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Thread: Home made trailer hitch guide

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
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    Default Home made trailer hitch guide

    I usually take several trips to the back of my truck when backing up to hitch up the trailer to see how the ball is lining up with the coupling.

    So, got some scrap junk around the shop and basement and set up the following new easy way to line em up.



    Image 1 shows a series of plywood cut with a hole saw glued together with a magnet on the bottom. A hole is drilled through the center to accommodate a suitable length of a fishing pole. The whole assembly is placed on the trailer as shown.



    Image 2. This shows the trailer ball. I got a suitable SS hose clamp and epoxied it to a scrap plywood with enough length to receive another length of fishing pole. Both lengths of pole are high enough to be seen from the cab of my truck. a slight turn of the hose clamp secures the device to the ball.



    Image 3. Both assemblies shown together when the trailer and truck ball are aligned.



    Image 4 The view from the truck cab. When I back up I align up the little red flags by eye. If my depth perception is on, I'm all ready to connect the trailer up with a little adjusting for height and L or R.

    If not I'll take out my Lic. plate light or dent my plates . Both done in the past.

    Just an idea and I'm sure others could improve on the above.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    SF Bay Area- Richmond
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    Quite cunning!

    I use a rolling, swing-away jack on trailered boats, so the height is not an issue -- just crank the handle up or down.

    The left or right is more of an issue, but unless the trailer is in a really tight space, I usually just roll the hitch onto the ball and tow as straight as possible. For heavier boats the dual-wheel jacks are good on most surfaces except mud or sand.



    Nice to see a rig with a towball nearly as rusty as mine!
    Last edited by Thorne; 03-20-2008 at 04:50 PM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 1999
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    West Boothbay Harbor, Maine
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    I always have get my wife to guide me back. The boat and trailer weigh 6000 lbs so the hitch socket has to align perfectly over the ball to wind down and engage.

    But I only use the trailer twice a year. If I had to do it every time I went sailing it would be a hassle and I'd want to rig something like you've devised.
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Ballard
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    J. Dillon ... I like your idea a lot.

    I do it the way my father taught me, and the way his father taught him ... back up until you hear a bang, then roll forward a few inches.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide



    Nice idea.
    Here is another version looking at solving the same problem.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    Stiletto, what does that cost ? Chrome or S.Steel ? When you're backing up you still have to be close. Far beyond my skills.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    SF Bay Area- Richmond
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    You are certainly not the first to have this issue...nor the last.

    From Cabelas -
    $40

    $250
    From http://www.twinspruceswinghitch.com/pricing-order.htm
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    560

    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    We use this for our horse trailer. It can mount on a tailgate, or a rear windshield (for SUVs).


    The boat is light enough to move on the nose wheel once you get close. I have also seen a system similar to JD's, but the ball antenna also has a magnetic mount. You put the ball antenna on the ball itself. When the trailer hitch knocks off the ball antenna, you are close enough.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    Maine
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    1,459

    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    Cool. I do a similar thing with my truck and the gooseneck hitch ball in the center of the bed. I have a low profile tool box for all my logging tools in the front of the bed and I can not see the ball. So I have a couple of thick rubber bands on the ball and put a 24" stick, upright, to the aft end side of the ball held in place with the bands. when the hitch hits the stick and sends it ahead I know I am there. Simple stuff for life's complicated time consuming issues.

    If you take the tailgate off you will be able to see a lot more, but then you already know that............ Band a stick to the ball on the truck and you will have a built in "depth perception" monitoring device.

    Eric
    When half the people are happy half the time...is it still Democracy?
    People's opinions are like a map, once expressed, everyone knows where they stand.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    The one I showed is hot dip galvanised for $NZ69.00, that translates roughly to $US55.00

    I have also seen stainless ones but dont know the price.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    [quote=J. Dillon;1794138]



    Image 4 The view from the truck cab. When I back up I align up the little red flags by eye. If my depth perception is on, I'm all ready to connect the trailer up with a little adjusting for height and L or R.[Quote]

    My 'mod' would be to have the flags at different heights (like transit markers).
    But, that's coming from a 'directionally-challenged' fellow who has enough trouble with left/right and port/stbd at the best of times. I'll take all the help I can get when backing up to a trailer!

    Tom

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
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    Broken Arrow, OK US
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    I find I can get within 6" just looking out my rear window where I can see neither the trailer coupler nor the ball.

    A simple walk around to the back lets me see what the final adjustments need to be.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    But it's nice to back in with confidence, even at a slight angle, and hit it first time off.

    The wand upright from the trailor side does it if you have a sight guide on the tail gate and if you put the trailor down a quarter inch or so below the ball after disconnecting. That way you can feel the ball meeting and sliding under the hitch without the need for more complex depth perception.

    It helps to mark the place on the wand where the wand disappears as you get close to let you know when to slow down a bit.

    I pull a lot of different trailors and they don't have wands. It helps to have a very good idea of where your hitch is. This is aquired but is just an extension of being able to sit down without necessarily looking.

    The biggest asset is if you can back straight in. Even with an unfamiliar trailor that's set higher than the ball (always measure first) you can back till you touch the bumper and then come forward your predetermined amount, depending on how far back the hitch hangs.

    When coming in at an angle, I back aiming the center, the ball, at the hitch. As I close on where the hitch disappears from sight under my tailgate, I note a target in line further back and carry on till the slight bump tells me I'm there.

    As you find the sight line, you need to allow for a little parallax unless you move your head right under the mirror.

    I like my wing mirrors up on my fenders visible entirely through the front windshield. That way I can see everything without twisting and shifting.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Gray Me.
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    Default Re: Home made trailer hitch guide

    J, I like your idea as it will work well with dropped receivers. I have done so much towing I am usually pretty spot on but that would sure be handy with a new vehicle or setup.

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