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Old 05-05-2016, 07:23 PM   #1
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Jeep Grand Cherokee and 27FB

Another newbie here, we just purchased a 27FB and we are using a Jeep GC Summit with the diesel engine as the TV. We have a Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch with 1000lb torsion bars. I seem to be having trouble getting the weight off the back wheels of the TV. With the air ride disabled on the GC and the sway pro in the 10th link everything looks level. When we take it to the scales the numbers are as follows: Front 2900#, Rear 3700#. AS 5700#
The Jeep alone comes in at Front 3050#, Rear 2850#. The AS is about 6500#

With the sway pro in the 9th link, it again looked level but the Front was 2900#, Rear 3850#. AS 5650#

So I feel I am going in the right direction but not sure if I can get the hitch high enough to use the 11th link.

I have read most of the posts about hitches and towing with a GC that I feel I must be missing something. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:55 PM   #2
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Hi golfer503. Welcome to the Airstream community. Your first post has very important numbers in it, so I'm sure you will get good responses from these helpful Forum members. The first question asked may be the tow ratings for your Grand Cherokee diesel. Your front and rear axle ratings and your gross vehicle weight rating will be important before you go to the scales.

It seems you are on the right track in getting some tongue weight distributed to the front axle and trailer axle. Maybe you measured the height off the ground of your vehicle loaded with passengers and gear of the front fender lips in line with the center of the wheel both left and right, as well as the rear fender lips in the same manner.

Then hitch up your Airstream and watch the rear of the vehicle squat considerably. Your trailer maybe has a 750 pound tongue weight. That's a big heavy suitcase riding on your bumper! Take the same fender lip measurements and see how much the rear went down, and the front went up. Be sure to make a note if your front wheels are off the pavement! Not good. (Just kidding.)

Now load up your weight distribution bars and get the vehicle as level as you can. It appears your 10th link is pretty close from the weigh scale numbers. The proof is in the driving.

Again, job one is to verify your vehicle can handle a 6500 pound trailer up and down those beautiful Oregon mountains.

David
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:40 PM   #3
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On the door jamb sticker, what does it say the GAWRs (front and rear) are, and the GVWR?

Online sources suggest 6800 lbs for GVWR, but your door sticker is a better source.
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:00 AM   #4
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Are your w.d bars lower at the back so that when starting to apply w.d. you have enough vertical travel with the bars to lift the rear of the GC? If not, is there an adjustment to tilt the hitch head down at the back so the w.d. bars are lower. The w.d. bars should be a little lower at the back with a slight bend after w.d. has been applied.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:18 AM   #5
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Just looking at basic numbers it would seem your trailer is within 400 lbs of the towing capacity of your vehicle. And that's an empty trailer? I may be overly cautious but that's not much of a margin of safety, maybe none at all.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:55 AM   #6
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Just looking at basic numbers it would seem your trailer is within 400 lbs of the towing capacity of your vehicle. And that's an empty trailer? I may be overly cautious but that's not much of a margin of safety, maybe none at all.
Really? He's towing the most stable and aerodynamic travel trailer on the market with a diesel, modern fully independent suspension, low unsprung weight, large disc brakes on each corner. As good as it gets in capable tow vehicle characteristics. That's margin of safety.

He needs to get his weight distribution setup optimized and he will add even more margin of safety.

The numbers charts are purchasing references, you can make things a lot better or a lot worse for safety.
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:08 PM   #7
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Something about your numbers doesn't look right to me. You changed the link from 9 to 10 and the TV rear axle weight went down, the TT went up, but the TV front didn't change? Increasing the weight transfer should move weight from the TV rear to BOTH the TV front and the TT.

You didn't say what the TV axle weights were with the trailer hooked up but the WD not cranked in. Whatever the weight of the front axle is in that condition you should be shooting for a TV front weight of at least half the difference. If the TV front was 3050 unhitched and 2600 hooked up with no WD you should be looking for a TV front weight of between 2825 and 3050. I tended to go closer to the original weight with my 1/2T truck but not so much with my 3/4T since the front doesn't change as much with the heavy diesel engine.

