Visibility While Towing and Backing Up - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 12-17-2016, 06:16 AM   #1
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Visibility While Towing and Backing Up

My 2015 F150 does not have extending mirrors. I can see vehicles in the lanes to the left and right but not behind the trailer. I don't think extended mirrors would help with vehicles behind the trailer but could they help with backing up the trailer? Does anyone have suggestions on extended mirrors for 2015 F150's?

Does anyone have experience with using cameras for backing up a trailer and monitoring vehicles to the left, right, and behind the trailer while towing?

I'm thinking I could install a camera on the top center rear, another on the top right front, and one more on the top left front to monitor traffic and help with a lack of visibility when backing up. I plan on traveling by myself a lot and I think these cameras could help a lot. Iíve seen camera system where you can display up to 4 camera inputs on a display in the tow vehicle. I would be great to hear about experiences with such systems.


Thanks.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:11 PM   #2
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I used the CIPA clamp on mirrors on my F150, they also make replacement and slip overs. You will have to check and see what they have available. Biggest problem with camera systems is the complexity and the slow refresh rate on them.

Even with towing mirrors you are going to have a pretty large blind spot behind the trailer, you just have to get used to reading traffic and planning your moves well ahead of when you want to do them.


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Old 12-17-2016, 01:51 PM   #3
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Since you have a gas engine in your one - fiddy, truck stops won't offer you much relief as they tend to be just as crowded as convenient stores around the gas pumps.
As pointed out, cameras are slow to respond ( wifi cameras are worse than hard wired ones) but they are much better than that big blind spot you have. One camera should be enough as they usually offer 180* view and you should be able to see vehicles in your mirrors once they pass your rear bumper.
Best thing to do to learn how your rig handles (turns/follows/backs up) in tight spots is to find an empty parking lot and set up an obsticle course out of cardboard boxes or something else non-damaging and practice, practice, practice.
Most buildings have a better turning radius than my long bed F350 with a 43 foot fiver on it's back but I had no fear of pulling into convenience stores for fuel if the need arouse.
Just take your time and don't get frustrated if other drivers start honking, you have just as much right to be at those pumps as they do.
Swing wide in the opposite direction just before you start your turn, take all the room you need.
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Old 12-17-2016, 02:08 PM   #4
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Make sure you know where your tail swing is too! I saw a guy tear a bumper off of an F150 the other day when he caught it with his fiver trying to swing into a tight pump island at a Sheetz. He would have been better off circling the lot and coming in from the other entrance.

I try to plan my fuel stops so I can get to the outside of an island and have plenty of maneuvering room. If it is too tight for my tastes, or very busy I may go down the road to another exit. Love's, Flying J and some Sheetz are better set up for RV's and actually have separate RV pumps. Sometimes it is worth the few extra cents a gallon to stop at the more expensive less used station that to try and get into the ones that are cheaper and crammed full.

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Old 12-17-2016, 02:26 PM   #5
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I have a 2016 Tundra that did not come with tow mirrors. I tried the slip on type and they are they were better than the stock mirrors. My issue with the slip on was the viewing area was small and they vibrated a bit. Next I bought a set of after market tow mirrors on Amazon with a wide viewing area and they manually extend out. These work very well for me but these is still that blind spot directly behind the camper. I have not tried a camera yet and I looking forward to hearing the responses you get to this post.
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Old 12-17-2016, 03:52 PM   #6
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Thanks Aaron. I think I tried the CIPA universal mirrors from an Advanced Auto shop. They used a rubber strap to affix the extended mirror to my 2015 F150 mirrors but the straps were not long enough. I'll have to look at these other options CIPA has.

Ripping into a vehicle is a big fear especially in the tight quarters of a gas island. On my maiden 500 mile trip I had my wife check around for obstacles at all the gas stops and restaurants but most of my camping will be solo without the benefit of her second set of eyes.

I found the outside lanes to be much less stressful to contend with :-) A big problem with my F150 is the gas tank is only 23G and I found pulling a giant sail, 8'x11' flat trailer front, really hammers the gas mileage - even with the Ecoboost technology. So I am frequenting gas stations much more often than I would like. I would love to have the option to go further down the road to a less busy station and pay a bit more per gallon. Maybe I can get an auxiliary gas tank mounted on the F150.
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:03 PM   #7
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Thanks Thom,

Gotta a say I have a lot of anxiety over the thoughts of others honking over taking excessive time at the pump and maneuvering but I have more anxiety over hitting another vehicle/property or worse still someone.

