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Old 06-11-2014, 08:18 PM   #1
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An Escape 21 parking challenge

Apologies for the length of this post. It's a trailer-fit-and-park question.

The short version is:
----------------
Can we reasonably expect to maneuver our trailer into a space that, at one point, is only 15" wider than the trailer? Without damage, without divorce?

Will we need a dolly to do it?

Will it have to be a power dolly? (The slope is less than 2%).

Long version:
----------

As we anticipate our 21's arrival in November, we're staring at the side of our house and wondering Can We Do It. We'd love to have it here rather than in some lonely storage facility. But.

Between our one-story house's rain gutter and the retaining wall that runs along the property line, we have a roomy 10 feet --plenty of room for our 21-to-be. Unfortunately, an outdoor heat pump unit uses up a bit of that space. We can't move that unit closer to the house because the local code says it has to be 12" from the wall. Moving it to some other location on the property is an option, but one with both aesthetic and financial downsides.

At any rate that leaves us with a less-roomy 103" (2.6 meters) between the outer edge of the heat pump and the wall. According to my calculations, this gives us a total of 15" (38 cm) of wiggle room. That's not a lot of wiggling. Note that this constrained width is only at the location of the heat pump -- fore and aft of the the heat pump, we have an extra couple of feet / .5 meter.

There's a front fence and gate which will have to be re-configured. And a pad will need to go in. And we'll have to widen our driveway in the front yard to facilitate rolling the trailer in and out of its new home (less lawn to mow!). Doable, although there is a lot of rumbling coming from the other side of the bed about the need for extensive landscaping to screen the whole affair.

The city allows us to store beside the house -- or even in our driveway, providing we don't live in it. The recent theft to our north has us thinking the driveway wouldn't be so good (and our neighbors might not like it out there either).

So, assuming we can find a way to appease the neighbors, make a pad, re-work the front fence/gate, cut back a few shrubs, etc. we're left with one big question: can we develop the skill to successfully get the trailer into position on the pad, without damaging it, or the wall, or the heat pump? Or would that be asking too much of the driver (me)? My only trailering experience is with 18-ft (5.5 m) boat trailer.

I have read that trailer dollies are handy for getting in & out of tight spaces. And such a dolly, if workable, would enable us to store the trailer head-in, which would give us access and additional security benefits.

Could we pull this off with a manual trailer dolly? Not sure. The area is pretty flat, but not perfectly so -- say, a 1 - 2% slope. We could try. Power dollies are out there, but they're pricey.

Comments, ideas, cries of derision? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:26 PM   #2
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I see this as a Golden Opportunity to justify at least a riding lawnmower IF the pad/site is level enough and you have a tongue wheel to support the trailer. If you go forward I would rent one to prove out you could move it before buying one.

Also - it costs little to move a heat pump; just some pipe feeds and a wire. That's probably less $ than a riding mower but less fun involved.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:45 PM   #3
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It you have 15" you have enough, assuming you are just going straight back. I have backed mine into the carport and it gets easier. If I can see the trailer step and the root of the cedar tree I am trying to avoid, and if I get close, but not too close, I know I'm not going to hit the roof on the other side.
Using the tow vehicle, it's a lot easier to stop than it would be to stop with a manual dolly.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:51 PM   #4
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Should be quite doable. Sharpen up your backing skills, be patient, and everything will be alright.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:59 PM   #5
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Thanks to you all. I see a lot of practice sessions in my future. Should be fun!
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:03 PM   #6
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21 parking

Have good mirrors and practice with patience. Invest in a professional instructor and you might save money.
Jack with a 21 and a down hill S shaped driveway
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:38 PM   #7
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One of the most helpful learning tools I came up with was to lay out a long garden hose on the path that I wanted the driver side of the trailer to take; it was much easier to watch the side of the trailer and tires next to the hose than to judge how close I was getting to the wall. It also gave me a reference for how parallel I was to the wall once I started into the storage bay.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:53 PM   #8
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I think you can do it. SLOW, SLOW, SLOW and when things start going bad... STOP. When backing a trailer things never improve if you continue down the same bad path.

Have you considered a wireless camera?
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:57 PM   #9
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I think the SLOW advice is really good. Perhaps I can sell tickets in the neighborhood? :-)
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Old 06-12-2014, 12:14 AM   #10
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My situation was very similar to yours. We had space for our 19' on the side of the house but needed a concrete pad, a higher fence (was 5') and a wider gate (was 6' wide). There was also an air conditioner in the way just like yours.

I got the neighbor to pitch in on a new 7' fence to hide it a little. I put a cover on it when stored...and put in a 10'wide gate and poured a nice long concrete pad with drains...and moved the air conditioner next to the wall...(only a code problem during construction) ...no problem! I also bought an electric power dolly and I figure that all these investments have paid off by now in saving on remote storage costs. It is also really nice to have the trailer at home. When we get ready for a trip we plug the trailer in where it is stored at home and pack it up. Then I back my TV up, hook it up and pull it out easily. When we got home I back it into the driveway in the front of the house and we can take our time unloading and cleaning it. Then I use my power dolly to easily move it slowly into the side trailer storage area...ready for the next trip. I am really glad I have the power dolly and would not like to put it away in that tight space with my TV each time.

Steve
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