First Solo Drive, Facing Down the Fears

Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
edited January 2017 in Solo Travelers Hints & Tips

There was a chance of cold feet this afternoon when it was time for me to hitch up "The Tiny," my newly purchased 2007 T@B, by myself for the first time, and then drive it 45 miles (without my husband Bill's supervision) to a respected trailer shop for some maintenance.

My fear said: why today? Why not tomorrow? Or later in the week?

I had compiled a checklist, like hooking up the electrical for the brake lights, hooking up the safety chains and the emergency brake cable, backing the car up, lowering the tongue to the ball, etc. Near the top of the list was "Take off cover."

Still, I thought, what's so special about Monday? Tuesday's good, right? I forced myself to go outside and at least touch the thing. And then I saw that last night's windstorm had blown the cover right off. One of my duties was already done. I took that as a sign from god, and proceeded through all my steps. I texted Bill a picture of the setup and asked: "Does this look right?" Yes, he said, and reminded me to not text during the drive. Check.

I drove with my dog along the backroads and byways from New Orleans to Pearl River, Louisiana, close to the Mississippi state line. I saw poverty, I saw wealth, I saw camps on stilts along the bayous and lakes. I could have stopped for a swamp tour. Driving along, I realized anew how hard it is to know what's going on from my front porch. I want to know what's happening. I want be out among it in case there is anything I can say or do or write to help relieve suffering among my fellow humans.

My two rules for the trip were to stay off the Interstate (not ready for that!), and no backing up. Not ready!

Almost to my destination, I got myself into a pickle and had to back The Tiny up onto a highway, where a gentleman in a tall black pickup truck stopped and waved for me to continue. Oh no! Not an audience. But I remembered what The Tiny's previous owner Nancy told me: put your hand at the bottom of the wheel and turn it the way you want the trailer to go. It worked! I backed out of there like a boss.

From there I proceeded to accidentally turn onto the Interstate. OMG. Within minutes, I had inadvertently faced down my two biggest fears.

I am so ready for this.



Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
"Travels With The Tiny"
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Comments

  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 1,861Member
    Good job!
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 T@B S Max in Western New York
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Posts: 312Member
    edited January 2017
    Nice job!  As I often say, a little experience makes a big difference.  You now have a little experience.

    BTW,  Your 2007 is a Dutchman (DM) built T@B - not LG.  There are some different precautions you  need to add to your checklist with these T@Bs

    First, and most important, you need to make sure the handbrake lever is DOWN against the gray plastic cover on the tongue before you tow.  You will come to love this feature when you are maneuvering the T@B by hand but you must remember to disengage the brake before towing.

    Second, after the T@B is connected to the TV, fully retract the jockey wheel making sure the wheel fork engages in the slots on the outer post.  Then loosen the clamp and raise the entire assembly as far as possible and re-tighten the clamp screw.  Try to wiggle the jockey wheel post and double check the clamp screw is tight.  Many DM owners add a bungee cord around the post and down to the wheel.  There are many stories of the wheel dropping during travel and being damaged.

    The Yahoo T@B forum has many tips specific to the DM T@Bs.  There is also a printable "Ready, Set, Tow" checklist available on that site.

    Also, there are some very good you-tube videos by Richard Lewis on many of the DM T@Bs features and their operation.  I think he also published a DM T@B owners manual.

    Have fun!
                      Bob & Rosalie Fuss - Spencerport NY
                          ---SUNT@B - 2009 CS ---
    -------334 nights out ----  63445 miles traveled-------
    States Visited Mapstatemap

  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    edited January 2017
    rfuss928 said:
    Nice job!  As I often say, a little experience makes a big difference.  You now have a little experience.

    BTW,  Your 2007 is a Dutchman (DM) built T@B - not LG.  There are some different precautions you  need to add to your checklist with these T@Bs

    First, and most important, you need to make sure the handbrake lever is DOWN against the gray plastic cover on the tongue before you tow.  You will come to love this feature when you are maneuvering the T@B by hand but you must remember to disengage the brake before towing.

