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Old 01-18-2009, 06:09 AM   #1
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wobbly
Adventures In Backing Up

We decided to park the 1950 on a gravel pad beside on house. Even though a full size concrete truck was able to thread its way back through a narrow gate into this space, the undersigned, painstakingly following the verbal and visual signals of the undersigned's wife, had great difficulty in said endeavor.

Let it be known that when the undersigned, formerly of semi-sound mind and body, inspected the parked trailer, he observed that its side was approximately 3 millimeters away from a cyclone fence. Further, one wheel of the tow vehicle was perched precariously on top of a concrete retaining wall.

Considering the options of hiring a helicopter to extract the trailer, tearing down the fence, or leaving town for the carefree life of a hobo, the undersigned decided to wait until spring break up before taking further action, and to pray for a fortuitous act of God.

Signed,

Wobbly
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:35 AM   #2
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Wobbly,

Sorry to hear of you backing difficulties, but you do write a pretty funny story. It will just take time and practice until you know how/when to turn the wheels and back that Sunny in there like a pro.

How much clearance do you actually have on each side ?

Once I back up my slightly curved uphill drive I have to turn Sunny to the drivers side and back into the carport, which has aprox. 3' of clearance on each side. And I do this by myself.

You can do it, but it's just to darn cold to be messing out there now,

Kitty & KD

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Old 01-18-2009, 09:39 AM   #3
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Wobbly, when you're in a tight spot be extra careful leaving. The long overhang on a trailer can give you a "school bus effect"--if you turn too tight to get out of a jam you can hit the back corner against the fence or house. We once watched helpless at a park entrance while a RV 4 Rent turned too tight to get away from the booth and whacked the rear corner against the rocks that were strategically located to keep people from whacking the booth.

Don't be intimidated by other people's skills. Boat trailers with their long tongue respond slowly to driver input and can be backed up at impressive speed. Pop ups with a short tongue respond instantly to driver input and backing them up can look more like someone doing a slalom in reverse. Your 1950 is somewhere in between. Without adequate clearance beside the tv and tt, it is very difficult to move a tt sideways and it is often best to start over and have the perfect angle of approach.

Henry
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanyonkitty
Wobbly,

Sorry to hear of you backing difficulties, but you do write a pretty funny story. It will just take time and practice until you know how/when to turn the wheels and back that Sunny in there like a pro.

How much clearance do you actually have on each side ?

Once I back up my slightly curved uphill drive I have to turn Sunny to the drivers side and back into the carport, which has aprox. 3' of clearance on each side. And I do this by myself.

You can do it, but it's just to darn cold to be messing out there now,

Kitty & KD

Hi Kitty,

I didn't think it was so tight. There's about 6" on one side and 8" on the other side going through the gate. Once through the gate there's probably 4 feet total to play with. One added problem is that in front of the gate is a small parking strip with a low retaining wall. While trying to straighten out the trailer one wheel of the Jeep almost went over the wall.

Of course our neighbor had to come out and gawk. A scene with Desi Arnaz in 'The Long, Long, Trailer' comes to mind. Thank goodness that the Channel 6 News helicopter was otherwise employed.

Wobbly
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryj
Wobbly, when you're in a tight spot be extra careful leaving. The long overhang on a trailer can give you a "school bus effect"--if you turn too tight to get out of a jam you can hit the back corner against the fence or house. We once watched helpless at a park entrance while a RV 4 Rent turned too tight to get away from the booth and whacked the rear corner against the rocks that were strategically located to keep people from whacking the booth.

Don't be intimidated by other people's skills. Boat trailers with their long tongue respond slowly to driver input and can be backed up at impressive speed. Pop ups with a short tongue respond instantly to driver input and backing them up can look more like someone doing a slalom in reverse. Your 1950 is somewhere in between. Without adequate clearance beside the tv and tt, it is very difficult to move a tt sideways and it is often best to start over and have the perfect angle of approach.

Henry
Thanks for the encouragement, Henry. My attempts at straightening out resulted in ever diminishing clearance with the fence and in less and less front tire of the Jeep remaining on the retaining wall. Finally I decided to
unhook the trailer, reposition the Hensley hitch, and move the Jeep away from the retaining wall. I soon learned that in a four bar linkage like the Hensley, the angle of the tow vehicle to the trailer remains the same regardless of how the hitch is moved around. So the only way I could think of to straighten out the trailer was to use a come along between the A frame and the gate post. This worked, but with the unintended consequence that the electric trailer jack foot became buried under about 6" of gravel and dirt. After reconnecting the hitch and the Jeep, I tried to raise the jack. As it strained to lift, I noticed that the jack leg was now at an angle to the upper jack housing. Now I was really agitated. I had bent the *&^%$ jack and probably ruined it. It whirred and groaned, but did not retract. After excavating the jack foot, and supporting the trailer weight with the stabilizer jacks, I tried it again and it miraculously retracted.

