Backing into narrow driveway. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-08-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
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Name: George
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Backing into narrow driveway.

We have been storing our trailer in a storage facility and decided to follow our original plan and save some money by having it parked on the side of our house. After buying our house, we added a concrete pad for our RV and it is time to get back to this project. Parking will be challenging, but likely worth saving $1.5K/year. The concrete pad is narrow 9’9” and 54’ long, fence on one side and the house on the other side. I have to move the 21’ Bigfoot trailer 45’ slightly downhill (2% grade) with about 6” on each side. I am proficient at backing trailers but this parking is a challenge for my comfort zone. I am evaluating the following possible scenarios or their combinations:

Moving in:
1. Build an inside or outside guiding structure for trailer wheels such as bolted down 4”x4”, push with the front hitch.
2. Replace wheels with steel rims and build 2”x4” bolted down rails, push with the front hitch.
3. Mount wireless backup ultrasonic sensors on the rear trailer bumper aimed on each side, push with the front hitch.
4. Mount wireless rear view camera on the rear trailer bumper aimed downwards to see middle concrete split or painted line, push with the front hitch.
5. Mount fender rear view mirrors and back in, expandable truck’s mirror would have to be extended and could be easily damaged while backing the trailer.
6. Back in and Walkie-Talkie with a helper.

Moving out:
1. Mount wireless camera on the front truck hitch aimed downwards and pull the trailer with the rear hitch.
2. Mount flexible spring wire across the truck front (<9’9”) identifying center driveway position and pull the trailer with the rear hitch.

Any thought or experience sharing will be very welcome.

George.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:02 PM   #2
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How about something like this. Link
I have pretty close quarters also, but not as close as yours. With my 13' Scamp it's easy to move it with a hand trailer dolly. But yours might take something with power.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:56 PM   #3
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You're on the right track with the front hitch idea. I use my fathers garage all the time, since it is climate controlled, has a lift, and all the 'good' tools. It is tricky getting any trailer in there because there is a 90 degree turn right before the garage entrance. I usually use his ford tractor with its front hitch to guide the trailer in. It is much more natural and simple to push a trailer forward than backwards. There is much better visibility, too.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
How about something like this. Link
I have pretty close quarters also, but not as close as yours. With my 13' Scamp it's easy to move it with a hand trailer dolly. But yours might take something with power.

Thank you for this link. I was considering powered dolly but the attached picture shows the problem. I have two concrete strips between the street and the side driveway and grass in between the strips. Using dolly on grass could be risky. I could move the trailer into the solid concrete portion and then use the dolly. I like the dolly you suggested because of cost and four wheels support.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrew View Post
You're on the right track with the front hitch idea. I use my fathers garage all the time, since it is climate controlled, has a lift, and all the 'good' tools. It is tricky getting any trailer in there because there is a 90 degree turn right before the garage entrance. I usually use his ford tractor with its front hitch to guide the trailer in. It is much more natural and simple to push a trailer forward than backwards. There is much better visibility, too.

I used front hitch on my truck in the past and the problem is that visibility of the trailer front is excellent but aligning the back of the trailer is tough. That is why I am thinking about some devices such as camera or ultrasonic backing sensors to see where the rear of the trailer is going.



Thank you for your suggestions,


George.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:06 AM   #5
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I see what you're concerned about. However I think the drive wheel on the powered dolly would work fine in that grass. It appears to be large enough that pressure is spread out enough. You might try to find someplace you can get one to try that will allow you to return it if doesn't work for you.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:02 AM   #6
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You can always get a smaller trailer. I had a 22' trailer and only 18" side clearance but when exiting I had to pull into my neighbor's driveway, the house of which was vacant. I could not cut a sharp turn since the alley is only 12' wide.
However the house sold and people moved in and I felt uncomfortable pulling into their driveway. I sold the bigger trailer and for a smaller one. It is shorter and not as wide and a lot easier to maneuver now.
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Old 01-09-2012, 07:34 AM   #7
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George
I pack my trailers pretty tight in my barn for winter storage. On the fifth wheel trailer I don't have the option of using a dolly. I use a spotter but the most help is I have an expansion seam on the floor which I use as my guide for the outer edge of the trailer drivers side tire. I line it up using the drivers side mirror while backing the trailer. The key is to have the trailer lined up straight before backing it into the tight space.
I notice you have a hip roof on your house. Did you take into account the overhang and height of your soffet in relation to the height of your trailer. Also will the run off of the roof be dumping on the roof or side of the trailer.
Eddie
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
You can always get a smaller trailer. I had a 22' trailer and only 18" side clearance but when exiting I had to pull into my neighbor's driveway, the house of which was vacant. I could not cut a sharp turn since the alley is only 12' wide.
However the house sold and people moved in and I felt uncomfortable pulling into their driveway. I sold the bigger trailer and for a smaller one. It is shorter and not as wide and a lot easier to maneuver now.
Thank you for your input. Smaller trailer is a possibility. We are entertaining the idea of a home brewed (or home with Sportmobile combo) RV based on Sprinter or the upcoming Ford’s equivalent. This would be going back to the beginning of our camping with 1977 and 1985 VW Westphalias. Vans are much easier to move around or set-up for camping.
George.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Eddie Longest View Post
................................................
I notice you have a hip roof on your house. Did you take into account the overhang and height of your soffet in relation to the height of your trailer. Also will the run off of the roof be dumping on the roof or side of the trailer.
Eddie
Good point, fortunately this is two-story house is so the eaves are way up. The rain gutters are very good so practically all roof water runoff goes to drain lines.

