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Old 04-30-2018, 06:09 PM   #1
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Breaking it in

Well we just finished our fourth camp out in the Escape. The first trip after we disconnect the trailer it rolled back six inches as we realized that we had not installed the chocks. Decided to use check lists. The second trip we heard water running while we were eating lunch. Found that I had not closed the pop off valve on the water heater after winterizing it. Third and forth trip no mistakes!! So two overnighters, two two nighters, and next trip five nights. Love our camper!
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:21 PM   #2
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I would say that not chocking was a dumb mistake, but then my wife would remind me of the time on our first trip when I did the same thing.

Yep, a checklist is a good idea, at least until it all becomes second nature to you. Even then a checklist can save the day.
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by McBride View Post
Well we just finished our fourth camp out in the Escape. The first trip after we disconnect the trailer it rolled back six inches as we realized that we had not installed the chocks. Decided to use check lists. The second trip we heard water running while we were eating lunch. Found that I had not closed the pop off valve on the water heater after winterizing it. Third and forth trip no mistakes!! So two overnighters, two two nighters, and next trip five nights. Love our camper!
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Old 04-30-2018, 07:58 PM   #4
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I was fortunate that my break in trip lasted 9 weeks! After that many set ups and take downs, habits started to form. But still, mistakes were made. At least the mistakes help cement the habits so they are less likely to happen again. My one piece of advice is to try to discourage others from “keeping you company” when you are setting up or hooking up. Distractions cause missed steps. If someone distracts you, upon their leaving, start over again.
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:23 PM   #5
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Never be in a hurry.
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Old 05-01-2018, 08:54 AM   #6
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Welcome and congratulations on your rig!

Check lists are great.

Never become complacent, it will lead to boo boos. Since taking delivery, we have lived in our 21’ for 469 days, and I have had several “near-misses”. Just don’t rush your setup and tear downs.

See you on the road!

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Old 05-01-2018, 09:50 AM   #7
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Yes not being in a hurry is probably one of the most important tips you will get.
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Old 05-01-2018, 11:23 AM   #8
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breaking it in

I hope the 17 door jam has a place for "our" check lists, I can't live without them.
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Old 05-01-2018, 12:57 PM   #9
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If we ever do not walk around the trailer when leaving a place, we will miss things. We did not treat the storage facilty as a regular campground set-up and have missed things leaving there. At a campsite, we look all around, upper and lower and middle of the trailer, then pull out, and go back and walk the site. This pretty well gets everything. Except, well, whatever!
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Old 05-01-2018, 01:04 PM   #10
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Just went on my first solo without husband. I did not properly chock the wheels. Fortunately I was staying at a great RV park in St Augustine, The Compass RV Park on St Rd 207 and there were several kind gentleman on golf carts lending a hand. I had chocked and leveled both sides, put cone down and hitch was on cone, I thought that the cone didn't look really flat on the rocks but figured that wouldn't be a problem. Somehow or another on the opposite of where the 2 large chocks were in place, I had to place the 2 small chocks and I wasn't sure how those went in. I was on rocks with a little slope toward the back and had just unhitched the truck and had not put down the legs. So I began connecting to the utilities. I had a question about the electric and one of the nice guys came by and helped me connect the utilities. So there was cable which he connected and we went in the trailer to see if the TV would work when we heard a bang and the trailer shifted. We went outside to see the tong on the ground. He said wait I've got equipment here to lift the tong, so off he went and got it lifted. We then got it back on the cone chocked those small cones correctly and I put the legs down.

Other than hitting the electric pole backing up the truck (just a tiny scratch) but all those guys in the big rigs yelling "stop" was the worst, my stay went very well.

Must say I was very happy when husband Sid flew into Jacksonville and I picked him up to finished the 2 week trip together.

Forgot to mention that I did not properly close the electric hatch and my cord came out just enough for I-10 to grind it down flat. Pulled into camping world and bought a new plug and cousin in Louisiana replaced it. I drove from Bandera, TX to St. Augustine about 1250 miles myself . Yep I'd do it again!
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Old 05-01-2018, 02:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zengranny View Post
I had chocked and leveled both sides, put cone down and hitch was on cone, I thought that the cone didn't look really flat on the rocks but figured that wouldn't be a problem. Somehow or another on the opposite of where the 2 large chocks were in place, I had to place the 2 small chocks and I wasn't sure how those went in. I was on rocks with a little slope toward the back and had just unhitched the truck and had not put down the legs. So I began connecting to the utilities. I had a question about the electric and one of the nice guys came by and helped me connect the utilities. So there was cable which he connected and we went in the trailer to see if the TV would work when we heard a bang and the trailer shifted. We went outside to see the tong on the ground.”
Glad you were able to get the jack back onto the cone, Zengranny. Whenever parking on anything other than totally level ground, it is a good idea to ‘preload’ the chocks. In other words, set the chocks but before beginning to unhitch, put the tow vehicle in neutral and let the tow vehicle and trailer settle. If you can tell the direction of the slope, put the transmission in gear (no accelerator) and help lock the chocks tight against the tire. Before unloading the chocks, set the parking brake, and then unhitch. You will have no slippage and the yoke will fall cleanly off the ball.
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Old 05-01-2018, 04:21 PM   #12
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Steve I'm a little confused about preloading and unloading.Could you be so kind as to put this in numbers as in.
1
2
3
etc
This looks really helpful because I've had to jump on the tailgate to get the ball off a time a two.
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Old 05-01-2018, 04:41 PM   #13
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I discovered that if you forget to pull up the jack that you can leave a nice straight ditch in your gravel driveway. And our Tundra has enough umph to pull the trailer up said driveway. It was wet out; we thought the wheels were spinning until we hit the paved road. Nope, not the cause.

