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Old 09-07-2012, 08:16 AM   #21
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Thanks, all. I started pulling a trailer at a local lake as a kayak guide - my first few attempts where hogwash. Fortunately, that trailer was small + light enough that you got it close and then pushed it! That's not happening w/ the FW! I'll get better, it'll just take some time...
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:20 PM   #22
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So, not to revive an old thread.. but, wanted to give a quick update. At the end of that trip to the storage lot, my wife and I talked through some of her ideas of how to make it better. We followed those ideas 2 weeks later and had the camper parked within 10 minutes! It would have been about 1/2 of that, but we both felt I was too close to the line and wanted to center up in the spot some. Talk about a world of difference.

Now, I haven't done anything with it since parking it that time - we'll see how the next trip treats us...
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:43 AM   #23
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Go on you tube and do a search for backup up (or parking) at truck stop. The guys already parked at the truck stop have dash cameras. They are bored as heck so they film semi drivers trying to park their big rigs into spots at the truck stop. The "good videos" get posted to youtube so fellow truck drivers have some entertainment. The redneck color commentary audio tracks make it all the more interesting to watch. Just like a big RV, backing up a semi is the same drill, practice, practice, and practice some more.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:52 AM   #24
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Want to try something on the opposite extreme.......try backing up a 8x10 snowmobile or utility trailer with nothing on the the trailer. Typically these are towed with a SUV or 1/2 ton truck. The trailer is so small and low to the ground, you can't see it when nothing is on the trailer. This short little trailer will jacknife on you so quickly it will tick you off in no time. You HAVE to use your mirrors.

When you figure out how to backup a very short trailer, you will be able to back up a long trailer. Longer trailers are actually easier to backup than a very short trailer.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:18 AM   #25
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I was dubious at first,but IS much easier to back up our double axle 24ft trailer than the single axle 12 Ft we had before. That thing would jackknife if you blinked!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:02 AM   #26
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Well, I have to say I'm impressed. We have a motorhome and I always comment that I have no idea how anyone with a TT or 5er can back those things up. And to laugh about it on top of it shows you have a great sense of humor!! Congratulations on getting it in without hitting anything and with your improvement! I'd still be trying.

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Old 10-08-2012, 08:32 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
my wife and I talked through some of her ideas of how to make it better.
As a rookie "backer upper," I was wondering if you could share some of you ideas which might help me back up the trailer. Thanks.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:41 AM   #28
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as a former otr driver, i can relate. there were some days i couldnt hit the broad side of a building with 2 hands and a map, and other times i could blind side a 53' trailer back up a one way street in downtown chicago and thru the garage door to hit their dock in one shot. makes one kinda cocky. when time came to reload at another facility, that had about 20 doors and no other trailers to jockey around, i couldnt hit ANY spot for the life of me.

as for tips tinsu, if you put one hand on the top of the steering wheel and turn towards the left, trailer will go right. hand at the bottom of the wheel and turn wheel towards the left, the trailer will go left.

as always take your time, get out and check as many times as you feel you need to. if anybody behind you complains about why your taking too long, they either can get out to help (most will) or they should have left earlier to get in front of you. dont try to hurry because you (think) are holding someone up.

the longer the trailer, the easier to back up. they dont turn as fast
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:22 AM   #29
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... if anybody behind you complains about why your taking too long, they either can get out to help (most will) or they should have left earlier to get in front of you. dont try to hurry because you (think) are holding someone up...
OR tell them to trade places with you and let you stand outside and criticize.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:39 AM   #30
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that sounds much more polite than my suggestion
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:52 AM   #31
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Saw it work in real life, I was riding with a friend a few yrs back and our car stalled at a busy intersection. He tried to start it thru a couple of light changes while a guy behind us was continously honking his horn. My friend calmly got out of the car, I thought ah oh here comes a fight. He calmly walked back to the honking car and said "Hey, you SOB, you go try to start that damned car and let me sit back here and honk the horn." The man apologized and ask if he could push us on thru the intersection which he did.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:14 PM   #32
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As a rookie "backer upper," I was wondering if you could share some of you ideas which might help me back up the trailer. Thanks.
Well, let me caveat this.. I'm only slightly past "rookie" stage. I still get anxious thinking about parking the camper. In fact, we're reserved for Circle M in Lancaster (first come, first serve) in 2 weeks and I'm already nervous as we're getting a late start the day that we head up AND it's one of their Halloween weekends (which are typically busy).

Someone mentioned the hand at the bottom of the steering wheel trick. That's the only thing that works for me.

