Towing Trailers is Dangerous

Milemaker13

Active Member
Apr 28, 2019
236
Suburbs of Chicago
Had a tail heavy junk trailer full of yard waste and stumps pick up the rear end of my subaru. Just as the road was going from 35 to 45. I nearly messed my drawers... turned onto a gravel road and dumped the biggest stumps in the ditch. Drove slowly to the regular disposal site.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
Back when I was young(er) and dumb(er), and had little knowledge of towing, we used our then new-to-us utility trailer to pick up some free landscape rock from across the city. Of course I loaded it the easiest way possible, so all of the rock was in the back of the trailer, and little to no load was on the tongue. And... I was towing with a little Pontiac Sunfire which wasn't rated to tow much of anything... I originally had the hitch put on just for a bike rack. Well I was going back home on I-494 (the Minneapolis beltway) and the thing started swaying something fierce. I was able to pull over, assess the situation, and drive slowly home. It wasn't until I did some Googling that I discovered what had caused it.
 

Dan from Troup

Super Active Member
Apr 25, 2018
810
Troup, Texas
I know this is an old thread, but I'm curious why the braking system didn't prevent this. A trailer loaded up to 5000# certainly should have brakes and a breakaway system. Did it fail?

Did not have trailer brakes on that trailer. That ones gone now. But....the brakeaway on my new flat bed got damaged so this is a good reminder, thanks. Did get new trailer brakes installed on my popup recently with a brakeaway system. That cost me 750.00.
 

tfischer

A bad day camping beats a good day at the office
Did not have trailer brakes on that trailer. That ones gone now. But....the brakeaway on my new flat bed got damaged so this is a good reminder, thanks. Did get new trailer brakes installed on my popup recently with a brakeaway system. That cost me 750.00.

The torsion axle on my pup needs replacing, so I'm having brakes added right now. New axle and hubs should be coming in any day now, and I have "a guy" lined up to do the install.
 

BBQdave

Active Member
Aug 31, 2016
302
North Carolina
Anyone who tows, whether for commercial or personal reasons, should be in the habit of double checking everything at every opportunity. SOP in my book.
I pull a Cub Scout camp cargo trailer and a Church camp cargo trailer. I run through the check of hook up with my kids watching, I want this to be second nature for them, so they are safe down the road when they tow.

Before we even load the trailer, I check the tires and adjust air. It's an easy check of the trailer to pull it a mile to the service station air pump. With that little test run, and tires properly inflated, we load and go.

Can't remember the thread, but read it hear - and good advice: you may be able to pull 75mph, but that's not necessarily what the trailer tires are rated for.

I pull these camp cargo trailers at 55mph. Easy towing, no worries :)
 

Spridle

Super Active Member
Jun 6, 2011
1,271
I've had my share of "events" too.
Had a car we were flat towing, pass us and launch into the cornfield. Car was fine.
Towing a car with an old F150 and a way too heavy open deck construction trailer. Coming down a hill in the rain, to a stop sign. Completely jacknifed on me. I put my foot back in the gas and pulled it out before it got ugly, but I did not make the stop sign.
Just this past summer I parked in the camp spot after an 11 hour tow, only to find no pin at all in the drawbar. I have no doubt I put it in, but something happened to it. I use a locking pin now!
 

1REDBEARD

Active Member
Jun 11, 2019
148
FL
I will be towing our pup in 5 days i have driven trailers around town but never in an interstate or anything over 50. We will be going over bridges and stuff is there any pre flight things i need to look for? Any tips would be helpful also. Tow vehicle is a 97 Tahoe and trailer does sit level on hitch.
 

1REDBEARD

Active Member
Jun 11, 2019
148
FL
Well you know everytime someone says dont ask you gotta ask... I take it you have a Tahoe or this turns into a funny story... Hmmm
 

Milemaker13

Active Member
Apr 28, 2019
236
Suburbs of Chicago
Ive forgotten i was towing many times. So much that now my wife reminds me at almost every move. Never did cause a major problem.
A pup shouldnt be an issue because you can see it in your mirrors. I tow one of those little red harbor freight trailers a lot and i cant see it in my mirrors.
 

