53 COMMENTS

  1. Fishtailing is the worst. I was in an accident when I was 15 with my family where this happened and it completely destroyed the trailer and rolled the suburban. We must have loaded it incorrectly. After that accident, I’ve been very leery of towing an incorrectly weighted trailer.

  2. Hey I just what to say that I really appreciate a video like this. I’m a noob, never towed anything but I’ve reached a point in my life that I can afford a truck, so this very useful to a guy like me.

  3. My dad and I were towing a full sized van on a flat bed, with dad’s k5 blazer…Problem was the trailer was too small to get the weight positioned right, and the k5’s relatively short wheelbase wasn’t ideal for that job…after about 100 uneventful miles, we made it to within 2 miles of home when on the last stretch of freeway, we started fish tailing. It was about 2 seconds and we were in the 3rd wag, the death wobble was getting progressively worse in a hurry. My pah was having to counter steering a full turn of the steering wheel at that point, when he floored it! We straightened out as quick as it happened. pretty scary, but me being 12 at the time and my first time towing anything, I figured it was just normal. lol My dad drove trucks since he was a kid on a dairy farm making hay runs across the state, he knew what he was getting into. To this day, he is the only other person I feel comfortable with in the driver seat, other than myself.

  4. I have weighs in my front bumper, my front bumper is about 600 lbs, this is for keeping my front tires loaded for steering and brakeing…

  5. I worked for a bridge company for a while and the younger of the crew we’re SUPPOSED to hook up the brand new wood chipper we rented from Sunbelt. Well they didn’t drop the pintle hook and flipped the chipper over right in front of the hotel we were staying at! The poor chipper had 70 hours clocked on it😬

  6. Got a load of gravel in a dump trailer once for work and they loaded it just a tad too far back. When I got out of the yard I accelerated onto the two lane highway and up hill. It shifted the load to the rear. I got to a point going down hill with on coming traffic and, UHOH! Shoulder work! And of course it started fishtailing.
    I tried the trailer brake and it failed! All I could do was accelerate till it stabilized. Played on the horn, all the workers running away when they see me, and just by the grace of God, made it past and decelerated till I could stop safely and used a bucket to move the gravel forward.

  7. Loose coupler at low speed disconnected and punched a hole in my gas tank. Yes safely chains were used. Trailer was loaded correctly just had axles welded to the frame no springs

  8. My dad was pulling a side by side and decided to doze off while we were driving. He woke up mid swerve and tried to over correct. There was a bunch of sway going on to say the least. Ripped the hook off the HF tie down straps. No injuries just lessons learned.

  9. Scariest towing fail was in high school. Dad and I were taking a sponsored trophy trailer to a roping. I hooked it up but was used to gooseneck trailers and this was a bumper pull and didn’t even think about the different ways they lock onto the ball… Lost the trailer on the freeway at 80mph. Thank goodness for safety chains😂😂

  10. Trailer sway around 2006 or so. Took my dad on his first and only wheeling trip which he didn’t enjoy. “Too much waiting around watching other people”. We went to Livingston, KY when you could wheel there. Put the TJ on the trailer hooked to a v8 4 runner. He hooked up and tightened the straps. Apparently he didn’t tighten them and I didn’t double check like I should have because I figured “my dad knows what he’s doing”. Jeep slid back probably a foot or so. Came down down a hill on i75 north of Livingston and the trailer started swaying and it got worse. I looked back and saw black S marks on the road from the tires. From what I remember, I let off the accelerator and manually engaged the trailer brakes to slow everything down. We were lucky that day. Pulled into the next exit to tighten the straps.

  11. One time I got my car impounded and I had to trailer it home so I borrowed my dad‘s van and trailer. The car barely fit on the trailer. The whole trunk was hanging past the back edge of the trailer. I was pulling it home down a Windy mountain road and for a long time it was just fine. I had to hit the brakes because a coyote ran in front of me. Then the trailer started swaying back-and-forth until the trailer tires were coming up off the ground on each side. It tilted so much that the hitch popped off the ball and the safety chains took over. I had to hit the brakes to slow down and the trailer slammed into the back of the van but the whole time the car stayed on and I came to a stop. I almost crapped my pants. In hindsight I should’ve just blasted that coyote. Really I should’ve just found a different trailer. Oh well, nobody died.

