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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    Until now my wife has had to help direct me, as I reverse the truck and ball under the trailer tow hitch. I would like to be able to do the "hook up" by myself and am wondering which is the best method.

    The trailer is too heavy for me to manhandle it over the ball.

    I have seen ads for the "V" shaped metal piece that "guides the trailer hitch over the ball" but this involves "nudging" the trailer back from its resting point. What I need is a system that allows me to line things up but not move the boat trailer until everything is hooked up.

    I am thinking of a flag system but does anyone have any suggestions on a relatively cheep way of doing this. Please!!!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Chief Petty Officer fishmen111's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I use a huge convex mirror that hangs on the tailgate. Costs like $20 from ********. Works great.

  3. #3
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    there are flags, rods and the guide you mentioned on the market.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I'm guessing here that you don't have a wheeled tongue jack on your rig. If that's so, get one...makes it so much easier to move your rig around and hitch it up. If you do have one...nevermind.

  6. #6
    Senior Chief Petty Officer Navy Jr.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    Another option is a backup camera. They now make models that can be fitted to existing vehicles.

    Although pricier than other suggestions here, it is something both you and your wife can use every time you put the truck in reverse. We have one (with Nav system that came with vehicle), and I can back that thing within a gnat's pubic hair of the target.

  7. #7
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    http://hitchingguides.com/ now if you are like me an have a van, with swing doors these are useless. as the door post block them.
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  8. #8
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    Harbor Freight has an inexpensive set up I bought several yrs. ago- telescoping poles with a red top. One goes on the ball and one on the receiver on the trailer, you line them both up and your are good to go. Since they telescope they easily store in the compartment between the seats of my truck.
    "SeaDog"
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  9. #9
    Petty Officer 1st Class INJUN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    tashadaddy's reply works well. I made my own using a wood dowel epoxied to a magnet (times 2). The length (height) of the dowels was dictated by sight.
    There is nothing more worthwhile doing than messing 'round with boats.

  10. #10
    Lieutenant Commander 642mx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    My wife usually isn't around when I hook the trailer, so I just take my time and I can usually get the ball within a 1/2 inch of the trailer the first try. I don't use any aids to get it close. I can pretty much tell by looking how close the trailer is in the rear view mirror. Practice makes perfect!
    Baja Hammer
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  11. #11
    Lieutenant Commander 25thmustang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    What I do is lean over to the center of the truck and then its a matter of lining it up with the center of the trailer. I have hooked up to mine 6 or 7 times alone, every time I do that, then hop out and see how far, then back it up and drop it on.
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  12. #12
    Commander zach103's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    i would go with what td said. unless you dont want to buy anything then do what 642mx said just go slow and keep practicing.. my buddys hooked up his landscaping trailer so many times he gets in within a 1/4in now.
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  13. #13
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    Yea save your money. It is pretty easy to get centered and distance is the difficult part at first. To get centered, I just look over my shoulder through the back window and align the center with bow of boat. Just raise your tongue up so if you overshoot the ball a bit, you have some room before the tongue hits your bumper and causes damage. You might have to get in and out of your truck several times as you creep closer, but you will get better.

    Stop 6-12 inches from ball, adjusts left/right accordingly and creep back a bit and check again. Put on your ebrake to prevent that 1-2 inch roll after you place it in park. Before you know it, it will only take 2 or 3 ins and outs to get in centered and your hole in ones will become more frequent.

  14. #14
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I did the in/out/in/out routine all last year. Worked OK. I did the "have the GF help me line up" method a few times. That took much longer as she totally doesn't have any spatial abilities, and I run into the truck, the trailer, the ditch, and sometimes the garage with her guiding me. This year I have a nice convex mirror I picked up at Napa, and a rubber band to hold it to the bow stop on the trailer. I can look in the rearview mirror, and watch the mirror on the bow stop, and in turn watch the ball close in on the hitch. You need to be somewhat decent at centering the truck to the trailer, but that comes really quick. Then use the mirrors to get the distance spot on!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    With a little trial and error it isn't hard to guide yourself on the trailer. Find a reference point to get centered, and then when you do get the thing lined up take a careful look before you actually drop the trailer on the hitch, that will help you get a visual reference for the correct distance. for example in my driveway the bowstop disappears behind the tailgate just as the ball goes under the trailer. You will want to get a couple such visual references, but it will get easier with experience.
    "If anythings gonna happen, it'll happen out there"
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  16. #16
    Cadet
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    If it were me, I'd get the magnet flags. I plan on getting some myself. I am pretty good at backing when I can line up the truck straight with the boat or other trailer. But a lot of times I don't have room to get the truck straight and have to back up at an angle. Also, even with a wheel on the tongue on the boat trailer, my driveway is steep. So when the boat is parked on the driveway, it is resting on chocks. So, there is no way that I can get it to turn even a little to "bump" it over the ball if I miss it by a few inches. Different story when on flat ground.

