I'm sure one of the engineering types in here could give us the percentage of error on measuring at tongue vs at the jack.
Guess now I'm the one nitpicking. LOL
I am, and after running quick estimates, I need to post a correction!!!
The weight at the jack will always be a little MORE...yes MORE than the hitch/coupler.
And we're talking differences of only (and roughly) 40-70lbs for trailers around 10k lbs. Give or take...there are so many variables.
If you have a scale, its good to know the difference between the jack and hitch, cause then you only need to check at the jack thereafter.
Thanks for confirming my suspicion that I was afraid of posting. I was thinking that it would actually be heavier at the jack than coupler, but was too chicken to post it. LOL. My reasoning being that the closer the scale to the wheels, the more weight it takes off the wheels.
I also suspected the amount of difference would be pretty minimal.
A few posts above, from the OP
"As far as trailer weight, the trailer was weighed once all ready to go...typically travel the same each time..,,,.so I assume it is still in the neighborhood of that original measurement (this was just done last fall)."
As far as most problem being attributed to TW, I'd expand on that and say "improper WDH setup" which should include tongue weight. Even then, I'm not fond of putting a blanket statement out there saying such a thing. There are lots of factors that cause cause a myriad of problems/symptoms.
I'm sure one of the engineering types in here could give us the percentage of error on measuring at tongue vs at the jack. Assuming the trailer is perfectly level, does it make a difference? You still have four tires and the jack or coupler supporting the weight. Not being a smarty here, as I honestly want to know.
In my mind, if we were to move the jack theoretically closer to the TT wheels, lets say right in front of them, then would it remove some of the weight off the rear wheels due to the change in the center of gravity? Or would those wheels still support the same amount and the jack support the same amount?
I do know that trailer being off level can make a significant difference in weight on the wheels vs on the tongue. I've personally witnessed that on the scales.
Guess now I'm the one nitpicking. LOL
If you have the Coroplast and it is in one piece like mine, the easiest way to access it is cut a three sided flap with the uncut side facing the front side of the trailer so when you close it back up it won't catch the wind.
When it is time to seal it back up poke a couple holes on the loose end of the flap and a couple opposite of the flap on the uncut section. Loop a couple zip ties from the holes in the flap to the holes you punched in the uncut Coroplast. Now that the flap is solid and won't try to spring down you can seal the cut with Gorilla tape.
Exactly what I did, but used black duct tape. I actually did flaps on either side of the valve. Opened up kind of a like a bomb bay on an airplane.
HA considers the tongue weight it can contain as 1400# on the TT itself. Their literature doesn't say "up to 1400# tongue weight minus the weight of the HA itself". In fact, now that I think about it, I don't recall any hitch manufacturers stating "XXXX tongue weight minus the weight of the hitch".
Your TV cares less whether it it is tongue weight from the TT, or hitch weight from the HA. It is considered weight for all intents and purposes.
Come on, guys, must we nit pic every single post on rv.net to death? This is why people come here and post once, then never post again. Or update their original posts. I'm actually surprised the OP came back, as he has been quite beat to death on his last couple of posts. He is trying to learn, and is doing quite well, IMO.
To the OP - as others have said, you can't adjust a hitch to make up for a crappy road. Adjusting speed is about all you can do. Sometimes an oscillation effect occurs due to wheelbase and expansion joints. New shocks may slow down those oscillations, then again they may make it worse. Adjusting speed is the easiest way to control them, IMO.
Assuming this is a 2014 or newer starcraft, there's only a couple of things it can be:
1. Outside scare lights
2. Master interior light switch (you pancake light switches stay on, but this turns them on and off).
To my knowledge, starcraft doesn't use a master disconnect switch, nor a master switch for slides and such.
I'm actually a bit curious as to how many of the people who have posted in this thread have actually used airbags with a WDH. Or airbags at all. But I digress. :-)
You want to measure the rear unhooked height so that you don't air the bags up so much that the rear actually sits HIGHER than stock unloaded.
As far as measuring when not using airbags, I still think it's a good idea. Why? Because I like all the data I can get - and it is good to know how much sag you have both before and after WDH setup and such.
