Side mirrors? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-21-2013, 10:43 AM   #1
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Side mirrors?

Recommend adding side mirrors for Subaru Outback and a Scamp 13 ?? I am a newbie, never towed.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:51 AM   #2
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Lynn when I first started towing my 16' with my Outback I used strap on extended mirrors. With time I realized not really necessary if I adjust the cars mirrors correctly as the ones on the car do sit out a fair distance from the car to start with. Would think with a 13' you will probable be fine without them as well.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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Carol,

Thanks for your insight. I have never towed anything before. Any tips on what to expect, and how to start out when I pick up my trailer. Haven't ordered yet, but getting closer with all this good input.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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I agree with Carol. When I first towed my Casita I got a set of strap-on mirrors. First, they bounced around so much that they gave me a headache. Then I found out that big trucks passing at high speed on a two-lane road would fold back the one on the driver's side. The one thing they are good for is backing up by yourself since it's sometimes hard to see the rear end of your trailer with normal mirrors. If you have a friend to guide you, this shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:28 AM   #5
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I am going solo, so maybe I will need them for backing up. Since I've never towed, I'm sure that will be a little nerve wracking for me.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:33 AM   #6
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I bought an extension mirror to tow my 13 footer but didn't bother again after the first time I used it. I did mount a camera in the trailer back window and I love this to see behind when backing and to spot cars right on my tail.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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Check laws for your state. I don't recall the exact details, but you may be required to see a certain distance behind your trailer ( like 200 feet or more ) and your original equipment mirrors may not do that because of the angles.
I have Aero mirrors that clamp on to my existing mirror housing. That allows me to adjust the RAV mirror independent of the Aero mirror, so I can see near and far. Being able to see far behind the trailer allows you to see fast overtaking vehicles, should you need to change lanes. They are also handy for backing.
They do vibrate somewhat, but less than others.
I think Costco now sells Aero at a decent price.
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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I found that the standard mirrors on my truck did not extend sufficiently far to see traffic near and behind my Escape. Bought a pair of Grand Aero mirrors from Costco and rear vision was improved tremendously. I would suggest towing your trailer a bit first and then deciding whether you need mirrors.
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:52 PM   #9
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If you want extension mirrors that do not vibrate excessively, I go along with Glenn & Dave. I tried many different mirrors since my RAV4 is fairly narrow & some extension is necessary. The Grand Aero mirrors are the best of the bunch.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice.. I will get those. Did you use the clamps I see on the photo on amazon.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:58 PM   #11
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Yes, as you see in the photo.
I am trying to come up with something that I can place between the clamps and the mirror housing to stiffen it to eliminate vibration. Maybe a strip of aluminum dipped in rubber to protect the paint.
I think, the amount of vibration is dependent on the stiffness of the mirror housing on your vehicle.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:03 PM   #12
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This is the law in British Columbia. I'm sure most states have similar rules.

Where a trailer or semitrailer in a combination of vehicles diminishes the driver's reflected rear view through the rear view mirrors required by subsections (1) to (3), the towing vehicle in the combination of vehicles shall be equipped with 2 mirrors, one affixed to each side of the motor vehicle, and each to provide the driver with an undistorted reflected view of the adjacent lane of the highway from a point on the road surface 11 m ( 36 feet ) behind the driver to a point on the road surface 61 m ( 200 feet ) from the rear of the combination of vehicles.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:11 PM   #13
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I bought a pair of "Fit System Deluxe Universal Clip-on Trailer Towing Mirror" from Amazon. They have two rubber padded ratchet tightener straps. Tighten up good, don't vibrate at all, and fit our 2003 Honda CRV just fine. Besides the ratchet tighteners there are a couple options for hooking the straps to the clamps. Once you get them set up, and see how the tighteners work, it's easy to put them on & off. I have mine marked L & R so they get put back on the same mirror. There is a cheaper version available that doesn't have the ratchet tighteners, but it is well worth the extra expense to get the Deluxe version.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McKenna Lynn View Post
Carol,

Thanks for your insight. I have never towed anything before. Any tips on what to expect, and how to start out when I pick up my trailer. Haven't ordered yet, but getting closer with all this good input.
Well first off I think you will be very pleased with how well your Outback will handle the 13' so you really shouldn't worry yourself about that part of it. I know mine has towed through some pretty extreme weather conditions, including high winds that put semi trailers side ways in front of me and the car has surprised me more than once as to how solid it holds the trailer. I have put a lot of miles on my set up and as a result have had to do the panic stop at high speeds & major avoidance moves more than once and its all been good and handled better than even I would have bet originally.

The key is making sure you get it set up correctly. Get yourself a good brake controller such as a Tekonsha P2 installed before pick up and read all the instructions as to how to set it up once hooked up. The car comes with only the trailer lights pre wired so you will need to have the brake line installed when you get the hitch put on. Suspect the folks at Scamp will be able to help you adjust the brake controller correctly when you pick up the trailer. Check with Scamp as to what the recommend hitch height is for the 13' in order for it to sit level once attached. Better that it be level or just slightly down on the tongue than riding high. Once you have the hitch installed on the car measure to see what draw bar you need to get the ball to that height. You may need a draw bar with a couple of inches of lift - you may want to take a couple of different bars of different drops with you (you just flip them over for a rise) for pick up and return which ever one you don't use.

