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View Full Version : Backing Truck up to Trailer by Yourself


echeandia
04-08-2007, 11:00 PM
So, the other day I had to disconnect my pickup from my trailer. It took me almost 15 minutes to get the ball lined up with the hitch when I was ready to reconnect. Is there some advice you guys have on getting the ball under the hitch when you are alone and don't have someone to guide you?

packer101
04-08-2007, 11:02 PM
i judge generally until i feel like im close, than get out and check and than adjust and check until i got it..... after a few time you can kinda judge where it is and such

KS_Grasscutter
04-08-2007, 11:06 PM
Ummm...HOW can it POSSIBLY take 15 mins to hook up your trailer:hammerhead: ? I can have a whole 'nother yard done in that time... All you gotta be is within a few inches, then you can kinda move the trailer enough to get it hooked up.

dcondon
04-08-2007, 11:06 PM
Most of the time I will only have to get out of the truck once maybe twice. I can usually look in my mirrors and come within 2 inches of the ball.

qualitylawnmanagement
04-08-2007, 11:08 PM
I go by the jack of the trailer and line it up with the middle of the bed. I hook my trailer up everyday and i get lined up perfect every time maybe an inch back I have to go if not less. You will learn your vehicles distance you have back there after a little practice. Practice makes perfect just like everything else you do in live.

Rizzo
04-08-2007, 11:09 PM
I never get out to look anymore. Make sure you have equal amounts of trailer showing on each side of your truck and back slowly until you make contact.

maxkicker
04-08-2007, 11:12 PM
i put a oragne flag right behing the hitch on the trailer mines metal and welded on but whatever you gotta do just get something in the center of the trailer behind the hitch then all they gotta do is back up to the trailer keeping the center of the tailgate (center is between the 2 bolts that the handle bolts 2 on the tailgate) and the flag

ive taught many guys how to back up to a trailer like this works great

echeandia
04-08-2007, 11:14 PM
All you gotta be is within a few inches, then you can kinda move the trailer enough to get it hooked up.

The trailer would not budge since I had it loaded with dirt.

xtrim
04-08-2007, 11:15 PM
Install a camera on the back of your truck

maxkicker
04-08-2007, 11:15 PM
I never get out to look anymore. Make sure you have equal amounts of trailer showing on each side of your truck and back slowly until you make contact.

ive never seen a guard like that looks like it would hit long b4 you jack knife

dcondon
04-08-2007, 11:16 PM
Rizzo it looks like your trailer has been a little high a few times.

echeandia
04-08-2007, 11:20 PM
I never get out to look anymore...

Did you make that thing or buy it?

Rizzo
04-08-2007, 11:21 PM
If you leave the trailer tongue at the same height when you unhooked it will hit the plate just above the ball everytime. I have used this with many different kinds of trailers. If you get it close it will self center right over the ball. It does not affect backing the trailer as you can still turn as sharp as before and it saves hitting your bumper with the tongue.

Rizzo
04-08-2007, 11:22 PM
I bought it on sale for $20 at a local store. I think you can get them online for $50-60.

Woody82986
04-08-2007, 11:25 PM
I just dont see how it could take anyone 15 minutes to hook up to a trailer. My girlfriend could probably do it in that amount of time...haha

smcunningham
04-08-2007, 11:35 PM
After awhile of doing it you'll get good at it....at my house I back up to the trailer and get like 12" away . put the truck in netral and go look if i'm all lined up Ijust grab the back of taigate and pull the truck to the trailer the last 12" if I'm a little to the left or right All's I gotta do is walk up and spin the steering wheel what ever i need........I DO NOT RECOMEND ANYBODY USING MY METHOD UNLESS YOU ARE POSTIVE YOUR TRUCK IS NOT GOING TO DRIFT BACK AND HIT YOU OR DRIFT AWAY.

NewHorizon's Land
04-08-2007, 11:38 PM
I just dont see how it could take anyone 15 minutes to hook up to a trailer. My girlfriend could probably do it in that amount of time...haha

I can. It use to take me about 10 mins to hook up. I found the samething as others have said. Use the bolts that bolt the handle onto the tailgate of the truck. I line that up with the tounge jack and go back till I cant see it anymore than go back another 12". I am underneath of it. On one of your days off just keep doing it. Have someone stand off to the side but not back you up. They are there to tell you to stop if you are going to hit the trailer. Hope this helps.

