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Old 02-20-2017, 09:41 AM   #1
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Need help parking trailer at home

We recently bought an Airstream 25 Flying Cloud. I can back the trailer relatively easily into my driveway [it is a straight back up] but my plan is to park it parallel to the driveway and beside my garage. I have a fence beside the driveway. I am struggling to maneuver the trailer into place. I get the TV twisted and in turn I cannot see the back of the trailer well (I do not want to hit the fence]. One thought I had after watching a video, was to disconnect the TV and trailer, straighten my TV around and start over. Another thought was to purchase a trailer dolly ( I looked at the cost and gasped).
It is winter here in Canada so the trailer is in storage right now and I cannot practice. Can anyone suggest ideas that I might do, when spring arrives and we awake our trailer.
Thanks
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:54 AM   #2
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If you have a vehicle that you can put a receiver on the front bumper, you might try parking the trailer with your tow vehicle attached at the front rather than at the back. This might help if the issue is one of difficulty manuvering/seeing/backing.

If the idssue is that the place you want to park is just too tight to get the trailer and the tow vehicle in, then a mechanized dolly might be the answer. There are several competing models on the market. Some are quite expensive, but if you really only need the dolly for the last 30' or so of parking, you might try one of the hand-cranked models that sell for under $300. If you are handy, there is a guy selling plans for a trailer dolly on ebay that looks like a pretty stout design. I recall the plans go for around $30, and he suggests that the materials that go into the project can be acquired for a few hundred. I almost went the route of the home-made dolly, but stumbled across a used one on Craigslist for $100.

good luck!
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:13 AM   #3
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I've read here that some use a garden hose or brightly colored rope to lay on the ground so they know where to position the TV and AS. You could also get a cheap full length mirror that you could prop against a trash can so you can get a better view while the TV is angled. There are also backup cameras that you can install on the AS and TV that might help.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:22 AM   #4
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I can second the suggestion for a front hitch, but go for a frame hitch, if one is available for your TV AND you are parking on a paved surface. I say paved surface because it is unlikely that your front suspension or front hitch can take the full load of your tongue weight, so you probably should use a tongue jack caster and the wheel will sink up unless the surface is paved.

I was parking a Safari 25 in my driveway which has a right turn into the garage. I wanted to park the trailer at a right angle to the actual driveway, inline with the garage. I purchased a caster wheel for my tongue jack at Harbor Freight. I would back in part way. When disconnecting, I chock the trailer securely and place the tongue jack caster on the trailer instead of the foot pad. Disconnect from the trailer, turn around, re-hitch to the front hitch taking only enough of the tongue weight on the front hitch to ensure the caster would always stay on the ground. With this setup, the gyrations of the TV are much subdued and you have a good view of everything.

WARNING - Be sure to get the right size ball for the front hitch. Don't ask how I know.

WARNING - When you hook up to pull the trailer out, be aware it may not follow the same path as when it went in. Don't ask how I know.

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Old 02-20-2017, 10:41 AM   #5
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I third the front hitch mount. It is amazing what one can do with one.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:03 AM   #6
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You have limited options.

I also saw that video about disconnecting. A front hitch would help a lot IMO.

You can get a wireless camera relative cheap for your purpose to see what is behind you.

Using high visibility aid should help as well. Using yellow tape to mark locations you don't want to hit may help.

But you will need three bodies to help you if the space is really tight.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:03 AM   #7
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I agree that a frame/uni-body-frame mounted front receiver can help in putting your trailer where you want, as others have said above .....

If it is a very tight fit, then you may be better off with a dolly - & I would recco an electrically powered dolly to aid your maneuvering it around in the tight space - over the person-power. This is especially true if you have a harder to turn twin axle trailer.

You'll also appreciate having power assist, the older & creakier you get, as I can attest at 64!

