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backing in with hdt


GlennWest

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I feel pure stupid about this. I had an awful time backing in our spot. We are on the hill, close to care center. Back row next to tree line. Wash room just a few sites over. Vehicles were in the way

cutting it in from both directions. I tried though. Finally pulled up in an empty site and backed diagonally in. This was so easy with dually. Thought this Hdt was suppose to be easy.

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Also going from drive to reverse didn't go very smooth. I actually had to shut down truck to get it to change. It would just beep like trying to go in gear too high. Neutral display would be on dash with selector in reverse.

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Backing up a trailer is never easy. Ever see all the trailer backing fail videos on YouTube?

For me, I haven't bought a trailer yet but I have been backing my HDT into the driveway every time I park it. I figure that this will help me get comfortable with it so that when I have the trailer hooked up, it should be easier...

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Glenn,

 

The beeping is the truck telling you it isn't ready for the shift. For my Ultrashift, I just stop, keep my foot on the brake, shift first to "N", let the light become solid (not flashing) then shift to reverse. I experienced the same trouble as you when I first got the truck. These transmissions are pretty smart at protecting themselves. As for the backing, that's just time and practice. I'm far from good at it but getting better. Have seen Dan Reese (Lights) stick a trailer with a manual tranie in a tight site with two pickups in the access road. Did it on first try, so again is just practice. Don't give up, you'll get better.

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Backing up a trailer is never easy. Ever see all the trailer backing fail videos on YouTube?

For me, I haven't bought a trailer yet but I have been backing my HDT into the driveway every time I park it. I figure that this will help me get comfortable with it so that when I have the trailer hooked up, it should be easier...

Hey Choose,

You are on the right track!

Familiarity with your vehicle is paramount

From an old road dog

E.P.

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Hi Glenn - what SuiteSuccess said - remember the Ultrashift is an automated gear trans, not a planetary automatic with fluid connection like a pickup auto - so you cannot shuttle shift to reverse direction with the vehicle moving the opposite direction even minutely...

 

Learning to tickle toe the throttle to carefully close the clutch takes a little practice... parked 2 ft from the shop door isn't the place to learn to run an Ultrashift :D

 

Some versions can be programmed to "creep" - you can close the clutch then remove the toe from the throttle pedal and the clutch stays closed and the truck will idle along "in gear" fwd or reverse.

 

Does your clutch open and truck come to a stop in gear as soon as you take toe off the throttle?

 

Also do you have a hill start aid switch? It will be a cartoon truck on a slant with a brake symbol ...

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For those of you that are not familiar with driving an Ultrashift "automated manual transmission" please keep in mind it has a "centrifugal " clutch. This takes some practice to "learn" how to drive! You need to ease in on the throttle until the clutch releases. This type of clutch does not drive like a "traditional" clutch you may be used to. Remember to use the "brake pedal" between shifts or it will "beep" at you.

As has been mentioned practice, practice and more practice will make you "one" with your truck!

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Whether you are typically good or bad at backing a trailer, everybody has good days and bad days. Just take your time and do it right regardless of how many tries or how much time it takes. You also have some learning curves you are dealing with. Your pivot point is different now. This is going to cause the trailer to also act differently then what you are use to with this trailer. You basically have to learn to back this trailer again as if it was the first time you backed this trailer/wheelbase.

 

These are the things I always remind myself of before committing to how I am going to back in.

 

* Evaluate all my options first. So often we say to ourselves, I am here at point "A" and figure out from there how to back in to point "B". But if you look at all your options from the start, you may find that if you position yourself to point "C" then backing into point "B" will be much easier. And that is exactly what you did but it was not your first choice. I have no problems using a empty campsite to pull into first then back from there if that is easier. So what if you have to drive around the campground to get yourself into a better position and even drive the wrong way down a one way campground road. I have even backed thru a pull thru site to get to my back-in site (back in site backed into a ocean view spot) because of a narrow lane between the back-ins and the pull thrus. The other side of the pull thrus was 3 times wider. It was much easier than if I tried to back from where I was expected and everybody else backs in from.

 

* I also prefer to back to my left over my right. Too many blind spots trying to back to my right.

 

* Last by not least if I have the space I will pull forward another 20 or more feet after the trailer clears where I want to back it in to before I start backing. All too often people just pull forward enough to clear the spot they want to be in. Immediately when they start to back they have to crank the wheel hard. In the end it requires more corrections due to the difficulty involved in getting the truck/trailer straight again. By pulling past where I want to back in to, I know the truck/trailer are straight when I start backing and I can also start my turn much earlier with just a slight turn of the wheel. This gives me a feel of how the trailer is going to react to my actions. Then once I am at the point where most start their backing I then crank the wheel but typically not as hard as if that was my starting point since I am already got the trailer going to the angle needed.

