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Share Your Tips On Hitching Up Your Trailer Solo...


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#1 Coops Zippo

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:36 PM

The title basicly says it all. I am pretty good at hitching up with the buddy system. But if I want to hit the trails I am going to have to learn to hitch up solo. crazy.gif This is my first year with a nice trailer of my own. Have lots of experience towing but hubby had his own horse and rode with me.

My trailer is Bumper Pull and I need some of your pointers. I think I am going to buy the hitch helper I saw at TSC. ashamed0002.gif
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#2 Mudder

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:50 PM

I have tons of practice at it, and can usually get it first try without any aides at all. All I usually need to do is back up another 6 inches or so.

Here's what I had the neighbor do. Take a piece of tape (reflective tape is good to use), and tape it to the front of your trailer, even with where the ball on the truck, fits into the trailer hitch. Tape it high enough that you can see it when you look out the back window of your truck. Then take another piece of tape. Tape it to the inside of your end gate (if you have one, or the box of the truck) so it lines up with the ball on your truck hitch. Now when you back up, line those two pieces of tape up. Remember as you get closer you need to inch it back, and check often. Also make sure your trailer is jacked high enough to clear the ball on your hitch. Even if you're out a wee bit one way or another, you should still be able to hook onto your trailer. When you have your trailer hooked on and are straight, look back out your truck window and make a mental note of how far away the back of your truck is from the trailer, so you know, when you are backing up, how close you roughly need to be. Then you can slowly inch it back till you have it in the right spot to hook up.

Edited by Mudder, 15 March 2009 - 05:52 PM.

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#3 Runnin'Colors

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:53 PM

You will need 3 3' peices of 4x4 and some nails.

This works great if you park your trailer in the same place when you get home!

While the truck and trailer are hooked up and in the right spot at home, place one 4x4 right next to the wheels of the trailer on the drivers side.

Then nail the other 2 peices together to form an L put the wooden L on the ground, with one "leg" behind the tire, and one running along the outside of the tire, on the drivers side of tow vehicle. when you back up, the rear tire will be inside the L, and you will feel your tire bumpp the wood.

The 4x4 next to your trailer tires helps you get back in the right place for next time\

Edited to make this make better sense

Edited by Runnin'Colors, 15 March 2009 - 05:55 PM.

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#4 Mudder

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 06:09 PM

That's a good idea too Running. notworthy.gif If you can back it up into the same spot all the time. You can always move your boards if you need to. We use the two board system with the grain truck, when we have to back up to the auger. Put the outside of the tire against the board, and you're in the perfect spot. Who wants to get in and out of a grain truck 50 million times to make sure you don't back over the auger. Plus you're always in the right spot and you know when you hit that 4x4. winking0073.gif

Edited by Mudder, 15 March 2009 - 06:10 PM.

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#5 redneckcowgirl

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 07:40 PM

ashamed0002.gif Mudder, tape's a great idea! (I used a big fat black magic marker!)

#6 ..::Felda::..

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 07:57 PM

Try, try....try again.
Is it possible to stay on topic to what the thread is about? Or has the population become so distracted it must resort to addressing every little allusion thus changing the direction of this thread and losing the topic? Have we lost the ability to recognize this problem and just start a new topic if the oppportunity arises? Please do so now if you feel so inclined to seek attention.


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#7 Mudder

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 09:31 PM

When or if you use Runnings suggestion of the 4x4 pieces of wood, place your boards while the trailer is still hooked to the truck. Because the truck may roll forward a wee bit, when the weight of the trailer is taken off the ball. Also remember to place a block of wood behind and in front of the trailer tire, before you unhook, so it doesn't roll backwards or forwards. Always check the height of the hitch to make sure it clears the hitch ball when you next hook up. The weight of the trailer may sink the trailer hitch into the ground a bit, and it won't be the right height anymore. Last thing you want to do is crack your trailer hitch against the ball of the truck hitch. It will dent the part that fits over the ball, and you won't have a proper fit then. You cannot use a smaller ball, you'll have to replace the hitch part that fits on the ball.
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#8 qthorsegal

