Tips for Reversing a PWC Trailer

onotoman

New Member
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Water Crafts
Seadoo GTI 2007
#1
Hi All,

My wife, son and I took our new (well new to us) Seadoo GTI for her maiden trip today in New Zealand's lovely seas. Great fun for all.

One slight embarrassment was a boaty guy coming over and asking if I needed help reversing our Ute and Trailer down the quite narrow ramp after I failed a number of times. I hid my pride and said yes. He made it seem easy.

When we came to load up, I wheeled the empty trailer down the ramp, then reversed the ute (pickup) and then loaded the ski without issue.

So, to save my dignity next time, any tips on trailer reversing appreciated?

I was going to take the rig to a quiet car park and practice before our next trip.

Cheers

Dave
 


Cheflen

Active Member
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Water Crafts
2001 gti
1995 SP
1989 SP
#2
Hi All,

My wife, son and I took our new (well new to us) Seadoo GTI for her maiden trip today in New Zealand's lovely seas. Great fun for all.

One slight embarrassment was a boaty guy coming over and asking if I needed help reversing our Ute and Trailer down the quite narrow ramp after I failed a number of times. I hid my pride and said yes. He made it seem easy.

When we came to load up, I wheeled the empty trailer down the ramp, then reversed the ute (pickup) and then loaded the ski without issue.

So, to save my dignity next time, any tips on trailer reversing appreciated?

I was going to take the rig to a quiet car park and practice before our next trip.

Cheers

Dave[/QUOTE
I'm assuming it's a single place trailer, and the biggest problem with a single place trailer is that they have a very skinny wheel base which makes it very sensitive to any movement in your truck. I have experience towing all different sizes of trailers and when you have a smaller trailer, you have to make smaller turns in order to turn or straighten out the trailer. Also be ready to compensate early for each turn you make. I hope this helps, it's a little hard to coach over a computer like this. Just remember mostly that when it's a short wheel base trailer, each turn you make with your car is going to affect the trailer a lot more than if it was a bigger trailer. Aka it's a lot more sensitive to your movements
 
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Location
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Water Crafts
2000 SeaDoo RX Millenium Edition 80hrs
2013 Yamaha Superjet Wamilton build 12hrs
recently sold 200
#3
The width of the trailer has less effect (if any) by its the length from hitch to tires that makes it very touchy. My single place trailers are the toughest trailers I’ve ever backed up, and I tow a triple axle enclosed trailer all winter to the UP of MI.

Trailer tips:
- go slow! Very slow. So you have time to react and make corrections
- before you backup, try to improve visibility. If a truck, I drop the tailgate. Angle your mirrors so you can easily see the trailer when it deviates. I sometimes even put the poles up on stand ups or open the front hood on sit downs so I can see it out the back window.
-put your hand on the bottom of the wheel. Then move your hand how you want the trailer to go. Trailer drifting to drivers side? Push bottom of steering whee to passenger side.


It’s really tricky with short trailers. I actually chopped one trailer shorter for my stand ups since I didn’t need the length and I highly regrets it because now it’s only like 8ft to the axle and backing up is horrible. One other thing, install corner markers on it if you’re having trouble seeing it before it’s too late to correct.

Also, if you have them there you need to get them back there spotting. Like the ground control dudes at an airport.

Good luck!
 

onotoman

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Water Crafts
Seadoo GTI 2007
#4
Thanks for the advice guys.
Also, does wheel size make a difference at all?
My trailer has small fat wheels for sand. I could fit wheels with thinner profile and with bigger diameter.
 
Messages
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Location
MI
Water Crafts
2000 SeaDoo RX Millenium Edition 80hrs
2013 Yamaha Superjet Wamilton build 12hrs
recently sold 200
#5
Thanks for the advice guys.
Also, does wheel size make a difference at all?
My trailer has small fat wheels for sand. I could fit wheels with thinner profile and with bigger diameter.
Not really as far as backing up ones. Taller wheels with more sidewall will tow better and handle higher speeds better. I convert most of my small trailers to the 4.8 x 12 wheels if they come with smaller ones. Handles bumps better than the 8” wheels.

