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Old 05-27-2009, 12:04 PM   #1
RKassl
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Trailer Backing Question

Now that we are going to be on the road a lot more, I really need to get better with my jack knifing the trailer into a back in site that is perpendicular to the access road.

I have watched some people at this CG putting their 5er in sites like this, is here a secret to doing this? If you are going to get in a site like this what is the pivot point for the trailer? To me it looks like if you have the trailer wheels at the site then crank the wheel to the max, does this give you he right angle to back into the site?

Any suggestions would be appeciated.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:23 PM   #2
indy roadrunner
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Bob, I pull past the site at least 5 yards and start backing with a slight oposite steering wheel until the trailer breaks into the turn, then I start following it. If you are having to do a 90 degree jackknife ---- you will have to make some pull ups to adjust. Remember that the 5th wheel is your pivot point and that is right over your back wheels of the TV. This is just my way, but I back the wheels of the trailer and let the wife worry about the extra hang over of the trailer behind the wheels. Different strokes for different folks, as some will try to control the rear of the trailer but for me that depth perception is too far so I back the wheels of the trailer as my reference point.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:02 PM   #3
Montana Sky
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One idea that might help you become more comfortable on jack knife maneuvering is to go to your local high school with a set of cones. The big empty parking lot will allow you to practice while providing you all the room you need. the only thing you could really hit is the cones itself. It took me a few hours until I was comfortable with backing the rig into tight spaces. Remember cones are cheap compared to fixing the rear of the coach.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:41 PM   #4
stiles watson
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Rule 1: Get out of the truck and assess where you want to go. Look to each side and up for obstacles. Rule 2: Creep, slow correctable movement is best. When the trailer is not going where you want it to go, pull up just a bit and correct. Don't let anyone hurry you. Rule 3: Don't let your ego rule you. Accept good help from one person (more will be distracting). Rule 4: Don't get angry at your spouse rather tell your spouse what you want to do and how or what help is needed. If you can't hear them or see them, stop until you can. Rule 5: Watch the trailer wheel path in your side mirrors. When you are turning too far, pull up and get straight.

The suggestion for parking lot practice is good. The more you do it, the more comfortable you get. I agree with pulling up well past the site to start a back in with gentle changes and follow the trailer until you need more turn. Small, incremental turning changes will get you where you want to go.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:43 PM   #5
richfaa
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That is a difficult maneuver but with practice most anyone can do it. My solution to that maneuver is....don't do it. Our choice of sites is..pull through and that is what we get 98% of the time. If we have to back in (most accidents occur when backing) it will be a site that we can back stright into like the site we are in now.I can not remember the last time we had to jack knife into a site. If we called a C.G and they said all they had was jack knife sites we would be on the phone for another C.G.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
RKassl
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Thanks for all your comments and ideas!
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:00 PM   #7
sreigle
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Bob, I think this is a challenge for all of us except maybe those experienced 18-wheeler drivers. I've had help from several people over the years and a couple of points stand out.

1. Slow. Slow. Slower yet. Take your time. Get out and doublecheck if needed. This means moving the rig very, very slowly.

2. Make very small corrections as you back up. Many people try to make big corrections and just get in more trouble. If you need a big correction, pull forward and then make smaller corrections while backing.

3. Remember the truck is going to swing out towards the side of the road away from the site. So, when making a 90 degree backing maneuver, start with truck and trailer pretty close to the edge of the road closest to the site, if that makes any sense.

4. When you realize you aren't going to make it, pull out and try again. Don't be embarrassed. We've all had to do that. And probably will again.

Those suggestions may not work for anyone else but they have helped me. Well, I still screw it up but sometimes can do it right the first time. Occasionally.

Good luck. I find I do it best when nobody is around to see it. And I am best at screwing it up when someone is watching, especially someone I know.
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Old 05-27-2009, 03:06 PM   #8
ols1932
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by RKassl

Now that we are going to be on the road a lot more, I really need to get better with my jack knifing the trailer into a back in site that is perpendicular to the access road.

I have watched some people at this CG putting their 5er in sites like this, is here a secret to doing this? If you are going to get in a site like this what is the pivot point for the trailer? To me it looks like if you have the trailer wheels at the site then crank the wheel to the max, does this give you he right angle to back into the site?

Any suggestions would be appeciated.
I believe with practice you'll do fine. Following the steps given by Stiles, you'll do fine. I would just add that it becomes easier to back into a lot if you'll place your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. Then whatever way you want the back of the rig to go, move the steering wheel in that direction. That's a lot easier than trying to learn to back in with your hand at the top of the steering wheel. Once you've got the hang of it, then you can do it whatever way you want to. I've been RVing a total of 33 years, almost nine of them have been full time since 2000.

