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Old 10-29-2007, 02:19 PM   #15
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Maybe it's a combination of the aerodynamics between the modern age SUV and the vintage trailer? Also, maybe the single axle on the trailer and the weight distribution ratio of the trailer to the location of that axle. Possibly tire side stiffness of the tow vehicle tires, and inflation not enough. And, lastly do we know how fast the combination is traveling down the highway when the sway and buffetting occurs? Sounds like you are getting that "tail wagging the dog" syndrome.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotohatteras
Maybe it's a combination of the aerodynamics between the modern age SUV and the vintage trailer? Also, maybe the single axle on the trailer and the weight distribution ratio of the trailer to the location of that axle. Possibly tire side stiffness of the tow vehicle tires, and inflation not enough. And, lastly do we know how fast the combination is traveling down the highway when the sway and buffetting occurs? Sounds like you are getting that "tail wagging the dog" syndrome.
Actually, this thread is odd in that I am not asking how to cure a problem. I am trying to get the best possible list and understanding of factors that contribute to an unstable configuration so that they can be addressed directly and problems avoided. The idea is to build in stability from the get go so as to not have to introduce corrective measures.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
The idea is to build in stability from the get go so as to not have to introduce corrective measures.
GD, I have been watching this post w/interest. I hate to over simplify, but...almost all of these issue can be addressed by towing with a 3/4 ton; tires, suspension, tw, brakes, wheelbase, capacity, hitch rating, etc

All of these will be covered when you buy a 3/4 ton truck w/tow package.
Yes, you may have to buy a brake control (some trucks come w/factory now) and you will need a hitch and/or sway control, but the rest of the list comes in one neat package!
It really is that simple...

Bill
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:53 PM   #18
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The TV and TT need to be considered separately, first, and then how they act together.

Is the trailer unbalanced in its load side-to-side and/or front-to-rear when level on level ground? Is it both? Can the center of gravity be determined front-rear/bottom-top? Wind resistance, too.

Is axle alignment what it should be? Are the bearings adjusted properly? What of the brakes? Are the tires exact matches?

What of the added load? Water, books, etc? Can these things come loose in a violent manuever (closets emptying out); like fluid surging through a tanker?

Is the truck level in normal stance? The factory tends NOT to build them that way. What of the bed load? Load securement in the bed AND the cab(yes, more than one person has been killed by flying IPods and cellphones). What of the front/rear weight distribution? Tires, etc.

And then,

What of the rigging between the TV and TT?

Etcetera.

Small things add up. "Tolerance stack" is one expression of it. For example, on my truck the factory recommends 50-psi FF & RR when light or unloaded. 70-psi all around at max load. If I drive around with 70-psi without the trailer my handling is significantly degraded.

(And to the comments about leaf-springs above, the design, Hotchkiss drive, has a lot less complication in being "good handling" in than a coil/control arm set-up that is usualy compromised by cheap parts in factory offerings. It is not ideal, but coils CERTAINLY are not either. Both are miles away from independent suspension. Leaf spring suspensions are easily modified).

As I see it, it is a three-part question of balance: static and dynamic.
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:29 AM   #19
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One of the most interesting parts of this is that each tow vehicle/trailer combination is different. While the general planning is the same, the execution from tow vehicle to tow vehicle may be dramatically different. What works perfectly with one setup may be entirely wrong for the next.

My list of initial considerations would look like:

Trailer: balance from factory (% tongue weight of curb weight)
running gear (tires, axle # & type, location)
loading (front to back & side to side) in relation to factory balance
loaded balance
tongue to axle length (wheelbase)
total towed weight

Tow vehicle: wheelbase in relation to trailer's tongue to axle base
tow rating
tow equipment
tires (load rating and inflation for load)
suspension engineering (or lack thereof)
curb weight, GVWR, and GCVWR

Speaking in generalities, if you have certain combinations of these factors, the entire tow rig tends to be inherently more stable; e.g. long wheelbase heavy, low center-of-gravity, stiff sidewall tired, tow vehicle with a heavy, long wheelbase trailer. Other combinations tend to be less stable e.g. a light weight, light duty, high center-of-gravity, light-duty soft sidewall tired, short wheelbase tow vehicle with a short wheelbase trailer.

Most of us fall somewhere in between those extremes, and that's where the fun in figuring out "stability" lies.

All that said, I think my experience has been that tire inflation (or tire competence in general) has more to do with towing stability issues than just about any other single factor. Certainly other issues come into play, but I find that soft sidewalls are squirrely and that contributes significantly to tow rig instability. On my Excursion, 65 psi in the rears towing was squirrely. 75 psi was solid. I could always tell when I hadn't aired the tires up for towing, and that 10 psi made all the difference in the world.

Roger
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