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Backing a trailer with short distance from boat to car

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  • Backing a trailer with short distance from boat to car

    I have only a short distance from my towball to the boat,which causes manouvering to be too acute.The slightest movement of the steering wheel,and I'm close to jacknifing.
    Would an extension on the towbar help to make reversing less acute and instant?
    Backing the trailer on the ramp can be quite a problem,and the boat is very close to the car,which doesn't help when using the mirrors.
    It's only a 14ft boat,and is quite easily moved by hand on the flat.
    I have to resort to "Roping in"which needs two persons at least.There are occasions when I would like to launch on my own.

  • #2
    It sounds like you may be backing up too quickly and not having enough time to react and adjust to movements of the trailer. See if a slower approach makes a difference . . . easier than modifying the trailer.
    Best regards, Ted . . . . Cape Cod, MA

    Formula 330 Sun Sport, O'Day Mariner Sail #3224, Sunfish
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    • #3
      Agree, go slower and if its hard to see, attach a pole to the stern. Backing a watercraft is real short, so I know what your talking about. Just go slow
      94 Formula 27PC Custom 509MPI MEFI3 , B3 XR
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      • #4
        Hitch to boat is not the critical dimension. What 's important is hitch to axle. I have backed up a 26 foot trailer with ease. A 6' utility trailer is less forgiving but its still a piece of cake if you go slow enough and turn the wheel only a few degrees at a time.
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        • #5
          To answer your question about the extended tow bar, you would be making the handling even quicker. The side you need to extend would be on the other (trailer) side of the ball.

          Agree with the others. Slow down, and possibly make smaller movements with the steering wheel. If you use it enough, you'll get the hang of it quickly, making all of this a non event soon....

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          • #6
            Extend the trailer tongue. There are premade extensions made for that purpose.

            Adding mirror bubbles can help too, so you can see the trailer when it's straight behind you.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by valvebounce View Post
              the boat is very close to the car,which doesn't help when using the mirrors.
              Don't use the mirrors, look back, through the back window. If you use the side mirrors while backing a short/narrow trailer, by the time you see the trailer it's way out of position, and difficult to recover from.

              I have a 14' jon boat and can whip it back into the water, looking back through the vehicle, practice, practice... When I tow with the SUV, I pop the back hatch so I can see the trailer, otherwise it disappears when the trailer breaks over the incline at the launch ramp, and by the time I can see the trailer again it's usually way out of position.
              2001 Crestliner SuperHawk 1800, Mercruiser 140HP
              2007 Tracker 1436 jon boat, 7.5HP Force

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              • #8
                Somebody correct me. Seems like I read somewhere about the distance between the ball and axle was 10'.

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                • #9
                  Just put smaller inputs in the steering wheel

                  I drive everything from 53' trailers to 8' jetski trailers and the only difference is how much input you put into the wheel.

                  On a semi a 26' trailer feels like a jetski compared to a 53'. Just slow down as others have said and make smaller corrections.

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                  • #10
                    agree with the go slow and make slight wheel adjustments. go super slow if you have to, and give the turn of the wheel some time to take effect before turning it even more in the same direction.

                    at a busy ramp there may be snickers at your slow backing (and too bad for them), but imagine what they are saying when you jackknife it?

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                    • #11
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                      Many thanks guys,looks like going slower is the answer.

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