New owner, cant backup to save my life

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by MotherRunner, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. MotherRunner

    MotherRunner New Member

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    Hello all!! Just purchased a 2003 Jayco Eagle and I'm in love. But let's discuss backing up...I am TERRIBLE! My husband is deployed, and I've been practicing in parking lots, and I just can't grasp the concept. Any videos to help me?!? I understand which way to turn to make it go the direction I want, but I overdo it and cant make the car "follow" the camper. Help! I'm using a Toyota Seqouia to pull it.
     
  2. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    Overdoing the turning is VERY easy on a small trailer.

    Go back to the parking lot and start practicing again. Watch how far you turn the steering wheel. If you overdo it, try again at 1/2 the turning of the wheel. Keep reducing like that until you are not overdoing it. Then make a note of the turning amount and practice with it over and over and over.

    The more you practice that the better you'll be. Videos can't teach you how not to overturn - only practice can.
     
  3. HappyTraveler

    HappyTraveler Active Member

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    Welcome to the portal!
    Several people here have posted that by putting your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and moving it in the direction you want the back of the trailer to go works.
    Also, go SLOW and give the adjustments time to translate to the back of the trailer.
    Another thing I've learned (from Long long honeymoon - loloho.com) is the SWOOP method. Check it out on youtube.
    I've done all of this and it helps. Plenty of practice is the the other thing that helps.
     
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  4. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

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    Take your TIME...if you see you're getting kinked, stop, straighten it up, slowly try again, a short wheel base is fast & sharp, especially if the tow vehicle also has a short wheel base...you will master this...
     
  5. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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  6. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Back when I had my old Jayco and ultimately just learning, I too always jack knifed or very nearly so. The biggest thing is to go slow and VERY small movements to the wheel. You may not see an immediate response in the camper but it will be turning shortly after. That was my biggest problem, I didn’t see an immediate response in the camper so turned the wheel more and the next thing I know the camper going way off track. Thing to remember it’s a long way from your front truck tires to the trailer tires so the camper doesn’t respond right away. You will get the hang of it with Lots of practice. I camp alone a lot and find it’s actually easier by myself then with a spotter yelling at you. Although I tell the side kick to yell if I’m getting close to hit something.
     
  7. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Just take your time, put you hand on the bottom of the wheel, very very slowly turn the steering wheel just a little bit ( I do mean just an iota of movement). Find a vacant area, use cardboard boxes so nothing gets scratched or dented.
    I use my side mirrors then practice practice and practice more. It will come, remember that most of us had the same problems learning. Good Luck and keep on practicing.
     
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  8. MotherRunner

    MotherRunner New Member

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    Thank you everyone for the comments. All great advice!
     
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  9. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Active Member

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    Another trick, likely no good to you, is to put a vehicle like a Jeep into Low Range (4WD) - it slows everything down
     
  10. PopUpSteve

    PopUpSteve Administrator

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    Welcome to PopUpPortal
     
  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    It slows everthing down cause on a dry surface everything in the drivetrain is binding up.. Which isn't good.. things will break.. Read the owners manual. Tells you not to use 4wd on dry hard surfaces..
     
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  12. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

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    Just saw you're from "Clarkes Vegas", that's what we called Clarkesville many years ago when I was at Ft Campbell KY...miss that area, used to camp every chance we got at Land Between The Lakes & fished Kentucky & Barkley lakes, beautiful country...***salute to your husband for his service, 101st is constantly being deployed; I was w/ 1/327th, son is w/ the 10th Mountain Combat Aviation as a crew chief...plenty of experienced pop up folks on here to help you w/ any questions/advice you might have...
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  13. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the Portal from South Carolina. To the parking lot for practice. Learn to back straight with the side mirrors first. Once you can back straight, then work on putting it in the pocket.
     
  14. O'ville

    O'ville Active Member

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    Welcome From Ontario Canada (Dufferin Country) Practice Practice Practice!
     
  15. threebeachboys

    threebeachboys Active Member

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    I chuckled when I read the title of your post as I feel your pain. When we bought our first trailer 20+ years ago we had to have a neighbor back it up the driveway.

    I am a big fan of the "hand at the bottom of the steering wheel" method. Turn the wheel in the direction you want the back end to go. In VERY small increments. Pull forward to straighten out as much as you need to - I still have to do this when backing into the driveway. Keep practicing. But slow down, use small movements and eventually you will get it. Though 20+ years later, backing up is the least favorite thing of mine when it comes to the trailer. But I get the job done and, eventually, so will you!
     
  16. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    I always tell my kids learning to parallel park that it’s all about the rear axel so focus your mind on what that rear axel is doing, as it pushes the tongue of the trailer. This takes the mystery out of it.

    We always use hands free Walkie-Talkies to communicate with a spotter at the campsite
     
  17. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 11.53.58 AM.png
     
  18. Spridle

    Spridle Active Member

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    To reiterate. SLOW! These smaller trailers are harder for me to back up than my big tandem axle car trailer. It's either go super slow or end up having to pull forward a hundred times to correct your over correction.

    I use the swoop method for backing into my perpendicular driveway. It made all the difference for me in that regard. But I still take it all super slow. I have found that slower, even if traffic is waiting on me, is still faster than trying to go too fast and screwing it up.
     
  19. 1REDBEARD

    1REDBEARD Active Member

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    Welcome to the portal... Like most are saying, just go slow... Small trailers are a bit tricky. But once you get it it's like second nature. I couldn't grasp the hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. I can only do it with my hand on top and opening the door looking back helps me too. Just keep practicing. Good luck!
     
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  20. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Active Member

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    Nope yes I read the owners manual. Real world use on four different Jeep Cherokees (88, 97 97) and my Liberty (2008) say that for a little bit of deliberate hard surface work its ok, (and much longer if no very sharp turns are involved). I have put over 300,000 miles on these Jeeps, mixture of City, Highway and offroad. No problems arising our of a little 4WD use that is contrary to the owners manual. So I guess the Jeep transmissions are a little more durable than the lawyers will admit. Yes, the steering will fight you doing so in sharp turns - but this is usually a very deliberate slow speed situation to meet the needs of the moment, and never in a traffic situation.

    It slows you down only if you select Low Range (as I stated in my post). 4WD-hi-range would be pointless.

    BTW - 4WD low range is what I used to back the Aliner through my not overly wide front driveway gate after our last trip.

    As a Safety aside - I set out a collapsible red road triangle in the middle of the nearby corner - that worked well for the one car that wanted to get by while I was backing up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019

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