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Old 06-24-2019, 02:56 PM   #1
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Toads and Backing Up

As I understand it, backing up a toad is ill-advised - primarily because the toad's front wheels want to swivel in ways that can overstress the drawbar. If my understanding is correct then how does one deal with the inevitable need to advance to the rear? If my understanding is wrong, then what is the correct situation?

Since my wife would like to move to an MH and an MH requires a toad, I need to understand more about the landlocked amphibians (toads.) Are drawbars made that can deal with backup stresses? Is there a method for dealing with the farm wagon effect (front wheel swivel)? What about somebody in the toad doing the steering? Is unhook the answer to the problems?

I know it will vary by equipment, but in the general, how long does it take to unhook. To hook up?

Thank you for your help
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:02 PM   #2
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Don't back up. Look far ahead and plan where you are going. If you really need to backup then disconnect the toad.

When I had a class A and a toad I only got stuck once where I needed to disconnect. On thing I like about the TT is I can backup freely now.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:02 PM   #3
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Thereís not a tow bar mechanism that supports backing up with your toad attached. Some will tell you theyíve done it for very short distances....like you said, sometimes with someone inside the toad to prevent the steering from putting additional stress on things.

The short story.....hooking up and unhooking gets faster easier with practice, and itís a lot less expensive than backing up with your toad attached if things go wrong.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:16 PM   #4
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Probably not real helpful, but I back up my ACME tow dolly all the time. The front wheels don't turn as the ACME does not have swivel plates.
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:19 PM   #5
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Toads and Backing Up

Here is what I was told by the installer when I picked mine up ďdonít even think about it, unhook, move, re-hookup when doneĒ.

He had someone stop in that didnít believe him. They tried to backup towing four down and broke the struts on both sides of his Toad.

Personally Iíll never try it since it only takes a minute to unhook and couple to hook back up. Not worth the chance to me of breaking something - could get expensive.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:30 PM   #6
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re

I drove an 18 wheeler for 42 years and I never back my toad up for moere than 2 or 3 feet straight to go forward to climb leveling chocks. A toad wil whip around on you to fast if you try to back up a longer legnth
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:42 PM   #7
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Never backing up is the advice from everyone. If you are dealing with something like gas pumps, have someone get out and signal you as you make the final approach. That being said, if I were alone and missed by a foot or two, I would back up if it was a straight move. Having to go around for a retry will take less time than days in a repair shop.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:43 PM   #8
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I tow a my Smart car on a Aluma trailer for 3 reasons:
1) I can back up anywhere as needed.
2) The trailer cost less than all the crap and labor to make said 4 down towing a legal install.
3) My Smart is not wearing out 4 tires and getting beat up.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:02 PM   #9
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I tow a my Smart car on a Aluma trailer for 3 reasons:
1) I can back up anywhere as needed.
2) The trailer cost less than all the crap and labor to make said 4 down towing a legal install.
3) My Smart is not wearing out 4 tires and getting beat up.
I hear you. But we have a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4 x 4 that weighs in somewhere around 5500 lbs before we putt any stuff in it, That is going to strain most Cs and maybe some As. We will be going to the Pomona show in October to do some in-person research, To find a unit that meets our criteria may well be a unicorn search. We shall see.

Thank you all who responded, the answer is clear.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:22 PM   #10
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Planning your entrance, and most importantly, your exit is the best course of action, no matter what type of towing you do, whether a trailer, camper, tow dolly, or 4-down vehicles.

Our BlueOx Alpha tow bar handles backing just fine, when needed. Just remember that you are not driving 65mph backwards, only a very few slow yards to get into a better position to turn, or to get out of a sticky situation, that honestly, never happens that often. The tow bar does not care if you are going forward, or backwards.

The car's front wheels are the tipping point, as they will ultimately turn, one way or the other, but backing very slowly gives you the best outcome, even if you need to pull forward a little to reset them, then backing some more, etc. I've done it many times - just take you time.

As for the 'hooking up' and 'unhooking', once you get used to the procedures for your car, you'll find it's a piece of cake, and it becomes second hand. At first you'll really, really, make sure you are getting everything done, especially wary of folks diverting your attention while you complete your task - stay focused.
When you get back into your coach, and get ready to move, maybe have someone check that all your wheels on the car are turning, the sign that you are in neutral and are good to go.

When arriving, having the vehicle on a slope 'toward' the rear of the coach is generally best, since you can then put the car in park, and relieve the pressure on the tow bar in order to easily remove the pins. If the car is on a more rearward slope, away from the coach, you'll have pressure on the tow bar pins, making it more difficult to disconnect them - the answer is the get in the car, put it in park, crank it, and put it in drive just enough to relieve the tow bar pressure.

One other thing to mention: if backing is a real concern - have your spouse get in the car, leaving it in neutral, but cranking it so that the steering wheel is in control, with the steering pump providing the ability to keep the front wheels straight while you are backing the coach and the car together, still at a slow pace. If the coach's rear turns, the car can also be steering in the same direction, if needed.
We tried one time to do this while NOT cranking the car, but a car's steering is NOT easily overcome by shear human force! It needs the engine and steering pump to make it happen.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:09 PM   #11
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I hear you. But we have a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4 x 4 that weighs in somewhere around 5500 lbs before we putt any stuff in it, That is going to strain most Cs and maybe some As. We will be going to the Pomona show in October to do some in-person research, To find a unit that meets our criteria may well be a unicorn search. We shall see.

