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Old 04-11-2018, 11:52 AM   #21
Theunz
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Usually when you have difficulty backing into a spot it's because your starting point is not correct. Hugging the left side of the road can cause you to have to jack the trailer to severely. A more angled approach towards the middle of the road usually works best, however every situation is different. Try to make the trailer tires just barley hit the left front edge of the entrance to the site. You have to make a mental assessment of where to position your truck in order to hit that spot without having the trucks front swing out go off, or hit something on the opposite side of the road. Another mistake a lot of new drivers make is when they start getting the trailer really crooked They will only pull up a few feet and then fight the steering wheel instead of pulling up 15 or 20 feet and making a smooth correction. The next time you practice try experimenting with different starting points. Don't get frustrated and don't get impatient. After almost 40 years in the LTL freight industry, I figure I have backed a trailer over 125,000 times and sometimes even I look like a rookie! Don't fret, after a while you'll be confident enough to back yor rig around the block.
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:08 PM   #22
tntkittle
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Iím so glad you posted this question. It was very timely for us. My husband I just recently purchased our first 5th wheel (3731FL). So far, weíve had to back it twice and both times were, shall we say, unpleasurable adventures. After yesterdayís attempt (once we started speaking to each other again), my husband started doing some research on backing and found the same Z Method directions. We walked back to the original site that we tried to get into and walked through the directions. Still not sure if it would have worked (due to some poorly located trees right alongside the road) but I think we would have had a better shot. Iím anxious to get to a big parking lot where we can practice without the trees! Itís definitely got to get easier or else... there are only two options here- 1- sell the RV or 2- find a good Divorce attorney. Luckily, a nice couple happened upon us just in the nick of time yesterday and saved us from backing my husbandís brand new truck right into a tree; otherwise, we may have ended up doing BOTH of those options!!!
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Old 05-03-2018, 09:34 PM   #23
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I've heard everyone hits a tree at least once. Well, and be been pulling these things for 43 years and never hit anything. However, arriving in Fl for our 3 month stint a damned fence post grabbed the fender skirt of the 5er. The fender skirt was upset and pulled the post out of the ground which upset the post enough to crease the alum underneath. Thankfully I saw it in time to stop them from doing more and the CG grew stuffed the 2 -whoops- yes 2 posts back in the ground. The friend of the be 1st post decided to join in. So now I belong to the 'tail swingers club'.
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Old 05-03-2018, 10:09 PM   #24
Kyle and Lisa
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Lisa and I have found using our phones to talk to one another when backing in via the radio in the truck is very helpful when there is a temporary blind spot, and walking the area first before backing in. I also try to watch other people and learn from their mishaps.
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Old 05-03-2018, 10:55 PM   #25
rohrmann
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There is no shame to stop and get out to look the situation over. This should have no shame on the backup guide either. A very good class the DW and I attended while at the 2014 rally in Indiana was the backing class, and the first rule was no cussing. It just got better from there.
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:26 PM   #26
coachgrowl
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Even 18 wheelers have trouble backing no shame in us having problems.
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:41 AM   #27
WeBeFulltime
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theunz View Post
Usually when you have difficulty backing into a spot it's because your starting point is not correct. Hugging the left side of the road can cause you to have to jack the trailer to severely. A more angled approach towards the middle of the road usually works best, however every situation is different. Try to make the trailer tires just barley hit the left front edge of the entrance to the site. You have to make a mental assessment of where to position your truck in order to hit that spot without having the trucks front swing out go off, or hit something on the opposite side of the road. Another mistake a lot of new drivers make is when they start getting the trailer really crooked They will only pull up a few feet and then fight the steering wheel instead of pulling up 15 or 20 feet and making a smooth correction. The next time you practice try experimenting with different starting points. Don't get frustrated and don't get impatient. After almost 40 years in the LTL freight industry, I figure I have backed a trailer over 125,000 times and sometimes even I look like a rookie! Don't fret, after a while you'll be confident enough to back yor rig around the block.
Ding Ding Ding! This is the WINNER. Everybody pay attention to this because this is exactly how it is. I only trucked for 20 years but I totally agree!
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:12 AM   #28
mjammersc
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Here are some general tips not quite covered yet that work for us. When we first get to a site, my DW and I both get out and determine where we want the trailer to end up on the site so there is no confusion on the final outcome. Also note any obstacles of concern, eg low hanging branches, trees, fence posts, other campers/vehicles... We use our cell phones, assuming there is coverage, to communicate with mine set on speaker phone on the console. The driver (me in this case - DW will drive but hasn't parked yet except for the rally class) makes the judgements on where to pull the trailer to for starting positions, turning points, etc unless I ask for clarification due to sightlines. The spotter, DW in my case, gives feedback on room, guidance on progress/direction towards desired agreed upon spot (straighten trailer, move trailer to left side/right side of pad, truck is clear of obstacles up front, …), etc. The spotter should not be giving guidance on how to turn the truck (except when teaching someone maybe) . And as everyone said, patience which after 2+ years still occasionally is an issue in tight camping spots or after really long days on the road.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:14 AM   #29
The Bone
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st remember your wheels are the pivot point of the trialer. I like to hug the side closest to the spot I watch the wheels on the trailer to make sure they Hit the spot I want to park in. You need room to maneuver the truck. I usually hit the spot first try. Be patient and don't worry the guy next to you has had the same thing happen to him. I have failed my first attempt but dont get frustrated. Sometimes I get out and look. My wife only tells me if I am going to hit anything otherwise I just park it.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:22 AM   #30
richfaa
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We have been doing this for a very long time but must still pay attention. Practice, practice,practice till it becomes second nature. One of us is always spotting for the one doing the backing since we both have experience in backing the spotter can see a problem before it happens. We do not get a back in site unless there is no other choice.
We do have to back in to our S&B driveway

