Backing. Would Practice With A Pickup And A 5th Wheel Travel Trailer Help Me Prepare?

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Rick S.'s Comment
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As far as easier to back than a pickup or a bush with trailer - it's about WHEELBASE (or the distance from the pivot point to the axle).

The closer the distance, the FASTER the trailer turns. So with my bust for example - my axle on the trailer, was about 5' from the hitch ball. The SLIGHTEST MOVEMENT of the steering wheel, created HUGE MOVEMENT of the trailer. So much so, that even straight backing required constance really tiny corrections.

With a TT - your axles are going to be 40' (or more) from the Kingpin (pivot point) - which translates into REAL SLOW turning, from small inputs of the steering wheel.

I got jammed up one night coming from a gig in Louisville KY - GPS took me down a residential street that ended in a "T", cars parked right up to the corner - could have NEVER MADE the turn with the bus - even without the trailer. Took close to an hour & 1/2, to straight back 100 yards - with countless pullups to straighten the trailer when it started to jackknife.

I could have done it with a 53'-er in under 5 minutes.

While experience with a P/U+Trailer might make it easier to wrap your head around the geometry - it's a totally different operation with a long trailer/wheelbase.

I'd take a TT & 53' - over a bus and an 8' any day of the week - and 10X on Sunday...


Victor C. II's Comment
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I wasn't thinking about it, but you could go and buy American Truck Simulator California. Just look up American Truck Simulator. Look for the 2016 version. That will give you a very very accurate idea of what back in his semi involves. My sister bought it for me for Christmas and before that I had been backing up real Semi's and I can tell you now it's super accurate and they just updated it so you might be seeing some updates too. I've been doing a lot of traveling on it, they give you tickets for what you would get tickets for in real life and trust me they are cheap. One accident, can cost you up to 1,800 plus dollars. You can add mods to it if you want to. Just thought you might want to know about it.

John C.'s Comment
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Thanks for the explanation Rick! I understand now.

Great idea Victor, I'll look into getting a copy of the sim.

Tastebuds's Comment
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Penny states:

Note that I am in school, but a student asked my instructor the same thing. Instructor told the student that it wouldn't help unless he just didn't know the steering differences with a trailer, but that it would be completely different.

Straight backing, once it clicks, isn't too bad. I'm not an expert by ANY stretch, but it's better than I thought it would be.

Offset is my current nemesis.

(As is shifting, but I'll conquer it)

Says every student! Offset can be a beast, but you'll get it. That 90 degree backup ate my lunch. Everyday. And with a name like "Tastebuds", I don't give away my lunches!

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