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  1. #61
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Quote Originally Posted by FWM View Post
    If you had a winch just winch the car and trailer without unhooking the trailer. Another reason for a proppa winch
    precisely, problem solved

    there was nice appropriately placed tree 30m up the slope and looking at the pics, you would have only needed 10m to be over the worst
    Jakes Louw
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  2. #62
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Okay, coming back to this thread, there are stories to share on reversing trailer down an obstacle.
    Let me just put two as an example.

    First and all I always travel with a trailer over the last 20 odd years and have been in every corner of the Sub-Saharan area mostly off the beaten track.

    So number 1 and a trailer newbie is Epupa Falls to Ruacana.
    Vehicle Nissan Sani 3.0 V6 with B'rakhah off road trailer.
    Drove up a steep incline with lose rounded boulders (pebbles on steriods about fist size) and lost momentum until 2 wheels spun and separated with junks of rubber from the Mikey Thompson Baja tyres. So I didn't go nowhere anymore.
    After assessing the situation I decided to reverse in low4 and on the brakes almost meter by meter constantly correcting the trailers path when it tried to turn sideways.
    Bumps like staircase steps were not so easy to navigate but after about 30 minutes I found a spot about 200 meters back which allowed my to revv up and try another attempt choosing a different line up the slope with spinning wheels and heavy jumps.
    I managed this time to reach the flat top of the "road" but I lost about 2 kgs in sweat in under an hour. No damage to the rig.
    No helpers at hand only my family with 2 small kids.

    The 2nd was on the Hunter's Road between Bots and Zim on an overgrown sand dune just along the border steel cable on the ground (South of Nata)
    Vehicle as above, but meanwhile fitted with hydraulic winch, same trailer.
    Third attempt on the dune around some vegetation and small trees (a direct line was impossible as over-grown).
    In the two previous attempts I manged to reverse following the trailer in it's tracks and reaching the bottom of the slope again.
    In the 3rd attempt I failed and the trailer jack-knifed almost 90 degrees risking it taking out my rear lights in the process. No forward movement anymore just digging in lose sand, no grip.
    I managed to off-hook the trailer which sat at a precarious angle tilting sideways.
    Got the car lose with only some polished knuckles no need for brakes as stuck solid.
    Turned the vehicle around until facing downhills with minor damage to the smallish trees in my way.
    It was easy to ascend to the top without towing so I positioned the vehicle facing the trailer and ran the winch cable to the A-frame using my spade as a skid plate under the jockey wheel.
    Fortunately the 30 meters of cable was just enough (i would have had some straps to extend but then the cable through the spade handle would not have worked).
    The rest is easy, an hour later we were heading north.
    No helpers at hand only myself and a girlfriend on holidays.

    After this I decided to trade in the Sani and buy the Patrol 4.5GL which I still drive (same winch transplanted) 350k Km and 23 years later. Possibly about 30-40 self recoveries in the process.

    I used the same trick many times in sandy tracks or on the pans surfaces - then when stuck with the trailer, rescue the vehicle and bother about the trailer later.
    The winch helps a lot and I seldom use the spade anymore apart as a skid plate for the jockey wheel.
    Never carried a h-l jack ever.

    The rest of the stories are reserved for around the camp fire
    Walter Rene Gygax
    Kalahari Safari
    ORRA Call:​ WB58 | ICASA ZRF430
    Nissan Patrol GU TB45
    | Nissan Safari GU TD42 | B'rakah 4x4 Trailer
    E34 - 535i for a bit of nostalgia
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  4. #63
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    [QUOTE=Dawid Rabie;4534912]
    Quote Originally Posted by JP vd Merwe View Post
    It is unlikely that I would ever unhook my trailer in an uphill scenario because the trailed handbrake is almost useless in reverse

    I dont know how the brakes work on that trailer but I discovered much to my disbelieve that the hand brake on the Echo 4 does NOT work when it is going backwards.
    Luckily I discovered it on a fairly slight gradient in a camp site and not in our drive way which is a 1 in 5 slope.
    ONLY Chocks will stop it from rolling back when it is on a incline. In my opinion it is a very dangerouse setup.

