Our T@B Shake Out Trip

After sitting in our driveway for about a month, looking very big and intimidating we overcame our fear of our new T@B headed about 70 miles east to Cedar Creek Campground. It was the only campground we could find open in eastern NJ rated decently enough to honor such an important trip.

It was a cold rainy cold gray day… The trip there went fine, our 4 cylinder 2016 Mercedes 2400 Sprinter “Macy” pulling the lightly loaded T@B (We need a name!) without a problem. Granted we planned this short trip to avoid any hills. But, even the climb up and over the Delaware River–Turnpike Toll Bridge I was nervous about. We were so happy we spent the $750+ to get the Andersen Equalizer Weight Distribution Hitch installed. The Sprinter, even by itself, is a kite in strong winds. So no bounce, no sway, I was able to accelerate sufficiently. The Redarc e-brakes behaved well

Our AMTIFO Wireless Backup Camera would not work no matter what we tried. We found out later the camera requires Macy’s headlights to be on. Ugh what absolute greenhorns we were! (and still are!).

Lesson #1

The absolute hardest part of handling the T@B was (un)hitching the durn thing. The first time it took me 2hrs to get that damn ball to disengage from the van hitch. (We towed a biggish Starcraft popup camper everywhere for a decade and I never remember having as much trouble.) After attending and taking notes from YouTube University here is what I will do each time

  1. Adjust the small trailer hitch wheel so it is pointing forward not sideways
  2. Grease up the ball (Any white marine grease will work.. Walmart ~ $7)
  3. Jack the trailer up well above hitch height
  4. Back up trailer vehicle so it is slightly beyond proper position. Ie. it is too far back by just an inch or two, but ideally still directly left right underneath the coupler.
  5. Attach the lower part of the Anderson distribution hitch. (Having the trailer higher allows distribution hitch chains to be loose when attached beneath the ball mount so you don’t ever have to mess with the tension nut)
  6. If possible unblock the main rear wheels of the trailer.
  7. Using pin or nail wedge the trailer coupler in a fully open position
  8. Move the trailer vehicle forward a few inches to close as possible to correct position so ball is directly beneath trailer coupler (Hint: Place block exactly right distance in front of tow vehicle rear wheel as a guide for how forward you should go.)
  9. Lower the trailer using the the jack, while pushing/pulling the trailer, swearing and getting the coupler to engage.
  10. More to come.

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