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Old 02-04-2007, 09:29 AM   #21
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Trailer: 1984 U-Haul 13 ft
Upstate New York (near Albany)
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For a long time I have been pondering the use of a wheel apparatus on the front jack for manuevering. It was mentioned the use of a dolly - limit 600 lbs. There was also mentioned a swivel trailer jack - 750 lbs. I assume that that is the weight on the trailer hitch. My question is I really don't know what my hitch weight is, my trailer is 1500 lbs. (gross trailer weight). The info is on my spec sheet.

As long as it's not uphill, how strong does one have to be to push this trailer around by myself. I know, I know practice, practice makes it perfect. The stress exacerbates especially when there is an audience of other campers watching, it's always a man. It's not that I am too proud, but would like to handle this trailer on my own. (there isn't always someone around either). It was very costly on my trip to the Yukon paying for those huge sites that were pull through. Kinda funny when we had monster motorhomes and enormus TT. Thanks for the ear .
Bonnie, I had my teenage son to camp with last year, but I will not be taking him with me this year. I plan on doing what we have done for the past few years. That is using a board under the wheel to manuever the trailer around. I know that by doing this myself, I will not have the trailer in what I consider a perfect location. But you can do it. I takes practice (just like the first time you back your trailer into a campsite .)
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Old 02-04-2007, 02:03 PM   #22
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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Quote:
...It was mentioned the use of a dolly - limit 600 lbs. There was also mentioned a swivel trailer jack - 750 lbs. I assume that that is the weight on the trailer hitch. My question is I really don't know what my hitch weight is, my trailer is 1500 lbs. (gross trailer weight). The info is on my spec sheet.
Yes, the rating is for the weight supported by the dolly or jack; the dolly must support the hitch (or tongue) weight, while a jack is mounted a bit closer to the trailer axle so it needs to support a bit more weight.

The usual "rule of thumb" is that the hitch should carry at least 10% of the weight of the trailer, but it can be a lot more. The gross trailer weight on the spec sheet is probably a maximum rating... the trailer will weigh significantly less, and how close it is to the maximum depends on what you carry. That means the hitch weight could be not much more than 100 lbs, should be more, might be 150 lbs when loaded, and could be even more. Wildly guessing, it' probably no more than 200 lb when loaded.

My cheap dolly is also rated for 600 lb, and I would be surprised to see one rated for any less. At 600 lbs, all the parts are quite cheap, so it wouldn't save much to make an even lighter one. Mine has no-name tube-type "2 ply rating" 4.10/3.5-6 tires which would look at home on a wheelbarrow. And yes, they're made in China. I'm sure they're work fine.

Aside from dolly considerations, I think everyone really should know their hitch weight, and the weight on each of the tow vehicle axles when loaded. For the axles, a trip to a truck scale is in order, but the hitch weight can be measured with a bathroom scale. See "New Years Resolution and Tongue Weight" for a recent discussion.


I don't have a wheel on my tongue jack, but of course one could be added. The difference between a dolly and just putting a wheel on the jack is that the dolly provides a handle, both for pushing/pulling and to steer. The manual dollies typically have two air-filled tires, while a jack usually has one small solid-tired wheel.

Princess Auto has one strange variation (I'm sure there are many suppliers but that's where I saw it), which is a wheeled jack with a ratchet mechanism which allows you to move the trailer, one small fraction of a wheel rotation at a time. I looks like it is for fine positioning of heavy trailers... it would take forever to park with it.
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Old 02-04-2007, 04:48 PM   #23
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Trailer: 1974 Ventura
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Thank you so much for your reply. I think I will go for a dolly, having two tires makes sense in ease. It was mentioned on the spec for the dolly that a 1 7/8 " ball is what is on it. My ball is now 2". What measurement is the ball on your dolly ? Ok, ok I am trying to keep a straight face, but there is no other way to word it.
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Old 02-04-2007, 05:12 PM   #24
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Slightly OT, but I had an FMR (actually just a ball hitch bolted directly to my bumper) on a big Dodge 3/4T van that I used to maneuver my 16' Boston Whaler on its trailer thru a 10' stock gate and then sideways a couple of feet, within less than a boat length, to park it under a shelter -- With the van, visibility was super and the steered wheels were almost directly under the hitch ball, so it was about as close to a motorized trailer dolly as one could get!

My other use was at boat ramps, where I could put the trailer right down over the water with the rear wheels remaining above the tide line and slippery stuf on the ramp for good traction.

The weight limits for FMR can be taken very loosely in a trailer backing application because the limits were established for a real load in the front out on the road, speedy bumps included, not positioning a trailer to park it. My boat would flex my bumper, but it always came back.
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Old 02-04-2007, 05:34 PM   #25
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The 1 7/8" ball will work on pretty well all size couplers because the weight of the tongue will keep the coupler on the ball....not a problem ......the idea of the ratchet on the dolly that Brian mentioned is that if you pull it up hill and have to stop, it won`t roll back down hill, and you can pull it up a bit at a time such as not having to take steps when under strain, depending on the grade it`s on......the problem with the dolly is storage while travelling....that`s why it stays at home.....dollies may be fine with a small trailer, but I wouldn`t try to drag my 17' or even the 13' around on too many of the campsites I`ve been on, unless it was on a concrete pad in a trailer park.......Benny
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:05 PM   #26
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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Quote:
...It was mentioned on the spec for the dolly that a 1 7/8 " ball is what is on it. My ball is now 2". What measurement is the ball on your dolly ?
It is hard to keep a straight face...

