Learning to Back up FRV - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-22-2015, 11:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Sunday morning is a good time. Nobody is there on the weekend.
Really? Nobody is in a church parking lot Sunday morning?


But ya, spend some time practicing in an empty parking lot. Bring some cones or boxes to seup a fake driveway to back into.

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Old 09-23-2015, 07:22 AM   #16
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The power dollies are nice but are pretty pricey. Making one is an option (still not inexpensive) if you're handy. I don't see that anyone has suggested the push type trailer dollies yet. There are different quality levels for them out there. My concrete driveway is pretty flat and I've gotten away with the Harbor Fright model for more than 10 years. Although the tires leak air pressure like HF thought leaking was a feature!?

If you have someone to help push on the trailer it's not so bad.

I have pretty wide access to my driveway by the road. As suggested, when possible I like to back up with the trailer curving toward the driver's side. Back by the gate that cuts across my driveway I switch to the hand dolly (I have to turn the trailer somewhat where the one car driveway expands to a two car driveway in front of the garage.)
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:41 AM   #17
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If all of the above fail. They are great at U turns and K turns, then start over. Carl
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:02 AM   #18
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I'm pretty good a backing up trailers, but on an early trip I was having trouble backing the Little Joe, (13 ft) into a particular campsite. The roadway had a pretty steep lean to the left and the site was to the right, down hill at a fairly steep angle, so the geometry was way off from what you usually find. To top it off, there was about a 1 foot drop on the right side where the driveway met the road. Two guys came over to offer help, as with the angles there were times I couldn't see in the mirrors or out the back. We got it in OK, but one of them says to the other, "I'd rather back my 30 footer than a short trailer any day. Both of these guys had large 5th wheels.

The suggestion to make small corrections is particularly true with a short trailer, as a small movement of the tongue makes a big change in the angle of the trailer wheels.

I used to work with a guy who previously had been an over the road trucker making runs from Wyoming into NYC. He told me about driving a big rig in the city.

He told me the best backing he had ever seen was a lady driver who pulled into the dock at a warehouse. He said she came winging in with a tandem, swung it around to line up and backed straight to the dock. Bumpers on both side touched simultaneously. He asked her where she learned to back a tandem so handily. She said she had taken a wrong road one day, had gone about two miles and found no where to turn around. She had to back up two miles with that rig. She said, "This one was no sweat".
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:43 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by wwig View Post
....we all do it a little differently, I use the mirrors as little as possible.
Having had a Class 1 license for 35 years, and having pulled and reversed many different types of trailers countless times, my opinion is that this is very bad advice. You have a much better rear peripheral view using your mirrors, and can see alongside the trailer, and where it is going.

If it does work for you, by all means do it, it just is not the best way though. Just watch any professional driver, they only use mirrors.
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Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
Practice at a vacant parking lot that has lines marking the spaces. Like a school on a weekend, church lot during the week, whatever you can find. Short trailers turn quick so make small steering adjustments. Take your time, get out and look (GOAL) when necessary.
This is what I always advise too. You can use the stalls to try to reverse in to, as though it was the campsite.

I am a firm believer in not using tricks, though I know they seem to work for some. Instead, I think it is best to practise and understand what it is that is happening, then it will just become second nature, no thinking required.

The way I have taught others to successfully reverse with a trailer, is to actually pretend you are moving it by hand (or even with a powered/non-powered dolly. If you move the hitch left as you go backwards (looking rearward), the trailer goes right. Now take this same theory to reversing with a tow vehicle attached, and if you move the rear end of the vehicle left, moving the hitch left, the trailer will go to the right. Basically, pretend you are pushing it into where you are headed with it. I know my wording may be a bit confusing, but the theory is very simple.

As well, the first thing I would practise in a parking lot, is to first reverse maintaining a straight line, before ever practising turning while reversing. Remember to make adjustments as soon as you realize that you need to, and make only small ones. Often beginners overcompensate with things. And go slow, really slow, so that you have more time to react to corrections.

Another option is to take a trailering course at a driving school, where professionals can give you one-n-one instruction.

