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Clutch control reversing a trailer

Discussion in 'Transport and Travelling' started by stigofthedump, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. stigofthedump

    stigofthedump Member

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    What is the best way to reverse a horse trailer uphill to avoid burning the clutch?
     
  2. CharliesAngel

    CharliesAngel Well-Known Member

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    It shouldn’t burn the clutch if the tow vehicle is up to the job. What are you towing with?
     
  3. stigofthedump

    stigofthedump Member

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    RAV4 2.2 diesel. Does that help?
    The problem i usually have is keeping the trailer moving backwards whilst making fine adjustments to its direction. If i keep the clutch engaged (foot off the pedal) & press the accelerator pedal I reverse too quickly for full control. Easing my foot off the accelerator causing the engine to stall. The only other choice is adjusting the trailer's speed by engaging/disengaging the clutch whilst keeping revs steady. Result - overheated clutch. Am wondering what the correct method is?
     
    #3 stigofthedump, Feb 24, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
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  5. CharliesAngel

    CharliesAngel Well-Known Member

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    Yep. They aren’t great towing vehicles, 2 tonne capacity is that right? That’s why it’s burning your clutch. Sorry
     
  6. stigofthedump

    stigofthedump Member

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    I have the problem reversing the 1 ton (tonne?) trailer empty! I have never attempted it with ponies in it because of my clutch control problem. Always unload ponies before reversing. So if the car has a 2 tonne capacity surely it should easily move a 1 tonne trailer? (confused)
     
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  7. CharliesAngel

    CharliesAngel Well-Known Member

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    you’d think so, sadly.. not all cars are really up to the job. We had a Rav4 and really they are pretend 4x4’s , ours couldn’t even reverse our little 2 berth caravan without taxing the clutch.
     
  8. chunky monkey

    chunky monkey Well-Known Member

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    Rav4s are more poser mobils as we call them. Are you reversing an empty trailer or loaded.
    I find the best option is to try and get low but steady revs and just keep the trailer moving. Every time you stop or alter speed it it takes more welly to get it started rolling again. Which then puts more pressure on the clutch. It's about finding that steady point.
    The lower your speed the easier it is to keep making the steering adjustments but if your too slow it will stall.
     
  9. Lissie

    Lissie Well-Known Member

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    What @chunky monkey said about keeping the trailer moving if you keep stopping the engine has to work harder to get it moving again and remember you're fighting against gravity, keep the momentum. Also agree they're not great tow cars so won't find the job as easy as something that's build to tow.
     
  10. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    The problem isn't the vehicle, its the auto breaks coming on when you reverse, especially up hill. Horse trailers have auto breaks on them (identified by a sliding portion on the neck before where the hitch is, often with a rubber boot over it), so as you slow down when driving normally the trailer pushes onto the tow hitch and the brakes engage (it means you can tow a bigger weight and it helps stop the trailer sailing past you if you have to stop sharpish). So when you reverse the vehicle the breaks can snatch on, especially when you try to push it up a hill.

    Firstly I would suggest getting the trailer brakes checked and adjusted if they haven't been done recently? they can get a bit more twitchy as they get worn (not worn out, but just in normal wear and tear if they aren't adjusted) I would also say never park it with the hank brake on, use it while hitching/unhitching, but then chock the wheels and take it off or the brakes will tend to get sticky in the on position. Lastly I would suggest not reversing up hill, if you are doing a 3 point turn do it the opposite way so you drive up hill and reverse across the hill.
     
  11. CharliesAngel

    CharliesAngel Well-Known Member

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    @Jessey thats a good shout, it could be the brakes coming on and def worth ruling out but in all honesty, sorry to disagree with you but it’s more likely to be the car. The brakes weren’t coming on on our trailer or caravan and our RAV just couldn’t push it back without smoking the clutch. We also have a small box trailer that we use for camping and the clutch always smelled pushing that back up our drive which was on an incline. We also - and this is a right old tale of woe :( - bought a BRAND NEW toyota hilux 3 years ago. We had an older one and had no issues with it whatsoever, I towed the length of the country with it. The last trip I did with it was up to John O Groats and over to Orkney and back, I had to reverse the stock trailer up hill and then down an S bend to get onto the ferry, the most tricky manoeuvre Ive ever done and the old hilux was grand. We replaced it with a brand new one and boom, smoking clutch as soon as I reversed the trailer up a slight incline. So we did all the checks, checked the brakes weren’t coming on on the trailer etc. Very very long story short there was an issue with the clutches on that batch of cars and the clutch was replaced at 4000 miles with promises the problem would be solved. It wasn’t :( We ended up getting rid of it and cutting our losses and got a Defender, immediately no issue whatsover. We have an Isuzu Dmax and again no issue, I hate car shopping so thats it now hopefully!
     
  12. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    We'll agree to disagree, but from a mechanics point of view the brakes always come on when reversing a manually braked trailer (if they work), its just much more noticeable on a hill and less noticeable with a more powerful vehicle as it can over power them (doesn't mean they aren't working ;)) :)
     
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  13. CharliesAngel

    CharliesAngel Well-Known Member

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    still comes down to it being an underpowered vehicle though unless the brakes are sticking :D
     
  14. Jessey

    Jessey Well-Known Member

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    But the brakes are ON when reversing it up hill, so not nec. underpowered for normal towing, just not enough to over power the things you want to stop you in case of emergency, which can actually damage your trailer brakes by polishing them if you do it too much :D Its not I don't get where you are coming from @CharliesAngel , its not the most meaty tow vehicle but as long as it is rated for, and able to do the job of towing and stopping, the not reversing up hill bit is just more of a convenience thing.
     
  15. CharliesAngel

    CharliesAngel Well-Known Member

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    yes i also get what you are saying @Jessey but the OP asked the best way to reverse up a hill (not just towing & stopping) without burning the clutch and my answer was, to do that job you’re vehicle is underpowered. My head aches now lol
     
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  16. chunky monkey

    chunky monkey Well-Known Member

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    Your both right.
    Equally if you have an old horse trailer like I used to have you could get out before reversing and pull a little lever over into the squishy bit which then stops the trailer brake pushing on.
     
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