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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm on the verge of buying my first travel trailer, a 27' R-Vision. Honestly, I'm a bit fearful of backing it. I have a fairly narrow gate to get through to the RV parking pad. And I live on a busy street and will have to back into my driveway, so I'd want to get in quick. And our favorite place to camp is all back-in sites, often on sharp curves, and I've seen others spend dozens of exasperating minutes shouting at their wives on walkies trying to get in. I'm just thinking a backup camera would be very helpful (as would a bit of parking lot practice, of course).

I drive an '08 Crewmax Limited which has a bu camera that displays on the nav, and I love it (except that I can't turn it on at will, but I know there's a hack for that). What I'd really like to do is get another bu camera and tie it into the system so that a flick of a switch in the cab would allow me to use one camera one moment and the other the next; tailgate cam as I'm hitching up, trailer cam for manuvering. Has anybody tried this? What kind of camera would you have to get (I assume 12vdc, NTSC). I would really prefer not to have to add another screen to my cab. And I have tried 2 wireless units in the past in my motorhome, and won't be wasting that money again. Thanks for any help!
 

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I think it could be done. You would need a video switcher or a relay to use both cams with the single input of the screen, and supply 12V to the reverse signal going in to the radio when using the one on the trailer. Most any standard camera should work.
 

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I think you are going to find that a portable and wireless solution is going to be much more practical for you (and cheaper). Also, don't think for a minute that getting a backup camera is going to alleviate the issues you brought up because it will not.

For starters, you need to get to be really good (and comfortable) at backing up your camper. Go to an empty parking lot with some cones and practice.

Second, your wife will need to get good at helping you backup. Come up with an agreed upon system of hand signals and phrases and just remember to keep your cool, if she screws up I can promise it was not intentional; shit happens.

A backup camera can certainly help, however, it could also end up hurting you since you will be drawn to the camera display and you will not be checking your mirrors or your truck enough. Remember, your truck will be doing something completely different than the trailer when you are backing and if you are mainly concentrating on what is behind the trailer then you will eventually miss something that is next to your truck...until you hit it anyway. Personally, even with a backup camera I would not do any serious backing with my camper unless I had a human guide to rely upon.
 

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I have it rigged on my trailer, but I don't have it hooked up to the NAV. I have a 4" LCD screen I got on ebay that has two AV inputs. The trailer camera takes priority if it's connected.
 

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F&@k Y'all, I'm from Texas
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First, the tailgate camera becomes almost useless once the trailer is connected. It only becomes helpful if you are making a hard cut while backing and you can look to see how close you are to hitting the trailer.
Second, I think you are planning to use the camera to guide the trailer when it shouldn't be used that way. Like 2010CrewMaxTRD said, it will be a helpful tool to help you see how far you can back up, but it shouldn't be used to steer the trailer in. It might be better to widen the fence at the house so you have plenty of clearance when backing in.

If installing the camera on the trailer, I would power the camera full time (while the truck is running). That would let you switch it on anytime. You can feed it off the 7 pin plug. You need a disconnect for the video cable at the hitch. Without thinking it trough too much, I would do 2 switches in the dash. One for anytime camera/normal reverse only and then the other switch for tailgate camera/trailer camera. You might be able to do it all in one switch, but I don't feel like thinking that hard and trying to find a switch that would work.
 

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Remember this when backing up a trailer... Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and move your hand in the direction you want the @$$ of the trailer to move.

I prefer to do it myself. If the wife tries to help we just end up being in an argument during the first day of camp


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I prefer to do it myself. If the wife tries to help we just end up being in an argument during the first day of camp
Oh, thank God! Someone who understands my predicament! My wife and I have trouble communicating calmly and clearly in zero-pressure situations, much less when blocking traffic on the highway in front of our house trying to thread a needle with a rope! I always loved my bu camera when using my motorhome (and my truck, for that matter) but I understand that the trailer changes the calculus quite a bit. Hopefully I will become proficient quickly and such aides will not be necessary. I just know that I have a terrible time backing my 8' utility trailer... but I've heard that short-tongue, stubby trailers are a lot more squirrelly. We'll see. Thanks for all the feedback, guys!
 