I like the idea of using the cardboard boxes to practice and plan to do that. I was horrible at trying to back into the spot at the storage unit so this should help a lot. Fortunately my wife was with me for the first trip providing a second set of eyes but in the future I'll be going solo on most trips. Backing up is a big reason I want cameras. As I'll be mostly solo I want be able to see behind the trailer and to the left or right depending upon how I'm angling into the spot using a camera system.
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:20 PM   #8
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Thanks BarryD,

Ray from LoveYourRV installed a wireless backup camera you might want to check out -

The Deprey's installed a wired 3-4 camera FalconEye system here -

I like the idea of the FalconEye showing four camera views on one display but I would need a way to get the wiring routed from the trailer mount points to the monitor in the truck. Such a system could provide a clear view of areas behind and to the sides of the trailer while backing into a spot on solo trips but the wiring seems a bit challenging. It would be good for monitoring traffic behind and to the sides of the trailer as well but you really can't solely depend upon this due to high speeds and camera lag.

I think an idea system would be one where you could run inexpensive wired cameras into a four camera mixer and then send that four camera view signal via wi-fi to a display in the truck.

I was thinking of adding the OEM extending mirrors but they are pricey, about $500. And then on top of that I checked with a local shop and it seemed the install could be as high as another $500 - they were not for sure.
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Old 12-17-2016, 05:19 PM   #9
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Hand held radios and your "passenger" works very well. My wife is good at helping once she remembers that I have to actually see her as likes to do hand signals. I try to find back in spaces where I can see out the drivers side of the truck. Lots of times will open the door and lean out to see where to go.
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by chily3 View Post
Hand held radios and your "passenger" works very well. My wife is good at helping once she remembers that I have to actually see her as likes to do hand signals. I try to find back in spaces where I can see out the drivers side of the truck. Lots of times will open the door and lean out to see where to go.
We have used hand held radios in the past...

Current motor home has a wired backup camera on it, found out by accident the other day it actually has sound too!

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Old 12-20-2016, 04:45 AM   #11
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Thanks chily3,

Backing up where you can see down the rv's driver's side and leaning out sounds like good ideas. My wife helped a lot during the maiden voyage but most of the trips I'll be solo.
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Old 12-20-2016, 04:50 AM   #12
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wahoonc,

Do you know your wired backup camera's brand/model name and do you recommend it?
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:39 AM   #13
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wahoonc,

Do you know your wired backup camera's brand/model name and do you recommend it?
It is a Furrion. It works okay in daylight, not so well in the dark. I am sure there are better quality units on the market.

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Old 12-20-2016, 03:35 PM   #14
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Thanks wahoonc,

I think the stereo/DVD in my trailer is a Furrion.
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Old 12-20-2016, 03:51 PM   #15
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Thanks wahoonc,

I think the stereo/DVD in my trailer is a Furrion.
Good luck with that, mine works about 30% of the time. Furrion wouldn't even return an email.
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Old 12-20-2016, 04:16 PM   #16
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Thanks dawniewest,

The Furrion I have looks like one of those 1990's and before car radios. It even has one of those removable face plates :-) The radio worked during the demo but I haven't tried to DVD function as the unit was not delivered with a TV. Hopefully it will work.
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:16 PM   #17
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This little portable swift hitch works well for me. https://www.amazon.com/Swift-Hitch-S...s=hitch+camera I put it on the wall when I back the camper in and I can see how close I am to the back wall.
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:45 PM   #18
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Thanks jeffwelsh,

My truck has a camera similar to this which points down at the hitch. These sorts of cameras are great :-)
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Old 12-21-2016, 03:07 PM   #19
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I'm following this thread as I have the same questions/concerns! I just towed my 16FB home yesterday. I realized that I really need a camera on the back of my trailer to see behind me as I park (as I drive down the road is less of a concern for me). But I also will be solo travelling 99% of the time. I would prefer a wireless option (I may be an electrical engineer, but I'm no electrician).

Thoughts?
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:52 PM   #20
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Hi PamW,

For me, traveling solo, I feel I minimally need three cameras mounted on the trailer. One on the top, center, rear of the trailer pointing down. This will hopefully provide a clear view of obstacles directly behind the trailer when backing it up. Next I want two cameras mounted to the top, front, left/right of the trailer pointing to the rear of the trailer. When backing up where the truck is not in a straight line with the trailer, these cameras could potentially show obstacles to the left and right of the trailer that mirrors will not show. For displaying all three channels there are monitors which will display four inputs on one display.

For a totally wireless system with three cameras you might want to look at products similar to this one. I have no experience this product:

9-Inch Wireless Ultimate RV Backup Camera System

Ray from love your rv installed has a review of the single channel TadiBrothers Wireless RV Backup Camera

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