We Be Fulltime gives excellent advice.
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:07 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by rohrmann View Post
Even with an excellent spotter talking to you by cell phone, get out and look, even if you have to do this a few times, and don't hesitate to pull back out and give it another go. If at all possible, I find it better to back in on my left side, because I can see where I'm going, compared to backing in on my blind side, the right, but I can do it with enough planning. It all just takes experience over time, and there will always be a really tough spot to back into, but just don't get frustrated, you can do it.
Totally agree with backing in with the space on my left. When I reserve my favorite campground, that is a criteria.
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Old 05-04-2018, 01:50 PM   #32
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We just bought the 3700LK and when I tried to back it up into our driveway, I had some issues, the starting spot I had for our TT was different, my "marks' to start cutting the wheel changed, etc. It took a few times, but I got it up next to the house. I had to readjust a few times, at one point I went half way down my street to straighten out. Just took my time, stopped and looked a few times, even with the observation camera, pulled up several times, etc. It takes some getting use to and practice and is totally different then towing a TT, and I blindside back into my driveway and go uphill each time.
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:00 PM   #33
team bradfield
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My neighbor replaced 2 mail box posts before he moved the mailbox to the other side of the driveway. He also cut a tree down, we live in a cul de sac, he is next door to me, when I pull past my drive, its on the left, easy to back in. for some reason, he turns around the cul de sac and puts his drive on the right. I tried explaining his problem, both the mailbox and tree are on the left, they would be in his line of site. He told me "he's been pulling rigs longer than I've been on earth" Ok, good idea, cut down your tree
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:03 PM   #34
coachgrowl
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Some people are very sensitive about backing up. I am not and the longer I RV the less sensitive I get. Many people are not good at backing including some long haul truckers. I always try to get a pull through especially at night. If necessary I will back in getting better after 11 years of towing. I don't care who watches or laughs. I am doing my best and am not afraid to pull up as often as necessary. my 3 cents.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:11 PM   #35
Adrian
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Thanks for the tips. Excellent thread altogether. I have to back into my driveway on a busy street, so with travel stopped fore and aft I am easily rattled. It actually puts me off travelling thinking about coming home! But I have to stay calm and take the middle of the road and make a smart turn into the drive, avoiding the old garage on one side and fence on the other. Always the most exciting part of any trip.
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Old 05-05-2018, 09:02 AM   #36
mtlakejim
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I tried teaching my usually wonderful wife international hand signals. She learned one but I can’t talk about it in mixed company

Just as I was going to buy a shirt that said “sorry for what I said while parking the camper” we discovered cell phones with speaker for driver.

We now get out and agree on where the trailer needs to end up. She only warns me if I’m going to hit something and if it is dark she holds a target flashlight as a point of reference.

It took us a few times to get the process down but now we usually don’t have to much trouble. We do get a kick out of watching other couples going thru the process of finding out if they have a strong marriage lol ��
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Old 05-05-2018, 11:22 AM   #37
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International hand signals LOL the DWs favorite one is the hands moving closer together in indicate how far I have left to back up. Only her version results in a "clap". The last 18" of hand movement equals about 3 inches of trailer movement and always ends ups with a loud clap and whoa. If I can see her, I can read her body language and anticipate the clap. We tried walkie talkies, may try cell phones again. Only mine should be on mute. Or I may need that t-shirt.

Right now she is more for disaster and bonehead prevention. The latter is a full time job for her.

I have a friend who uses cyalume sticks for night backing in. he buys them in bulk.
he puts 2 at that front, 2 in the middle and 2 at the back.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:38 PM   #38
richfaa
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We solved the problem of wife hand signals by having the wife back it into the driveway.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:38 PM   #39
Dave W
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The only place that I REALLY have a difficult back in site is my driveway.

We are the middle house on a 3 house cul-de-sac. There are several obstacles;

it's a narrow street at 10-11 feet wide, there are 2 trees that prevent me from putting the TVs front end on the cul-de-sac island and make a straight shot up the hill.

Then there is a mail box and flower bed on one side and a post light just in the tail swing of the RV.

Once I get the 5er in the driveway (9' wide) and straight, I can then back up that 5-6% grade to a dog leg in front of the parking pad. I can get it lined up but that nice big red maple and a fancy flowering bush make it interesting.

Last year I learned a lesson - unhitch the truck and rehitch after straightening it in the driveway then back the rig right into it's home pad.

Oh and yes, I do have an occasional back in site that the neighbors gather to observe and potentially learn some new language skills. Thankfully my DW is tolerant and level headed, especially after she didn't see that tree in one CG where she was directing my efforts. The scars are still on the rear fender
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:42 PM   #40
mtlakejim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffba View Post
International hand signals LOL the DWs favorite one is the hands moving closer together in indicate how far I have left to back up. Only her version results in a "clap". The last 18" of hand movement equals about 3 inches of trailer movement and always ends ups with a loud clap and whoa. If I can see her, I can read her body language and anticipate the clap. We tried walkie talkies, may try cell phones again. Only mine should be on mute. Or I may need that t-shirt.

Right now she is more for disaster and bonehead prevention. The latter is a full time job for her.

I have a friend who uses cyalume sticks for night backing in. he buys them in bulk.
he puts 2 at that front, 2 in the middle and 2 at the back.
That's a good idea on the cyalume sticks! It always helps to have a target! We both work and frequently jump in the truck right after work to get a head start on the weekend. I am very comfortable driving at night but backing into a dark spot is of course tricky. I guess I need to break down and make the LED backup light bar a priority!!!
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