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Old 02-23-2022, 07:39 AM   #21
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I've been watched and have done some watching.
Hi: HABBERDABBER... Having a 5.0TA you get noticed. I've always been proud being the campground entertainment. Sometimes I feel like taking a bow when finished. Alf
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Old 02-23-2022, 08:07 AM   #22
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I have several suggestions:
When arriving at a site, tell yourself I plan to get out of the driver's seat 3 or 4 times. The first time is to survey the site, double check the utility connections, check for obstacles, and estimate where to end up. This is not a pride thing to try to do without getting out. Even if you have a spotter/spouse, get out and check on things a couple of times and smile.

Next, as shown in the little video and Jim's, diagram, try to keep the backing viewable from the driver's side window and mirror. If this means driving around the campsite to get oriented better, or even going the wrong way in the campground circle, it's worth it.

Finally, if your vehicle has a 4 wheel low setting, use it. You need to exercise that mechanism anyway, and it makes the tow vehicle twice as strong and twice as slow. If the whole thing takes 10 minutes, so what. You're not in a contest. If another vehicle is waiting, go tell them it'll be a while, then take your time.
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Old 02-23-2022, 08:33 AM   #23
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I've been watched and have done some watching.
Sometimes I come into a campground late afternoon when adjacent neighbors have been drinking for a while. Numerous times as I GOAL "get out and look" , I hear a slurred " this ought to be good." That's when I really go slow, concentrate, and put the camper exactly where i want it, "first shot" . My best feeling is when the wife of the inebriated neighbor says "What was wrong with that?"
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Old 02-23-2022, 08:37 AM   #24
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Oh, and if you’re at a KOA in Arkansas and the staff offers to help you back in just decline the help. Really, you are better off without that kind of help.
Good advice anywhere. Helpful people will want to take charge of the operation, giving hand signals known only to them and yelling instructions for the whole campground to hear.
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Old 02-23-2022, 09:12 AM   #25
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Good advice anywhere. Helpful people will want to take charge of the operation, giving hand signals known only to them and yelling instructions for the whole campground to hear.
I have had those too. They are good folks that just want to help, but I most often don't need it, but not always. I do appreciate their attempt to help though.

Not knowing proper trailer reversing signals, something we used at work all the time, and instead making up their own signals is at least cute. The funniest I had one time was a fellow doing circular hand motions, I guess he was telling me what way to turn the steering wheel but I could not really make out which way they were turning revolving their hand. Pointing your hand it the direction you want the trailer to go works great.
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Old 02-23-2022, 09:47 AM   #26
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I have several suggestions:
When arriving at a site, tell yourself I plan to get out of the driver's seat 3 or 4 times. The first time is to survey the site, double check the utility connections, check for obstacles, and estimate where to end up. This is not a pride thing to try to do without getting out. Even if you have a spotter/spouse, get out and check on things a couple of times and smile.

Next, as shown in the little video and Jim's, diagram, try to keep the backing viewable from the driver's side window and mirror. If this means driving around the campsite to get oriented better, or even going the wrong way in the campground circle, it's worth it.

Finally, if your vehicle has a 4 wheel low setting, use it. You need to exercise that mechanism anyway, and it makes the tow vehicle twice as strong and twice as slow. If the whole thing takes 10 minutes, so what. You're not in a contest. If another vehicle is waiting, go tell them it'll be a while, then take your time.
Thanks for the suggestion to use low 4x4. I have it, but never thought to use it.

Biggest problem I have is avoiding trees, not so much with the trailer as with the TV, as I'm using the mirrors to watch where the trailer's going and not paying enough attention to where my truck is turning to get there.

I have to keep reminding my wife to stop yelling directions and to point, instead. But then she'll get just out of view. . .
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Old 02-23-2022, 11:23 AM   #27
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I came into a Corps of Engineers site well after dark one evening. The camp host was camped across the road from us. The site broke downhill towards the back and them flattened out. It was a very deep site. I looked it over and got back in the drivers seat. About that time the host walked past my drivers side window and said “I’ll direct you to where you want to be.” And kept walking. I sighed.

