2017 Ford F150 Pro Trailer Backup Assist - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 12-14-2016, 12:10 AM   #1
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2017 Ford F150 Pro Trailer Backup Assist

One of Ford's better ideas?

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Old 12-14-2016, 12:51 AM   #2
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Well, that sucks. I thought it was going to back the trailer for me. All they have done is move the control from the steering wheel to a knob.
The backup camera only sees the front of the trailer. Wonder if there is an alarm if you run over a kid on a bike.
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Well, that sucks. I thought it was going to back the trailer for me. All they have done is move the control from the steering wheel to a knob.
The backup camera only sees the front of the trailer. Wonder if there is an alarm if you run over a kid on a bike.
I've seen it demonstrated Glenn. Works well. Same rules apply of course when backing - you still need to make sure it's clear, and using a spotter is always a good idea. But, it knows your geometry based on the trailer size you input, and turning the knob in the direction you want the trailer to go is far easier for most people. Don't have it of course on my 2015, but I'm looking forward to trying it when I trade in a couple years.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:14 AM   #4
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Could it do 5th wheels?
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:43 AM   #5
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It seems very gimmicky to me, but tricked up vehicles do appeal to many. I prefer the learn to drive method where I have full control, rather than have a vehicle do the driving for me.

I guess I just don't understand how a single camera on the center of a tailgate can see beyond the trailer like proper mirrors do. There just seems to be too much margin for error. I guess until I actually try one.............

I would challenge anyone with one of these to a reversing competition, and see who gets the trailer spotted first.
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:24 AM   #6
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I still try to start the newer cars with the key and my Dodge Ram with no steering column gear selector with the drive gear selector on a dash mounted dial is still a learning process, but steering from the same dial seems very awkward.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:30 AM   #7
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while the concept is interesting, not really excited about the vehicle computer being able to take control of the steering..especially when you don't want it too and it decides it wants to "simply because it can" !
its bad enough giving it control of the accelerator...and no, don't use cruise control either even though its been on the last four vehicles owned

common software engineer's explanation for firmware issues... bit flip in flash memory...
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:59 AM   #8
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No 5th-wheel assist

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Could it do 5th wheels?
Unfortunately no on 5th-wheels. We picked up our 2017 F150 on Friday and during the orientation, the salesman was so exited telling us about how much we would love the backup assist and showed us the special manual explaining its use. When we got home, Rosemary showed me the big X-out symbol on a 5th-wheel symbol on the manual's 2nd page. My guess is that having the camera in the tailgate makes it too close to the trailer to get the angles to make the system work.

Now scrambling to get the B&W Turnover and the Andersen Ultimate installed to head south on Monday. Getting bed-liner sprayed in today.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:15 AM   #9
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Now scrambling to get the B&W Turnover and the Andersen Ultimate installed to head south on Monday. Getting bed-liner sprayed in today.
Excellent, we leave on the 27th.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:00 PM   #10
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Saw it demonstrated once at a farm show in Georgia. You have to stick a black & white checkerboard patch on the trailer's tongue (you can get a brief glimpse of it at 47 seconds into the promo video in post #1, curb side of tongue). Then you have to go through a procedure to calibrate the tailgate camera to the checkerboard patch (I think the computer will store calibrations of up to 10 different trailers.) Then the camera transmits it's view of the patch to the computer, which the computer then uses to determine TV to TT angle coordinates to aid in navigating backwards. Interesting idea, but I think the real advantage is that they have made the direction you turn the knob while looking into the display more intuitive to most people's brains compared to looking in a mirror and then your brain trying to figure out in reverse which way to turn the steering wheel. My wife has learned to put her hands on the bottom of the steering wheel when backing a trailer, and then when looking in the mirror, the back of the trailer will go the same direction as her hands. Low tech, but works just as well.....
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:42 PM   #11
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Interesting idea, but I think the real advantage is that they have made the direction you turn the knob while looking into the display more intuitive to most people's brains compared to looking in a mirror and then your brain trying to figure out in reverse which way to turn the steering wheel. My wife has learned to put her hands on the bottom of the steering wheel when backing a trailer, and then when looking in the mirror, the back of the trailer will go the same direction as her hands. Low tech, but works just as well.....
What I see as the biggest problem many people have in learning to reverse a trailer, is that they try to reverse the process of the way they back up a vehicle without a trailer. To me, this is just training your mind to think in a confused manner, creating more trouble than necessary. If you just simply think which way you have to move the trailer hitch to get the trailer to go where you want, it is a much easier thought process to master, ultimately eliminating the need to have to think about it. If you train yourself to use tricks and gimmicks, you will have to always rely on them.

