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Old 07-03-2011, 08:53 PM   #1
DoubleT
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Default Garage Parking Question

I am looking at purchasing a TM but have a concern in we have a side entry garage vs a straight back in style. My question is can a TM with nose caster wheel in place be manually pushed to back it into the garage. I do this now with my Aliner but it only weighs 1500Lbs. Any experience or thoughts on pushing one into the garage?
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:39 PM   #2
ThePair
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As long as you're pushing on level, yes. I use a winch to get my TM up the driveway, but push it in as soon as the tires are level just inside the threshold.

Guess it all depends on your setup.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:48 PM   #3
Jim&Joan
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...push ours into the garage. We have a rear entry with a driveway that slopes up from the street and then levels out in the back.

I pull straight in with the trailer hooked up. We have to be sure that we have the TM wheels up to a level point. We chock and unhook the TM. I move the truck up another 1.5 ft.

That puts me in a position to be able to pull and immediately start to pivot the trailer. The wheels are at the rear edge of the garage and it pivots around nice. I pull it forward and then back it into the garage.

DW has to help me get it moving and she isn't able to add much, but I couldn't get it moving by myself. After the initial movement into the rear of the driveway, I can handle it myself. I can stop it and reverse it back into the garage with DW giving me some clearance feedback.

I can pull it out myself, also. So, the only place I need a few more ft lbs is the initial movement after we unhook from the truck.
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:47 AM   #4
Leslie & Nick
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We have a 'drive under' (side entry) garage too. When I used to store the TM here at the house, I bought one of the manual 'dollies' to maneuver the trailer into the garage. The dolly has large pneumatic tires that make pushing the trailer a lot easier. They make electric dollies as well, but they're little pricey.
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Old 07-04-2011, 04:18 PM   #5
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A couple additional thoughts to add to the good ones already posted.

First, pushing a TM manually, especially with the nose caster wheel, requires a paved driveway. I think you would have no chance at all on gravel or dirt.

Second, you (or at least I) can't push it by hand up even a slight slope, and a lip of any kind at the edge of a garage floor will be a problem. But if you are paved and level, or if you can get the tires into the garage before using the nose caster wheel, the dolly wheel will work quite well.

Third, the dolly mentioned by Leslie and Nick is really pretty nice. See one at Harbor Freight. The pneumatic wheels, and the ability to steer the dolly, make it a lot easier. The nose caster wheel is hard plastic, and will hang up on anything larger than a grain of sand.

Fourth, if you get all set up and you find that you have a bit of a slope, or a bit of a lip, and it is just big enough to make things hard - then an electric winch as mentioned by ThePair is a cheap and easy addition. Again, check Harbor Freight.

In summary, you have one of the nice questions, because you can address it incrementally. Do just enough to solve your own particular problem, and then quit. No need to go further.

By the way, many people scorn Harbor Freight as having cheap Chinese tools. And sure enough, Harbor Freight has a lot of that. But for some applications, I think cheap and Chinese is OK. And in my opinion, as someone who flies the Stars and Stripes at my house every day, this is one of them.

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Old 07-04-2011, 04:51 PM   #6
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I have the harbor freight dolly and it works pretty well. The only negative I found with it is the ball height is about 6 inches lower than level for the TrailManor. So there is some extra raising and lowering of the tongue jack when using the dolly.

However, when I was parking my TM in my garage, the dolly enabled me to steer the TrailManor within an inch of a side wall. Sometimes the caster wheel works better for a movement than the dolly does.

I have a side entering driveway. There is a mostly level spot outside of the garage and then a steep slope down to the street. I would back the TM up to the level part and then do the rest with the dolly. I found that there is almost a ratcheting type movement one can perform with the dolly to get the TM moving provided you have very good traction with your shoes. I had a slight slope uphill to the garage to do by hand. The ratcheting movement is pretty hard to describe though and since it has been 11 months since I have stored the TM at home my memory is failing.

Ultimately, we decided that we prefered storing offsite so that we could park another car in the garage. If anyone is looking for a used dolly and is reasonably close to Santa Maria, CA, let me know. I am sure we can work out a price even cheaper than what Harbor Freight charges....
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:27 PM   #7
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Off topic and late, but Harbor Freight has 25% off today, July 4th. At store or on line.
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:20 PM   #8
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I certainly agree with several of the comments. It needs to be on level ground. Ground needs to be paved. The caster wheel does hang up on the smallest of things. I have more issues with the caster being a bit sloppy on the post, causing it to want to cant one way or the other.

I only have to get it about 6 inches from my wall on the awning side. I do get to about 2 inches from the rear wall. It's not really too hard all in all once we got the process down. I do find it easier if I crank the jack up high and shift the weight off the caster.

I did consider getting the HF dolly. But, I read so many conflicting reports on the durability I decided to drop it. I read about the wheels collasping or folding under with the weight of the TM.

Which specific model do you guys use that works so well for you?
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:32 PM   #9
Mr. Adventure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim&Joan View Post
...I have more issues with the caster being a bit sloppy on the post, causing it to want to cant one way or the other...
'Sloppy on the post" should be made worse by cranking it higher (by cranking up the post, "slop" would allow more slopping with a longer post length, right?). And cranking it even a foot or two higher wouldn't appreciably change the weight carried on the post (the same trailer loads are basically still in the same positions horizontally).

The swivel of the caster wheel would move the support point for the tongue plus or minus a few inches, though, with a lighter tongue load when pushing the trailer backwards vs pulling it frontwards. A few inches probably wouldn't amount to much. But a swing tongue that moves the tongue support point from from 2 feet forward to 2 feet back should have a considerable effect (for example, reducing the effective distance of the post to the axle from about 120" to about 70" would add substantially to the weight on the post and caster wheel).

Something else to play with on the scale.
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Old 07-05-2011, 10:26 AM   #10
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We have a curve on the driveway, it slopes toward the garage, there is a metal grated drain and a lip - oh, and did I mention that we have about 2" of clearance on the awning and exterior lights? As DW and I are 60ish and pushing is no longer an option, we added a front hitch to our F150. Using that I can see both door jambs and make very minute steering inputs. The front hitch also makes a dandy spot to put a bike rack as the bikes are always in sight and you don't need to worry about backing them in to something. - camp2canoe
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