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Old 01-30-2019, 09:25 AM   #1
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Manually moving pop-up

I have an HW 276 that I have been parking in my garage while not in use. It just barely fits, but its nice to keep it out of the elements as much as possible (for now).

Fairly often I need to fetch a tool, material, etc from along side it. This requires me to pull the camper out a bit and push it back in. I use a trailer dolly for this task and it works pretty well. Every now and again I pull it just a little too far, enough to catch the pitch of my driveway (probably about 10% grade) and it takes all I have just to keep it from rolling out...

I'd also like to be able to pull it completely out and back in without using my truck. Being a tight fit, backing it in is quite a task.

To that end, I've been thinking about options. One thought I've had is getting an electric winch that I can either attach to the back of the camper (somehow rig a receiver hitch to the frame or something) and attach at the front of the garage. Then I can back it out and in with the winch doing all the pulling and me just directing with my trailer dolly.

Do others do anything like this? How do you manipulate your pop-ups in a close space manually? I should add my camper's GVWR is about 3800lbs
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:46 AM   #2
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a Trailer Valet might be what you are looking for. Link below for you:
https://trailervalet.com/

fairly affordable, but not nearly as much fun as a winch

cheap and easy solution is to pull the trailer out to the edge of where you can control it before the slope. have someone (or you) mark a line so you can put blocks/chocks down BEFORE you move the trailer so you hit that stop and it cant take off on you! been there, done that with our previous popup. they can get away from you fast!
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Old 01-30-2019, 09:58 AM   #3
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I shove a HW296 into my little garage. Sometimes it takes us forever to get it wedged in just right so the garage will close. I always liked popups because I could store them in the garage, tow them easily, see around them on the road, and back them into a site easily.
None of this is true with this beast. It's a wonderful camper, but I can no longer grab the front wheel and push it around.
I bought the trailer valet and that helps some. Ultimately, i need a bigger garage! I pulled that thing out one day, and as it got to the incline in the driveway, it started moving on it's own and pinned me between it and the car. I'm more careful now!

The trailer valet is ok, but never feels quite secure to me. It's one virtue is that it has a lock feature so that if it starts to roll, you throw the crank and it works like a brake. I wasn't thinking about that when it pinned me

Backing up in the campground is a problem too. I bought the mirror extenders, and they don't seem to help one bit. It's guesswork, with my wife flailing her arms out there, and me jumping in and out of the SUV trying figure out where I'm at with it.

Anyway, on my wishlist is a home with a large garage or pole barn, and a level driveway.
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan_camper View Post
I shove a HW296 into my little garage. Sometimes it takes us forever to get it wedged in just right so the garage will close. I always liked popups because I could store them in the garage, tow them easily, see around them on the road, and back them into a site easily.
None of this is true with this beast. It's a wonderful camper, but I can no longer grab the front wheel and push it around.
I bought the trailer valet and that helps some. Ultimately, i need a bigger garage! I pulled that thing out one day, and as it got to the incline in the driveway, it started moving on it's own and pinned me between it and the car. I'm more careful now!

The trailer valet is ok, but never feels quite secure to me. It's one virtue is that it has a lock feature so that if it starts to roll, you throw the crank and it works like a brake. I wasn't thinking about that when it pinned me

Backing up in the campground is a problem too. I bought the mirror extenders, and they don't seem to help one bit. It's guesswork, with my wife flailing her arms out there, and me jumping in and out of the SUV trying figure out where I'm at with it.

Anyway, on my wishlist is a home with a large garage or pole barn, and a level driveway.
Wifes arms waving, very funny. My wife loves to stand where I cant see her. Then when I tell her to stand she keeps motioning me to come back farther. It seems she looking but she's not paying attention to anything. She backed me into a tree branch one day . The vehicle stopped suddenly, I hit the brakes and looked at her, she is still telling me to come back farther. I got out of the truck , walked back to the rear and asked her I did I hit? She said nothing . Said I still had 3 foot to go.i looked up there was the branch and a big dent on the rear of camper . All I could do is point up. She looked and said I wasn't looking there . I was looking at the base of the tree. But it ended up being a great weekend of camping.
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Indy500 View Post
Wifes arms waving, very funny. My wife loves to stand where I cant see her. Then when I tell her to stand she keeps motioning me to come back farther. It seems she looking but she's not paying attention to anything. She backed me into a tree branch one day . The vehicle stopped suddenly, I hit the brakes and looked at her, she is still telling me to come back farther. I got out of the truck , walked back to the rear and asked her I did I hit? She said nothing . Said I still had 3 foot to go.i looked up there was the branch and a big dent on the rear of camper . All I could do is point up. She looked and said I wasn't looking there . I was looking at the base of the tree. But it ended up being a great weekend of camping.
That's hilarious. I have to admit, I see some wives doing great jobs directing, and some even parking the thing themselves. Just not my wife
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Old 01-30-2019, 11:53 AM   #6
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A quick short term solution to it getting away from you is to attach a chain or cable that's long enough to allow you to pull it forward to a certain spot but won't let it run away. You'd just have to be damn sure to unhook it when you really wanted to leave the garage! (thoughts of the American Graffiti movie and the police cruiser!)
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Old 01-30-2019, 12:02 PM   #7
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I have one of these on my riding lawn mower. It works like a champ for my chipper, splitter, & utility trailers. Great Day - Lawn Pro Hi-Hitch - Lawnmower Towing Hitch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003D7MPWS..._ZFDuCbE9GVXQR
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Old 02-16-2019, 12:47 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by IsleDog View Post
a Trailer Valet might be what you are looking for. Link below for you:
https://trailervalet.com/

