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Old 04-10-2018, 09:29 PM   #1
vipermanden
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OK, All longer Montanas and backing in spots

So we have already traveled 25,000 miles in our 3820FK which is 41' feet long and we are a total of 58' feet long when connected. So one of our next trips is going back East, and there are a lot of back in spots, instead of our usual favorite full hookup pull thrus, so we setup cones today in a large parking lot, and it was very frustrating. We set the entry pylons at 21 feet wide, and then about 15 feet behind those we narrowed the space down to 15' wide, and added more cones to simulate a 80 foot deep space. So we assumed the road was 25' feet wide, and I hugged the left side by 2-3 feet, and we practiced numerous attempts to jack the 5th wheel and then chase it and we were only successful about 2 times out of 15? Does anyone out there have a better strategy, or did we make our test course toooo tight to succeed?
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:39 PM   #2
coachgrowl
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I always ask for a pull thru (at least the wife does). We pull in after dark and it makes it sooooo much easier. I will back in if necessary.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:04 PM   #3
Grzly03
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V, don't know if you had the parking spot at 90 degrees to the aisle, but if you did, a 25' wide aisle probably isn't going to hack it. Your 3820 is 41', with about 24 or 25 in front of the axles. That's the whole width of the aisle. For the CA Non-commercial Class A, the aisle is 70' wide with the alley at 90 degrees. You have to get most of your turning (of the trailer) done before the back of the trailer enters the spot, and you just can't do that with a 25' aisle. If the alley/spot is at a 60 or 45 degree angle, its a completely different story, and significantly easier. When the back-in site is narrow, and has trees around, my spotter/wife stands back there and calls me on her cell, I talk to her over the blue tooth, and it makes it easier. One encapsulated piece of advice: get most of your trailer turning done before the back of the trailer is in the spot, and don't let the angle between the truck and trailer exceed what you can recover from as you back further. It might take 3 corrections. So what?

My opinion!!! I'm sure there are other techniques.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:50 PM   #4
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It takes a lot of practice pull up tight to wear you are backing in put your 5er wheel just in front of wear you are backing in crank it over as you backup and start falling it in make corrections as you need to and take your time and watch your front of your truck lots of CG's don't give you a lot of room!

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Old 04-10-2018, 10:54 PM   #5
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^^^^ what he said. Tail swing can be a real b!tch at times but actually can lead you into a back in spot. Hug the side of the road opposite of your tail swing. I'm 43' and at times make it on the 1st try ~~~ then there are times I wish my wife sold tickets to the show.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:34 PM   #6
vipermanden
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CaptnJohn, I'm sure someone could have sold a lot of popcorn watching us today! :-) I need a real trucker to be there, and see if he could have done it better than me?
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:46 PM   #7
rohrmann
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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.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:08 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by vipermanden View Post
CaptnJohn, I'm sure someone could have sold a lot of popcorn watching us today! :-) I need a real trucker to be there, and see if he could have done it better than me?
Sometimes truckers have problems too. A 53' semi trailer is actually easier as the trailer wheels are at the rear with a sometimes shorter overhang.

Last fall we called ahead and was told there was 1 site long enough but a little narrow. There were 2 trees to squeeze between about 15' from the entrance. We arrived after dark after traveling almost 600 miles. It was dark and I was tired to start. 3 attempts and heard my wife say "stop, pull ahead, try again" had me frustrated and POed. Stopped, lit a cigarette and told my wife I was going around the block to set up again. Calmed down on the 2 minute drive arrived back and backed in. Had to pull forward once to get between the damn trees and it was in perfect. Now,,, if I had a chain saw ~~~~~~
Often the pull through sites are narrower than back in sites. Usually back ins are more spacious. I prefer a back in unless arriving after dark for only 1 - 2 nights. Otherwise, better usually to take the extra few minutes to back in.
By the time this trip is over you will be an expert.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:26 AM   #9
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I've backed in quite a few spots. I like others like to have a pull-thru but sometimes they just are not available. Trees are your worst enemy. I don't mine parking where there is not any trees around. I store my rv at my daughter's house 1 mile down the street and i have to back in her driveway to the barn. The driveway is 24' wide and narrows to 12' quickly. I usually get in pulling up once after the initial try. Like Bob said, always back-up using the driver's side if possible. Don't be afraid to jack-knife the trailer and back-up slow. I've never found a place yet i couldn't back-up into. My wife give's be a lot of experience as we do a lot of antiquing when traveling and you wouldn't believe the predicaments my wife has gotten me into. The more you do it the better you will get at it.Just don't be intimidated. Good-Luck.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:38 AM   #10
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Z Method for Backing a 5th Wheel RV

I cannot take credit for this as I did not write the original procedure. I did however do some editing and added some verbiage and improved on the illustrations so they more closely matched the instructions. . I struggled like you trying to park my 38ft 3500RL in the driveway at home. Same story 12 to 15 tries to get it in the final position,very frustrating. Once I found this method I was amazed at the difference. The first time I tried it I parked my rig in the driveway on the 4th try with no assistance from a spotter. I was amazed and couldn't believe I picked it up so quickly. I done the same thing next trip parked perfectly within 4 tries.

