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Old 08-09-2015, 07:05 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Backing in to sites

I purchased a Rock wood 2503s. It's the first trailer I've had in decades. I'm terrible with backing into sites. I wish there was a class available to take. I've watched a dozen YouTube videos but that hasn't done much to improve my skills. Is there a good book to read, a class to take, or tips experienced folks could share?
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:09 PM   #2
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the basics behind it are simple, the rest is just practice
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:16 PM   #3
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Just take it slow & easy & have some one spot for you. It will get easier with practice. Good luck & happy camping.

By the way, welcome from NE Fla.
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:20 PM   #4
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I need to understand how to position the trailer before backing in.
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:28 PM   #5
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Here are some of the things I learned by trial and error.
1) make sure you are well past the site you need to turn into and make sure you have space for your vehicle to follow the trailer in an arc.
2) invest in really good extension mirrors so you can see what you are doing
3) keep your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. If you do that the rear of your trailer will swing the way your hands move.
4) Once you are "into" the space and roughly centred "follow" the trailer with your tow vehicle
5) find somewhere that no one is watching and practice
good luck
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:37 PM   #6
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Rickred52... there is a class!! Check out RV Driving School... I took a lesson and it was well worth the $$ and time.
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:41 PM   #7
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If space allows, swing wide to line up when approaching you site.
Pull up as far as you can to (hopefully) allow seeing your destination in your mirrors.
From there backing is "turn steering right to have the trailer go left" and visa versa.
ALWAYS "Go Slow". Any traffic waiting has "been there and done that" so they will be patient and probably offer help if needed.

Using a spotter is good but can be confusing if they are not good at their task. The best they are for is when to stop and to be sure you have room for any slides to fully extend. Lining you up with the power & water post helps too.
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:44 PM   #8
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Well, I have something to admit here. DH and I have struggled with backing in our approximately 40 ft 5th wheel. It has taken up to over an hour to get it in our spot at the storage facility. Last time we had to do it, the batteries on the walkie talkies were dead. So we decided to use our cel phones. I've got to tell you, I was in fear for my life when I tried to turn mine on and had to tell DH that it was dead too. He just looked at me and said "Well just yell if I'm going to hit the RV on either side of our spot. Did that and it worked so much better. Then again did the same thing. He looked on the driver's side while backing up, I yelled while positioned on the passenger side if he got too close to that rv or the fence on the border of our spot. Took 10 minutes to back up and park, another 15 to unblock, lock up and take off. Best personal time ever. So my only advice is that everybody needs to work out their own system. Best of wishes to you. And listen to those more experienced than us, watch videos, maybe take some classes if they are available in your area and have some good insurance, just in case. And have fun, like we are after our first 4 outings!!
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:46 PM   #9
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Practice in the biggest empty parking lot you can find, prior to your next trip.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:04 PM   #10
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I'm calling a few driving schools to see if they offer something
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:15 PM   #11
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I am a transporter- parking many campers 5ers and tt, all different size campers and camping spots.A few basics---number 1- turn off your vehicle radio 2- look where you want to be 3- try to use your drivers side mirror 4- take your time 5- dont get frustrated.6- get out of the vehicle every once in a while to get perspective and a little rest.I do like the suggestion hand on bottom of wheel.
when I first started, I did go to a parking lot and put cones out and practiced.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RickRed52 View Post
I'm calling a few driving schools to see if they offer something
Post #5 is great. I could only say make slow turns as you back up, and jockey back and forth til you get in. YOU WILL GET IT...
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Pod2Vibe View Post
Practice in the biggest empty parking lot you can find, prior to your next trip.
Yea get a few orange cones to setup and a big empty parking lot. If you miss you can hurt anything except the cones.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:20 PM   #14
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Always take your time.

When pulling up to your site, park in the road way and get out and visualize on what you need to do.

Look at all hazards when out of the truck, side trees, depth, overhanging branches above.

When you have surveyed the area and have your backup plan in mind, before getting back in the truck, look at what is beyond the site for when you start backing in.... trees, vehicles, can you swing wide or will you have to 'knife' it in,etc....

