How in the world do I back this thing up!

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by jsmcdonald, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. jsmcdonald

    jsmcdonald New Member

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    I have never had to back anything in my life except a hay wagon once and the old farmer that I was doing it for kept yelling at me to hit the right break. Who knew the dang blang thing had a right and left brake! Well here I am several years later and I have my beloved starflyer, but do not know how to go backwards! Any suggestions!
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Find a empty parking lot and practice. Then do it again on another day, if needed.
    Here's one of the older threads:
    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=55083.0;all

    I got so I could pretty reliably back up the old pup, as long as I didn't get rushed or stressed; I still have to conquer the Cobalt. I can do OK for adjustments in a pull-through, have yet to try it in a back-in site - and have not managed to put it into our driveway. DH has figured out a few secrets to the last, so I'll try it again one of these days. [Because I have neck issues, I try to only back it up once in a day; some people say to learn to use your mirrors to back up but I can't seem to adjust the seat so that I can see them and reach the gas/brakes at the same time.]
     
  3. Twisty

    Twisty New Member

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    Place one hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. The Pup will move in the same direction that you move your hand.
    Always back very slowly and stop anytime that you have any doubt about your direction. Pull forward a bit to straighten up and then try again.
    Practice, practice, practice.
     
  4. 01YZF6

    01YZF6 Dothan, AL

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    small adjustments will go a long way!
     
  5. papachaz

    papachaz New Member

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    you need to get those mirrors adjusted! i promise you, once you learn to use the mirrors to back with, it will be so much easier, easier to do, and easier on your neck! the key to backing is, slow and steady, don't do anything fast. it gets easier and easier the more you do it.

    the thing to know about backing is this, to start with, you are using the TV to push the trailer in the direction you want it to go. then at once you get it going to that point, you'll stop pushing it where you want it to go, and you'll have to let the TV follow it in. once you learn that breaking point from pushing it to following it, it becomes so much eaiser!!
     
  6. robctry69

    robctry69 New Member

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    got to put the tv in reverse first [:D]
     
  7. themanfromvan

    themanfromvan Van, PA - Near The PA Wilds

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    Just remember, once everyone stops laughing and goes back to their sites, you're just another guy at the campground. Heck, you even earned the right to go out and watch the next arrival back over their site post. [:D] [:D]
     
  8. Bullfrog Bheer

    Bullfrog Bheer Active Member

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    The trailer is MUCH easier to back than a hay wagon. There's no front wheels that steer on the trailer.
     
  9. drhuggybear

    drhuggybear Member

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    Find you a church parking lot. Those are normally good sized and empty during the week. Spend some time just practicing. Pick a parking spot and go for it. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    There are lots of methodologies -- left hand on the bottom looking back, using mirrors, and so on. Find which works best for you. I have tried several and I actually do a combo ...

    I have my left hand on the bottom of the wheel but use the mirrors. But again, do what is best. I agree with the pushing the trailer and SLOW. I struggled my first couple times because I would over steer and try to go too fast. Slow and steady parks the camper first time.

    I am by no means an expert ... I am 4 months into ownership so my experience is limited. But I am getting to where I can do it fairly quickly.
     
  10. dupreet

    dupreet New Member

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    Good info - the big ones are keep it slow, gentle course corrections, and having your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. Beyond that, practice and experience are your friends!

    I've been doing this for 30+ years...whipped our 24' TT right in the site last night on the first try. I also took ten tries to get the darned thing hitched up a few hours before!! In my defense, I do park the rig on a hill and have a sloppy "park" on my transmission, so lining the ball up can get tricky. :)

    Happy Camping,

    Todd
     
  11. castawayguy

    castawayguy Life is short...eat your s'mores first!

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    Slow and steady wins the race, for sure. Every season before I head out, I go to the middle school parking lot for practice. I still struggle with it, but when my neck and ears start getting sweaty, ( [:(!]) I literally stop in my tracks and think about where I need to be going. When calm is restored ( [8D]), I start all over again! In my case, practice has not made perfect, but I keep on truckin'!
     
  12. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    The problem is not the adjustment, but where the mirrors are attached to the 4Runner, especially the right side one. Because I have to drive with the seat pretty far forward, the right mirror is at a sharp angle, and I have not been able to adjust it to help enough for backing. We thought about getting one of the add-on mirrors. An extension one on the mirror itself would just multiply the angle problem, and the wheel well didn't seem sturdy enough for the clamp-on one on the brackets. I can adjust the side mirrors to back the TV by itself, when necessary, just not with the pup attached.
    Multifocal lenses and a tendency to motion sickness just adds another layer to the whole issue. For those who have not experienced it, it seems weird to become queasy just watching the mirror, but that's what happens; it is easy to be seeing things a bit out of focus as distances change - all of which I never realized until I got those glasses.
     