I have one of these Power Movers for our Avion, in order to both move it in tight quarters on our driveway now, & to eventually maneuver it between the house & garage & then back to the far back area of our yard. Call or email them with the specifics of your trailer, + surface(s), distance & grades you need to maneuver it, & they can recco a custom build for your needs (no more expensive, since the build all to order).

http://www.powerdolly.co/

BTW - Using a front hitch set-up requires you to un-hitch from the trip, then re-hook-up at the front - so using a power dolly doesn't add any more steps to unhitch then hook-up the dolly.

Of course, you can also look at other powered dolly makers out there, but make sure to compare tires & motor power, so you have enough power to move your rig & enough traction to use that power.

Good Luck!
Tom
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:23 AM   #8
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We've found that a second person outside with a walkie-talkie is very helpful in backing into tight spaces. Long Long Honeymoon has a video that may or may not be useful:
Good luck.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:08 PM   #9
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"If you have a vehicle that you can put a receiver on the front bumper, you might try parking the trailer with your tow vehicle attached at the front rather than at the back. This might help if the issue is one of difficulty manuvering/seeing/backing."

This statement is right on. Have Can-am put a receiver on the front of your vehicle. Show them a photo of what you're trying to do. Then they can off set the receiver to give you the best shot at your driveway.

They did this for me and it's got me out of a tight spot more than once.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:20 PM   #10
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Does one need to be concerned about somewhat exceeding the 500 lb limit of a front hitch receiver used just for backing into a driveway? If it's designed to carry 500 lbs at highway speed with the dynamic forces involved with rough roads, it seems to me that it would handle the tongue weight of a 25' trailer moving at a walking pace over smooth ground.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:36 PM   #11
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You can measure the space you have and lay out that space in a parking lot to practice. The rope, hose marker, or traffic cones may help.

However, front or rear hitch, you can not see. You need a spotter. You may need more than one. You also need to go slow. Backing without a spotter requires that you stop, get out and look every 6 inches to a foot as you get close to obstructions - seriously.

Backing is best when a minimum of steering is used. To get into a very tight space mandates a very narrow path.

Practice - you could catch a dry day and rent a smaller box trailer to practice backing it into your space. Learn how to handle and place the rental now and you will have better skills when you take the AS out of storage.

If you do not have 10 ft of width beside your structure, you may have a very difficult time backing into it. Depends on how much distance you have in front of it. We know a couple who puts their coach about 3" from their house. It is a very difficult back up for them.

The other concern is the roof overhang. We know a couple who creased their 8.5' wide coach by turning it too close to the house roof overhang. They had been parking a vintage coach in the spot. It was not as wide as the new coach and cleared with no problem. It was a real downer lesson to find they had a new constraint with the wider coach.

Good luck with your practice. Look up, down and all around. Go slow. Use spotters. Do not get frustrated. Pat
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:47 PM   #12
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Parking

Don't know if ones accessable but if you know someone with a farm tractor with a hitch on front or back ,they work great for putting one in tight spaces
I have used one for years with a friend of mine working on trailers.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:13 PM   #13
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Whenever I am backing into a tight space, particularly on the blind side, I get out and walk back so I can see exactly were I am, sometimes more than once. Standing there looking at the trailer and where it needs to go makes a huge difference in figuring out how to proceed.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:33 PM   #14
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unhitching to change the angle of the truck is a big pain, but it works.

How much space do you have over there? Maybe a google sat image would help us see your situation.

But can start to back the trailer in, then pull forward with the wheels towards the opposite side, then continue backing in? That's one way to straighten the truck on the trailer, but if you have limited distance in front of your parking area, that can hinder this move.

