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Old 09-02-2014, 04:49 PM   #43
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Yes, Road Ruler and Larry but I’ve said this before and it bears saying again: …

All discussions about towing on this forum seem sooner or later to make reference to a certain Canadian specialist firm and seem too to bring out the worst American chauvinism in people. The condescension almost drips with “Canadian” this and “Canadian” that references or innuendos.

Do they think this is an impoverished third world country somewhere? Haven’t they heard about CSA approvals? Do they not know we have a functioning world class insurance industry – and a respected legal system with courts and lawyers? Do they know about the reputation of our banking system or the way our single-payer medical system covers every citizen, no exceptions?
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:14 PM   #44
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EXPERT = A former drip now under pressure?

Newbie? Go Big so you can Go Home.

Once upon a time about 7 years ago, a newbie wanted to know if she should consider towing an Airstream with a Lexus RX300. Who could that be?

The difference between a brash newcomer and a grizzled veteran is measured by experience AND by the help and support of Forum friends who helped me to:
  • cure my acute cranial-rectal inversion and
  • prevent recurring flareups

One of the first things that surprised me as a newbie was that I didn't have to do a blessed thing with the local DMV to be "qualified" to tow a trailer. That is scary. I had to take a written test and a driving test to get a motorcycle license... and about the only person I was likely to kill with that was myself! I suppose AARP and Good Sam have given us that "benefit".

Three months into owning my first Airstream I stopped overnight at Safford RV less than 150 miles from home and saw a tow truck bring in a family with 4 kids.... a wrecked (Tacoma!) pickup truck with a BUMPER HITCH BALL and a SOB that was loaded stem to stern with bicycles, camp chairs, clothing, (probably a ton of stuff). The trailer bounced off the ball somehow and the chains gave way. This happened on I-95 at speed - in traffic - and by a miracle no one was hurt. The whole mess ended up on the right side of the road - and the driver had no idea that there might have been anything the least bit wrong with his hitching skills. He did mention that his headlights seemed to be aimed way too high (really?).

And last year with six years experience, a Reese Dual cam, new 16" Michelins, and an exquisitely well balanced load - I made friends with an embankment of nice soft Cow Manure.

The point? I don't have a CDL, so I can't claim to be a professional driver - though I try to be a courteous and cautious one. Bad s*** happens, good equipment helps turn tragedies into "bad days".

Newbie? No experience with any RV or horse trailer, or utility trailer or hay wagon? Go ROBUST! A little too much tow vehicle is going to be better than one that has to be specially rigged for a load that exceeds manufacturer's spec, even if the spec is conservative.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:29 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Newbie? Go Big so you can Go Home.

Once upon a time about 7 years ago, a newbie wanted to know if she should consider towing an Airstream with a Lexus RX300. Who could that be?

The difference between a brash newcomer and a grizzled veteran is measured by experience AND by the help and support of Forum friends who helped me to:
  • cure my acute cranial-rectal inversion and
  • prevent recurring flareups

One of the first things that surprised me as a newbie was that I didn't have to do a blessed thing with the local DMV to be "qualified" to tow a trailer. That is scary. I had to take a written test and a driving test to get a motorcycle license... and about the only person I was likely to kill with that was myself! I suppose AARP and Good Sam have given us that "benefit".

Three months into owning my first Airstream I stopped overnight at Safford RV less than 150 miles from home and saw a tow truck bring in a family with 4 kids.... a wrecked (Tacoma!) pickup truck with a BUMPER HITCH BALL and a SOB that was loaded stem to stern with bicycles, camp chairs, clothing, (probably a ton of stuff). The trailer bounced off the ball somehow and the chains gave way. This happened on I-95 at speed - in traffic - and by a miracle no one was hurt. The whole mess ended up on the right side of the road - and the driver had no idea that there might have been anything the least bit wrong with his hitching skills. He did mention that his headlights seemed to be aimed way too high (really?).

And last year with six years experience, a Reese Dual cam, new 16" Michelins, and an exquisitely well balanced load - I made friends with an embankment of nice soft Cow Manure.

