at turning on a dime, to position the trailer exactly where you want it.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:15 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info LFM - what brand of tractor has the 3 point hitch or do you use? I've spoken to 2 RV places in town & the main concern is the 10 degree slope. The only places I've seen with a money back guarantee are in the US so would have to check to see if that applies to us in Canada too.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:24 PM   #13
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Appreciate all the feedback everyone.

The trailer is stored in just built garage that was made specifically for the trailer.

Skid plates likely won't work since we already tried similar with plywood and almost got jammed up. Likely would damage the concrete too.

Have contemplated airbags for the truck as opposed to the trailer. As for the 2x4 ramps that's kinda what we've been doing - just the width isn't sufficient - hence my thoughts of using plywood & 2x6 to get enough width to manoeuvre.

Hubby is excited about the tractor idea thinking if we can get a small enough one we can cut the grass & attach a plow in winter.....
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:02 PM   #14
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3 pt hitch demo

This should help answer some questions.

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Old 09-07-2011, 08:22 PM   #15
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Just curious, do you have a wheel on your tongue jack, or a metal disk/foot? The wheel might keep the tongue jack from scraping. Plus, maybe you could somehow mount some dolly wheels on your bumper; although, the bumper isn't very useful, except as decoration.

We have a 19-foot Bambi, too, and have been through some big dips and humps. That must be some driveway. Is there any chance of repouring the concrete where your trailer scrapes, to level it out a little? The cost might not be prohibitive, if you are thinking about buying a tractor.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:12 PM   #16
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Have come across some folding aluminum ramps that may do the trick. As truck ramps capacity is 5000 lbs and 78" length. Even have a line on a pair of new/unused ones. Will update all in a couple of weeks as they are coming from out if town.... Please cross your fingers and toes for me..
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Old 09-24-2011, 05:30 PM   #17
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Did you get your ramps?

Hello "Kim"
How did you make out with the truck ramps?
We just brought our new-to-us 2007 23' Safari home today and experienced a similar problem with our driveway.
Our slope is not as extreme as yours, but our bumper began to scrape at the bottom as in your illustration. We were able to use two 6 ft long 2x8 boards as ramps, bracing them under the "dip" with about 18" long pieces of 2x8 to keep them from cracking under the weight of the trailer. It worked well, with lots of assistance from 3 helpful guys - my husband, our son and a friend who's more knowledgeable about RVs than we are (an easy feat since we are super newbies) to position the ramps and guide me as I backed up the trailer. Once we used the improvised ramps to get past the dip and slope at the end of the driveway, we were OK.
After reading your last post, we were wondering if you were able to get the ramps. If so, did they solve your problem? Would you post a picture so we can see how they work?
Thanks and happy traveling...
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:32 PM   #18
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We figured the metal ramps were just too narrow to work 0 we really need a wider surface area. So we have opted to build our own ramps using 2 ft lengths of 2x6 attached with rubber from bike tubes - kinda like a futon frame. The ramps are 2 boards high except for the 1st & last one and are 7 boards together so about 3 feet long. We originally had them 6 feet long but was too heavy & broke the rubber. Plus I am usually alone when we are doing this. We are not finished building yet but will have to test this weekend - we'll see - fingers crossed
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:02 PM   #19
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Hello, I just picked up my 19' Bambi last week and, surprise, ran into the same problem. I understand your frustrations and concerns.
My street is somewhat busy and a ramp solution may not be practical.
Phoenix suggested a tongue jack wheel and dolly wheels on or near the bumper. Someone else mentioned skid plates.
Has anyone ever tried that? What would the repercussions be on the frame?
At an angle the only thing that scrapes is the bottom corners of the back box now that I have switched to a 3/4 rise hitch.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:14 PM   #20
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Luc, I'd have to believe both your Bambi & kimd8888's Bambi already have skid protectors welded under the frame on each side just in front of the bumper. They make a racket to alert the driver but I've experienced that they will bend. Some have added wheels to their skid protectors -- don't do this.

Can we level by jacking on the frame away from the axles? No. Likewise the frame at the rear is not strong enough to bear the weight of the trailer. The rear frame-shell junction is fragile enough as it is. Some other strategy needs to be adopted to avoid putting the weight of the Bambi on the rear of the frame.
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