Boat trailer hard to reverse.

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by valvebounce, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 483
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    My trailer is hard to reverse,the distance from the car is quite short.
    Would it be an advantage to lengthen the distance from the tow ball to the boat on the trailer central main support?
    I have a VW golf estate,and with the boat and trailer attached the back door will not open fully.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,342
    Likes: 325, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    The longer the trailer, the larger the turning radius. What is making the trailer hard to reverse?
     
  3. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,196
    Likes: 166, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Does the trailer have it's own brakes. If yes what type?
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 7,390
    Likes: 233, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Hard to reverse in what way ? Keeping it straight ?
     
  5. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 483
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    It has no brakes Ike,thanks for your reply.
    G and Mr E- it is very responsive,a slight movement of the steering wheel and I'm Jack Knifing.The trailer runs well on the open road.
    If it at has not gone too far from straight when reversing I can keep it lined up.My problem is getting it in position to launch it on the slip.
    It's only got a 14ft boat on it,so a bigger turning circle wouldn't be a problem.
    What my method is at the moment,is to take the trailer of the ball, position it on the slip,chock wheels and line the car up.Attach a rope the the tow ball on the car and to the boat,and rope it in.I'm not very agile these days,so it's a two man job.
    I heard somewhere that if the trailer is too close to the car,it's not possible to reverse it,which seems to be the problem.
    It's only a lightweight boat,and is easy to push around by hand,but on a sloping slip it can get too heavy to stop.
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,342
    Likes: 325, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    A short trailer is possible to reverse. If you can't see the sides of the trailer on your mirrors when it is straight that is part of the problem. When you do see the trailer, it is already turning too much. One solution is to install tall guide arms that you can see in your mirrors. Ultimately, backing up a trailer takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Find a place, like a parking lot, where you can try to back straight and turn either way.
     
  7. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 4,237
    Likes: 183, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Increasing the distance from the ball of the hitch to the trailer axle will make the trailer less sensitive when backing. Depending on the trailer construction it may be possible to replace the trailer tongue with a longer tongue. Sometimes trailer manufacturers sell different versions of a trailer with different tongue lengths. Or you may be able to find someone who can make a longer trailer tongue from a length of the appropriate size tubing.

    The position of the boat on the trailer does not affect the sensitivity of the trailer when backing.
     
  8. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 7,390
    Likes: 233, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Unless it always jack-knifes in the same direction, it probably is a matter of practice and better visibility needed. Single axle can be more difficult that dual.
     
  9. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 483
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    Thanks guys,
    it sounds like practice will make perfect,your opinions are appreciated. "V"
     
  10. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,196
    Likes: 166, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I have a very small trailer for my 12 foot rowboat (actually it was originally made for jet skis) It is also very hard to back in a straight line. When the boat is not on the trailer it is almost impossible to see the trailer, unless I lower the rear seats and lift the rear door on my SUV. then it becomes easier because I can see right away when the trailer is veering to one side or the other. As has been said, you need a visual reference. At most trailer stores you can get some thin poles that simply bolt to the rear corners. They are usually bright yellow or orange. They act as guides both when backing and when retrieving the boat. Also practice practice practice. like these on Amazon Amazon.com : Attwood Boat Trailer Guide Protector (Black, 2-Inch I.D/36-Inch Length) : Boat Trailer Guides And Rollers : Sports & Outdoors https://www.amazon.com/Attwood-Trailer-Protector-2-Inch-36-Inch/dp/B002FVO7DS?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duckduckgo-d-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B002FVO7DS
     
  11. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
    Posts: 2,190
    Likes: 134, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1082
    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    You can also build a sliding tongue or folding tongue for light trailers. You extend the sliding tongue on the ramp. This helps keep your car out of the lake as well as being less responsive. The second way to do this it to use a swing hitch where the pivot point is up under the car chassis near the car axle.

    one example of a swing hitch - PullRite - Worry-free Travel Trailer Towing | Fifth Wheel Hitches by PullRite http://www.pullrite.com/products/pullrite-worry-free-travel-trailer-towing

    Fulton folding tongue hardware - Fulton - Fold-Away Couplers http://www.fultonperformance.com/products/trailer-couplers/fold-away-couplers/IcDNSpx3DOQ2iA2x!UrxsGHZeED7ZvuS

    extending tongue -
     
  12. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 483
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    Thanks Ike,they look a good idea.I could make a couple up quite easily and paint them Hi Viz yellow.I didn't think of opening the back door,Ill give that a go.
    Many thanks"V"
     
  13. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 483
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    Thanks for taking the trouble to look up the extension possibilities,the second U tube vid with the extending square tube looks like it might be the answer.
    Plus Ike's Hi Viz bars.
    I think a 2ft extension would be long enough.
    Many thanks "V"
     
  14. ImaginaryNumber
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 422
    Likes: 45, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 399
    Location: USA

    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    If all the practical ideas given above don't work for you, you could try the impractical idea of putting a ball hitch on your front bumper. You sure would look funny driving down the road backwards, though. :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]
     

  15. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 483
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    That would be a good idea IN,the trouble with it being in the Uk is it's illegal to have a front tow ball.(permanently)
    My car has plastic bumpers,so another no no.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.