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Towing a boat this weekend.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by beelzelboss, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. To all of you out there that have to tow large things behind their trucks.... This upcoming weekend my father and I are towing our 34 ft Sea Rey from California to Lake Mead for a schedule maintenance.... He likes the guys here in vegas for some reason, but I got pulled into this.

    All together it weights about 8.5 tons, and is about 38 (maybe 40?) feet long, not including the truck. Its also a wide load by about a half a foot on each side ><.... I've never towed anything bigger than a jetski before. He plans on just getting it through LA traffic and then I'm driving it the rest of the way home, all the way up to giving it to the repair shop (we are heading straight there).

    Any tips on towing this beast??? :help:
    oh, and the trailor has electronic brakes instead of hydraulic. That means that when I brake in the truck, the brakes on the trailer brake. Not when the trailor feels a tug it brakes. (dad didn't like that)
  2. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    You may already know most/all of these, but I'll list 'em anyway.

    Make sure your mirrors extend so you can see all the way back on both sides of the boat. You can rent them if your truck isn't so equipped.

    Use the boat cover if it has one.

    Make sure nothing is loose/unsecured inside the boat.

    Disconnect the battery in the boat.

    Safety chains in place, straps secure on the back.

    Make sure all the lights, turn signals, and brake lights are in good working order.

    Use the cruise, don't tailgate, and enjoy the drive!
  3. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    What do you have that will tow 16500 pounds?
  4. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    yeh, I was wondering that too. and what marina do you have that docked / drydocked at that isn't capable of doing any work you may need to it? Any marina my brother ever docked at had a very capable staff.

    Be safe, take your time, never underestimate your surroundings, and for God's sake, give yourself plenty of room for braking, regardless of the trailer's brake assist. You sure, at 17, you have enough drive time to handle this type of task? Balls of Iron, I say.
  5. We have a Ford F- 350 Dulley (diseal) 255 hp .
    This is in essance my truck. Minus the decals and keep it all white, and extend the bed to the full 8ft.

    This isn't the first time that truck is towing the boat. Its made that trip a lot of times, and its the truck I usually drive around, so I know how to handle the truck, just with the trailer attached its another story.

    And its not balls of Iron, but I haven't really had to have a lot of um "bonding" time with my dad as I have two other brothers, and he selected me to go with him. I told him I would be fine with it, but nevertheless I am kind of nervous....

    The boat I've prepared it for land and sea jouneys so I know what I'm doing there, and its getting onto the trailer via sling (dry dock), and we're not even putting it in the water here in Vegas, the mechanics have a whole thing they do by themselves to make sure it runs alright. Its getting the 200 hour check up, and my dad wants it in Vegas because thats the people that have been servicing our boat for YEARS. I personally know the guy who overlooks it, because my dad brings me in there everytime. (and I'm only 17!!!)I've made the trip before with my dad, but I never drove, so that is what I'm nervous about.... the driving part. UGHH.
  6. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Staff Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    I've actually found larger trailers easier to tow than small ones. Less swaying and far easier to back up when you need to.

    Shouldn't have much trouble moving that with a diesel truck.
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Don't punch it to catch up to that hot chick that whizzed by you in the fast lane.

    Don't attempt the journey on Flash Friday. You'll be way too distracted to be safe with that trailer behind you.


  8. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    -Be careful with the boat covers, many aren't designed for highway use, only for storing in a marina. If it isn't super tight with snap connectors I wouldn't use them. Boats are designed to get wet.

    -Triple your safe stoping distance, maybe more if the roads are wet. And do all your right turns WIDE.