My dolly came with a 1-7/8" ball, but it's just a [b]normal tow ball, so for $7 or less you can get a 2" ball and install that instead; or, as Benny mentioned, just use the undersized ball, which will slop around some but probably work okay for hand-pushed moves.

I think they come with a 1-7/8" ball because it is assumed you will be moving a very small trailer with it, and the smallest common ball size is 1-7/8" ball... plus, a 1-7/8" ball will work with a 2" trailer coupler, but not the other way around. My problem is that my utility trailer actually has a 1-7/8" coupler, so either I switch balls on the dolly (not a big deal, but it does take a big wrench), or I only use the dolly for one trailer, or move both with the 1-7/8" ball, or I convert the utility trailer to 2" (I like that last idea...).

The slickest way would be to use one of the interchangeable ball systems, in which a stud is left permanently bolted into the dolly, and various sizes of balls click on and off without tools. The interchangeable systems cost about as much as another whole dolly!

I also have a little dump trailer for my lawn tractor, with a clevis hitch. I've been thinking of putting a real coupler on it, and using a ball on the tractor, and this dolly thing might be the incentive to get around to that. I could even get a new utility trailer (with 2" couper) while I'm at it and make everything consistent at 2" - almost like being in Europe, where everything shall follow the EC standard (which is 50 mm). Why does every project lead to another one?

Anyway, my egg has a 2" coupler and I'll likely just put a 2" ball on the dolly to move it.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:09 PM   #27
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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Quote:
The 1 7/8" ball will work on pretty well all size couplers because the weight of the tongue will keep the coupler on the ball....
If you have the type of coupler used by U-Haul (on their travel trailers, although not on all of their current stock), it will fit both 1-7/8" and 2" (and 2-1/8", according to some documentation) by rotating the gripping part to the right position. If that's okay for towing, then just being undersize by 1/8" will probably work okay for the dolly.
Quote:
.....the idea of the ratchet on the dolly that Brian mentioned is that if you pull it up hill and have to stop, it won`t roll back down hill, and you can pull it up a bit at a time such as not having to take steps when under strain, depending on the grade it`s on......
Make sense to me! Thanks for the info, Benny.
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Old 02-04-2007, 06:20 PM   #28
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Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Alberta
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Quote:
The weight limits for FMR can be taken very loosely in a trailer backing application because the limits were established for a real load in the front out on the road, speedy bumps included, not positioning a trailer to park it. My boat would flex my bumper, but it always came back.
That's a good point, Pete; the rating assumes you are going to mount a rack (such as for bikes or a tire) on it, not necessary move a trailer.

I would still be cautious, depending on the tow vehicle. An add-on ball platform or receiver on a traditional truck bumper might be a more secure mount than the FMR on some other vehicles. With the FMR in a structural location which is not intended for high loads, I would be concerned about tearing the structure if overloaded. If I were building an FMR myself I would look for points such as the swaybar mounts in that example, or the tie-down hooks (which are often used for flat-towing bars), and I would want my mounts to extend back to a second pair of mounting points to take the cantilevered load, just as a regular towing hitch mounts over some length of the frame. The last time I looked the current F-150 hitch mounting, that structural connection was one of the best examples of well thought-out design on the truck.

One good thing about FMR mounting: the front overhang is usually shorter than the rear, so the distance to cantilever and the weight transfer between axles is minimized.

Another FMR benefit: SUV drivers who find the door-mounted spare is in the way of the hitch can move the spare up front, for a genuine expedition look (and possible hot weather overheating, but nothing's perfect)
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Old 02-04-2007, 07:05 PM   #29
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Trailer: 75 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 23
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The [b]front-mounted receiver (e.g. the FMR's from Reese) idea makes sense to me. While I've never had a chance to use one, I can picture how it would work well for parallel parking. You would drive the ball to where it needs to go, and the tug just follows along... which is fine as long as the FMR helps you to do it one pass.

A couple problems might be that these are generally for body-on-frame vehicles (for ease of mounting), and that for some rigs the hitch load which is okay for the back might be too much for the front of the tug. While Reese does show FMRs for various Jeeps - even including some unibody models - it does not show one for the Liberty (it is a Liberty, right Gina?).
Glad to hear you made it back safe, Gina!

I also have a Liberty, and have been looking into a front hitch reciever. Turns out that Hidden Hitch made one for the Liberty, but it has been discontinued.

I know of one US-based Jeep shop which I called which still has 2 at $165 USD... my local hitch guy says there's two at the local warehouse he orders from. There may be more around, I don't know!

I am looking at them for a couple of reasons - one as mentioned, for moving trailers around, and secondly as a "recovery point"... you can install a winch on it, or install a "hitch shackle", to pull or be pulled.

For the Liberty, they were made to fit 2002-04, but will fit 05+ with some minor bumper plastic trimming, I'm told.

So I'm off to order one on Monday, most likely!
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Old 02-04-2007, 07:11 PM   #30
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Trailer: Scamp 16 ft Side Bath
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3 cheers, Gina! I would have been a bit thin-lipped about this change too. Ditto what Mike said ... we're proud of you and tickled green this Burro came into your 'haystack'. Keep us posted, and (to use your own words) - PICTURES! Good luck, L 'n D
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