Justin

Ultimatelawncareinc
04-08-2007, 11:49 PM
that is the ugliest thing i have ever seen i would rather back my tail gate in to the trailer every day than drive around with that on my truck

Rizzo
04-08-2007, 11:52 PM
that is the ugliest thing i have ever seen i would rather back my tail gate in to the trailer every day than drive around with that on my truck

Wow, sorry I can't be pretty for you. If you are not helping with the thread keep your post to yourself. Maybe you would like to use this instead...

RedWingsDet
04-08-2007, 11:55 PM
WOW. 15minutes, are you BLIND!!!!!!

I usually get it on the first try, if not the second. 30 seconds. Maybe I just have skill.

HOOLIE
04-08-2007, 11:55 PM
So long as you're on flat ground, you can always leave your truck in neutral and roll the truck into exact position, instead of trying to move the trailer.

Otherwise, it's something you'll get the hang of over time.

Dirt Digger2
04-09-2007, 12:02 AM
heres what you can do...for a boat trailer you know the winch is in the middle of the trailer and the hitch is in the middle of the tailgate, line them up and back till you are close and get out and look....for a trailer as wide as the truck, such as a dump truck and trailer, line the side of the truck up with the side of the trailer and back up....if you have a pickup thats not as wide as the trailer always take note where the corner of the trucks back bumper lines up with on the trailer, you can even put a strip of tape or paint on the trailer then back up the truck so the corner of the back bumper (on the driver side) is in line with the marking of the trailer...

i can usually get a backhoe trailer hooked up to a big dump truck on the first or second time, its all about remebering where your trailer lines up with your truck...you dont need all those expensive gizmos...it just makes you look like an inexperienced trailer-er to other haulers.

corey4671
04-09-2007, 12:04 AM
I just have a seat of my pants feel. I try to center the truck with my side mirrors in the trailer. Also, anytime I unhook, I pull forward a few inches and lower the jack about a qaurter inch. That way when I back up to the trailer, the ball will actually slide under the ball and pick it up thereby telling me when I am "there".

Rizzo
04-09-2007, 12:19 AM
I have never had a problem backing to the trailer everytime without any aids. But, with the plate I have I NEVER have to get out to see if I am over the ball. It takes me 30 seconds tops to hook up and one trip to the back of the truck. Time is money and if you like going to the back more than once to hook up then have fun with that... Just telling the thread host what works for me like he asked.

Grits
04-09-2007, 12:34 AM
I have never had a problem backing to the trailer everytime without any aids. But, with the plate I have I NEVER have to get out to see if I am over the ball. It takes me 30 seconds tops to hook up and one trip to the back of the truck. Time is money and if you like going to the back more than once to hook up then have fun with that... Just telling the thread host what works for me like he asked.

Really.
I plan on getting one of those gizmos like Rizzo has. I can back up and hit right the first time every time. But things happen. Like today. I was in a hurry and bcaked up too fast and got too close and hit my bumper with the trailer coupler. Dented the bumper. But, I was right over the ball! :)
As soon as I hit it, I thought....dang it....I wish I had already gotten one of those self aligning deals.
I don't care what it looks like to other trailer-ers.

Rizzo
04-09-2007, 12:40 AM
eggsactly...lol. And I can break out the fiz can and make it pretty again if I want.

Rizzo
04-09-2007, 12:51 AM
$21 online but not quite the same...

http://www.ontheball.com/specialilty_ball_mounts.htm

Grits
04-09-2007, 01:10 AM
Yeah, that would work. But the one you have looks a lot beefier.

Ultimatelawncareinc
04-09-2007, 01:17 AM
actually i will post what i want when i want! im suprised you can't just pull your little 6X12 trailer up to your truck by hand.

Grits
04-09-2007, 01:27 AM
actually i will post what i want when i want! im suprised you can't just pull your little 6X12 trailer up to your truck by hand.

