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My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Discuss traditional (ball hitch) travel trailers here.

My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Justardnck on Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:40 pm

I find a center line on the trailer like a sticker or I put a mark on the trailer with a sharpy an I either find a center mark on the truck's tailgate. I line up the marks as I back up and just as I think I'm close to hitting I stop and lower the trailer tongue down enough so it rubs hard when the hitch contacts the tongue. I now start backing up till I feel the two touch then I back up 2" more then set the parking brake and put it in park. By setting the parking brake you eliminate the play in the park mechanism of the truck preventing roll forward or back. I now lower the trailer onto the hitch giving about 6" of jack off the ground even if they are not perfectly lined up and I'll tub the trailer a little till gravity kicks in and the two vehicles marry. I then hook up my safety chains, break away brake and my electrical connection and I'm done.

Everybody has their own method, this is mine. I've been hooking up trailers all of my life and has always worked well for me.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby skipnchar on Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:48 pm

Seems like a good method to me. I've watched my trailer so many miles in my left hand mirror that I can usually line up within a half of an inch or so just by how the rear corner of the truck meets the trailer in the mirror LOL.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Zinger on Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:47 pm

I bought one of those mirrors that cw sells its on a extendable pole with magnet put it on thr trailer A frame you can see the hitch pretty good . it does take a little to get it dajusted to see what you want.
Have a good one
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby mikhen on Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:47 pm

My BIL just bought a wireless camera for that. I'm actually not too bad at it, usually no more that 2 trips out of the TV to check location.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Zinger on Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:50 pm

The best way to hook up is having my 9 yr old son guide me he has been doing it for a couple years he stands off to side out of the way he is very good at communicating what i need to do I guess he is an RVr in training.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby jp rver on Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:12 am

Zinger wrote:The best way to hook up is having my 9 yr old son guide me he has been doing it for a couple years he stands off to side out of the way he is very good at communicating what i need to do I guess he is an RVr in training.


I use this method as well. He has been doing it since an infant! :D

Before you declare child abuse, here's the story. My wife was holding him and backing me into our driveway at home after a trip. She was waving me back, and after about a minute of watching her hands, he starts waving me back as well! We busted out laughing, but you know, that little guy has been guiding me back for a few years now on his own, and he can put my hitch ball right under the coupler every time!!! Like you said he too is an RVer in training. ;)
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Zinger on Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:53 am

I have found it all goes much easier if you find jobs and involve everybody it keeps people busy and out of your hair.
Have a good one
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Fire Instructor on Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:45 pm

I use the first method, very similar to what Justaredneck does, if I can't get one of my sons (or my neighbor) to guide me back. If my wife is helping, I have HER drive, and I guide. Whenever SHE's guiding, she points in the direction that she wants the TRAILER to go.... still hasn't figuted out that it's the truck that moves under the trailer! Always good for a laugh, though....
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Zinger on Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:31 pm

Fire Instructor wrote:I use the first method, very similar to what Justaredneck does, if I can't get one of my sons (or my neighbor) to guide me back. If my wife is helping, I have HER drive, and I guide. Whenever SHE's guiding, she points in the direction that she wants the TRAILER to go.... still hasn't figuted out that it's the truck that moves under the trailer! Always good for a laugh, though....


I can relate to the wife part I dont even ask anymore I do have her help check the lights though.
Have a good one
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:41 pm

I can get myself lined up with the ball with no problems but always (especially with my current excessively long TV) have trouble guaging the distance from ball to hitch. I like your idea of lowering the tongue so it just catches the ball, but with the 1 ton suspension it's tough for me to tell when it's touched still.

My father got me one of these for Christmas:

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It not only makes parking a breeze, but I'm sure that hooking up will be utterly simple, now. :D

I've got the camera set so that it sees a good distance behind me, and has just the ball of the hitch itself visible in the bottom of the frame. I installed the camera all professional-like on the overhead console and it looks pretty slick.

The wireless video is a bit sketchy at times (my application has it at the end of it's range ability) but it does the job for the most part.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Zinger on Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:44 pm

thats cool are they costly?
Have a good one
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:51 pm

Zinger wrote:thats cool are they costly?