Thank you all who responded, the answer is clear.
My Super C is powered by a Cummins Turbo so I tend to sometimes forget the issue of towing weights with most units. The 4 Wheel drive has also been great when on BML land.
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:23 PM   #12
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I once had my wife hold the toad steering wheel straight while I backed up. It didn't help, we jackknifed anyway. Once the toad's front wheels got diagonal, they stopped rolling and simply skidded across the pavement as the jackknife continued to worsen.

As mentioned be very careful to look ahead and avoid a backup situation. For instance, if I'm going to try and exit a parking lot by driving around the back of a building, I will get out and walk to make sure I have an exit route.

At least once or twice a year I still manage to drive into a blind dead end situation. All you can do is unhook, turn both vehicles around and re-connect. Since you are not actually stowing your gear it goes quicker than normal. All told maybe 8 - 10 minutes for everything. But definitely a PIA!
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tom in Ohio View Post
I tow a my Smart car on a Aluma trailer for 3 reasons:
1) I can back up anywhere as needed.
2) The trailer cost less than all the crap and labor to make said 4 down towing a legal install.
3) My Smart is not wearing out 4 tires and getting beat up.
Tom in Ohio, just curious, what do you do if you can't get a pull-through spot in a campground or do you always call ahead to make sure you can? I wasn't thinking of a trailer when I made my decision to flat tow, but had thought of using a dolly which creates a problem if you have to use a back in campsite too.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:27 PM   #14
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Toads and Backing Up

Just asking out of curiosity because I honestly donít have any experience or knowledge on backing a toad. However in the USAF I hauled munitions trailer that had long tow bar and front axle that pivot like that on a car. We could back them up but we steered in directions we wanted trl to go. Now for those we were really good ( I was learning just not consistent enough not to claim luck) they could back up two trailer connected. So does same concept apply to back car on towbar
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:43 PM   #15
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Haven’t been in a position where I had to unhook to back up...yet. In addition to all the normal reasons for not backing the toad I used the ReadyBrake system. If I tried to back up it would probably lock up all four wheels in short order.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:59 PM   #16
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Been in several situations where I had to back up a few feet, not a problem as it takes several feet to jackknife front wheels on toad. If I have to go further I simply loop the seat belt through the steering wheel and tighten. I have backed up quit a distance and can actually steer the toad the direction I want it to go. Never had a problem with front wheels jackknifing.

Mind you I am very careful I am on level ground, go very slowly in case wheels do jackknife ( very easy to feel resistance when they do ) and have my wife spot for me. Very slow and cautious is the key here. Not too sharp a turn. Tow bars are designed to pull but don't forget they can take a good push too when braking or coasting down a hill. Not sure if it is necessary but I also go through the before towing procedure as outlined in the car manual after backing up.
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Old 06-25-2019, 11:07 PM   #17
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Just asking out of curiosity because I honestly donít have any experience or knowledge on backing a toad. However in the USAF I hauled munitions trailer that had long tow bar and front axle that pivot like that on a car. We could back them up but we steered in directions we wanted trl to go. Now for those we were really good ( I was learning just not consistent enough not to claim luck) they could back up two trailer connected. So does same concept apply to back car on towbar
Probably your tow bar (reach) was fixed solid to front steer axle. That way steer left, trailer goes left. On a toad with the steering wheel fixed (seat belt around steering wheel) you turn right toad goes left. Play around, you will soon figure it out.
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Old 06-26-2019, 05:49 AM   #18
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Just asking out of curiosity because I honestly donít have any experience or knowledge on backing a toad. However in the USAF I hauled munitions trailer that had long tow bar and front axle that pivot like that on a car. We could back them up but we steered in directions we wanted trl to go. Now for those we were really good ( I was learning just not consistent enough not to claim luck) they could back up two trailer connected. So does same concept apply to back car on towbar


Not really. The trailer you were backing up was setup different than a four down Toad setup.

When backing a four down setup the pressures etc are all distributed differently just due to the tow plate connections etc.

See my post a few back for what happened to someone that didnít believe my installer and tried to backup their Toad. Personally I will never attempt it regardless of how short the distance. Can get real expensive real fast.
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by moose074 View Post
Just asking out of curiosity because I honestly donít have any experience or knowledge on backing a toad. However in the USAF I hauled munitions trailer that had long tow bar and front axle that pivot like that on a car. We could back them up but we steered in directions we wanted trl to go. Now for those we were really good ( I was learning just not consistent enough not to claim luck) they could back up two trailer connected. So does same concept apply to back car on towbar
This would actually be more like a farm wagon, than a trailer or toad.

I had backed up about a foot once when I couldn't make my turn in a gas station without hitting a car that wasn't properly parked. There were people standing around the car and not one offered to "spot" me. I backed up just enough to know I would clear the car and continue on. I also tow a lifted Jeep so I wasn't too concerned about damage to the Jeep itself, but I do have an Autostop that applies the brakes to the Jeep after about a foot or so.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:06 AM   #20
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You will get used to judging where you can go without backing up. I was leaving a campground in a county park and was going to hit the cab over with a tree limb. I did back up about a foot but prefer not to do that.

As others have said hooking up and unhooking will get quicker with practice. I highly suggest whey you purchase a tow bar whether its Blue Ox, Roadmaster or whatever, to purchase an all terrain. They are much easier to unhook if you are not on a perfect surface. You never know when a situation may arise where you need to unhook the toad quickly.
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