Thank you,
George.
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:35 PM   #10
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I have a not so great situation for storing my trailer as well but with time it has gotten to be a lot less stressful. Have a fairly steep & long driveway which is not straight or flat (slops a lot off to one side) and it has a 10' drop off on the side I need to bring the trailer down along, that only has a 4" lip to stop the trailer from going over the drop. Also need to watch that I hug the trailer really close to the drop off side as if I am off by more than 1' or so there is not enough clearance for the trailer to fit under the carport it sleeps in at the end of the driveway. Yup the first few times I parked the trailer were a little stressful. LOL

Having some markers on the ground that are big enough that I can see using my side mirrors that are where the drivers side wheels of the trailer should be helps me a lot. If while backing up I see the trailers wheels are too far away from the markers one way or the other I pull ahead a little and correct it. Taking it real slow makes it easy to make corrections. Due to the sloop of the slab the trailer is parked on it needs to be up on leveling blocks on the downhill side. Helps if these are put down in the correct spot before I start so I can see them with the side mirror and know if am on a good line or not - also helps to stop me from backing the trailer to far back and into a wall. :-) I also find that getting out and walking around to take a look at how I am doing part way through the back up process helps a lot to make me feel secure about the direction its heading - works way better for me than having someone standing behind the trailer waving their arms this way and that! Have found that I can usual get the back up right the first time more often than not without that added distraction. ;-)
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:39 PM   #11
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Hi Geo R
Ever thought of an electric winch, you could line up trailer in drive and the with the slight slope let the winch out to let gravity place it there.
Other than that the guides for wheels may be best bet.

RRJR
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:19 PM   #12
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my suggestion----keep the trailer and sell the house. makes backing up much, much easier.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:24 PM   #13
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I always park our (much smaller) Trillium about 3-4" or so from our house, and I prefer to do it alone. My trick is to set my driver-side towing mirror so I can see all the way to the back of the trailer between the house and the trailer, using an extra light source if necessary, then very slowly back up, parallel to the wall, while monitoring the space between the two. If the trailer gets ANY closer to the house than it's supposed to be, immediately make corrections by pulling the trailer back out a bit, NOT by trying to steer it straight, otherwise you may end up "stuck" too close against the wall, with no wiggle room to steer it away from the house without a whole lot of going back&forth, hair pulling and swearing.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeR View Post
The concrete pad is narrow 9’9” and 54’ long, fence on one side and the house on the other side. I have to move the 21’ Bigfoot trailer 45’ slightly downhill (2% grade) with about 6” on each side.

Moving in:
1. Build a ... guiding structure for trailer wheels
Any thought or experience sharing will be very welcome.

George.
I work at Trash Transfer stations here in California that present a similar problem for the companies that operate them using different Semi-Truck drivers with different skill levels, backing into a narrow basement pit-well. They use a metal tube guiding structure mounted up off the floor so that the wheels cannot "Jump the curb" over the guiding structure. The semi-trailer's wheel's sidewalls are guided down the pit-well at hub level, below body level.

The first picture is of a transfer station pit: The tubular wheel guides run along both sides. My truck's crane is lifting a scale pad to replace the sensor bar.

The second picture is at a different location. There they poured high concrete curbs to guide the semi trailer's wheels while backing in.

I would be concerned of wooden guides putting splinters in your trailer's tires.
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