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View Full Version : Looks like I need some more trailer practice


Zach76
02-28-2004, 09:21 PM
Alright guys, been just using the back of my truck for the last few years, but I decided to get a trailer today. Spent $865 on a 5X12, and I was all kinds of excited, but the first thing I did when I got it home was crush a shelf in my garage after 4 trys just to get it into the driveway. Oops. I know I'll get better, but I just thought it was kinda funny. Of course, when it first happened I was all kinds of mad, and that didn't make the wife too happy, but it's kinda funny now. Just thought I'd share the experience.

grass_cuttin_fool
02-28-2004, 09:27 PM
oooooooooops, didnt hurt the trailer did it?

LocalTouch
02-28-2004, 09:27 PM
At least you didnt back it into a car, or the side of your house! Keep working on it, you'll get the hang of it. I learned with small trailers, to use small corrections.

BrianK10
02-28-2004, 09:29 PM
Keep at it pal, you'll get the hang of it. Good Luck

Brian

Zach76
02-28-2004, 09:31 PM
Originally posted by grass_cuttin_fool
oooooooooops, didnt hurt the trailer did it?

Nope, trailer's cool. Bent a wheel barrow and the shelf, but no major damage.

qball98
02-28-2004, 10:24 PM
Here is a tip for you. If your backing a small trailer like one I use to have once it got past a certain angle there was no way to get it back straight again without going forward. It did not matter how hard you cut the wheel trying to correct it because it would just keep on turning. Something else you might try is holding the steering wheel at the bottom instead of at the top. By doing it this way the trailer turns the way you move you hand.
Hope that helps

Sam-Ohio
02-28-2004, 10:32 PM
Small trailers are a bear to back up with ! There is a ratio of length of your truck compared to length of the trailer that really increases the difficulty of control when backing.

If the trailer is longer than the truck, it gets way easier to control it. Look how short a semi truck is compared to the 55 ft. length of the trailer. This is what makes it possible for them to back into the tight loading docks etc.

Your 12 foot trailer behind your 19 foot ? truck makes it a whole bunch more difficult to back up than a semi is. The problem is that the length of your truck magnifies all your steering movements and the short trailer seems to whip left or right with just the smallest movement of your steering wheel.

With a bit of practice, and experience you will quickly learn to make smaller corrections on the steering wheel, and it will be a piece of cake to put the trailer just where you want it.

leadarrows
02-28-2004, 10:35 PM
Learn to back with your mirrors. Looking over your shoulder seems easer but it's not really and you'll see what I mean after you learn. By using the mirrors you can keep track of whats going on in front of your truck and where the trailer is going at the same time. I wish I could describe to you how to use the relationship between the back sides of your truck bed and the trailer for keeping track of where your at but I can't it's something you just have to learn.

gogetter
02-28-2004, 10:36 PM
When I got my trailer, I went right to an empty school parking lot and practiced for about a half hour or so.

Backing into parking spots, parallel parked, just messed around to get a feel for it.

Definately made me more confident for the road and real conditions, like backing it through my storage unit garage door (which is tough because it's at an angle, not straight back).

Eric 1
02-28-2004, 10:43 PM
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :rolleyes: ....yep...I remember when i got my first trailer.

launboy
02-28-2004, 10:59 PM
ya i hear that i pulled a few of those in my day..the key is to useyour mirrors. if it is a single axel those are even worse.
mirrors itsall about the mirrors

Lawn-N-Garden Guy
02-28-2004, 11:46 PM
I used to have a trailer like that and my problem was I couldn't see the trailer till it was too late,So I went out and got a couple of those bycycle flags and mounted then in the rear of the trailer so I could see where it was.

sodzilla
02-29-2004, 12:01 AM
I use to haul cattle. 24' gooseneck. When I started it was shacky, but you get the hang of it pretty quick. In 8 years I put on over 900,000 miles. Backed into some really tight spot to load cows. Like others have said get use to useing your mirrors.

mpflood
02-29-2004, 12:22 AM
The two gentlemen that said use your mirrors:drinkup:
And to the guy who said hold the wheel at the bottom:drinkup: :drinkup:

charlies
02-29-2004, 12:50 AM
last season, bought a new open trailer for 2300$. you can fit 3 72" lasers on it. first day, foreman backs it into a tree, broken tailight. at least we didn't have to anticipate the first scratch.

Zach76
02-29-2004, 01:03 AM
You guys are the best. Tomorrow is gonna be a big practice day for me I think. Of course the first stop is the flower shop, and I"ll need all the trailer space I can get to get back on the wife's good side. j/k lol

tx_angler
02-29-2004, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by mpflood
The two gentlemen that said use your mirrors:drinkup:
And to the guy who said hold the wheel at the bottom:drinkup: :drinkup:

a couple more things:



Remember to make sure everythings connected before you move the trailer (lights, chains, brakes, etc.) Cross the chains under the tounge to hold it up if it jumps the ball.
Swing wide on those right hand turns when going forward.
When backing, do not get in a hurry for anyone for any reason and
just because there's a crowd standing around, don't assume they won't let you back into something. Be sure you know what's behind the trailer.


In a couple of weeks, you'll think you were born hauling a trailer.

nelbuts
02-29-2004, 01:55 AM
for years I kept an old 4x8 trailer at the shop.
before any crew members could drive they had to show that they could back that sucker up between two cones. There was only ten inces between fender wells and cones. Oh and one other thing it was a pintel hook tongue. After they did that it was a piece of cake for them.

Good luck and use those side mirrors.