And mostly, have fun with it, make it a personal challenge. YOU CAN DO IT, it just takes a bit of time to learn. And once you have it down, it will seem very simple.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:44 AM   #20
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I drove semi trucks for a couple of years which gave me some invaluable experience backing up trailers so I have to agree with Jim Bennett. You definitely want to not only use your mirrors but trust your mirrors. Yes it's a little intimidating when you start out but eventually you will get the hang of it. If you can get a hold of some of those orange traffic cones you can set them up in an empty parking lot for awhile to get some practice. Something else you want to be aware of is off tracking which is when you go around a corner you have to swing wider than normal so the trailer tire doesn't go off the road. There again you keep an eye on the trailer tire with your mirror as you go around the corner. I'm sure you have noticed semi trucks going around corners in town where they have to swing very wide to make the turn. You won't need to swing that wide but you get the idea. You can practice that with the traffic cones too. Good luck.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:50 AM   #21
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When backing up , put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel move your hand in the direction you wish the trailer to go.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:00 PM   #22
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My other observation is that backing up a trailer must be like steering a lake freighter; you need lead time. When starting the backing turn, usually the time of tightest radius, if you wait for the trailer end to start turning you're probably going to go past where you want to stop the rotation. I sometimes think of it as taking up the slack. So I stop a little past were you might think, start backing up with a moderate turn where smaller steering changes have an immediate effect (got the slack out) then fine tune things into the site/drive.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallon View Post
Really? Nobody is in a church parking lot Sunday morning?


But ya, spend some time practicing in an empty parking lot. Bring some cones or boxes to seup a fake driveway to back into.

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LOL I think Glenn was suggesting that practising when there are actually cars in the lot is better than practising in an empty lot - more real life..... but then again maybe not...

The hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and moving the hand in the direction you want the trailer to go is the one thing that helped me a lot when starting out.

The other thing I like, is not having anyone standing outside the trailer yelling at me to turn the wheel this way or that way! If I have someone traveling with me and they get out of the vehicle when I am backing up the trailer the only thing I want them to do is stand at the rear where I can see them in a side mirror - right or left it does not matter to me and only wave or move their arms around if I am about to hit an immovable object - even then I don't want to know about it when I am 6' from the object (as I can probable see it myself in a side mirror at that point) only want a warning when I get within 6" from it & I can not see it in a side mirror. mg

Most common errors people make when back up small trailers is going back to fast and over correcting the steering wheel. The smaller the trailer the faster it will respond to a steering wheel change.

Have found that when backing into a tight spot the Scoop method works best for me - even if its just a little scoop in a very tight situation.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:33 PM   #24
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Here you all go. Have fun practising.

https://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/games/reverse.asp
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:37 PM   #25
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When you take the trailer out to practice find a place with lines. Put your trailer tire next to the line. Adjust the trailer mirror so you can see the line next to the tire. Now looking at the mirror back up watching the relation ship of your movements to what the trailer tire is doing. Don't wait until the trailer is over the line or a foot off the side to pull forward and correct your line. Usually you can correct by moving forward a couple of feet and adjust your steering and starting back again. After a while you will get the hang of small movements keeping you on your correct path. Aim small, miss small. Do this awhile and then go find some sweeping arc lines in the parking lot. After you've done this you will want to paint a line in your driveway to follow for your return trip home from your camping trip. You won't do that but you can still picture that line in your head. Or you can always glue down some reflective Potts dots so you can back in at night. Either way you can do it.

I have allot of trouble backing up small trailers, sometimes I look like a pro and sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to back up 20 feet if I get flustered.
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:39 PM   #26
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Mount a hitch and ball on the front of your tow and drive that puppy into position. No mirrors, no neck twisting, etc.

Typing that made me think of something. Visualize a “crazy wheel” dolly under the front of the trailer, and a removable auxiliary hitch IN THE REAR. Hook the trailer up to the tow from behind and drag it back close to the final position. Unhook and squirm the tow back out, turn around, rehook up front and back (or just push) the trailer the rest of the way in.

Before you laugh or discount this I have a reason myself for something like this arrangement. I am moving to town and will not have nearly as much room to maneuver the Scamp into the new back yard as I have out on my big lot in the country. Nor do I have room to just pull the trailer into the backyard and turn around with the trailer connected as usual. I would have plenty of room to do as I have described above though. Would sure save a lot of backing………. Gonna build it, yes I am.
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Old 09-23-2015, 02:41 PM   #27
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Mount a hitch and ball on the front of your tow and drive that puppy into position. No mirrors, no neck twisting, etc.
OK, so now I'm staring at the white expanse that is the front of my trailer. Haven't a clue what's behind it. Might be able to see somewhat around the left side..
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Old 09-23-2015, 04:21 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
Just to clarify, if you place the palm of your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, facing up, when you move your hand to the left, the rear of the trailer will move to the left.
You also need to be aware of where the front fenders of your tow vehicle are as you turn. Go slow.

I think if your hand is on the bottom of the steering wheel, when you move your hand to the left the trailer will go left, palm up or palm down.

..................and SLOW is good.
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