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View Full Version : Towing Mirrors and towing advice


Lynden-Jeff
06-14-2006, 09:50 PM
Hey,

Well my 6' by 12' JDJ trailer is ready and I pick it up in the morning. Any tips of driving with it? I have never driven with a trailer and I have just gotten the hang of driving a pickup truck. Would you guys suggest getting extended towing mirrors? I have regular mirrors with mini convex but I don't think it will give me a good view of the trailer. Any suggestions appreciated!

Cheers
Jeff

topsites
06-14-2006, 10:02 PM
You do it however you want, but if you drive it wrong, you will replace a LOT more tires, brake pads, and your transmission / clutch will fail long before its time, not to mention you might rear-end someone. You don't really need any extra equipment, I don't have any of that, my trailer has no brakes but I have learned to stay way back and take it real easy. On that note, try and pick some out of the way routes where there is less traffic and most of all, less intersection and traffic lights.

Anyway, here's a thread I wrote, I get over 100,000 miles out of my brakepads, my tires last until they literally rot off the rim, and my 3/4 ton truck gets 15mpg:
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=145753

topsites
06-14-2006, 10:06 PM
As for backing up, practice, practice, practice.

Take it nice and slow, one tip is to put only ONE hand at the BOTTOM of your steering wheel when backing up the trailer: Now, whichever way you pull your hand, the back of your trailer will go the same direction. Again, when backing up, the slower the better. Most of all, watch for obstacles: If you must back between a tree and another car, think to yourself: It is ok to hit the tree, it is NOT ok to hit the car, and you should be ok :) On that note, think of backing slow enough that if you do hit an obstacle, you barely 'touch' it, thus minimizing damage. Always back slow, so slow that if you hit something, the only way you realize that you're up on something is when the rig fails to move any further... You always go real slow, you'll be fine.

Far as driving on the road, get some blind-spot mirror to stick on your passenger side (one of those little round convex things with the sticky backing). For the driver's side, if you move your head FORWARD and towards the side mirror, now you can see your blind spot.
As for changing lanes, you're the last one in traffic already, right? Right...
Seriously, put on your turn signal kinda early, I also mounted extra signal lights on the trailer just for this reason but anyway... Check your blind spot and make sure nothing is coming, and ease on over. There comes a time you may have to force the lane change, don't be afraid to rest one hand on the horn when nobody will let you over, it gets like that and my turn signal has just become my 3-second warning that I'm coming OVER but again, be careful because if you hit someone it is still your fault heheh...

mike lane lawn care
06-14-2006, 10:06 PM
go to a parking lot and practice backing up with the trailer, it takes a bit of practice to get down. wider mirrors help, but they are mostly for using enclosed trailers. Remember that you are now 12' longer and are much heavier, so remember that the next time you try and race accross an intersection before the other car.

LazerZHP
06-14-2006, 10:08 PM
Mirrors should be fine,when you make turns pull further forward before starting your turn.This wiill avoid running up on curbs and sidewalks etc. Backing up that short trailer for the first time should get your blood pressure up,and give onlookers some cheap entertainment.anyways just be aware of that 12 plus ft.behind your truck at all times and you should be fine.
Also your stopping distince will be loooonger.

coyotekid
06-14-2006, 10:11 PM
LOL @ topsites...

The "net" style tailgates are a joke. Several universities and engineering firms have concluded that mileage is actually increased with a standard tailgate in the UP position. This result was also found by the team on Discovery Channel's show Mythbusters--the truck with the tailgate UP went considerably farther on a tank of gas than with the tailgate DOWN.

I'd like to see you get 15 MPG pulling my trailer--you can have it if you do! (And you have to travel at least 60 MPH).

Tires last until they "rot" off the rim? You've got some safety issues there, bud.

I'm not sure what engine you've got in your pickup, but I'd have to think it'd be underpowered in the Rockies where I live.

"High performance air filter"?! Congratulations, you've bought yourself an expensive piece of marketing success that just lets more dirt (silicon) into your oil.

But what do I know...

coyotekid
06-14-2006, 10:13 PM
Sorry, to answer the original post: No, I don't think you'll need towing mirrors for a trailer that small. Even factory, non-towing mirrors should be fine for a trailer only 12' long.

Happy towing!

topsites
06-14-2006, 10:14 PM
Oh, here's another trick: The jack-knife turn.

You have to be dang careful or you will ding or dent your truck, but it comes that time when you get into a cul-de-sac or other spot where you just don't have the space to turn around in one swoop.

So, turn and go around as far as you can, then stop, and follow these steps:
Turn your steering wheel the opposite direction and put in reverse. Now, back up real slow until the trailer is jack-knifed against your truck but be CAREFUL with that and be sure to stop before you damage either. Once it's jack-knifed, put gear in forward and turn the steering wheel back the original way and go forward - repeat if necessary.

topsites
06-14-2006, 10:27 PM
Here's yet another great Picasso-like drawing of mine on the jack-knife turn:

http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/jackknife.gif

topsites
06-14-2006, 10:34 PM
LOL @ topsites...
"High performance air filter"?! Congratulations, you've bought yourself an expensive piece of marketing success that just lets more dirt (silicon) into your oil.