    When I queried it with the manufacturer they told me that it is against the law to have a trailers brakes work in reverse.
    It seems that this law like so many others nowadays were created to protect ourselves from our own lack of ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
    Historically braked trailers & caravans were fitted with a little flap between the tow hitch coupling and the body of the trailer that could be flipped over the hitch push rod to prevent it from braking when you needed to reverse.
    Apparently many people then forgot to flip the little flap out after they have reversed so that the brakes will engage when they resume forward motion.
    In effect they then had an unbraked trailer.
    Instead of solving the design problem axle manufacturers simply made the system so that the brakes or the handbrake will not work when the trailer is moving backwards.
    This "improvement" allow you to reverse any time you like without having to get out to disengage the brakes and when you are done reversing you can proceed forward again without having to get out to re-engage the brakes.

    If your trailer is fitted with one of these braked axles and you dont know it the following will happen if you did not chock the wheels to prevent it from rolling backwards.
    When you unhitch it on a steep incline even after pulling up the handbrake it would simply run backwards down the hill.

    We have to be very careful when we get stuck going up a hill becasue only the tow vehicles brakes will prevent it from running backwards.

    There are different reverse couplers out there. On the Jurgens XT trailers the tow vehicle would first push against the trailer's run in brake, which will then eventually disengage when the pressure against the hitch builds up to a certain point. A lot of run-in brake couplers work that way.
    2012 FJ Cruiser
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  6. #64
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    [QUOTE=Dawid Rabie;4534912]
    Quote Originally Posted by JP vd Merwe View Post
    It is unlikely that I would ever unhook my trailer in an uphill scenario because the trailed handbrake is almost useless in reverse

    I dont know how the brakes work on that trailer but I discovered much to my disbelieve that the hand brake on the Echo 4 does NOT work when it is going backwards.
    Luckily I discovered it on a fairly slight gradient in a camp site and not in our drive way which is a 1 in 5 slope.
    ONLY Chocks will stop it from rolling back when it is on a incline. In my opinion it is a very dangerouse setup.

    When I queried it with the manufacturer they told me that it is against the law to have a trailers brakes work in reverse.
    It seems that this law like so many others nowadays were created to protect ourselves from our own lack of ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
    Historically braked trailers & caravans were fitted with a little flap between the tow hitch coupling and the body of the trailer that could be flipped over the hitch push rod to prevent it from braking when you needed to reverse.
    Apparently many people then forgot to flip the little flap out after they have reversed so that the brakes will engage when they resume forward motion.
    In effect they then had an unbraked trailer.
    Instead of solving the design problem axle manufacturers simply made the system so that the brakes or the handbrake will not work when the trailer is moving backwards.
    This "improvement" allow you to reverse any time you like without having to get out to disengage the brakes and when you are done reversing you can proceed forward again without having to get out to re-engage the brakes.

    If your trailer is fitted with one of these braked axles and you dont know it the following will happen if you did not chock the wheels to prevent it from rolling backwards.
    When you unhitch it on a steep incline even after pulling up the handbrake it would simply run backwards down the hill.

    We have to be very careful when we get stuck going up a hill becasue only the tow vehicles brakes will prevent it from running backwards.

    That is actually a very interesting scenario in itself.
    My trailer does NOT have that flap and brakes when pushing backwards against some resistance be it lose sand or a slope.

    Now I got stuck on the pan to Kubu Island when the track was submerged. The tow vehicle sank front left with 3 wheels still on good ground.
    I tried reverse and forgot the trailer roll-in brakes, so pushed against the trailer brakes with the result that now 3 wheels were sunk and the chassis touched the ground.

    We manged to drive a second vehicle to about a 45 deg angle and use it as an anchor point to winch the tow vehicle sideways until we had traction again.
    Not to mention the winch cable was properly messed up in the process as all wire was spooled on one side.

    Unhitching the trailer would have worked as well but I didn't feel like in bottomless mud.

