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Old 12-16-2007, 04:31 PM   #1
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Hitching Up - Seeing what you are doing

Do you have great frustration trying to figure out where the tow ball is when hitching up? How do I know his…. .

Not seeing what you are doing is hard part. Once you are past this, the rest gets easier. Here is one way I found to help the situation.

It first starts out with 2 short metal tabs. One goes on the TT ball coupler, the other one the TV hitch head. I carved the hitch head one slightly to mate around the tow ball. This was so it would sit flat on my hitch head. If yours is already flat on top, then there may not be a need. They are about 4” long. Long enough to stick out beyond the ball coupler. And I place them central to the tow ball and ball coupler. These create a “target” to aim for…..

See here from the side.


The next part to help see what is going on is a back up mirror. They sell various kinds, key is to have one. This one attaches to the rear window or the back of a PU truck tail gate. If you use the suction cups, make sure the surface is clean and wet the cup slightly. Then it will stay on. If not, well it falls off... I store mine in a 2 gallon zip lock bag.



Here is a close up


Then inside the TV, you can see through the rear view mirror what you are doing.


And this is what it looks like out the back of the TV


And here is the key. Everything is black, including the grease on the ball. So you are sighting the alum metal tabs. Both for left to right and front to back. Looks like this.





When the 2 line up, your there.

If you have the tongue jacked up real high, you get an angled view and stop short or long. It is more accurate when the tongue is only over the ball by about and inch or more.

The only draw back, is night time vision. I have to put a flash light on the TV bumper to shine on the tow ball so I can see what I’m doing. During the day, no problems.

I know some have hitching rods and I have not tried them. Maybe someone who has can chime in on them.

Hope this helps if you have issues figuring out where and when to stop….

Happy camping

John

PS. The 2 metal tabs just jsut rest there. Take them off when you lower the ball coupler down over the ball.
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:00 PM   #2
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John,
Thanks for the post. I have been trying to figure out a way to be able to hitch up on my own so I could do some solo camping. I tried to find a mirror like you show once before but could not find it.

I hope some others share their experiences and maybe I can solve this challenge in time for some spring camping!

Thanks again,
David
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:32 PM   #3
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Not sure what my problem was the first time I searched, but I found several. I think I like this one the best as it is what I thought about trying to build myself. I may try a set of these and will let you know how they work if I do.

http://www.hitchingguides.com/FAQ.htm#backing%20info


I found several other types including several mirror devices as well. I included a few links of ones I found. Anyone have experiences with any of these?

Later,
David


http://www.hitch-up-mirror.com/agora/agora.cgi

http://www.magnetichitchlocator.com/...ew-mirror.html


Hitching Rods
http://www.qwks.com/Hitchin-Rods-Demo-p-2.html#

Mirror method
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...3798_200333798
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:47 PM   #4
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Although I do it a few times a week and can almost do it every time with only getting out of the truck once to check, I found a great way to do it with no extras items.

I first made a real good mental note of what the camper looks like in my side view mirrors. Once I get myself lined up and backed up close to the hitch, I get out and check to see if everything is really lined up like I thought.

If it is, I make a mental note of how far I am away from the ball/hitch hook-up.

I then go back up the the drivers seat and make a mark on the ground with my foot where the foot step is now, and how far it needs to go back to my earlier measurement.

99% of the time I can get it right the first time, but every now and then I need to make an inch or two adjustment.

Give it a try a few times in the driveway, and pretty soon, you'll be able to do it almost every time.

Nice mirror though. If I could see through my back pick-up cap, I'd probably have one of those.

Pat
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:48 PM   #5
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David

Here is one source and where I bought mine: http://www.campingworld.com/browse/s...21332&src=SRQB

Mine is a CIPA brand. http://www.cipausa.com/ They call it Fast Hitch no. 11955

Now that I look I can find it cheaper but do not know about freight. http://www.rpminnovations.com/newpage32.htm They call is Quick Align

If you search under "hitch mirror" it should turn up something. Here is one I just found. http://www.hitchhelpermirror.com/wha...itchhelper.htm

Good luck

John
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:59 PM   #6
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Seems we are all typing at the same time……

Pat, how do you hook up in the dark with your method? Lay a flashlight on the ground as a marker to back up to?

The hitching rods, the kind that go right on the ball, how do they know knock the back of your truck when you hit them? Must be reading it wrong.

The angled hitching rods, they look like they would work better on level ground but what about when you are on and angle with the TT?

Any hitch rod users out there to help us with our preconceived notations?

The mirror is night and day over not having one and I can come at the TT at an angle, it is however not always sliced bread. But I won’t hitch up without it until I find something better.

John
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:21 PM   #7
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I found one other interesting option at http://www.truehitchup.com/link.php?link=home.

OK - enough fun - got to go to bed!
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:33 PM   #8
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If I had to hitch up at night, that is when I go grab Cindy

Havent ever had to hitch up at night, so I'll let you know when that one comes along. But if was going to, once I get the turck to within a few feet, I leave the door open to see the mark I made on the ground.

So the interior light would illuminate my mark.

Only other option for me with no back window to look through is a back-up camera, which I hear Sam's Club has one for under $100 and is wireless.

Pat
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:49 PM   #9
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OK, OK, so I totally cheat I have a backup camera mounted right on my license plate aimed at the hitch area. Anytime I put the truck into reverse, the backup camera is activated and my interior rearview mirror is now converted into a monitor showing me where the ball & hitch are. All I need to do is a spot of white paint, because all the black is still a tad bit difficult to properly see.

I have the magnetic rods(the straight ones) in my toolbox, the problem I found with them was hitching on unlevel ground. It was hard to determine when I was really aligned with the ball. They might be great on level ground.