The point? I don't have a CDL, so I can't claim to be a professional driver - though I try to be a courteous and cautious one. Bad s*** happens, good equipment helps turn tragedies into "bad days".

Newbie? No experience with any RV or horse trailer, or utility trailer or hay wagon? Go ROBUST! A little too much tow vehicle is going to be better than one that has to be specially rigged for a load that exceeds manufacturer's spec, even if the spec is conservative.
Very well said!
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:48 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
General rule of thumb:
For the first 110" of wheelbase, this allows you 20' of trailer.
For each additional 4" of wheelbase, this gets you 1' more of trailer."
I'm going to bury this deeper in the trash basket than the "80% rule".

By this incomplete, shot-in-the-dark standard our 120" wheelbase Ram half-ton would be all over the road pulling our 26' Airstream. It is solid as a rock in all towing conditions, the greatest improvement and completely changing the towing experience was the addition of a Hensley/ProPride hitch to this very combo.

That's because yaw (wag, sway) forces are not leveraged to the steering axle, but put only on the rear axle where they are completely stabilized. Wheelbase makes no difference. We could further our yaw stability by replacing the Ram's P-rated tires with stiffer sidewall E-rated tires, but it there is no yaw instability to correct.
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:31 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I'm going to bury this deeper in the trash basket than the "80% rule".

By this incomplete, shot-in-the-dark standard our 120" wheelbase Ram half-ton would be all over the road pulling our 26' Airstream. It is solid as a rock in all towing conditions, the greatest improvement and completely changing the towing experience was the addition of a Hensley/ProPride hitch to this very combo.

That's because yaw (wag, sway) forces are not leveraged to the steering axle, but put only on the rear axle where they are completely stabilized. Wheelbase makes no difference. We could further our yaw stability by replacing the Ram's P-rated tires with stiffer sidewall E-rated tires, but it there is no yaw instability to correct.
I'm sorry you took such great offense to that.
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:38 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
I'm going to bury this deeper in the trash basket than the "80% rule".

By this incomplete, shot-in-the-dark standard our 120" wheelbase Ram half-ton would be all over the road pulling our 26' Airstream. It is solid as a rock in all towing conditions, the greatest improvement and completely changing the towing experience was the addition of a Hensley/ProPride hitch to this very combo.

That's because yaw (wag, sway) forces are not leveraged to the steering axle, but put only on the rear axle where they are completely stabilized. Wheelbase makes no difference. We could further our yaw stability by replacing the Ram's P-rated tires with stiffer sidewall E-rated tires, but it there is no yaw instability to correct.

I know of several people that towed the same trailer with different tow vehicles using the same hitch and the TV with longer wheelbase was more stable. So the rule of thumb, while may be not 100% accurate, is meaningful.


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Old 09-02-2014, 07:56 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
General rule of thumb:
For the first 110" of wheelbase, this allows you 20' of trailer.
For each additional 4" of wheelbase, this gets you 1' more of trailer."
Never heard that before. My truck has a 144.2" WB which by this rule of thumb would handle a 28.55' trailer. I tow a 27FB (which is 28' from ball to bumper). Close enough for jazz :-)
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:09 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
General rule of thumb:
For the first 110" of wheelbase, this allows you 20' of trailer.
For each additional 4" of wheelbase, this gets you 1' more of trailer."
Y'all oughta tell the people who pull mobile homes about this "110" theory.
Me thinks you might change your mind.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:12 PM   #51
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thumb

Quote:
A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. It is an easily learned and easily applied procedure for approximately calculating or recalling some value, or for making some determination.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:22 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
General rule of thumb:
For the first 110" of wheelbase, this allows you 20' of trailer.
For each additional 4" of wheelbase, this gets you 1' more of trailer."
The first problem with this rule is that it ignores the distance from the hitch ball to the rear axle (the lever arm the trailer pushes on). I think wheelbase matters somewhat, but only as a single variable among many. The lever arm length is far more important. If you want to use a rule of thumb, use the ratio of lever arm to wheelbase, regardless of the trailer length, to compare two vehicles. Then move on to tire sidewall stiffness, vehicle CoG, roll stability, and all the other things that impact stability, to complete the analysis.

