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Old 12-29-2009, 04:22 PM   #1
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Use Toad to pull--back

On a recent trip, I found myself maneuvering coach and toad through a really poorly designed (and poorly chosen on my part) place to get fuel. Long story short (or as short as I can), I misjudged the approach to the only diesel pump and found myself, well, stuck.

Can't back up with the toad attached. Can't go forward because of the tree in front of the windshield. Time to punt and disconnect the toad.

Due to the angle of offset between the coach and the toad, all three tow bar connection points are binding and there is now no easy disconnect. With my trusty hammer and my tire filler extension sacrificing itself for another task, I finally persuade the pins out of their cozy dens. Total time from decision to disconnect is about 5 minutes. Seemed like three days. Not fast, but simple, right?

Wrong! The whole time this is going on, I've got a very irate (and very large) lady manager yelling at me to get my POS out of the way of her customers. I try to explain that I'm doing what I can, but I need a few minutes, and the time I'm spending with her is cutting into that time. She's not impressed. I keep working as I keep an eye out for the big tow truck I'm certain she's called. As mentioned earlier, the deed was done and I'm finally out of the way.

Looking back on the situation, the first, and most obvious solution was to not have gone there in the first place. Option two is to unbind the tow bar to make the disconnect simpler (but I don't know how to do that). Option three is what I ended up doing. When one and two fail and you're stuck with option three, is there an option four?

There's no substitute for experience, and I'm looking to borrow a bit.

What would happen if the DW got into the toad, started the engine and put it in reverse and, leaving the steering wheel alone, put tension on the tow bar as I SLOWLY back the coach. Might this perhaps minimize the load on the tow bar? I'm talking just a few (maybe 15) feet--enough to get my POS out of the way and the large angry lady off my back.

Any one been there--done that?

SSteve
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSteve View Post
On a recent trip, I found myself maneuvering coach and toad through a really poorly designed (and poorly chosen on my part) place to get fuel. Long story short (or as short as I can), I misjudged the approach to the only diesel pump and found myself, well, stuck.

Can't back up with the toad attached. Can't go forward because of the tree in front of the windshield. Time to punt and disconnect the toad.

Due to the angle of offset between the coach and the toad, all three tow bar connection points are binding and there is now no easy disconnect. With my trusty hammer and my tire filler extension sacrificing itself for another task, I finally persuade the pins out of their cozy dens. Total time from decision to disconnect is about 5 minutes. Seemed like three days. Not fast, but simple, right?

Wrong! The whole time this is going on, I've got a very irate (and very large) lady manager yelling at me to get my POS out of the way of her customers. I try to explain that I'm doing what I can, but I need a few minutes, and the time I'm spending with her is cutting into that time. She's not impressed. I keep working as I keep an eye out for the big tow truck I'm certain she's called. As mentioned earlier, the deed was done and I'm finally out of the way.

Looking back on the situation, the first, and most obvious solution was to not have gone there in the first place. Option two is to unbind the tow bar to make the disconnect simpler (but I don't know how to do that). Option three is what I ended up doing. When one and two fail and you're stuck with option three, is there an option four?

There's no substitute for experience, and I'm looking to borrow a bit.

What would happen if the DW got into the toad, started the engine and put it in reverse and, leaving the steering wheel alone, put tension on the tow bar as I SLOWLY back the coach. Might this perhaps minimize the load on the tow bar? I'm talking just a few (maybe 15) feet--enough to get my POS out of the way and the large angry lady off my back.

Any one been there--done that?

SSteve
Steve,

We were traveling through Utah last year with our friends and we pulled in to get fuel and my buddy got in a tight pickel like you. To get out of it he had his wife get in the toad and as he backed up she steered it and they were able to get out. First time I have every seen that and it worked. He later told me he has done it a few times.
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:02 PM   #3
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Been there, done that. A few years ago, I tried to make a u turn to get to a fueling stop, but ended up blocking the road with no place to go but in the ditch.Dw got in the toad, started it up, put it in reverse and steered back until i could unblock the road. DW was not too happy, but the motorists who were blocked were. I have done this a few times, but I would not want to do this too often. Sometimes you don't have any choice. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.!!!!!!
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Old 12-29-2009, 05:08 PM   #4
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Hi hardy1000,
Does your buddy's wife want a new travel partner? My wife us useless for any help moving the coach or toad in any situation. She could care less and refuses to learn. Maybe time for a switch?
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:56 PM   #5
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The steering wheel in the towed can move violently so make sure your towed driver understands to keep a loose grip on the wheel so they don't end up with a sprained wrist or worse. You can actually back up short distances and gain on a tight corner if you are really careful. You don't need anyone in the towed to do this. The risk is that you will tear the front tires on the towed off the rims. The trick is to go back until the towed starts to countersteer and then go ahead a bit to straighten it out again but you have to be quick and watch the mirror carefully. The towed will go from tracking to counterlocked in a heartbeat if you let it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:37 PM   #6
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Gary - my wife is cut of the same mold! NO help except for supervision. She claims she gave me three sons to help out (my pit crew). Only problem is that they are getting older and we are traveling more without any crew members.