With my Equalizer it is an iterative process to get both the right amount of weight transfer and have the rig level. You may have to raise or lower the hitch head on the shank. If you lower it, it increases the weight transfer and lowers the trailer front; if you raise the hitch head, it reduces the weight transfer and raises the trailer front.

You didn't say that you had done anything with the hitch head on the shank. If not, you may have to in order to get the right balance between level attitude and proper weight transfer.

I do my setups by measuring the distance from the TV wheel wells at the wheel center and ground. I go for reducing the lift of the front end back to about half of the amount it raises with the WD not cranked in. I think this gets the WD setup about right but doesn't require a bunch of weighings. This should all be done with the trailer loaded as you plan to tow it for best accuracy. Once you think you have it all set up, then go weigh it to check the weights against your vehicle and trailer ratings. As one poster noted, you appear to be within 400# of your TV ratings and the general ratings are often the maximum attainable with a particular vehicle. To get that rating you must have all the right packages installed. Also as previously noted, the best source of ratings of your particular vehicle is the door sticker.

Al
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:26 PM   #8
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Golfer..
It looks to me you are not transferring any weight to your front axles.
You may want to recheck your hitch ball height in relation to your Trailer coupler height in the level position. This is important on the Blue Ox since it has a built in tilt.
I also get the impression that your spring bar could be too close to the ground.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:32 PM   #9
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I think you need more aggressive weight distribution. My 27FB loaded for camping is close to 7,000 lbs. The measured hitch weight is about 900 lbs. So yours weights are likely to increase as you pack things and fill the water tanks. I use 1,200 lb bars for my Ford Expedition, and place a lot of load on them to get my rig balanced. You may want to consider heavier bars.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:46 PM   #10
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We have GC with air suspension as well and the way I understood it was that you turned it off to set the hitch and when the height and bars were set that you turned the air suspension back on which finishes leveling it.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:07 PM   #11
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9th link Front 2900#, Rear 3850#. AS 5650#
10th link Front 2900#, Rear 3700#. AS 5700#
Jeep alone Front 3050#, Rear 2850#. The AS is about 6500#

9th link shows less on AS and more on the rear axle of TV = less transfer than 10
10th link adds weight to AS and removes it from rear axle of TV = more transfer than 9

My logic is that getting the weight back to 3050#s on the jeep front axle would be a minimum weight transfer target. Two ways to get it there. Add weight inside Jeep in front of rear wheels while removing weight from behind the rear axle. Add more weight transfer spring bar preload, which would mean going to 11th link or changing to heavier bars. If the existing jack does not provide the clearance for that preload attachment, it may be necessary to install a jack with higher capacity. Caution -- caution -- the spring bars when preloaded store a considerable amount of energy. When adjusting the spring bars, keep all parts of your body clear of the hitch load path. Use of a socket style breaker bar handle to stay back from the rotary chain locks is an alternative to the OEM flat wrench.

Personally, I believe that the 1000 lb bars are as heavy as is appropriate. My approach would be to work with them.

Bars should have at least 2" of preload deflection when at rest in the level state.

Both trailer axles should have equal loading. You only show the trailer total load. It may be appropriate to move weight inside trailer to balance axle and tongue loads. This will require taking two scale passes as there are only 3 scale pads. Care is required to locate the tires cleanly on the scale pad that is desired to weigh a specific axle. Seems obvious, but off center loads can be problematic on some scales, so at a minimum be consistent in your positioning. Side to side load difference are a fine tune exercise that may be a good idea if you find after optimizing your axle weights the left and right tire weights are significantly different.

Note that level with an air suspension may not be an indication of a correct weight distribution set up. But being level when towing is a requirement, a good thing, and one of your objectives. The indicator of a correct setup is your scale weights and of course the towing characteristics of the rig .... how it handles when impacted by adverse wind and road conditions ...... how well the rig tracks on rapid transitions to stop or change lanes ...... and also how comfortable and predictable the rig feels to you.

Do not exceed the load rating of any of the axles. Take specific care with the TV rear axle as it appears to be loaded now with most of the tongue weight.

