First time towing tips? - Diesel Truck Forum - TheDieselGarage.com
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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First time towing tips?

I may be towing a trailer for a church function in a couple weeks, and I've never towed anything before. Any suggestions? The truck is a 99 v10 SD 4x4, the hitch is rated at 10500 in the manual, I've got a 6k ball on it though. the trailer won't be too heavy, just miscellaneous stuff. I will be hauling this stuff to a winter retreat camp in the mountains.

I've never towed before and have no idea what I'm up against. I'd love to hear your guy's suggestions and tips!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 08:04 PM
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Does trailer have brakes on it? Do you have brake controller if it does?
How big of trailer? 12ft? 20ft? Open or box? If it had brakes, test them and adjust controller accordingly. Don't want them to lock up if you just tap the brakes.

Basics: Slow and easy. Check your mirrors often, ya to make sure it's still back there and nothing is falling off. Watch moving around in traffic. A short trailer won't be bad as it will follow the truck easily around corners. No need to play billy big rig'r and take 3 lanes to turn with a 12ft trailer. Short trailers are just a be-och to back up do to short length and they jacknife quickly. Use very short movements of the wheel to direct trailer. Don't constantly over correct. Remember put hand at bottom of wheel and move the wheel the direction you want the trailer to go.

Lots of other hints too............

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 10:47 PM
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Check tires for cracks on the side walls, and proper air pressure.Make sure the tough pin in.Make sure the blinkers and brake light all work and the plugs in tight that gos from the trailer to the truck.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

I'd love to here all your other hints too, Freightrain.

If I recall correctly, the trailer does not have brakes, is a short box trailer maybe 6 to 10 feet long at most.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 02:44 AM
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Be concoious of offtracking. That means that the trailer will take a slightly different path than the truck. You may need to turn a little wider than usual to compensate for the shorter path the trailer tires make. Now if it is a short trailer, then this won't be that big of a deal. Practice backing the trailer before you get somewhere where you have to park it in a hurry. It takes some getting used to and I would hate to be in a situation like that with a lot of traffic and not be able to get the trailer where I need it to be. It will feel a little different than you are used to, but you will get used to it. Make sure you can check it out before you are ready to go and make sure the lights are all working properly. If not, you will need some time to track down the problem.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 03:35 PM
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I see you got lots of good stuff going, since you posted this in multiple places. Lots of good information.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 11:24 PM
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Give yourself plenty, and I mean plenty, of stopping distance. You want to apply brakes gradually.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 05:57 AM
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Short narrow trailer is the worst to back, you can't see until it is out of line. When I drug a welder with a trailer toter I used a board to put the back of the trailer in both mirrors at the same time so I could see the rate of turn all the time.

When following distance is mentioned, I will add a number from an old CDL test - 300 feet - resist the temptation to resent those that have to make an extra 50 feet in traffic by bumping your front bumper to get into the clear 300 ft.

Check your location for the trailer brakes - most states are 1500 #. That size trailer will probably weigh on a bath scale. 1 wheel and hitch. In most cases a controlor and brakes for 2 wheel around $300 - near double the fine and no points. About 80# for camp gear per person.

Read the sidewall on the tires while you look for cracks and check the air pressure.

When you stop ( 50 - !00 miles ) check the hubs, that they are about the same and simular to your truck for temperature. Look at the lug nuts for powder on the radial outside ( indicates a loose lug ) or check them with a wrench. Have a look at the coupler and safety chain. Check the coupler every time when starting, there are vandals that like to unlock them.

If this is luggage, make sure the tarp will fit and stay.

The best way to learn to back is to do it. The out side of the parking lot is a reasonable place with lines to match to and parking spaces to 'park' and see where to stop to fit the trailer where you want it. With a little practice one of my tricks for mobile homes was to drop a couple of bottle caps where the tires were to start to turn and where they needed to be pointing right to go into the space.

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