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Towing Trailers


Anderzander
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10 minutes ago, landroversforever said:

II can also think of friends that have done the trailer test and pre97 license holders that tow and still can't reverse. The old man being one of them, bless him. He can get it on the drive but it's never first time. I think for a lot of caravanners the need to reverse has been nulled by the rise in motor movers. Which whilst great for things like putting the 'van down the side of the parents house is invaluable (even if his reversing skills were up to it, it doesn't have the space for it), has meant people just pull up on site and unhitch. The very first time I ever tried backing the 'van on the drive (to one side of a hammer head) I did it first time and have done since. But having a big interest and minimal experience of cars/tractors/trucks I had a bit of experience. Many years as a kid making Lego stuff that steers you gain a huge understanding of how a trailer reacts in reverse.

Sounds identical to my own story! While I was still a learner driver my dad couldn't get our small trailer reversed to where he wanted it, despite me giving directions. So he got out and to let me have go. First time success, and he's been asking me to drive the trailer ever since. Especially when he still has his boat, it was always me who drove it out to the harbour. Despite not having my BE license at the time.
Like you, I blame countless hours of playing with (and designing) Lego trucks/trailers/mobile cranes etc. 🙂

As for CE, over here it is very rare to see a driving school using a tractor + semi, it's always a rigid + trailer. The latter meets all the requirements for the exam and the rigid can be used on its own as well, whereas a tractor would just sit there. I think in most cases a tractor + semi is easier to drive anyway, certainly when reversing or maneuvering than a rigid + trailer, as the the long wheelbase of the semi makes it less nervous. A bit like how a big car trailer can be easier than a small single axle skip trailer. You just have to be aware of the room it needs on the inside when taking a corner.

Filip

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19 minutes ago, landroversforever said:

I wondered when this would pop up on here... and was going to post it if I hadn't been beaten to it.

I'm torn between the changes being good and bad. 

I passed my car test in 2008, so was well into the post '97 rules. But it was never that clear until the last year or two maybe exactly what the rules were at any given time. From memory they changed the weight classifications and how things were calculated 3 or 4 times. That's not taking into account the post-2013 rules which were different again. So I suspect many people were towing things they shouldn't have been. As has been mentioned above, the weight rulings in many cases meant you could tow a trailer/caravan of a given weight only with a car and not with anything inherently safer IMO like a much larger Land Rover or 4x4. It also meant at one of the stages I could have towed an unbraked trailer upto 750kg but not a braked trailer if its MGW was over that 750kg  even if it was empty and or loaded to the same overall weight as the unbraked trailer. So in that respect it does clear things up. I'm sure there will be many out there either with grandfather rights or having passed the test that drive unsafely with a trailer. So I don't think it will change that. If you're destined to drive like a knob you'll do that whether you've been tested or not. I can also think of friends that have done the trailer test and pre97 license holders that tow and still can't reverse. The old man being one of them, bless him. He can get it on the drive but it's never first time. I think for a lot of caravanners the need to reverse has been nulled by the rise in motor movers. Which whilst great for things like putting the 'van down the side of the parents house is invaluable (even if his reversing skills were up to it, it doesn't have the space for it), has meant people just pull up on site and unhitch. The very first time I ever tried backing the 'van on the drive (to one side of a hammer head) I did it first time and have done since. But having a big interest and minimal experience of cars/tractors/trucks I had a bit of experience. Many years as a kid making Lego stuff that steers you gain a huge understanding of how a trailer reacts in reverse. I also coached Mom to put it on the drive, I think that was only one shuffle forwards. I've also backed fridge trailers at work on numerous occasions for those that have passed their test.

I also think the test doesn't help with people understanding how to load a trailer having seen grandfather rights drivers and tested drivers. I'm sure chatting to friends that have done it that they didn't have much if any info on it. I'll never forget seeing a couple pull up on a caravan site next to us. Big twin axle behind an old BMW saloon. couple and toddler. They had 4 different seating sets with them including a cast iron table and two chairs :lol: and then from the very rear of the caravan, a ~35-40" CRT telly that the couple struggled to lift between themselves :lol:. How they managed to get there in one piece I don't know. My parents have always been anal about loading and whenever the 'van has been changed it's been weighed once loaded, but also every item that's been loaded has been weighed and added to the spreadsheet. Some 'vans over the years have been horribly nose-heavy prior to loading anything due to layout/equipment, so the loading has always been tweaked to suit each model. Nose weights have always been checked before every trip too.

So for me, I don't see myself any more of danger than someone who has just passed a test. Just doing a test doesn't stop anyone from doing things wrong whether that's just a car/van/towing/riding a bike. However it can't be great for overall standards as plenty of people without any trailer experience at all can just hitch anything up and get on with it. Plus as mentioned before, if you're destined to drive like a knob, you'll do it anyway. I do feel sorry for all the trailer training business that will have less people needing to use them.