    -Also check your route and state laws, you may have some issues with overpass heights, and wide load restrictions. In MI I believe you have to pull a permit if it's wider then 9'
  9. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
  10. we have the permit, and I don't think they make a cover for the entire boat... We have one over the cockpit, but we know that stays on in transit because we have done it before, triple stopping distance also sounds good... Wider right turns? Ughhh
  11. becker4567


    Jul 26, 2008
    Never, ever forget that it's behind you. I know that sounds stupid, but I've seen people with long trailers try to pass other cars or cut corners with horrible results. But.....are you sure there isn't a marina closer to you that can do whatever service you need?
  12. Well, our marina can service it, but the boat has a history of engine problems that the one guy in vegas has dealt with every step of the way. Hes like an expert on my family's boat, so my dad wants to bring it back to him because its a very important check up for the boat, its the equivalent of a 100,000 mile checkup for a car. Thats why. Slightly annoying, but it will be okay (it also ends up being cheaper somehow)
  13. WookieeForLife


    Sep 30, 2008
    I wish I had that boat, then again I probably couldnt afford the gas for it.
  14. Don't tow in Over drive. Be sure you are not in over drive as this can result in serious problems for your transmission, especially when towing that amount of weight.
    Be sure you have the trailer balanced properly at the ball. If not, it will make for a very difficult drive.
    Be prepared for some nasty side winds, should the weather where you are be blasting.
    Take your time... I don't supose there will be any brownie points for arriving 1/2 an hour early.
    Have fun! I know if it was my first time driving a large rig like that, I'd be nervous, but I think that's a good thing... hopefully you will be more aware of your surroundings as a result and arrive alive and safe.
    Be sure to check your trailer bearings whenever you stop, to ensure that they are not over heating. Blowing a bearing with a boat that big would be dangerous. Also, be sure your trailer tires are up to the job.
  15. Milky


    Jan 26, 2006
    Knoxville, TN
    No pics, no boat
  16. Other things that I might suggest:

    Keep an real close eye on the fuel gauge. It would be no fun sweating out the fuel for 50 miles or more.

    When going down hill, down shift into 3rd or even 2nd gear. Let the engine regulate your speed, rather than burning up your brakes.

    Plan lane changes in advance as best you can.

    Make sure the turn blinkers on the trailer work before heading out.

    Plan on this being a long slow drive. It's a mental thing.

    Work out the music & entertainment with your dad in advance of the trip.

    No shortcuts. They rarely are, specially when you are hauling something that big.

    Enjoy the trip.

  17. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    With all due respect:

    Giving a task like that to someone with one year of driving experience is a poorly thought out decision.

    The best advice I could offer would be to let your dad drive the bulk of the way and spell him on the flat, straight, deserted pieces of roadway where turning, breaking and other people are not an issue.
  18. AnchorHoy


    Dec 29, 2008
    New Jersey

    Unless there's a Jake (engine brake) on the truck, the wheel brakes are all you've got, and they can heat up and lose effectiveness (brake fade) pretty quickly if you use 'em too much. #1 rule is to minimize the number of times you need to use those brakes, and the best way to do that is to leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you

    Both Directions !, and you won't have a lot of choice in the matter. There's a couple of reasons for this:

    1 - Trailers tend to track in a tighter circle than the tow vehicle, when going around corners. This effect is minimal with an extremely large radius (like on the highway) but as the corner gets tighter this effect will be more and more pronounced

    What this means in practice is that tight corners must be taken with the tow vehicle going as wide and deep into the corner as possible, so that the trailer wheels (which track a much tighter circle) will clear any obstacles

    2 - You need to stay just as aware of obstacles on your left side when making a left turn, as vice versa. I've seen just as many trailers hitting signposts and running over curbs in left-turn islands (typical NJ situation, maybe not so common where you are) as I have obstacles on the right during a right turn

    The effect illustrated in #1 works in both directions, in exactly the same way.....

