Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 08-02-2009, 01:24 AM   #1
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Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

We're picking up our much-anticipated 17A on Aug. 5, but I haven't driven a vehicle towing anything since 1959, and then it was a smallish utility trailer loaded with lumber. Does anybody know of good places around Chilliwack to practice backing and parking, esp. backing into right-angled parking stalls? I've read somewhere that it helps to pretend when backing that the trailer is a four-wheel vehicle with a swivelling front axle like a kid's little red wagon, and the tow vehicle's rear wheels are the "little red wagon"'s front wheels. Advice, anyone? By the way, our tow is an '09 Grand Caravan with trailer package: 122" wheelbase but front wheel drive.
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Old 08-02-2009, 02:24 AM   #2
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A


Not sure where to practice, but this is what works for me.

The person guiding you should make sure you can see them in your mirror. All they have to do is point to the direction that the trailer should go and indicate when you should slow or stop.

Grasp the bottom of your steering wheel. If your guide point to the left, turn the wheel to your left. If the guide points to the right, move the steering wheel to your right. The trailer will do what it is told. The main thing is to hold the bottom of your steering wheel.

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Old 08-02-2009, 02:59 AM   #3
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A


With a little more thought, there is an arena with a huge parking lot about three blocks from Escape. You can't miss it since you'll have to drive by it. Lots of room to play. And, even closer is a sports park with lots of space. Just hold the bottom of your steering wheel and move it in the direction you want the trailer to go.

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Old 08-02-2009, 09:37 AM   #4
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

The arena is the Prospera Centre. Link to Google map showing both of the parking lots gbaglo mentions.

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Old 08-02-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

Also, go dead slow! It's easy to oversteer if not. If you find you're going in the wrong direction, stop & correct, or stop & go forward & straighten out.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:50 AM   #6
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

The one thing I've noticed most newbies do.. and I was once one of them! Is often the trailer is not pulled up far enough past where you want to back in. The trailer tire needs to be at the end corner of the driveway or parking spot... not in the middle of the driveway or parking spot before you start to back up.

What really helps me is to only use my mirrors. As soon as I turn my head and look back at the trailer I get all fouled up. And go slow, slow, slow. Make little corrections while backing.

At this point in my life, I refuse to get embarrassed. If I have a particularly tough spot to get into and have problems. If any one is watching and smiling (or laughing) as soon as I get out of the tug, I turn to them and take a big bow.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:08 PM   #7
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

Hi: majaross...We all started out the same with our trailers!!! NEW AT IT!!! Practice makes perfect and a perfect campground would have portable trees that could be moved out of the way... while we back in!!!
As said before GO SLOW, USE YOUR MIRRORS, and TAKE ALL THE SPACE YOU CAN!!!
It never hurts to have a good look around B/4 using reverse... then take your time. Alf
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:32 PM   #8
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

Having been at this now for less than one day, my experience is the opposite of Donna's. I know how the trailer is going to move if I am looking through the back window while my wife gives me directions on where to put it.

I suppose that the moral is to try everybody's advice, and learn what works for you.
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Old 08-03-2009, 12:04 PM   #9
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

We used a parking lot with lines.. What I learned about backing with the trailer is how fast the it reacts to any change in the tow vehicles tires/direction (with the counter steering..).. So what kind-of works for me is turn the tow vehicle wheels so that you get the trailer going in the direction you want..then basically stop & re-turn the tow vehicle tires so that their straight, continue in reverse and follow the trailer back.. slowly turn your tow vehicle tires the direction of the trailer and it follows it back in.. It's hard to explain but I don't do any "fast" maneuvering.. just go slow.. Sometime I need to just pull forward after I'm 1/2 into the spot and just back it straight in (depends on if I nail it right away..)

Probably took me about a month to get my confidence in the backing up deal as I never pulled a trailer before.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:53 PM   #10
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

THIS link at FGRV has some good tips. I have been backing up farm machinery, small trailers and big rigs for many years. In some cases for me, it is easier with a trailer to back into where I want to go, then to drive in, in many cases due to the steering at the rear. I even went so far as to draw up a wee diagram of how I approach reversing around a corner with a trailer, as well as a fun practice game.
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