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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Buckling bronco!

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Terryallan

Foothills NC

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Posted: 10/28/19 03:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WVcampground wrote:

BarneyS wrote:

WVcampground wrote:

Snip...

Scale numbers? I agree his setup is most likely the culprit but I have yet to see a manufacturer of a WDH tell you to go to scales to set one up. I also have yet to see an RV dealer take a rig to a CAT scale to set one up. It's done by measurements from a level surface, it's not a guess.


There are several things wrong with this statement.
First, the manufacturer has no idea what kind of trailer or truck his equipment is going to be used on and so gives generic information on how to set one up. This is designed to get you into the ball park and may often be ok for some users but not all.

Second, The dealer is not going to spend the time necessary to properly set up the hitch because it takes too much time and time is money. Rarely do the generic setups get the WD exactly right for an optimal towing experience.

Third, most dealers techs just go by the book and set the hitch up according to the directions or just "how they always do it". This, in most cases, is not the best set up for that particular combination of truck and trailer.

Forth, The dealer cannot know exactly how the owner is going to load the trailer so cannot get the WD set properly. The only way to do that is scale the trailer.

Which brings us to to the last part of your statement which is not accurate.
Setting up the WD by using fender measurements is only a guess as to what is the best WD possible. Variations in spring movement and truck measurements make this method good for a "ball park" setting but to get it correct the only way is to measure the axle weights on a scale.

This is very easy to do now that scales are all over the place in truck stops, waste disposal yards, landscaping yards, etc. I used to weigh every year on my way South for the winter to make sure I was within my trucks ratings and to check how well my WD was holding up. That can change with wearing of hitch parts in certain hitches

Bottom line is that I would not trust the dealer to get the WD setup correct and would suggest to anyone that they should get scale weights if they are serious in setting up their trailer and truck to tow as well as it possibly can.
Barney


You're making some assumptions.

You assume that all RV dealers do not know how to set up a WDH. You're assuming WDH manufacturers put instructions in with the product to just "get close". They could easily put in those instruction "visit a scale, weigh everything, and adjust following this procedure".

You can go to a scale and adjust to your hearts content but then you need to load the RV and tow vehicle exactly the same every time you hit the road. If you're going to go to those extremes to get 100% dead on perfect, you need to have the weights 100% the same to maintain it at all times. Better add ballast as you burn off fuel somehow too.


I do know this from experience. RV dealers mostly setup empty TTs. They get it close enough for empty. They have set up mine, and EVERY time they do. I have to reset it once I loaded it. It is up yo you to get it right after you load it.


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Lantley

Ellicott City, Maryland

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Posted: 10/28/19 04:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Back in my TT days I towed with a Hensley and I dialed in the weights with a Sherline tongue scale. I towed a 39' 11K GVW TT that was 10K loaded most of the time with a Ford Excursion.
I took a few different WDH's and a couple of seasons for me to get it right but in the end it was solid.
To Barney's point the dealer sent me off with a 1K eaz lift hitch, that was simply the wrong bars for my 11k GVW trailer. I was green and did not know any better, the dealer should have known better, but they simply cashed my check and sent me down the road.
Next I used 1400# Equalizer brand hitch that was an improvement, but I still wasn't satisfied when I traveled I-81 in WV with 18 wheelers whizzing by and giving ny rig a big push each time.
Finally after lots of reading I bit the bullet and went with a venerable Hensley hitch. Yes I monitored my TW with the Sherline scale and occasionally adjusted things.
In the end it was worth it and I learned a lot from Barney,Jbarca and other guys that went into detail on how a WD works.
To get it 100% right you will need to goto the scales otherwise you're just estimating. Yes some combos are OK right out of the box without a lot of adjusting. But on the other hand some trailers are more unstable and require more effort to get them set up right. I have learned balance is important.
A scale will help you find the correct balance a lot faster than a tape measure.
You may obtain 80% satisfaction with minimal effort.80% maybe good enough depending on your combo and where and how far you travel.
I was not satisfied with 80% or even 90%. I did a lot of mountain traveling in WV. On a good day 80% may have been OK on a bad day 80% was horrible.
Having 100% solid set up made my travel relaxing vs. a struggle.
I can only confirm Barney speaks the truth. Everyone may not want to go through the effort of using a scale but if you want to dial it in 100% or if you seem to be having a issue getting a stable ride. Go to the scales and adjust your WDH accordingly.
Better yet invest in a Sherline scale and dial it in at home