    3 - Going around a corner, you will need to divide your attention between what's in front of you and the all-important inside mirror - the one that is watching the trailer wheels on the inside of the curve

    Don't get fixated on either! Alternate between the two and keep your speed waaaay down so that you stay well on top of what's happening on both ends of the rig

    Like Steve, I'm not wild about the idea of a driver with only one year of seat-time pulling that kind of weight - especially something with a very high CG (center of gravity) like a boat. There's a lot more to safe operation of a tow vehicle & trailer than just making it around a streetcorner without getting the cops involved :ninja:

    Still, experience starts when you begin, and not a moment before

    For my 2ยข worth, I would strongly recommend some serious practice (measured in hours, not minutes) in a deserted area if at all possible, and with an empty trailer to boot. That'll at least get you familiar with the trailer-tracking effect I mentioned in #1. For the rest of it, you'll simply have to rely on your trainer (aka Dad) and hope he knows his business.....
  19. well, we just got through the first leg, sitting in a hotel at about the halfway point.... I've probably been driving for the better part of 3 and half hours, and its actually not too bad. I've tower smaller stuff behind this truck, and Those of you who don't like someone with such little experiance doing that stuff, I understand and my dad understands it. But I've town trailers around with that car a lot. this trip we are making I've done with jet ski trailers, and a camper type thing. This is only longer than the camper by about 6 or 7 feet (i'm totally eyeballing it), but the biggest difference is the weight. The camper isn't that heavy, the boat... different story. Dad in my opinion does um, know his buisness as AnchorHoy put it. Hes done this trip, there and back with this same truck, and same boat, every summer at least twice a summer, to the same exact place, except instead of bringing it home to put it in the lake, we are giving it to maintenance people... hes kept a good on me otherwise, I havn't been over 50ish to keep fuel costs down, overdrive off (easy click of a button) and the downhills you throw on your blinkers, and slow down, before the hill comes, to where you can throw it into 2nd, and go the way down... surprsingly we are getting about 14 mpg, which is different than the 12 we get int he city, with my brother and I driving...(we kind of have led feet, but Lee is wayy worse than I am). The roads have been surprsingly empty so I guess I've gotten my said "practice" ... the only thing I'm scared about is driving it in the more cityish areas. I'm trying to talk my dad into doing it, but he is insisting that I learn how. I think if doesn't agree to take over, I'm just going to pull into a parking lot and make him switch. I'll tell you about it in a few days.
    The only reason he is forcing me to do this is because after we tow it back (which my twin brother will be doing) we are getting rid of the trailer, as the boat will permenetally be staying in Marina Del Rey, and never returning to vegas again.
    My fathers mentally is why have them (them being my brother and I) learn from trial and error, when I've already gone through that. I can just teach them how to drive it instead of having them try to figure it out, where mistakes could be costly no matter who owns the car and boat.
    As to the CG, for a boat, this one is surprisingly very very low. Only about 3-4 feet off the ground (which is high, but for a trailor, not so bad) because the engines are stern drives. They are inboards, but instead of having a rudder, the prop and whole engine moves, and since its a speed boat the deepest it gets its about a foot and half (and thats the bottom of the props) so with the engines up, its really only about a foot, but thank to dear god there was no wind, and I didn't have to drive it in LA traffic. My dad was doing that, and I'm sitting there going, how are you doing this?? you have a wall on side, and cars that are dangerously close on the other....
    but we are safe so far, and the only problem so far was an underinflated tire half way through this leg of the trip. (we stopped about every half our to check tire pressure on both the trailer and the truck.) So we just replaced the tire with the spare. My dad right now is actually at the nearest tire place getting it looked at.. He just disconnected the boat, put the props away and left... if anyone wanted to steal it, they would not have an easy time doing it.

    Thanks for your guys help, it has payed off. The triple breaking distance is a good call, along with the engine brake, but the trailer brakes help A LOT because there are six of them, (one for each tire) and they are connected to the truck brakes, so if I put on the truck brakes the trailers also going, so in essance the trailer is actually stopping itself and the truck is stopping itself, because that is just how we have it balanced out.
    The next leg starts at about 6 tomorrow morning, and then I will be home. (yessss) Wish me luck!

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