Handling it alone

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Handling it alone

Postby gypsy97 » Tue May 11, 2010 2:26 pm

I've been dreaming of getting a teardrop camper for several years, and I hope I can sell my 5th wheel soon and go for my dream. I am a woman alone, with an 85# harmless dog, and my biggest concern is being able to do the hitching of the trailer to the tow vehicle. I'm of the age where I qualify for Medicare plus all senior discounts ;) and don't want to deal with the problems of hitching the 5th wheel any longer. I know it's two entirely different things, but can you ladies who travel alone tell me what is the most difficult part of setting up/packing up, that would be so much easier if you had someone else to help with it? Thanks, and I appreciate any suggestions you can send my way.

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Postby Arne » Tue May 11, 2010 3:46 pm

harbor freight sells a 2 piece unit which I really like. each part has a magnet, stem with tennis ball on top.... one goes on tow, the other on t/d hitch... I back up with the balls lined up, and when the ball on the tow tips, I know the coupler on the t/d is over the ball..... I use it all the time.

I could not find the link, but if you go to a store, they will know what you are talking about.
www.freewebs.com/aero-1
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Postby oklahomajewel » Tue May 11, 2010 4:02 pm

I'm a gal that travels to the campouts alone but once I get there there are all these helpful teardrop guys! so believe me they will help.

I have also used my car jack under the trailer tongue when in a tight spot , in order to jack up the tongue some so I could get my swing away jack done. That was when I was in a low spot ... but also when my tongue came off the ball on the highway and I had to jack it up cuz my arm strength is just not good anymore.

I'd like to get those magnetic tennis ball things for backing up ... I usually get out, check, get back in, back up a scooch, get out , look, get in , back up a tiny bit, get out, check, get back in .....

haha
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Postby Arne » Tue May 11, 2010 4:18 pm

I used to do the same thing, or have someone guide me, but the tennis ball gadget does work really well.. especially on flat ground, when I can wiggle the t/d an inch or so if I need to.

ha, finally found it... got mine for $5.00 at h/f

http://www.cabelas.com/p-0032482521724a.shtml
www.freewebs.com/aero-1
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Postby Miriam C. » Tue May 11, 2010 4:23 pm

:thumbsup: I do mine all the time. Now my Td fits the truck side to side so down the middle is not hard. I can get in a couple of inches or better.

You can get a swing down jack with a wheel on it to help with the small moves. Just get the hitch above the ball and let her drop...

And there are lots of Teardroppers willing to help at our campouts.

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Postby SandyD » Tue May 11, 2010 6:59 pm

Hi Gypsy ~

I also camp and travel alone (with my 14 lb Bella the Beast).

I have the magnet balls. I got mine at Walmart. They work great. I can usually hitch the trailer in one try or just put it in gear and back to park for the inch roll.

The hardest part of the whole trip for me isn't the packing, hooking up, setting up or tearing down ~ it's backing my teardrop into the camping spot and then back into my garage. I'm getting better. Hush everyone who saw me back in at Cooler Near the Lake and Forrestville.

I also purchased a trailer dolley from Northern Tool so I can just point the teardrop somewhere towards the middle of the garage and then move it around with the trailer dolly. My tear is a woody and it has a stand jack instead of a wheel jack, so it's too heavy for me to move without the trailer dolley.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/ ... _200312193

Some day I may get good enough to park it where I want it ~~ but that day hasn't arrived yet. Although this next trip I have a pull through site so I'm hoping for better luck.
Sandy

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Postby gypsy97 » Tue May 11, 2010 7:10 pm

Oh gosh, I forgot all about backing it up. I have never been able to back up my 5th wheel and have always either found pull thru sites, or had assistance from someone who watched me make a fool out of myself. Do you turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction that you want the trailer to turn? (Or place your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel & turn in that direction).

I should probably be looking for a small Class A or Class C, but in the long run you have to tow a small vehicle to get around in, so that leaves me with the option of a truck camper (cabover). I have the perfect truck for it but it's really too big to drive around town in. I have always thought the answer to my dilemma would be a small vehicle, car or jeep, and a teardrop or mini trailer.

I would buy a good tent but the thought of the time to set up and take down/pack would be a negative when traveling across country. Also, few possibilities for camping any place but a campground.
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Postby razorback » Tue May 11, 2010 7:22 pm

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Postby gypsy97 » Tue May 11, 2010 7:31 pm

Thank you very much for those links. DUH, do you know I was thinking I had seen little yellow tennis balls on a hitch somewhere, but it was down at the hitch level where you couldn't see it if you were backing up. I think maybe it was to keep from bumping into something and scratching it. So these yellow balls on extender poles would be visible when you are backing up.

Now if you can tell me an easy way of backing the trailer into a campsite! :lol:

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Postby Miriam C. » Tue May 11, 2010 9:15 pm

I do the hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, but I also move the mirror on the leading side to see the camper wheel edge. (the inside turn) That way I am putting that wheel where I want it. Takes some pre-planning and remembering to look around for hazards.
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Postby S. Heisley » Wed May 12, 2010 10:06 am

MiriamC wrote:
I do the hand on the bottom of the steering wheel,


What Miriam means is that, when you want to back up, you put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel; then, you move that hand in the direction that you want to go in. If you want to go left, you move that hand to the left; right, right. I've seen a thread on this but I can't find it.....

Before attempting at a campground, I'm going to go to a local, fairly empty parking lot and practice backing up there.
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Postby gypsy97 » Wed May 12, 2010 10:21 am

I've tried this several times and it works pretty well when I'm doing something like straightening out at a gas pump, or something like that. But I just can't do it for any big backing up job such as backing into a space. My 5th wheel is 34', and I think I read somewhere on this forum that a smaller trailer is more difficult to back up. I think they mean you have to do it in smaller increments and not make big adjustments. I hate the thought of it.

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Postby Jason and Amanda » Wed May 12, 2010 5:11 pm

gypsy97 wrote:I read somewhere on this forum that a smaller trailer is more difficult to back up. I think they mean you have to do it in smaller increments and not make big adjustments. I hate the thought of it.

Gypsy


That's exactly what is meant by someone saying that a smaller trailer is hard to back up. The smaller trailers respond better to wheel input so they react faster.

Really it's just a matter of adjusting to the change, backing a smaller trailer isn't really harder so much as it's a different feel.
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Postby asianflava » Wed May 12, 2010 5:44 pm

Regardless of which method you use you will need to practice. Find yourself a big empty parking lot and try it out.
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Postby willik » Wed May 12, 2010 8:25 pm

Ditto on the practice. When I was 15 and my Dad wanted me to learn how to drive a manual transmission, we went to a parking lot and I spent hours for several weeks until I got good enough for the "test". He found a parking lot that had an exit on a hill that wasn't used much on the weekends. I had to drive forward and backward to the exit and stop at various points along the hill and continue up and down the hill. I've driven a 5 speed for the last 25 years.

I probably need to practice backing up more myself. The toughest part of backing up with a tear is how quickly it responds. Practice is the answer.

The "tennis ball" alignment tool is absolutely the bomb! Used correctly, you don't have to make any adjustments.
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