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September 21, 2007

Hitch Helper

As a professional guide, I’m constantly connecting my boat trailer to the truck, usually by myself. Tired of the stop-and-start method of aligning the coupler to the receiver ball, I came up with a solution that I call the "hitch helper." For less than $20, I bought a used convex mirror from an auto salvage yard, then went to the home-improvement center to fill the rest of my parts list: a 10' length of 1" PVC tubing, six 45-degree connectors, four 90-degree connectors, three T-connectors and two end caps.

Using a hacksaw and PVC cement, I built a frame that slides snugly over my tailgate, with one leg reaching the bumper to support the taller arm on which I mounted the mirror. To attach the mirror, I drilled a hole through the PVC, then used a stainless-steel bolt and a lock nut. The mirror gives me a clear view of the hitch and the PVC doesn’t scratch the truck.

—Capt. Dave Lear, Tallahassee, Florida