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Old 06-26-2016, 06:02 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
If all the words thus far have not given you "understanding" than you need to admit that the physics of the setup are beyond you, at this time.

Take a physics class or talk to an engineer friend.

Just say no to bikes on the back.

And thank you for your persistence!

Just say no to yourself, it is one of the hardest things to do I know, until you truly understand the situation.

Thanks,

Peter

PS -- over and out, this is too exasperating for me . . .

Peter, you are correct. I am a stubborn guy especially when I have something on my mind that may be beyond my understanding. And I did take physics class, AP Physics got an A. Thus now you see why I am persistent to understanding. I think there is something beyond physics here that maybe none of you can convey clearly to me, but you guys just know. I get that. Sometimes, we just understand things but can't clearly explain it. I think that is the missing part. Most of the guys here are years on me both in age, experience and knowledge. I have a long way to go.

Thank you.
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Old 06-26-2016, 06:03 PM   #86
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The counterweight makes the sway oscillations even more difficult to control, and the oscillations will increase rapidly.

Lift a set of bar weights, like weight lifters use. Perfectly stable just standing there with them lifted. The rotate them left and right. Notice how hard it is to stop the motion.

Then move the weights toward the center of the bar. Rotate them left and right. Notice how much easier it is to stop the motion.

You are thinking of your Airstream's weight in a static condition; when towing it becomes a dynamic condition. That is when your scheme is dangerous.
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Old 06-26-2016, 06:05 PM   #87
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Thank you for being persistent too. I think I will dump the idea. Just two bikes in the back , the kids bikes, and two inside the AS. Why risk it right?

Thank you again.
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Old 06-26-2016, 06:14 PM   #88
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With all the love and respect in the world, I gotta say, our OP here is one hard-headed guy.

If Andy of Can Am told me that something I had in mind related to towing wasn't a good idea, then based on his wealth of experience and willingness to "push the envelope" in some interesting ways WRT tow vehicles, I'd definitely be changing course about now.

Best wishes for a good outcome, but please be mindful that your test conditions and results may not reflect how the rig will actually respond in a crisis situation out on the road.

<edit> Good choice above, cazual6, good choice. BTW, if you want to know more about Andy, where he is and what he does, this URL should help: http://www.canamrv.ca/ He's also authored a number of towing articles in Airstream Life, so you can search their archives for anything he's written. You can also look here: http://www.canamrv.ca/blog/category/hitch-hints/ </edit>
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:52 PM   #89
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With all the love and respect in the world, I gotta say, our OP here is one hard-headed guy.

If Andy of Can Am told me that something I had in mind related to towing wasn't a good idea, then based on his wealth of experience and willingness to "push the envelope" in some interesting ways WRT tow vehicles, I'd definitely be changing course about now.

Best wishes for a good outcome, but please be mindful that your test conditions and results may not reflect how the rig will actually respond in a crisis situation out on the road.

<edit> Good choice above, cazual6, good choice. BTW, if you want to know more about Andy, where he is and what he does, this URL should help: http://www.canamrv.ca/ He's also authored a number of towing articles in Airstream Life, so you can search their archives for anything he's written. You can also look here: http://www.canamrv.ca/blog/category/hitch-hints/ </edit>
I will definitely be reading up. I appreciate it.
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:53 PM   #90
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If you got an A in Physics you know that F=MA. The more mass you have, the more force is developed by the acceleration of the mass. That is a dynamic calculation. Additionally, adding the bikes at the rear makes the moment arm as long as possible and amplifies the force.

When you attempt to balance the rear mass with a front mass, You are using a 2 dimensional static model to try and fix a 3 dimensional dynamic problem. The weight forward balances the weight in back with the axle as a pivot point and that represents two dimensions. The third dimension is the turning motion we call sway. When a trailer is towed the forces in play become dynamic. They are moving and have velocity and ultimately acceleration. The forces are constantly changing from wind and road conditions.

The 10-15% tongue weight rule of thumb is only one variable in the physics of your trailer stability. The weight distribution is also a significant set of variables that are applicable.

Look at race car design. As much weight as possible is eliminated and what must be in the design is moved as close to the center of the car as possible. The same is true for your trailer. Especially if it is a single axle towed by a mid-size SUV.

It's not that you can not tow the trailer. You can. A normal AS can be towed up to about 65mph with 10% tongue weight. A trailer with excessive weight in the ends will not be as stable. The transition to active sway will occur at a slower speed. Additionally, the strength of the trailer frame may be at risk from vertical and horizontal impact forces from the mass of the bikes.

