Training for Backing Up a Trailer

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Flyboyscamp
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I learned to back up trailers

I learned to back up trailers by driving fuel trucks for aircraft. I would pull forward, then back right back into the spot. Slowly I would pull up further and further. I was 19 and agressive at learning. It never left me once learned. The trailer was long, held 5500 gallons of Jet A fuel. Years later came a series of ski boats and again, backing up was easy. Now with the short coupled Scamp, no problem, as once learned, it always stays with you.

<p>Doug Allen 2016 Ford F-150 2018 Lance 1575</p>

ManWithaVan
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Backing up To Your Trailer

Here's a hint for backing up to your trailer when you  hitch it.

When first backing up to your trailer get close to the trailer by using your mirrors or looking over your shoulder.

Before you hit the trailer tongue, get out and look at where your ball is in relationship to the tongue.

Now, keeping in mind how far you have to go back, get back into the TV and look at the ground outside of the open Driver's door, Pick a spot on the ground that is about the same distance from the bottom of the door as you need to move toward your tongue, Keep your eye on that spot and as soon as the bottom of your door aligns with that spot you can check your hitch-to-ball distance again. Repeat as necessary.

This keeps me from backing up too far and hitting the tongue with the TV.

I also use this technique even when I have a Spotter because I need to have a "mental picture" as to how close I actually am to the trailer tongue.

Happy Scamping !!!

As Always,

Happy Scamping !!!

Flyboyscamp
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I use this technique all the

I use this technique all the time. I see the distance I have to back up, the reference a spot on the ground with the door open as a reference for the same distance....it works!

<p>Doug Allen 2016 Ford F-150 2018 Lance 1575</p>

Snow Gypsy
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E-Z Hitch

We were living somewhere with a radio auction and I have weakness for auctions so they had this E-Z Hitch which I didn't know what it was but, well, the weakness.  My husband was at work so I had to decide whether to go for it, which I did.  We really like it.  When we took the pop-up for some warranty work, they liked it so much at the shop, they were going to order some.  I hope it is OK to post this sales link as it has a little video that shows how it works:  http://ezhitch.biz/ez_order  Well, we have decided to each have our own camper now so am going to get a 2nd one.  It really does help zero it in.

And in trying to find the name of this product, I came across a Trailer Life article on "helpers":  http://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-how-to/trailer-tech/hitching-made-easy/

Cathy

mustang26
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Solo Hitch Alignment System

Yes Snow Gypsy, I use the Solo Hitch Alignment System as shown in your Trailer Life link. It is fool proof and works very simply. Regarding the picture on your link, I put the tow vehicle magnet on the hitch ball instead of behind the ball as shown in the picture. When the trailer hitch hits the magnet on the ball it is STOP time and the trailer hitch and the vehicle ball are in perfect alignment. I got mine at Harbor Freight for less than half the price shown in the TL article. One person operation and I love mine.

Don
2015 Scamp 16'
Tow Vehicle...2013 Lincoln MKX 3.7L V-6
SW Ohio

LEberhardt
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Backing to Hitch

Many newer vehicles, especially hybrids like our '08 Highlander, come with back up cameras.  If you're shopping for a new tow vehicle and a rear camera is an option, go for it.  Even if it doesn't improve your driving, at least you'll know when you're about to hit the hitch.

Lynn

mustang26
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Backing a Trailer

If I may add two more tips:

1.  Adjust the side mirrors so you can see the trailer wheels.

2.  We use 2 two way radios, either CB (1 hand held) or FRS (Family Radio Service) radios. FRS radios are very cheap (approximately $39.00). It saves all the yelling, undecipherable  hand signals and staying in the drivers view in the mirrors. Works in the dark too.

Don
2015 Scamp 16'
Tow Vehicle...2013 Lincoln MKX 3.7L V-6
SW Ohio

ManWithaVan
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Do You Need a Backup Camera?

Recently, on another RV site, the question was asked "How do you backup [an RV] without a backup camera?"

Well, my first quip was "You use the mirrors mounted on the side of the RV",( I know, not very helpful ).

It turns out the poster of this question really wanted to know how to backup an RV and after a couple of Q & A's I was able to help him understand how you learn to backup an RV using only your mirrors.

So, after thinking about it for a while, I decided a recap of our discussion would also be helpful for everybody on SOI.

Q: What's your secret for backing up without a rearview camera?

A: Insert previously mentioned quip about the mirrors being mounted on the RV.

Q: But you still cant see the back of the RV, you may be able to see the rear wheel, but how do you gauge the back of the RV to avoid hitting something?

A: Professional Truck Drivers use the word GOAL, it stands for "Get Out And Look". With practice and time you will be able to judge where your rear end is at (within a few feet) and you will become more confident backing up. Additionally, you can use a spotter to get you into the spot. Just be certain to have clear communication between you and the spotter, for example, turn to the "passenger side" not turn to the "right" (brings up the question of the Spotter's Right or the Driver's Right).

Q: Not much help there, anyone knows with experience you can get it right, I mean what are the techniques used on a new vehicle you haven't driven before to back up??.

A: To be honest it is GOAL (Get Out And Look). Not too long ago I purchased a full sized E250 Van. Whenever I got into close quarters I stopped GOAL'ed at the corner that was closest to the obstacle and when I got back into the driver's seat I learned that that vantage point was "X" inches from the obstacle. The next time I got close to an obstacle, I was able to get closer before GOAL, eventually, I was able to gauge each of the four corners as well as the front and back bumpers of the Van. I had to repeat the learning process when I purchased an  RV Travel Trailer to tow behind the Van, Lots of GOAL for that one. Additionally, I had to learn to swing wide on the turns (lots of curb kisses with the tires on  that one).

Learning to drive the Tioga (or other large truck) would be a similar learning process: GOAL, judge where you are at, and learn what things look like in the mirrors when you are "X" inches from the obstacle. It is not too intimidating if you realize it is a learned skill and you are willing to take time to learn it.

By-the-way, I often purposely get close to obstacles just to practice my skills, especially when first learning a new vehicle.

PS: I was able to really impress my wife by backing up the Trailer for about a block and around a curve and into a cul-de-sac in a residential area using only the mirrors.

Q: Ok, I got the ideal. Thanks for the in depth explanation.

A: You are Welcome !

As Always,

Happy Scamping !!!

ManWithaVan
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New System on Ford Trucks

Now Available on the New 2016 Ford Trucks...

Auto Trailer backup mode, simply turn a knob and your truck will automatically back up your trailer.

The system works in conjunction with the electric power steering pump and the backup camera system. Apparently, you place a coded sticker on your trailer tongue and enter the distance from the tongue to the wheels of the trailer and that is the extent of the setup.

So, Next time you are backing into your camping spot, you can stand outside the truck and pretend to backup your trailer using your smart phone !!!

As Always,

Happy Scamping !!!

Greg A
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Backup Automatically

Hmmm, I wonder if it ignores hand signals and screams at you too! Of course, it isn't any good unless it removes your AC unit on a branch as it backs in, or parks too close to the utilities or a tree so the slideout won't open(Not a molded fiberglass issue). Then there is always the too far from the cement slab and picnic table issue.  I'm not convinced yet.  surprise

Our Trailers:
2015 19 Escape

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