Backing up a trailer while in 4 Lo.

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SRGuy

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I apologize if this is the wrong place to post this.

I am posting, here, because I need some expert advice. I cannot find this topic anywhere on the internet.

My upper yard becomes a mud field even with fairly light rain. Thing is, I'm still in the trees with rain, doing my job as a Certified Arborist. Only lightning stops a job.

When I get back home, I need to back my trailer into its space in my upper yard. Before I got 4WD, I flat-out couldn't do that. One attempt taught me that, quickly. I couldn't even head in.

Now, with 4WD on my 2020 Ram 1500 Diesel, I easily can head in BUT when I try to back my trailer into its space, it's like someone is pulling a joke on me. No matter how I turn the steering wheel, the trailer wants to go straight back! I know the differential is taken out of 4WD. I know things are different.

So, experts, should I even try to back up my trailer, in the mud, while in 4WD?

I really appreciate your input, here. Today, I may take my lady's Jeep up there, and try handling the backing up job with that, in 2WD, as she has heavy duty mud tires. Even so, I want to know about backing in a trailer while in 4WD. If it's ill-advised, just let me know.

Thanks!
 
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Rene T

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I’m a little confused which doesn’t take much.

You said that no matter how you turn the steering wheel the trailer continues to go straight back. Why doesn’t it move left or right if the front of your tow vehicle is going left or right?
 

SRGuy

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Austin, TX
I’m a little confused which doesn’t take much.

You said that no matter how you turn the steering wheel the trailer continues to go straight back. Why doesn’t it move left or right if the front of your tow vehicle is going left or right?
To clarify: I turn my steering wheel, and expect similar results as when I'm backing up in 2WD. What actually happens is that my trailer "wants" to go straight back. Eventually, if I have room, it will turn to one side or the other, but not in the easily predictable way I'm used to when backing it up in 2WD, on dry ground.
 

Larry N.

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Your description sounds as if your truck isn't turning much, or else the trailer wheels are slipping, or some combo. Have you tried (briefly I hope, to avoid damage) backing on dry ground in 4WD? In other words, I suspect it's the slippery ground, not the 4WD that is causing the problem. So you may have to wait until it's dry.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The trailer MUST respond if the truck actually turns to one side or the other, so your problem is likely reduced steering response in the truck. The wheels may be slipping in the mud so they don't steer as much, and of course you are moving slowly, so you don't move the truck sideways as quickly as in "normal" maneuvering.
 

SRGuy

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Thanks! Yeah, the ground in my upper level yard is simply too waterlogged and too slippery to get any traction, whatsoever. I'll wait for the sun to come out and dry up all the rain. Then, the itsy bitsy spider will go up the spout, again, and I'll, hopefully, get my trailer where it's supposed to be.
 

Ex-Calif

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Tires are a huge factor in 4WD. My Jeep Liberty has Hankooks and they are terrible in Ohio/Kentucky clay. Probably would do better in desert/rocks.

I had Bridgstone ATs on my Cherokee were great.
 

Skookum

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^^^ That.

Maybe think about getting a load of 4-6" spalls and some gravel to make a path to where the trailer should be parked.
 

Edd505

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Elephant Butte, NM
Your new Dodge have manual locking hubs or are they operated by a switch? The front wheels need locked in to be useful. I use 4X4 low many times backing for better control, even on pavement if uphill, your backing 100-200ft or a little more.
 

SRGuy

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Is the trailer bumper hitch? Gooseneck? 5th wheel?
Rear receiver hitch. It was too muddy when I was backing up. Front wheels had no traction, so back wheels kept making the trailer go straight back, no matter how I turned the steering wheel. No biggie, now that I've thought things through. As soon as the sun came out, the next day, and dried up the mud, I was able to easily back in, as I always do.
 

SRGuy

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Your new Dodge have manual locking hubs or are they operated by a switch? The front wheels need locked in to be useful. I use 4X4 low many times backing for better control, even on pavement if uphill, your backing 100-200ft or a little more.
Everything is electronic. My problem is that the tires are not for mud or snow. I may get a new set, one of these days, but it's easier and cheaper to just wait until my upper yard dries up, before I back my TT in.
 

Scott 3

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You need to lay down some gravel in the main tracks. Better tires will briefly make a difference but they will dig deeper ruts.
 

stillRV

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I like Scott's idea about adding gravel. Could also install a winch on the back of your parking space and drag it in that way.
 

SRGuy

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Like i wrote, it's easier to just wait until it's dry, back there. I have a 130' driveway up to that yard, and it's cement, a fourth of the way up. I can leave my RV on that part of the driveway, as long as I don't need to haul out my trailer.

My next project, tearing down the screen house and putting more gates at the top of my driveway, will make the upper yard unnecessary, for parking. I will rent a bobcat to level things, a bit, and put up a low retaining wall using cinder blocks, rebar and concrete. Then, I can park the trailer and RV side by side, as I do now in my upper yard.
 
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