But what do I know...

Far as safety issues, if you have the 600 dollars it costs to put new tires on my truck, pm me. Other than that, I'll replace my tires when I think they need replacing, unlike many of your relaxed rocky states, we have state inspections our cars must pass, and I can assure you my 20-year old truck gets at least one annual state inspection. Please remember I live 100 miles south of Washington DC, and rest assured that the closer you live to the seat of national government, the tighter your butt will squeak.

As for fuel and mileage, you're assuming I drive an EFI but my truck has a 318 carbureted Dodge motor, so you are correct in all of your assumptions since you drive an EFI, you should be seeing 16-18mpg but then your fuel is a lower octane (85 regular, 91 super vs. our 87 / 93) and I can see first-hand your problems. Don't worry, the real reason the octane in the rockies is lower is not because of the baloney they feed you about being higher up in the air, it is the simple fact that trucking a higher octane fuel up there would cost your kind an arm and a leg and the fuel industry got tired of hearing it so now you have your stuff just the way you've always wanted it.
Because believe you me, I got far better fuel mileage in my car when I filled up with 93 right before hitting the heights than any time I ever ran that baloney 91 garbage, I love the large fuel tanks they put on performance cars allowing those of us to drive right through any areas that don't sell a quality fuel.

We were just talking about the wild west, where men are men and sheep are nervous, land where folks with underground caches of weapons and survivalist gear worry about the BIG war, while chupacabras run rampant.

Lynden-Jeff
06-14-2006, 11:03 PM
OK thanks for the input. I do have another question. When you guys gas up do you just pull in and take up 2 spots and fill your truck and then getup on the trailer and then gas up all your equipment? I know it sounds like a stupid question before but Ive never done it so I don't know lol.

Cheers
Jeff

Audrey
06-14-2006, 11:40 PM
We were just talking about the wild west, where men are men and sheep are nervous

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

******************************************************


Gassing up I do whatever I need to depending on the location. The heck with the cars. I was there first, and I'll be gone ASAP. I'm not there to take a nap. They can wait.

Find an empty parking lot somewhere. Kmart when they're closed is a good one. Practice getting yourself into trouble and fixing it. Do the maneuver Topsites explained. You'll need it. Also, try backing into spaces. Use the painted lines and pick a target space. The shorter the trailer, the quicker it comes around. Do not look over your right shoulder when backing up. It's harder no doubt, but once you have it down, you'll be fine. The more you do it, the better you will become. I still find judging distance backing up to be my weakest point. Thankfully I'll never have to back a semi into a dock. :laugh:

Everyone has said it before, but you can't hear it enough.... allow extra time for braking. You are in NO HURRY when towing a trailer. Out on the interstate is one thing, but around town and in traffic it is far worse. People do the stupidest things, and you have to be extra alert to CYA.

Slow pull outs at red lights, coasting slowly to the red lights, getting off the gas when you see a yellow farther up ahead, and easy use of the brakes will make you truck and trailer last longer.

What I did on my trailer is use a fair amount of the DOT reflective tape. The red and white sticker stuff? I also painted my split gate a few different bright colors to help the nitwits behind me remember that I am indeed, in front of them. Also, I use backup lights on my trailer. When I shift into reverse, they automatically come on. I really suck when driving at night, and I just can't see when backing up in the dark. I bought two 100 watt off road lights and mounted them above the brake lights on the trailer. What a world of difference. I also did the same to my pickup and mounted them under the rear of the truck. Instead of reverse triggering them, I use a switch under the dash. This helps a lot when backing the truck alone, or when I am hooking up at night. They can also be a perk unloading in the dark when there's no other light.

Just take it slow and you'll be okay. Relax and take your time when backing up. There is no hurry. It's mental, not physical. :)

A

lawnprosteveo
06-14-2006, 11:42 PM
I bought the big towing mirrors to put on my F250 and it has been well worth it. I cant imagine working without them now.

Audrey
06-15-2006, 12:05 AM
DOH! Sorry!

I do not have wider towing mirrors on my truck. I use a 4" fisheye mounted in the outside lower corner of the main mirror. I have found this to be all I need.

These also help me see the geniuses who like to cruise in my blind spot.

A

coyotekid
06-15-2006, 02:02 AM
Far as safety issues, if you have the 600 dollars it costs to put new tires on my truck, pm me. Other than that, I'll replace my tires when I think they need replacing, unlike many of your relaxed rocky states, we have state inspections our cars must pass, and I can assure you my 20-year old truck gets at least one annual state inspection. Please remember I live 100 miles south of Washington DC, and rest assured that the closer you live to the seat of national government, the tighter your butt will squeak.

