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Old 11-04-2019, 03:20 PM   #1
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beginner help with WD theory F-150 blue ox

Hello,
I know there is a lot of existing threads on here about WD and I have started searching and reading through them. I was hoping people might be able to point me to what I should be looking for?

We have a 2018 F-150 and just purchased a 2016 AS International Serenity.
The previous owner (seller) included the dealer installed Blue Ox Sway pro hitch and bars. He also helped me adjust the hitch and showed me how the Blue Ox system works. We didn't weigh anything. We just got it to where the AS looked pretty level.

I want to make sure everything is set up correctly and within the proper manufacture specs. Stopped at a CAT scale last weekend on our way out camping.

Results

Steer axle 3180
Drive Axle 3420
Trailer axle 4620

After reading a bit about this I now know that I need to do multiple weighing scenarios and will be going back to do them soon. I'm hoping to understand all this better when I go back. Is the goal of WD to have both the TV axel weights the same?

Also according to these measurements I'm 70 pounds over the drive axel rating.
Do both the axels weights added together equal the vehicle GVWR? If so them I'm 100 pounds over that. Does this mean I need to have less gear in my truck or will adjusting the blue ox system take weight off the rear axel?

Also the trailer had no water in it when I weighed it. Someone in a different thread said having the water tank filled can actually take tongue weight off depending on where the tanks are located. Is this true?

Basically trying to understand what the numerical (cat scale numbers) goal is with WD? What am I trying to get the cat scale numbers to look like? Also hoping that adjusting the blue ox system will take a little more weight off my truck?


Thanks,
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:04 PM   #2
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So without any weight distribution you will see very little weight increase on the front wheels and most of the weight on the rear wheels. In a severely overloaded or misconfigured situation you may even see the weight on the front wheels decrease as the trailer picks the front of the TV up.

The goal is to try and distribute the weight more evenly to the front wheels so you can maintain control and stability; as well as decreasing wear and tear on the rear. In theory it allows you to handle a heavier trailer and be inside the limits since not all the weight is on the rear wheels.

Regarding the limits you mentioned, ultimately you need to decide what youíre comfortable with. Keep in mind in a wreck your insurance will look for any reason to get out of paying and being overloaded is a reason. If someone dies or hurt you could be faced with negligence charges for knowingly being overweight. But ultimately itís up to you. Iíd compare it to drunk driving. You have to decide for yourself how much alcohol is too much to get behind the wheel. Same thing with weight.
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:40 PM   #3
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So my 2017 F150 XLT has a 7,000lb rating. I have 1860lbs of payload. What is yours at?

My rear axle rating is 3800lbs. The front is 3450lbs. So based upon those numbers you would be OK. But not sure what kind of truck you have?

What is the size and tongue weight of your AS?
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Old 11-04-2019, 04:46 PM   #4
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Have some Blue Ox experience

Fishbisquit, great questions!

What length of AS do you have? This will tell us about the tongue weight. Also, what is the capacity of the Blue Ox bars you have? You can tell by the number of dots on the hitch end.

See the Blue Ox manual:
https://www.blueox.com/wp-content/up...4150420041.pdf

It’s possible you’ve just maxed out the payload of the F150 and no amount of WD will get it back. I have experience with three tow vehicles, three sets of bars and two AS trailers. Another thing to check is to measure the front and rear fender heights before and after hitching up (with and without WD). These will tell you how effective the WD is at moving weight. This plus the scale numbers will tell the story.

Attached is a table with three-pass numbers for a Ram 1500 and 2500 using 1500# bars. Bottom line, we maxed out the rear axle ratings on the Ram with a 27’ Globetrotter. Moved up to a 2019 Ram 2500 with 2940 lbs payload and heavier axles. Problem solved...

Let me know if this is helpful. PM me if you’d like to talk offline.

Good luck!
Jeff
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:07 PM   #5
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Hi

Like it or not, there are a wide range of "F150" trucks out there. Some are darn near an F250. Others are a bit closer to a Ford Escort What you have will be shown on the sticker on the driver's side doorpost. Those numbers are the main thing to go by for the truck. Unfortunately the numbers you see on the internet are of little help. They generally are optimistic by a bit (or quite a bit).

Equally, your trailer has an axle rating. There is a similar sticker on the trailer giving you that number. For many, being in spec with a full water tank is the goal. You may well fill up with water and then drive 50 miles to a remote campsite.

