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Old 07-17-2022, 10:34 AM   #1
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Can I back up with flat toad?

New (to us) 2019 Greyhawk 30X, about to take our first trip.
Flat towing a Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Instructions were don't backup and with an override braking system I understand the toad brakes would lock up BUT it is a 15 second job to disable the brakes.
I'm paranoid about stopping for lunch at a restaurant and there is no drive-though so I would have to disconnect, re-arrange, and re-connect .
I've backed up trailers for 70 years, is there a problem when it is a vehicle with steering wheels?
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Old 07-17-2022, 10:57 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ann-Marie View Post
New (to us) 2019 Greyhawk 30X, about to take our first trip.
Flat towing a Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Instructions were don't backup and with an override braking system I understand the toad brakes would lock up BUT it is a 15 second job to disable the brakes.
I'm paranoid about stopping for lunch at a restaurant and there is no drive-though so I would have to disconnect, re-arrange, and re-connect .
I've backed up trailers for 70 years, is there a problem when it is a vehicle with steering wheels?
Yes. You can't control the vehicle that's being flat towed when backing.
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Old 07-17-2022, 02:02 PM   #3
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The question isn't whether you can, but whether you should. What happens is that they act like shopping cart wheels and quickly start to turn sideways. Besides sliding the tires, if you go to full stop you can damage things.

That said, in a couple of decades of towing a car (not now, new to trailers) I encountered a half-dozen cases where I needed to get backed up quicker than I was going to manage with unhooking. In those cases, my wife served as spotter, and as soon as the wheels started to caster she would tell me and I would move forward a foot or so (as needed) to recenter. I've backed as much as 20 feet, but not much longer than that.
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Old 07-17-2022, 03:21 PM   #4
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It's all in the planning. Google Maps street view can help you determine if the restaurant, gas station, etc will be easy or hard.
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Old 07-17-2022, 03:43 PM   #5
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It's all in the planning. Google Maps street view can help you determine if the restaurant, gas station, etc will be easy or hard.
This!

If it’s not a major truck stop I check with google maps. If I can’t see a way to get out I don’t go in.
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Old 07-17-2022, 04:11 PM   #6
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100% don't do it

But I say...find out for yourself
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Old 07-17-2022, 04:26 PM   #7
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100% don't do it

But I say...find out for yourself
What Stavman said unless you want major damage and the frustration of having to try to unhook to get “unbound”.
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Old 07-17-2022, 04:26 PM   #8
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Just have your passenger get in the car and have cell phones on speaker and steer as you back up.
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Old 07-17-2022, 04:31 PM   #9
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Thinking about it, if you absolutely had to back up and had time for someone to get into the toad and steer you probably could, slowly but the best solution is avoid getting into that situation if at all possible. I still think you would end up in a mechanical bind and some damage.
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Old 07-17-2022, 05:27 PM   #10
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An anecdote from my very first trip in a motor home, towing. I was crossing into Canada at the Blaine border station. I misread the lights and started to go into a closed lane. At the last minute tried to turn into the open lane, but couldn't make the turn. The agent said "back up" and I said "I can't" because I believed the "you can't back up with a toad" maxim.

They opened another lane, I unhooked and backed up enough (I thought) to make it into the lane. My mirror hit one of their cameras, although not hard. Backed up again and got straight in the lane. Pulled up to the window and she started to say something, then said "Just go!!!!" Which I did with my wife following in the car.

Today I would have just backed up, with assistance.
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Old 07-17-2022, 06:57 PM   #11
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From Blue Ox instructions.

9. Disconnect the towed vehicle from the towing vehicle before backing up. Do Not Back Up
while vehicles are connected! Damage to both vehicles and the towing system may occur. The towed vehicle may jackknife causing abnormal stress to the tow bar, car chassis, baseplate and/ or pintle hitch of the towing vehicle. These abnormal stresses may cause damage that may go undetected.

