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TOPIC: reversing the beast

reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47797

As a new caravanner, we are yet to enoy our first break away ( 3 days to go). However I did collect van from dealer and tow to storage, a distance of about 30 miles.

Since then brought we brought van home for cleaning and packing and returned it to storage.

I have tried several times to reverse and do understand principle or reversing. My problem is when I returned van to storage, reversed van into space first time! I can remember thinking my car was in danger of jack-knifing, something I remember from my father talking of years ago and this is my main worry when reversing. How do you know when to allow your car to follow line of the caravan?
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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47798

  • Colinn
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Hi,

If you already know the principle, you are 90% there. My tip after that is just: do it very, very slowly...the moment you sense you are out of line, stop, edge forward again until you are back on the line you want, and then continue reversing using (in most cases) a lesser turn of the steering wheel. If you do that, you will realise when it's time to allow the car to follow round - the van will be edging backwards in the direction you're aiming for!

Try to avoid sharp turns (a wide arc-type manoeuvre is much easier than a 90 degree challenge). The straighter the line the better so use all the space available to you. Most jack-knife problems start by attempting a tight turn made necessary by beginning the manoeuvre from a badly judged starting position, so don't make life difficult for yourself - get your outfit forward those extra few feet before you start.

Good luck...
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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47799

  • CliveV
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Hi UF (sorry! but they are your initials!!!! lol)



I had real problems reversing when I started towing many years ago but was then trained by a guy who told me this trick.



Firstly make a conscious mental effort to "switch off" what you normally do when reversing.



Secondly in an empty car park or similar turn round in your seat and look back thro the rear window at what the caravan is actually doing.



Then (with a helper to yell at you if you are getting too close to anything!) just reverse slowly and gently as Colin suggests and learn what happens when you turn the wheel.



With modern cars with power steering this is so easy you can look out of the rear window and steer one handed. Occasional looks forward to use the mirrors will put you totally in control.



Very soon with a bit of practice your "normal reactions" will swap so that reversing a caravan becomes second nature.



But in my view - nothing beats being able to see what the caravan does for a given steering wheel movement.



Have fun!

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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47800

Hi UF (sorry! but they are your initials!!!! lol)



I had real problems reversing when I started towing many years ago but was then trained by a guy who told me this trick.



Firstly make a conscious mental effort to "switch off" what you normally do when reversing.



Secondly in an empty car park or similar turn round in your seat and look back thro the rear window at what the caravan is actually doing.



Then (with a helper to yell at you if you are getting too close to anything!) just reverse slowly and gently as Colin suggests and learn what happens when you turn the wheel.



With modern cars with power steering this is so easy you can look out of the rear window and steer one handed. Occasional looks forward to use the mirrors will put you totally in control.



Very soon with a bit of practice your "normal reactions" will swap so that reversing a caravan becomes second nature.



But in my view - nothing beats being able to see what the caravan does for a given steering wheel movement.



Have fun!
Thanks CliveV.



I'm married to Uncle Fester!

I'm so pleased that you said he needed a helper to yell at him.

If he's going to practise reversing - can I practise yelling? :-)



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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47801

Hi



The best tip I learn from a towing course is that if you only use 3/4 of the total lock on the car when reversing you will always have enough opposite lock to get the car to follow the van therefore never getting into a jack knife position. If reversing to the left (i.e. pitch on the passenger side of the car) then when you can see the entire length of the van over your shoulder or rear quarter light of the car thats the time to start taking the lock off and then start following the vans arc. To a pitch on the right when you can see the complete side of the van out of the drivers window then start to follow the van. Very slow and small adjustments to the steering work best with your hand a 12 o clock (so you know how much lock you have put on)



Hope that helps, I guess others have learnt different methods, its an art!
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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47802

The best way to learn to do it properly (reversing that is) is to book yourself on a club course. I've been on the Camping & Caravanning Club one, its only a day, and came away with immense confidence. Its all about positioning and steering using your mirrors and taking things slowly. Can't recommend this course enough. Best of luck.
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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47803

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Hi UF (sorry! but they are your initials!!!! lol)



I had real problems reversing when I started towing many years ago but was then trained by a guy who told me this trick.



Firstly make a conscious mental effort to "switch off" what you normally do when reversing.



Secondly in an empty car park or similar turn round in your seat and look back thro the rear window at what the caravan is actually doing.



Then (with a helper to yell at you if you are getting too close to anything!) just reverse slowly and gently as Colin suggests and learn what happens when you turn the wheel.



With modern cars with power steering this is so easy you can look out of the rear window and steer one handed. Occasional looks forward to use the mirrors will put you totally in control.



Very soon with a bit of practice your "normal reactions" will swap so that reversing a caravan becomes second nature.



But in my view - nothing beats being able to see what the caravan does for a given steering wheel movement.



Have fun!
Only if when he has had a go - you get in the driving seat and have a go too.



Then he can yell at you!
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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47804

  • Geordie
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"" PRACTICE ""
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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47805

If you can borrow a small trailer, try practicing with that.

5 or 6 fooot box trailer is harder to reverse than a caravan and you shouldn't do any expensive damage. Once you have the hang of which way to turn tha van is easy. Take it SLOWLY!
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reversing the beast 8 years 5 months ago #47806

Hi,



Welcome new caravanner, im sure you wont be dissapointed in your new purchase into this wonderfull leisure activity.

Anyway something i read about reversing when i first started to caravan about 12 years ago & if you follow this principle, i can guarantee you will never have problems reversing again.

Always hold the steering wheel at the bottom (instead of the top)and then move the wheel in the way you want the caravan to move but as other people have said just gentle movements. You can then very easily have your car following the line of your caravan.

Good luck
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