My excuse is that I was so excited over using those thingies on the weight distribution bars that I forgot to pull up the hitch. (The thingies that just pop over the bar and stay in place without using those cotter pin thingies.) Yep, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

But, yeah, checklists will save your bacon and then some. But you have to remember to LOOK at the checklist.
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Old 05-01-2018, 04:56 PM   #14
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Had the tongue slide sideways off the yellow plastic lego stack and almost was unable to raise it high enough to get back on the ball without using jacks, etc. Now I always use the Bal X chocks and crank them down tight so that hopefully doesnt happen again.

Once in a while on a downslope I keep a chain attached until I can lower the tongue back down to level the trailer.
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by NW Cat Owner View Post
But, yeah, checklists will save your bacon and then some. But you have to remember to LOOK at the checklist.
This works well for us, and speeds things up as we're pulling out: The spouse is responsible for the 'inside the trailer' stuff and I'm responsible for the 'outside the trailer' stuff, and we have an 'inside the trailer' check list and an 'outside the trailer' check list. When we break camp, she does the inside stuff and I do the outside stuff - from memory so we're not juggling a list while doing things - but before we get in and actually start moving, we both walk around the trailer and look for 'disaster' stuff - jack and stabilizers all the way up, awning secured, wheel chocks removed, hitch, chains and lights ok, etc. Then as we are driving out of the campground and before we get up to speed on the highway, the passenger goes through the inside and outside lists and we verbally confirm that each item really got done. Once in a while we switch inside and outside jobs just to keep in practice, but he boss really doesn't like doing the mechanical stuff - she absolutely hates using the cordless drill on the stabilizers and can never seem to remember which way to crank for up and down on the tongue jack, sigh...
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Old 05-01-2018, 05:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zengranny View Post
Steve I'm a little confused about preloading and unloading.Could you be so kind as to put this in numbers as in.
1
2
3
etc
This looks really helpful because I've had to jump on the tailgate to get the ball off a time a two.
You want the chocks to be really secure "under" the tires - not just kicked into place and squirming around loose on the ground. You want a chock in front of one tire on each side of the trailer, and a chock in back of one tire on each side of the trailer.

1 - get the trailer positioned where you want it
2 - place a chock behind one tire on each side of the trailer
3 - back up slightly but not too much, just enough for the tires to put a little load on the chocks but not enough to squish them, and then use the tow vehicle brakes to keep it right in that position
4 - place a chock in front of one tire on each side of the trailer and give each chock a good kick so it's hard up against the tire
5 - release the brakes and let the tow vehicle go 'loose', so the trailer tires can settle in and be cradled between the chocks
6 - the trailer is now 'pinched' between the chocks, and not only is less likely to roll around, but this will also help lessen the lateral loading on the stabilizer and tongue jacks and you'll feel the trailer moving around a lot less as you move around inside after unhitching.

This won't particularly help with unhitching when the ball is stuck in the coupler socket, but I have found that it helps having the trailer locked in to place when I need to go forward or backwards ever so slightly to get the ball positioned exactly between the sliding plate and the lip on the front of the ball socket so it can clear the coupler when raising the tongue to unhitch.
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Old 05-01-2018, 07:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zengranny View Post
Steve I'm a little confused about preloading and unloading.Could you be so kind as to put this in numbers as in.
1
2
3
etc
This looks really helpful because I've had to jump on the tailgate to get the ball off a time a two.
Yes, Great Eggstrications did an excellent job of explaining the philosophy and process. Thanks, Dave
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Old 05-01-2018, 10:17 PM   #18
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By George I think I've got it! Thanks so much for all the help!
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Old 05-01-2018, 10:30 PM   #19
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zengranny, in the topic chocking and stabilizing, starting about post # 26 to 33, there are some examples of checklists for departure and arrival, inside and out. I swear by them.

Chocking and stabilizing
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:51 AM   #20
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Also, as pointed out in another thread, the hard rubber chocks work much better than the plastic ones. Among other places, they are available at Harbor Freight.
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