It is difficult to give up on an idea that you believe is viable. However, your experience has proven there is a problem. The rear bike carrier and the bikes add enough mass to the back of the trailer to exceed the stability parameters of the vehicle configuration. An alternate solution is needed. Lower profile TV tires with stiffer sidewalls and a roof rack might be a good place to start investigating.

Travel Safe. Pat
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Old 06-26-2016, 07:57 PM   #91
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Remember the effect on tires and suspension when you start shifting weight around.
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:45 PM   #92
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Note how Airstream has designed its bike rack. Tight against the trailer shell, bakes so close together people complain about it, two bikes only, maximum weight 70 lbs, the bike tires full supported and secured again at the top to the shell so the bikes cannot move at all. The upper support also protects the frame from any downward rotation of the bikes and possible shell separation imposed by the bikes.

Your bike carrier violates each of those design parameters. Your Airstream Owners Manual warns against added weight behind the trailer. You already know it sways out of control.

Continuing to use this contraption with only tow bikes makes me think of playing Russian Roulette with only two bullets in the revolver rather than four, as a safety measure.
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Old 06-26-2016, 10:07 PM   #93
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If I am wrong, I want to completely understand why.
Caz,
If you are looking for some of the science related to this discussion, There was a study done by a guy in England on Caravan Snaking (aka Trailer Sway). He put in a lot of math and explanation on what is going on. Take a look at: http://webby.natcoa.net/Caravan.pdf for a down loadable of the entire study.

Al
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Old 06-26-2016, 11:23 PM   #94
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Note how Airstream has designed its bike rack. Tight against the trailer shell, bakes so close together people complain about it, two bikes only, maximum weight 70 lbs, the bike tires full supported and secured again at the top to the shell so the bikes cannot move at all. The upper support also protects the frame from any downward rotation of the bikes and possible shell separation imposed by the bikes.

Your bike carrier violates each of those design parameters. Your Airstream Owners Manual warns against added weight behind the trailer. You already know it sways out of control.

Continuing to use this contraption with only tow bikes makes me think of playing Russian Roulette with only two bullets in the revolver rather than four, as a safety measure.
Thank you. They are kids bike, the two anyways. The two adult bikes I will keep inside the AS as stated due to the concerns of everyone. On my last trip, I had three bikes inside (two adults and one child bike). That was cramping the inside. I was hoping I could get away with two small bikes in the rear bike mount. I know you are trying to help, and I appreciate that, but are you saying, I can not put any bikes back there? I got ridiculed already for having bikes in the rear. Having the one bike in the back didn't give me problems on the way back. I can stick to just one bike in the back, the lightest one.
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Old 06-26-2016, 11:23 PM   #95
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Caz,
If you are looking for some of the science related to this discussion, There was a study done by a guy in England on Caravan Snaking (aka Trailer Sway). He put in a lot of math and explanation on what is going on. Take a look at: http://webby.natcoa.net/Caravan.pdf for a down loadable of the entire study.

Al
I will definitely read up on it. Thank you.

Update ( a few minutes later): Holy crap!! Talking about scientific explanation!!! Makes me need to read up on my formulas again. This is way over the top!!
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Old 06-27-2016, 01:21 AM   #96
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I will definitely read up on it. Thank you.

Update ( a few minutes later): Holy crap!! Talking about scientific explanation!!! Makes me need to read up on my formulas again. This is way over the top!!
In particular, suggest you read the section on yaw inertia. This is the rotational inertia around a vertical axis. It is what posters have been referring to when discussing the propensity of a trailer to sway when the load distribution is towards the perimeter (ie, four bikes at the back, counteracted by two gensets up front) instead of over the axles. Even though you can get the tongue weight better (closer to some reference figure) with the gensets up front, you have created a situation with a much higher yaw inertia.

When you talk about carrying one or two bikes instead of four, and not having a problem, you need to recognize that you have eaten into the safety margin, and are still closer to a dangerous sway condition, even if you didn't experience it on the return trip. Put the bikes on the roof of the tow vehicle, for your family's sake, let alone other road users.

Jeff
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Old 06-27-2016, 12:50 PM   #97
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We have no trouble at all with two bikes on the carrier on our trailer...but our carrier is a Fiamma so as another poster has noted, the bikes are hugged closely and tightly to the trailer and they don't wobble. We also have a larger trailer (27FB).