Concern should also be that the TV hitch receiver is rigid and not deflecting/working. There has not been any report of this being a problem with the Jeep, but it is worth ongoing verification as weight distribution requires the receiver to be a stable structure.

It appears you count links from the loose end of the chain. IMO it is a better practice to count from the u-bolt as the setting is the same no matter how many links are in the chain. But in any case, be aware that folks have been taught two different approaches with respect to link count.

Good luck with your setup. Pat
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:09 PM   #12
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Thank you for the replies

Appreciate all of the information. The sticker in the GC shows GVWR of 6800#, GAWR Front of 3200# and GAWR Rear of 3700#.

The Blue Ox torsion rods are pointing down toward the back, I see no place to adjust them on the hitch.

I have not measured the wheel well height as suggested, I will do that when we go to pick it up from storage next week.

I will also go an find a breaker bar that can take a 1" socket to replace the OEM bar.

If I understand correctly lowering the hitch one bolt position should increase the WD.

Thanks again I will update when I get to the unit next week
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:32 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Carol Jo B. View Post
Appreciate all of the information. The sticker in the GC shows GVWR of 6800#, GAWR Front of 3200# and GAWR Rear of 3700#.

The Blue Ox torsion rods are pointing down toward the back, I see no place to adjust them on the hitch.

I have not measured the wheel well height as suggested, I will do that when we go to pick it up from storage next week.

I will also go an find a breaker bar that can take a 1" socket to replace the OEM bar.

If I understand correctly lowering the hitch one bolt position should increase the WD.

Thanks again I will update when I get to the unit next week
Golfer
The Spring Bars should be somewhat parallel with the Trailer frame and should have a slight bow in it. A better way to tell if you are good is by the number of links showing between the rotating head and the spring bar. When I have mine dialed in it shows 2 1/2 links.
I also believe the 1000# bars are too stiff for your application. I had to go to the 800# with my 30' International and the F-150 TV. If the bar is too stiff for your application it will be that much harder to get the WD set. Contact Blue OX send them pictures and have a conversation with the Tech. They were most helpful in helping me to get set up correctly.
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfer503 View Post
Another newbie here, we just purchased a 27FB and we are using a Jeep GC Summit with the diesel engine as the TV. We have a Blue Ox Sway Pro hitch with 1000lb torsion bars. I seem to be having trouble getting the weight off the back wheels of the TV. With the air ride disabled on the GC and the sway pro in the 10th link everything looks level. When we take it to the scales the numbers are as follows: Front 2900#, Rear 3700#. AS 5700#
The Jeep alone comes in at Front 3050#, Rear 2850#. The AS is about 6500#

With the sway pro in the 9th link, it again looked level but the Front was 2900#, Rear 3850#. AS 5650#

So I feel I am going in the right direction but not sure if I can get the hitch high enough to use the 11th link.

I have read most of the posts about hitches and towing with a GC that I feel I must be missing something. Thanks in advance for any help.
Part of your issue is the air ride.

First, you must disable it.

Second, you MUST drop the air pressure in the bags to absolute minimum. That will keep them from pinching.

Your load equalizing hitch will now much better make sense with the weight transfers.

Also, your bars are absolute over kill. Reduce their rating to 750 pounds, no more. That will soften the ride for the trailer and tow vehicle. Next, now you should see a much greater bend in the bars, which is very desirable.

A torsion sway control, is far superior to any friction type ever made. As an example, the Reese dual cam knows which way the rig is turning, and up to about a 20 degree turn, you can let go of the steering wheel and the Reese will straighten out the rig. Local dealers should be able to further help you with that.

Keep in mind, that the heavier duty the tow vehicle, the lighter rating bars must be used.

A final test, when the rig is ready to travel, is to jump up and down on the coupler. That should make the ball mount move vertically at least an inch and a half, or more. That tells you that the tow vehicle and/or hitch bars are NOT providing a rough ride for the trailer. Bottom line is smoother traveling and no damage to the trailer.

A extra heavy duty tow vehicle and/or excessively rated hitch bars, WILL CAUSE damage to the trailer, GUARANTEED.

Andy
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