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velo-hobo 02-15-2010 03:05 PM

Ways of moving trailer without a tow vehicle?
Hello all, my first post here - I don't own an airstream yet but am actively looking (see my ad in the classifieds!)

Short background, I want to add a bedroom to my place by putting an AS in the yard - no need for building permits, less likely to leak/rot than an SOB, and it will most likely retain much of its value should my situation change and I find myself wanting to sell it.

The issue at hand here is that the best location for the trailer in the space I have to work with won't allow me to simply pull or back the trailer into place with a tow vehicle. I need to get it into a corner with the street side of the trailer along a large metal fence and the front end facing into said corner.

There's an 8'x8' planter in the corner with a utility pole in it, so the trailer can't/won't be shoved all the way in, which also means there will be some room to work with it on the front end.

I'm interested in hearing your ideas and experience with moving trailers around over small distances without a TV. Is it insanely impossible to maneuver one around by hand? I could imagine getting a bunch of friends to push on the rear bumper while levering up on the front end of the hitch tongue to help steer it. Another idea I had was pulling it into place with a winch set up either in the planter or on the outside of the fence (I can easily put a hole in the fence and patch it up afterwards)

A friend's father got a 29' Ambassador up a muddy hill into his backyard by pushing it around with a bobcat, but he had one on-site as there was major landscaping going on, plus he had plenty of room to move around.

By the way, the area it needs to be placed is pretty much unpaved but more or less level. The size range I am looking at is 23'-27'

Many Thanks!

HowieE 02-15-2010 03:10 PM

There are electric self propelled hand held tow motors use to maneuver units in tight places.This is one there are more just do a search on electric trailer movers.

Power Caster,electric trailer mover dolly, boat dolly, toy hauler

AirsDream 02-15-2010 03:14 PM

There are options, such as motorized trailer tugs ... go here:
Trailer Tug Pro: The Gas Powered Trailer Mover – Trailer Tugs
and I've used one to move my trailer at the site where it's stored ... the guy who owns the place uses his all the time to move lighter trailers. But they're pretty pricey ... I'd do some serious calling around to see if you can rent one. And I have NO idea how they'd work on a non-paved area or any sort of incline.

Absent that, you could probably build some sort of dolly that several football linemen could use to push/pull the trailer into place.

Good luck.

Kevin245 02-15-2010 03:16 PM

Welcome Aaron,

You sure have you work cut out for you. Tha being said there are members that report sucess using a powermover for short moves in tight spaces. Not sure how well it would perform on an unpaved surface. Here's a link to a recent thread that may help you.

If it were me I'd avoid the friends on the bumper idea as Airstream frames are not known for their strength. Not sure about the winch idea either but I have used skid-steer loader and our office forklift to shuttle our 31 footer around with ease.

Many members use tractors with great sucess as well. Which ever way you proceed make sure you have someone spotting you during the move to avoid running into things.

Best of Luck and Welcome Again,


HowieE 02-15-2010 03:28 PM

The question I have with this type is what keeps it from flipping the handle and out of control up if you lift the handle too high. Looks like they are relying on that flat plate just below the ball as a limit and the keeper of your hitch. I would want to pin that keeper.

YouTube - Parkit360 Powered Trailer Dolly

VIKING 02-15-2010 03:34 PM

I have a 6" wheel that my front jack fits onto. It can be used to roll the Safari around on level ground by myself. Rough surfaces might be hard to maneuver on, but still do-able. Any little bump, and you will need those linemen to help push.

Rich the Viking

3 Dog Nite 02-15-2010 05:03 PM

How 'bout inviting over 8-10 of your strongest friends? Most can carry the A-frame while some can push from behind. Just make sure they know to push from the bumper. Hate to see you get a bunch of fresh dents in your new AS TT.

Beer & pizza makes for a wonderful payment when move is done. Have your own strong man contest party.


Bo&Susan 02-15-2010 05:08 PM seen a picture of an Airstream in England lifted out of the street and over the fence with a crane. It was to be used as an office. Susan

purman 02-15-2010 06:21 PM

I have put a wheel under the front jack and been able to push it around with our atv. On asphalt not gravel or dirt. It's a larger Arctic Cat 650 that is rated to tow 1100 lbs. but I had no weight on the atv just the hitch over the ball on the atv and pushing it. our pulling it. IF not that the tractor like Susan.

snake 02-15-2010 07:14 PM

A low tech system:

If you can find a sturdy pole a bit longer then the hitch ball height, place this at about a 35-45 degree angle between the ground and the trailer coupler. Then lower the trailer jack and the pole will push the trailer coupler in the direction it is leaning.