  13. papachaz

    papachaz New Member

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    wow, ok i can see the problem....i bought some of the suction cup add on tow mirrors from walmart, some of the camper dealers also carry them. i was skeptical about them, but after having used them the last two times i've pulled the camper, they work very well. i think a longer mirror would change the angle somewhat, but hey, that sounds like a geometry problem and i'm too old to try to remember all that stuff! [LOL] [LOL]

    i'd think that motion sickness issue with looking at the mirrors is going to be your biggest problem anyway...good luck! all i can say is practice practice practice! the more you do it, the easier it will get
     
  14. castawayguy

    castawayguy Life is short...eat your s'mores first!

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    @papachaz- I just bought those mirrors, but haven't yet used them. I put them on the TV, and it sure looks like the extension should do the trick! Is it me, or are the directions for applying the suction cups completely screwed up?
     
  15. DanielL

    DanielL Member

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    IMHO, the prior comments are right on target. I picked up some used McKesh towing mirrors and they help immensely as I can actually see what's going on. The only "new" tip to add is to be very conscious of the centerline of your vehicle as you will change directions on it.

    Happy trails!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  16. GA Judy

    GA Judy Active Member

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    My friend, Kristin (kriandthur) used to have a boat, and she showed my DH and easy way to direct backing up. Aways make sure your "back up coach" can see you in the sideview mirrow and vice versa. It was a breeze making a downhill dogleg backup a piece of cake! (It also helped that she didn't have to shout or wave her arms frantically .... hmmmm, like DH does and I don't pay attention to him! Shhhh.)
     
  17. RotnMom

    RotnMom Am I there yet?

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    I grew up towing our tt and boat, but hadn't had a need in over 25 years probably. I went to a KMart because they had no parking lot lights for the most part. Straightened her up and just sat there looking in the mirrors, adjusting them, sit and look some more. What I was doing was memorizing where the truck lines up with the front of the PUP. To this day, if a man is watching me back up to hook up and leave, 1 of 2 usually walks over and says something like 'how do you do that in one try?' [LOL] [LOL] What I know is exactly where the left edge of the tv bed lines up with the front left running light on the pup!!

    Another thing to try....back up and turn hard as if to intentionally jack knife. Get out and check it out. It will teach you just how far you can go WITHOUT actually causing damage. Again, get in, sit there and see where things are and you'll learn the limits.

    The only thing that causes me to get out and check maybe more than once, is the slide out. I have to make sure I don't park too close to that side edge so I can extend it fully AND have room for the stabs. Some sites I've gone to a few times, I don't even have to get out to check that anymore. Other sites I'm allowed to extend outside the actual site limits and then it's just making sure the stabs reach.

    Keep in mind, I have TWO fusions in my neck and a bulging disk in my mid-lower back. I have to choose which direction I look back by how the neck is doing that day. Either way, I always have the heating pad ready for when setup is done. Charlie horses and muscle spasms are imminent. Resistance is futile. I also wear the no-lines trifocals, but I won't wear my glasses when backing the PUP up. YOU know why!

    Good luck! If you have to, sit on a few phone books once you get to the site!!
    [:D]
     
  18. papachaz

    papachaz New Member

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    go to their website and watch the video, it will help! but actually the written directions are spot on. you need to turn the knob counter clockwise while you're holding it tightly against the mirror, that flattens the suction cup completely. then while continueing to hold it tightly against the mirror, turn it clockwise until it won't turn any more. it amazes me that they stick, but i've used them the last three times i've towed and they're awesome. the only thing i would like to see is the actual size of the mirror be larger. i like these because i can use my electric mirrors to adjust them...
     
  19. Jade

    Jade New Member

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    We got the same mirrors. I put it off and kept trying others before we bought them but I am so glad we settled on those. I was surprised at how well they stuck and they were so much easier to adjust. And it was nice our first time out having DH not asking me if he was clear to move over on the freeway. I think they are definitely worth a try in this situation, plus you are getting them from Walmart. Just return them if they don't work out.
     
  20. itfchaos

    itfchaos New Member

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    Just don't do what my wife does, if it feels like you hit a tree don't keep going!!!!

    My wife jack a utility trailer sideways and pushed it with the truck, bent the rear of the truck in and bent the trailer... [:(!]... I wished I was there to stop her.
    That is what I get for having her scout the campground while I waited at the entrance in the other TV with the p'up. I didn't want to get stuck in a place I couldn't turn around at, which is exactly what happend to her. Top it off she acted like it never happend, "Oh, I thought I backed into a tree, I didn't know I was pushing the trailer".

    Practice is all you need to do, I need to get my wife out and have her practice as well.
     

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