There is another bike carrier option that Andy frequently installs at CanAm RV, and you might want to look into that as well. That particular rack also folds down for access to the rear storage compartment, should you have one.
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Old 06-27-2016, 01:41 PM   #98
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Hey, for some few folks posting - we need to treat everyone with mutual respect on here.

You're expressing frustration above, but it really works better to be nice & constructive with helping other folks, than some of this slamming going on. So just take a minute, count to 100, breathe, then either not post negatively, or add something constructive for the guy (or anyone else).


OK Cazual6 -

You'll need to be some more work on this puzzle before your test run, & to check with some pro resources. Do call Andy Thomson at CanAm in Ontario Canada (EST near Toronto) & Terry Powell at Hensley in MI & also Eastern or Central time - see below.

You've got a lot of good info. above from other folks already, & I'll add a few more thoughts for you along those lines & your questions & statements above....

Re: Weight Calcs. & Wt. Scales:

Unless you empty it every time, you'll need to include some weight for your black tank, since it generally takes some time to get enough in it to flush-out properly when emptied (unless you add water pre-emptying). There are 2 schools of thought on black tanks - one empties every time before travel & adds water at the dump station/site to have enough to properly scour out the black tank, the other to leave it to fill until at a point needing emptying & will scour out the tank as is.

Either way is your choice, but be aware that the black tank at the rear of most trailers will counterbalance wt. off the tongue's HW like a see-saw, & more so on single axle trailers like yours & mine. If traveling with content, you'll need to include a wt. estimate for it's contents too.

While you can get a close estimate on the wts. with math, but you should still go & measure it on a scale with the different configurations, so you can ensure that you have the real deal for total trailer GTW & HW wts. as loaded, for each scenario you mention. CAT Truck Scales, local metal recycling places, some RV parks/service centers, etc. have vehicle scales; & even Camping World up by you may also have the small portable scales by wheel & hitch to get you the final & actual wts.

For initial estimate, you can weigh most of the individual items in your TV & trailer, rack, the welded on hitch receiver (or one like it), rack, kitchen & other gear in your trailer, etc. to get pretty close, plus the actual tank(s) capacities x liquid wt. for each (don't forget the LP), all on a common bathroom scale & add them all up.

However, it's hard to guess at the wt. of installed options in your AS which they didn't include in their factory dry/empty wt. - ergo the need to take her to a scale for actual real world wts.

Also with the TV load, remember that the mfgrs. are supposed to figure curb wt. including all fluids full (including gas) & 150# for the driver - so only add any "overage" for you as driver + the passengers & luggage/etc. (you may want to use the future teen or adult wts. for your kids now, since they have a nasty habit of growing up). Also remember to use the correct curb wt. for the Traverse as equipped for your vehicle, since it varies, & engine choice makes a big cut into it, so your V6 will be at the higher end, with a lower useful load or capacity.

You also have to deduct the trailer's HW from that useful load, as well as any cargo in the rear, & also check that the GAW on the rear axle isn't overloaded by stuff in the rear cargo area + HW (a properly set-up WD hitch should put 50% to the F & R axles, so you can use half HW until you weigh it for exact nos.).

I'm sure that we were "grossed-up" for all the years we'd loaded 2 kids + 2 adults + water/food/luggage in our `88 VW Westy van since new, with it's 4 wheezing squirrels for power!

HWs you can do in your driveway if flat, or on a flat surface near home, with a rigged up scale or a Sherline hitch scale for about $120 IIRC, & I found it worth my while. You can then easily play with the HW & various loading & carrying scenarios.

You don't say what is the HW is for the Traverse - no WD & with WD (should be a sticker on the receiver for a factory hitch). It sounds like the GTWR for your AS is around 5000# - so 10-15% should be 500-750# & anything more can be counter-balanced with stuff at the rear (inside or on the rack - see below). I'm guess the TV HWR is in the 520-780# range to fit the 10-15% norms - but not necessarily so.

This is where you really need a HW scale (or rig up something with a 500-750-1000# weighing capacity) to weigh it, because you may not be less than the 10% as everybody is thinking here. Ergo, you may not need the generators to counter-balance anything on the rear rack, & they won't do anything to effectively counter the added pendulum action adding to sway of the 4 bikes on a rack sticking out a few feet behind the AS body & frame & up to the axle. See more on that below.

Re: Racks, Bikes & Stuff:

Note that the 4 bikes & rack on the AS bumper may also be a warranty negating problem, &/or cause structural &/or skin damage issues for your AS due to the added load if not designed for such (which your owner's manual seems to imply) - in addition to inducing sway via it's extended pendulum action.

