Trailer backing lessons

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    Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 8:51am
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Yesterday was time to give some towing and backing lessons to my other half. We had a short trip to an empty subdivision which provided plenty of different scenarios. First was negotiating tight roundabouts and corners, second was backing in a straight line and thirdly, backing around a corner.
After a few teething problems, things started to fall into place. After an hour or so, she could quite confidently back around a corner and stay in her lane without having to take a second shot at it.
But probably most amazing of all was we got through this without a harsh word spoken and the relationship still intact.

Well done to her.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote mouthu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 9:00am
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Well done to you.

Maybe start a backing lessons business, i had a t-shirt made 10 years ago offering to back trailers at ramps. never charged, just stoked that we got to launch the boat sooner.
Yes it was me, I screwed it up for everyone.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 9:01am
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Now when you get home and fined the boat gone,check for the wife first.
Braver than I.  Had enough teaching son to drive manual,he blamed the car.
"Times up"
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Mc Tool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 9:29am
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Holy crap !    so it can be done LOL   
I wish I was young again .... Id be heaps smarter than this time
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Jaapie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 1:33pm
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@Kitno

Well done brother - what was the secret?

Put up some pointers for us mere mortals on the forum dealing with trying to teach the other half.

I need a handful of diazapam just to get into the same car with her at the wheel..... <kidding>
"Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught,will we realize that we cannot eat money" - 19th Century Indian Creed
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (2) Likes(2)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 5:09pm
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Originally posted by Jaapie Jaapie wrote:

@Kitno

Well done brother - what was the secret?

Put up some pointers for us mere mortals on the forum dealing with trying to teach the other half.

I need a handful of diazapam just to get into the same car with her at the wheel..... <kidding>

I am terrible at backing trailers. The best advice I ever had was to use the mirrors, hold your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and turn it the way you wanted the trailer to go. Clearly I wasn't paying attention because I discovered the best way to back the trailer was to get my son to do it while I was on 'fishing club business"
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 9:14pm
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As someone who wasn't born with the gene for trailer backing which most people seem to have, launching the first "boat" (jetski) was a challenge. I was willing to spend money on lessons, but no one in Whangarei wanted to take it. 8 years later and I'm OK. Can get the boat in/out the water without any drama. When I picked up the new boat (5.7m), realised I'd have to reverse it around a corner in to the driveway. That focused the mind Ermm

Advice? Stay calm and logical. Very hard to do at a busy boat ramp, but if you stress it, something will go wrong. Unless it's really necessary to do otherwise, keep one hand in the same position on the steering wheel. This will prevent over-turning to some degree and you'll always know the position for straight wheels.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mc Tool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2023 at 9:25pm
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Yeah ,I'm ok with the backing trailers (apart from my quad trailer....ran out of steel and the draw bar is so short the steering can't keep up.....) But I will say that after not doin it for a while I get a bit ragged.
I wish I was young again .... Id be heaps smarter than this time
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2023 at 12:26am
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get t as straight as you can and make little turns,trailer may seem not becoming around but it will and turn to quick thats when the trouble starts,t will just go on you.
"Times up"
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote gurnard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2023 at 3:27pm
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Here's a tip, get a house with a very tight driveway! Teaches you to reverse a boat bloody well Big smile That's what helped me anyway. I have to back my boat up a long shared driveway, slight incline and bend at the end.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Phantom Menace Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2023 at 5:17pm
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I learnt to back a trailer on my grandmothers 14 acre hobby farm that then got turned into a strawberry and vege market garden for a few years.  (market garden started while I was in secondary school).  It was a good place to learn - backing various farm trailers behind the tractor.

Getting used to "use just the mirrors" came with the step up to light trucks for moving produce around and then my older brother bought a tractor unit so I had a crack at driving that with 40 foot trailers and B-Trains behind it (haven't done  that for years / decades now :) ).

In addition to the tips others have provided above re patience / taking your time and keeping a hand on the bottom of the steering wheel (as a start at least) I like to think that I am pushing the front of the trailer round with the tow ball so I have to get the tow vehicle doing that then the trailer goes in the right direction (this also helps with B-Trains but then you have to think about the back of the first trailer pushing the last trailer round ... )
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2023 at 6:40pm
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Originally posted by Phantom Menace Phantom Menace wrote:

I learnt to back a trailer on my grandmothers 14 acre hobby farm that then got turned into a strawberry and vege market garden for a few years.  (market garden started while I was in secondary school).  It was a good place to learn - backing various farm trailers behind the tractor.

Getting used to "use just the mirrors" came with the step up to light trucks for moving produce around and then my older brother bought a tractor unit so I had a crack at driving that with 40 foot trailers and B-Trains behind it (haven't done  that for years / decades now :) ).

In addition to the tips others have provided above re patience / taking your time and keeping a hand on the bottom of the steering wheel (as a start at least) I like to think that I am pushing the front of the trailer round with the tow ball so I have to get the tow vehicle doing that then the trailer goes in the right direction (this also helps with B-Trains but then you have to think about the back of the first trailer pushing the last trailer round ... )

 PCJ is a truckie so I know he is right.  You are also right PM. Undoubtedly my biggest mistake was to learn to back a trailer by looking over my shoulder. That's fine when you can see the trailer and it's load but when you have an empty boat trailer it is really hard to unlearn 40 years of bad habits. For many years I have backed trailers reasonably well until I bought a ute where I can't see an empty trailer by  over my shoulder.Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2023 at 6:54pm
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Find a empty carpark and practice reversing between the lines or different angles,more you do it the easier gets. And those who are concerned about stuffing at the ramp.Dont worry any decent person will give you a hand. We have all done it.
"Times up"
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mc Tool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2023 at 7:24pm
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Backing an empty trailer,I thought thats what the poles on each side of the trailer were for,LOL so you can see where trailer is , they are also handy for guiding the boat onto said trailer Smile
I wish I was young again .... Id be heaps smarter than this time
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kitno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Aug 2023 at 7:51pm
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Some good tips coming through. One hand at the bottom of the wheel is crucial with little movements and allowing the trailer time to react. A big vehicle with an empty small trailer can make things difficult.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Big -Dave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2023 at 12:35pm
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I learned playing with toy trucks when I was 4
Then my trike had to have a trailer as well..
Comes naturally to me.
you can't fix an idiot with duct tape, but it does muffle them for a while...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Dagwood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2023 at 1:30pm
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Still remember my son coming home from his first job when he was asked to do a delivery and had to back the trailer up a long drive. 

His grateful expression that he was able to do so in front of a small but cynical audience was one of those precious and very rewarding parent moments.

The other instance I enjoyed was watching a lady at work politely fending off several offers of assistance to back a large boat through a tight carpark and confidently acing it...  some very surprised faces and whoever taught her did a great job.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote cosmo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Sep 2023 at 7:11pm
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Longer drawbar makes it much easier, when i started my new job i couldnt back for Shyte and remember my boss saying "i thought you were going to jackknife that 1 "and i was like "naw it was all good" didnt even know what a jacknife was.....
i just want to go fishing..........amd ignore all my adult problems
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote drpc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2023 at 7:29pm
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If using mirrors, having mirrors with the same curvature is the go. Wifes RAV4  drivers mirror pretty flat left hand mirror oh boy. I was someone who could back an A train and has always used my mirrors, if I go from the drivers mirror to the passengers mirror I can end up at a 45 angle. In the past I would always get the glass shop to glue a flat mirror over the top of the passengers side mirror. New car has all sorts of traffic assist built into mirror so computer gets upset if you cover it
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