I also travel on my own a fair bit so if you have any questions or concerns in that regard just send me a PM and I will do my best to answer the concerns you may have.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:06 PM   #15
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Oh my gosh, so much to learn. I didn't know about brake controls. I assume that means when I brake on the floor pedal, I also have a hand control for the electric brakes on the trailer? So can I get that when I have the hitch installed and the transmission cooler added? When the hitch is put on, they will wire the hitch for the trailer lights? And then when I pick up the trailer it will have the electric brakes on, so I then have to have the car wired for the brakes? Is this the right sequence? Do I do that at a shop in Minnesota? Or is that what you are saying that maybe Scamp could help. I been researching for days and days and days. Eventually, I will get it. And thanks for offering your help.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:29 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by McKenna Lynn View Post
Oh my gosh, so much to learn. I didn't know about brake controls. I assume that means when I brake on the floor pedal, I also have a hand control for the electric brakes on the trailer? So can I get that when I have the hitch installed and the transmission cooler added? When the hitch is put on, they will wire the hitch for the trailer lights? And then when I pick up the trailer it will have the electric brakes on, so I then have to have the car wired for the brakes? Is this the right sequence? Do I do that at a shop in Minnesota? Or is that what you are saying that maybe Scamp could help. I been researching for days and days and days. Eventually, I will get it. And thanks for offering your help.
I am not sure what you mean by a hand control for the electric brakes on the trailer. You will need a brake controller such as Tekonsha P2 installed in the car in order for the electric brakes to work on the trailer. When you put your foot of the brakes of the car it activates the trailer brakes at the same time. A brake controller does have a lever on it that can be used if you are experiencing sway and only want to apply the trailer brakes and not the car brakes. Applying car brakes when a trailer is swaying is to be avoided.

A good hitch shop should be able to install the hitch and all your wiring for the lights and the brake controller. Buy your brake controller and take it with you when you get the hitch installed. Scamp will not do any of that for you but they will/should be able to help you adjust the settings on the brake controller once you get the trailer hooked up so that it works correctly.

You will need to tell the folks at the hitch shop that you need a seven blade plug installed on the car side - all the lights for the trailer are pre wired on the car and can be found under the back area of the car - but they dont include the blue brake wire that needs to be run from the front of the car & the controller or the wire for charging the trailer battery, that will need to added as well.

Regarding the transmission cooler. I know lots of folks here highly recommend them but be warned Subaru does not recommend them as they believe the transmission cooler they have in the car is sufficient or that was what I was told when I talked to them about adding one to my Outback. I suggest you talk to your service manager about it before proceeding if this is a new car and still under warranty. When my car was new I was told it could impact my warranty if I was to install one & had problems down the road.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:36 PM   #17
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Oregon law requires mirrors capable of seeing 200' behind the trailer.
If you want to test this have somebody stand 200' behind the trailer at the center of trailer width. The person needs to be visible by the driver. This is my test so I don't know how state DOTs would look at it. Also when this discussion came up a number of years ago it appeared that this was a common requirement in most if not all states.

I use strap on mirrors on each side, yes they vibrate a bit, but I can still see any vehicle that's back there. I can't see vehicles directly behind in the stock mirrors.
I'm towing a 13' Scamp with a 2005 Dakota pickup that has pretty good size stock mirrors. I used to tow with 1998 Chevy Blazer, the mirror thing was the same, I needed the mirror extensions to be legal and safe.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:24 AM   #18
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I too have had the Grand Aero mirrors for a few years now. By far the best ones I have used that attach to the existing mirrors. Not quite perfect as there is still a bit of vibration as baglo said, but any mirror attaching to the cars mirror housing would have the same effect, as most are just moulded plastic.

My interpretation of the 200' of viewing along and behind your trailer, is that you must be able to see into your lane, and not to the center of it, for at least 200' back. This is so you can see movement in and out of the lane you are in, whether it is someone attempting to move out of the lane to pass, or for you moving safely to the next lane. With many standard car/trailer setups your field of view angles out of your lane quickly.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:38 AM   #19
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I too have had the Grand Aero mirrors for a few years now. By far the best ones I have used that attach to the existing mirrors. Not quite perfect as there is still a bit of vibration as baglo said, but any mirror attaching to the cars mirror housing would have the same effect, as most are just moulded plastic.

My interpretation of the 200' of viewing along and behind your trailer, is that you must be able to see into your lane, and not to the center of it, for at least 200' back. This is so you can see movement in and out of the lane you are in, whether it is someone attempting to move out of the lane to pass, or for you moving safely to the next lane. With many standard car/trailer setups your field of view angles out of your lane quickly.

I think you're right. AAA has a list of state towing mirror laws and most poorly written, Oregon's if written better than most
"All vehicles must be equipped with mirrors such that the driver has a clear and unobstructed view of the rear at all times and under all conditions of load that will enable the driver to see an approaching vehicle from a distance of not less than 200 feet."

I would take that mean you have to be able to detect a vehicle 200 feet behind the trailer, which doesn't require being able to see in the center of road.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:18 AM   #20
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Seeing 200' behind you is possible with many standard vehicle mirrors, I can just do this with the Honda's standard mirrors if you assume it doesn't mean the center of the lane at 200 feet.

My reason for installing a rear camera in the Scamp is the recognition that 200 feet is about 10 car lengths.
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