Just do it and don't be concerned about those who may be watching. We all went through the same thing.

Good luck! You can do it.

Orv
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:17 PM   #9
SlickWillie
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I think Stiles has it figured out. Especially, no more than one person signaling to the driver. If I am helping someone by signaling, and someone else walks up and starts doing so, I will stop and get out of the way. I used to operate cranes; you can screw up in a second with more than one person helping.
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:32 PM   #10
garyka
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I do what richfaa does. Pull throughs.All of the advice you got from this forum is good.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:24 PM   #11
Bill-N-Donna
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First of all I agree with everything that has been said. Don’t be intimidated by people who standby and watch. Everyone likes a show and when they see a big rig like we all have there going to watch you.

“When in Doubt-Get-Out” and look around. I feel fairly comfortable with backing the fifth-wheel but each and every time I do I make certain of what is behind me. I have gotten out several times and walked around to be sure of my surroundings.
“When in Doubt-Get-Out!”

On edit: Some places are just simply too small to even think about trying to get into. Be careful when at old parks that was built for smaller RV’s.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:10 PM   #12
noneck
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Agree with all comments...just like to add one more for the "helper".
They need to be aware that they should move to position that allows them to see you in the rear view mirror...sometimes as your backing up this means they have to shift so you can see them signal.
At night you need a really good spot person with a flash light, my spotter knows if they are waving the beam on ground left-right means turn more, front-back means ok to keep backing up, and beam in my mirror (blinding me) means STOP!
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:16 PM   #13
Waynem
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I never ran into a site that I had to jack knife completely into, but some were very close. My trick was to come as close to the entrance of the site as possible and as my front back tv wheels passed the last side of the entrance I would start a snaking ("S") to the opposite side of the road. Doesn't matter the width. As I completed the top of the "S" the back wheels of the 3400RL would be just past (5 yards is a good reference, maybe a little shorter) and I would start my backing. Depending on how much turning room you have at the front (no trees) your trailer wheels will start to turn immediately. Remember, that when you back in this way and cannot pull forward to straighten out, you have a lot of opposing pressure on each side of the trailer wheels. If you look at them, many times you would think something is wrong. There is a lot of torque when you are not able to pull forward and straighten the trailer wheels. I really like pull-throughs.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:17 PM   #14
bigmurf
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Our Winter park in AZ. is all perpendicular spaces. Quite a show sometimes, I see people with Class C motorhomes that can't do it.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:18 PM   #15
richfaa
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As Steve said.....slow, slow, slow, small adjustment on the steering wheel. Slow is the secret to making difficult maneuvers. We learned in School us driving class that the majority of accidents occur while backing so we try not to back execpt when absolutly necessary. Why tempt fate . However the RV driver should know how to perform all backing maneuvers. They have a in depth driving school here at the Escapee rally. Went to a "how to back your rig" seminar today. Steve your post on backing is a very good one. Nearly right out of the backing seminar we attended today.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:19 PM   #16
deadeyenevermisses
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I thought I had only one comment but I guess it's two: my wife and I use GMRS radios when backing because she'll invariably disappear from my mirrors and, I agree whole heartedly with pull throughs however if you tow long enough you'll find yourself in a spot where you need to "precision back up" and it'll probably be dark and raining. Practice, practice and practice. "Just in case". I drove down a logging road onto a dead end landing in a snow storm once. My practice saved my bacon.
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:40 PM   #17
clutch
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We use small CB's that way if I loose sight of Sallie we can still exchange information. I hate backing our 5er and much prefer a bumper pull type trailer. When I show up the neighbors all drag out their lawn chairs and watch the show. It is getting easier with practice and time, however we only move the trailer about 4 times a year.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:06 AM   #18
Jim Jarvis
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My wife and I use two way radio to communicate. I'm the opposite of rich, 98% of my backins are right angle. It's easy once you know what to do. At first I'd be rattled by people watching or when I had to pull up but not anymore. When I watch others I notice everyone has the same rate of success and also realize that the difference between a good job backing in and a bad job is only a couple of minutes. Use the advice you've read here and you will be ok with the physical part and with that comes peace of mind with the mental part.
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:07 AM   #19
NCFischers
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Getting the trailer into the site on one try isn't the goal. Getting it into the site in one piece is. Pulling forward and making corrections is part of backing safely. The DW guides me when I'm backing and I won't move if I can't see her. With practice, backing becomes easier. As stated, go to a parking lot when it isn't busy and practice, practice, practice.
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:27 AM   #20
Bob Pasternak
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I just point the trailer where I want it, then follow it.
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