Rusty2192

Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2014
1,193
Kentucky
I will be towing our pup in 5 days i have driven trailers around town but never in an interstate or anything over 50. We will be going over bridges and stuff is there any pre flight things i need to look for? Any tips would be helpful also. Tow vehicle is a 97 Tahoe and trailer does sit level on hitch.

When hitching up, lower onto the ball far enough to close the latch, then insert some sort of secure pin. I personally like a locking hitch pin so that I know nobody can mess with it or steal the pup. Then crank back up on the jack till it starts to lift up on the back of the TV. That way you know for sure it’s completely latched on the ball and not coming off.

Then cross the safety chains, hookup up the brake away cable if you have one. Plug in the lights and turn on the headlights and emergency flashers. Walk around the pup and make sure all lights are working.

Inflate the all tires, including the spare to the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall. Make sure the roof latches are all secured.

9D81F7D2-EDC9-4288-B263-B568E506F8B1.jpeg
 

Yacoma99

Member
Mar 25, 2019
60
My job requires me to frequently tow boats, lowboys, utility trailers, etc. I like to think I know what I’m doing but things still can happen. I towed a boat for over 4hrs and at the exit ramp for home, the boat trailer jumped the ball. The safety chains did there job and and I got safely off the highway. When I got out and looked the trailer tongue had settled about 1 inch from my truck. The only damage was some wiring on the trailer. Two years, and many boat trips later, I was towing this same boat when it jumped the ball again after a several hour trip. I was lucky a second time and there was no damage but I did replace the trailer tongue just to be safe. Never could figure out why it did that twice. I had a buddy with me each time and we checked that everything was hooked up correctly and the trailer ball was correctly seated. Check, check & recheck all your connections and then cross your fingers and go camping!
 

1REDBEARD

Active Member
Jun 11, 2019
148
FL
Did not have trailer brakes on that trailer. That ones gone now. But....the brakeaway on my new flat bed got damaged so this is a good reminder, thanks. Did get new trailer brakes installed on my popup recently with a brakeaway system. That cost me 750.00.
Are tailer brakes necessary for pop ups?
 

Yacoma99

Member
Mar 25, 2019
60
Trailer brakes are never a bad thing and the need for having them varies due to trailer weight, tv towing capacity, and other factors. Do a search on the forum and you will find several discussions on the topic.
 

WVhillbilly

Super Active Member
Jun 6, 2018
841
WV
Are tailer brakes necessary for pop ups?
Ours has them, and I like them.
Oddly enough, my enclosed moto trailer doesn't have brakes and I'm sure if there are two bikes in it that it weighs at least as much, if not more, than my pop up.

Wasn't an issue when towing with a full size truck, but now I'm using a 4Runner so I'm more cautious.
 

SpecialGreen

Member
Jul 5, 2018
57
We do a second check before getting on the freeway. At that check, we once found that the "foot" of the latch assembly, which is supposed to grab the ball from below, was jammed up above the ball: I think that the latch assembly spring was rusted, and when we'd opened the latch before hooking up, the foot stayed in the locked/closed position. Then when the tongue lowered onto the ball, the foot just got shoved up to the top of the cavity, above the ball. So it was effectively (A) unlatched, and (B) riding 1/4" too high on the ball (so even easier to pop off). All that, despite that it visually looked like it had a secured latch, with latch pin in place. If it had jumped off the ball, the only thing controlling it would have been the chains.

Now, before we head out, we stick our fingers up to feel that the latch assembly has grabbed the underside of the ball. Also, when we open the latch assembly before hooking up, I yank it up and down a couple of times to be sure it's moving freely.
 
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Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
12,243
Nj
Please dont put you fingers under the ball hitch , ever. If it shifts because its not hooked up right, you will loose them. After hooking up, raise the front toung. If it pulls the ball up and raises the TV you are corectly hitched up. Keep the ball area greased well. And that latch underneath is adjustable/ replaceable of its not catching properly. To check that hook up to a ball hitch, without the TV attached.
 




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