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I think you are going to find that a portable and wireless solution is going to be much more practical for you (and cheaper). Remember, your truck will be doing something completely different than the trailer when you are backing and if you are mainly concentrating on what is behind the trailer then you will eventually miss something that is next to your truck...until you hit it anyway. Personally, even with a backup camera I would not do any serious backing with my camper unless I had a human guide to rely upon.
We have a wireless system on our camper. Its good for easy backing in. But like crewmax said, pay attention to the mirrors and surroundings of the truck. My hubbys Tahoe has a dent on passenger side fender and front door due to paying more attention to the monitor.
 

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The shorter the trailer the more of a pain in the azz it is to back it up because it immediately just jack knives to all hell. I used to hate backing my tiny little jetski trailer because of that.

Oh, thank God! Someone who understands my predicament! My wife and I have trouble communicating calmly and clearly in zero-pressure situations, much less when blocking traffic on the highway in front of our house trying to thread a needle with a rope! I always loved my bu camera when using my motorhome (and my truck, for that matter) but I understand that the trailer changes the calculus quite a bit. Hopefully I will become proficient quickly and such aides will not be necessary. I just know that I have a terrible time backing my 8' utility trailer... but I've heard that short-tongue, stubby trailers are a lot more squirrelly. We'll see. Thanks for all the feedback, guys!
 

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F&@k Y'all, I'm from Texas
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Some guys put a hitch on the front of their vehicle to park trailers. Much easier to guide the trailer that way, but you no longer have the mirrors to see how close the passenger side is to hitting something.
 

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A couple of things. cell phones have replaced the old school walkie talkies.
And I know short, especially narrow trailers are way harder to back up. I too am on a busy street and back up my 4 X 6 regularly, by the time I see it, it is already too far off.
I would wire up 2 or 3 cameras to the back of the trailer. back, passenger side and driver side. Get a video switcher. Now here is where the options come in. You can get the overhead display unit as a trailer only. That way you can see it even while you are driving. Next you could hook the output to a hand unit that has video in. Its may only be used for backing so it doesn't have to be mounted.
I like using the sunvisor to temp mount a dedicated display. It will be hard to keep a reliable connection using the factory nav display unless you or someone you pay has wiring skills. Some aftermarket navs have multiple inputs if you want to keep it in the dash.
My woman is the worst at "helping". She cannot remember left from right, changes it as she changes position, and fails to keep in view of my mirror. If I cannot see her, I cannot tell where she is pointing.
 

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As a former semi truck driver I couldn't let this one pass. First off I think the camera is a great idea because it helps you see what your mirrors won't let you see, can help you avoid running over the cat etc. Second I have my wife help me but she only can tell me two things, when to stop as in "that's good stop there" and "stop you are about to hit something." Honestly trailer backing is not as difficult as we make it out to be. Learn the difference between the blind side and drivers side and if at all possible pull up so you are backing off of the drivers side and try to avoid turning so sharp that you lose your view. Even professional drivers hate the blind side. Second learn to swing so your trailer is aimed where you want it to go, I learned this when I first started driving truck and it makes it a whole lot easier. Hard to explain but think of it this way. Your driveway is on the left side of the street, you come at it from the far lane across the street (driveway is on the drivers side not blind side). You swing into the opposing lane of traffic with your Tundra and then swing back out into your lane with the tail of your trailer pointed at the driveway and your pickup pointed down the street. This way you are already pointed in the right direction with your trailer and you can see what it is doing out your drivers side mirror and window. If you keep your drivers side trailer tires aligned with where they are supposed to be the other side will be OK and not hit anything. Basically you are doing a S curve in the middle of your street to align your trailer. Not sure any of that made sense but that is how a trucker taught me and it works well with 53' trailers to small cargo trailers. Backing in a parking lot with cones is a good plan but place cones not only as if they were your driveway but also as if you were on a narrow street. You can become proficient so you can put a trailer anywhere you want to with time. My first year driving truck all they let me do was move trailers around the yard from one warehouse door to another as they needed them switched around. I hooked and unhooked from hundreds of trailers and never got out of first gear but I did learn how to back a trailer. By the way I never got the hang of putting your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel, I think you just get comfortable with turning the wheel in order to steer the trailer.
 

