OOPS GVWR GCVWR Does it Matter - A leson learned

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Ron

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On our way to the China Date Ranch South of Tecopa, CA we found the road blocked by a jackknifed truck and trailer and was flagged down by a very excited but worried gentleman.? Seems he did not have enough power to pull his trailer up the hill and then it started rolling backwards with the brakes locked and tires sliding as they went backwards.? Luckily the trailer turned into the hillside rather than the other way and into the draw.? Al told him not to worry we would just pull him out and to the top of the hill.? The guy questioned if we would be able to do that to which Al replied oh sure this is a Jeep.? We hooked on the tow strap and pulled him out and up the hill with absolutely no difficulty.?

Attached photos to show what can happen.

All turned out well in this case.
 

Attachments

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  • Being Towed.JPG
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Carl L

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Looking at that rig, I see a small, light single axle trailer and an old, maybe 1970s or 80s truck probably of the F150, 1500 class. ? Worse yet I see a high rise camper shell which implies a big load in the bed of the truck. ? The coup d' gras is a gravel road -- low traction on what are probably street usage tires. ? Nothing for brakes to hang on to so to speak -- locked tires sliding along the gravel/sand. ?Disaster waiting to happen.

I have seen trailers on back roads. ? The last one I saw was a 19 footer being driven by a couple of ranch women on a spring roundup in Capitol Reef NP. ?The truck was an F250 with off road tires. ? The traiiler tires were equally aggresively treaded.

Anyrate, ?I am stickying this horror story. ? ?Thanks for posting it.
 

Ron

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The guy mentioned he had been there last year and had no problem coming out.  He probably didn't have as much weight last year. Fortunately no one was hurt and no serious damage occurred, other than the mess in the front seat maybe.
 

Carl L

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Ron said:
The guy mentioned he had been there last year and had no problem coming out.? He probably didn't have as much weight last year. Fortunately no one was hurt and no serious damage occurred, other than the mess in the front seat maybe.

The upholstery will dry out in no time.  ;D

 

Ron

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It had to be a scary situation brakes locked up but still being dragged bacwards down the hill with no control over what was happening. 
 

Carl L

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Ron said:
It had to be a scary situation brakes locked up but still being dragged bacwards down the hill with no control over what was happening.?

Bet your bippy.  Happened to me in a car.  In San Francisco when I was a college boy.  At the top of a long hill.  Brakes faded when I came  to a stop at a sign.  Pedal went to the floor and stayed there.  The car started rolling backwards down the hill.  I tried to stop it by squeezing against the curb, but the speed was too high by then and I jumped the curb, I cut the well hard right and crashed into the gargage abutment of a house and came to a halt about 100 yards down the hill.    That was about 2 weeks after a truck had runaway and took out a dozen people on Grant Ave. in Chinatown.  That was the only wreck I have been in where the cops congratulated me.
 

dusty4x4

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Folks,
Something else to consider. A lot of trucks have disk brakes on front and drums on the back. I had a very similar problem with a 3/4 T burb and a 6000# boat. This vehicle has the largest of the 3 brake sizes that come on a 88 burb, they NEVER have a stopping problem. When backing down a wet slick boat ramp on Lake Powell I ended up with the front wheels locked and the rear drums doing nothing. I just continued sliding down hill towards the water at about 3 mph. The problem is the rear drums are set as in a dual leading shoe config. - they just don't brake well in reverse. Front disks were working VERY well in reverse. I finally got off the brakes so I could steer till I hit the water. 
(Wife in boat later ask, gee, why were you coming down the ramp so fast :)  )

PS - I'm still surprised that even a F150 could not pull that small a trailer up what doesn't appear to be a bad grade ?
 

Ron

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Looks are deceiving as it was a pretty good grade plus he had the back of the truck loaded too so was pretty heavy.  The brakes worked alright just looking at the skid marks  you could see where all 4 wheels were locked up.  Had to be a very uncomfortable feeling being pulled backwards, brakes locked up, and no control over what direction you might take during the ride backwards .  If the trailer would have went the other direction it would have dragged him over the edge and down a 10 15 foot draw.
 

Carl L

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And that truck was old, at least 20 maybe 30 years old.  The body style is definitely pre-1990.  Its drive train has got to have aged along with it -- engine and tranny.    I guarantee the rear brakes were drum and would give short odds on the front being drum also.  Pulling power of anything does not improve with age, trucks and people both.
 

72Blazerod

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The truck definitely wasn't brand new.  Looking at the grille, the newest is could possible have been was a 1979 (it could have been as old as a 1973 with a newer 78-79 grille swapped in).  They change the entire body style in 1980.  So the truck was at least 27 years old.

Rod
 

Lou Schneider

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The trailer brakes were probably ineffective - electric brakes work by moving the brake shoes outward when an electromagnet drags against the  FORWARD rotation of the brake drum.  When the drum turns backwards there's little or no brake action.
 

Ron

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Hadn't really thought about the trailer brakes being ineffective in reverse but you are absolutely correct.  So only the truck brakes would do much good which wasn't enough.  What a ride backwards.
 

motojavaphil

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Very scary situation!  Having the right tools for the right job sure matters here.  I wonder if he had a six cylinder in that old truck which would have compounded the problem!  Glad you were there to help him.  You didn't offer him a TL Towing Guide did you?
 

chaajoad

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I gotta tell ya - these photos and the story will give me nightmares tonight. Until I decided to buy a pre-owned (ok, "used") MH, I almost bought a TT. I was looking at rigs weighing 4500-5000 lbs with a 2000 Explorer V-6 (two door) to pull. Despite sales people assuring me, my gut was telling me that my Explorer was never meant to tow that much weight. And those weights - as you know - are for bone dry units.

This post tells me I did the right thing. Maybe I could have gotten away with it for short hauls over level ground. But any hills, rough weather, etc - and I would have been in way over my depth.

Danny
 

Carl L

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Well if you had the SOHC V6 with a 3.98 to 4.10 rear end and a heavy duty towin package with a 5900lb tow rating,  you might have skinned by with a 4500 lbs dry weight trailer.  However, I would have my doubts about it in the mountain west.

Nothing replaces knowing what you are doing by getting good information.
 

Lou Schneider

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Wanna to see the video?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8108076307279476521&q=trailer+on+a+hill&hl=en

 
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