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Grumpy2

Quick hitch up needed

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Starting to think about our first trip out from home with the caravan. It’s in storage and we are due to bring it home next week before heading off on our first holiday..

 

because of the location of out house/drive I’m anticipating some problems and expect to be blocking the road for a few mins at the least. This may not be a big problem getting the caravan onto the drive a free unhitching but could be much worse getting it off then hitching up on the road.

 

one thing that will speed this up is accurately aligning the tow ball and hitch first time, wifey isn’t too good at giving instructions although she will get better with time. I’m not great at judging the distance behind and in front of the caravan.

 

so has anyone got any suggestions to help speed up this process so I don’t bring my road to a stand still for too long

 

one thought I had was some temporary camera looking down on the row hitch with a monitor on the dashboard?

 

thanks in advance

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You could temporarily tape a garden cane to the hitch, so you can line it up through the cars back window? 

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There are many many on here with much greater knowledge than I but it sounds like technology would answer many of your dilemmas.

A motor mover would be one item, albeit expensive as it would speed things up, not require assistance by your wife and give you accuracy to hitch up.

I’m fortunate my car has a rear camera but with a mover it’s not really necessary.

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Towing: 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

Tow Car: 2020 BMW X3 M40i

 

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There are wireless cameras on Amazon that will transmit to an app on your phone.

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Spend some time practising in your storage yard.

Either a cane on the hitch as Fireman Iain's suggestion plus one on the back of your car near the tow ball.

Or, your wife giving hand signals - where you can see them. Hands held apart the distance you have to reverse, with hands getting closer together as the distance reduces - is better than shouting "back", "back", when you have no idea how far to go!

Or, let your wife drive while you give signals?

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4 minutes ago, bubble2015 said:

Either a cane on the hitch as Fireman Iain's suggestion plus one on the back of your car near the tow ball.

 

When touring on my own I used to use two telescopic retrieval magnets as used for fishing out dropped nuts when working on cars. Worked for me

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Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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A tip my driving instructor gave me when I first started driving long long ago was to insert a small piece of matchstick dead center of the rear window in the rubber inside (or if no rubber a bit of sticky tape)  Then on the van after making sure you are dead straight positon a matching cross that you can line up by looking in your rear view mirror after you have unhitched and wound the front of the van up enough to drive under, so when you have to hitch up just line up the matchstick with the cross and you will be directly under the hitch.

  Just have to take time to get the cross in the right position.

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There is a menu on the display of my car with a factory-fitted rear camera which enables the camera to be dipped to focus on the towball. Using that feature I can reverse accurately enough to get the towball almost exactly under the coupling head of the hitch.

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Camera is probably best. If not a pair of walkie talkies so you are not shouting at each other and use a broom stick  attached upright to the hitch handle to use as a guide. If you have a hatch back, open it before reversing....and don't shout at your wife when you get it wrong....

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Posted (edited)

It sounds as though the car has to be man handled off the drive into the road, and then the car reverses up to it. No motor mover then? If the man handling gets the caravan onto the road, why not just pop it onto the tow ball while you are at it?   

Edited by Ern

Ern

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Grumpy2, a couple of low-tech suggestions …

 

 a] a mirror on an arm which connects to the tow-ball … 

 

9EBC5C98-7229-4DA5-B102-A5F3D0D8BDB5.jpeg.45fab18feb56ddc2d6d56620d65325cf.jpeg

 

b]  two of these telescopic magnets - one sticking up from the tow-hitch and one on the tow-ball …


image.thumb.jpeg.c1e0414cae36a46df6bc4c44ad959ba2.jpeg

 

John

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My son in law uses a dashcam attached to the inside of the tailgate of his car, which when raised sends a picture by Bluetooth to his phone on the dashboard. Since he already has the dashcam pointing out of the rear window for its normal use, a no cost option!

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I have a rear view camera, yes great if you have one, and have a white cross on top of my tow ball cover so that it shows up well on the screen and can usually get it spot on.

 

I can also cheat :P and use my mover but if I want a real challenge I get my wife to direct me. :(

  • Haha 4

Stay safe, Griff. :ph34r:

 

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29 minutes ago, Griff said:

I have a rear view camera, yes great if you have one, and have a white cross on top of my tow ball cover so that it shows up well on the screen and can usually get it spot on.


I like that idea Griff!!!


2016 Audi Q7 3. 0 - Towing a 2012 Sterling Elite Emerald

Persistent Love2Stay user

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Stevan said:

My son in law uses a dashcam attached to the inside of the tailgate of his car, which when raised sends a picture by Bluetooth to his phone on the dashboard. Since he already has the dashcam pointing out of the rear window for its normal use, a no cost option!

I am probably being thick...but won’t a rear facing camera on the tailgate point to the sky when raised or does he swing it round for the occasion?

