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Old 10 May 2009, 04:10   #1
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Steep slip vs. front wheel drive car?

I realise that this is a 'how long is a piece of string' type question, but here goes...

Having had a slightly hairy recovery on a slip I had not used before (I love the smell of clutch material in the morning ), I was wondering how other people assess the suitability of a slip before getting to the point of no return?

Boatlaunch is a help - if it says steep slip or 4x4 only I know to avoid it. My car's manual (manual Astra 1.7 diesel) specifies maximum incline of 12% when towing - does this sound like a useful guide, or is it likely to be over cautious?

Any thoughts / opinions?

Cheers

Chris
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Old 10 May 2009, 04:47   #2
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i think it is as much about surface as angle. A falling tide will have a wet slip, as it will if it is busy. One trick i used when recovering after finding the slip was busy was to put the car at the top of the slip where it is usually dryer and flatter, most seem to level off. Tie a rope from the tow bar to the trailer, put the jockey wheel down, then pull it out. Obviously not ideal, but if you are in difficulty it is better than spinning your tyres to no rubber, or burning your clutch out.
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Old 10 May 2009, 07:17   #3
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i think it is as much about surface as angle. A falling tide will have a wet slip, as it will if it is busy. One trick i used when recovering after finding the slip was busy was to put the car at the top of the slip where it is usually dryer and flatter, most seem to level off. Tie a rope from the tow bar to the trailer, put the jockey wheel down, then pull it out. Obviously not ideal, but if you are in difficulty it is better than spinning your tyres to no rubber, or burning your clutch out.
I've found roping the best way too. First read about it ages ago in detail in Peter Whites Power boating book.
I've got a LWB VX transporter shuttle with a tiny 1.9 TD in it. That plus the 5.4SR makes for a 34ft rig that weighs allot.

Two people are best but you can rope it on your own.
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Old 10 May 2009, 11:34   #4
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Yea I use the rope method too when I had the Astra come to think of it I still use it and I have changed to a Sorento. I suppose it is just habbit and good sense in that I keep things very managble and hubs dry in the car!! Over cautious I know
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Old 10 May 2009, 13:23   #5
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Thanks guys for the feedback.

Normally I would launch by sliding the boat off the trailer onto its launching wheels then launch by hand, but this wasn't an option. Next time I will have a rope handy in the car and be prepared

Cheers

Chris
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Old 10 May 2009, 15:15   #6
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12%

The 12% that is mentioned in the manual is to do with how a car's towing rating is calculated.

One of the limits used when a manufacturer calculates the towing weight is what weight can a hill start be performed with on a 12% gradient. If you're not up to the limit you might be able to go a bit steeper.
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Old 11 May 2009, 07:54   #7
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Turbo diesels can be a nightmare if the turbo kicks in higher up - you have to slip the clutch to get the turbo on boost.

If it's lack of traction is the problem shifting a boat back a bit on the trailer to lift the rear of the car can help. Also having people sit on each front wing can work wonders - extra weight on the front wheels makes all the difference.

If the slip is really slippery a few buckets of sand will give a lot more traction - they use it on trains all the time!!!
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Old 12 May 2009, 08:38   #8
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towing on slip

for the past 30years & on diferent cars i have fitter a toe ball on the front .the weight is over the drive line allso you go right rib goes right .you pull rib follows
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Old 12 May 2009, 09:26   #9
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for the past 30years & on diferent cars i have fitter a toe ball on the front .the weight is over the drive line allso you go right rib goes right .you pull rib follows
Paul exactly what have you fitted it to if you say you pull your rib?
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Old 12 May 2009, 11:00   #10
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for the past 30years & on diferent cars i have fitter a toe ball on the front .the weight is over the drive line allso you go right rib goes right .you pull rib follows
You may still be in trouble on a fouled slip, though; assuming you're attached to the trailer while recovering, and the slip is mossy or muddy, your drive wheels are well down in the muck.

The front ball would come in handy for people who have to park the trailer in tight spaces, though; or for those driving RV's and such where you can't see the trailer.

jky
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Old 12 May 2009, 17:13   #11
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LUCKY i have now have the use of a tractor for launching and we even have to rope that at weedy times on our slip but with the concept of modern front wheel drive cars that are crap on a slipway i know a few that have welded a tow ball on the removeble screw in towing eye which is ok for light boats that way they can drive down then reverse up ,in all the years i launched boats with my old rear wheel drive ford cortina i never once got it stuck ,
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Old 12 May 2009, 18:00   #12
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Paul exactly what have you fitted it to if you say you pull your rib?
J
http://www.watling-towbars.co.uk/launching_boats.html
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Old 13 May 2009, 02:48   #13
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Cheers John appreciated.
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Old 13 May 2009, 03:55   #14
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No problem mate. I'm thinking of getting one myself.
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Old 16 May 2009, 04:42   #15
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Thanks again everyone for the feedback.

I must be well inside the towing weight limit, so I think it comes down to experience and practice, and most importantly of all preparation (eg I need to add a decent length tow rope to my kit).

Cheers

Chris
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Old 16 May 2009, 09:40   #16
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just a reminder if using a rope between trailor and car dont use nylon rope as it stretches , obviously the longer the rope the more prone to it but if the trailer gets stopped by something ie a boulder or goes over a sill or a wheel down a hole with the tension it could whip back or the whole lot come back with a jump into the back of the towing car ,or snap and lash back .....i know from past experience so beware .
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Old 21 May 2009, 16:03   #17
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My method of launch and or recovery is as described but using a 3m long 2tonne lifting strop. Excellent for putting in the water (no wet car wheels), and pulling out as described. My issues are too sandy a slip, and this method allows that extra distance to overcome the sand. One word of caution when pulling in this arrangement, watch for two things. (1) when travelling forward the tension does not come off the strop and potentially off the towbar - it can only slide one way down. (2) If you overcome sand/wet slip by quickly going forward, don't go too fast as the trailer may catch up with the car. At 3m lenght minus wrapping around trailer and toe bar this has always (up to now!) worked ok.
Front tow bar looks great though
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Old 21 May 2009, 17:01   #18
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My car isn't great - the turbo kicks in at 2k revs. Lots of slipping of the clutch required. As long as you have a good solid clean slip you'll be fine. I recovered a Ribtec 585 with a Punto once on the Camber slip in Portsmouth.
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Old 21 May 2009, 17:27   #19
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I recovered a Ribtec 585 with a Punto once on the Camber slip in Portsmouth.
I thought I could smell burning...
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Old 22 May 2009, 02:56   #20
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My old boaty mate recovered his 21ft Searay with a 5.7ltr V8 with a Peugeot 205 1.9 Turbo Technics. He reckoned a pair of tires were cheaper than a new clutch. You can imagine how it went.
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