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Old 01-26-2014, 02:35 PM   #1
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Trailer Valet?

I know I'm not the only one that keeps his/her camper in their garage. Being a tight fit is an understatement at best. I bought the harbor freight dolly but even with a neighbor helping it's still a pain and some work to push it up a slight hill to get it in the garage and then the clearance on the sides is just a few inches on each side.

Being sort of independent I hate asking for help and don't want to have to wait till someone comes home from work to help push it into my garage.

I think I may have found the solution. Motorized tow dollys are way too expensive. I've found the Trailer Valet...it's $299....operates with a hand crank. For no more than I would have to move my camper in and out I think it would be perfect but I like reviews from real customers.

You can look it up on You Tube to see what it looks like.

Anyone ever use one or know someone that does?
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:01 AM   #2
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Just bought one for hubby for xmas. Used it last week for first time. That would be, I used it by myself. Hubby was away. I'm 5'6" 140lbs and not a muscle woman. We have a slight grade into backyard/side yard and a pretty tight turn to get the trailer from our driveway into the side yard which is why I wanted something like this.

Review -
#1 - make sure you have a spot where you can attach it to your trailer - we had dealer install dual batts on the tongue. They bent flat the bracket that held the single batt and put diamond plate across there to hold the dual batts. So now we had to cut a hole in the diamond plate to attach the brace for the trailer valet.... had to go behind the propane tanks as there is not enough space in front of the tanks to install the brace. Note to self...make sure you mark the hole in the diamond plate far enough back so that the brace does not hit the underside of the propane tank.... Also, position behind propane tanks can cut down on the angle of the trailer valet turning radius. Handle/valet bumps into tanks. And we do not have the clearance to leave the valet stowed on the tongue of the trailer, locking it into place. This not an issue for us as we don't intend to take it camping with us or stow it on the trailer while stored on the side of the house.
#2 - You still need a spotter....to operate the valet, you are leaning over to crank the gears and holding up the steering stick/brake. I could not see where I was going at all to navigate through the side gate (we have maybe 3 total inches of clearance).
#3 - Angles are all wrong. I can back my little trailer into some pretty tight spaces, knowing exactly where the trailer will go when pushing with my TV. But with the valet being mounted off to the side of center, and on the angle of the tongue, I had a hard time judging how to turn the trailer into place. See #2.
#4 - I imagine I will get better with practice, but making the turn into the side yard was not as smooth as I would have thought. You have to be moving to get the valet to turn easily and when trying to get into tight spots, you don't always have the room to move enough to turn tight enough. When you can't see where you are going (#2) it is difficult to tell how much you need to turn at what time. The wheels looked really twisted when I tried to turn too tight without enough movement. Went to using combination of tongue wheel and trailer valet to make the tight turns I needed to make in small space. When valet wheels looked rather twisted, I would raise the trailer on the tongue wheel and straighten out the trailer valet. Note to self - no brake involved when trailer valet is off the ground.
#5 - The gear is very easy to operate and move my little trailer (with full water tank) up our slight grade into the yard.
#6 - The brake works great. I had no concern about letting go of the steering handle/brake to stand up and see what the trailer position was (#2). Trailer didn't go anywhere on our slight grade.
#7 - It took me three hours to install the trailer valet (including filing hole in diamond plate that was not in correct position then filing it some more because the brace bumped into the bottom of the propane tank (#1) and put trailer away. Actually I would say it took me about 1/2 hour to only put trailer away. Positioned trailer with TV, then used combination of wheel on trailer tongue and trailer valet (#4) to put it away.... by myself.... no spotter. I must say I am rather proud of myself that I did it.

After all the lessons learned, I am pleased with this purchase. It will be a dream with a spotter and I'll get better each time I do it without a spotter. $299 is a great price. It was $399 before xmas but there was a $100 off discount code. Item was backordered just before xmas, but only just after I ordered mine, so I received it in time for a gift.

We have the $60 trailer dolly you can get at Harbor Freight. My husband (6'5" 250lbs) could muscle the trailer behind our gate on the side yard. He needed extra hands on the trailer and the axle on the dolly definitely sagged. There is no way I could put the trailer away with that dolly all by myself.