  12. Informative and the toy trucks are a great way to demonstrate this. All I would add is that when it happens: take you foot off the gas and counter-sear, as you said, DO NOT touch the brakes – when the Jeep and trailer slow, things will smooth out!

  13. Towing my full size Jeep from Spokane, WA to Boise, ID and the spring pack bolt on the rear axle of the trailer broke, the whole axle on the passenger side slid back to the spring hanger, the tire disintegrated and the trailer kinda went crazy, this was at 75 mph! I used a come-a-long and pulled the axle back in position, put the spare on and finished the trip!

  14. There are a lot of people who will panic and jam on the brakes when there is a death wobble. It’s so counterintuitive but in addition to applying the trailer brakes like you said but also should step on the gas. The physics will make the vehicle “longer”, stretching the train out. Instant stability. The same thing also applies when you get a tire blow out, especially the front tire. If you get a front tire blowout, you want to floor the gas, as hard as you can. Once you have gained control of the vehicle, then you can slowly ease of the gas and pull over safely to the shoulder. There is a whole video that some highway or truck safety people did on this. Actually exploded a tire while moving at high speeds. It was fascinating.

  15. Used your last loading a trailer video before loading a car for the first time and it was a great help. After towing with the 1/2 ton I quickly realized it is not going to cut it. Went out and bought a used 3/4 ton which has a brake controller and knowing what that little button does will come in handy.

    You speak of front and rear placement and how to secure the axles. But I had a thing where with a very firm trailer the rig on the trailers suspension had a good amount of articulation. When I came across a 6-8″ “dip” on a uneven roadway the thing being towed would “flex” on the trailer and cause the thing to start to sway. A couple “limiting straps” connected snugly to the rocker guards prevented this. Going somewhere offload or just down washed out dirt roads you may come across these dips. I am not sure if tying down the sides was a good thing or bad thing. Your thoughts?

    • Its fina as long as you have first secured your axles. In fact the first how i tie down video i did something similar if you want to watch that. Just make sure any hooks you use won’t disconnect with articulation of the rig.

  16. I had a buddy call me saying how he just bought a Jeep (cj 7) across town that didn’t run and asked for a tow. Long story short I just hooked a chain to him and tugged him down the road while he had no steering or brakes. Almost sent it into the back of my Cherokee and shredded tires on the CJ. Made it all the way to his house and some guy followed us and bought it right then and there. The guy that bought it lived about half way on the route home.

  17. Loaded flatbed with XJ on the tail and Reliant Robin over the tongue, vast weight difference. Got on the freeway and hit a bump at 65 mph. Went from right hand to left hand ditch. FYI track bar in mmt 98 Dodge Cummins was shot.

  18. I was getting ready for Jeep beach in Daytona last year and did a frame swap over the weekend. Rented a uhaul and drove the Jeep up onto the trailer but quickly realized I didn’t do brakes yet and drove over the trailer. Had to get a wrecker to lift up the nose while we drove the trailer forward. Then realized the straps on trailer don’t fit 35’s so we had to let all the air out of the tires to get the Jeep home 5 miles down the road.

  19. I got to experience that sway first hand back in the 70’s. My uncle’s were in construction and had a custom trailer built for their bobcat. 1st day taking the trailer and bobcat home, we hit 45mph and swayed from road edge to road edge. Tow vehicle was 1/2 ton Chevy 4×4. Very scary!

  20. My first accident was in tow, before I even had a license. I lived in rural-ish Nevada at the time. I was 12. My chore was to load up the trash in an old 50s Chevy flat bed and drive it to the dumps. Out there no one cared if I was old enough to drive. The gas gauge on the truck didn’t work, so one day I just flat ran out on the way home. Walked the few miles left to the house and got my mom. We drove our ‘77 K5 blazer out to go get it and tow it home with a strap. My mom drove the blazer, I drove the old flatbed. The last stretch was a down hill grade to our home. When we made the corner I tried to apply some brake to keep the strap taught and the pedal went to the floor. Just so happens my grandma was also in the truck with me. She saw this, panicked, and yelled out the window “NO BRAKES!!!”. My mom thought she was yelling “BRAKES”. By this time we were all moving at a good speed. I’d say 30ish. So my mom hits the brakes, hard. And we can do nothing but hold on. Mind you, this old truck from the 50s did not have any sort of restraining system. Not even an old rope to go around your waist. So grandma gets dashboarded and I get a bloody nose from the steering wheel. My mom gets whiplash, because she had turned around and was looking towards us. So that’s my towing story. Not towing a trailer, but strap towing and old truck before I was even old enough to drive.

