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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Old 08-28-2009, 01:19 AM   #11
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

The following is a excerpt from this posting in a boating forum:

Quote:
Go to the grocery store (don't worry about taking your boat, that will come later). These places have huge lines of trailer simulators. Grab a "cart" and hold it from the "front" or "wrong" end. In order to do this with the most reality, your going to want to hold it "behind your back". This set up will respond (surprisingly) just like a boat trailer when moved.
I have been searching for a computer simulation for backing up a trailer, but cannot find one.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:52 AM   #12
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

Ron, THIS one from my link above is not too bad.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:27 AM   #13
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

I have an idea that is IMHO more realistic than a computer simulation: Take a farm toy tractor with functioning steering wheel and a single-axle trailer attached to it. Back up with that, by just using the steering wheel. The toy rig will behave EXACTLY like the real one. It is fun playing with that, and it is seriously the way how I learned it before stepping on the real tractor...
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:59 AM   #14
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

Jim, thanks for that link, because the one you gave earlier did not work for me.

My problem is using mirrors. I have worked on enough loading docks to understand the physics of backing up a trailer, but I get completely boggled by mirrors. Also, I lose track of where I am, and get misaligned. The end of the trailer is in the right position, but everything is pointed 30 degrees off.

Further, Kathleen and I are going to need to improve our communication. Before our next trip, I am going to try to convince her to spend an hour or so practising in the local rec centre parking lot.

I do wish that there was a first-person back-up simulator where you have to use your mirrors. Too bad I don't have a couple of years free to develop my own.
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:06 PM   #15
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

Ron, I only use mirrors. Having driven lots of different types and sizes of vehicles and trailers, learning to use the mirrors works best, by far. I do realize there will be a learning curve.

I very rarely let my wife give directions, instead I opt to go look for myself first if I can't well enough from driving up. If you have a person guiding you, it really helps if they understand the mechanics of reversing with a trailer. Directions should always be given in the direction you want the trailer to move, not they way you want the driver to turn the wheel. Pointing with no hand movement signifies a slight correction in direction, a simple 'wagging' of the hand means a bit more correction, and signaling while bending at the elbow means to correct hard. The person guiding should always stand right in line of the drivers side mirror too.

I had never heard of using a toy truck/tractor and trailer before, but if it has working steering, it would be a good practice tool.
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Old 08-28-2009, 01:19 PM   #16
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

Thanks for your good words, everybody! Your advice has helped to build confidence. We've had 14 days in the 17A now, and survived three right-hand back-ins to stalls -- the last one in a park where the trailer had to end up at a right angle to the road, and the stall was so tight there was very little "play" from side to side, and you couldn't keep the car in it. That one took fifteen minutes, aided by two different people giving different directions -- shades of "The Long, Long Trailer" -- but we didn't mash anybody's rhododendrons. A consolation was watching somebody take 30 minutes to park a 50' Class A in the same park, with much chuffing of air brakes and revving of the diesel engine . . .
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:29 PM   #17
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Re: Good places around Chilliwack for a neophyte to practice maneuvering a 17A

There is a Safeway a couple of blocks from the main highway. It has a large, mostly empty, parking lot. Be careful though; it is also a major shortcut for cars avoiding the light. Most of them were polite about driving around me sitting in the middle of their "road".
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:32 PM   #18
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Very interesting information on backing up a trailer. I haven't driven a trailer in over 40 years so consider me a newbie. While I hope to get onto the order list for 2017 on April 1st I have a question as to how one takes turns going forward with there trailer. My hope to to go all in and get a 21. Thanks for any information you have.
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Old 02-13-2016, 08:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronstew View Post

I do wish that there was a first-person back-up simulator where you have to use your mirrors. Too bad I don't have a couple of years free to develop my own.
If you develop one, I'm sure someone will ask Escape to add it to the options list.

I suggest going down to UHaul and renting an enclosed trailer some afternoon. Take it out to an empty parking lot, bring some cones, and practice backing up and driving in tight quarters for a few hours. You won't be able to see behind the enclosed trailer without using the mirrors
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:10 PM   #20
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Practice in the ETI parking lot! When we picked up our used 19, I installed a prodigy RF on the spot. Never towed anything in my life. A few test runs in the front parking lot and I was good to go. To be honest it was pretty nerve racking at first, but the good thing about Chilliwack is there is plenty of space and not much traffic.
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