Getting scale weights will give you more definite numbers than fender height measurements. Sometimes, especially on heavy duty trucks, sag isn't as easy to measure due to heavier springs and such. But gravity doesn't lie and will give you true numbers on what your WDH is giving you.
You wont find anything but opinions to air up before applying the WDH, and you asked the right questions challenging this. It is simply not logical to lift the rear prior to applying the WDH.
All formal instruction will tell you to air up (or turn on auto-level) after WDH is applied. Its just not easy to find online. The link to eTrailer previously posted is a good start.Ford and GMC/Chevrolet seem to disagree with you.
GMC/Chevrolet typically specifies:
If a weight?distributing hitch is being used, it is recommended to allow the shocks to inflate, thereby leveling the vehicle prior to adjusting the hitch.
Ford typically specifies:
When connecting a trailer to a vehicle with automatic leveling suspension using a weight-distributing hitch, always use the following procedure:
1. Load the interior of the vehicle to a weight similar to that which you intend to carry when towing. This includes things such as passenger weight and cargo.
2. Drive the vehicle for approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) to re-level the suspension.
3. Park your vehicle, without the trailer, on a level surface.
4. Measure the height to the top of your vehicle’s front wheel opening on the fender. This is H1.
5. Attach the trailer to your vehicle without the weight-distributing bars connected.
6. Make sure you securely attach and lock the trailer tongue to the hitch.
7. Install safety chains, lighting, and trailer brake controls as required by law or the trailer manufacturer.
8. Drive the vehicle and trailer at 20–25 mph (32–40 km/h) for approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) to re-level the suspension.
9. Park your vehicle and trailer on a level surface.
10. Measure the height to the top of your vehicles front wheel opening on the fender a second time. This is H2.
11. Install and adjust the tension in the weight distributing bars so that the height of the front fender is approximately halfway between H1 and H2.
12. Check that the trailer is level or slightly nose down toward the vehicle. If it is not, remove the trailer, adjust the ball height accordingly, and repeat Steps 5 -11.
The main thing to know is:
1) IF YOU ADD AIR TO THE BAGS AFTER ADJUSTING THE WDH, YOU LIFT THE REAR OF THE TV, AND
2) IF YOU LIFT THE REAR, YOU DECREASE THE LOAD TRANSFER TO THE FRONT.
Therefore, if you add air AFTER the WDH is adjusted, you change the adjustment.
But, it doesn't matter whether you add air first and then adjust the WDH or whether you adjust the WDH first and then add air -- as long as you know how to use the WDH and bags in conjunction with each other.
You can add air first, and then adjust the WDH to return the front of the TV down to the desired height.
You can over-adjust the WDH first (making the front end go below the desired height) and then add air to bring the front end back up to the desired height.
Whichever way you choose to go, you probably will need to do some "experimenting" to determine how much air to add initially OR how much to over-adjust the WDH initially so both the front and rear of the TV end up at the desired heights.
As far as whether he needs airbags or not - Late model Ford super duties, especially 250's, tend to sag a significant amount when towing. Even with a lighter load. The OP has a significant load, plus we don't know how much in the bed. No reason to not use the bags to improve ride, and get the rear back up and off the overload springs.
I have a friend with the same truck (but 4wd) considering adding bags for the reason I mentioned above. And he has 500# less tongue weight than the OP.
Having bags makes for a much nicer ride, IMO.
When I had my Ram, I installed air bags to help with leveling due to the soft suspension. I found out that if I put too much pressure in the bags, that I got a lot of porposing. It seems that that the "stiff" rear suspension acted like a fulcrum that the weight transferred around to the front rather than absorbing the weight.
Yep, there is a fine balance. It takes a bit of experimentation to get it right. I have remote air inflation with my onboard compressor that allows me to make adjustments while going down the road. Works very well.
Yes, you do. You might have tinker with the airbag height initially.
I got lucky and hit mine at the first try. You have significant tongue weight and I'll wager you squat around 2" in the back. If it were me, I'd go with getting it to within 1/2" of original rear height with the bags, then engage spring bars and see what happens. Remember, it's the front height that is critical, not the rear. Tighten the screw jacks until you get the front end down where you want it and see how the rear looks.
