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Author Topic: hooking up a pull trailer  (Read 2066 times)

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Offline Bob/OlallaWa

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hooking up a pull trailer
« on: September 22, 2014, 12:24:14 AM »
I know most of us have hooked up trailers for many years, but some people may not have ever pulled. I mostly tow pull trailers as I have a canopy on the pickup. I try to follow the same steps each time I hook up. If someone is there to help or talk about the weather I try to find something else for them to do as I want to be sure I do it right.
1. Make sure the tow rig and hitch will handle the trailers loaded weight and length and if it is a high load know how high before trying to go under a low bridge or gas station roof.
2. Be sure the ball on the hitch and the trailer coupler are the same size, and that the hitch and hitch pin are in good shape and installed properly
3. If needed either adjust the ball height or trailer coupler (if equipped) or use a drop hitch bar so the trailer sits level or slightly nose down when hooked up to the tow rig and ready to roll.
4. Check to see that the safety chains are hooked up and crossed, so if the coupler jumps off the ball the chains will catch it before it digs into the asphalt.
5. Plug in the lights, check them to be sure they all work
6. If equipped with trailer brakes make sure they are working and the controller is set up right. Hook up the emergency brake cable and check the length so it will pull out before the safety chains get tight and not be so tight it pulls out in a turn.
7. Check the tires for proper air pressure and for cuts, cracks, or bulges in the tread or sidewalls.
8. Make sure the load is secure and nothing will drop off of or blow out of the trailer . Oh and the load rating of the trailer is important so don't overload it.
9. Get in the tow rig, adjust the mirrors, and have a safe trip. If the tires are "ST  trailer use only" the speed rating is 65MPH and safe life span is only around 6 years at best. There is a date code to let you know when the tire was born.
10. If the trailer wants to sway pull over and find out why. Most often there is not enough tongue weight so the load needs to be shifted forward or heavy items placed in front of the axle instead of behind it.
11. At each stop walk around and check the tires, heat build up at the spindles (other than just normal brake use), load still tied down and hasn't shifted, hitch in good shape.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2014, 02:08:00 AM by Bob/OlallaWa »

Offline EL TATE

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2014, 01:53:57 PM »
Why should the tongue be slightly nose down; is it a safety thing? I do tow, and my angle is slightly nose down, I'm just wondering why we do it.
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Offline Bob/OlallaWa

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2014, 03:43:27 PM »
My understanding only, level is of course best, but better to be slightly nose down than nose high. My experience here is from the travel trailer and tandem axle dump trailer. For some reason my boat trailers don't care. Better control of the trailer, I think because of the weight being more forward and not to the rear. The travel trailer isn't catching as much wind in the front either if slightly lower.
 
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 04:08:34 PM by Bob/OlallaWa »

Offline Bob/OlallaWa

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2014, 04:13:23 PM »
 Determining ball height. With the trailer on a smooth surface, parking lot, road in front of house, drive way, etc. Set the trailer up so the distance to the ground at the front of the trailer frame is the same as the rear frame, or other spot like a seam or top of utility trailer. Then measure to the inside top of the ball coupler. Using this method the smooth area doesn't need to be level. The ball on the tow rig is then set about an inch or so higher depending on tongue weight of the trailer, springs of the tow rig, and if you use a weight distribution hitch or not.

Offline cudakidd53

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 10:21:49 PM »
ALWAYS CHECK THE HITCH PIN!  I pulled my trailer to storage this weekend without one somehow!  Weight of the trailer, slight twist one way or another- who knows, but luckily I went slowly and God smiled upon me during the two mile trip!
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Offline Bob/OlallaWa

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2014, 02:14:03 AM »
ALWAYS CHECK THE HITCH PIN!  I pulled my trailer to storage this weekend without one somehow!  Weight of the trailer, slight twist one way or another- who knows, but luckily I went slowly and God smiled upon me during the two mile trip!
Thank you, very good point. I added that to the checklist along with checking the condition of the hitch. Some guys use locking pins as they are afraid of it being pulled out when they are away from the rig.

Online JR

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2014, 11:58:08 PM »
I lost a nice D ring off my hitch about a month ago. Pin was in, but I missed the hole (quiet). It was a nice forged unit with a 1 inch D ring too.

As to slightly down, think about under load. When you are pulling the torque applied will lift the front a little.

My trailer has a GVW of 11k and I only had a 10k ball setup, since then upgraded to 15k. I get a little sway and am looking at a load leveler hitch.
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Offline Flyin6

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2014, 08:19:14 AM »
I pull my 10K twin axle trailer with a pintle/lunette setup, where the pintle in my custom built hitch rotates to accommodate terrain. Pulling down to the farm, off the two track it is not level anywhere except at the very bottom of the pond (I think!)
I like the pintle much better that a ball. No way it can separate except for breakage

My camper trailer has a ball with a weight distributing hitch. And I DO NOT like it. Noisy, bouncy, sways next to semis and susceptible to crosswinds. I've had the dealership look at it and they say it's set up right...but I want a dually pulling a fifth wheel.

I am kitting out the trailer to be able to hook and go just in case. Drop someplace then skedaddle back home, and fetch up the other truck and bike and trailer loaded with supplies.

Over time that situation will evolve as I am constantly repositioning things to get in a better and better position to bug out if I need to.

Ultimately, I want to get GM to build me a "Real Man" dually 3500 which I hope to document going from cold rolled steel into the Real-Man official truck if there is such a thing. Then I want to sell or trade up to a monster 5th wheel and call that all done.

Towing is definitely in the cards for any advanced survival plan, so pay attention to this stuff here and get your setup right from the start.
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Offline Bob/OlallaWa

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Re: hooking up a pull trailer
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2014, 11:42:13 AM »
Don, the dealer told you it was set up right? Just how did they determine that. My experience with dealers is, they set more up wrong than right. When they set one up new at the lot, the trailer is empty and so is the tow rig so everything will change when loaded for use. Time is money even when it is the lot guy hooking up the hitch for you. Chances are get it on and off the lot is the call more often than not. To properly set up a weight distribution hitch takes a lot more than just looking at it.  You can measure the distance to the ground from each wheel well of the tow rig both before and after hooking up to see about what is happening. But you really need to use a truck scales to tell where the weight is subtracted from or added to the axles of the tow rig and the trailer.