About the time I started backing in, the camp host was at the back of the site with a flashlight. He was waving it front to back about three times per cycle and then pointing it at the ground in a small circle. I headed back. When I got pretty far back he shut the flashlight off and I guessed he was happy. I got out and walked back. The trailer was in a perfect position. I could see the next morning that several trailers had parked where my tires were from the tracks on the ground. The host came over and told me he hoped I wasn’t offended by his help the previous night. I told him on the contrary, that he’d been most helpful. I gave him some apples and some home grown garlic before we left. He said he really appreciated that.
Only time it ever happened to me and it worked out great. I’m not sure but I think he must have been a passenger jet spotter at an airport in a previous life.
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Old 02-23-2022, 12:25 PM   #28
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Turns out I've been doing The Scoop for years without knowing it had a name! Well, Scoopy-Doopy-Doo!
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Old 02-23-2022, 12:59 PM   #29
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Three suggestions:
1. Use your cell phones to talk to your partner
2. Use the terms "Driver's side" of "Passenger side" for guidance
3. Don't forget how far the front of the tow vehicle will swing, as MrLynn said about avoiding trees
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Old 02-23-2022, 02:31 PM   #30
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Since I travel solo, "get out & look" is something I use in almost every site. When I first started, I was somewhat intimidated by the vehicle(s) I was blocking while backing in, but it didn't take long to realize that he/she would be doing the same thing when they reached their site. If the site allows it, I do get out of the way of traffic before doing the final positioning of the trailer.

One thing I've found handy - I installed a LevelMatePro in the trailer that lets me see the leveling of the trailer from my phone. Handy when backing onto Anderson levelers or trying to find a level area at non-designated BLM areas.
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Old 02-23-2022, 02:44 PM   #31
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Finally, if your vehicle has a 4 wheel low setting, use it. You need to exercise that mechanism anyway...

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Originally Posted by MrLynn View Post
Thanks for the suggestion to use low 4x4. I have it, but never thought to use it..
Ummmm - careful with that...

Using 4-Low or 4-High on paved surfaces is a real no-no, particularly if you have a center diff that's locked or have part-time 4WD and a transfer case (no center diff). If used on dry pavement or another non-slippery surface, you definitely want to avoid any steering input that turns the wheels - kinda hard to avoid when trying to get positioned in a camp site. Even at low speeds you'll get drive-line binding and really over-stress U-joints and whatnot. Even on wet pavement if turning sharply you can feel the drive-line start to bind.

But definitely a real good idea to exercise your 4WD or AWD once in a while on gravel or dirt. Toyota says to run it in 4WD every month for 10 miles. Also, turns out that it's a good idea to engage not just 4-High, but also 4-Low and the rear locker - at least with the Aisin 750 part-time 4WD on the 4Runner (used also on some Lexus and others) - it has some trouble-prone selector rod electrical plunger position sensor switches (in the transfer case, and in the tranny and rear diff as well) that can get gummed up through lack of use and fail to make contact, disabling some off-road features when it incorrectly reports engagement problems. Plus, it'll get some oil on transfer case seals and etc.
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Old 02-23-2022, 02:56 PM   #32
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Ummmm - careful with that...

Using 4-Low or 4-High on paved surfaces is a real no-no, particularly if you have a center diff that's locked or have part-time 4WD and a transfer case with no center diff. If used on dry pavement or another non-slippery surface, you definitely want to avoid any steering input that turns the wheels - kinda hard to avoid when trying to get positioned in a camp site. Even at low speeds you'll get drive-line binding and really over-stress U-joints and whatnot. Even on wet pavement if turning sharply you can feel the drive-line start to bind.

But definitely a real good idea to exercise your 4WD or AWD once in a while on gravel or dirt. Toyota says to run it in 4WD every month for 10 miles. Also, turns out that it's a good idea to engage not just 4-High, but also 4-Low and the rear locker - at least with the Aisin 750 part-time 4WD on the 4Runner (used also on some Lexus and others) - it has some trouble-prone selector rod electrical plunger position sensor switches (in the transfer case, and in the tranny, and rear diff as well) that can get gummed up through lack of use and fail to make contact, disabling some off-road features. And get some oil on transfer case seals and etc.
Can't even use on pavement just to back trailer into campsite? Certainly may have to turn sharply to do that.

As for 'exercising' the 4WD, nowhere I know of around here where I can run in 4WD for ten miles—or even a mile.
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Old 02-23-2022, 03:36 PM   #33
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Can't even use on pavement just to back trailer into campsite? Certainly may have to turn sharply to do that.
I wouldn't, unless it's just a straight shot. I've never needed the additional torque of 4-Low, and if it's a steep dirt or gravel situation and you need the added traction, you must be spinning the tires anyhow so it would make sense to use it if needed.