As one of the previous members said its all about getting trailer lined up and already turning into the spot. This method helps set you up very well to do just that.

I hope this helps you as much as it did me. Good luck and as it says at the end of the PDF. Practice practice practice!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Notes_180411_021557_bf3.pdf (2.22 MB, 288 views)
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:30 AM   #11
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I always liked to reference these videos to go over different backing situations. These are for a big rig simulator game, but I like the birds eye view they give you, the instructions they give, and little tips too. Even though as stated above by CaptnJohn, a big rig can be easier to back in but this helped me when I bought my first 5th wheel. Good luck!

https://youtu.be/Kc5hobnRYI4

https://youtu.be/Ivhp9rJeINs
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:53 AM   #12
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When backing to tight spaces you need to hug the side your backing into to give the truck room to maneuver on the opposite side then jack knife the rig in. so if you are backing in on the drivers side you should hug the drivers side shoulder and try not to back in on the blind side at first that way you can turn around and look out the drivers back window until you get used to the mirrors and you can see what the rig is doing.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:00 AM   #13
WaltBennett
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We live on a narrow street with an even narrower driveway. Ours is38' with almost the same overall length. I've only been able to back in in one attempt just a few times. Almost always, I've got to go back and forth at lest two or three times to get it right. Even then, the front wheels of my truck always go off the shoulder. The few times I've been able to back up without the back & forth have once been by luck and the other two after one of our long trips (lots of practice on those!).
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:15 AM   #14
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Almost 50 years ago the U.S. Army spent 8 weeks teaching me to drive large trucks. I can tell you it takes practice. If it was me and I was just starting out in a large parking lot I wouldn't worry about all the cones and measuring. Just set out one cone, drive past it, then back around it. Practice, practice, practice from one side and then the other with a spotter. Once you start to get the feel of it then you can start narrowing down the room you are allowing yourself.

Go SLOW when backing like someone else said.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptnJohn View Post
Sometimes truckers have problems too. A 53' semi trailer is actually easier as the trailer wheels are at the rear with a sometimes shorter overhang.

Last fall we called ahead and was told there was 1 site long enough but a little narrow. There were 2 trees to squeeze between about 15' from the entrance. We arrived after dark after traveling almost 600 miles. It was dark and I was tired to start. 3 attempts and heard my wife say "stop, pull ahead, try again" had me frustrated and POed. Stopped, lit a cigarette and told my wife I was going around the block to set up again. Calmed down on the 2 minute drive arrived back and backed in. Had to pull forward once to get between the damn trees and it was in perfect. Now,,, if I had a chain saw ~~~~~~
Often the pull through sites are narrower than back in sites. Usually back ins are more spacious. I prefer a back in unless arriving after dark for only 1 - 2 nights. Otherwise, better usually to take the extra few minutes to back in.
By the time this trip is over you will be an expert.
What you say about backing a 53' semi is true, but unless laws have changed since my 20 years of trucking the trailer wheels (tandems) on a 53' can't be run all the way to the rear legally. The center between the 2 axles must be 9' forward of the rear of the trailer. They can be all the way to the rear on 48' trailers.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:34 AM   #16
richfaa
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Practice, Practice, Practice. We rarely have a problem with getting a pull through and we have traveled all over the country.Both Helen and I have backed hundreds of times over the years but we do not like to back and it is a last resort . When I was taking my school bus driver training what stuck in my mind was that 60% of all damage accidents occurred when backing. We have to back into our driveway at the S&B and into our lot here in Florida. We do it very slowly, Carefully and with a spotter.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:27 AM   #17
jking
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I spent 6years as a driver trainer for a major long-haul trucking company. What everybody says is true, PRACTICE! Also it is 90% set-up. The Z theory is correct, S turns! Learn to observe the track your trailer tires follow. Communicate with your spotter ALWAYS CALMLY! Get out and look BEFORE it’s too late, and do as many pull-ups as you need. Always aim for a Drivers side back-in if possible. And NEVER spend more than ONE - two seconds in any Mirror, as soon as you do it changes in the other mirror. Practice, practice, practice and stay calm! (Walk away, smoke a cigarette, what ever it takes!). Good luck.
This advice is worth what you paid for it. ��
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:37 AM   #18
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First I would say that your practice spot wasn't too small, I've seen smaller and harder to deal with. That said, what is said above is correct. There is no substitute for practice and secondly it's not a contest. Go slow, take your time and make as many corrections as you need to. Don't get frustrated or worried about what others think. The only goal is to get it in the spot while maintaining your cool (and if your wife is directing you, your marriage).
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:26 AM   #19
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I consider myself an experienced driver but have struggled to back our new rig in some tight spots. I may have to get the cones out myself and the videos help. Always learning!!

I do respect those truck drivers and how some of them can back up into a space with just inches of clearance!
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:34 AM   #20
vipermanden
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DVStone2 I like your "Z" method, but am curious about your drawings. It shows the truck parallel and almost touching the right side of the road, and then you say to jack it. Wouldn't the rear end of your truck cut way past that right side barrier assuming it was a curb or other vehicles or rigs on that side of the road? We did not try this method, but will, just curious if you need to leave more room on the right side than these pictures show? Thanks for your help, I need it!
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