Oh, #8. The sucker is HEAVY. Since we don't stow on trailer, we do lift it on and off the trailer. Hubby had to move his xmas gift from the front porch delivery to under the xmas tree as the box was too big and heavy for me to get a handle on it. But out of the box, I can get a good handhold and move it myself.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:52 AM   #3
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Good Morning Carla

Thanks for such a thorough review. Sounds like a great deal. It looks so easy on you tube but you never know. That's why I try to get real reviews from people that aren't out to make money from it.

I don't have any turns to make...just a small incline going up the driveway and then into the garage but only a few inches on each side of the garage door. Just hard to do while backing up in the Durango...I can do it with a good spotter but just don't want to take a chance and bang up my camper.

Being a man and always looking to make things simplier I wonder if you could use a drill and an adapter to replace the hand crank.

I have one other thing I may try and if that doesn't work then I'm going to order one.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
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Old 01-27-2014, 01:12 PM   #4
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i kinda did a mod for the garage .... i mounted a 140 dollar, 3000lb 12 volt winch into the floor of my garage, and use a 12volt powerbox to power the winch ... i attach tow tow straps to the 3 hole thingy, which is behind the axel and wheel and have the winch pull the trailer into the garage. i did this because i have basically 1.5 inches of tolerance on either side of the garage door jams. takes two people .. a spotter and a person to push the button, but it works well for me ..and is permanently mounted in the garage ...so i can take the trailer in and out .. even during heavy snow storms ...

if you go through my profile .. you will find how i did this ... with pics

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Old 01-28-2014, 12:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlsa3 View Post
Being a man and always looking to make things simplier I wonder if you could use a drill and an adapter to replace the hand crank.
The hand crank for moving the vehicle is on the side of the valet. Even with a drill (not sure what the adapter would look like), you would still need to bend over to operate drill, blocking the view. And...the hand crank is not difficult at all to turn. Not sure that a drill would make the process simpler. But I would be interested if you figure out a process where I wouldn't have to bend over, having a better view of where I need to go.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:17 AM   #6
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:11 PM   #7
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Just ordered the Trailer Valet. Moved the camper out of the garage again with the tow dolly...it works ok moving it out even though when the tires hit the downhill part of the driveway it started wanting to go too fast...gets scary when I'm the only one there.

Hopefully the Trailer Valet will help cure part of the problems. I don't want to see a big rip in the side of my camper.

We're going to try and go camping again tomorrow...we cancelled out this past Sunday due to the weather coming into the Houston area. Glad we did.
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:12 AM   #8
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Just installed my new Trailer Valet a few minutes ago. Of course it has to be raining and I don't want to play in the rain. I did move my camper about 3' and back and I can't believe the valet moves it so easy..it was effortless. The only thing I may have to help push with is when the camper tires go over the 1" lip where the garage starts...don't know yet for sure but we'll see later today.

What I do like about it is that I can take it off by just pulling one pin...the mounting bracket stays bolted on the camper.

Here are a few pics of it installed.
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Tow Vehicle: 2012 Durango 3.6 Pentastar Engine
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Total nights camping 2014-(10)
Total Nights Camping 2015-(9)
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:50 PM   #9
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Regarding the first photo, is it possible to put the mechanism into a storage position that has the crank handle and the gear tower pointing up, to give you more ground clearance when hitched and towing? Otherwise I'd worry that it would hit the ground when you go over a bump or through a dip. I ask because I'm thinking a trailer valet might be good for me too.
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehamguy1 View Post
Regarding the first photo, is it possible to put the mechanism into a storage position that has the crank handle and the gear tower pointing up, to give you more ground clearance when hitched and towing? Otherwise I'd worry that it would hit the ground when you go over a bump or through a dip. I ask because I'm thinking a trailer valet might be good for me too.
Yes, it can go into the other position...it swivels and you can just bungee it to hold it up as I did....you may be able to use the pin that came with it to keep it up...I didn't try that.

The one thing the Valet would NOT do is to push the camper over the 1" high lip going into the garage. The tires just kept spinning...so I used the valet to straighten the camper up...back it to where the tires were at the lip and then hooked it up to the TV and pushed it over the lip and then used the Valet again to finish backing it in....it only took about a minute to do it. I'm going to try putting a small tapered board across the front of the lip to see if I can take some of the height off it. Anyway it goes I'm happy with it...makes it much easier for me to back it into the garage with such small tolerences.
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Tow Vehicle: 2012 Durango 3.6 Pentastar Engine
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