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As a Landscape Contractor you have probably experienced the need for towing, trailering and hauling of equipment. For even the experienced trailering can be problematic. When confronted with the issue, many people have to decide whether to do it themselves or hire a professional hauling or towing company. Properly trailering equipment takes planning! Safely moving equipment from one place to another can be an arduous task if done improperly--permits may need to be issued and escorts may be required for oversized loads. Whether or not you move equipment yourself depends on the type and amount of equipment you have--after all, a trailer is another piece of equipment that would need to be purchased. Ford Motor Company provides the following tips should you decide to trailer your own equipment: Weight Distribution o For optimum handling, the trailer must be properly loaded and balanced. o Keep center of gravity low for best handling. o Approximately 60% of the cargo weight should be in the front half of the trailer and 40% in the rear (within limits of Tongue Weight). o Load should also be balanced from side to side for good handling and proper tire wear. o Load must be firmly secured to prevent shifting during cornering or braking, which could result in a sudden loss of control. Before Starting o Before setting out on a trip, practice turning, stopping and backing up your trailer in an area away from heavy traffic. Backing o Back slowly, with someone outside at rear of trailer to guide you. o Place one hand at bottom of steering wheel and move it in the direction you want the trailer to go. o Make small steering inputs ... slight movement of steering wheel results in much greater movement in rear of trailer. Braking o Allow considerably more distance for stopping with trailer attached. o If you have a manual brake controller, "lead" with trailer brakes, if possible. o To correct trailer side-sway, touch trailer brakes momentarily without using vehicle brakes. Downgrades and Upgrades o Downshifting assists braking on downgrades and provides added power at the drive wheels for climbing hills. Parking with a Trailer o Whenever possible, vehicles with trailers should not be parked on a grade. However, if it is necessary, place wheel chocks under the trailer's wheels as follows: - Apply the foot service brakes and hold. - Have another person place the wheel chocks under the trailer wheels on the downgrade side. - Once the wheel chocks are in place, release foot service brakes, making sure that the chocks are holding the vehicle and trailer. - Apply the parking brake. - Shift the transmission into P (PARK) with an automatic transmission and make sure it is latched there. If your vehicle has a manual transmission, put the gearshift lever in R (REVERSE). NOTE: With 4-wheel drive, make sure the transfer case is not in N (NEUTRAL) (where applicable). o To start, after being parked on a grade: - Apply the foot service brake and hold. - Start the engine with the gearshift selector lever in P (PARK) on automatic transmissions or N (NEUTRAL) on manual transmissions. - Shift the transmission into gear and release the parking brake. - Release the foot service brakes and move the vehicle uphill to free the wheel chocks. - Apply the foot service brakes and hold while another person retrieves the chocks. Acceleration and Passing o The added weight of the trailer can dramatically decrease the acceleration of the towing vehicle -- exercise caution. o If you must pass a slower vehicle, be sure to allow extra distance ... remember, you also have the added length of the trailer which must clear the other vehicle before you can pull back in. o Make your pass on level terrain with plenty of clearance. o If necessary, downshift for improved acceleration. Driving with an Automatic Overdrive o With certain car and compact truck automatic overdrive transmissions, towing especially in hilly areas - may result in excessive shifting between overdrive and the next lower gear. o If this occurs, it is recommended that the overdrive gear be locked out to eliminate the condition and provide steadier performance (see your vehicle's Owner Guide for information). o When there is no excessive shifting, use the overdrive gear for optimum fuel economy. o Overdrive also may be locked out to obtain engine braking on downgrades. o When driving uphill with a heavy load, significant speed drops may occur. o A speed drop of more than 8 to 14 mph will, by design, cancel the automatic speed control. o Temporarily resume manual control through the vehicle's accelerator pedal until the terrain levels off. o Underinflated tires get very hot and can lead to tire failures and possible loss of vehicle control. o Overinflated tires can cause uneven tire wear. o Tires should be checked often for conformance to cold inflation pressures recommended on the Safety Compliance Certification Label for original equipment tires. Spare Tire Use (Car Applications) o A conventional full-size spare tire is required for trailer towing (mini spare tires should not be used). On the Road o After about 50 miles, stop in a protected location and double-check: - Trailer hitch attachment. - Lights and electrical connections. - Trailer wheel lug nuts for tightness. - Engine oil ... check regularly throughout trip. High Altitude Operation o Since gasoline engines lose power at a rate of 3% to 4% per 1,000 ft. elevation, a reduction in gross vehicle weights and gross combination weights of 2% per 1,000 ft. elevation is recommended to maintain performance. Powertrain Considerations o The charts in this guide show the minimum engine size needed to move the gross combination weight of the tow vehicle and trailer. o Under certain conditions, however, (e.g., when the trailer has a large frontal area that adds substantial air drag or when trailering in hilly or mountainous terrain) it's wise to choose a larger engine. NOTE: For additional trailering information, refer to the vehicle's Owner Guide.

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July 16, 2019, 12:20 pm PDT

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