Finally there is a gross combined vehicle weight rating for the trailer plus the truck. That number will be found on the truck. No playing with the WD will help you if you are over this number. WD will help you move weight between the front and rear axles of the truck.

For some of us, the first goal is to have the rear axle "ok" with no WD at all. That lets you tow with the WD off. There are some cases where this can come in handy. Since they are normally low speed, one *might* cheat a bit here.

All WD adjustment that is done by numbers is just a starting point. You *do* need to get them all "in spec". Past that, how the rig handles is the key parameter. You may find that it does better with a bit more (or a bit less) on the front end than the magic numbers often seen in threads suggest you should have.

All of that is a very quick summary. The grubby details are in a number of threads.

Bob
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies so far.

F-150 axel ratings from door sticker are Steer axel is 3450 Drive axel is 3350.
GVWR from sticker is 6500 pounds. Ford posted the towing weight limit for my truck is 7700 pounds with WD.

So with the weights form the cat scale I'm 270 pounds under front axel rating and 70 pounds over rear axel rating. On the way home I did move a bunch of gear out of truck bed and into the trailer.

Our trailer is a 23' International Serenity the GVWR for it is 6000 pounds. The tongue weight is listed as 720 pounds. The dry weight is suppose to be about 4750 pounds. Funny because the weight reading for the trailer axel from the cat scale was 4620 pounds.

On the blue Ox I have the 750 pound bars. I have 3 and half chain links visible between bar and latch when locked. Bars look like they have a nice curve to them when under tension. Trailer looks mostly level. Maybe slight tilted up. If I go up one chain link will take some weight off rear axel?

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Old 11-04-2019, 08:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post

Our trailer is a 23' International Serenity the GVWR for it is 6000 pounds. The tongue weight is listed as 720 pounds. The dry weight is suppose to be about 4750 pounds. Funny because the weight reading for the trailer axel from the cat scale was 4620 pounds.

On the blue Ox I have the 750 pound bars. I have 3 and half chain links visible between bar and latch when locked. Bars look like they have a nice curve to them when under tension. Trailer looks mostly level. Maybe slight tilted up. If I go up one chain link will take some weight off rear axel?

As far as the trailer axle weight from the scale, that’s not the total weight of the trailer. You also have to add in the tongue weight, which may be about 800 lbs on your rig.

Additionally, it looks like you are 300 lbs over GVWR. Not that by itself it’s a catastrophe, but you don’t have any margin for more gear to take in the truck.
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:24 PM   #8
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Yep, I forgot trailer tongue weight. So that makes sense.

If I add the the two TV axel weights I get 6600 pounds. That's 100 pounds over my GVWR. Correct?
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post
-- snip -- Is the goal of WD to have both the TV axel weights the same?
-- snip -- Someone in a different thread said having the water tank filled can actually take tongue weight off depending on where the tanks are located.
-- snip -- Also hoping that adjusting the blue ox system will take a little more weight off my truck?

Thanks,
The goal of weight distribution is to return weight removed from the steer axle by the tongue weight being applied at the hitch. Your TV owner's manual should explain how much that should be at a minimum. Your experimentation (testing) is required to establish best stability and that should establish the maximum. As you move weight to steer axle, some weight will move to the rear trailer axle and therefore off the TV. All axles should be within their load capacity.

The water tank if located behind the axles will teeter totter the tongue weight. It was my understanding that the water tank in the 23s was in front of the axles. It is on the FB. Really don't know, but was told it was same on the CB/D. That would mean, the concept is not true. Traveling with little to no water should reduce your tongue weight. Your rig tune should use the fresh water tank as the final tweek to the balance. So you need to leave a bit of weight allowance to make that adjustment.

Shifting weight to the steer axle also moves a small amount of weight to the rear axle of the trailer. So, yes, it can ... but maybe not enough. Your gear relocation sounds like your answer. The rest is tuning.

Note, the more heavy stuff you can move to low over the trailer axles, the better balanced the coach will be. Items stored in front or behind the axles should be bulky light weights items. Same for behind the TV drive axle. The BO can move weight, but you can do it by where you store gear. Heavy items close to cab and light bulky items in the remainder of the space works best.

Good luck with the tune. Pat
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:54 AM   #10
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As far as the trailer axle weight from the scale, thatís not the total weight of the trailer. You also have to add in the tongue weight, which may be about 800 lbs on your rig.

