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Old 05-20-2015, 10:31 AM   #1
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Anyone have some tips on backing up TT?

We purchased our first TT in January. Got it out of storage in April and first thing took it to a empty parking lot for my husband to practice backing up. We set saw horses on each side of a parking space and I was the one trying to help him back in. I had no idea where to stand, what to tell him as far as directing him, etc. We just purchased walkie-talkies so he can hear me but I have no idea what directions to give him. When we were practicing, he had me stand on the door side of the camper but if I stand on one side of the unit, how am I going to see how things are going on the other side of the camper? We need help soon because our first camping trip is coming up next week. Would love any tips we can get on how to do it right.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:41 AM   #2
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One thing that helps me as I am backing up. I get out of the car and see for myself how I am doing. This helps me get a mental picture of the area. DW still stands by to watch for disasters. I learned this from a truck driver who had a sign on his dash. It read G.O.A.L. Get Out And Look. Of course practice and experience will help.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:44 AM   #3
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My wife stands behind and points which direction the rear of the trailer needs to go. I keep her in sight in the moirror. If she isn't in sight, I stop. She will switch sides occasionally and when she does I stop until she is in my sight in the other mirror.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:48 AM   #4
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What I know can fill a short list
  • Where to stand - Drivers side so that you can see the drivers side mirror. If you cannot see the mirror the driver cannot see you. Passenger side same rules but only if that side is tight.
  • Hand signals work better than words, agree on a few:
    **Stop - Both hands held palm out
    **Near - hands held palms facing each other and move closer together as the trailer reaches it's stop point (palms together means you are at the right spot)
    **Point left or right - point in the direction the trailer should go - not the car (backwards)
  • Don't be afraid to shout even at night - The driver has an engine, fan noise and only the window open. You need to be heard
  • Walkie-talkies - for me these are a pain - you push the mic and it's 2-3 seconds before you can talk. Often the other person will not hear the first 2-4 words. Bad outcome.
  • No side chat when backing someone up (only directions about backing up).

Good luck
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:51 AM   #5
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If I was backing someone in I would stand on the driver side near the middle of the site.

I would us my left arm to indicate move to the left right arm means move right
.
Both arms held at the side means straight back.

If I need to move to see the right side, a stop by holding both arms up making a fist with both hands.

As things move along I would them move to the back of the site prepared to stop the driver.

All directions are based on the drivers left or right no matter what.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:52 AM   #6
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Always stand in an area where you can see the tow vehicles mirror.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:55 AM   #7
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I think NoviBill and Howie70 nailed it. I cannot count the different hand signals out there. Even in the military where you would think it is standardized, people do their own thing. Make sure you are both in agreement on what hand signals you are going to use. Patience (sometimes deep breaths) and practice pay off and you will figure out what works for you.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:56 AM   #8
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Sounds as though you're doing pretty good as newbies already. But still Practice, Practice, and more Practice. Before long you and the hubby will be in total sync with the camper maneuvering.


Also YouTube has a lot of good how-to pointer videos on backing RV's Campers, etc. Might want to check them out as well.


We've ALL been there...done that, with the backing trials. You will do fine.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoviBill View Post
What I know can fill a short list
  • Where to stand - Drivers side so that you can see the drivers side mirror. If you cannot see the mirror the driver cannot see you. Passenger side same rules but only if that side is tight.
  • Hand signals work better than words, agree on a few:
    **Stop - Both hands held palm out
    **Near - hands held palms facing each other and move closer together as the trailer reaches it's stop point (palms together means you are at the right spot)
    **Point left or right - point in the direction the trailer should go - not the car (backwards)
  • Don't be afraid to shout even at night - The driver has an engine, fan noise and only the window open. You need to be heard
  • Walkie-talkies - for me these are a pain - you push the mic and it's 2-3 seconds before you can talk. Often the other person will not hear the first 2-4 words. Bad outcome.
  • No side chat when backing someone up (only directions about backing up).

Good luck
I fully agree with this! My wife and I do the same exact thing.

A tip that helped me learn which way to turn the wheel when my father taught me to back was to place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and turn your hand the way you want the back of the trailer to go. This takes the guesswork out when it is an already stressful situation.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:57 AM   #10
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Last year we purchased a trailer, and it was our first RV, and our first foray into any type of trailer manipulation. There are a few basic things that can make it easy. If you have the money, you can purchase a camera system (we bought a wireless system from tadibrothers.com and it works great). That can help the driver see the person giving directions. As the driver myself, it is concerning when my wife disappears from view (whether it be mirror view or camera view).

We dont have a specific spot for her to stand. Sometimes she is in view, sometimes I request she go to the other side that I cant see. (and we always use walkie talkies) All dependant on if we are backing in to the driver side or passenger side. And I would also say a handy tip is to make sure you have a specific language that you both can understand. I know as a guy, my wife and I do not speak the same language, lol. So we have settled on "driver" and "passenger". It is just easier than trying to determine what she means, looking in the mirror, etc. So if she says more to the driver side, I know what she means. Or to close on the passenger side, I know what she means. Nothing is more aggravating than having 2 people trying to translate each others thoughts on the fly, in the mirror, while backing up a trailer with no experience.

Some quick tips for the driver. Have the driver place their hand on the bottom of the wheel (the 6:00 position). If you need to turn the trailer, move that hand in that direction. For example, if you want to turn the trailer toward the driver side, the hand at the bottom of the wheel will move clockwise toward the 10:00 position (or beyond). To turn to the passenger side, counterclockwise toward the 3:00 position (or beyond). I have also learned that you can move forward a short distance to help "aim" the trailer. You start backing up and realize you are going too far, just pull forward 6' and start your back up again. I used to try to get the trailer into its spot by just backing up and turning it and presto it will land where I want it. Lol. Rarely does that happen. Its usually a few backs and a few slight forwards and you end up right where you want it to be. You can also use your forward motion to help set up the trailer direction by driving in a "S" pattern.

To maybe help explain the "S" pattern without confusion. Lets say you are going to back into a site on the drivers side. As you pull up to the site you drive in the middle of the roadway. You turn the truck to the left toward the drivers side of the road way, and then turn it to the right to the passenger side and then one more time to the drivers side (it doesnt have to be dramatic, subtle turns). That will force the rear of the trailer to now be facing in the direction of your site, rather than straight back down the road at a 90* angle. Backing into the site when the trailer is already headed in the right direction is a bit easier.

Hope I have been clear and helpful, and didnt make things harder to understand. Best of luck. I will say, that even when it is a struggle, at some point things will just click and for some reason you will wonder why there was ever a struggle
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