Yes to your other question - you're also missing that it's not just the weight to counter - but the effects of hanging more weight like a lever arm or pendulum far behind your AS's axle, to magnify & over-react to any of the usual sway inducing events such as cross-winds, passing 18-wheelers & large vehicles (buses, RVs, etc.), uneven pavement & potholes, etc. We use levers to enhance our lifting power, so the rack/bikes will multiply their wt. by the length of the lever arm or pivot arm to the trailer's axle (or rearmost one in multi-axle trailers), just like you trying to lever out a rock or tree stump - thereby increasing the propensity to sway the trailer more than without it on there.

And even with the friction or pnuematic type anti-sway devices (like shock absorbers) on both sides of your WD hitch - once it surpasses the limits of the friction or fluid/piston - then you're going to have sway again (it can be exceeded in some situations with or without the bikes/rack).

Whereas, the Hensley & ProPride PPP type hitches cannot be exceeded, since they never let the trailer pivot at the ball/hitch-head while pulling, & only the TV can start the turn/pivot at the head.

So do take Andy's experience with numerous Traverse owners towing to heart, & use the rook rack on the TV, or an alternative bike carrying set-up, or maybe a better WD/AS hitch (see below).

You may want to check with him about the use of a rack for bike at the front on the trailer's A-frame, so long as that won't put too much HW on the TV. However, you don't want to lose any "see through" visibility you now have with your AS (if any - I don't have much room on my shorter vintage A-frame & I don't want to lose the see through, so it may not work for mine either.)

It's worth a call to him, but you may want to add Canada calling to your cell plan for a month to do so, since he's in Ontario Canada near Toronto. Then you can ask questions ad naseum, in order to get past your stubborn streak. Just remember that old saying about: "...the best laid plans of mice & men...."!!

Based on Andy T's comments to you above - as well as my trying to work out a rear rack for 2 Beach Cruiser bikes for us + trailer &/or TV full size spare on the back of our 1960 Avion, which BTW has a stronger & heavier frame than your newer AS (most top end silver twinkie vintage kin & AS's also had heavier/stronger frames too) - even I'm now reconsidering whether & how I may want to do so - vs. his roof rack suggestion at our ultimate mid-sized SUV TV (for the trucks & SUVs which we've rented so far I just load in the bed/cargo area).

However, keep in mind that I have a far better WD/AS hitch in my Hensley Cub - than your Equalizer, so I can stretch things more than you can - true at probably 150% or more cost, but with many added benefits. I got ours because I knew that we'd be towing with a smaller, light, shorter overall & shorter wheelbase mid-size SUV TV - so I went to the best for eliminating sway. more on that below.

However, both you & I could possibly use a rear cargo rack or box instead, to load up to 200# +/- of other cargo on the trailer's rear bumper, which is at a lower level than the tall bikes - IF the AS manual says you can do so. However, you'll see that when loaded, even those hitch receiver racks will need to be stabilized from rocking L to R on the road.

I think if you have somebody follow behind your rig with 2 or 4 bikes on the back of the AS, that you will see movement on the bikes/bike rack at the top - which is apparently what your AS owner's manual warns against - since THOR Industries has tried to cut everything on the new AS's to a minimum, including frame members.

There were also some suggestions for the AS bike rack for 2 bikes, which if workable for 2 adult bikes - per your Airstream owner's manual & local dealer check, & per your upcoming call to Andy T. & Terry Powell (see below) - then you can put yours/wife's on it, the kids inside - where their bikes will eventually grow to adult bikes! The other suggested Fiamma may also work, &/or any other recco from Andy T.

So it's going to be a matter of puzzling around where & how you load all the shittage which we bring camping with our families!

Re: Hitches & WD + Anti-Sway:

Yes, I would say that you need the anti-sway units on BOTH L & R sides for your set-up, but you may still have sway with the 4 bikes on the rack in the back of the AS due to the pendulum action of same. You can confirm that with Andy T at CanAm when you call him (or email, but that may be laborious to go back & forth with many Q&A's).

But there are also other better anti-sway solutions than the friction based ones which IIRC are those on your Equalizer & others, with the cam type being next best, & the PPP Hensley & ProPride being the best - essentially or completely eliminating the sway. The WD on them all (or most) is the same - a pair of spring bars to torsion down & "push" about 1/2 the HW from the rear axle to the front axle of the TV - with some differences in the types of bars. As with anything, you get what you pay for, & you pay more for a good "standard" type of WD/AS hitch like Equalizer, Eazlift, Blue Ox, etc., than a basic one, & more than those for a top of the line PPP type Hensley or ProPride.