Additionally, it looks like you are 300 lbs over GVWR. Not that by itself itís a catastrophe, but you donít have any margin for more gear to take in the truck.
Sorry, Iím looking at the wrong set of numbers. Heís 100 lbs over.
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Old 11-05-2019, 08:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post
Yep, I forgot trailer tongue weight. So that makes sense.

If I add the the two TV axel weights I get 6600 pounds. That's 100 pounds over my GVWR. Correct?
Correct. I was looking at GAWR numbers instead of CAT scale numbers. But really, youíre at your limit. 100 lbs is probably within the margin of error of the CAT scale. I suspect CAT scales weigh high because they have a guarantee to truckers to pay the fine if the trucker is found overweight after the CAT scales indicate heís ok.

At any rate it looks like youíre at your limit in terms of what you put in the truck. Canít bring more people or stuff.
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Old 11-05-2019, 11:13 AM   #12
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Yep, I forgot trailer tongue weight. So that makes sense.

If I add the the two TV axel weights I get 6600 pounds. That's 100 pounds over my GVWR. Correct?
Hi

If indeed your door sticker says that the max for the truck is 6600 pounds, then you are over. How much 100 pounds over vs 100 pounds under really matters .... not at all clear. Many of us would try for 10 to 20% under for a "typical" load.

Bob
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Old 11-05-2019, 04:34 PM   #13
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I'm confident I can get 100 pounds of cargo out of truck. Some will have to go into trailer. I'm new to the blue ox and wondering if I add tension (go up another chain link) will this also take a little tongue weight off the back axel? Just want to know what options I have to work with?

Obviously I want to get the total weight under the truck specs. After I get that done, is there a specific ratio I'm looking for with front and back axel weights?
Is there a formula or is it just until everything looks level?

Thanks
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Old 11-05-2019, 06:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post
I'm confident I can get 100 pounds of cargo out of truck. Some will have to go into trailer. I'm new to the blue ox and wondering if I add tension (go up another chain link) will this also take a little tongue weight off the back axel? Just want to know what options I have to work with?

Obviously I want to get the total weight under the truck specs. After I get that done, is there a specific ratio I'm looking for with front and back axel weights?
Is there a formula or is it just until everything looks level?

Thanks
Fishbisquit, I believe you said youíve got 750# bars? If so, youíre probably not going to get much more weight transfer out of them. I called Blue Ox when we had a FC23FB that was around 700#. They recommended going to 1000# bars to get all the transfer we could. Think of it this way, you can get more with the same 3 links showing and have the flexibility of backing off if needed.

Try this too: Park on level ground and measure your front fender from the ground to the wheel opening. Hook up and tension your bars until the measurements are within an inch of unhooked. This is a quick way to tell how much weight was transferred.

Hereís a graphic of how to do it. Too bad youíre not closer to Northern IL, you could borrow my 1000# bars to try!

Good luck!
Jeff
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Old 11-06-2019, 06:53 AM   #15
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Hi fish - I've got a lightly used Blue Ox for sale in AirForums classified rated at 1,000 pounds. Here's the link, very reasonably priced (IMHO).

http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...pro-bxw1500-s/
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbisquit View Post
I'm confident I can get 100 pounds of cargo out of truck. Some will have to go into trailer. I'm new to the blue ox and wondering if I add tension (go up another chain link) will this also take a little tongue weight off the back axel? Just want to know what options I have to work with?

Obviously I want to get the total weight under the truck specs. After I get that done, is there a specific ratio I'm looking for with front and back axel weights?
Is there a formula or is it just until everything looks level?

Thanks
Hi

In general one tries to ďrestoreĒ the original weight to the front axle.

Again, the real objective is stability and handling, not some magic number. It is likely that the rig will be a bit tiring when loaded to ďfull specĒ on the rear. The steering will be impacted by front weight. It might do best with another 400 pounds on the front.(or with 100 pounds less). Try it and see ...

Bob
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Old 11-07-2019, 12:52 PM   #17
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-- snip --

Is there a formula or is it just until everything looks level?

Thanks
See what Bob said.

Yes, the formula is in your Tow Vehicle manual. Most state that you should move enough weight to the steer axle to achieve the unladen steer axle loading. Some say at least half the weight removed by the tongue weight on the hitch. In any case, the formula is established by the vehicle design team.