I also strongly second the get out and walk thing. The mirrors LIE all the time. And it's difficult to detect a small amount of off center, especially when the truck is at an angle already.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvb View Post
Whenever I am backing into a tight space, particularly on the blind side, I get out and walk back so I can see exactly were I am, sometimes more than once. Standing there looking at the trailer and where it needs to go makes a huge difference in figuring out how to proceed.
I had to "place" the trailer on a 15' wide pad next to the garage for many years. I wanted to enlarge the drive apron but the city had a code prohibiting an apron wider than your garage. In the beginning I used orange flags, on flexible poles to mark the spots where I needed to start turning and then flags where I did a hard turn. I would get out at each spot and eyeball it myself. I would suggest using your power mirrors, changing the mirror positions on both sides as you back in to align yourself with your turn points. Keep getting out to look don't rely on someone else to tell you where to turn. I also had the spots marked at each side on the back of the parking spot. When we sold our 25' and got the 30' I started all over with new markings and flags. Now we have a house with a straight driveway on a wide quiet side street. I do miss the challenge of "placing" the trailer when we get back from camping.
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:00 PM   #16
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The suggestion of getting out and looking is probably the best single suggestion so far. Also just practicing the maneuver will help out immensely. If you are certain you have the space, I would focus on the object you can clearly see (garage?) and hug the trailer against that. This situation sounds a little like mine. My trailer goes straight back under the carport, but I also store my car carrier next to the carport. I have 9 feet between my fence and carport corner pole. I have to snake the car carrier in its spot, but by watching that corner post, I know if I hug that post it will slip in without touching the fence.
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:05 PM   #17
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Does one need to be concerned about somewhat exceeding the 500 lb limit of a front hitch receiver used just for backing into a driveway? If it's designed to carry 500 lbs at highway speed with the dynamic forces involved with rough roads, it seems to me that it would handle the tongue weight of a 25' trailer moving at a walking pace over smooth ground.
No you don't. It's similar to Don Quixote chasing windmills (quixotic/quixotism).
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:43 PM   #18
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Backing Up

I often travel as a solo camper, so I have learned several techniques that work for me when I am backing up the 30 ft. Airstream into a tight spot.

- Often other guys will offer to help. I always decline politely. YOU are ultimately responsible...not them.
- As I get to my assigned spot, I get out and inspect it carefully for width and overhead obstructions.
- Then I lay a 50 ft. yellow polypropolene rope along the track I want my left side trailer wheels to follow with a slight curve in the beginning extending into the traffic lane. I also put a yardstick horizontally on a cone at the rearmost point where I want my trailer to end up. When the trailer knocks off the yardstick, I know I am back as far as I want to go. You might have pull forward once or twice to get it as straight as you want once in the spot, just get out and put the yardstick back on the cone and back up again till you knock it off.
- When I am ready, I pull up past the parking spot in the center of the available traffic lane with my trailer wheels so that my trailer wheels are just past the yellow rope. I then begin to slowly back up keeping the trailer wheels about an inch to the left of the yellow rope. Take it slow, get out and look several times if you have to... don't be afraid to pull out and try again ... or go around and start again.
- I ALWAYS try to back in using the mirror on the DRIVERS side. Using passenger side is possible, but much, much more difficult.
- Best advice is to assemble your parking aids and then go to a large deserted parking lot and practice, practice, practice... you WILL get it after awhile...

Good luck...
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:43 PM   #19
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Trailer Valet - if the surface is paved

If the surface is paved and relatively level, I would get one of these to solve your issue. Attach the cordless drill and you have a highly maneuverable dolly. I have one and it woks like a charm - but not on soft ground. It is well built for what it needs to do - it is not going to push or pull the trailer down the road, but when space gets tight, it is cheap compared to the cost to repair a dent, gouge, or scrap in your AS.

www.trailervalet.com
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Old 02-20-2017, 03:10 PM   #20
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1. Learn to back using the mirrors instead of turning around.
2. Go slow.
3. Pull forward as soon as you're off target.
4. Building supply places sell cones. Put some out to mark the boundary of your space, and are easy to see.
5. Put your hand on the bottom of the wheel, and move the wheel in the direction you want to trailer to go.
6. Go slow.
7. Don't be shy about getting out to see where you are. Sometimes your perspective is off when backing.

It's no help to have an assistant who stands behind the trailer and watches silently.
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