Was on sale for $99 at Christmas. Cheaper in the US I'm sure as is always the case with Canada vs. US pricing.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby fla-gypsy on Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:01 am

DW helps me sometimes, but I prefer to do it alone due to the unknown and unique hand signals (God I love her)
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby LA_Bolt_Fan on Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:54 pm

I have taken my first trailer out only 2 times and before the first time I hooked up I bought a thing with 2 pieces. They are magnets with telescoping antennas and a bright yellow ball at the end. One goes on the towball and one goes on the end of the tongue. I just backed up until the balls touched which I can see in the rear view mirror. Works great but on the second hookup I realized that if I leave the rear doors on my TV (Van) I can turn around and see the ball and hitch perfectly. I guess this is much more difficult with a truck where you can't see the hitch.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby The Wood Tinker on Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:33 am

PrivatePilot wrote:I can get myself lined up with the ball with no problems but always (especially with my current excessively long TV) have trouble guaging the distance from ball to hitch. I like your idea of lowering the tongue so it just catches the ball, but with the 1 ton suspension it's tough for me to tell when it's touched still.

My father got me one of these for Christmas:

Image

It not only makes parking a breeze, but I'm sure that hooking up will be utterly simple, now. :D

I've got the camera set so that it sees a good distance behind me, and has just the ball of the hitch itself visible in the bottom of the frame. I installed the camera all professional-like on the overhead console and it looks pretty slick.

The wireless video is a bit sketchy at times (my application has it at the end of it's range ability) but it does the job for the most part.


Just put of those on! It works great!
My poor wife tried as hard as she could....enough said.
I tried the poles and the mirror but the camera is the way to go.

For sale; back up poles and a back mirror....CHEAP! j/k
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby LA_Bolt_Fan on Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:38 am

:D Enuff said! How much?? As for the wife thing.................. nuff said!! Thanks!!
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:36 am

I saw a similar backup camera system for $89 a few days ago at WalMart..so I'm going to guess that they're about $59 in the US since almost everything is *still* cheaper there despite the dollar being at parity.
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby Zinger on Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:43 am

Wat is the range on the camera could it reach the rear of trailer? It might be a nice extra set of eyes when backing up.
$59 is very reasonable. I wonder how it would work mounted on trailer looking at the hitch? I think I need to try one.
Have a good one
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby mountainman on Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:02 am

The VR3 Backup Camera at Walmart is listed for $98.83 and cannot be purchased in stores it says only online. I however have seen them in the Walmart stores here in Loveland,Co
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby campinfan on Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:37 pm

Fire Instructor wrote:I use the first method, very similar to what Justaredneck does, if I can't get one of my sons (or my neighbor) to guide me back. If my wife is helping, I have HER drive, and I guide. Whenever SHE's guiding, she points in the direction that she wants the TRAILER to go.... still hasn't figuted out that it's the truck that moves under the trailer! Always good for a laugh, though....


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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby graywolf67 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:50 pm

Similar method to the OP but I use reflective tape( good for night hookups) , which on centerline of hitch on TV tailgate and on the front of the TT just above outside light on centerline, just takes a couple of tries and its on, if the wife helps well she doesn't ;) I have told her finally please don't help. My daughter (12) really helps well with hooking up and backing into campsites better than mom or big sister :mrgreen:
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Re: My secret to lining up and hooking up alone

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:18 pm

Zinger wrote:Wat is the range on the camera could it reach the rear of trailer? It might be a nice extra set of eyes when backing up.


I thought about that, but the wireless is limited to about 10 or 15 feet I've discovered - even with the camera mounted at the back (above the licence plate) on my truck the picture still goes staticy quite often since I seem to be at the absolute limit of the strength.

It does mention in the installation manual that mounting on a trailer can be done so long as the distance isn't "excessive", but I'd have to say based on my experience it's not very realistic.

The system I have did have an optional wired install, but that's not really suitable for a trailer, nor did it include the wiring to accomplish it.
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