This can be effective to move the trailer a few inches at a time. Slow, but it can be done by one person working alone.

GolfStream 02-15-2010 07:33 PM

My 19 International served as a pool cabana/guest house and I did the same same thing with the powrhitch. Works great!

I love it because there is NO gas motor. it is powered by the trailer's batteries. and as long as you don't have to contend with inclines and un paved surfaces, the powerhitch is also light enough to throw in the bed of the truck to take along. PM me if you want more information about the powerhitch and Camp Bambi.

GolfStream 02-15-2010 07:36 PM

oops! forgot the link:
Powrhitch Trailer Mover

GolfStream 02-15-2010 07:40 PM

I built a very narrow driveway from brick pavers and landscaped heavily... You don't notice it's there.

Foiled Again 02-15-2010 07:44 PM


Originally Posted by VIKING (Post 809803)
I have a 6" wheel that my front jack fits onto. It can be used to roll the Safari around on level ground by myself. Rough surfaces might be hard to maneuver on, but still do-able. Any little bump, and you will need those linemen to help push.

Rich the Viking

In the FACTORY they put a wheel that the front jack fits into. I've seen two people move a 28 ft classic. But that's on level paved surface. A football team with some ropes through the a-frame and some serious drum beats from the movie the Ten Commandments, and you could have it moving.


Jammer 02-15-2010 08:15 PM

I personally would start by using a winch and whatever combination of pulleys, chains, ropes, and straps made sense. A hand winch (comealong) would be sufficient with proper tackle.

With sufficient anchor points you can also use pulleys and a car or truck for pulling power.

2airishuman 02-15-2010 09:50 PM


Originally Posted by velo-hobo (Post 809780)
...The issue at hand here is that the best location for the trailer in the space I have to work with won't allow me to simply pull or back the trailer into place with a tow vehicle...

a friend/neighbor had the same issue and wanted his 31footer in the corner/behind a TREE HOUSE...

a with a garage and FENCE on 3 sides...

his solution was a forklift thing, which had extension on the forks that extended back along the frame rails near the axles...

then chain/straps were used to snug the trailer to the fork mover thing....

this allowed the operator to LIFT the trailer off the ground and BACK into the shoehorn of space.

this worked perfectly, with only a little yard turf to repair.

had this NOT worked, his next choice was a CRANE thing...

but he's a very determined fellow.


velo-hobo 02-16-2010 01:36 PM

Thanks for all the ideas! I've got some hope now.

I have some good tie-down winches that I could pull the trailer with if I could get a sufficient anchor point established.

If that didn't work I had the idea to back my truck up to the other side of the fence and rope the A-frame through the fence and onto the truck's hitch (it's a small old nissan, a sturdy truck but hardly an adequate TV). This way, with the A-frame either supported by a wheel or lifted by some friends, I could slowly pull the trailer forward towards the corner.

Ganaraska 02-17-2010 10:09 AM

Every trailer dealer has some kind of device to move trailers by hand. Why not ask the nearest one if they can move your trailer into position?

You should make a driveway of 2 rows of paving stones or even planks or plywood to allow it to move smoothly over turf. All you need is a few planks, you keep taking them from behind and putting them in front.

Paving stones or slabs are for supporting the tires and jacks once you get it parked.

Marinas and boat dealers have the trailer moving things too.

Even if they charge a couple hundred $$$$ bucks it's cheaper to hire an expert who moves trailers all the time, than doing it yourself especially if you mess up and dent your trailer.

Ganaraska 02-17-2010 10:13 AM

By the way... this isn't what you asked but an Airstream is about the worst choice of trailer for your use.

With Airstream you pay a premium price for a trailer that is at its best on the road.

If it is just going to sit in the back yard any old boxy trailer will do just as well if not better. The ol' box will be cheaper to buy and have more room inside. And you won't have to worry about it shaking to pieces because it never moves. If you reseal the seams every few years it will last as long as you want it.

Airstream's unique design is intended for travelling not sitting around.

Phoenix 02-17-2010 12:30 PM

If you go to a marina or boat yard, they frequently use a fork lift with a trailer ball screwed into one of the forks. This makes the trailer easy to hook-up and move around in tight spaces (the back wheels steer on a fork lift).

Do you have a friend or a rental place nearby where you could get a fork lift for an hour or two? It might be a cost effective alternative to pulled back muscles, dents in the trailer, and broken fences, planters, etc. in your back yard.

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