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Old 10-09-2016, 11:02 PM   #1
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Towing a trailer

I have a 16' utility trailer that I would like to occasionally tow behind my coach. I was reading other threads about the need for an extended tongue. I never thought about this. If an open or closed trailer will safely tow behind my pickup truck, why would towing it behind a motorhome be any different??
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:25 PM   #2
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Your motor home can actually turn sharper than a pickup truck. If you are maneuvering in a parking lot and turning sharply, the trailer will hit the back corners of the motor home. And I'm talking about when moving forward, not a "jack knife" scenario when backing. Please don't ask me how I know this. ☹️

I bought an extended shank for the hitch, which moved the trailer back about 8". No more problem.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:25 PM   #3
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You'd only need an extended tongue if you were french kissing the trailer.

Actually it depends on how long the trailer tongue is now. You might see if a tight turn of the RV would cause the trailer to collide with the corners of the RV. You could take it to a parking lot and have an observer watch as you try hard turns left and right. If it does look like it will make contact, you need an extension receiver, lots easier than extending the trailer tongue.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:47 PM   #4
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Well I'll be dang. Alrighty then. It looks like a trip to a large parking lot is in order for a little turning practice.
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich-n-Linda View Post
Your motor home can actually turn sharper than a pickup truck. If you are maneuvering in a parking lot and turning sharply, the trailer will hit the back corners of the motor home. And I'm talking about when moving forward, not a "jack knife" scenario when backing. Please don't ask me how I know this. ☹️

I bought an extended shank for the hitch, which moved the trailer back about 8". No more problem.
RVs don't turn sharper than a pick up truck. A pick up will turn circles inside my tightest turn. BUT, an RV has a much longer distance between the rear axle and the receiver. That is what makes the trailer hit the corners of the RV in a tight turn.
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Old 10-10-2016, 06:48 PM   #6
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Well I'll be dang. Alrighty then. It looks like a trip to a large parking lot is in order for a little turning practice.
Good idea to take it to a parking lot and giving it a try. Then you'll know for sure if it works for you. I had a 24 foot enclosed car carrier I could tow that behind by ford pickup without problem. When turning sharp the rear of the pick up was narrow enough to clear the trailer, kind of fit between the edge of the trailer and the trailer tongue - but the motorhome being wider could hit the corners of the trailer if I turned sharp enough. I had the tongue extended and did not have that problem. I'm not sure if people with the V front trailers have that problem.
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Old 10-11-2016, 06:40 AM   #7
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if you plan to back the trailer, it would be a good idea to include this in your parking lot practice since your motorhome has a much greater rear overhang than your pickup truck. Depending on how this goes, you might want to extend the trailer tongue. A vehicle with a large distance from the back axle to the hitch, like a motorhome, will tend to more easily jackknife a trailer with a much shorter distance from the hitch to its axle.

Hitch extensions are different than tongue extensions. A hitch extension will reduce the possibility of the trailer hitting the motorhome when turning, but actually increases the tendancy to jackknife when backing since the ratio of motorhome axle-to-hitch vs. hitch to trailer axle is increased. Extending the trailer tongue decreases this ratio.

For those of you that served in the army, a good example is if you ever tried to back up with a jeep trailer attached to a 2 1/2 ton truck

Having said all of that, backing with a trailer is easy once you get used to it...

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Well I'll be dang. Alrighty then. It looks like a trip to a large parking lot is in order for a little turning practice.
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:32 AM   #8
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RVs don't turn sharper than a pick up truck. A pick up will turn circles inside my tightest turn. BUT, an RV has a much longer distance between the rear axle and the receiver. That is what makes the trailer hit the corners of the RV in a tight turn.
That is what I've always called 'tail swing'. A problem in close quarters and specially when moving slowly.
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:26 PM   #9
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To test for contact you need to jackknife the trailer while backing up. Just turning the MH and trailer doesn't always created the tightest contact angle.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:27 PM   #10
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To test for contact you need to jackknife the trailer while backing up. Just turning the MH and trailer doesn't always created the tightest contact angle.
Any trailer can jackknife when backing up. What does that prove? If you don't back up far enough to jackknife, you'll never have the problem, or damage.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:43 PM   #11
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Any trailer can jackknife when backing up. What does that prove? If you don't back up far enough to jackknife, you'll never have the problem, or damage.
I don't know perhaps you have other method(s) to test. I normally backup into a jackknife position to test my minimal turning radius. It provides some sort of minimal achievable turning radius with a toad or trailer.

I also perform multiple test turns while going forward.

I suppose if you were going fairly fast and turned and/or jackknifed the additional pressure may find an even smaller turning radius.

I've recovered from several Jackknifes while in snow and ice. where my toad and tow bar whipped into a jackknife position but never contacted my MH. Possibly whipping action can bring a toad or trailer even closer to a MH or tow vehicle with potential contact.
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:50 AM   #12
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Another thing to consider as well as the jackknife of the trailer is the top of the trailer. Our traveling buddies have an enclosed trailer and have towed it for thousands of miles with no problems. This last trip he had the worst case scenario of pulling into a spot with a downhill tight turn. The bottom part of the trailer never contacted the motor home, but the top cap of the trailer caused a pretty bad scratch in the paint. The motor home was down low with the trailer up higher behind putting the top of the trailer in contact with the rear cap. A longer hitch is in his future.
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:00 AM   #13
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+1 on the concept of seeing for yourself, with YOUR MH and trailer. Take somebody with you for the backing test and take your time.

That way, if there is an issue, you should be able to recognize it in the rear views prior to bending any parts.

Keep in mind that the hitch capacity will be reduced to a certain degree, when extending the ball mount. 18" longer than normal may reduce it significantly if you're working anywhere near the hitch's capacity.
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