<<SNIP>>
I have a Trailer Valet, and it works extremely well in very challenging conditions. See Photos.

I need to spin my trainer 180 degrees and back it into a parking spot. The space I have to work with is small, and a mistake would mean losing my trailer down a 150 foot driveway with a 10% grade.

I was doing this with a hand tongue dolly, and it was ALL I could handle and scary as hell. It was so hard that it took me about 15 minutes to perform the maneuvers, because I had to rest often. 2 tons is 2 tons!

The Trailer Valet gives me FAR more control and has its own brake. And I drive it with my cordless drill. It has no problem with the small grades I must manage, and it enables me to park it with great precision. Your 276 and my 277 are essentially the same trailer, so I know it would be a good match.

If you get one like mine, you have to order the drill adapter separately, and it's almost $50!! I got mine at Cabellas for $45 plus shipping. It's ridiculous that it's not included. I'm also shocked that the price has gone up so much. I paid $337 just last year!

By the way, whenever I'm maneuvering the trailer, I add a short length of rope to the emergency brake cable on the trailer....so I can activate it with a quick yank. I never had to do it, but it gives peace of mind to know the brakes can be activated very easily.

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previously 2014 Forest River/Rockwood HW 277
2006 Ram 1500 4WD Crew with Firestone Airbags
Every weekend boondocking in the National Forests or at Lake Wellington
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:30 AM   #9
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Is that your house? It looks like a destination! If I lived there, I wouldn't need to go anywhere!
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by michigan_camper View Post
Is that your house? It looks like a destination! If I lived there, I wouldn't need to go anywhere!
We are lucky. And we bought it as a 2-year bank owned for dirt in 2009 when the economy was in the tank. We put about $100,000 into it including new roof, new paved driveway (you needed a high-clearance 4WD to get in the driveway, and I think that was what scared people away), 90% new deck, new kitchen and new master bath. We're on 1 acre.

The driveway, however, prevents us from getting a camper more that about 2+ feet longer than the PUP. When I pull up, I must be able to pull forward enough to be able to back the trailer into the spot where the truck is parked in the previous set of photos. I can do it fairly handily with the PUP, but I think I could only add about 1 more foot to the distance between the ball and the axle pivot point. As it is, I go past the driveway to the point where the left front tire on the truck is almost hanging in the air, then I start the backing maneuver. VERY tight.

(Note the manhole covers in prior photos...our septic system in the corner of our driveway is our own dump station. Just pop the manhole cover and dump, freshwater flush, and good to go.)

We do laugh about living in a mountain log cabin and yet going camping. But we get to go places like this.
Third to last is a hike in our neighborhood.
Second to last is me maintaining the cabin...every two years!
Last, I found a pic of my Trailer Valet in action. I like that the only thing that stays on the trailer is the mount. Pull one pin and the whole ungainly, heavy Trailer Valet comes off to be left in the garage. If I wanted to leave it however, it rotates 90 degrees to travel on the tongue.
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Jim & Renee
2020 Jayco Jay Feather X-213
previously 2014 Forest River/Rockwood HW 277
2006 Ram 1500 4WD Crew with Firestone Airbags
Every weekend boondocking in the National Forests or at Lake Wellington
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Old 03-18-2019, 06:07 AM   #11
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Update... I ended up trying a tongue dolly by trailer valet which did not work well. Was expensive and was not impressed (not to mention at $550 was supposed to be brand new and they sent me one that was clearly used). So I returned it. After doing a lot of searching and getting ideas, I built my own. I designed it and did the work on the motor and had a local guy do the welding (to be fair, he ended up deciding on the final design to make it work best). I used my existing manual dolly and just bought parts for the rest. I knew with a drive wheel on one side and the ball between two wheels it might be challenging to keep it stable (it is) and I might make some modifications over time, but I'm pretty happy with how it works. Pulls it out and in like a charm. Total cost was about $300-$325. Click image for larger version

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