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Old 09-27-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
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So how do you back the thing up?

This one is for all of you experienced 5th wheel pilots.

According to our log, I've backed our 5th wheel on to a site 20 times since taking deliver last Mar. Most of the time I've done ok, but sometimes I find myself wanting to move the trailer a little to the left or right, usually so we would avoid hitting something with a slide.

The question I have is a basic one. (I think?) When trying to reposition the 5th wheel a little to the left or right, (and assuming, backing up is not an option...) is it better to pull straight and jog over to the new position or jog over firat then back up straight?

We had a travel trailer for 15 yrs and for the life of me I can not remember what I did, but what ever it was I rarely had a problem. Clearly a 5th wheel is different..I just don't know in what way....but it seems like I have more problems with small moves rather than big ones.

Any Ideas??
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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me personally I immediately turn the truck to the new location while pulling ahead "assuming you have enough pull ahead room" then by time the 5er gets back inline you can back straight up in the new location .
I think theres a lot of variables when trying to back up that no REAL answer is the same every time .


or you need this !
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:47 PM   #3
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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I bought a large model tractor trailer toy and played with it till I could visualize what I wanted the rig to do and where the pickup had to be pointed to make the trailer go where I wanted. If you get one with movable front wheels you can see what you need to do with the steering to get the butt of the camper to move a few inches left or right.

I did it because getting my camper into our driveway without hitting our Japanese Maple and our lawn light was a 30 minute operation.

Now I can two or three manueuver the tires right onto the 12x12 concrete blocks without worrying about hitting the tree or the light.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:57 AM   #5
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Herk:
That actually does help a lot. I used a scale model (1:48) 5th wheel w/ truck that is part of my model railroad layout. And I can see what you mean.

What a great idea. I get to try it for real next weekend. Hopfully I will do better.

Thanks
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Old 09-29-2012, 12:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimchaSabre View Post
Herk:
That actually does help a lot. I used a scale model (1:48) 5th wheel w/ truck that is part of my model railroad layout. And I can see what you mean.

What a great idea. I get to try it for real next weekend. Hopfully I will do better.

Thanks
Old Army saying: (I think from when Hannibal crossed the Alps)

If its dumb; but it works. It ain't dumb.
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #7
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Speaking of dumb:

About 5 years ago, we left after work to go to a US Forest Service campground some 60 miles away. I figured we could be there just before dark and everything would be ok. Then came an unexpected detour on the trip that sent us around the world to get to the road I needed to be on. Finally arrived at the entrance gate just before dark to find a sign accross the gate "CLOSED FOR THE SEASON"! Well @#$%!

Plan B was a state park 30 miles away. I knew of a short cut that might shave off a few miles, we'd still be dark getting there but wouldn't be as late. Yeah, I saw the sign "ROAD CLOSED AHEAD" but I thought "that can't be right". I was wrong. After a mile, yep, there was a huge mound of dirt blocking the road. What to do, what to do! I'll just back up into a driveway or a road and turn around right? Where are most state parks? Did I mention before we were originally going to a Forest Service park? OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! No drveways because nobody lives out there. And no connecting roads. I had to back up over a mile, in the dark until I could find a driveway to back into to turn around.

So backing into a campsite is not one of the harder things for me to do.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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HI

Watch these series of videos. They are for tractor trailers but its the same thing.

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Old 10-01-2012, 12:32 PM   #9
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Trick # 1 = One trick is just before you are finished doing your pull up/drive forward, turn your truck so the nose is pointing to the side you want your trailer to move over to. When you do this, you will magically be able to see the entire length of your trailer so backing up then becomes much easier. Look at youtube video picture above for example. truck nose is pointing left of center so it allows driver to see down entire left side of trailer.

Trick # 2 = GOAL. Get out and look! When in doubt, put truck in park and get out and look. What you see in your mirrors and what is happening in reality are two different things. Seeing mirrors AND reality will help you judge what to do next.

Trick # 3 = Use ALL of your mirrors. When backing, look left forward and right. Keep scanning both sides to see all of your mirrors. When in doubt, stop and use GOAL.

Trick # 4 = spotters often suck. They may be worse off at backing up then you are. IF so, they may do you more harm than good. They mix up hand signals, they are poor judges of how little you can actually turn your trailer in the tight space you have, etc. Get used to backup up all by yourself. A spotter's job is to keep you from crashing into something .

Trick 5 = practice, practice, practice. Walmart or other huge parking area such as a shopping mall very early in the morning, during middle of week when nobody is around. Use orange rubber cones about 1 foot tall. You can run them over with no damage to your RV. Pretend the cones are the tight RV camping spot you have to fit into. 30-60 minutes of low stressed practice time all by yourself will really pay off down the road. Stay away from light poles when practicing.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:51 PM   #10
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Very helpful hints..I mean tricks. I plan on doing some practiicing this weekend. and will take them along.
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