Tow Smarter Not Harder

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Tow Smarter Not Harder

Postby TugboatPhil » Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:30 am

From my brief time driving OTR, and also pushing and towing barges, I have found these items to be of help to me. Driving a tugboat is a lot like driving a loaded truck and trailer....only with no brakes.

Watch traffic lights as far away as you can. Try to judge their timing so as to not lose your momentum.

Actually read those yellow warning signs; School Bus Stop Ahead, Trucks Entering Highway, Hidden Driveway.... Many situations that you take for granted driving your trusty rig or car are a whole nuther thing when you're towing at or above your capacity.

Check your tire pressure and lugnuts routinely. Clean your brake and running lights often. If you have reflective tape, clean it too. When towing, you have much more potential for damage to others than regular driving.

Check your hitch and latch before hooking up. Think about how many trailers that you've seen along the road that appear to have broken free. If you haven't ever seen them, keep your eyes open, they are out there all the time.

If you can't remember the last time you checked the trailer wheel bearings, it's time to repack them.

The most important thing to remember is that any time you are towing on the highway, you are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Keep your trailer in YOUR lane. If you have to hit something, look to your right. Everything on the left is travelling towards you. Everything on the right is stationary. If you are the least hesitant about making a maneuver, try to think about how you'd justify it in court. Because if it doesn't work out, you certainly will have to.

Be safe, be smart, get your load there on time and in good shape.
93 D350, Modifed by Smokehouse Diesel, Ashland, Ohio.
Truck renamed by wife as "The Global Warmer."
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Postby dpuckett » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:15 am

Good ideas, Tug. I'll add to the list:

Clean off ALL your lights, not just refelctive tape. Makes brake light smore visible, and clean headlights shine MUCH farther.

Keep your windows clean for greater visibility.

Get trailer brakes, even for a john boat. If you have to stop suddenly, your trailer can catch up with and pass you, sending you into a precarious situation (this cost me about $20K indirectly in court costs and lawyer fees).

I try to do most of this stuff whether towing or not. It takes less fuel to kee pgoing 35mph to make that light than it does to stop for 2min and get going again. Every little bit adds up.

Daniel
His- 93 W250 club cab LE, auto to Getrag conversion, piston lift pump, 3.54 LSD. 400k+
Hers- 04 QC 4x4. Built auto, Triple Dog, Air Dog. Funny Round truck that aint so quiet.
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Postby PToombs » Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:05 pm

dpuckett wrote:.

(this cost me about $20K indirectly in court costs and lawyer fees).


Are you still whining about that? I had them send the guy where it's HOT for you! :wink:
pete

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Postby dpuckett » Sun Jan 21, 2007 3:36 pm

Oh, so that rumor IS true, eh?

DP
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Postby PToombs » Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:50 pm

dpuckett wrote:Oh, so that rumor IS true, eh?

DP


:twisted: :twisted:
pete

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Postby Greenleaf » Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:03 am

One thing I have come to realize over the years is that it's an absolute must to watch out for the people that tow. I don't tow and I have things pretty well under control by myself. It's the other guy you gotta watch out for.

I see hitches break, tires (plural) fall off and trailers skid out of control. It scares the bejeebers outta me to share the road with folks towing.

I think the problem is that anyone can do it. There is no mandates. If your truck will hook to and "pull" the trailer then I guss it's safe to assume your good to go..................................

:shock: :shock: :shock:
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Postby Philip » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:23 pm

To add to Greenleaf's post.

Stay well clear of any Rider rent a wrecks. These trucks are leased to anyone with a drivers license. Most of the people that rent them have no experience in this size truck. So they do stupid things.

If you see any truck that is a rental give it a wide berth.
93 W350 Club/cab w/duals, buckets & console, B&W flatbed, G56, 6 spd, 3:07 rears, gages, HX40/16, 4" exhaust, 6X.018 sticks, rear air ride suspension
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Mirrors

Postby charger 69 » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:02 pm

I must have looked like one of those towing challenged people. I had a rear tire let go on my 36 ft. GN and I never even felt it, I just happened to see a peice of it go flying off in the mirror which leads me to my comment. Make sure you have adquate MIRRORS to watch what is behind you.
92 White D350 132K,mi. fuel screw in 3,5 turns automatic with a Hughes converter and 26K add on cooler.Aluminum wheels,second fuel tank,gooseneck hitch,air bags tach.and gages,
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Postby 89silverbullet » Tue May 06, 2008 12:00 am

I just hate people who gas it up a hill and complain about their gas milage. go with the momentum, not against it
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Postby dodgetkboy78 » Fri May 09, 2008 7:41 am

I believe, at least here, any trailer over 8000# GVW, is legally supposed to be equipped with break away brakes, to if the trailer does come off, the brakes lock up. :oops:
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Postby Mark Nixon » Fri May 01, 2009 2:52 pm

Da' feds require trailer brakes AT 3500# on a single axle.
With that mandate, they also require a breakaway system (battery, lanyard plug and corresponding switch.)

Tires can go without notice, even new ones, the best thing is to be prepared for that eventuality, as you would a deer stepping out in the road.

Mark.
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Postby bigred cummins » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:46 pm

Brand new tires don't "just let go sometimes" there is always a reason. Whether it be age, over loading, low/high pressure or abuse. Trailer tires are the worst, because most people park their trailer 9 months out of the year. A brand new tire sitting in the sun, in one place, de-laminates in a very short amount of time. Thats why the tread comes flyin' off. Tires actually need to be driven/hauled on for them to stay plyable and safe. Next time you're near your trailer, look at the DOT number. The last 4 digits will look like "xxyy" The first two are the week of the year (xx) and the last two are the year (yy). It will look something like this "DOT BJXT CTH 1508" meaning they were manufactured in the 15th week of 2008. (Those are my tires btw) I just went over and looked at my neighbors little camper trailer, and it has tires with 5199 meaning they are 10 YEARS OLD. Yes they still have plenty of tread, but they NEED TO BE REPLACED. By law, you are only allowed to have a 6 year old tire. Also, pay attention to the speed rating of tires. If the tires on your car hauler are only rated to 65mph, don't haul taters down the freeway at 85mph with 10,000#s on it. Common sense here. Same goes for weight rating. Say you have a dual axle flat bed trailer with a total of 4 tires. If you put load range "C" tires on it, which have a rating of about 2800#s each, then the maximum you should ever put on your trailer is 11,200#s. But not if your trailer is only rated to 10k. Again, pay attention to all the specified ratings of your equipment. I see people that haul way too much weight, way to fast, with not enough truck to stop it all the time. You know who I'm talking about.
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Postby Richie O » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:33 pm

I put the load on the trailer and if the wheels turn we are good to go. I have been known to come home with just the rim sparking in the road. We don't need no stinkin tires. ;)
1989 W250 727, 3.07 L/S, S300, P/S Intercooler, Stans exaust, Pump adjustments, 127k miles,297 hp
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Postby bigred cummins » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:05 pm

lol yeah, the rim is round right?
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Postby PToombs » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:45 pm

Tires older than 1999 or 2000 will only have a 3 digit DOT code.
Rich, my buddy runs like you do! I heard an awful noise one day, and here he comes with the 25k machine on the 20k trailer on 3 rims and 1 flat on the pasenger side. I told him to at least check the air in the tires before he went. :roll:
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