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 11:03 PM

I almost always hitch up solo. It just takes lots of practice and hopping out to check a few times. The more you do it, the less you have to check!
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#9 palomino_overo

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 08:27 AM

I would rather hook up myself than have my wife "help" me. I use Mudder's method except I use the chrome trim on the fromt of my trailer and the access panel, for the latch, on the tailgate. I usually back into my hitch, though and then jack it up (but I have a bulldog type coupler) before backing under it. You can usually get close enough that when you let it down onto the ball that it will "pull" itself over onto the ball.
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#10 Mudder

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 08:40 AM

I have more trouble hooking up, if someone else is helping me. Left left, no, no, your other left, is usually how the conversation goes. rolleye0014.gif It does take lots of practice. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
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#11 palomino_overo

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 08:51 AM

Mudder, you sound like me...my problem is that Colormeahorse tends to stand where I can't see her in my mirrors, and she doesn't give very good hand and arm signals.

I usually do it myself because getting in and out of the truck is easier than arguing and having to sit in the truck with her afterwards.
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#12 Mudder

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 09:00 AM

rotf.gif I hear ya dude. It started out with me and the kids going camping. I'd hook on to the camper. Sometimes it took me 20+ minutes. In and out, in and out. Frustrated and mad, cause last time it took less than five minutes. I tried getting the kids to help, but forget that. I'd just end up hitting something. Ya, you hit it mom. Thanks sweetie, but I said "don't let me hit it." rotf.gif OH those were the days.
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#13 Coops Zippo

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 10:02 AM

I am spoiled because hubby and I can get it done in two minutes...I am pretty good at getting straight on right away.

I board so my trailer goes where ever it is out of the way. lol. So I can't make a frame or etc... Wednesday will be practice day for me.

I am the one one friends ask to drive the trailer because after the move from IL to PA (25 hours of heck) I have come across anything that can happen to a person while trailering except the worse case. Nothing like having two tires blow out along the PA turnpike in a construction zone.

I have just always have had hubby there to help me hitch up. Now that he is horseless and will be watching the kids so I can get out to ride the trails. I don't want to drag him 30 minutes out to the farm to help me hitch up
Coops Zippo aka Skip 1998 Chestnut AQHA gelding


#14 Mudder

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 10:11 AM

You can do it. Just be patient with yourself. Practice practice. That's all it takes. happy0203.gif
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#15 Jack Baumgartner

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 10:56 AM

This is a little off-topic, but when I got a goosenck stock trailer, I had to come up with a new system for hitching up. I solved my dilemma with a length of stretchy bungee cord, a doctor's tongue depresser and a clothespin (the kind with spring on it). My truck has the extended cab, so it's difficult to see the ball.

I hitch onto a ball in the bed. I found that the middle set of holes for stock racks on the pickup bed were just about in line with the ball. I hook the ends of the bungee cord in the holes and have a Magic marker ring around the center of the cord when it's stretched. I have the tongue depresser glued lengthwise to to one arm of the clothespin. I set the clothespin at the mark with the tongue depresser leaning back a little toward the trailer. I line up the depresser and the front of the trailer part of the hitch and back up until the depresser begins to move. That shows me I'm lined up straight and the trailer is over the ball.

I may have to move it an inch or so forward or back, but that's it. I can crank the trailer down on the ball and I'm ready to roll. When I get rich, I'll have one truck permanently hitched to a trailer and drive my other truck for doing other things. As if! rotf.gif

Edited by Jack Baumgartner, 17 March 2009 - 07:33 PM.