But, a dab of white paint in the appropriate spot on my hitch & tongue and I'll be all set. I seldom miss now, but hopefully will never miss with the white paint.

I will try to get some pics, and post them.

Kitty
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanyonkitty
OK, OK, so I totally cheat I have a backup camera mounted right on my license plate aimed at the hitch area. Anytime I put the truck into reverse, the backup camera is activated and my interior rearview mirror is now converted into a monitor showing me where the ball & hitch are. All I need to do is a spot of white paint, because all the black is still a tad bit difficult to properly see.
Kitty, that is sad. Is it the one from Sam's Club/Costco? My mom got that for her Ex and I hate it. Whenever I drove it for the first couple months it was on, I always had the power off to the monitor. Then, I took the screen and holder off the dash completely and chucked it in the glove box. Within the past couple months, I finally removed the velcro because I was worried it would leave a mark. The camera is still there because I did a custom mount under the barn doors, but I suspect it'll come off when I get around to it. The lens on the camera is really scratched looking (I have no idea how- never goes through car wash), but it did make the image really distorted and hard to make out what's what. When hitching like this, you need a good quality image that you can rely on.

Jon
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:20 PM   #11
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Wow this is amazing to see the creative solutions….. and we all do them different.

Night time hook ups. Yup about 40% of mine are night time hook ups. It’s the Thursday night ritual. The rig is all hitched up ready to roll for Friday when I get home from work. Plug in the 7 wire and go.

Now to using my Cindy…. Well this is what prompted the back up mirror… After 27 years of being married, if one is smart, one learns when to push something and when to spend $29.95 and when to, just don’t say something….

Yes I do align the fenders with the trailer to find center. During the day time, the mirror and 2 tabs work great. At night, the reflections are real bad and almost useable.

Back up sensors. The Suburban never had them, The F350 does. I have not mastered them yet hitching up.

Kitty and her back up camera. Cool. The white paint, H’mm good thought. It is like I need to find some kind of luminescent paint to put on my metal tabs, charge them up at night then use them. Sort of like glo tabs… Or find some kids glow in the dark plastic stars etc. My kids you to have them. Have to go look in the basement.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:38 PM   #12
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Call me a dinosaur but i visually align the light on the front of the TT to the three bolts in my tailgate for the handle. I usally get pretty close, I pull a trailer everyday so I have got pretty good at it over the years. We just need to practice more, I guess that means more camping trips.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:26 AM   #13
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I use the Hitching Rods that David mentioned and the TV mirrors same as Pat.

We have a Hensley hitch, which I’ve found 2 major differences to hitching up than with the standard ball & coupler including:
1. The Hensley receiver must be at the correct height to accept the shank.
2. Having the tow vehicle aligned straight with the trailer is important so the shank goes straight into the Hensley receiver.

See my previous post for some pictures and information on the method that seems to work for me hitching up with the Hensley hitch.

Hutch
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:27 PM   #14
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My tried and true method is Sue. She valantly stands in the rain, sun or fog and precisely aligns me every time. After yells, screams and finger popping we are hitched and ready to go. This gives us communication for at least a couple miles and then many more miles with ear numbing silence. Why oh why would I ever look at another way for backing up to the trailer. Thanks for the ideas...............Marshall
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:43 PM   #15
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Marshall,
LOL, that is what we experience after hooking up. Very brisk and vibrant discussion and then what you describe as "ear numbing silence". I love it as it allows me ample time to listen to Lynard Skynard on the i-pod. Got to love rv'ing, another example of "Mars and Venus" camping.
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:36 PM   #16
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Hitching up

Hi all,
I'd love to have a gizmo to guide me back to my Hensley Arrow hitch, but that would really hurt my wife. She guides me and I don't say anything. Just do as she says. I've heard of a lot of couples almost getting a divorce over this. She needs to be a part of this operation and I love her for it.
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Old 12-18-2007, 04:45 PM   #17
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[img][/img]


[img][/img]

[img][/img]

OK< I went out at 5pm and took these phoos so they are not great. The camera & monitor were purchased online thru E-Bay. The setup is a "WIRED" one. I tried the 100 dollar set up from WalMart/Sams Club, and it was great, "AS LONG AS I DIDN'T START THE TRUCK" once I started the truck the picture went to all static lines. Returned it and bought the wired setup. The "mirror/monitor" is cable tied right onto my factory mirror. Now, when I put my truck into reverse the camera is activated and the center square portion of the mirror now shows what the camera is seeing. When I take the truck out of reverse, I have my regular rearview mirror again.

The view on the monitor is better than what is pictured here. If memory serves me right, it was something like $160.00 delivered to my door. Son ran the wires for me. No modification needed to be done to truck.
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplesuebug
My tried and true method is Sue. She valantly stands in the rain, sun or fog and precisely aligns me every time. After yells, screams and finger popping we are hitched and ready to go. This gives us communication for at least a couple miles and then many more miles with ear numbing silence. Why oh why would I ever look at another way for backing up to the trailer. Thanks for the ideas...............Marshall
Marshall......

You do have a way with words LOL....
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTHutch
snip...

See my previous post for some pictures and information on the method that seems to work for me hitching up with the Hensley hitch.

Hutch
Hutch

Thanks for the link. I thought you where the one with the rods. I followed your link and saw something I missed before. The O ring on the 7 wire plug. Good idea

Thanks

John
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplesuebug
My tried and true method is Sue. She valantly stands in the rain, sun or fog and precisely aligns me every time. After yells, screams and finger popping we are hitched and ready to go. ...
I told Mary once that I couldn't hear her and she needed to give me hand signals. Her response to me then was to flip me off. Her hand signal was clear and to the point
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