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As for 'exercising' the 4WD, nowhere I know of around here where I can run in 4WD for ten miles—or even a mile.
I have a big huge gravel parking lot at some nearby soccer fields, so just run laps around it till I get so bored I can't do it any longer. But even on the gravel, I revert to 2WD when making the 180's at the end of each lap. Or I just wait for some rain - easy to do in the Seattle area - and go straight on wet pavement without any turning. I already had problems with the transfer case position sensor switches not making good contact, so now am in the habit of using 4-Low and 4-High, the rear locker, A-TRAC, and Multi-Terrain Select every time I take it anywhere - very slow and very straight, even on dry asphalt, just far enough for the sensor switches to scrape off the crud and make contact. Replacing the $130 4-Low sensor switch at the dealer would entail them dropping the transfer case since the switch is way up on top of the transfer case inside of the transmission tunnel - apparently around $800 - and I have no faith in the dealer to do it right and not screw something up. Even though it looks like I'd be able to somehow get way up there with a 27mm crowsfoot wrench, I'm too old to be doing that kinda stuff any more.
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Old 02-23-2022, 03:44 PM   #34
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Never heard of it but I will try it for my driveway.
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Old 02-23-2022, 06:18 PM   #35
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. . . I have a big huge gravel parking lot at some nearby soccer fields, so just run laps around it till I get so bored I can't do it any longer. But even on the gravel, I revert to 2WD when making the 180's at the end of each lap. . .
The system in my 2013 Ford Expedition tells me to put the tranny in neutral before changing from 2-wheel to 4-wheel modes. Do you have to stop and switch before and after making a turn? Would seem to defeat the point of having 4x4.
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Old 02-23-2022, 06:50 PM   #36
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The system in my 2013 Ford Expedition tells me to put the tranny in neutral before changing from 2-wheel to 4-wheel modes. Do you have to stop and switch before and after making a turn? Would seem to defeat the point of having 4x4.
Don't know about Expeditions, but the 2010-current part-time 4WD 4Runners let you shift between 2-WD and 4-High on-the-fly as long as you are going no faster than 45 or 50 MPH. But you have to be stopped and in neutral to shift between 4-High and 4-Low. And for some of the off-roady bells and whistles to be enabled, it must be in 4-Low.

Really don't need to stop and switch out of 4-WD before turning if on dirt or gravel as long as you have sufficient wheel slip to prevent binding - I just do it to be nice to the drive-train.
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Old 02-24-2022, 11:42 AM   #37
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I am pretty new at this as well, but I have found out a couple of things:
1) When using your wife to guide you, make sure you can see her. My wife will often stand behind the trailer giving all sorts of instructions but completely out of view. Also she has to be reminded from time to time what is left and what is right.
2). Fortunately the Escape 19 with the dual axles does turn relatively slowly eliminating the jackknife scenario, provided you are going slow slow slow as others have recommended
3). The scoop method does work but it takes practice to figure out how far past your intended parking area to go. That is where practice practice practice comes in.

Good luck, it does come easier with practice
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Old 02-24-2022, 06:45 PM   #38
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When we had a fishing boat a few years ago my wife became the backer upper as I sat in the boat to get it on and off the trailer. She would then go park or pull me back to the parking area when we were done.

I did all the unhooking and loading and she did the rest. Teamwork makes the dream work!

It took her some practice but she was always the talk of the boat ramp.
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Old 02-24-2022, 07:03 PM   #39
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I watched a couple guys preparing to launch a boat. As the owner backed down the ramp, he tapped the brake, slowing the truck and trailer, but the boat kept going, landing on it's twin inboard/outboard legs. His buddy had unhooked the bowline from the trailer.
Do it yourself and don't let anybody help.
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Old 02-24-2022, 08:10 PM   #40
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I am confident on my backing. But when I can not see behind the trailer I worry.

So I get out and walk the site. I place my wife where I want the bumper of the trailer. I tell her not to give me instructions except to stop. If I am about to hit something. Sometimes we use a radio as I have one installed in my truck. She will change sides depending on if she can see me in the mirrors. I have a traffic cone where I want the trailer bumper in my driveway, so when we get home it’s all me and my wife is getting the house opened up.

Works for us and I stay out of the dog house.
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