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time2roll

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Posted: 10/28/19 04:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yosemite Sam1 wrote:

time2roll wrote:

Road surface caused a lot of bucking with my pop-up pulled with an S10. I think the harmonics on the local freeway really did it just wrong. Many other road surfaces it was fine. Ultimately the F150 cured the issue with a combination of stiffer suspension, longer wheelbase and more weight. Never had a weight distribution hitch.
You are one brave dude w/o the WDH. But then again, you are the pro.
Do you think WDH is always needed on a 3500 GVWR trailer?


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Yosemite Sam1

Under the pines.

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Posted: 10/29/19 10:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

time2roll wrote:

Yosemite Sam1 wrote:

time2roll wrote:

Road surface caused a lot of bucking with my pop-up pulled with an S10. I think the harmonics on the local freeway really did it just wrong. Many other road surfaces it was fine. Ultimately the F150 cured the issue with a combination of stiffer suspension, longer wheelbase and more weight. Never had a weight distribution hitch.
You are one brave dude w/o the WDH. But then again, you are the pro.
Do you think WDH is always needed on a 3500 GVWR trailer?


I'm not an expert.

The dude who walked me through just recommended sway bars and actually said I don't need one, as I'm in the zone of tow vehicle matching my RV.

But I bought and installed one anyways. And I can feel the difference -- plus the peace of mind that my safety is not resting on that single 2 5/58" ball and a 2x2 steel bar.

badsix

north bend or.

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Posted: 10/29/19 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I tow with a 1/2 ton and didn't like the bucking or porpising what I did was to install some GOOD shocks on my tow vehicle. then I put some air bag on my rear axel and pump them to about 15-20# just enough to start lifting the truck. i then added shocks to my T/T as we were headed to Alaska. all this plus paying attention to how I load everything and my W/D adjustment made a BIG difference.
Jay D.

Yosemite Sam1

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Posted: 10/29/19 12:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

badsix wrote:

I tow with a 1/2 ton and didn't like the bucking or porpising what I did was to install some GOOD shocks on my tow vehicle. then I put some air bag on my rear axel and pump them to about 15-20# just enough to start lifting the truck. i then added shocks to my T/T as we were headed to Alaska. all this plus paying attention to how I load everything and my W/D adjustment made a BIG difference.
Jay D.


Seems logical with softer springs of tow vehicle and bare hard leaf springs on the travel trailer (without dampeners or shock absorbers).

* This post was edited 10/30/19 11:25am by Yosemite Sam1 *

RCMAN46

NorthWest

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Posted: 10/29/19 05:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Two things required to have a trailer tow well.

First about 12% tongue weight.

The only way I know how to determine tongue weight is a trip to the scales or the use of something like the Sherline scale.

Second a trailer that is a little nose low when all set up. This helps prevent the teeter totter effect that a nose high trailer can give you.

After these two things are corrected then work on the proper setup of the WDH if one is used or required.

Sway control devices should be on all pull trailers to handle an emergency hard road correction such as a deer crossing the road in front of you.

badsix

north bend or.

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Posted: 10/30/19 11:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

the trouble with most tow vehicles is that they are designed to provide a somewhat smooth non harsh ride when empty. so the designe of the springs allow for the first couple inches to be rather soft to do this. now when Joe camper hooks up his RV and jacks the W/D bars up so everything is setting level like its suppose to. he is now setting on that soft part of the suspension spring. this allows easy up and down movement to get started. when I installed air bags on the rear it greatly reduced this problem and when not towing I let the air out for my smooth ride.
Jay D.

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