    Since then I carry a Mopany wood Y-fork fitting into the brake mechanism to prevent it from engaging
    Walter Rene Gygax
    Kalahari Safari
    ORRA Call:​ WB58 | ICASA ZRF430
    Nissan Patrol GU TB45
    | Nissan Safari GU TD42 | B'rakah 4x4 Trailer
    E34 - 535i for a bit of nostalgia
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  8. #65
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Quote Originally Posted by kavirondo View Post
    Thats a strong sales pitch for a winch! Is that your day job? Ha ha...
    If I had to rely on an income from sales, I'd be bankrupt I've never owned a winch, and always managed without. When I bought the camper, I thought I'd better get one. I did, and it's still sitting on my desk a few years later. I still intend fitting it, hopefully before the first time I get stuck.
    Mike Lauterbach

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  10. #66
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Thanks Walter (Kalahari Safari)! I knew you had some gems tucked up your sleeve. I look forward to meeting you somewhere on the road, and hearing your Campfire Only versions!

    So, there looks to be some consensus forming:
    1. Many people say never unhook the trailer, despite what I did, and what ZuluCowboy suggests. I can see the risks here.
    2. Winches seem a popular tool, giving a number of options to escape, where the simplest is to winch the whole rig up the hill and kwisha mambo!
    3. It seems possible to reverse the trailer in these situations more than I realised, so I guess I need to practice some downhill reversing on rough but less severe siutations to build my confidence.
    4. Quite a few are talking about using a second vehicle to help out. I rarely travel with second vehicle so generally that option is not available.


    Alex

    PS, A general thanks to everyone for contributing, I have certainly learned some things and had a few laughs too!
    Last edited by kavirondo; 2020/12/07 at 05:52 PM.

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  12. #67
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Quote Originally Posted by kavirondo View Post
    Thanks Walter (Kalahari Safari)! I knew you had some gems tucked up your sleeve. I look forward to meeting you somewhere on the road, and hearing your Campfire Only versions!

    So, there looks to be some consensus forming:
    1. Many people say never unhook the trailer, despite what I did, and what ZuluCowboy suggests. I can see the risks here.
    2. Winches seem a popular tool, giving a number of options to escape, where the simplest is to winch the whole rig up the hill and kwisha mambo!
    3. It seems possible to reverse the trailer in these situations more than I realised, so I guess I need to practice some downhill reversing on rough but less severe siutations to build my confidence.
    4. Quite a few are talking about using a second vehicle to help out. I rarely travel with second vehicle so generally that option is not available.


    Alex
    With your situation, without a winch, you did the right thing. Reversing back down might have worked. If it had not, you would have been in poo, especially if your trailer decided to jack-knife in the direction where the road dropped away.

    And to reverse down a tricky steep slope like that, you need to be very competent at reversing a trailer. Having seen trailer brigades reverse in campsites, I bet that many on this forum would have jack-knifed the trailer reversing back, myself included. Growing up on a farm, I was pretty good reversing trailers, but not having pulled one now in nearly 2 decades, I would not have trusted myself reversing the trailer down there.
    Mike Lauterbach

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  14. #68
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    With the right line, 2nd Low, centre diff engaged and the necessary momentum you should not have battled.

    I also thought you would not struggle as above but he did. With that in mind either that trailer was very heavy or that slope was much steeper than it appeared. Why would you stop on a slope in 2 low. Probably no traction ?

  15. #69
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hylton View Post
    With the right line, 2nd Low, centre diff engaged and the necessary momentum you should not have battled.

    I also thought you would not struggle as above but he did. With that in mind either that trailer was very heavy or that slope was much steeper than it appeared. Why would you stop on a slope in 2 low. Probably no traction ?
    Hylton, nowhere did I read the Centre Diff was locked, hence the comment of the pre- facelift - Unless I missed something

  16. #70
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hylton View Post
    With the right line, 2nd Low, centre diff engaged and the necessary momentum you should not have battled.

