How do you back up? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-15-2007, 07:47 PM   #1
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I have been wondering how the majority of trailer owners back up their trailers.
Do you look over your shoulder or do you use your mirrors?
I personally back using only my mirrors and find that it is the easiest way there is to back a trailer.
I thought of this because I see we have several new members to the travel trailer community that are new to backing up a trailer and thought some advice to them would help.

John
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:53 PM   #2
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I back with the mirrors because I learned how in a pickup truck that usually had very little view through to the back. With the boat, which is mainly what I've towed, it can be very tricky to back down to retrieve as you cannot see the trailer, but the only chance at all of seeing it is with the side mirrors. I like the automatic mirror control on the Subaru so that I can slant the mirrors in a way that gives me a good view of the trailer as I back.

I hope the trailer does not jackknife as easily as the boat trailer does!

Bobbie
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:58 PM   #3
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Both.

If the site is on my drivers side, I use the window and aim for the edge closest to me. If on the passenger side, the window is useless, so I get out and judge that side and aim with the passenger mirror.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:06 PM   #4
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99% Mirrors, I find if I turn and look out the back window I get all fouled up and turned round. left becomes right, etc. when I put my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel...YIKES!
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
I have been wondering how the majority of trailer owners back up their trailers.
Vewwy, vewwy, s-l-o-w-l-y.
I start out using my mirrors.
Then I get out and [b]L K from a different perspective.
Then I get back in, and use my mirrors again.

This is when I am backing an already-hitched trailer into a campsite.

I [b]L K over my shoulder through the van's open rear hatch to get hitched.

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Old 04-15-2007, 08:22 PM   #6
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I drove semi's for thirty years and there are many schools of thought but my personal favorite is to back in on the drivers side so you can look out the drivers window to see where the trailer wheels are going while also using the mirrors...... If you back in on the right side(passenger side) or as i call it the "blind side" it's much more difficult but not impossible.
when backing up using the mirrors just look in the mirrors and if you want the front of the trailer to go left just turn the wheel to the left to get it started but halfway into it you have to follow thru (turn the wheel the other way to the right) or you will jack the trailer too tight and bend the frame on your trailer....be careful because if you do it wrong you will hurt the trailer....just be careful not to jack it too tight (rear bumper hits the trailer frame)....with practice it becomes second nature but please be careful not to hurt that trailer and go very slow until you get the feel for it.... hope this helps some
Joe
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:41 PM   #7
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All mirrors for me.

Started backing trailers when I was a kid. Dad taught me to get the rig all hitched up so when he got home on Friday afternoons we could just take off. Started out on a 26 foot Airstream. Big and long, with the mirrors, it was easy to see what was happening. But, I could not see out the door with it open and reach the pedals and steering wheel at the same time. So I had to learn by using the mirrors. I was all over the yard and driveway. Dad then got a couple of five gallon buckets and made me back the trailer between them. I could not have been more than eleven or twelve. It was hard at first. but then one time. like riding a two wheel bicycle for the first time, it just clicked.

From then on, until I moved away from home he made me back into all of our campsites, and put the trailer away after our trips.

Like Donna, if I use the head out the door trick, we better have a lot of room.

I don't really think I could tell someone how, except to stand next to them and tell them which way to turn the wheels.

It just seems to come naturally now...

If I were to give advice to someone...find a big open parking lot, leave spouse and kids and dogs at home. Get some traffic cones or buckets and practice backing next to and between them. Practice backing next to a line of cones on the blind side of an outside corner. Then practice at night, then practice at night in the rain. Use the mirrors, keep the door shut.

Oh, almost forgot! IF you have someone giving you directions, tell them to use their palms and whole hands, not just one finger to relay the directions!!! Wife still uses one finger, usually the middle one.....

Garo
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:52 PM   #8
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Mostly smoke and mirrors here...

If someone asks to help, I tell them all I want them to do is tell me where the back of the trailer needs to go, and point which way. I also tell them that if they can't see my eyes in the mirror, I can't see them either.

If I help someone, all I do is point which way the rear of the trailer needs to go. It works well.

Roger
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:47 AM   #9
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99% Mirrors, I find if I turn and look out the back window I get all fouled up and turned round. left becomes right, etc. when I put my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel...YIKES!

You and me both!
John
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Old 04-16-2007, 04:49 AM   #10
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Backing up a trailer just came natrual to me as a kid of about 13 my dad always had me back in the utility trailer when the family went camping and I always used the turned head method. I have been in some tricky spots either camping or dilivering firewood and keeping track of front of trailer and front bumper of truck along with the rear fender of truck and that all ellusive rear of trailer (only seen with mirrors alot of the time) is a job some find easy and some will never be able to do.
GO SLOW... ANTICIPATE YOUR MOVE BEFORE YOU GET THERE AND MAKE SMALL ADJUSTMENTS AT A TIME.
LOOK OUT FOR THAT TREEEEEEE...darn the front of the truck is in the culvert!
Gerry the canoebuilder
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:52 AM   #11
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Hi: You mean all campsites are not "pull thru"!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:09 AM   #12
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Both over my shoulder and mirrors. Used to be pretty good, but have to take it slow now. Opening the tailgate (SUV) helps with some of the blind spots. I like to get out and take a good look once or twice while I'm backing into a tight spot. It pays to know exactly what the trailer and tug are doing at all times! I usually do it solo.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:37 AM   #13
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very slow!! I use the mirrors and look out the window... get out to see where i am and where i am going.... take a deep breath and have to remember which way to turn the steering wheel... then start over again... it might take me 10 min but i eventually get it where i want ( sortta).....
I mostly aim for the pull thru's......
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:57 AM   #14
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... and try to stop backing just before it sounds REALLY expensive.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:19 AM   #15
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:35 AM   #16
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... and the GCWR of that scooter is _________? Ok, who told me I couldn't tow a Casita 17' SD with my Turbo Forester?

Ed
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:04 PM   #17
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... and the GCWR of that scooter is _________? Ok, who told me I couldn't tow a Casita 17' SD with my Turbo Forester?

Ed
Ed, as you can see from the way my shirt protrudes, the scooter holds a lot of weight.
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:15 PM   #18
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I hear you brother -- thought that was me there for a minute when I saw that profile. The hat's in the way -- wanted to see if we had the same barber -- you know, the one that combs our hair with a damp wash cloth.
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:25 PM   #19
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I am in the "both methods" group. There is no way to see past the trailer to the passenger side from the driver's position, so the mirror is the only way to go for that side. Like others, I find switching between methods can cause confusion, so although I will use both in one backing event, I switch as little as possible.

If I had bigger mirrors further out, I would probably use the mirrors exclusively.

And I would not back into any location which I had not clearly seen first without the trailer in the way, even if that means getting out and walking around.
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Old 04-16-2007, 04:10 PM   #20
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I hear you brother -- thought that was me there for a minute when I saw that profile. The hat's in the way -- wanted to see if we had the same barber -- you know, the one that combs our hair with a damp wash cloth.
Hat? I think you've mistaken Morgan's mirror (hand held)!
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