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Old 07-10-2017, 04:31 PM   #1
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Learning to tow

We do not own a TT yet; we are shopping, saving our money, and deciding what we want.

We found a trailer that is just under 30' that we like, but we didn't anticipate liking a trailer this long.

We have never towed anything before--not a lowboy, not a boat, not a uhaul, nothing.
Is it a bad idea to start out with something this long?

(If our tow vehicle makes a difference, we own a Ford F-150 3.5L v6 Ecoboost with factory tow package. We know we would need a weight distribution hitch.)
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Old 07-10-2017, 04:54 PM   #2
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Well, you can learn to swim by just jumping in!

I say, go for it and take your time to learn to tow. If a Murphy can do it, so can you!

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Old 07-10-2017, 05:19 PM   #3
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Yep....like Murff says.....Jump in and do it. But you do need to practice. With a camper that long, a little turn goes a long way, and a big turn goes a little......sorta. Best place is big open parking lot and some orange cones! Good luck!
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:30 PM   #4
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What is the Empty and Gross Weights of your trailer? That is going to be a serious consideration with an F-150 with a 3.5 engine.


If you must stick with the tow vehicle you have. Verify the weight the hitch (Tongue weight) can hold, the maximum weight the truck can haul INCLUDING YOUR FAMILY WEIGHT, and anything else you have in the truck (Firewood, bikes,...etc)
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:39 PM   #5
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Believe it or not the longer trailers are actually easier to tow and back up. The shorter trailers swing around much quicker then the longer ones.

Take some time to practice before heading out for real. Use the largest open lot you can scope out. Practice making wider turns and backing. Until you learn to back confidently remembering that the back of the trailer will move in the opposite direction that you turn the wheel. You can place both hands on the very bottom of the wheel and then just move them in the direction you want the trailer to go.

I've been pulling trailers of some kind for nearly 30 years now and it becomes second nature...
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:40 PM   #6
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Several things need to be looked at 1st.
Whats the payload rating of the truck?
How heavy is the tongue weight of the TT?
How heavy will the TT be when loaded?

If you can't make all those numbers work then you'll need to look for a bigger truck or lighter TT.

If you're not the handyman type then towing an RV might be overwhelming. Setting up the trailer and truck so that they tow properly is not easy if you're not mechanically inclined. Having a dealer do it is also a waste of time.

If and when you do decide to make the plunge, be sure and come back here if you have trouble.
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:45 PM   #7
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Do you live in a place that is open enough that you are willing to attempt pulling it locally as you learn? Driving forward and pulling is the easy thing. With attention and care, it comes naturally. Slower to get started, slower to stop, allow more following distance. Watch your mirrors and drive more cautiously.

Backing will be the harder part. You have to back it up eventually. Someone posted a video recently about backing that was a good video. I'd suggest looking for that. Most people find a big open parking lot and spend a few hours practicing.

One thing that I would strongly suggest is to see if your state has a study book for getting a CDL (Commercial Driver License). If not, I know for certain that Michigan does and can be downloaded for free. Spend some time reading through that. Has some good information on how to drive a big truck and a trailer. There is information on things like Air Brakes that don't apply, but driving style, things to consider, etc. will give you a good knowledge base. I learned a few new things myself and I've been towing for 10 years. Could help you feel more prepared for your first trip with a trailer.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
We do not own a TT yet; we are shopping, saving our money, and deciding what we want.

We found a trailer that is just under 30' that we like, but we didn't anticipate liking a trailer this long.

We have never towed anything before--not a lowboy, not a boat, not a uhaul, nothing.
Is it a bad idea to start out with something this long?

(If our tow vehicle makes a difference, we own a Ford F-150 3.5L v6 Ecoboost with factory tow package. We know we would need a weight distribution hitch.)
Loaded weights of a 30 ft trailer vary greatly as do the available payloads on F150's. Payload is usually the limiting factor with the actual weight of the trailer being a secondary consideration. Payload will be listed on the yellow sticker on your door frame and from this you subtract everything you put in the truck (kids, dogs, bikes, cooler, firewood etc.) and the loaded tongue weight of the trailer which should be 12 to 15% of the loaded weight of your trailer. Pay attention to the manufacturer ratings and try to ignore the vocal minority on this site that insist an F150 should not pull anything larger than a tent trailer.

Budget for a good weight distribution (WD) hitch with anti-sway. Hensley and Propride 3p are the best on the market and I have used a Propride for the last 3 years with our 28BHBE (30.5 ft) and would not tow without it. Longer trailers make a good quality properly adjusted hitch and essential item.

The primary challenge of a longer trailer is cutting corners too close or "curbing" the trailer tires when turning. The F150 tow mirrors are great, when properly adjusted, for using the little convex mirrors at the bottom to keep an eye on your trailer tires and sides of the trailer when you are turning corners. Just go slow at first and spend a Sunday afternoon driving around near home to get used to the extra length behind you and then go to a parking lot one evening and practice backing into your pretend "campsite" with your spotter. Make sure you and your spotter have a clear set of signals or even use a set of small walkie talkies. Have your spotter back the trailer up while you give directions, it will help both of you understand what the other is seeing and saying.

If you are concerned about your length while lane changing, a backup camera with high-speed capabilities is great for letting you know when the back of your trailer has cleared the vehicle beside you and also helps for backing the trailer up.

Everybody towing a trailer, towed for the first time once. IMHO towing a 25 ft trailer differs very little from towing a 31 ft trailer. A trailer that is 20 ft or shorter will allow you to get into campsites in some state parks that would otherwise not be available, but you will appreciate the extra 10ft of camper on rainy days or for extended camping trips.

Don't hesitate to ask any further questions.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:41 AM   #9
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Find a RV dealer or outlet that rents TT's. They usually will rent WDH's with it and set up the WDH for you.

That way you will get a feel for towing without putting out the cash on a TT.

I rented one B4 I bought just to make sure my TV was capable with the weight of the trailer I wanted to buy. I am 1600 lbs. below max tow rating of 7200 lbs.

You have to make sure your TV is capable of towing the size you are looking at.

GVWR, FAWR, RAWR, max tow rating, are the important stats to be aware of. I'm a firm believer of don't max out your tow rating when buying a TT.

Buying any TT that's over your TV capability is asking for trouble and your RV experience will be a miserable one.

Don't believe the salesman who says "sure you can tow that, no problem".
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:53 AM   #10
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Aside from the weight police comments, your truck will tow the TT without issue. My FIL has the same truck and tows his 10k# FW across the country. Well not all the way, MI to SC to FL to TX and anywhere in between.

As said, best way is to practice. Backing into a site is likely your biggest challenge, so practice that the most. When backed g, put your hand on the bottom of the wheel and move it in the direction you want the back of the trailer to move. Good luck!
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