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#16 goldpiper

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 11:03 AM

I don't have any suggestions for a bumper pull as I am used to a gooseneck. I can usually get lined up easily then it's just a matter of checking where I'm at for the set down. I have managed once or twice to hit it right but usually need to inch forward or back. I figure it would take me as much time to set something up in the bed each time as it does to check.
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#17 palomino_overo

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 11:34 AM

Jack, like I said on the other thread...around here (until fuel prices got so high) you use to see guys driving around with empty trailers. I've seen 4-door, 4wd, 3/4 and 1 ton trucks with empty stock trailers at the movie theater, and there was almost always a trailer at the grocery store and Wal-Mart. People just didn't unhook them to run into town. Everyone kind of got out of the habit last summer but I'm starting to notice more and more guys dragging around trailers everywhere.
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#18 Crystalmoon

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:11 PM

I hitch up solo all the time as there is no one else but me living here. It does take practice and patience. And yes, I get out of the truck numerous times to check if the ball is under the hitch. One thing I did is mark a spot on the trailer nose to line up to. I also have a pair of magnetic "wands" which work, when the wind is calm. One sits on the hitch ball, the other on the top of the hitch. Line up the wands (they are about 3.5' long) as you back in. However, here in Texas it is rarely ever a calm day. Thus I don't use them often.
There some great ideas posted here and some I can use myself!
Another thing, and I made this mistake only once: I have a bulldog type hitch and once the ball is settled in the coupling, the collar HAS to be slipped into place to secure the trailer. Also always attach the safety chains. I cross mine under the hitch. Anyway, one day I forgot to properly secure the hitch; (got side-tracked with loading...whatever). Two blocks from the house, in the residential area, I heard a crash and my rig shuddered. Got out to find the trailer nose on the street and my safety chains were all that kept the trailer attached. Checked on my scared mare, she was okay....then some good Samaritans came along. Had to jack up the still loaded trailer horse still in, and all, with a heavy-duty farm jack, re-hitched the trailer and none the worse for wear, we were on our way. The trailer got a dent in the front. And the hitch "riser?' whatever it is called got a little bent.
It scared me enough to double check from now on.

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#19 DraftyGirl43

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:55 PM

I'm with Jack!! I'm by no means rich but I got the chance to by a $400 Dodge Intrepid when gas prices started going up a couple years ago. It required a couple repairs but still looks/runs fairly well. During the summer my truck now stays hitched to my trailer at the farm I board at. All I do is crank it back down and away we go. I can't even begin to tell how much gas money it's saved me, not to mention the time it takes to hook and unhook it. I love it!!!! My hubby just bought a new tow vehicle for us but we decided to keep my truck since it's so convenient. We'll just hook his truck up when we want to trailer longer distances.
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#20 DiluteMe

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 03:33 PM

I do the same thing Mudder does to an extent though I don't have to use tape!

I had a Ford with a sliding window in the middle. And my bumper pull trailer has a silver strip on the front that makes a point in the middle. So I just line that strip up in the middle of my sliding window and tah dah! You do usually have to hop out a couple time to see how close you are or any little tweeks. But I can usually get hooked up in a minute or less with this method. But I HAVE been doing this for almost 8 years now. crazy.gif

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#21 Milo

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 03:53 PM

QUOTE (redneckcowgirlmn @ Mar 15 2009, 08:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ashamed0002.gif Mudder, tape's a great idea! (I used a big fat black magic marker!)

LOL, I just use the scratches on the tail gate and line them up with the rivet thingies on the trailer
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#22 Mudder

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 07:21 PM

We use our truck around the farm, so it can't stay hooked to the trailer. When I have left it hooked up, cause I'm going out in a day or two again, someone always finds use for the truck. Like to haul his quad around. rotf.gif

I don't use anything as an aide other than where I know in my head things should be. Between my camper and my stock trailer, I've done it enough over the years that I could probably do it in my sleep. I actually have a tougher time hooking the tractor up to the cultivator, and I can see the whole darn set up thru the back window. Go figure. confused0024.gif
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