    I also thought you would not struggle as above but he did. With that in mind either that trailer was very heavy or that slope was much steeper than it appeared. Why would you stop on a slope in 2 low. Probably no traction ?
    Hi,

    For those interested, try this book by Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right - Its quite pertinent. Anyway, my question was about how to get out of the situation rather than a study on how I got there, but I dont mind admitting my mistakes, and like many situations gone wrong (or at least not according to plan) there are a multiude of small things which individually seem insignificant that conspired to bring the negative result.

    So,

    • It was dusk, headlights on
    • I was tired
    • I was hungry
    • I was pushing to try to reach a camp
    • I was complacent, there were many such hills before this one
    • I took the wrong line
    • I was in 2nd low (good)
    • My car doesnt have centre diff as JP van der Merwe spotted
    • I did not have the necessary momentum
    • The XT140 is known for being somewhat heavy, and it was loaded, so all up weight estimated at 1200kg
    • The slope was steep (but not insurmountably so, there is a road up it after all)
    • The slope was very loose with dry shale rock and dust
    • Tyre pressures reduced on car and trailer (good)


    So, a nice mix of rights and wrongs which at the end of the day left me looking for a way to bring my rig down safely.

    I am only human after all, and I made a mistake. The good thing I did do was to have dinner and a sleep and work on the problem the next day....

    Many seem curious about the steepness of the slope so I fished around in my GPS and here is the gradient (please understand that GPS data can be extremely rough), take this only as an indication, and could be complete BS, but there are a number of readings of 15% rising quickly to this max of 20%.... There are others on this forum much more versed in GPS than me, so am prepared to be shot down for attempting to show the slope this way.
    Name:  Matthews-Slope.PNG
Views: 226
Size:  36.1 KB

    I have no idea if 15 to 20% is steep or not.....
    Last edited by kavirondo; 2020/12/07 at 09:47 PM.

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  18. #71
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    A winch is one of those things that are not used a lot but very handy when stuck.

    To increase traction on the vehicle one can reduce the tyre pressure a bit and/or increase weight in the vehicle, and reduce weight of the trailer.

    If that fails then one must consider unhook it, but then it must be secured somehow. And try to pull it with a rope from a better position. To try and reverse it might not be that easy.
    Last edited by JLK; 2020/12/07 at 09:44 PM.
    Johan Kriel

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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    I thought it were around 20 to 30 degrees judging your pics using the people standing around and using the side inprent of your vehicle as a reference.

    Thing is we all make mistakes. That is how we built experience.

    At one stage or another we all lost concentration at a stage which cost us dearly.

    I have done it on many occasions.
    Anyway a nice thread with lots of input.

    In the end you made a safe recovery and that is what counts.

    Please keep us posted on your trip.

    You never need a winch, you never need a high lift, you never need lockers, you never need a recovery kit, or a spade or an axe till that one day you beg to have one.
    Last edited by grips; 2020/12/07 at 09:52 PM.

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  21. #73
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    If you had no other choice than to reverse the trailer, and you were comfortable unhooking the trailer, I would suggest a front tow bar on your vehicle as someone mentioned earlier
    Turn your vehicle around and hook the trailer to the front tow bar and "reverse" down the hill.


    Most new trailer run in brakes are now "auto reverse". That is the disengage the brakes when you reverse, or when your trailer is on an uphill and you engage the hand brake
    If when you reverse and the trailer brakes lock up, then you have not adjusted the brakes properly.

  22. #74
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Having been in a few of these sort of situations, I go low range reverse and idle down, that is fine 99% of the time. You can even idle in reverse against the brakes to slow it down a little. If I'm worried about the speed for any reason then I keep the clutch in with the rverse gear engaged and roll back against the brakes, but this calls for being very gentle and careful to keep in control. Another option in really dodgy places is to engage L1 and keep clutch in. Then roll back against the brakes, if the sh-ite hits the fan you stall it in gear or just "pull away" and stop it. About the only time I would consider unhitching is if the trailer is so out of line with the trail that reversing is impossible. Then it becomes as case of trailer recovery so make the trailer safe where it is, unhitch and then find a way to recover it. One option there is to get the vehicle onto more level ground and join up tow straps etc to reach back down to the trailer, if you have enough straps/rope.