It was explained to me the strength of the tow bar design is in the pulling position. There is no strength in the design to go the other direction.
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Old 07-17-2022, 07:39 PM   #12
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Hopefully she will try it and report back
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Old 07-17-2022, 08:08 PM   #13
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"The towed vehicle may jackknife"


The word "may" is the key takeaway, and not allowing the "may" to happen is what makes it possible. There is very little abnormal stress on the system as long as the toad is moving freely. When the front wheels even *begin* to caster the backing motion must be stopped. I just don't believe in telling people something is impossible when it isn't. Better that they are told how to do it, and also only to do it when necessary.
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Old 07-17-2022, 08:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
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"The towed vehicle may jackknife"


The word "may" is the key takeaway, and not allowing the "may" to happen is what makes it possible. There is very little abnormal stress on the system as long as the toad is moving freely. When the front wheels even *begin* to caster the backing motion must be stopped. I just don't believe in telling people something is impossible when it isn't. Better that they are told how to do it, and also only to do it when necessary.
I'm not certain at what point it is best to say impossible. If something will fail 999 out of a 1,000? Probably impossible. Fail one out of a 1,000? Possible.

With this it will depend on too many factors to even begin to calculate. Terrain. Skill. Fatigue. Communication. Vehicle.
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Old 07-17-2022, 08:32 PM   #15
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I can't count how many times we have been forced to back up... The reasons are endless, not really preventable with any type of advance preparation and most often with someone behind us waiting for us to go-forward into a worse situation than backing up safely. AND we have a trailer that is easy to back up!

Know that we have towed our TOAD on our trailer since 2013. It was not long after a friend flopped their Jeep TJ on Interstate 15 when flat towing it right in front of us... The Jeep suddenly started to sway back/forth and it went super-violent before it broke loose and took off on it's own. Yea, they were not backing up, but did about 2 hours earlier in Fillmore UT when getting fuel. Not only was the Jeep totaled, their insurance did not cover anything - as they did not follow the operating instructions.

Luckily, the only one who died in this incident, was the Jeep... oh, and the tow bar and a bunch of stuff with it.
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Old 07-17-2022, 08:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonBr View Post
"The towed vehicle may jackknife"


The word "may" is the key takeaway, and not allowing the "may" to happen is what makes it possible. There is very little abnormal stress on the system as long as the toad is moving freely. When the front wheels even *begin* to caster the backing motion must be stopped. I just don't believe in telling people something is impossible when it isn't. Better that they are told how to do it, and also only to do it when necessary.
Being impossible and being impractical are two totally different things. Trying something just because you think it is ok causes failures because you thought it was possible. It was but it damaged your equipment. That means it was not possible without the possibility of damage and that person should have been told “don’t try it”.

Some times we just need to say “don’t do it”!
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Old 07-17-2022, 08:37 PM   #17
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With this it will depend on too many factors to even begin to calculate. Terrain. Skill. Fatigue. Communication. Vehicle.
But is that not true of most vehicle operations/navigation? Should we all just stay home because every day someone has an accident? At some point we've all had some degree of education in how to operate a motor vehicle. Some are better at it than others, but there all sorts of situations one can/will find themselves in where you have to use best judgement and possibly not follow rigid rules.
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Old 07-17-2022, 08:44 PM   #18
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"their insurance did not cover anything - as they did not follow the operating instructions."


And their insurance company knew this how?


I freely admit my own success with limited backups is anecdotal. Your report is almost the definition of anecdotal, and it is hard to imagine how an insurance company could look at a totaled vehicle and tow bar and say "This vehicle was backed up."


If your friend told the insurance company they backed up the result was expected. Insurance companies love to have an excuse to say "your fault, we won't cover."
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Old 07-17-2022, 09:27 PM   #19
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To backup our Jeep when necessary, I start the car for power steering assist and have my wife hold the steering wheel to follow the straight or curved direction necessary. I've backed down an entire city block this way.
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Old 07-17-2022, 11:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
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"their insurance did not cover anything - as they did not follow the operating instructions."


And their insurance company knew this how?


I freely admit my own success with limited backups is anecdotal. Your report is almost the definition of anecdotal, and it is hard to imagine how an insurance company could look at a totaled vehicle and tow bar and say "This vehicle was backed up."


If your friend told the insurance company they backed up the result was expected. Insurance companies love to have an excuse to say "your fault, we won't cover."
Look up the definition of "discovery" in a legal proceeding. Here... I will give you a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_(law)

The location where they(and we) fueled, had cameras that covered the entire event. And they were surprisingly presented in discovery (the insurance companies are not stupid)

The fact that "truth hurts" is not that they did not take the alternative to break the TOAD from the tow vehicle and then re-hook them back after fueling.. They thought that they could be able to back away from the fuel pump with the TOAD behind them, albeit enough to get back on the road.


Was it a good Choice? Was it worth the risk? All I can say was that it was a bad experience that I learned from. Your mileage may vary-
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