Olylawnboy
02-29-2004, 02:12 AM
Wow, your bringing back memories. Before I could take out our 18' fishing/ski boat I had to practice backing up and parallel parking the sob. And heck, where do you parallel park a boat? But I practiced till I could do it. Sure had a good time after that! And never had a problem with a trailer since then and it's been thirty five years.

lawnlubber
02-29-2004, 06:44 AM
I never could learn to back down my very long and narrow driveway so I bought a box truck instead. It is much easier to maneuver and I can keep my tools safe inside.

MOturkey
02-29-2004, 07:26 AM
I feel for you. I never have been good at backing anything with a joint in the middle. I drive a straight truck every day on my "day" job, and have driven semi's, but am just not adept at backing. I think gogetter has the right idea. I may go do that myself.

This makes me think of a dear friend of close to 35 years. His name is Neal, also, and is several years my senior. We fished together a bunch back in the 70's and the guy could never back a boat and trailer. Took him about 10 tries every time we went to the loading ramp. We hadn't gone together for many years until a couple of years ago, when he called and I met him at the lake. Sure enough, he had a new truck and new motor on his boat, but his backing skills had NOT improved with age.;)

allstar
02-29-2004, 09:54 AM
" Something else you might try is holding the steering wheel at the bottom instead of at the top. By doing it this way the trailer turns the way you move you hand."

I can't wait to try this,qball.Another useful "tidbit" from lawnsite.com.

upsondown
02-29-2004, 11:25 AM
and if I can add one thing - though not backing related.... remember the road is full of idiots who will pull out in front of you thinking you can swerve or stop on a dime - so make sure your equipment and load is secure and resist using your middle finger - especially if you have signs on your truck. Ever drive on the beltway around Washington, DC??? - You'd understand.
Dave

murphy4trees
02-29-2004, 12:23 PM
Couple other comments... Its better to back into a turn with your drivers side on the inside corner becasue you have a much wider field of view on the driver's side... and your leading axle should always be as tight to the inside corner as posible... that goes for trucks too... I like the hands on the bottom suggestion... Thanks

KenH
02-29-2004, 01:35 PM
Its at the point now, when Im NOT driving my trailer, I still back up the oposite way I really want to.

dkeisala
02-29-2004, 02:40 PM
ALL very good ideas. I've use an 8' single axle trailer for several years and very comfortable pulling and backing it. But this year I will be using a 12' tandem axle and not as confident, especially at the thought of getting around a tight cul-de-sac or stuck on a dead end road after a wrong turn.

Great thread, just when you think you know it all you learn something new!

Mr DanO
02-29-2004, 02:40 PM
Here's a trick to use grab the bottom of the streering wheel and turn in the direction you want the trailer to go. The shorter the trailer the less you have to turn the wheel GO SLOW!!!

Zach76
02-29-2004, 03:20 PM
Thanks for all the input guys. As soon as the concrete dries up a little I'm gonna go make a few more practice runs. I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully today's damage will be limited to my ego.

CNE
02-29-2004, 07:31 PM
No offense, but I think you should have to have an endorsement on your driver's license to pull a trailer. This would eliminate some of these people on the road who don't know what they are doing and get themselves tied up in a parking lot. To the guy that said not to look over your shoulder, I can put my trailer any where I want it and prefer to look over my shoulder. But I can back it with the mirrors just as good. Just practice alot before you get yourself in an embarassing situation at a customer's house.

SIRCAESAR
02-29-2004, 07:39 PM
Hey guys, just like Zach, I am about to purchase a new trailer, and you guys answered questions i would have been asking:cool: in any event, I am trying to decide between an open trailer or enclosed, are their any advantages or disavantages with both of them, what would you guys suggest for starting out, I will only have 1 36 or 48 wb, a blower, and edjer to start with

j fisher
02-29-2004, 07:53 PM
I'm 47 years old and have been pulling and backing trailers since I was about 20. I've pulled large equipment trailers with tandem dump trucks hauling Cat Bulldozers. I pull Gooseneck horse trailers into the mountains hauling expensive horses. Never had much problems. Then what happens? Damn cell phones!! Twice in the last 12 months, I have crushed my trailer into the side of my F250 trying to back and talk on the phone at the same time. Moral of the story.... GET OFF THE DAMN PHONE WHEN YOUR TRYING TO BACK A TRAILER.

GreenMonster
03-01-2004, 07:14 AM
Originally posted by dkeisala
ALL very good ideas. I've use an 8' single axle trailer for several years and very comfortable pulling and backing it. But this year I will be using a 12' tandem axle and not as confident, especially at the thought of getting around a tight cul-de-sac or stuck on a dead end road after a wrong turn.

Great thread, just when you think you know it all you learn something new!

I think you'll find that trailer to be MUCH easier to back-up. It will be less responsive to steering adjustments (harder to jackknife)with the added length, and added set of tires.

Kudos to everyone that has already mentioned holding the wheel at the bottom. Using this method, just turn the wheel the direction you want to go.

A few other pointers: Make sure your coupler is fully engaged on the ball before transporting. Trailer could be hard to lift back on if it falls off and you're by yourself. Not that that has ever happened to me. :p Make sure you have the right size ball too!
1 7/8", 2", 2 5/16'

Also remember it takes a lot more distance to stop when pulling a trailer. That can be a lot of extra weight pushing your tow vehicle. Give yourself extra stopping time, and extra distance between the person in front of you.

Lawn-N-Garden Guy
03-01-2004, 07:14 PM
Atvantages of a closed in trailer is you don't have to unload your stuff at the end of the day if you don't have a garage,The dis is after mowing all day ,the next morning you find the inside of the trailer crawling with all kinds of bugs,So if you get a closed in buy a bug zapper.