With the centered Jeep and trailer, I again requested assistance of my recently estranged wife. Voila! We did it!

Wobbly
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:16 PM   #6
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If you need to get it out, you might want to look at installing a hitch on the front of the truck.

We were looking into getting one put on the front of our truck after working with a buddy who has a stump grinding business. He has a hitch on the front of his truck and I've seen him drive this short tongued stump grinder through posts, trees and houses with inches on each side of it.

You can stear it amazingly easy and can see what you're doing the entire time without having to do it in reverse.

Just an idea
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:47 AM   #7
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Practice makes perfect. Try not to get discouraged or enraged, it makes it much worse. After a while you will amaze yourself with your new found mastery of the art of backing. DW and I have a set of 2 way walkies that we keep in the truck for precarious backing situations. They are extremely handy when backing in the dark, or my favorite, in the dark during a monsoon( the Jersey shore Summer of '06 incident )
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:01 PM   #8
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SUN #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emam
If you need to get it out, you might want to look at installing a hitch on the front of the truck.

We were looking into getting one put on the front of our truck after working with a buddy who has a stump grinding business. He has a hitch on the front of his truck and I've seen him drive this short tongued stump grinder through posts, trees and houses with inches on each side of it.

You can stear it amazingly easy and can see what you're doing the entire time without having to do it in reverse.

Just an idea
Great idea!
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:04 AM   #9
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I back-up trailers everday. Go slow and take your time. If you get flustered stop and take a brake. If you need to jockey the trailer around when it is parked. Make sure you tongue jack is on a 2x4 and then get a 4x4 and you can slide the trailer around a bit. Put the 4x4 up against the A frame and you can coax it around a bit. They move pretty easy.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
We decided to park the 1950 on a gravel pad beside on house. Even though a full size concrete truck was able to thread its way back through a narrow gate into this space, the undersigned, painstakingly following the verbal and visual signals of the undersigned's wife, had great difficulty in said endeavor.

Let it be known that when the undersigned, formerly of semi-sound mind and body, inspected the parked trailer, he observed that its side was approximately 3 millimeters away from a cyclone fence. Further, one wheel of the tow vehicle was perched precariously on top of a concrete retaining wall.

Considering the options of hiring a helicopter to extract the trailer, tearing down the fence, or leaving town for the carefree life of a hobo, the undersigned decided to wait until spring break up before taking further action, and to pray for a fortuitous act of God.

Signed,

Wobbly
lol I had the same problem. You're sure we're not married to the same woman?

I managed to get mine parked correctly, but it took a good half hour or more, and I blocked a perfectly busy street for much of the time.

We just bought our 2001 t1950, and it seems to be functional, generally. We're both about sixty, this is new to both of us.

This is our first travel trailer and we intend to use it to travel to outdoor art festivals The(abovementioned) wife is actually a very good artist, and we work about a dozen festivals a year (I still have a straight job, so we don't do the 30 to 40 shows that the full time artists do, yet). Up to now we have been tent camping when we travel out of our immediate area (four to five times a year).

I have established that the power works when I plug in a 30 amp cord, but I can't get the battery to hold a charge, so I think we're replacing it. I am assuming that the 12V power will work when I get a functional battery, as I get power to the lights when I attach a charger to the battery, but the battery will not hold a charge.

My big problem is getting the gas to work; I filled the tanks, but there doesn't seem to be any valve on the regulator (there's what appears to be a hex nut or something on the front but it doesn't move easily and I'm forcing NOTHING). Turning on the stove yields nothing. So what am I missing in getting the gas to flow to the stove and to run the refrigerator when the 120V power is disconnected? Do I need a new regulator? Or is there a valve I am missing that needs to be opened?

I've sanitized the water system, and will be checking water flow today with a hose from my garden.