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I love back in sites.

 

But backing up with a new truck takes time. You have to get a feel for how big you are, where the pivot points are. What the turn radius is where your blind spots are and how the truck moves so you can wiggle your way in. Keep your head up and keep trying. You don't get successful by giving up or getting frustrated. I know the first few times the DW did it she got really flustered. I ended up standing on the steps and talking her through it inch by inch. And now she does it without hesitation.

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"everybody has off days" OH YEAH! I"m a farmer and used to running and backing all kinds of stuff. I've had those days, Glenn. When the trailer just WON"T go where you want it to...and the truck is being a pill...and of COURSE it is always when a huge bunch of gawkers are right there. Alos, the first few times will always be hard because its different than the dually...you have to get the feel for the way the new truck handles the trailer. Your brain is still "used" to the dually and the way it backed the trailer.

 

Our first night with the HDT was in a small campground where the only site big enough was at an angle off at the top of a long hill. It was pouring rain and the the pavement way SLICK. I had to back the trailer up the hill and angle it into the spot. AND I couldn't stop of the truck would spin out. Needless to say that was NOT a fun experience.

 

The LAST trip I spent an hour getting it where I wanted...So frustrated, nothing had gone right that day. I finally get the trailer into the right spot, disconnect, and THEN realize that the 5r is 6" too close to the electrical post and the slide won't open all the way....

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with the 2 pedal autos, it's helpful to use left foot on the brake and right on the throttle for close quarters. with your foot on the brake, apply a little throttle and then use the brakes to modulate speed.

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Glenn,

I know that after years of towing fifth wheels with 1 ton's and a MDT where the hitch point was over the center of the rear axle. Then moving the ET to the rear of my current truck makes it react more like a tag (bumper pull). That also takes some getting used to and I found myself over steering but now like the quicker turning rate....it just takes a little getting used to.

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I was actually getting it in with cutting about 70 degrees back but ran out of truck room. Another dually in the way. Was down hill after that. Thanks so much for the support. Got to do some more studying today. Failed Class A test.

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I am always impressed when I see someone back up properly and skillfully. I see in town delivery guys and girls back into places I would not venture in forward.

The only thing more impressive is to see it done with a 8 or 10 up horse hitch. If anyone has ever seen a true teamster at work you will know what I mean.

Backing up is a true skill mixed with talent and practice.

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I am always impressed when I see someone back up properly and skillfully. I see in town delivery guys and girls back into places I would not venture in forward.

The only thing more impressive is to see it done with a 8 or 10 up horse hitch. If anyone has ever seen a true teamster at work you will know what I mean.

Backing up is a true skill mixed with talent and practice.

Have seen that growing up in North Texas when rodeos were a big deal. Mostly six horse teams, impressive!

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See if you can hang a piece of chalk from under your truck right underneath the hitch socket. If you can "doodle on the street" with the chalk, practice drawing a line of chalk in reverse when you're not initially lined up for the chalk. If you can draw a straight line as you're straightening out, that'll help you walk the trailer back into a spot "straightly". Essentially, you "need to become one" with where the hitch is relative to you, and then think of the trailer as a wheelbarrow that you're pushing (while standing at it backwards with limited mobility) into a space.

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My wife drove a sugar beet semi last fall, and I kept reminding her that every driver has their first day in a big truck. At the end of the 10 day harvest she could back the truck into the dump station with only 2-3 inches clearance on each side of the tires and not even touch the back stops. After a 100 dumps she was driving like any professional, practice makes perfect.

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I am always impressed when I see someone back up properly and skillfully. I see in town delivery guys and girls back into places I would not venture in forward.

The only thing more impressive is to see it done with a 8 or 10 up horse hitch. If anyone has ever seen a true teamster at work you will know what I mean.

Backing up is a true skill mixed with talent and practice.

I'll take that as a compliment and thank you very much.

It's amazing the lengths people will go to,in order to get around you when you're attempting to back in a tight spot off a busy street with a 48ft trailer.

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I feel pure stupid about this. I had an awful time backing in our spot. We are on the hill, close to care center. Back row next to tree line. Wash room just a few sites over. Vehicles were in the way

cutting it in from both directions. I tried though. Finally pulled up in an empty site and backed diagonally in. This was so easy with dually. Thought this Hdt was suppose to be easy.