Someone else mentioned "GOAL" - "Get Out And Look". I'm in and out of the truck a TON, even with a spotter.

A few other things:

1) Given that I'm pulling a fifth wheel - I need a good 5 to 6 feet before my turn gets instigated because my pivot point is in the center of my truck bed. Make sure you pull enough forward to back in. (Most spotters don't understand this.)

2) This led me to my realization in that I'm an OVER-STEERER. Seriously, I wagged the truck back and forth as I'd back up. I now try for as small of a correction as I think I might need. Turn the wheel, start the turn and then straighten the wheels. If I need more, repeat as needed. Before I'd just turn like heck and never straighten the wheels back out.

3) Watch your truck! I "kissed" a post and have come close to trees and whatnot. I got watching the trailer and/or my spotter a little too much a few times.

4) If someone offers to move their car, LET THEM. It's one less thing to run into. Alternatively, don't be afraid to ask people to move their cars. I start with a light-hearted (and very honest ice breaker)- "Hey, I'm really new AND awful at this..."

5) Search YouTube for "The Scoop" video. After the first 50 minute-day of backing the trailer in, my wife unknowingly suggested this exact method - "next time, why don't you come parallel to the spots and then pull out towards the center of the lane more so that the camper is already kind of lined up with the spot?" It angles the trailer back toward the spot and because I had enough room, left me with the truck and trailer relatively in line with each other for starting my backup. Not all campgrounds have enough room, but when they do - this is muy helpful.

6) Patience, patience and more patience. As a rookie, you're going to suck at this. BADLY even. Don't be afraid to make people wait. And on the flip-side, don't be afraid to bail on an entire attempt and loop around to start again. My first 50 minute extravaganza at the campground required 3 attempts. Worse yet - sometimes you need to bail on a camp SITE entirely. We use Thousand Trails parks quite often and they're first come, first served mostly -- at our last trip to Sea Pines, we ultimately decided we weren't going to fit the first site we tried. After much "discussion" and attempts at parking it, I finally gave in and we went looking for another site - as luck would have it, the new site was AWESOME.

7) Have a sense of humor. As a rookie, you're going to suck at this. BADLY even.

And now- I'm off to go buy the model toys AND search YouTube a bit more.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:11 PM   #33
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As a rookie, you're going to suck at this. BADLY even.

even those of us who are a bit more seasoned, and even professional drivers still suck badly on occasion. as a newbie, you wont have the market cornered for "sucking" badly, so dont worry about that part.

get out and look is probably the best advice given. dont forget to look up too, as you dont want to rip your antenea, a/c or vent covers off. keep in mind where the power pole is and where your slides need to be, if you have any. look up, down and all around.

keep in mind not only where your spotter is, but as ependydad said, keep a watch where the front of your tv is going. there are things to bump into out front too.

keep a sense of humor. we all enjoy the backing show occasionally
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:20 PM   #34
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as for tips tinsu, if you put one hand on the top of the steering wheel and turn towards the left, trailer will go right. hand at the bottom of the wheel and turn wheel towards the left, the trailer will go left.
That's what my neighbor was telling me yesterday. No wonder I was so confused. Now I keep one hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and the other hand off. This way I can see which direction my hand is turning.

Take it slow and easy. It will come with practice.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:48 PM   #35
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Watch these 4 videos

#1 setup


#2 set the angle


#3 follow the trailer with truck


#4 make SMALL corrections - usually people over steer and get out of whack. Pull forward and start over if need be.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:40 AM   #36
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When backing and looking in your mirrors. If your trailer is going left then turn left and when trailer is going right then turn right
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:05 AM   #37
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I try not to overthink it....I watch which direction my trailer goes and correct accordingly. I'm far from great and I'm slow as molasses (and sometimes anxious beyond reason) but I am good enough to get where I nees to be....the times I havent been so sure, I ask for help and sometimes jump out and let an experienced person park for me...eventually I'll feel more confident but I dont kid myself.

When I had the Jayco travel trailer, I nearly took out the fence post with the front end of my SUV, I was so focused on thetrailer behind me! Most recently, my very experienced husband took out part of the apple tree with my Titan as he was backing the trailer around our curvy driveway by himself. Not a pretty sight and not a time to breathe a word or tease him about skill sets...errr... He just quietly went and got the loppers and finished off the hanging branch and got rubbing compound and rubbed out the scratches on my truck's clear coat...all was good...I hope he considers straightening our drive way some in the Spring. Anyway, that made me feel "better" knowing it happens to experienced drivers on rare occassion.
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