    Second, after the T@B is connected to the TV, fully retract the jockey wheel making sure the wheel fork engages in the slots on the outer post.  Then loosen the clamp and raise the entire assembly as far as possible and re-tighten the clamp screw.  Try to wiggle the jockey wheel post and double check the clamp screw is tight.  Many DM owners add a bungee cord around the post and down to the wheel.  There are many stories of the wheel dropping during travel and being damaged.

    The Yahoo T@B forum has many tips specific to the DM T@Bs.  There is also a printable "Ready, Set, Tow" checklist available on that site.

    Also, there are some very good you-tube videos by Richard Lewis on many of the DM T@Bs features and their operation.  I think he also published a DM T@B owners manual.

    Have fun!
    Thank you so much for the correction on Dutchman vs. LG. I actually have The Tiny at the trailer shop for them to assess the situation. I already had the whole tongue drop to the ground because the clamp screw was apparently not tight but perhaps seized up, and the bracket on the jockey wheel became wedged inside the C-channel of the chassis. It took my husband an hour of hammering and crowbar work to get it loose, and the fall apparently damaged the front stabilizer jacks, which are now being replaced. So many words I never knew a month ago. The previous owner didn't lubricate things well, though used the trailer little and lightly, and so I'm getting many lessons. I later saw Richard Lewis' video on this and he mentioned that the tongue falling was a danger, and so it came to pass. I want to purchase the handle he added and a bungee cord for the wheel. I appreciate the feedback.

    One question: How does the engagement of the handbrake lever come in handy when maneuvering the T@B by hand? I've never tried maneuvering it yet, but it seems like the brake being disengaged would make moving the trailer easier. I see more experiences in my future.
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Posts: 312Member
    edited January 2017

    One question: How does the engagement of the handbrake lever come in handy when maneuvering the T@B by hand? I've never tried maneuvering it yet, but it seems like the brake being disengaged would make moving the trailer easier. I see more experiences in my future.
    In general,  you only need to get close to your planned parking spot while connected to the TV.  Before disconnecting, set the brake.  Lower the jockey wheel and lift the trailer off the TV.  Now you can release the brake and roll the T@B to where ever you want and once it is in position you reset the brake and it stays put.  As long as the area is fairly level, you can do quite a bit of maneuvering knowing you have the brake to stop it if you don't like how it is going.  The brakes will hold it in position while you drop the stabilizers and then your set.  I rarely find wheel chocks needed because of this feature.

    A common option on the DM T@Bs was a larger pneumatic jockey wheel which made rolling the T@B around even easier.
                      Bob & Rosalie Fuss - Spencerport NY
                          ---SUNT@B - 2009 CS ---
    -------334 nights out ----  63445 miles traveled-------
    States Visited Mapstatemap

  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    Oh yes!!! I like this very much. Thank you for explaining the benefits of the handbrake. It didn't occur to me that not all trailers have such a feature. Will be trying it out shortly!

    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • HR_TalyHR_Taly Posts: 117Member
    @Me_and_My_Dog what a lovely write up about the experience - you have a gift with words as I was enthralled to "listen" to your story.  And even more so that it was one of success and empowerment :) Nice job, and look forward to hearing more of your adventures.

    2018 T@B Max S silver and black (aka TadT@B), Full-timing since July 2017

  • RatkityRatkity Posts: 3,183Member
    *clap*clap* :clap: Good job facing your fears!!

    2017 820R Retro Toy Hauler from 2015 Tabitha T@B from 2009 Reverse LG Teardrop (but a T@Bluver at heart)
  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 1,861Member
    rfuss928 said:

    A common option on the DM T@Bs was a larger pneumatic jockey wheel which made rolling the T@B around even easier.
    This would be very useful for LG T@Bs too! I haven't been able to move mine by hand. Any ideas where to get one?
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 T@B S Max in Western New York
  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    Photomom said:
    rfuss928 said:

    A common option on the DM T@Bs was a larger pneumatic jockey wheel which made rolling the T@B around even easier.
    This would be very useful for LG T@Bs too! I haven't been able to move mine by hand. Any ideas where to get one?
    Yes, I also want a pneumatic jockey wheel. I didn't realize it could be installed on the original jack. I thought I'd have to replace the whole jack assembly to get the pneumatic tire. 
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • LauraReyLauraRey Posts: 332Member
    I totally understand the anxiety of doing it by yourself.  GOOD FOR YOU!!  
    Red and White, 2017 Max S being towed by a 2014 Honda Ridgeline.  Hello Mountains!
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 3,896Member
    Three cheers, and congrats! :) Job well done!
    2016 T@B MAX S-aka: WolfT@B
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  


  • HomebodyatheartHomebodyatheart Posts: 1,292Member
    Congratulations! My turn is coming and I loved your post. Thanks!
    2017 T@B Max S silver and cherry red, TV 2015 Toyota Highlander L@dybug ("Bug" aka my esc@pe pod), towed by Big Red, or Silver
  • VermonsterVermonster Posts: 80Member
    Me-and-my-dog, great story.  I can reinforce the importance of keeping the clamp screw lubed on the jack so it works properly.  When we bought our 2004 DM we were told by the seller that the jack "doesn't work" so I factored into our negotiations the price of a new jack.  Turns out the clamp screw was seized up and with a little wd-40 it has worked flawlessly ever since.  No new jack needed!  I love the handbrake and the jack design on these older tabs.  It's a great setup
  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    Me-and-my-dog, great story.  I can reinforce the importance of keeping the clamp screw lubed on the jack so it works properly.  When we bought our 2004 DM we were told by the seller that the jack "doesn't work" so I factored into our negotiations the price of a new jack.  Turns out the clamp screw was seized up and with a little wd-40 it has worked flawlessly ever since.  No new jack needed!  I love the handbrake and the jack design on these older tabs.  It's a great setup
    Wonderful! I'm happy it works so well. I may have wasted a little money because I just ordered a new jack from the factory, as well as a new tightening handle and the wedge the handle tightens into the jack. A week ago, the tongue fell because that handle wasn't lubricated and was seized and jammed the wheel brackets into the c-channel and twisted the stabilizer jacks. I initially asked about just getting a pneumatic wheel for the original jack, but they do not sell the wheel separately, and the jack they sell has a pneumatic wheel. As the original wheel and brackets that hold it were so beat up from life and from that recent incident, I decided to spend the $70 for the new jack and tire. I am understanding more and more what a superior assembly it is and am looking forward to moving my T@B around at the campsite!
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • VermonsterVermonster Posts: 80Member
    Oh well, at least you'll have the problem solved, and you'll have the pneumatic wheel to boot!  I haven't had occasion to move mine around by hand, but expect the pneumatic wheel will be a big plus. 
  • Smullis7Smullis7 Posts: 214Member
    Feels great, doesn't it?!  My first solo was thru Colorado Springs down the highway 2 hours to my mom's house.  M@bel pulled so nicely that I was soon fairly comfortable with it.  My first solo back-up was at the end of a forest service road in the mountains.  Someone was already set up in the area I planned, so I had to get turned around, find another site and back into that one.  The 'bottom of the steering wheel' trick worked like a charm.  Now, I got out and surveyed the situation a 1000 times because I couldn't see directly behind the camper, but I did it!!
    Sheila and the Mullis Pups (Winston, Morgan, Leroy & Dakota)
    M@bel M@y, my 2017 T@B Outback Max S (silver w/black trim), towed by Maude Myrtle, my 2016 Jeep Rubicon Hardrock.



  • rfuss928rfuss928 Posts: 312Member
    While you are getting those things in order you might want to consider adjusting the brakes.  They are bicycle simple and any decent mechanic will easily figure them out.
    The wheel bearings are sealed and are maintenance free.  They are easily replaced when they wear out @ 50k-100k  miles.  They cannot be "repacked".

    Many RV service shops assume the T@B chassis is similar to all the other small trailer chassis they work on.  They are not!  They are a European manufactured Alko chassis imported for the DM T@Bs.  It is the same chassis used on the Euro T@Bs even today.

