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Old 04-02-2019, 10:42 PM   #1
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Backing with a toad

I used a tow dolly or trailer in past and only recently started towing four down. I've heeded the warnings to never to back up when the toad is attached, and I'm curious whether this is due to some limitation of the tow bars or simply the risk of jack-knifing? Seems to me that backing up in a straight line for a few feet (while monitoring with the mirrors and rear-view camera) would be safe enough, but I don't care find out the hard way that the tow bar is going to fold up like a pretzel. What happens if you do backup?
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:55 PM   #2
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I've backed up for a few feet quite a number of times ...obviously straight back. If doing so, I would strongly recommend locking the steering column when backing and then remember to unlock again when resuming forward movement.

However, I do remember a couple of times backing a foot or two without getting out and locking the steering column.

No matter, it really isn't a good idea either way as you risk putting stress on the tow bar, brackets, etc.

I'm sure you'll have plenty of guys here chiming in to just plain DON'T DO IT.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:19 AM   #3
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http://www.irv2.com/forums/f85/backi...ad-431551.html
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:50 AM   #4
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I did it and slightly bent the hitch arms. Still worked OK but slightly hard to slide one arm in or out.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:39 AM   #5
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Thanks. I must have missed this thread the first time.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:12 AM   #6
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I have a solid tow bar, so I get to back up all I want. Just have to watch and stop if the front wheels decide to turn the wrong way! Then it's time to pull ahead and straighten out and start again.
I managed a fairly tight 3 point turn on a back road in a remote area last Fall doing this when the GPS sent me down a dead end.
Should of had my wife video it because most people wouldn't believe it.
We are close to 60 feet long total length.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:20 AM   #7
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I have backed up a few feet in an RV site or fuel pump but that's it. No issues with that, for me, yet.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:38 AM   #8
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I did it and slightly bent the hitch arms. Still worked OK but slightly hard to slide one arm in or out.
Me too. Never again.

And I used to say.......”not yet.”
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:48 AM   #9
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Tow bar manufactures generally recommending NOT backing, Why?? don't know...

If I was a tow bar manufacture and had zero control over how, why, when, weather, road surface, turn angles, brake application, vehicle weight / condition, driver ability, etc, etc, etc. The safest position for my company to take would be to NOT recommend backing a toad, PERIOD..

I've backed toads and haven't experienced any problems. Two items that stand out when I back my toad:

1) Toad front wheel caster. On my Vue, if backing more than a couple feet, the front wheels will caster to an end stop. If I make a decision to back more than a couple feet, the DW will sit in the toad and hold the wheel straight, or turn in the direct that I am turning.

NOTE - toads are different with respect to castoring. I suspect one of the factors has to do with electric vs hydraulic power steering. My Vue will caster if I even mention that I'm going to back up. However, on my old Civic, I could back up doing "8"'s and it would not caster to the end stop..


2) Toad jackknives. It doesn't take more than a couple feet for the toad to turn and jackknife. When backing, I keep a constant eye on the toad. Any distraction and the next thing you know, the toad is sideways and under the rear of the MH.. I suspect this is the main reason why tow bar manufactures do not recommend backing.


RECOMMENDATION. If you would like to attempt this, I'd recommend finding a large parking lot.

Tie a white handkerchief on the toad steering wheel so you can see how its responding. Back a couple feet and watch for the toads wheels to start castoring to the end stop. Don't continue the backing if the wheels are starting to castor. This places a lot of sideways stress on the tow bar.

If the toad starts to turn into a jackknife, STOP. You'll literally PANIC the first time you see how little distance it takes before the toad is sideways.. Even when doing a short backup because you overshot a gas pump...

..
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:20 PM   #10
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Well, somebody mentioned in one of the previous threads on this topic that towbars were designed and engineered to be just what their description suggests ...they are engineered to be used for TOWING.

Therefore, stress very likely could be put on various components when they are used to PUSH as that is not necessarily the function they were designed to perform. Sure, perhaps there's not that much pressure put on the towbar and it's components when pushing instead of towing but nevertheless, it's not inherently designed for that purpose.

I think that does make some sense. So even though I did admit that I've done it quite a few times through the years with no obvious detrimental effects to the equipment, it probably is good advice when some say "don't do it."
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:26 PM   #11
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Well, somebody mentioned in one of the previous threads on this topic that towbars were designed and engineered to be just what their description suggests ...they are engineered to be used for TOWING.

Therefore, stress very likely could be put on various components when they are used to PUSH as that is not necessarily the function they were designed to perform. Sure, perhaps there's not that much pressure put on the towbar and it's components when pushing instead of towing but nevertheless, it's not inherently designed for that purpose.

I think that does make some sense. So even though I did admit that I've done it quite a few times through the years with no obvious detrimental effects to the equipment, it probably is good advice when some say "don't do it."

I can see a real change in loading on the bar if the MH comes back against the toad. My question is how smart is that bar? Does it know the MH is backing, and not the MH slowing, and the toad pushing the MH?
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:40 PM   #12
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Blue Ox tow system. Told never, ever, never backup or risk damaging the hardware.

So on two occasions, unhitched the toad to get out of a spot where I needed to back up the MH.
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:55 PM   #13
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I can see a real change in loading on the bar if the MH comes back against the toad. My question is how smart is that bar? Does it know the MH is backing, and not the MH slowing, and the toad pushing the MH?
The bar doesn't know or care about the pushing. What causes the problems is wheel angle on the toad. When driving forward, the toad naturally follows. When backing there is a strong tendency for the toad wheels to turn in the direction opposite the turn. It doesn't take much of that to cause damage. Even backing straight up is not perfectly straight and there will be an element of turning that can cause this problem.

I know some get away with it and there are some that don't get away with it. I just don't think backing is worth the risk. I can disconnect, reconnect and be gone in 10 minutes and that is cheap insurance for me.
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:03 PM   #14
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I told my wife hold the Jeep steering wheel while I back up (had to go 10ft).


Two feet and jack knife I stopped and asked what happened? She could not stop the force of the steering wheel turning. Unhooked and backed up. If ever a next time I will use the Jeep to pull the RV back and see how that goes.
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