    I have a big four wheel drive dually, and it is really hard to judge the depth because the tailgate blocks the view when looking thru the back window, and the fenders block a lot if I try to use the side mirrors. So, either the magnet flags or a big convex mirror would be what I'd use.

    SOLER

  17. #17
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I had a very similar problem when I first started out...after doing it a handful of times, you will get a feel for it. Kind of like backing your truck into a parking spot...eventually, you just get a feel for when you are back far enough.
    2008 Tahoe Q7i w/ MerCruiser 4.3L MPI 220HP
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  18. #18
    Petty Officer 1st Class bman1bpm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I think the magnetic ball thing at harbor freight looks pretty decent, I thought about buying it, but I've gotten better and can back straight up. if you put a piece of masking tape on the center of your tailgate you can line that up with the bow of the boat, then its just the forward and back you need to worry about. guess that depends on how far on the trailer your boat goes.

  19. #19
    Petty Officer 1st Class bman1bpm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?


  20. #20
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I bought the things from Harbor Freight. In the store they are always on sale for $9.99. They are perfect. I back up until the front of the trailer tongue bumps into the rod on my truck. Lines it up perfectly every time.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I have to back in about 40 degrees off of straight to get to my boat, It may be possible to hook up a magnet to the side of the tongue but for me I just keep the tip of the bow lined up which for me is about even with my shoulder and back up till I think the tongue is out a foot or so. Then I throw her in park and hop out and check. Then I estimate the distance (or "walk it off" with my foot) and back it in the rest of the way making whatever adjustment you need. If you are lucky and have a gravel drive like me you can even leave the door open and throw a foot out and mark off the distance on the ground as a guide. I find the ground outside to be an excellent indicator of distance and angle.

    I can usually get it just a quarter or so in front of perfect with just one or two stops. I like to take advantage of the roll back in the automatic transmission by going ahead and lowering the jack to get some weight on the ball and then grabbing the tailgate and rolling it just under so it will drop on, I may have to wiggle the bow a bit to line her up. If your doing it by yourself just don't be afraid to stop a few times and verify how far you have closed in on it. I know my wife can't translate corrections to me fast enough to be of use so even with a second person I still do it the same way, they just get to say STOP!!! when I get close.

  22. #22
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    this back up camera works great. First time every time. can also see the how far the trailer is in the water when backing in.
    Well worth the money for me.
    added safety feature too.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=4744711

  23. #23
    Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    I have to hook up many different tow vehicles and many more trailers. What I try to do is approach the trailer straight on using the mirrors only. If the trailer is centered from side to side the amount showing in the mirrors will be even. Stop short of the hitch and get out and mentally measure the distance to the ball or use a tape measure if you need to (no shame here, just shame if you need this and don't use it). Walk back to your drivers door, get in but leave the door open. As you back up you can watch the ground go by the lower edge of the door. You can judge exactly with a tape on the ground or get pretty close if you have experience. Of course you have to hold your body and head relatively still in the cab to do this. You will soon get to where you can hook up any combination at any angle within a try or two. No real need for gizmos if you make a short study of it.

    Experience is gained quickly if you watch what you are doing instead of just being a spectator to your actions.

    Good luck and happy trailering.
    Internal combustion is a passing fad!

  24. #24
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    prsctice is what it takes and a lot of in and out. got pretty goo with my old truck but would still have to move the trailer by hand,( always had someone as a spotter if the boat was on the trailer), but at the end of the day had to hook the empty trailer by myself. Bought a magnetic pole system but wasnt tall enough for mty truck.( let me know if you want it). Just bought a new truck with the reverse camera and still had problems although if did it a few more times and got more familiar with it it would solve the problem.

  25. #25
    Lieutenant Junior Grade
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    Default Re: Help with attaching trailer to truck ?

    ford-trucks.com has a back up wireless camera for under $100.

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