On the subject of trailer and HGV accidents I'd love to know how many of them are down to evasive actions (even if futile) trying to avoid an idiot that's dived into their braking zone or cut them up. I'm sure many are caused by themselves but sure several are caused by others.

On the HGV side of it, I've always fancied doing my C+E. But would be looking at ~3.5-4K based on a mate's training and test costs to do that. Not something that I can stump up if it's only for occasional use. The rule changes in that instance for me save a huge chunk of cash. Whilst I'm sure the rigid training/test are certainly valuable experience, at least they're starting with the harder option. I'm sure some of the training places round here use a wagon and drag for the C+E test anyway which isn't the same as a artic + trailer.

Sure there's something I've forgotten! 

I recokon the new changes will free up at least half an hour of the 2 hour NPTC trailer assessment. The complexity of the regs was a nightmare, with most people getting it wrong

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Goo greif. I passed my driving test is December 1959, yes that long ago. In a Bristol double decker.

Apart from driving I had no help what so ever on towing although a 32 wheel trailer and a Scammel did help. Most of towing was common sense although to this day I can't reverse a trailer.

Who remembers just a pin and hook, no break away system

How did we survive

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My car driving licence is old enough that I missed out on the training requirement for anything up 8t, including trailers.  I taught myself Willy my Sankey.  The hardest thing about that was it being narrower than the 109, so you don’t see it until it’s already askew when reversing.  A short little practice to get the hang of it in and out of a gated driveway with steep pavement and road edge slopes to the gutter making things more challenging was enough, but it is important to practice before going out in busy areas.  That common sense thing again, which is ever less common.

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I would generalise that the smaller the trailer, the harder they are to reverse. The little ones are like a supermarket trolley on LSD. A nice sized 4 wheeled one you can see, it wants to go straight so not so bad. And on farms, rollers are really difficult to reverse.

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20 hours ago, landroversforever said:

I also think the test doesn't help with people understanding how to load a trailer having seen grandfather rights drivers and tested drivers. I'm sure chatting to friends that have done it that they didn't have much if any info on it. I'll never forget seeing a couple pull up on a caravan site next to us. Big twin axle behind an old BMW saloon. couple and toddler. They had 4 different seating sets with them including a cast iron table and two chairs :lol: and then from the very rear of the caravan, a ~35-40" CRT telly that the couple struggled to lift between themselves :lol:. How they managed to get there in one piece I don't know. My parents have always been anal about loading and whenever the 'van has been changed it's been weighed once loaded, but also every item that's been loaded has been weighed and added to the spreadsheet. Some 'vans over the years have been horribly nose-heavy prior to loading anything due to layout/equipment, so the loading has always been tweaked to suit each model. Nose weights have always been checked before every trip too.

 

I would agree that loading makes a huge difference. I have loaded and trailed a Range Rover Sport 400 miles with it too far back on the trailer and no knowledge how to disengage the brake or autobox so I could move it forward. I could do it now but not at that time. It just meant I travelled at 50MPH rather than 60MPH  because it was skittish around 55MPH.

My point being even experience towers can make mistakes however we know, through experience, what to do about it. 

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13 hours ago, cackshifter said:

I would generalise that the smaller the trailer, the harder they are to reverse. The little ones are like a supermarket trolley on LSD. A nice sized 4 wheeled one you can see, it wants to go straight so not so bad. And on farms, rollers are really difficult to reverse.

Mate's tiny ifor had to be deliberately zig zagged behind his Ranger as you couldn't see anything of it :lol: 

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The number of times I see vintage and race cars loaded with the engine at the back of the trailer, because the caravan club etc say no more than X kg hitch weight. Which if twin axle you can't measure effectively anyway. I've always pulled the car fwd on the trailer till the front of the trailer dips about and inch ish from its resting angle. However as stated I've towed badly loaded trailers, it just means you adjust your speed as nessasary or you stop and adjust the load (I've done both at various times). When I bought my most recent Sankey the spare was bolted to the back for easy, it was horrendous to tow. I stopped move it to the front and strapped it down then it would happily reach the speed limit.

Mike

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44 minutes ago, miketomcat said:

The number of times I see vintage and race cars loaded with the engine at the back of the trailer, because the caravan club etc say no more than X kg hitch weight. Which if twin axle you can't measure effectively anyway. I've always pulled the car fwd on the trailer till the front of the trailer dips about and inch ish from its resting angle. However as stated I've towed badly loaded trailers, it just means you adjust your speed as nessasary or you stop and adjust the load (I've done both at various times). When I bought my most recent Sankey the spare was bolted to the back for easy, it was horrendous to tow. I stopped move it to the front and strapped it down then it would happily reach the speed limit.