    If you are in a place where you risk sliding and jack-knifing then you need to consider either reversing fast enough to prevent the slide, or unhitching and recovering the trailer at a distance.

    The gist of towing anything offroad, spend some time learning how to reverse your trailer in tight spots with ease. You need to be 100% comfortable reversing your trailer with precision, then getting out of these situations is a lot easier.
    Last edited by HendrikSmith; 2020/12/08 at 04:29 PM.

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  24. #75
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    There are a few tips in this article. https://www.unsealed4x4.com.au/how-t...iler-off-road/

    Oh how I wish I had electric brakes on my XT140.

  25. #76
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeml View Post
    If I had to rely on an income from sales, I'd be bankrupt I've never owned a winch, and always managed without. When I bought the camper, I thought I'd better get one. I did, and it's still sitting on my desk a few years later. I still intend fitting it, hopefully before the first time I get stuck.
    Then you are not trying hard enough
    Walter Rene Gygax
    Kalahari Safari
    ORRA Call:​ WB58 | ICASA ZRF430
    Nissan Patrol GU TB45
    | Nissan Safari GU TD42 | B'rakah 4x4 Trailer
    E34 - 535i for a bit of nostalgia
    E39 - 540i for the open roads

  26. #77
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Exactly:
    Then you are not trying hard enough


    "Some people say" if you never get stuck you are a good 4x4 driver

    No, as above..... people that don't get stuck are not pushing them selves hard enough.
    Current off-road vehicles: *** Great family accommodation. See Facebook, Google maps and airbnb. Mkulu Kei at Wild Wind Ranch
    * 1975/8 SHREK LAND-CRUISER FJ40 DIESEL P/U, BFG 31x10.5 muds. 1.6 ton tirfor winchs
    * 1994 LAND-CRUISER J70 DIESEL P/U, my truck recovery vehicle. 15000 warn winch. And 3.5ton tirfor winch. Back full of appropriate sized recovery gear. BFG31x10.5 muds
    * 2014 LAND-CRUISER LX V8 76 DIESEL STATION WAGON, BFG's 285 all terrain.

    * 2011 HILUX 4X4 P/U, BFG 31x10.5 all terrain
    * 1999 PAJERO 3.5 V6 Mitsubishi (sorry not a Toyota), BFG 31x10.5 all terrain
    * 2006 FORD ranger 2.5 diesel. 4x4, (what was I thinking, also not a Toyota!) I have a spare 5000 warn winch I might fit.
    * 2011 ISUZU bakkie 4x4
    * MERCEDES UNIMOG U416.
    * FIONA - Rhino Yamaha 660 4x4. Warn winch. Mud tyres
    * 4x4 trailer, 1987, BFG all terrain
    * GSA 1200 BMW ADVENTURE LC 2018, the closest motorbike to a land cruiser. And a Honda 200
    * A Massey Fergusson 375 tractor. And a John Deere E140 2020 tractor




  27. #78
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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    I have been in a similar situation years ago although slope angle and other conditions may have been very different...


    My solution was to ensure I am in low range and then purposely reverse the trailer into a jacknifed position. Then selecting 1st gear and going forward slightly aggressively. The trailer in the jacknifed position allowed me to gain sufficient momentum before it straightened out and the full load of the trailer was transferred to the Pajero.

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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Wow Alex. Quite a tough situation to be in. Had you included those photos initially, I think you would have received quite different answers. A cautious approached was the right one and it paid off.

    I think you have given many readers something to seriously think about if they ever want to tow a trailer up a steep incline. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Stuck on a hill with trailer, how to get out?

    Quote Originally Posted by JP vd Merwe View Post
    Hylton, nowhere did I read the Centre Diff was locked, hence the comment of the pre- facelift - Unless I missed something
    No I just made an assumption. My point was really that he must have lost traction and that the hill was steep.

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