I don't know what all that add-on equipment for 2 AS-units + the Equalizer comes up to for total cost, but with you're "extra duty" & extra cargo that you want to carry with your Traverse - you may actually be better off with a Hensley Cub. Your AS at about 5000# GTWR & Traverse at 5200# GTR + shorter overall length & wheelbase, & lighter TV wt. is within the 6000" GTWR & 600# HW ratings of, & may just justify the added expense of a Cub.

They start new at $1300-ish for the type with chains or $1500-1800 for the one with the screw jacks to adjust the spring bars (& latter is IMHO well worth the $'s for the ease of use & unlimited adjustment of a turn of the nut). Hensley also sells reconditioned used ones with a lifetime guaranty for less than those amounts. (you'll also want a back-up camera to aid solo hitching, if not on your Traverse). While the ProPride is a similar design & more capacity (10k-14k lbs. IIRC), it's also up in the mid-$2000 range - so the Cub tends to be less costly for us with the smaller <6000# trailers.

One way to justify the price - in addition to the added utility & flexibility etc. - is to say what is the extra "insurance" worth for a very expensive newish AS trailer? Is $1000+/- to $1800+/- worth no sway worries & possibly flipping & totaling your $30,000 - 50,000 2014 AS (I'm guessing - you use your real $s)? And that is with a lifetime warranty, with little or no future maintenance costs if you do it yourself! Ergo, a one time cost.

How much do you pay annually or every 6 months to AAA, Flo at Progressive, Farmers, State Farm, the gekko, or whomever for the trailer's insurance at the depreciating actual cash value?? I'd guess at least $100-200+ added to your policy per year, every year, for 5-10 years of ownership! Ever notice that they don't reduce the rate as the value of the aging trailer goes down, & thereby lessens their risk!? So that's at least $500-1000+ for 5 years, $1000-2000+ for 10!

Ours with AAA is $187 a year for an $18000 Agreed Value (actually ACV cap on their liability) - & note that the restored vintage trailers like ours go up in value over time, rather than depreciating like new & late mode trailers do - so I'll have to increase it's Agreed Value every few years with resultant rising rates, & I'll have to fight them or any other insurer to validate the actual value at loss in order to collect enough to find a replacement trailer. Folks with new/late model trailers are basically screwed in that regard cuz they can low ball ACV, & you won't get enough to replace the totaled trailer.

For me, paying 8% ONE TIME on an $18,000 & appreciating collectable restored vintage trailer - for the "insurance" that I won't have to ever make a claim & fight the insurer to get replacement value, due to an accident from sway, was well worth it. Perhaps one day the trailer insurers will give a rate discount for our fancy hitches, but I'm not holding my breath!

You can decide this financial math for your situation, if the other factors with your rig & bike/other hauling needs work better with a Cub.

So look at the Hensley Cub info, then call & ask for Terry Powell to ask your questions about your rig, & want you want to do with your bikes or other cargo on the rear of the AS. I think that he may say that the sway is not an issue with your rig & a Cub., but then your other issue may be the need to put wt. to the rear to counter balance the HW to your Traverse's max. HW with WD (although it could still be an issue with your AS frame/body & warranty with them, even without it inducing sway) - all of which you should also discuss with Terry.

Hensley Cub Info & contact:
https://hensleymfg.com/products/the-hensley-cub/
https://hensleymfg.com/product/hensl...trailer-hitch/
https://hensleymfg.com/contact-us/

Then call Andy T. at CanAm about those options of Cub vs. Equalizer, & all of the other hitch reinforcement, bike racks/4-bikes, etc. issues. I know that Andy regularly uses the Equalizer/similar WD/AS units on smaller trailers for smaller TVs, but he also uses the Hensley & ProPride, which may give you more flexibility to hang onto your initial plan (if it doesn't cause AS structural &/or warranty problems for you with 4 bikes out back). Also read his info & Hitch Hints articles at the links below....

http://www.canamrv.ca/towing-expertise/

http://www.canamrv.ca/blog/category/hitch-hints/

(CanAm's contact 855 number & email are at the top of each page)

That's already enough TMI rambling from me, you just need to do some more studying on this, before you get to a workable solution to try out on a test drive.

Good Luck!
Tom
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Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

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