If the rear is now higher than it was unloaded, simply drop a few psi out of the bags and then recheck the front.
Be advised that you MAY be close to bottoming out the adjustment in your screw jacks by the time all is said or done. With the HA, that isn't a problem. In fact, that's the way mine is. The HA screw jacks are awesome for fine adjustment, as the screw setup allows for pretty much infinite tuning.
This happens because with the airbags aired up, the angle of the truck changes enough to negate the non adjustable angle of the HA stinger. I had enough slop in my truck receiver that I actually had some welding done to the top of my stinger to reduce that slop. On a standard WDH, you would simply add some washers for more head angle. Can't do that on a HA.
I don't think that's an issue on the super duty trucks as their receiver is a true 2" receiver. Mine is 54mm, which is a bit oversized. As an example, prior to welding a bead on top of my stinger, I could grab the end of the stinger with my hand and literally move it up/down/left/right with 1.5-2" of movement.
Hope that wasn't too confusing for you.
So here is my setup:
2010 F250 Diesel 2WD CC Tow vehicle
11.5K trailer fully loaded
1200 to 1250 Pound Tongue weigh once loaded
Hensley Arrow hitch
1400 pound Springbars
Truck equiped with airbags
Been reading lots (and practcing) and pertty much got the setup up down but not sure about airing up the airbags. so far I have been:
1) Setting weight distribution so front bumper is about where it is whe not towing.
2) Then adjusting the airbags to level up the whole rig. Been taking 25 to 35 pounds of air in the bags.
Seems to drve real well except when I hit a bump there is a bit of porpoising. Nothing to dramatic, just a little bit annoying.
Is therre something I can do in my setup to limit the porpoising?
You are going about your adjustments backwards. By doing the method described above, you are transferring too much weight back to the front wheels.
With aftermarket airbags, here is your adjustment procedure:
1. Measure truck fender heights on all four corners unhooked.
2. Hook up. Do not engage spring bars.
3. Air bags up to desired ride height in rear, ignoring front. My suggestion is to air them until your rear ride height is a bit lower than unloaded ride height.
4. Now, engage spring bars and adjust until front ride height is where you want it. Ford's towing specs in recent years have been to have front ride height at 1/2 the distance between unhooked ride height and hooked ride height (no spring bars). For Example: Unhooked fender height of 37". Hooked no bars ride height of 39". Target ride heigh with spring bars engaged is 38".
Keep in mind that as you engage the spring bars, the rear of the truck will rise. That is why you don't air the bags up to level the rear of the the truck to unloaded height. If the rear of the truck is at normal ride height while hooked, and THEN you engage spring bars, your rear ride height is going to be higher than unloaded ride height. You don't want that.
In my case, I got the rear of the truck within 1/2" hooked up, no spring bars. I then, cranked on spring bars until I got the front where I wanted it. In my case, the front is 1/2" higher than unhooked. Rear is at unhooked ride height.
You will find that the front ride height may need a bit of tweaking. In my case, my front ride height is a bit lower than Ford recommends. My truck rides much better as is. It did take a few trips to get it the way I wanted it.
Hope this helps.
I am personally familiar with two starcraft models, one a 2013 and one a 2014 model. Both have average to above average fit and finish. They also have a two year warranty staring in late 2013 (I believe).
Pretty well built trailers. As far as price, I think you could probably get them down a bit more.
If my trailer is kept in dry storage and the roof is maintained well, doesn't seem like it would matter what was inside the outer shell.
I think the above is the important statement. Kept in the dry and normal roof maintenance, whatever TT you get will last a LONG time compared to those not kept out of the weather.
That's a good point on the septic dump and something to keep in mind for sure. I septic tank with several partitions would probably be OK, but definitely something to talk about.
I recently had a clog going into my tank, and there was likely 30 gallons in my main line. So when it finally broke loose, I essentially had the same scenario. No problems yet, but I can't exactly look at my leach field and see how it's doing.
One other thought - sometimes when traveling, the P traps under the sinks slosh out the water. This lets odors come right up through the sink. I've had this happen a time or two. Solved it by traveling with one of the roof vents open slightly. Works like a champ.