Jeff
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:33 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Newbie? Go Big so you can Go Home.

Once upon a time about 7 years ago, a newbie wanted to know if she should consider towing an Airstream with a Lexus RX300. Who could that be?

The difference between a brash newcomer and a grizzled veteran is measured by experience AND by the help and support of Forum friends who helped me to:
  • cure my acute cranial-rectal inversion and
  • prevent recurring flareups

One of the first things that surprised me as a newbie was that I didn't have to do a blessed thing with the local DMV to be "qualified" to tow a trailer. That is scary. I had to take a written test and a driving test to get a motorcycle license... and about the only person I was likely to kill with that was myself! I suppose AARP and Good Sam have given us that "benefit".

Three months into owning my first Airstream I stopped overnight at Safford RV less than 150 miles from home and saw a tow truck bring in a family with 4 kids.... a wrecked (Tacoma!) pickup truck with a BUMPER HITCH BALL and a SOB that was loaded stem to stern with bicycles, camp chairs, clothing, (probably a ton of stuff). The trailer bounced off the ball somehow and the chains gave way. This happened on I-95 at speed - in traffic - and by a miracle no one was hurt. The whole mess ended up on the right side of the road - and the driver had no idea that there might have been anything the least bit wrong with his hitching skills. He did mention that his headlights seemed to be aimed way too high (really?).

And last year with six years experience, a Reese Dual cam, new 16" Michelins, and an exquisitely well balanced load - I made friends with an embankment of nice soft Cow Manure.

The point? I don't have a CDL, so I can't claim to be a professional driver - though I try to be a courteous and cautious one. Bad s*** happens, good equipment helps turn tragedies into "bad days".

Newbie? No experience with any RV or horse trailer, or utility trailer or hay wagon? Go ROBUST! A little too much tow vehicle is going to be better than one that has to be specially rigged for a load that exceeds manufacturer's spec, even if the spec is conservative.
Amen, sister, amen! We, I have towed stock trailers, equipment trailers, hay wagons, horse trailers and several Airstreams. We have also seen a couple of small tow vehicles getting rolled by their too big trailers. One almost hit us. I would rather have more than less.
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Old 09-02-2014, 09:10 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
The first problem with this rule is that it ignores the distance from the hitch ball to the rear axle (the lever arm the trailer pushes on). I think wheelbase matters somewhat, but only as a single variable among many. The lever arm length is far more important. If you want to use a rule of thumb, use the ratio of lever arm to wheelbase, regardless of the trailer length, to compare two vehicles. Then move on to tire sidewall stiffness, vehicle CoG, roll stability, and all the other things that impact stability, to complete the analysis.

Jeff
Absolutely. Many factors to consider in a good, stable tow vehicle and "big" isn't one of them.
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Old 09-02-2014, 09:17 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcl View Post
The first problem with this rule is that it ignores the distance from the hitch ball to the rear axle (the lever arm the trailer pushes on). I think wheelbase matters somewhat, but only as a single variable among many. The lever arm length is far more important. If you want to use a rule of thumb, use the ratio of lever arm to wheelbase, regardless of the trailer length, to compare two vehicles. Then move on to tire sidewall stiffness, vehicle CoG, roll stability, and all the other things that impact stability, to complete the analysis.

Jeff
Very succinctly put, Jeff, thank you.
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Old 09-02-2014, 09:27 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by rostam View Post
I know of several people that towed the same trailer with different tow vehicles using the same hitch and the TV with longer wheelbase was more stable. So the rule of thumb, while may be not 100% accurate, is meaningful.


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All other measurements being the same this is true, because the longer wheelbase resists yaw forces on the hitch ball and leveraged forward to the steering axle better than short wheel base. Think of a lever, and at what length it is held.

However, the Hensley/ProPride hitch design effectively negates this because it projects yaw forces to the rear axle where they are stabilized, removing them from the steering axle. Wheelbase length is not significant. Think of an 18 wheeler, short wheelbase truck and very long trailer, all yaw forces applied on the truck's rear axles where they are stabilized.

The wheelbase stability theory is not universal.
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