Glenn:

 

This is what I did to get comfortable backing up. I went to an empty Walmart parking lot, at 6:00am. At 6:00am, you will NOT have any campground "experts" staring at you and trying to help you. Usually, there is no one in the lot. I place four large orange cones on the ground to mimic a parking space. Then the fun begins! If you run over a cone, no big deal because there will be no damage to truck or cones.

 

And, then, I practice, practice, practice and practice some more. Usually the practice ends when a security guard comes out and asks what I am doing. LOL.

 

Here are a couple of suggestions that my over the road tuck driver buddy shared with me.

 

1. Never do a "blind side" park, if you can avoid it.

 

2. Do an "S" approach to get the trailer and truck "staged" properly for the back up maneuver.

 

Go to youtube and look up both of these suggestions. A video is worth a 1000 words. If you find a good video, post it here for others to view.

 

Here are a couple of things I learned along the way.

 

1. Use one hand to steer. If you keep your "strong" hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, the trailer will move in the direction that your hand is moving, when you turn the wheel. That is, if your hand moves to the right, the trailer will move to the right. If your hand moves to the left, the trailer will move to the left.

 

2. If your hitch is about four feet behind the rear axles, like mine, then when backing into the parking spot, do not move the steering wheel more than 1/4 to 1/2 turn.

 

3. If you have a triple axle trailer, do not jack knife the trailer on a hard surface, like asphalt or cement. You will be peeling the tread off of the front and rear tires because they are scraping, not rolling. You could damage axles, rims, frame. The big engines in our trucks don't care about a little rolling resistance, like tires scraping.

 

4. Before you enter any area, like a side street or a parking lot, make sure you have an exit, without backing out. Ask me how I know, LOL.

 

5. When trying to back up straight, use a distant object for a reference target point. Keep the object in you left mirror and keep it at the same distance from the back edge of your trailer as you back up, making teeny weeny corrections to keep it in the same location, in your mirror.

 

6. A spotter is wonderful if the person knows what he/she are doing (know how to back up the rig). If not, the spotter can become an added

S T R E S S O R.

 

7. In really tight spots, the DW and I get out of the truck and I show her my areas of concern (objects that I might run into). The area of concern is usually on my blind side. We get on the cell phone (or walkie talkie) and I start slowly backing up. She is my eyes and her ONLY job is to keep saying OK, OK, OK, IF MY APPROACH IS SAFE. Or, say STOP, if my approach is NO LONGER SAFE. The reason, she keeps saying OK, OK, OK is so that I know we are still in communication and I am safe to proceed. If I lose the OK, OK, OK, communication from her, then I stop. Before we used the OK, OK, OK technique, we used the "vampire" technique, which is if she can't see me in my mirrors, then I can't see her. The problem with that technique is that when the driver is backing up, he/she is watching many areas and not just the mirrors. And it does not work well in the dark. Years ago, when we used the vampire technique, she tripped and fell down. She was in the path of the approaching trailer. I stopped backing because I lost visual contact of her. However, it was a few seconds before I noticed. And she was scrambling to get out of the way of the approaching trailer With the OK, OK, OK technique, I would have stopped at the moment she fell.

 

So, the spotter has only two commands and they are OK or STOP. The driver is listening for the continuous, repetitive OK command or the STOP command.

 

8. We have four dogs and when we arrive, they are wanting to get out of the truck and run. We usually dry camp in the desert areas. Before, we start the "docking" procedure, the dogs are e-collared up and they are given the command, NO BARK! Imagine trying to park in a tight spot, at night and four dogs barking at the driver. Can we say S T E S S O R !! Been there, done that.

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^ good advice. When we purchased our first travel trailer, I taught my wife how to back a trailer in the YMCA parking lot at 7AM on a Sunday.

 

I just finished a 4 week CDL school program. 20 people in my class, and 20 more in another. Some could back the trailers in the first session, some took the whole four weeks and still struggled. We were learning to back 32', 42', and 53' dry vans with single and dual drive axle tractors (all manual Freightliners, Internationals, and one Volvo). We had professional instructors with decades of experience showing us how to do it, step by step.

 

The DMV test only required a straight back, offset back, and a parallel park. We practiced 45 degree parking just for grins. An RVer routinely does more difficult maneuvers than these, in tighter spots, with more at stake, more distractions, and often in low to no light. Yet, few make (or take) the time to practice!

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