But if you do go on sand then maybe the short fat tires were for a reason. I would think even on sand a 5.3x12 would be ok.
 

IDoSeaDoo

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#6
If the ramp has some sort of boundry line, like a curb or something, try to maintain the distance between that line and the trailer tire. Once you see that distance diminish or grow, start to correct. Go slow and make small corrections. It really just takes some practice. Sheldon2es is 100% right, the shorter the bumper-trailer tires, the more squirrely the trailer will be in reverse. The trailer tires only affect rolling resistance. The smaller then are, the more wear on the bearings as they have to spin more often.
 

Cheflen

Active Member
Messages
247
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Water Crafts
2001 gti
1995 SP
1989 SP
#7
The width of the trailer has less effect (if any) by its the length from hitch to tires that makes it very touchy. My single place trailers are the toughest trailers I’ve ever backed up, and I tow a triple axle enclosed trailer all winter to the UP of MI.

Trailer tips:
- go slow! Very slow. So you have time to react and make corrections
- before you backup, try to improve visibility. If a truck, I drop the tailgate. Angle your mirrors so you can easily see the trailer when it deviates. I sometimes even put the poles up on stand ups or open the front hood on sit downs so I can see it out the back window.
-put your hand on the bottom of the wheel. Then move your hand how you want the trailer to go. Trailer drifting to drivers side? Push bottom of steering whee to passenger side.


It’s really tricky with short trailers. I actually chopped one trailer shorter for my stand ups since I didn’t need the length and I highly regrets it because now it’s only like 8ft to the axle and backing up is horrible. One other thing, install corner markers on it if you’re having trouble seeing it before it’s too late to correct.

Also, if you have them there you need to get them back there spotting. Like the ground control dudes at an airport.

Good luck!
Yes my apologies, I didn't mean the width, I mean the wheel base which is the distance of the wheels from the hitch
 

Chester

Premium Member
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#8
Another tip when learning, put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel instead of the top. When you want the trailer to go left, turn left and vise versa.

Chester
 

mikidymac

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#9
THe biggest thing for a beginner as mentioned above it take your time and go slow. Don't be intimidated by others on the ramp. Go at your own pace. Everyone is a beginner at some point.
 
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#10
I found that the biggest issue starting out is thinking you need to leave the steering wheel cranked over. The longer you leave it there, the more the angle on the trailer. With a short tongue to axle distance, the trailer will turn very quickly.

As others have said, go slow, hand on the bottom of the wheel. If the trailer is moving left, turn your hand left 1/8 turn and count 1...2. Then straighten the wheel. Then count 1...2 again. That first count puts an angle on the trailer. The second count pushes the trailer in that direction without adding additional angle. Then see if you need more in the same direction or not. Move your hand again in the direction you want the trailer to go for another 2 count. Repeat till you hit water.

I have single and double PWC trailers and a tandem axle boat trailer. The single PWC is by far the most difficult.

Practice is good.
 

mikidymac

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#11
I have found over the years the easiest method is to have my wife back the trailer in for many reasons...

1. She has no patience for stupid so when there is a line 5 deep because someone wants the 1 lane closest to the dock she will get out of line, pass all of them and take the first open lane.
2. When they all get pissed because she just passed them and is backing down the ramp they all shut up when they realize it is a good looking woman driving.
3. I can sit back on the ski and watch the show.
 

snikwad003

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#12
I have found over the years the easiest method is to have my wife back the trailer in for many reasons...

1. She has no patience for stupid so when there is a line 5 deep because someone wants the 1 lane closest to the dock she will get out of line, pass all of them and take the first open lane.
2. When they all get pissed because she just passed them and is backing down the ramp they all shut up when they realize it is a good looking woman driving.
3. I can sit back on the ski and watch the show.
Sweet tow rig helps too
 

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