    Many folks have had success contacting UK RV dealers for parts like the jockey wheel, stabilizer parts, shocks and accessories like the handle for the jw shaft.
    (photo of pneumatic jw and handle)

    I've attached an Alko brake adjustment .pdf also

    Have fun!





                      Bob & Rosalie Fuss - Spencerport NY
                          ---SUNT@B - 2009 CS ---
    -------334 nights out ----  63445 miles traveled-------
    States Visited Mapstatemap

  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    rfuss928 said:
    While you are getting those things in order you might want to consider adjusting the brakes.  They are bicycle simple and any decent mechanic will easily figure them out.
    The wheel bearings are sealed and are maintenance free.  They are easily replaced when they wear out @ 50k-100k  miles.  They cannot be "repacked".

    Many RV service shops assume the T@B chassis is similar to all the other small trailer chassis they work on.  They are not!  They are a European manufactured Alko chassis imported for the DM T@Bs.  It is the same chassis used on the Euro T@Bs even today.

    Many folks have had success contacting UK RV dealers for parts like the jockey wheel, stabilizer parts, shocks and accessories like the handle for the jw shaft.
    (photo of pneumatic jw and handle)

    I've attached an Alko brake adjustment .pdf also

    Have fun!





    Oh, yes, that is a beauty! I do want that handle, but when I went onto the Alko website it seemed like they would not ship to the US. Very nice. Very clean. I just saw the end of the electrical cable inside that little indention. I wondered what that was for. It seemed like a cup holder for espresso cups. Now I know! I'm loving my T@B more every day. (swoon) The brake adjustment instructions are golden as I am putting a packet of manuals, etc., together for my mechanic. This is something I hand not thought of. Much gratitude! 
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Posts: 312Member
                      Bob & Rosalie Fuss - Spencerport NY
                          ---SUNT@B - 2009 CS ---
    -------334 nights out ----  63445 miles traveled-------
    States Visited Mapstatemap

  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    rfuss928 said:
    So happy! Ordered! Thank you! Someday I'll look back on these innocent days of ignorance and laugh!
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    PXLated said:
    "I'll look back on these innocent days of ignorance and laugh"
    And you'll get cocky and blow it in front of 20 people in a campsite like we all have :-)
    Oh yes! It will happen. Thanks for the reminder!
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    rfuss928 said:
    While you are getting those things in order you might want to consider adjusting the brakes.  They are bicycle simple and any decent mechanic will easily figure them out.
    The wheel bearings are sealed and are maintenance free.  They are easily replaced when they wear out @ 50k-100k  miles.  They cannot be "repacked".

    Many RV service shops assume the T@B chassis is similar to all the other small trailer chassis they work on.  They are not!  They are a European manufactured Alko chassis imported for the DM T@Bs.  It is the same chassis used on the Euro T@Bs even today.

    Many folks have had success contacting UK RV dealers for parts like the jockey wheel, stabilizer parts, shocks and accessories like the handle for the jw shaft.
    (photo of pneumatic jw and handle)

    I've attached an Alko brake adjustment .pdf also

    Have fun!





    OK, making progress! I sent off for and got the maneuvering handle from Europe. I actually replaced the jack and now have a pneumatic tire! My mechanic suggests I get a cover for the tire to protect it from UV degradation.

    I want to mount my spare on the tongue as you have. Very sharp! Is there any trick to that, or is it a simple bracket?
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • rfuss928rfuss928 Posts: 312Member
    edited February 2017
    OK, making progress! I sent off for and got the maneuvering handle from Europe. I actually replaced the jack and now have a pneumatic tire! My mechanic suggests I get a cover for the tire to protect it from UV degradation.

    I want to mount my spare on the tongue as you have. Very sharp! Is there any trick to that, or is it a simple bracket?
    My original pneumatic jockey wheel tire degraded very quickly developing leaking cracks- cheap Chinese tire.  It was common for many other owners to fill them with Slime flat prevention fluid or replace them with another tire and wheel.  I replaced mine with a heavy duty industrial unit.
    A cover would help prevent the degradation but sounds inconvenient. 

