I can't back up to save my life

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by clif and sandra, May 6, 2019.

  1. clif and sandra

    clif and sandra Member

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    We got our trailer connector set up so we could test and have trailer lights yesterday. I haven't been able to take it out and practice because of the lighting issue. Long story short, I am absolutely horrible at backing it into a parking space, my first attempt took 30 minutes on the drivers side, 2nd took another 20. Attracting onlookers. 3rd attempt from the passenger side- utter failure. I think I may be turning too much too soon because when I get the trailer lined up to the parking space, the truck is jack-knifed too far and the trailer doesn't move backwards anymore, just tries to spin sideways. Any ideas?
     
  2. Eric Webber

    Eric Webber Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    AE398A73-3B22-472B-9406-1FE027A1ECC0.jpeg Get a Trailet Valet (5x model is a good choice)


    Or, practice
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  3. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Backing is not a talent that we are born with. Ignore the onlookers. There was a time when they sucked at backing too.

    Some suggestions:
    - When backing, put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and move your hand in the direction that you would like the trailer to go.
    - It sounds like you're trying to take a tighter angle than you should. Do your best to line up as close to straight as you can before backing.
    - If you get jack-knifed, straighten your wheels and pull forward a few feet.
    - When you get home, find an open lot (a school parking lot on the weekend is great) and practice, practice, practice.
    - If all else fails, Ford trucks have an optional system that will aid you in backing (quite an expensive option, and probably not necessary)
     
  4. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Just keep practicing and do your best to ignore any "audience". You will get the hang of it! As a solo camper, I was worried about backing my new unit but with the addition of a rear observation camera, I can stick this thing anywhere I want!
     
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  5. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    Going from 30 minutes to 20 minutes is a gain of 33%. That's a WIN!

    Hang in there. It just takes practice. Before you know it, you will be giving pointers to other people.
     
  6. clif and sandra

    clif and sandra Member

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    wow!
     
  7. clif and sandra

    clif and sandra Member

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    well when you put it that way... lol
     
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  8. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    All good points so far, here are a few more....

    1) - If possible, try to turn around in your seat and look out the back window of the tow vehicle to see whats going on back there as you are rolling. Stay turned looking backwards just like looking back when you're backing out of the driveway. Using your mirrors gives you a much smaller window to be looking out of. Turn around in your seat and get the full picture.
    2) - When you have done something wrong while backing, as you pull away, or try to back in again, make sure to turn the steering wheel a little. I see people trying to back into a spot, but never turn the steering wheel, and they go back and forth, and back and forth, over and over and over in the same wheel tracks as what they made the first time.
    3) - Don't turn the steering wheel too much. When you turn the wheel, it takes a few feet for the reaction to be transferred to the trailer's direction. People don't see the trailer turning, so they turn the steering even more, and now they have gone too far. Turn it a little bit, give it a chance, it'll go.
    4) - Go on the youtube. There's videos on there of how to back up, some better than others.
     
  9. Eric Webber

    Eric Webber Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I got mine so that I could park the trailer backwards (tongue in) and have the door facing my driveway and house. But I definitely like that I don’t bother to move my car to hitch or unhitch it. I just move the trailer right into place. Take half the time and I never ever miss and ding the bumper (it happens!)
     
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  10. GreyFox

    GreyFox Well-Known Member

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    This is the key, especially important when we're talking about a single axle popup vs a dual axle travel trailer. A single axle will turn on a dime so don't overdo it, then practice, practice, practice. You'll soon learn it doesn't take much change of your TV's steering wheel to have a single axle trailer go where you want it to go. If when you do start to back in a find you've overdone it there's no point in continuing as the situation will only get worse. Pull out and start all over again - and believe me this applies to dual axle travel trailers as well! [LOL]
     
  11. clif and sandra

    clif and sandra Member

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    I plan to try again Wednesday evening after work. I think I will try to concentrate on not getting frustrated
    This is some great insight because I think I might have been doing all of the above lol
     
  12. clif and sandra

    clif and sandra Member

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    It's a single axle - so I agree. I think I was over-correcting and turning too soon based on the replies. Thanks for the help and encouragement.
     
  13. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    Another tip, if your going to "turn in your seat" to watch the pup is to place your steering hand (presumably your left) at the bottom center of the steering wheel (when the wheel is in the normal straight position) and if you want the backend of the trailer to go "Left" move the steering wheel to the "LEFT", want trailer to go "Right" steering to the "RIGHT".. Note this only applies if you grip the steering wheel at the bottom.. if you grab the top of the steering wheel it will all be opposite..

    Small trailer like utility trailers and pop-ups are easier to back up by turning in the seat.. Large trailers are easier when using the mirrors, due to having a wall behind the rear window..

    Empty parking lots of Schools a couple of "pylons" will help with the practicing..
     
  14. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I think the biggist mistake i made when backing into the driveway is to go on the oposite side of the road, thinking i would have more room. Nope. Its eaisier to stay close to the curb ( close not on) on the side your turning into.
     
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  15. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Like this .
     

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  16. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    I try to not back up as much as possible. I have been lucky , every time we go camping the site across from ours is empty when we arrive. I can just pull all the way into the empty site and then back up almost straight.
     
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  17. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah Gold Supporting Member

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    First of all your not alone. My first time backing in a campground was a huge challenge for me. I ended up blocking the loop traffic for a half hour and so to say attracted the entire campgrounds attention. I just ignored it until I got it in. Next thing I knew everyone clapped. Felt guilty as heck but I wasn't used to the angle I needed to get it in on. The more practice you get the better. Every time you camp you will find it a tad easier.
    My first time, I kept on jack knifing the camper. The key is, small movements of the wheel, even if you don't see an immediate response in the camper you will see it if you keep it. Think of it as a delay reaction. It's a long way between your steering tires and the trailers axel. It's been 5 years and there are some campsites that offer a unique challenge where I still fail when backing up. Don't give up. Pat Yourself on the back for every minute of success.
     
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  18. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

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    Pop ups are hard to back, so you're already rocking it!!! I could back a big rig YEARS before i could back our pop up successfully. They take awhile to respond, just go super slow and and don't turn more until you see what your current turn it actually going to do - it takes quite a bit of backing before you see a response from the pup. This was my biggest challenge.
     
  19. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office Gold Supporting Member

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    Best advice I was given (or at least the one that helped me the most) was to avoid over-turning. You want to start turning the opposite way much sooner than you want to, or you end up jackknifed as you say. Don't be afraid to get partway in pull forward to straighten out, then go at it from an easier angle.

    I'm still not a pro at backing but those two simple tips helped me greatly.
     
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  20. clif and sandra

    clif and sandra Member

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    oh wow i was doing the same!
     

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