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Hard to explain but think of it this way. Your driveway is on the left side of the street, you come at it from the far lane across the street (driveway is on the drivers side not blind side). You swing into the opposing lane of traffic with your Tundra and then swing back out into your lane with the tail of your trailer pointed at the driveway and your pickup pointed down the street. This way you are already pointed in the right direction with your trailer and you can see what it is doing out your drivers side mirror and window. If you keep your drivers side trailer tires aligned with where they are supposed to be the other side will be OK and not hit anything.
Great advice. BTW, you describe the way I back my trailer in at my house. My stone parking area at my house is along the side of the house so using my street, driveway and stone area makes it very important that the side of my house is on the driver's side. This is especially true given my stone area is about 11 feet wide and my trailer is 8.5 feet wide.

Shanta, just a few things for you to consider. BTW, I too live on a VERY BUSY (county) road that people LOVE to speed on.

First, get yourself a backup beeper/alarm and mount it on the rear of your trailer. I have the industrial model used on dump trucks. I have it wired such that if I am coming home late at night (when traffic is much less) I can switch it off so I don't wake the neighbors. During the day when traffic is heavy the combination of the beeper and my 4-ways does get the attention of other drivers on the road.

Second, TAKE YOUR TIME backing in at your house. Some drivers are impatient A*#holes and will try to go around you/pass you when you are backing in. This happens to me occasionally so I always keep an eye out. The Tundra has a good horn which is even louder when the JackA*# passing you has their car window open as they pass the front of the truck. :D For the most part people are patient (at least to a point). Also I have found that I can spot a pickup driver who tows easily as these folks understand and just sit and wait. Sometimes they even block the impatient drivers who try to do stupid things (yes even those driving Fords/Chevys/Rams).

Third, If your trailer is 8.5 feet wide and you do not have towing mirrors, GET THEM. If you intend to tow often don't get the plastic clamp on mirrors get the OEM Tundra towing mirrors.

I agree that most wireless camera systems are not gonna work. I tried one that the seller said worked for tractor trailers. Funny, how even with the optional antenna to "extend the range" the picture turned to snow after about 25 feet of UNOBSTRUCTED space. Given my rig is about 43 feet long I was screwed. Finally, after more than a week of emails from Tech Support including many videos I sent, they agreed to take back their POS system and refund my money. Not too long after that their camera system stopped being listed on amazon.com.

Good Luck.
 

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a waaay side note, but there are camera systems for R/C planes that work incredibly well. the one for mine works from almost a 1/2 mile away, through trees. Should be rather stable from 50'
 

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Lol, I agree with so many of these posts.

I too live on a VERY busy street with lots of speeders. 1000' from my house is a Coca-Cola distribution facility. Many many many trucks in and out every day. I have had to develop a plan for backing my 23' HTT in QUICKLY as well.

My biggest word of advice is APPROACH. Everything comes down to your setup & approach. Depending on your driveway angle (if not perfectly perpendicular to the street) and any curves/bends/hills you have to plan your approach first. Me, I have to approach from the west end of my street. That puts me on the same side of the road as my house. With the angle of my driveway & the small hill on the west side of my driveway it works out well. I am in reverse and out of the street in 4-7 seconds. I too leave my 4-way flashers on, and I turn on my amber LED emergency roof light (when it's on the truck)....every little but helps!

And again, just like others here, my wife is good for 2 signals during backing the camper in...."stop, that's far enough" (and she likely stopped me wayyyy before I needed to) and "stop, you're going to hit something" (she is usually right about that one). It is great when I have one of my buddies or family member that knows what signals & commands I need, especially when backing into a super tight campsite....you know the kind, when you have to jackknife the $hit out of it to get'er in there....lol

The camera idea, I guess it would be handy. But it means nothing without all of the other points raised here.




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I say just practice and get good in a parking lot. You need to steer how you are comfortable, hand on top or bottom. Personally, I have been towing a trailer since i was 16 and grew up on land. And I was in a stick shift which can throw some for a loop. Now i live in town and just have an 8 foot folding trailer. Make sure the inside of the turn is on the driver side but make sure you can do it the other way (with a spotter) too. You can't plan for just your house as you will be going to campgrounds that you didn't design (though hopefully the designer wasn't an idiot). Longer trailers are easier, they just don't turn as fast. But in tight spaces, they don't turn as fast either so it's a double edged sword. My advice, take a little more time the first try when you are trying to get out of the road. A second, third or fourth try is when people start to get really impatient.
 
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