Easy there guy. This is a friendly place. This forum has moderators and they DO NOT play. Friendly advice to you, don't let it escalate......that is, if you want the board to remain accessible to you.

topsites
04-09-2007, 01:36 AM
With the old truck I could see real good out back (never have a tailgate) and I'd just line up the tongue to center and get out one time (or 3) and look and move a bit and eventually practice, lots of practice.

I can't remember how long it took me the first few times, but the new truck is blind out the center in rear, I can't see the tongue anymore and so I've also learned to center the trailer in the side mirrors and again it's practice. Slow and easy, you kinda try and mark in your mind where the trailer needs to be, certain imaginary visual markers I make in my mind, that helps.

But don't feel bad, I'm still getting used to my newer truck's turning radius (it's much wider than my older one), it's taken me 15-20 minutes to back up and in my own driveway before lol, practice helps over time you get good at it.

One thing that has helped but you have to be careful!!! When you go back to look, see how far you have to go, then leave your truck's driver's side door open and gauge via the ground the distance (but man be real careful with that open door lol).

Other times, such as when I have 1-2 inches to go (yes one of my favorites, RIGHT there), I slip the truck from P into R (or D) and just 'blip' off the brake and put it back in P, so minor corrections, easy on the adjustments, I think helps. On flat ground, I've put it into N and just kinda put my foot out the door and my shoulder into the door frame and just push it a bit, sometimes it rolls an inch, that's cool.

When it's off to the side, 1/4 turn of the steering wheel and forward about 4-6 feet, then straight and back again.
Repeat if necessary, but again it's that minor corrections gets me set, usually, maybe 1/3 of a turn but not much more.

actually i will post what i want when i want! im suprised you can't just pull your little 6X12 trailer up to your truck by hand.

That's one idea, such as when the ball is close, but once I have some equipment on the trailer it can be a royal pita, even empty it's not the lightest thing around... But yeah, I've manhandled the tongue over and up and back a few times, it does work.

General Landscaping
04-09-2007, 01:58 AM
The centering you'll just have to get good at.
For distance, if you stop 6" short, get back in the truck and leave the door open. Leave a foot on the ground and get a reference point from your shoe. Creep backwards till that reference point is 6" away from where you started.

ncls
04-09-2007, 03:27 AM
Why not just put a wheel on the trailer? I can back up and just get close. The trailer wheel allows me to pull the trailer up to the ball. I'm old, and I can still pull a 16' with 2 60" riders. Takes me less than 2 minutes to hook up.

ltomkins
04-09-2007, 04:39 AM
I am lucky enough to have flat driveway and leave truck in neutral, back close and tug the tailgate. always leave trailer wheel sideways when lowering to push left or right a little. I am going to try one of those ball plates, looks easier. I have seen larger ones that are removable via pin mount. Going to look for one of those first.

puddin' pie
04-09-2007, 07:28 AM
i place a cone at the end of my bumper, before i drive off. so i can see it in my mirror, and line up my trailer rails or look for my tire marks from where i drive off. back up and hit the cone i'm around the ball, good enough

DoetschOutdoor
04-09-2007, 09:14 AM
I simply unlock the tongue, keeping the trailer a little higher than the ball on my truck and just back up. I go slow until the tongue hits the plastic guard on my bumper and then pull up a hair. Its lined up perfect every single time. Really just somthing that you need to do a few hundred times and then you wont have this problem

Greengo
04-09-2007, 11:57 AM
i use the same deal as Rizzo, it works everytime!!! and like a charm!!!

martinfan06
04-09-2007, 12:44 PM
I have never had a problem backing to the trailer everytime without any aids. But, with the plate I have I NEVER have to get out to see if I am over the ball. It takes me 30 seconds tops to hook up and one trip to the back of the truck. Time is money and if you like going to the back more than once to hook up then have fun with that... Just telling the thread host what works for me like he asked.

I agree I think the plate is an awesome idea, I could care less what it looks like looks like it would work very well. This is not a fashion show its work and function.

Armadillolawncare
04-09-2007, 12:56 PM
Here is what you need. The plate removes after hitching so you don't have to drive around with the plate looking goofy.
http://www.ezhitch.biz/

paul vroom
04-09-2007, 05:46 PM
I painted a floresent Orange dot in the middle/back of the bed of my truck where it would line up with the ball. I have yet to see it though, I always have something in the back of the truck. :sleeping: I am going to get the ezhitch. Good question.

