Caravan Reversing Advice

Submitted: Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:03
ThreadID: 69047 Views:2893 Replies:15 FollowUps:5
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I would like some opinions on the possibilities - or smallest acceptable margins of error when reversing a camper-trailer into a garage.
My garage is 2 single roller-doors. I need to reverse a Jayco Dove into the brick garage. The Jayco is 2.24 m wide.

Realistically - what excess distance is necessary on each side to be able to accomplish this?

I currently have a Jayco Swan but due to its length - I have it stored off-site. I have owned the Swan for 10 years so my reversing experience is good [IMHO].

Advice welcome.
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Reply By: Member - 1/2A - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:19

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:19
I've installed a tow hitch on the front of my Navara and its the best accessory I've ever put on any vehicle. I push my camper up my driveway with 1.5 foot on either side and get it up into the back yard first go each time. It was a nightmare trying to back it in.
Arthur
AnswerID: 366030

Follow Up By: Member - Poppy (QLD) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:29

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:29
Hi Arthur
How did you go about fitting tow hitch to front of your Navara?
I want to fit one to my 2006 Patrol as I have to back my van into the shed on the blind side at an angle and it is a real pain.
Cheers Ray
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FollowupID: 633776

Follow Up By: Member - 1/2A - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 08:32

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 08:32
Hi Ray,
I'm off camping for the weekend when I get back I'll take some Photos and send them to you.
Arthur
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FollowupID: 633823

Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:19

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:19
It would depend on the approach angle, are you backing straight in, or is the drive curved?
AnswerID: 366031

Reply By: garytee - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:22

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:22
Perfectly straight and only about a 6 metre drive.
AnswerID: 366033

Reply By: garytee - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:25

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:25
To help with your advice - I have about 2" each side spare.
Is this possible - in your view?
AnswerID: 366034

Reply By: Wherehegon - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:27

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:27
Enough so you don't scrape it ??? Like driving into a garage with a vehicle that is a bit wider, most these day just miss the side mirrors either side, same thing applies, enough either side so you don't scrape the mirrors. Most standard garage door openings are 2.4 wide, so that gives you 16cm all up or 8cm either side to play with, providing you can reverse up to it dead straight no probs, if having to reverse at an angle guaranteed to hit/scrape it..WHG
AnswerID: 366035

Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:39

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 21:39
Meant to add, with this small amount to play with it would be worth having some one there to keep watch, my old man use to have about 5cm either side of his racing boat he had a line (tape, yellow in colour) stuck to the garage floor, when he was reversing he would line the guard up with it on the drivers side and new he was clear the other, never hit the garage door/wall but did wipe out the front brick pier for the fence lol, other wise as mentioned add another tow hitch to the front but off set it so you can see down the side of the van this is providing you can stop outside the garage and dont need to drive vehicle through with the van.....WHG
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FollowupID: 633777

Reply By: ian - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 22:42

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 22:42
Garytee,
I have another approach for you to consider. Obviously you need a slow and very contolled movement into your garage.
I have seen, but not used, a jockey wheel that had a ratchet set-up that allows you to drive the camper forward/back, left /right at a contolled pace. Plenty of time to see what you are doing without losing sight of either side.
regards
ian
AnswerID: 366060

Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 23:19

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 23:19
I dont recommend those ratchet jockey wheels. Maybe if the gound is dead level and concrete. I tried one and got rid of it quickly. A real pain to use. Changing the setting so you could change the direction of the ratchet was often very difficult, and you need to do this a lot when tight manouvering. The tyre quality is poor and just spins around on damp or grass surfaces, or any sort of slope at all.
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FollowupID: 633795

Reply By: Dave B ( BHQ NSW) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 22:54

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 22:54
Not sure what you mean by the question ' what excess distance is required to accomplish this'.
I would say if you don't hear any crunching noises, you have achieved what you wanted to do successfully.

Practice, practice, practice, that's in my opinion the best way to reverse accurately. And do it SLOWLY.
If you go off line when reversing slowly, you will either be able to correct it or worst case scenario, you wont go too far off line and be able to go forward and start again.
If you try and get it all over and done quickly, generally you finish up way off line, and you have to go a long way forward to line up again.
I have seen people trying to reverse into places and they have had so many goes at it back and forward, their car needs a service after they have finished.
Dave
'Wouldn't be dead for quids'

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AnswerID: 366064

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 23:41

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 23:41
With only two inches each side to play with, I believe the option of a front mounted tow hitch is your best option.

The problem with many modern vehicles is that what you see in the rear view mirrors is quite often "misleading", especially on the left hand side, with those convex mirrors.


PS - You wouldn't believe how may spelling mistakes I made in posting this response. I read it back and couldn't understand what I had written.
(Must have been the second bottle of red.)

Thank God for spell check! (When you remember to use it)

Bill.

Think it's time to go to bed:-)
Bill


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 366071

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 07:28

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 07:28
If the driveway is level why not unhitch and push it in? That's what the two of us used to do.
AnswerID: 366084

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 08:01

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 08:01
G'day Garytee,

I'm a convert to reversing cameras. I'm not dure how practical this is in your case but a reversing camera and a person guiding the rear will allow for some tight places to be tackled.

My reversing situation I considered frightening but now with several dozen reversals under my belt I really can't justify the angst it gave me in the start.

Have a look,

Image Could Not Be Found

I'd say measure and give it a go.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 366095

Reply By: greenant - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 09:03

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 09:03
Hi
I had a similar problem and what I did was purchased a cheap 12volt boat trailer winch of e-bay $60 mounted to draw bar on trailer and use camper battery for power and a fixed point where I park the trailer and just winch it in. There is very little load on the winch and I find this very good for me
Greenant
AnswerID: 366104

Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 13:41

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 13:41
What a great idea!
Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush

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FollowupID: 633877

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 09:18

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 09:18
As for front mounted towbars.
I wanted to put one on my cruiser but was advised against it for legal reasons.
Remember its illegal to have anything protrude foward of your bumper bar.
I suggested a removable tongue but the guy I asked said no as its an airbag issue as well and wouldnt do it.

Yes I know lots have them but it could all end in tears if an accident happens and that part injures someone.

Best of luck.

AnswerID: 366106

Reply By: DIO - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 09:35

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 09:35
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Have you thought about un-hitching from your tow vehicle and once the jockey wheel is in place, pushing (man-handling) the van into position. I too have a restricted parking space and find that by physically pushing it I can have finite control over momentum and direction. Of course if you have an incline to overcome then that's a different proposition.
AnswerID: 366112

Reply By: Steve Ellis - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 16:12

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 16:12
Have you thought about getting some rails eg timber on the floor to ensure it doesnt touch the sdes. Wheels run between the rails. I have them on my trailer I use to carry my golf cart. Works a treat. Just have to start off at the right angle.
AnswerID: 366194

Reply By: Member - Axle - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 18:42

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 18:42
Hi garytee,

One option is to knock the centre Knib wall out and span a decent beam across, May have to come in a bit either end, but it makes access for everythig so much easier.



Cheers Axle.
AnswerID: 366230

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