Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Site Notices
Posted: 5/6/2004 12:29:36 AM EST
Hi gang,

I'm a newbie at towing, and was wondering what's the best way to start learning the ins and outs.


Link Posted: 5/6/2004 1:52:41 AM EST
Just hook that bitch up and find a large empty parking lot.

Experience. No substitute for it!

Why are you going to tow a Toyota on a trailer
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 2:59:18 AM EST
Just Do it.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 3:04:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/6/2004 3:05:27 AM EST by cyanide]
Some like to place their hands on the very bottom of the steering wheel.

Then it is easier for them to figure which way the trailer will go ------------ try it you will see what I mean.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 3:19:54 AM EST
Buy a toy truck & trailer.

Put it on your desk and practice by hand.

You'll quickly see how the trailer works the opposite of the truck.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 3:21:06 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 3:27:36 AM EST
Towing the Toy, because a bunch of us are four-wheeling, and if it breaks, I can throw it on the trailer and bring it home without worrying about having to wrench it in the field.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 3:44:22 AM EST
Just remember this is a skill that can degrade over time, if not used.

I do it just enough to stay pretty good at it.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 3:58:13 AM EST
The parking lot suggestion is the best. That's how I learned it. Though it wasn't an "empty" parking lot.

You can also try setting a few cones/barrels or whatever out and practice manuevering the trailer into tighter and tighter spots.
I had to back alot of trailers in the military and some guys leave you with very little room to get the bitch in there.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 4:03:58 AM EST
When I was learning to drive tractor trailers we used the toy trucks, it was a great aid. Practice, practice, practice.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 4:13:07 AM EST
Be sure to distribute the load/weight properly...

A minimum of 10% of the total trailer weight should be on the tongue of the trailer.

If the trailer and 4 wheeler weigh a total of 1000 lbs, then the weight on the hitch ball should be at least 100 lbs. This will help prevent swaying and loss of trailer control.

As far as driving with it, there is no substitute for experience... Hook it up and drive around with it...Try backing it into a narrow driveway, or try backing it up perfectly straight...You will quickly see what happens when you turn the wheel.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 4:23:24 AM EST
Contrary to some advice above, learn to back up properly before doing it exclusively with your mirrors. Look over your shoulder when backing just like they told you when you learned to drive. Using your mirrors before you intuitiely understand what happens when you turn the wheel this way or that way can be confusing.

the empty supermarkt practice tip is a good one. You have lots of room, and white lines to aim for, and hopefully few people to watch you make the inevitable fool of yourself (he-he).

A little trick that helps is to remember that the trailer will turn in the same direction as the bottom of the steering wheel. In other words, if you place one hand in the center of the wheel at the bottom and move your hand to the right, the trailer will turn right.

Also remember that few trailers will back perfectly straight very far, so do not worry if you wobble a bit over a longer distance. Just make small corrections as you go.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you get where you cannot turn it into the spot you are aiming for, you can always pull forward a bit to straighten, or even turn the trailer and take another shot at it. Sometimes you need to make 2 or 3 back/forward moves to get it right.

Most of all, just take your time.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 12:25:06 PM EST
The BEST way to back a trailer is this;

1) Watch in the mirror
2)push against the trailer with the steering wheel. I.E. if you see trailer in the right mirror, push that way with wheel....
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 12:45:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/6/2004 12:46:00 PM EST by post6440]
Get a trailer, hook up, find a large lot and practice, practice, practice!
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 12:48:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By dinkydow:
Just Do it.


Watch out is a skill you lose VERY quickly if you don't practice it. However a bit of time behind the wheel and you learn it fairly quickly. Just remember to go SLOW (I mean S-L-O-W) when backing up and you'll get a lot less frustrated.
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 1:12:40 PM EST
Or get a front tow hitch for your tow vehicle. They are versatile pieces of equipment, not only for towing, but multi-mount winches, recovery point (much better than hooks), etc. Cheap too. HTH
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 2:24:23 PM EST

The empty supermarkt practice tip is a good one.

In this part of the country, the K-Mart parking lots are empty ALL the time!
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 2:32:37 PM EST
my experience comes from towing small stuff behind a john deere lawn tractor, wagon full of wood, grass sweeper etc. going forward is easy, just remember to go a bit wide on turns. Backing up is where it get tricky. go slow and don't turn the wheel too sharp and straighten it back up before going too far or the trailer will go around too far and get perpendicular to the truck
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 2:48:29 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/6/2004 2:49:12 PM EST
SamK, that's why I don't know how to back a trailer, my Pop always had a front hitch on his trucks, and he pushed them where he wanted them when it was a tight area. Of course, he had several fused vertebrae that kept him from turning his head very far. But when he wanted, he could back by mirrors with the best of them, I just never learned the habit, it was always easier to push.

Thanks for the tips so far guys, sounds like I just need to practice.

Link Posted: 5/6/2004 2:50:24 PM EST
When I pull my boat out of the water at the lake sometime will just sit on the dock and watch all the assholes that never backed up a trailer trying to get their trailer in the water. It is a fucking riot, there is a launch ramp on the Sacramento Delta that had bleachers and a bar just for the launch ramp shenanigans. Why don't these idiots practice BEFORE going on a busy weekend at a crowded ramp???

Anyway, just as the advice was given, practice and remember, the trailer will turn the same way you turn your wheel.

Link Posted: 5/6/2004 3:12:04 PM EST
Turn the wheel opposite the way you want to go, just a bit , back a bit (about 4-6 inches no more) that gets the rear end and trailer pointed right and then turn the wheel as directed above.

Some folks use the bottom of the wheel and keep their elbow against the door, keeps you from turning too far or too fast.

Practice in an empty lot, you can practice yelling at your wife at home though.

I learned to drive and tow at the same time. Towed a tent-trailer with a big Chevy wagon on a learners permit through Ca, NV, AZ and UT, no problems backing. (Maybe I hadn't learned any bad habit.

About 10 years ago my bro got a tent trailer and I couldn't back that fer squat with my pick-up. I'ld get it close and push by hand.

the geometry of the distance between the tow ball and front wheels and the trailer wheels can have a big effect. If it's right it's a piece of cake, if wrong yer screwed no matter how good you are.

And yeah I've seen the kibitzers come out at a few campgrounds to watch the newbie and wife get jackknifed into the bushes several places. Generally an older lady will come out and take the wife in hand and get her out of the way before things get too bad. A husband or two will help the driver at that point.
Top Top