Regarding a binding toad, I carry a rubber mallet and a brass hammer to knock the pins out.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:37 PM   #7
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Been there, done that too! As backout was straight shot, and not far, I told DW to get in toad, start engine so power steering would work, and to hold the wheel straight while I eased back. Tried several times, while talking to DW on radio. Toad tried to go off one side each time. Finally decided just to unhitch, I shut off engine, got out and walked back. Toad wheels were all the way to one side, but steering wheel was straight. DW said I told her to keep steering wheel straight, and she did!! I had to agree, didn't even try to explain.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:50 PM   #8
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First, I believe that I could take any Lady Manager, so I would stay calm (again, just joking).

I have had the exact same thing happen twice on my first MH, this time around, I bought the tow bar with the ball coupler. I would never have the 3 point pin type bar again. It's just too frustrating in many situations. I know that the other ones are old fashion, but sometimes technology gets in the way of practicality. On my type, if you can move either the car or MH 1/2 inch, it comes right off.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Hi hardy1000,
Does your buddy's wife want a new travel partner? My wife us useless for any help moving the coach or toad in any situation. She could care less and refuses to learn. Maybe time for a switch?
Hey Gary, I will check and see if he will rent her out for long trips. One of our other travel buddys wife is the same, she has no interest in learning how anything works, especially dumping. Disclaimer: ( No disrespect to the wives and women travelers out there, honest).
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:20 AM   #10
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I think I know that lady manager... She is my co-pilot.

Seriously.. Sometimes starting the car and putting it in drive, then setting the parking brake, will release the tension on the bars enough to help them retract (Assuming it's the kind where you push or pull a lever and they retract) and allow the pins to come out normally

Else a bolt, about 2 or 3 sizes SMALLER than the pin (Diamater wise) and at least a half inch LONGER than the pin, and a pair of pliars.. Very handy.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:24 PM   #11
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We've just a a slightly similar situation once. I pulled in and overshot a propane filling station. I had DW sit it the toad, with the a tight grip on the wheel while I backed up. We only had to go about 10 feet and it was level ground.

For getting the pins out, the key for me seems to get the tension off the bar. I always try to first assess whether the toad is pulling away or pushing toward the MH. I then start the toad engine and gently push in the opposite way. Almost every time now, the pin comes loose after just a little nudge. I've also found if there is a variance side to side, that I can nudge one pin loose, move the bar and then nudge the 2nd pin. I'd be very careful with the second one. Things seem to move in a hurry.

I used to be paranoid about getting myself into a situation like that. Over time, I've developed a sense for where I can go and where I cannot, just like being able to look at an overhead and know whether I'll have troubles with it. Most of those are low hanging limbs of trees. After doing it for a while, I can tell at just a glance. Last September, we needed propane and I pulled into an RV place in AR with a really lousy setup. I judged that I could get in, get the propane and get out without having to unhook the toad. It took an employee spotting for me in the front but I made the turn. DW was having a fit the whole time.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:34 PM   #12
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I'm not really clear on that "DW" I commonly see used here - does that mean:

1. Dumb Wife
2. Dimwitted woman
3. Devious Witch
4. Drunken Wench
5. Something else I've missed...

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Old 01-08-2010, 09:39 PM   #13
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Yes.....Dear Wife

or are you like joking! LOL.
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
Seriously.. Sometimes starting the car and putting it in drive, then setting the parking brake, will release the tension on the bars enough to help them retract (Assuming it's the kind where you push or pull a lever and they retract) and allow the pins to come out normally

Else a bolt, about 2 or 3 sizes SMALLER than the pin (Diamater wise) and at least a half inch LONGER than the pin, and a pair of pliars.. Very handy.
In addition to putting the toad in Drive or Reverse to relieve tension, you can also turn the steering wheel all the way over to one side or the other. This will move the front of the car a surprising distance from side to side. I learned this trick from a Blue Ox rep at an RV seminar several years ago. A combination of the shift lever and steering wheel will often relieve the tension so you can at least remove the pins with gentle tapping instead of heavy pounding.

I also wipe my pins down with silicone spray occasionally especially if we have been on dirt roads or driving in the rain. It removes road dirt and rust, and the silicone makes the pins easier to remove even in normal circumstances.
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