Rizzo
04-09-2007, 06:56 PM
i place a cone at the end of my bumper, before i drive off. so i can see it in my mirror, and line up my trailer rails or look for my tire marks from where i drive off. back up and hit the cone i'm around the ball, good enough


One of the best backing training ideas I have heard here.

Here is what you need. The plate removes after hitching so you don't have to drive around with the plate looking goofy.
http://www.ezhitch.biz/

I was trying to find that one online but didn't have any luck. I like the idea of the removable plate. I found mine by chance at a local store when getting some other hardware...

T'S lawncare
04-09-2007, 07:12 PM
ive never seen a guard like that looks like it would hit long b4 you jack knife

yea, that I could see being a problem

Rizzo
04-09-2007, 07:17 PM
yea, that I could see being a problem

Believe me it does not, I have tried... Even if it did the plate will rotate due to it being nothing more than a large washer between the nut and ball mount.

Greybeard
04-09-2007, 10:32 PM
The traffic cone is a good idea, but I've seen a more exact method: take a couple of 2x4 scraps, 6" long, nail a short piece of rope or chain to one end of each. (Like a set of nunchucks.) When you are dropping off your trailer, and before you drive out from under the hitch, set one 2x4 against the back of the truck's rear tire, the other 2x4 against the side. Next time you go to hitch up, back into the L shape, and you're there.
The other little trick I've learned is to set the E-brake about 1/2 way when you're making your final approach. That way you don't back up too fast, and you don't roll forward when you get where you want to be. Practice. Practice.

fiveoboy01
04-09-2007, 10:41 PM
If my trailer is empty, I just get close, then pull and lift the trailer onto the ball.

If it's loaded, when I unhook it I will lower the tongue down a little bit, so when I back up to it I feel the ball bump into it. Then I crank it up and go the rest of the way.

I'm really good at centering the truck, it's always just a matter of a little further back or further forward to get it positioned right, I'm never more than a 1/2 inch or so off on the side to side alignment.

Just practice, you'll get a feel for where the trailer is at and you'll cut the time down quite a bit.

howardsells2000
04-09-2007, 10:58 PM
It just takes practice. By the end of the season you will be a pro at backing up to your trailer.

Nelawnguy
04-10-2007, 12:45 AM
Buy a new Toyota it has a camera in the tailgate so you can look at the tongue.

Jason Rose
04-10-2007, 01:22 AM
This thread is cracking me up!

Practice practice practice!!!!

Iv'e been doing this long enough to know you don't come out of the box knowing how to hook up to, and back up trailers on your first few trys. I know I made my share of mistakes and crunches when hooking up. But over time you LEARN!

I can hook up to my trailer (20' tandem axle, not much pulling this around), 50% of the time I hit it dead on, first try, use the mirror to judge it, walk back, and have a big grin on my face cause all I have to do is run the jack down! Sometimes it takes a bit of pushing on the tounge, I can get a couple inches out of it right or left, but I need to be within a half inch or so front to back. If i'm not sure I stop short and go look, I can correct side to side by cranking the wheel and watching the ground with the door open for my distance to travel back.

Don't get me wrong... There's days that I fail miserably! Smash into the hitch, take 3 trys and still not right, and so on... But I hook up every day, sometimes 2 times a day... So I get lots of practice! I'm also using a truck with a wide, and tall dump bed. No way to see the trailer out the rear window! The best advice is to NOT rely on your rear window and your rear view mirror, learn to use your side mirrors ONLY. Nothing sadder than a GUY cranking his head around looking out the rear window while backing up a trailer! lol!

Greengo
04-10-2007, 07:25 AM
the plate i use is removable. i ordered mine from northern tool. very simple and works really well.

bigmudder77
04-10-2007, 10:26 AM
just put it in reverse and go i use to live/work on a farm and thats all we did we had another person back there telling us how far and stuff but if you hook up alot of trailers you can just put it in reverse and go and most of the time get it right on or at least thats how i am now for most of the trailers that is