Backing Trailers

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Perry P
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Backing Trailers

Ok!

I am home with the 5er.  I appreciate all the help on right turns.  Now the biggie.

How to back this thing into my drive.  Made a couple of unsuccessful attempts.  

Seems once I get it going in one direction, we are committed for life.

Come on! Help the rookie!

Thanks,

Perry P

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I understand

I feel for you, Perry, and can express great sympathy!  But seeing that I once took out a concrete pillar in a garage just simply parking my van, I don't think I am the one to give advice in this area.  blush 

I will wait for the experts to speak up on this one! 

Greg A
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Ah, backing a trailer!  It

Ah, backing a trailer!  It definitely is an art and many a campground happy hour has been spent watching (and sometimes having to go assist) the antics of the arriving trailers backing in their space for the night.  We've seen everything from AC units ripped off the roof from overhanging branches to getting the trailer backed in, all-leveled and then they go to extend the slide-out and it's right next to a pole with no clearance.  Start over!

I have never handled a 5th wheel however, I can't imagine it is much different then backing up a trailer, but probably more responsive.  I'm sure some Scamp 5th Wheelers will weigh in here, but my first advice is to go down to the supermarket or a good sized commercial parking lot that is not busy and practice for awhile there.

One of the best tips is to make the steering wheel adjustments very small and don't turn the wheel too much.  Over steering is the quickest way to get into trouble backing up.  Next, the back of the trailer will go opposite the direction you turn the wheel.  If I need the back of the trailer to head left I need to turn the wheel to the right and vice versa.  Again, start small and add to it in small increments until you achieve the direction you want then just make small adjustments to refine the path.

Our Trailers:
2015 19 Escape

Buying or Selling Molded FG Trailers:

Fiberglass-RV-4Sale

Earl A.
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Backing a 5er

Ah yes!  Greg has the right idea.  Start small.  He is right - the back of the trailer will go opposite from the direction you turn the wheel.  Don't over steer.  You can go wrong fast!  Greg has it right -  Start small and add to it in small increments until you achieve the direction you want then just make small adjustments to refine the path.  Once you have it going where you want, keep watch in your rear view mirrors and keep it going in a straight line by making small adjustments - slowly!   Oh yes, you might have someone behind to make sure you don't run into any trees, fence posts, or even the garage!   I'm no expert on backing.  Sometimes I have to pull forward a couple times before I get it headed in the right direction.  Occasionally I have to get out to check and see if it's where I want it to be.  It might be best to practice in a large parking lot if you are hesitant.  Good luck!  - - Earl

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One of the biggest problems I

One of the biggest problems I have seen over the years is that backer-uppers (is that a word....oh well....it is now!  LOL) seem to be afraid to pull forward a bit when the rear of the trailer starts heading off course.  As mentioned in the above posting, pull forward a tiny bit then start backing again.  Do not try to get an off course trailer cranked into submission with all large course corrections in reverse.

A small thing that really helps me is to watch the ground track of the wheels on the trailer as much as the rear of the trailer when backing.  That does not help everyone.  Probably one of those left brain/right brain things.  :>)   I do not qualify for a smart phone either.  LOL

Also.....tell your helper to NOT start swatting flies while giving you hand signals.  Probably better, during insect season, to use one of those little family channel radios.  Do not get angry at your ground person either.

 

Bob D
2005 13' Scamp  "Lil Critter"
Brenda, AZ

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Arm Flailer

Bob, I appreciate the sound marital advice in your final paragraph.  I, myself, have been known to be a frantic arm flailer.  You guys have no idea the pressure of standing back there observing the impending doom of our husband's backing destination unless we intervene in some frantic, desperate, crazy way.  smiley

ManWithaVan
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Arm Flailer

I'm sitting here on this beautiful Saturday morning laughing my self silly - I can totally see you guys swatting flies, flailing arms and totally losing it.

ManWithAVan's wife...

As Always,

Happy Scamping !!!

Greg A
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Bob,

Bob,

Having been in the drivers seat while said "ground person" is swatting flies, the real problem I've found is that they are usually standing directly behind the trailer "swatting flies' and thus not visible to the backer-upper.  (yes, that has to be a word because it feels right)  So most of the time the fly swatting hand signals go unnoticed until either the ground person screams that you have hit the water pipe or the backer-upper starts screaming "I can't see you."  Of course, this whole discourse is not a problem until one realizes that they have arrived at the campground at 11:30 pm and now have quite a few of their new temporary neighbors screaming ideas at them as well.

So your sage advice to be nice to the ground person is good and I add that ground people need to be visible in the mirrors to be of assistance to the backer-upper.  I like the radio suggestion too as long as the ground person knows that when they say go left do they mean their left????

Our Trailers:
2015 19 Escape

Buying or Selling Molded FG Trailers:

Fiberglass-RV-4Sale

Perry P
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This is a great thread!

This is a great thread!

I look forward to meeting you guys.

Maybe "Reverse Buffer Enhancemen & Placement Strategist"!

I'm just sayin'.

Perry

 

Thanks!
Perry

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Right or Left

Yes, everyone needs to learn that Right and Left directions are always as you are sitting in the drivers seat facing forward.

 Another way to think of which way to steer: If you want the rear of the trailer to go left, turn the bottom of the steering wheel left.

Back slowly, and as the trailer goes into the turn - quickly return the steering wheel back to center, to maintain the turn, or beyond to straighten out.   This applies to a tow behind trailer. 5th Wheels have the hitch ball directly over or slightly ahead of your truck's rear axle. The geometry is different, so you need to practice in a wide open space untill you figure it out.

I like to approach my driveway, or the campsite, so it is on my left. That way I can see where I'm going without help. Pull ahead far enough so the rear of the trailer is past the driveway. Give yourself as much room as possible. But stay to the left of the street, so your front bumper doesn't bump anything as you make the backwards turn.  If there are trees, or other obstuctions around the campsite, get out and reconnoiter the situation yourself. Instruct your other half where to stand so you can see him/her.  After 40 years of practice you will both get it right.

Joe Z
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Hope this is of some help

Having driven semi's for thirty years i take it for granted but like Greg said go to an open parking lot where there are no poles and "Practice". One of the biggest tips i can give you is to back in on"The Drivers side" because you can look out the drivers window where the trailer tires are. Backing in on the passenger side (blind side) is much more difficult without experience.

    If you want the rear of the trailer to go to the left while looking in the drivers mirror start off with your hand at 12 o clock on the wheel and turn it to the left and start to "Jack It"...now you can only go so far like that and then you must turn the wheel the opposite direction "Follow Thru" (your tow vehicle does an "S" maneuver)...... pull forward a little bit to correct any mistakes and re-try (I can but I rarely get it the first shot).

You can also practice going straight back by just looking in your mirrors without turning around and with your hand at 12 o clock backup real slow and turn the wheel ever so slight whatever direction you want the rear of the trailer to go.

Probably sounds a bit confusing but it's really easy..

When the guy that bought my last trailer had absolutely no experience i took him to an empty lot and within a half hour of backing in on the drivers side he did get the feel for it.

Hope some of this helps and if you are anywhere near New river Arizona i'd give you a hands on Lesson or two

Joe

Joe & Linda
New River, Arizona 

2013 Casita SD 17'

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