Lesson learned regarding hitching up - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-18-2015, 03:10 PM   #1
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Lesson learned regarding hitching up

Summary: I could not hitch up my trailer with it level and my tow vehicle on a downhill slope. I had to use several extra blocks to remedy the problem. This could have been prevented by using extra blocks under the trailer jack to begin with when I unhitched.

Details: I parked my trailer on a level spot at Torrie Lake State Park, New Mexico, but my Toyota was on a slight downhill slope. I noticed that when I unhitched the trailer I had to extend the trailer jack all the way up in order to free the hitch's ball, but I was able to do so and didn't think anything of it.

A week later I started to hitch up the trailer to leave. I put the trailer tongue 22 inches above the ground, which usually allows the hitch ball to just go under it. But this time, with the truck on a downhill slope and no trailer weighing down its suspension, the hitch ball was still a few inches too high. I raised the tongue jack as far as it would go and it wasn't far enough. I couldn't hitch up. Uh oh.

I rummaged around in the outside storage box until I found enough plastic leveler blocks and pieces of wood to prop up the trailer tongue. Then I raised the jack until it was off the ground. I put the two pieces of wood I had left over under the jack. This let me jack up the trailer high enough to go over the hitch ball.

Lesson learned: If you are in a situation where your trailer is level but your tow vehicle is facing downhill, use extra blocks under the trailer tongue jack when unhitching to ensure that you can raise it high enough to hitch up again.

And for those of you who are planning an Escape purchase, please consider getting the outside storage box. It is ideal for bulky, lightweight things like plastic levelers and short pieces of pine 2x4. Without it I might not have had those things with me.
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Old 05-18-2015, 03:14 PM   #2
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I use blocks under the jack because I don't want to crank forever.
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:01 PM   #3
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I normally use one short 2x4 as a "foot" for the jack; I was concerned that stacking them might make the support unstable. But I'd be better off with two or more in this situation, at least.
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:01 PM   #4
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The optional hitch wheel accomplishes the same thing by adding 7 inches to the bottom of the jack. Just be sure to remove the wheel after you hitch up.

-Dave
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:04 PM   #5
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I'm interested in purchasing the hitch wheel. I was wondering what model escape owners recommend. I live in california and the shipping cost to purchase directly from escape is something I'd like to avoid.
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:27 PM   #6
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Hitching up

When we had a big fold down years ago, I towed with Buicks and Mercurys. I always had air shocks and the hitch would rebound a few inches
when I unhitched. I learned early on to carry plenty of blocking, good chocks, and on a couple occasions had a couple fellow campers stand on the back bumper and then it was physically possible to lift the coupler and put in more blocks. The Escape,not so much. I got into one situation on grass at a hilly fairgrounds where the Jack pipe wanted to slide while on a side hill. After that I always had a foot long 2x10 with angled cuts on the bottom to dig in. Never burned that one on the last night!
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:51 PM   #7
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Some vehicles, like some Toyota Sequoias have a ride leveling system with some tow packages that allow for automatic leveling after the trailer is hitched up. On some vehicles, like my Sequoia, this system also allows for manual height control so you can lower or raise the hitch a couple inches.
After lowering the jack to make contact I lower the hitch and pull away.
If you are buying a new tow vehicle it is something to consider.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen & Angie View Post
I'm interested in purchasing the hitch wheel. I was wondering what model escape owners recommend. I live in california and the shipping cost to purchase directly from escape is something I'd like to avoid.
This item at etrailer.com appears identical to the wheel we got from Escape - and it's 1/3 of their price: Shelby Removable Caster with Pin for 2-1/4" Trailer Jacks - 1,200 lbs

  • Application: 2-1/4" round jacks
  • Caster attaches to 2" diameter inner jack tube
  • Reduces overall jack capacity to 1,200 lbs
  • Wheel diameter: 5-1/2"

Don't discard the flat footplate that comes with the jack, since you may need to use it in order to lower hitch enough to level the camper on a sloping site.

-Dave
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:09 PM   #9
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I think the hitch wheel is one of those things that you think you need and then discover that you don't. There have been a few offered for free over the years to any taker.
Mine has spent its entire life in the rear footwell of my tow vehicle.
It only works on a smooth, level concrete surface. On any softer surface, the wheel just digs in and won't aid turning or moving the trailer.
I've kept mine, only because some day I might want to shift the nose of the trailer a couple inches in my carport.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:10 PM   #10
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When I replaced my tongue jack,I bought the new one from e trailer. I bought the foot plate too.
My old ETI wheel fits the new jack but I never use it. I'm not strong enough to push the 19 sideways , the tandem scuff is too much for this old man
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