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Trailer tips: Alligning ball to hitch when backing up?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by walker-talker, Sep 26, 2002.

  1. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Any tips on how to allign your truck ball up with the trailer hitch when backing up to it? I park the 16ft tandem axle in the gargage, si it is on a flat service. I tried a jack with a wheel, but that does not work. Tandem axle to hard to "horse" around, I ended up breaking the jack. Any other tips?

    Please help!
  2. NBLL

    NBLL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    1. Can you get a heavier jack/wheel that can handle your loaded trailer or load it heavier to the back to take weight off of tongue? Since its in garage would be real handy if it rolls so you only have to get close. 2. When backing up to hook, center the trailer in right and left mirrors to line up center. 3. Before you unhook slide a 2X4 or 4X4 against the rear tire of truck and back up against it when rehooking to keep from backing too far... Just a few simple things, hope they help.:)
  3. jrodgers

    jrodgers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    What I do is first line up the ball perfectly, get it lined up how ever you can the first time. After it is lined up, line the corner of you bed ( I have a stakebody so I line it up with the corner of the bed) or it can be the corner of a pick up bed or whatever in your side mirror. Then see exactly where it lines up with something on the trailer( I have a water cooler that is in a holder that is on the side of my trailer) I know when the corner of my bed is in line with the handle on my cooler I am dead on. Then I slowly back up until I tap just above where the ball is on my hitch with the front part of where the trailer goes on the ball( I think they call it the coupler) then I am right on. I dont know if this sounds confusing or not but once you figure it out youll know what I am talking about. Oh and one important thing you have to be coming straight on (not coming on an angle) but once you get the hang of it its easy. This also works on an angle but it might take a couple times because you have to say ok I need to be 3 inches to the right after the first time ,so you line the bed up three inched to the right of something on the trailer(its hard to try to picture where the ball is when you cant see it ) and then back up the same way as above. Now that you are totally confused try it and let me know if you get it...
  4. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Thanks, I know exactly what you are saying. I do this to a degree already, but I am not using my mirrors. I have gotten in the habit of turning my head because I want to see both fender wells when backing up into the garage. What I was thinking of doing is this. When I am sure of where I want to be, have someone mark the tailgate with some kind of orange tape and then mark the trailer with some orange tape. Basically the same thing you were talking about, alligning a mark on your truck relevant to a mark on your trailer. Thanks for the help, I will figure it out. I just want to see what other do.

    Thanks again
  5. LawnPro in NC

    LawnPro in NC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    I center the jack handle with the four bolts that secure the Tailgate latch cover. After a while you will get it. if you can back it in the garage the rest is cake.
  6. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,068

    Matt i pretty much have the same set up as you do 16' tandem .
    I use a 4 ton floor jack on my trailer jack I line up as stated in above post but dont have to be exact because i can roll the floor jack . been useing this method for years works real slick . just use some good lithium greese on wheels of jack so it rolls aound smothly

  7. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,068

    oops how did that happen :rolleyes:
  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Assuming you can line up side-to-side OK, but can't judge how far back to drive truck to be under hitch.

    Park in exactly the same place (referring to back & forward) each night. Tonight before you drop the trailer, look for some landmark to use to determine your back & forward position exactly. If you have to, scratch or paint a line on the drive just under the driver's door. My drive goes right next to my house, and I use a window edge on the house lined up with my right window door post as a guide.
  9. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    This what I always do.

    Then when you feel the tongue of the trailer touch your bumper right above the ball, just roll forward a small amount, jump out crank it down, latch things up, hook up the chains and plug the lights and brakes in and away ya go, just like you know what you are doing. :D
  10. Westbrooklawn

    Westbrooklawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 427

    Make an "L" shaped square out of two pieces of 2x4......one two feet long and one four feet long. Before you disconnect the trailer at night lay the square down on the floor with the two foot leg right behind your left rear tire and the four foot leg parallel and against the side of your left rear tire. When you go to hook back up, back your tire right back into that same position using the 2x4s as a guide. You can use your side mirror or open your door and look back to see where you are going. This will put you right back where you were when you unhooked......hitch right over the ball!

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