Get back in your truck and pull forward and when you see the back of your unit in the mirrors at the closest edge to your 'site', cut your front wheels hard in that direction and stop. If your site is to your right, cut your wheels to the right (left, left), this will jack the back end in that direction and set you up to back into it.

At this point I will again get out to the truck and survey the back end where I am backing into. Is the alignment good or will I have to move forward or drift back a little. I trust the DW and kids as 'spotters', but it is my full responsibility to get the unit into the correct area of the camping spot. Keep all communication going at all times with your spotters, more 'eyes' less problems. Talk, talk, talk.

Get back in truck and reverse and Cut the wheel in the opposite direction (site on right, cut wheel to left) and slowly walk the unit around and into the site. If I have any question in my mind what so ever I will stop the truck and get out and survey the area and look and look and plan the approach and talk to my spotters. I may have to pull forward a time or two in order to line the unit up better on one side or the other of the drive way. I will stop the truck and get out, one, two, three, or as many times as it is needed to safely put the unit where it should be.

When you get in a hurry, bad things happen. Slow down. Stop, get out and look, take your time and trust your spotters, they can see things you cannot, but also when you get out you may see something that they did not.
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Old 08-09-2015, 08:28 PM   #15
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Don't try to back all the way in in one motion, long trailers especially 5th wheel react to slowly if you get to far jack knifed trailer at a 45 to 90 degrees angle to each other turn the opposite way and pull forward a little bit this will straighten you up. Turn back the way you were and back up a little the objective is to get TV and trailer in line so you can see where your going.

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Old 08-09-2015, 08:30 PM   #16
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1. Find a friend (or friend of a friend) who is a professional truck driver.
2. Set up the cones in a parking lot
3. Practice doing what he says until you get it.
4. Take the truck driver out for pizza and beer.

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Old 08-09-2015, 08:49 PM   #17
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I appreciate all who have responded!
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:22 PM   #18
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Easy task. Most drivers psych themselves out and make it a bigger task than it actually is.
First thing, break it up into smaller tasks, each completion is a mini victory.
Second task, make sure you will fit! Both width and length. Doesn't do any good to try if it doesn't fit.
If you can't line up to back straight in, back so you are turning to the driver's side, you'll see more. Your ground guide aka DH/DW, can watch the passenger corner you can't see and do the rain dance in the mirror ( while standing on the driver side). Turn the bottom of the steering wheel the direction you want to go. Easiest way to remember when frustrated!
In the beginning treat it like great BBQ, slow and low. Like everything speed comes with experience and experience knows better. We've all been there, ( I've even backed cars out of tight spots for people that made it seem worse than it was) it is very understandable if you need to stop, get out and check or even go around the loop another time. Remember, you pay for the damages if you hurry, not the impatient "expert" who isn't willing to get out and offer assistance.
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:36 PM   #19
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For me it was lots of practice, backing up slowly while watching how the trailer reacts but also removing the anti-sway bar first before backing into a site. What gets me into more problems is trying to get the tt positioned perfectly. I have learned that 'good enough' works.
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:56 AM   #20
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I agree with the previous poster that what works best for me is to:

1)pull well forward of the site, my TT wheels need to be 5+ feet forward of the site. This give my TT time to react and begin turning in time.

2)Try to pick sites on the driver's side of the road. I have much better site in my driver's mirror than the passenger one.

3)make sure your mirrors can see the TT wheels at all times.

4)Hand on bottom of wheel, move in direction I want the TT to go.

5)With wheels in mirror, make the wheels follow the edge of the pavement into the site. Pull forward a few feet to straighten out and go again if necessary.

I have my husband stand where i can see him in my mirrors. If I can't see him, I just stop. He gets the picture and moves where i can see him so i can continue.

His job is not to micro-manage me as I back in. He just stops me if I'm going to hit something, or tell me when to stop backing up because we're done. It's also his job to survey for making sure placement allows for the power and water to hook up and the slide to extend without hitting a tree.

I used to get really nervous if someone was waiting on me. I now have confidence that I can get it in the site, approximately where I want it, in 1 min or less.
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