However, it is your responsibility to verify the hitch tune is stable by testing. You also need to continue to tune the rig loading to optimize the stability.

Yes, you can move some weight to the front axle by catching another link. An example would be going from eight links counted from the u-bolt to seven links. At some point you may find that you need to move more weight than the capability of the 750lb bars. That means you need to install 1000lb bars. However, carefully experiment with what you have. The previous owner was happy with them and it's likely what BO recommends. Also, the lightest weight bar is best for your AirStream, as it will provide a more flexible connection and transmit less shock from TV to TT.

BO does not take the weight carried behind the rear axle of the tow vehicle into consideration when specifying the correct weight spring bar. At least that is what they told me when I asked the tech rep. This is likely problematic, unless you carry very little behind the rear axle.

Note - you can move weight by relocating where you carry gear.

Note - if you do not have an owner's manual - try here. https://owner.ford.com/tools/account...r-manuals.html

Good luck with your tune. Pat
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Old 11-07-2019, 02:43 PM   #18
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Thanks again everyone,
I'm planning on going out to weigh again next weekend and am forming a plan with all the help from this thread and reading through other threads. I did call and talk with Blue Ox. I'm currently using 9th link and they said it's safe to go up to 11th link. So I have 2 more links of tension to try.

I'm putting together a list of the different ways I want to try weighing the rig.
If it's not busy, I'm hoping to do 6 or 7 different scenarios to get the most information I can. WD no WD, different links, hitched, unhitched, trailer and TV separately. Also the last time I weighed, the water tanks were empty so I'm going to fill them up this time and try and pack the trailer as close to possible for a camping trip.

I should say that the few times I've towed so far it seems good. I hadn't notice any obvious problems. It's just when I weighed it last week I notice I was a little over the trucks weight ratings. So that's my main problem I'm trying to solve.
Will report back with the results.
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Old 11-07-2019, 05:12 PM   #19
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The other number that has not been mentioned is the trucks cargo capacity. This number indicates what you can load in and on your truck, including the tongue weight of the trailer, the WD hitch itself, and all people and gear in the cab and truck box.

What complicates things just a bit here is that you can be within your front and rear axle weights with everything loaded for your trip, but be over the GVWR and/or over your cargo capacity.

Lastly, check your hitch receiver to determine that you are within the weight rating for it as well. This will include the weight of the weight distribution hitch and trailer tongue weight. For your F150 using weight distribution you are probably ok, but you need to be sure.

As has already been mentioned, if you choose to go over any of your weights a bit, that is your decision. You will be fine, until your not. In the event of an accident in those circumstances your insurance company will turn on your like a rabid dog, not to mention the other guys if there is someone else involved and there is an injury.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:29 PM   #20
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I had a Blue Ox Sway Pro WDH that came with my trailer (not an AS). It worked well. It was good at distributing the weight and eliminated sway. I was satisfied with it, right up until I realized the shank was undersized or perhaps a little too close to my trailer's GVWR. The shank was rated at 10K but the trailer's GVWR was 11K. The spring bars were rated at 1,000 lb. If I wasn't OCD I would have never realized that it may not be the right hitch for the trailer. It pulled great.

I ended up replacing the entire WDH with one from Andersen. It works great for my truck/trailer. I don't think it would be appropriate for your situation since (I'm guessing) you need to get a bit more weight transferred to the front axle. Further CAT scale results are necessary to confirm that.

Addressing your hitch, the older Sway Pro allowed the angle of the bar bracket (where the forward part of the bars insert into) to be adjusted in relation to the shank. That gave you more fine tuning than going up or down a link could. That could help give you a bit more weight transfer to the front axle.

Unfortunately, it sounds like you're running your truck right up to the margin of what the axles, springs, frame and brakes can handle. All four of those items along with the engine and transmission are factors that go into the formula that makes up the GVWR. That could result is a less than comfortable towing experience.

I don't know how much gear you had as cargo in the truck and how much of that could be moved to the trailer. I bought an F-350 so I didn't have to worry about stuff like that. 2,000 lbs of gear in the bed when towing? No problem.

One note of caution. It is possible to transfer too much weight to the front axle. It is rare and you really have to work hard to do it but you can over-configure the WDH in such a way to make the rear axle light. In the summer, on dry roads, that's not something you'll notice. In the winter with snowy/icy roads or in the summer with wet roads, it is a recipe for disaster.
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