    My spare is mounted to the side of the tongue box using the original bracket from the bottom of the T@B.  There is less space on the tongue of my CS model than other DM models like yours.  There is possibly room for another type bracket on your frame.  It seems I remember some suggestions on the Yahoo forum.

    Have fun!!
                      Bob & Rosalie Fuss - Spencerport NY
                          ---SUNT@B - 2009 CS ---
    -------334 nights out ----  63445 miles traveled-------
    States Visited Mapstatemap

  • MouseketabMouseketab Posts: 497Member
    Photomom said:
    rfuss928 said:

    A common option on the DM T@Bs was a larger pneumatic jockey wheel which made rolling the T@B around even easier.
    This would be very useful for LG T@Bs too! I haven't been able to move mine by hand. Any ideas where to get one?
    Yes, I also want a pneumatic jockey wheel. I didn't realize it could be installed on the original jack. I thought I'd have to replace the whole jack assembly to get the pneumatic tire. 
    Actually, you probably will need a new jack for the pneumatic wheel. The fork spread on the standard jockey wheel is too narrow for most pneumatic wheels.

    Here is a source for a pneumatic jockey wheel including post.

    https://www.leisureshopdirect.com/chassis/caravan-chassis/jockey-wheels/pneumatic-48mm-jockey-wheel
    Carol
    MOUSE-KE-T@B
    #2741
    2007 Dutchmen T@B Clamshell, 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac
    Madison, AL
  • TABakerTABaker Posts: 389Member
    Congrats on your success from another 2007 T@B owner :)  I purchased my pneumatic tire from Rural King, a chain in the midwest.  (see pic) Many folks use spacers on the fork to accommodate the tire.  Makes movement a breeze.  I often turn ours to face the opposition direction at home under our carport, and turn half way on a campsite so that I can use the site as a front porch or to take advantage of the view.  In the Facebook group, and maybe here as well, we have "ready, set tow" cards for both LG/PTV and DM T@Bs.  You'll be a pro in no time.  I loved your story :)


    Crystal & Daisy, a yellow 2007 T@B Q previously towed by a 2008 Jeep Liberty, and currently towed by a 2016 RAM 1500.

  • Me_and_My_DogMe_and_My_Dog Posts: 224Member
    TABaker said:
    Congrats on your success from another 2007 T@B owner :)  I purchased my pneumatic tire from Rural King, a chain in the midwest.  (see pic) Many folks use spacers on the fork to accommodate the tire.  Makes movement a breeze.  I often turn ours to face the opposition direction at home under our carport, and turn half way on a campsite so that I can use the site as a front porch or to take advantage of the view.  In the Facebook group, and maybe here as well, we have "ready, set tow" cards for both LG/PTV and DM T@Bs.  You'll be a pro in no time.  I loved your story :)


    How adorable is that? I love how your turned your T@B to have your front porch. I'm heading out tomorrow with my dog for a practice campout for two days at a state campground. I have never camped with a trailer so I'm not even sure what kind of campsite to get. I've reserved a pull through so I don't have to stress about backing in. I was able to buy a new jack with a pneumatic tire for $70 from Pleasant Valley. That seemed ridiculously inexpensive. Yesterday I picked up my T@B from the dealer after getting the ceiling fan replaced. That was ridiculously expensive. Thanks for sharing your sweet, sweet campsite!
    Katt and Miss Cannoli the Zen Dog
    2007 DM T@B towed by 2014 Dodge Durango w/factory tow package and 6200 lb. towing capacity
    "Travels With The Tiny"
  • TABakerTABaker Posts: 389Member
    You're welcome.  I turned to face the lake and the boating action.  I probably turn it about 40% of the time.  


    Crystal & Daisy, a yellow 2007 T@B Q previously towed by a 2008 Jeep Liberty, and currently towed by a 2016 RAM 1500.

  • NomadNomad Posts: 7,340Member
    Easy to turn on nice paved pads :-)


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