Mike

Mike

Agree with the loading and have thought about carrying a 5 gallon drum for ballast when adjustment cannot be done or when it is difficult.

Now with my Ifor I make sure the cars are driven right to the front.

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43 minutes ago, elbekko said:

I'll always choose to have too much tongue weight than too little...

Because you have air suspension and can get away with it as it levels up 😀. I do the same but you do need to be careful you are not exceeding the rear axle max weight

 

Amazes me the difference just a couple of inches can make in positioning a load on a trailer

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2 hours ago, miketomcat said:

The number of times I see vintage and race cars loaded with the engine at the back of the trailer, because the caravan club etc say no more than X kg hitch weight. Which if twin axle you can't measure effectively anyway. I've always pulled the car fwd on the trailer till the front of the trailer dips about and inch ish from its resting angle. However as stated I've towed badly loaded trailers, it just means you adjust your speed as nessasary or you stop and adjust the load (I've done both at various times). When I bought my most recent Sankey the spare was bolted to the back for easy, it was horrendous to tow. I stopped move it to the front and strapped it down then it would happily reach the speed limit.

Mike

I soon learned that I had to reverse my IMP rally car onto the traier, forwards on and the trailer was undriveable

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32 minutes ago, mmgemini said:

Could we move away from trailers for the moment. Have people noticed even in a slow speed crash cars seem to be landing on their sides or roof.

Driver or design error

I haven't really noticed that. If you refer to accident coverage, it could be cars on their sides or roof make for better pictures and a more spectacular story so are more likely to get more attention?

Cars have been getting higher and heavier (obvious in SUVs and MPVs, but applies to 'normal' cars as well), at the same time advances in suspension and tire technology offer better grip, with electronics working hard to exploit every last bit of grip available. So if it does go wrong, consequences are bound to be greater. A tail happy old Spitfire is unlikely to reach a high enough corner speed to actually flip over, it will just slide off or spin away.

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1 minute ago, Escape said:

I haven't really noticed that. If you refer to accident coverage, it could be cars on their sides or roof make for better pictures and a more spectacular story so are more likely to get more attention?

Cars have been getting higher and heavier (obvious in SUVs and MPVs, but applies to 'normal' cars as well), at the same time advances in suspension and tire technology offer better grip, with electronics working hard to exploit every last bit of grip available. So if it does go wrong, consequences are bound to be greater. A tail happy old Spitfire is unlikely to reach a high enough corner speed to actually flip over, it will just slide off or spin away.

Nailed what I was going to say. Particularly the bit about stuff getting higher. Jsut look at the number of cross-over type vehicles about.

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On 9/11/2021 at 5:53 PM, Chicken Drumstick said:

Oh and of course I can also legally drive this with 10 tonne corn on board. On the same licence that says I can’t tow 3.5t if I use a Land Rover. 

I made the same point over on another forum but there's a massive difference between getting the loading right on a trailer behind a tractor doing ~30mph and getting the loading right on a vehicle doing 60mph.

The single biggest butt clenching moment I've had driving was towing my 110 behind my old TDV8 L322, was absolutely fine until I got to Reading on the M4 and the trailer went into the ruts left by lorries, boy was that thing tail happy at 60mph 💩. Pulled over at the first opportunity and moved the 110 forward on the trailer literally 1" and then didn't notice it afterwards.

Conversely you hardly notice loading my mate's 13t excavator several feet out on the trailer behind the tractor.

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Don't get me started on horses in trailers, please.....

The Mrs. loves her 5 tonne Iveco with the IWHC

For me, towing is mostly a 3-axle over longerish distances..

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18 hours ago, L19MUD said:

Because you have air suspension and can get away with it as it levels up 😀. I do the same but you do need to be careful you are not exceeding the rear axle max weight

Absolutely true, but conversely it can also be more difficult to judge tongue weight as the supension compresses much more easily. I actually had that happen last month, when picking up concrete Ls for the garden. The guy loading them noticed the car squatting a lot, and moved them back until it was only squatting an inch or so... way too little tongue weight, and not the most comfortable drive home (luckily small roads and 70 kph max). Not the easiest things to pull over and move forward either ;) On the second load I told him to not care about how much the car was squatting, ended up with a bit too much out front but much more comfortable.

I've been thinking for a long time that a pressure gauge on the rear bags should be able to fairly accurately convey axle weight...

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18 hours ago, mmgemini said:

Could we move away from trailers for the moment. Have people noticed even in a slow speed crash cars seem to be landing on their sides or roof.

Driver or design error

Part of my job is attending RTI's, meaning I get to see a lot of broken cars. Crumple zones are so effective now, it's often impossible to recognise what model of car has been involved. We also get a lot of cars that are thrown onto their sides at the first impact...

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