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Old 04-12-2013, 09:58 AM   #1
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Hitch Alignment Aids

Since I will usually be traveling solo I'd like some opinions about hitch helpers such as mirror systems, tennis ball on magnetic antennas, or any other methods I haven't heard of. A camera is probably the best method but before I spring for that I'd like to hear if there's something that's cheaper but still effective. If cheap fails I'd like to go wireless so would love to hear recommendations of reliable wireless camera systems too.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
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I don't travel alone, but really like the hitching rods from Camper World. I have used these to hook up several times when Lindy was not helping. True confessions: we tow with a Toyota Sienna, and it really easy to align the ball and the hitch when the hatch is open :-)
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:50 AM   #3
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I tried wireless & wasn't all that pleased with the reliability. Still, there are some that work. In any case, I went with a wired system with a camera on the trailer & one on the RAV4. The system was from Rear View Safety & has preformed well over the last two years.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:59 PM   #4
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I sure like the rear camera built into my Pilot, it makes it a one shot deal hooking up. Still with other vehicles over the years I learned how to get close first try, but still often had to do one or two additional maneuvers after the first attempt.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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I use the yellow, extending "tennis" balls for my 15B. I've found it easy to get very close with them.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
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Old 04-12-2013, 04:17 PM   #7
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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We used the tennis ball type hitch alignment device when we towed with our Forester, and it worked okay. With our Highlander I just open the back hatch, back up toward the trailer, and can get within a few inches before getting out of the car and checking and making the final approach -- works very well. We do have a rear view camera on our Highlander also but I have never trusted it with hitching. At the beginning my wife tried to assist me in hitching up, but it seems a lot easier on both of us if I do it on my own. It is my fault. I have difficulty understanding, "No, no! Turn the other way!"
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvansnell View Post
"No, no! Turn the other way!"
I find the best way is to put duct tape over the assistant's mouth and just have them use hand gestures (the friendly kind).
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:28 PM   #10
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I generally hitch up solo and used a combo of Hitchin Rod and the Swift Hitch Wireless back up camera. Works every time!

I recently have added a cap on my truck so I don't know if the rods will still work. I also added a rear view mirror back up camera system. (I'll use the Swift Hitch camera for the trailer). If the distance is too far to get a decent reception for the Swift Hitch, I'll probably add a Rear View backup camera to the rear of the Escape.
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Old 04-12-2013, 05:46 PM   #11
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One more benefit of the 5.0 Just look out the back window and back her into place until you hear the hitch click into place ......... right Alf.

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Old 04-12-2013, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenH View Post
I find the best way is to put duct tape over the assistant's mouth and just have them use hand gestures (the friendly kind).
That sounds good, now I have an excuse to go to the hardware store and get some duct tape to add to the trailer equipment!

Our tow vehicle has a factory back up camera that works fairly well. The camera is set slightly eccentric to the centre line of the vehicle so have to compensate for that - can usually get it lined up solo in a couple tries.

I think that if you have someone directing who has backed up a vehicle to a trailer, or backed up a trailer, that it all goes much better. They have a better understanding about the reaction time for the vehicle or trailer to move when you need to change direction.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:19 PM   #13
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One more benefit of the 5.0 Just look out the back window and back her into place until you hear the hitch click into place ......... right Alf.

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Hi: barry... WORKS FOR ME!!! Alf
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvansnell View Post
We used the tennis ball type hitch alignment device when we towed with our Forester, and it worked okay. With our Highlander I just open the back hatch, back up toward the trailer, and can get within a few inches before getting out of the car and checking and making the final approach -- works very well. We do have a rear view camera on our Highlander also but I have never trusted it with hitching.
Thanks Brian and Everyone,
Since I have a Highlander I think I'll try Brian's unaided method for awhile. Like Brian I never trusted my backup camera when hitching my car to my old Class C. That fuzzy image of a tiny CRV back there made me jump out of the rig over and over again to line everything up. If I find myself overcome by frustration while hooking my Highlander to my Escape then I think I'll try those non-technical tennis balls...but not ruling out the camera as a last resort!
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:18 AM   #15
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I have an older Highlander but don't think I can use the open hatch method (though I would really like to) Not sure there will be enough clearance to close the hatch after hitching because of the front storage box, dual propane and electric jack on my new 17B in production.
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:16 PM   #16
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One more vote for the tennis balls on magnetic rods. I just replaced my first pair with another - cost about $10 at Harbor Freight - identical to the $20 ones at Walmart, or close to $30 at some other places.
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Old 04-13-2013, 06:52 PM   #17
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I too use the magnetic rods. Mine have special pedigree. The "inventor" was featured on Dragon's Den ( Shark Tank is a version of the Canadian show ). The tips are red plastic with flashing LEDs so you can use them in the dark. However, they switch on by twisting the tips clockwise to screw them down, or the reverse to shut them off. So, they would either come on by themselves when stored in the glove box or come completely unscrewed and I'd lose the batteries. So, now I keep the batteries separate.
And, the other problem is that the Dragons' Den store no longer sells stuff and the "inventor" neglected to put the company name anywhere on the devices so good luck contributing to his retirement fund.



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Old 04-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #18
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Experience vs Gadgets

When we started out three years ago we had a hitch wheel to help move the trailer into final position at a campsite, the tennis ball hitch alignment device to help hitch up and a trailer dolly to help with parking at home. My wife had to assist.

With a bit more experience we have dispensed with the hitch wheel and tennis ball device, use the dolly only a little, and no duct tape. I can do most things myself. Much more relaxing!

With our Highlander there is plenty of room to open or close the hatch without striking the trailer. The photo shows the hatch half-closed.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:14 PM   #19
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We should have a competition at the Escape Rally with one spouse giving the other directions. Or maybe not.
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Old 04-14-2013, 01:48 AM   #20
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LOl maybe I should be glad I'm working that weekend if thats the kind of stuff that will be going on!!!!(and I work too far away to tend to the casualties!!!!)
I still tend to keep out of Dougs way when he is hitching the trailer up---and I would rather do it on my own too...
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