Trailer Towing, Setting it Up For Safe Handling

You finally decided to rent or purchase a travel trailer. There are two types. Fifth wheel with the hitch set up in the box of the pickup truck and the bunk style that fits onto the hitch below your bumper. Here we will set up the bunk style.

A properly set up truck and bunk trailer will keep you and your family safe and secure and your trailer will tow well and your tires will last for the maximum.

So many times we have seen trailers set up wrong. The trailer is either too high in the front or back. This will get your front or rear tires to wear out quicker and can also lead to overheating on the load bearing tire.
I will assume that you have had a tow package installed in your vehicle. That will keep your engine and transmission from over heating.
We will assume you have a hitch ready to install.
We will assume that you have had a good quality electrical socket all set up.
You have a trailer hitch installed on your vehicle. The heavier the better.

The first thing you must do is back up your tow vehicle and with someone guiding you, stop just short of the trailer hitch. Park and shut off the engine. Get into the habit of shutting the truck off like this every time you wan to work between the trailer and truck. Accidents will happen. Now place a block under the trailer jack, jack up the trailer until the trailer hitch is above the ball on the truck hitch. Lift up the bail on the hitch. With your helper watching from the side and not behind the trailer, very slowly back up until the trailer hitch is exactly above the ball. Stop. Shut off the engine. Lower the hitch onto the ball until you are able to push down and lock the bail. Now jack up the trailer and the truck together about six or eight inches more. Install the sway bars and hook them up with the lever without too much strain on the bars. Hook on the chains remembering how many links you have on each side. Lower the whole unit down and bring the jack up as high as it will go. Hook up the safety chains. Connect the electrical socket and turn on the engine and check your lights. You are done for now.

Now take your unit to a paved parking lot where you can park level. Undo the trailer reversing your last procedure. Use a tape measure and write down the distance of your front and back bumper of the truck to the ground. Hook up the trailer as before and after you have the sway bars hooked up and the unit lowered down again, check the distances from the truck bumpers once again. Repeat the last steps over again until your truck bumpers are the same distance before the load went on. Hook up the safety chains, raise the jacks, and make note of how many links were used on the sway bars. From now on every time you set up the trailer the number of links will be your guide.

Joe and Irma MacMillan have spent many years backpacking, skiing, and simply enjoying life in the mountains of British Columbia. Their website http://whistler-outdoors.com is full of tips on snowboarding, camping, kayaking, rafting, camp cooking and fishing. They met on a blind date in 1957 and are still married. Take a look at their story here http://www.whistler-outdoors.com/about-us.html

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