As for fuel and mileage, you're assuming I drive an EFI but my truck has a 318 carbureted Dodge motor, so you are correct in all of your assumptions since you drive an EFI, you should be seeing 16-18mpg but then your fuel is a lower octane (85 regular, 91 super vs. our 87 / 93) and I can see first-hand your problems. Don't worry, the real reason the octane in the rockies is lower is not because of the baloney they feed you about being higher up in the air, it is the simple fact that trucking a higher octane fuel up there would cost your kind an arm and a leg and the fuel industry got tired of hearing it so now you have your stuff just the way you've always wanted it.
Because believe you me, I got far better fuel mileage in my car when I filled up with 93 right before hitting the heights than any time I ever ran that baloney 91 garbage, I love the large fuel tanks they put on performance cars allowing those of us to drive right through any areas that don't sell a quality fuel.

We were just talking about the wild west, where men are men and sheep are nervous, land where folks with underground caches of weapons and survivalist gear worry about the BIG war, while chupacabras run rampant.

You're assuming that I was talking about burning unleaded obviously--I happen to run a diesel fleet of trucks.:nono:

I also was not considering octane issues, etc.--I was talking more about high elevations and steep, long hills to climb to get to where I mow. I'm also talking about the 32' enclosed trailer I run to haul all my equipment. We fill it to the brim with equipment and use all of it every day. Lawns are bigger out here, and distances are long. It's not uncommon at all for me to run 20 miles to do ONE lawn. The trailer grosses 6,000 lbs. empty and more like 9,000 lbs. loaded with full fuel on as I pull it day in, day out.

I also think you need a little education about octane--it ain't as simple as you pretend it is. High elevations DO decrease the need for higher octanes. If you had ever ridden motorcycles and snowmachines in elevations from 9,000 to 11,000 ft. ASL as I have, you'd know more about jetting carburetors and octane requirements.

And finally: Keep your ******* comments about sheep, Westerners, etc. in general to yourself. We hear all these same old cliches all the time, and while they're still funny, they're lame. I expected better from you.

No, the Indians did not kill my sister.

Yes, we have Internet by now.

Yes, we like firearms. If you should THINK you have the right to take them away from us, you WILL have a war on your hands.

Yes, we're proud of our heritage. I've been to D.C., and quite frankly I wouldn't trade the whole ******* state of MD for 50 acres of sagebrush out here.

Yes, there is a speed limit in Montana now. It's 75 MPH on the interstates, 70 MPH on two-lanes, and 65 MPH on two-lanes at night if you can dodge the deer, elk, and antelope that fast.

Lynden-Jeff
06-15-2006, 10:05 PM
Hey,

Wow damn its really important not to look over your shoulder. I didn't think that point was really that important and I thought I understood the mechanics of it but damn ya the looking over the shoulder really botches you up. I also see now how slow is important to. Anyways got it home and reversed in after 5 tries lol. Here's a pic of the trailer. Anymore suggestions welcome! http://images.xoopiter.com/uploaded/1150419855trailer.jpg

Jeff

Audrey
06-16-2006, 12:29 AM
Hey! Ya got 'er in! :)

Nice looking trailer! Not a scratch on it.... yet!

If you're out on that road and you see a car coming, stay relaxed. If you try to rush to be courteous, you will botch it. In the end, it will take you longer. Get it in your head... they can wait...there's no rush here....


As far as looking over your shoulder.... :laugh:
It's not a crime or anything. I just think of it as "cheating". Because sure as sh** , there WILL come a day when you will need to back a trailer and you will be in a cube or a pick up with a cab. Then what? :laugh:
From a yungin' on up, it was always drilled into me to learn things the hard way. Once you do, the rest is cake. If you "need" to take a peek, go ahead. It's far more important not to be in an accident or cause any damage to something. I do peek from time to time. Hey... it's there, use what you have to prevent accidents. But I can do it without looking as well, that's my point.

Oh yeah... that baby's crying for some of that D.O.T. tape. Don't forget the tounge too. I plastered mine under the bed as well.

Just one other thing, I don't know if you did it just for the picture or not...
I wouldn't get in the habit of lowering the jack and staying connected to the truck. Pick one, either stay connected, or disconnect completely. You will be sorry if you forget and pull out early one morning and the jack is in that position. :cry:

Regarding staying connected, I mean the physical connections. I always unplug all electrical connections overnight. I don't know if others do or not. I have an 8000 lb winch and some other electrical things on mine. I had the misfortune of a relay going bad once and some of my other auxillary lighting was on overnight. It killed the full size car battery onboard the trailer, and my truck's as well. I was not a happy camper that morning. :angry:
Don't let a trailer short transfer back into your truck's system and kill your battery.

Chains are crossed. :drinkup:

Practice, practice, practice...


A :)

Lynden-Jeff
06-16-2006, 12:42 AM
Thanks for the advice, I will wheel up the stand in the morning. When I was looking over my shoulder I found it difficult to turn the wheel the right way. The second I started using the rear view mirror I found it easier to compensate slowly. I think I was going to fast aswell. I am going to take er to a parking lot and give it another go tomorow. Wish me luck!

Jeff