Another problem. I purchased a standard UHaul receiver and harness, but my 2005 Savana van (holds all the art fair stuff) is at a different level from the hitch on the trailer. I jacked the trailer up as much as possible and then had to use the leveling jacks to raise it up a bit more so it would lift off the receiver. I have the front jack sitting on some 12" x 12" paver bricks to keep it lifted enough so I can slide the receiver under it when I re-attach. I can then RAISE the trailer an inch or so, remove a paver, and then use first the leveling jacks and then the front jack to slowly lower the trailer onto the receiver, removing pavers (I use 3) one at a time until the two vehicles are attached, then raise up all the jacks all the way to get them out of the way. There HAS to be an easier way to do this. Any help here?

As you can see, I'm VERY inexperienced and would like this to be a good experience for my wife and me.

Any help will be sincerely appreciated? We plan to do a test run to a state park north of here (Fort Lauderdale, FL area) next week.

Regards to all
Larry and Amanda Hering
Hallandale Bch, FL
2001 T1950
2005 GMC Savana
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:35 PM   #11
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Hitch Info

Hi Larry and Amanda,

Welcome to the Sunline Club. Your questions are fairly typical of new owners and I know there are several people, experts even, around here who can help. First, a suggestion... to make your post more visible don't add to the end of a mostly unrelated older thread--or just make pertinent comments there and then start a new thread. Navigate to the forum you want--Towing and Tow Vehicles would be a good one--and click on the "new topic" button at the top of the list of threads.

Battery: a 2001 OEM is likely beyond help. Make sure there is water in it, but if it has been sitting around dead, or not had enough water, it will be sufated beyond return.

Propane: Are you looking for a T handle like an oxy-acetylene outfit has? Trailer regulators are like bbq regulators--they step the pressure down a fixed amount and that's it. You probably have an auto switchover regulator so it will look not look exactly like a bbq one, but that's what it is. Open the valves fully at the top of both tanks. Open one of the stove top burner controls. You should immediately hear air/propane escaping. The problem is that a trailer that has sat awhile, or had the tanks removed, has mostly air in the lines that can only be purged by letting the burner hiss. Keep sparking the igniter, or use a hand held butane igniter until the burner lights. Then light the other burners too. The lines downstream from the stovetop--fridge, hot water, furnace--will also have air in them and may not light immediately. Turn the appliance on and listen for the igniter click or wait for an error light. For safety, the other appliances will attempt to light 3x and then shut down. Turn the appliance off and then on again to start a new cycle. It should light on the second or at most 3rd cycle or there may be other problems. Using the fridge/hot water on electric is much cheaper than on propane.

Hitch: Well, you got it at U-Haul... and I'm not knocking U-Haul, but around here they're not RV dealers. An RV dealer would make sure your drawbar has the proper drop and ball size for your 1950. So, rest easy, your hitching and unhitching problem has a very simple solution, although it will cost you. So, you can toss the U-Haul drawbar into the corner. You need a weight distributing anti-sway hitch like Equalizer or Reese. Both come with adjustable hitch heads that put the ball at the proper height. The ball must be torqued to 450 ft. lb., which is beyond the torque wrench capacities of all us shade tree types. The hitches are not hard to install, but you'll need someone to torque the ball. Weight distributing hitches are usually sized for a 10,000 lb. ball.

Navigate to the Towing and Tow Vehicles forum and read through the two "sticky" threads at the top of the list. They will give you lots of info and help narrow down any further questions you might have. Ask away; the only dumb question is the one that wasn't asked.

Henry
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:20 PM   #12
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Henry, thanks!

I suspected as much about the battery, and I'll check the gas and hitch issues tomorrow. Well, Friday. I have a "bell to bell" shift tomorrow.

There's a pretty good RV service and supply shop a few miles away and I have a feeling this is going to be the start of a "relationship". They've been pretty helpful when Amanda and I went there to scope them out.

You ever come down to South Florida we owe you dinner (Hint: wait till November when the weather is a lot more hospitable!).

Larry Hering
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Old 07-15-2010, 02:04 PM   #13
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Larry, glad to be of help. Sorry, I forgot to give you the links for Equalizer and Reese, but maybe you found them already.

When you buy a weight distributing hitch you need to specify the weight for the bars. Don't go by Sunline's dry weight. It's easy to add 1000 lb. to a trailer without any water. Travel ready Sunline's also have heavy tongue weights. The dry weight never included propane, tanks or battery, never mind any water or waste water. I'm guessing you'll need at least 600-700 lb. bars. Start a new thread in the Towing and Tow vehicles forum and ask for advice on hitch and weight of bars. There are several members with 1950's who will likely jump in with some real world weights. Also JohnB is our resident hitch expert. He may not get to an old post right away, but you could send him a PM "personal message".

Henry
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