Either way, practise makes perfect.

And, if you somehow get your trailer into a campsite where you get to enjoy a part of life, all is good.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:51 PM   #12
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If you train yourself to use tricks and gimmicks, you will have to always rely on them.
Not sure why you say holding the steering wheel at the bottom is a gimmick. If it is, it's a good gimmick and I have no problem having to always rely on a gimmick that works.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:58 PM   #13
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Not sure why you say holding the steering wheel at the bottom is a gimmick. If it is, it's a good gimmick and I have no problem having to always rely on a gimmick that works.
It is a gimmick, that's why. Can you honestly say you do this without thinking which way to move your hands now that you have lots of experience? All I am trying to say, is there is an easier way, not that everyone must do it any particular way. I know you like to discredit my method, but I taught a couple dozen coworkers and others, all of whom are very effective at reversing with a trailer now.

We can do a wee challenge at the next rally maybe?
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:01 PM   #14
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Not sure why you say holding the steering wheel at the bottom is a gimmick. If it is, it's a good gimmick and I have no problem having to always rely on a gimmick that works.
I agree entirely Glen, I have used the hand at the bottom of the steering wheel for the last 38 years. An old friend gave me the tip he swore by it; its intuitive and simple just as slow small steering corrections are and not large faster ones.
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Old 12-14-2016, 03:40 PM   #15
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Could it do 5th wheels?
Currently, NO, as already stated. But Ford is working on it. I personally wouldn't purchase it as an option. I have no problem backing trailers, and if you don't learn how to do it, what happens when the system fails?
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:19 PM   #16
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I don't know if it is a standalone option or if it comes with the tow package but I do have it on my 2016 F150. Haven't used it yet since I am still waiting on my camper but am looking forward to using it once I do get the camper and go thru the setup process. It will be especially helpful for Donna if she is ever in the position where she will be the one having to do the backing up. If what Ford advertises is true that there is not much of a learning curve to using the system and that will be a plus. Technology can simplify many tasks to help make our lives easier and if this can make backing up your camper a piece of cake then I am all for it.
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:55 PM   #17
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Technology can simplify many tasks to help make our lives easier and if this can make backing up your camper a piece of cake then I am all for it.
I agree. I do know how to back up a trailer without it of course, but if it works and it makes it easier, to me it's no different than any other convenience.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:23 PM   #18
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I imagine many an old timer who started their Model T Ford by hand crank thought electric starters were a gimmick. "What if the starter fails?" On a side note, I owned a rusted out old '71 Super Beetle when I was in grad school. Fun car, but the starter worked only about half the time. So I always parked it on a hill (lots of hills in West Virginia), or got a friendly passerby (lots of friendly people in West Virginia) to help give me a push-start. First time I met the parents of my then girlfriend (now my wife), they watched as she had to help give the car a push in their driveway to get it started when it came time for us to head back to school. And her parents still let me marry her!
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:54 AM   #19
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Finally set this up on our f150 yesterday and tested it out with our 21. Setup was very easy. I was worried that we didn't have a good spot for the sticker but it fit on the angled portion of the tongue.

Even though we are new to towing Kevin has had to backup a few times so was starting to get used to thinking backwards (he didn't like the hands on the bottom of the wheel idea). Anyway he practiced with the pro backup feature and thought it was alright but he was having to reverse his thinking again. Also you still have to have in your mind where you want the trailer to go, what path it needs to take and ensure no obstacles in the way. It may come in handy but at this point we're not yet sold on the feature.


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Old 02-11-2017, 04:18 PM   #20
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Thanks for the feedback Kevin and Jill.
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