Edited by ericfield

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1 minute ago, ericfield said:

I am probably being thick...but won’t a rear facing camera on the tailgate point to the sky when raised?


My rear facing camera is on a ball  and socket mount so will turn !


Jaguar E-Pace 180D HSE R Dynamic - 2008 Swift Conqueror 540

 

"Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk"

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Grandpa Steve said:

My rear facing camera is on a ball  and socket mount so will turn !


Thanks...I sussed that and edited the post but too slowly for your reply.

My reversing camera has a ‘towing’ screen option that projects a white line on the screen from the tow ball out backwards to the awaiting hitch. Excellent at side to side aligning, just need to judge when the ball is right under the hitch...which takes a bit of getting use to.

Edited by ericfield

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We have a rear view camera on the car that covers the tow ball and it is simple to reverse right under the hitch. They are very useful in everyday driving when reversing as you can see anyone behind you and get even closer than the reversing alarm would suggest.

The alternative would be a motor mover, that can move the caravan out into the road and accurately place the hitch over the tow ball. You can then watch it yourself as you stand at the side.

 

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For years my wife used to do it by standing near the hitch and giving me hand signals through the rear window, full hand for coming back with pointing to one side or the other then using less fingers as I got closer finally one finger for the last inch. Worked well if nothing blocking the view and she uses the camera if the view is blocked.

 

Ian


2018 Range Rover Sport AB,  2015 Buccaneer Cruiser.

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We live on a fairly busy road, that is also a bus route. 
Our driveway is uphill slope. 
When taking the van home, I pull up half on the verge, unhook and use the mover to get on the drive. 
It entails basically doing a 90 deg turn then up the drive. Doing this turn will block traffic, as hitch is almost to middle of road. It’s about 1 minutes hold up. 
No struggle to move the van, and without the panic to get it moved. 
Getting it out is a reversal procedure. And then just drive it straight over the ball. 
In short. Motor mover is the way to go

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Thanks for the replies some interesting ideas. 
 

yes we have a motor mover and that will be used to get the caravan off the drive and on to the other side of our road facing the right way to exit the street.

 

as we live on a blind bend it’s the next step that will be the problem and cause the hold up. I will have to position the car in such a way as to block the road and give me enough swing to clear the bend.  I estimate that if I can reverse right under the hitch, wife’s can drop the jockey wheel in place and I can dive a short distance down the street where I can complete the process in safety. ThiS should not take long at all, perhaps less than a minute.
 

if I have to reverse, manoeuvre the caravan, hitch then disengage the mover this will take much longer, perhaps 3-5 mins.  
 

I’m thinking about minimising the time I block the road which is inevitable.

 

I’ve spent the last couple of hours fiddling with cameras and mirrors without finding a solution. 
 

once again, thanks for the ideas an keep them coming. I’m new to all this and probably over thinking the situation.

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Posted (edited)

For future trips see if you can go away straight from the storage site, we have always had to do this and not found it a problem. It would save you a couple of trips to storage if you can avoid taking the caravan to your home before and after each trip. In our case, everything taken goes in the car but at the caravan will put some bulky things like bedding in to give more room in the car. When reversing to the caravan I prefer to do it on my own and keep getting out of the car to look until it is near enough and then move the caravan on to the tow ball. If a helper is used make sure they do not stand between the car and caravan with a risk of getting run over.

Edited by Paul1957

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9 minutes ago, Grumpy2 said:

wife’s can drop the jockey wheel in place and I can dive a short distance

Make sure that she knows to check that it is fully engaged by lifting the back end of the car with the jockey wheel as things done too hastily can cause mishaps.

 

Also double check the jockey wheel is properly stowed and clamped afterwards. I say this because I have only once had a jockey wheel drop down in transit and I figured out why. We were driving down a busy A Road when the wheel dropped. Fortunately there was a works entrance in less than 100 yds and I pulled in there to sort it.

 

The reason that I had not clamped tightly enough was haste. I was leaving site and there was a motorhome waiting behind me. I have to be on the RHS of the A frame to connect electric. Normally I take off motor mover and then walk round to the clamp on LHS. On this occassion I reached over and my arthritic hands were not able to supply as much pressure in that situation.


Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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Re jockey issue . I use a short bungy strap as back up to the clamp....still got caught out a couple of weeks ago (no bungy, jockey unwound) as we made a hasty exit from our caravan dealer due to bad news...failed to consult with my own check list! have a nice smooth tyre of smaller diameter now...Also use another bungy in a loop around hitch lock to keep power cable higher up off the ground... 

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6 minutes ago, gtepete said:

Re jockey issue . I use a short bungy strap as back up to the clamp....still got caught out a couple of weeks ago (no bungy, jockey unwound)

Our situation was potentially worse as there was no turning to follow direction on the jockey wheel as the wheel was tight up in its slot and the tube itself had dropped due to clamp to slack.

 

I use some shock chord to keep slack in cable out of the way also


Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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