A Personal Look Back at Hitching Aids - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-06-2012, 02:17 PM   #1
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A Personal Look Back at Hitching Aids

Lots of devices out there to help us hitch up--from cheap sighting sticks to very expensive, dedicated hitch cams. These are the ones I've tried to date.

1) The "tennis ball on a car radio antenna" sticks from Reese and Walmart. Magnetic base was adequate but the telescoping rod were not durable (broke one of mine taking it out of the bubble pack and back it went to ChinaMart.

2) The "Hitch-n-Go) plastic rods shown foto #1. Perfect alignment of ball on the centerline of the frame and coupler was easy to accomplish but many times ball and coupler were short of vertical alignment when the rod atop the ball tilted or fell. The pic might suggest that I didn't know how to use these; one is horizontal to illustrate the power of the magnetic base.

3) The home-made mirror device in fotos 2 and 3 constructed of plexi mirror, EMT conduit, etc. actually worked but was too cumbersone to haul around and the flat mirror did not have a large enuf field of view to pick up the stinger and ball until they were in very close proximity.

4) The Blalock Hitch Guide shown in fotos 4, 5, & 6 is what I'm currently using. Telescoping SS rod extends to 45" height but retracts to 15" and is I think reasonably sturdy if reboxed after use and stored with care. The weight of the mirror does not defeat the strength of the magnet. The field of view of the 6" "fisheye" mirror is large enuf to have both coupler and stinger in view while there is ample distance for steering correction.

I was momentarily attracted to the idea of adapting a backup camera and monitor for hitching only but will not be doing so as I am getting repeated one pass alignment with this mirror. I have a steel grid dog barrier behind the back seat which complicates the picture in the tv rear-view mirror and am having no problem picking up sharp reflections of both coupler and stinger. Highy recommend among hitching aids in the 20-40$ range. Available Amazon, eTrailer.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:55 PM   #2
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Hmmmm, I just center the front of the trailer in my rear view mirror and back up until my s.o. blows the "STOP" whistle.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:42 PM   #3
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My wife of 40 yrs. would let me centerpunch the tug before she screamed. She excels at neither the assessment nor the communication of spatial relationships by any method I am familiar with. She says she'd rather help a chimp dock the space shuttle. I notice she frequently issues the command "Then do it yourself!" As my record jumping out and looking is not that much better than my record of assisted hitching, I must resort to the these "cheats."

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Old 12-06-2012, 04:48 PM   #4
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I'm currently using the tall magnetic sticks shown above. The best and easiest to use was a mirror that hung on the tail gate and that I could see the ball and watch the coupler come into view. I bought that from somebody on this site. The only problem the mounting plastic broke. Someday I'll get ambition and make one using angle aluminum for the frame work. In all cases I use the rear view mirror inside the tow to back up to the hitch.
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Old 12-06-2012, 04:59 PM   #5
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We only have one signal to use when hitching and that's STOP.
When the whistle is blown, I stop. No yelling or word changes required.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
My wife of 40 yrs. would let me centerpunch the tug before she screamed. She excels at neither the assessment nor the communication of spatial relationships by any method I am familiar with. She says she'd rather help a chimp dock the space shuttle. I notice she frequently issues the command "Then do it yourself!" As my record jumping out and looking is not that much better than my record of assisted hitching, I must resort to the these "cheats."

jack


Sounds oddly familiar. You should hear/see my spouse and I try to lift and carry a sheet of plywood. I just don't know WHEN he'll learn to do it the RIGHT way.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:31 PM   #7
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I am usually the backy uppy one as I do not want to be responsible for a new tailgate. And my discription of a direction is different then his.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
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We do better when my wife backs up and I tell her where to go. ( I mean left or right, back, back, turn your wheels left, turn them right, stop.)
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:40 PM   #9
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I used to drive a digger truck for the local electrical utility. We frequently used the pole trailer. After doing it several times, I could hitch it up with no help. Why I have so much trouble with the Trillium is a mystery to me.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:42 PM   #10
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Amazon Prime and eTrailer have the Cipa tailgate straddling mirror Byron speaks of. Also priced under 40$ and I think it would also work for me on an SUV lift gate with the window down. I didn't choose to find out because I thought I might get some degrade in the image from vibration communicated to the mirror by moving truck with engine running as opposed to mirror on a stalk on the stationary trailer tongue.

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Old 12-06-2012, 07:48 PM   #11
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I personally like the video display in the mirror when I am in reverse. It is a normal mirror (no display) when not in reverse. The camera is mounted by the license plate. It helps with backing up to a hitch. But I also find it useful most of the time when I back up and especially in situations where I am backing up and can't see if it is clear due to some obstructions to my right or left. It is the only feature I ever added to our vehicle that my wife insisted be on all future vehicles.

Not the cheapest option though...


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Old 12-06-2012, 07:50 PM   #12
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Hitching Aids

I bought the tennis ball magnetic hitch device and used it with success for two years with our Subaru Forester. As noted, they are pretty flimsy.

We recently bought a Toyota Highlander, and I discovered with the tailgate up I can see the front of the trailer clearly enough I can align and back up the car to within an inch or so of the final position. I get out for a final check before inching backward for a perfect connection.

The nice thing about either method is you can do it unassisted -- much less stress on everyone!
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
Amazon Prime and eTrailer have the Cipa tailgate straddling mirror Byron speaks of. Also priced under 40$ and I think it would also work for me on an SUV lift gate with the window down. I didn't choose to find out because I thought I might get some degrade in the image from vibration communicated to the mirror by moving truck with engine running as opposed to mirror on a stalk on the stationary trailer tongue.

jack

The one I had isn't quite like the Cipa. The mirror was rectangular, and when in use hung quite a was back, maybe 12" to 14" from the tail gate. There was a member here that had them for around $10.00 each. The only problem was molded plastic arms that held the mirror were easily broken. That's what happened to mine. I've thought about duplicating the design with aluminum arms.
I've gotten pretty good at the tall poles with magnets, so????



I found a picture of it from the 2007 post.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #14
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For years I never had a hitching aide, other than my wife. and most often just did it on my own. It usually went pretty easy, but I have been doing it since a young teen.

My Pilot has a reversing camera, and it displays nice and big on the GPS screen. At first I scoffed because I felt I did not need it, and now I find I use it all the time. Sure it is not needed, but it does make it a quick one maneuver hookup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
I used to drive a digger truck for the local electrical utility. We frequently used the pole trailer. After doing it several times, I could hitch it up with no help. Why I have so much trouble with the Trillium is a mystery to me.
I have driven and hitched with similar equipment, and know what you mean. I think it has much to do with the nice straight sides of the truck, along with an 8' wide trailer, that allows easy alignment along the sides if you can back straight in.

As an aside, who do you work for. I spent 15 years contracting to Trans Alta (Working for High Time Industries) building electrical substations. Did some line work too. Never was a 'digger boy' though.
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