  21. I “towed” a tree that was hanging over an athletic field. However, I “towed” it a little too hard, tacoed the trailer hitch and ripped the mounts out of the unibody. Drove it 2 hours home.

  22. So I was towing a trialer I closed and 25 foot long, two axles but wrong hitch ball size ended up going threw a intersection and trailer came flying off the truck and sparks went flying luckily nothing flipped ended up getting the trailer back on the truck and too the job site 🤨😬

  23. So one time I was towing my Jeep home from a wheeling trip and at the time my truck liked to shut off going over certain bumps sometimes. (Wiring issue from previous owner) So I was passing a wide load on an overpass and had to go over onto the rumble strips at about 70mph. Truck shut off, feces exited my bung hole, and then the truck came back to life. Crisis averted. Almost. 💩

  24. When I was 17 we decided to tow my buddies boat with my Bronco but only a few threads on the ball were available. Ball came off and we had a good lesson on why you cross cross the safety chains. It held the boat up pretty well while we got off the road. It swung from the chains under the bumper

  25. I haven’t had a improperly loaded trailer yet, but my dad did when I was a kid. So scary! My worst experience was the first time going to use a new(used) trailer after buying it. Never checked the lugs, and lost a wheel going about 30 in a neighborhood! Narrowly missed a parked car jumped a retaining wall, no injuries or damage thankfully! Seeing one of your tires fly by you is something I never want to see again!

  26. Headed to Moab towing my ZJ on a car dolly behind my 2018 4Runner, which had been towed many times this way and no issues. I just had lifted it 4” with 33’s and I didn’t think of the top load, un sprung suspension. Get on the highway which is 80mph here and we got up to 70mph with my wife and 2 dogs. The Jeep started swerving side to side in both lanes on the highway as a motor home was approaching to pass, he slowed down and I managed to slow it down and get it off the side of the road. Made it down the canyon and off the highway and realized I need to ratchet my front end down to compress the suspension to gain control. Then as we hit the 2 lane road into Moab, my spare tire bounced off and bounced under my Jeep pancaking my muffler and smashing my pinion yoke skid into the yoke and it kept spinning which rounded and smashed in the threads for the u joint bolts. Then I was running down the highway to recover my spare that lanes in the middle of the highway. Big thanks to Dan Mick for letting me use his shop and tools to make to the Jeep back up and running for our Epic Moab Trip. Now there’s a flat deck and 2500 suburban. Learned my lesson. Thanks for your videos and humor love it.

  27. Excellent video – thanks for providing it. Very good demonstration.

    You talked about tongue weight based on GVW of the trailer. It is important to know the Class of hitch you are pulling with so you don’t exceed the ratings and have the hitch itself fail. 2″ receivers (Class II, IV, and V) can look the same, but have very different ratings for load and tongue weight. According to Curt Manufacturing:

    Class 1 is rated at 200 lbs max tongue weight
    Class II is rated at 350 lbs max tongue weight
    Class III is rated at 800 lbs max tongue weight
    Class IV is rated at 1000 lbs max tongue weight
    Class V is rated at 2400 lbs or more max tongue weight

    These numbers seem to vary some between hitch manufacturers.

    You also talked about loading vehicles that have their engine in the front (most!). As a general rule of thumb, the balance point front to back for these vehicles is about where the steering wheel is. I find this knowledge helps in determining where to position the vehicle for safe weight distribution.

    Something else your video was close to demonstrating. If the hitch on the tow vehicle is too high – as with many lifted trucks, there is a risk of the front wheels of the towing vehicle going light and coming off the ground. Not from excessive tongue weight, but rather from hitching too high above the center line of the axles which allows the towing vehicle to walk around the rear wheels and possibly flip backwards. This is a huge problem with our farm tractors. They have the power and will dig in and walk the tractor right over backwards and kill you in an instant if you hitch too high. Flipping from this is less of a problem with on-road tow vehicles, but hitching too high will cause the front wheels to go really light and cause a loss of control – similar in a way to excessive tongue weight.

  28. I don’t have any trailer towing stories but I did find this video very informative p.s. i was hoping to win the alignment tool!!!

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