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Old 10-06-2018, 09:28 AM   #1
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
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TV Parking Brake/Unhitching Safety Question

This is likely a physics question that after about 20,000 miles of towing I still canít seem to figure out. I tow my 2016 25-foot FC using a Blue Ox Sway Pro weight distribution hitch. Consequently, before unhitching and after chocking the trailer wheels, I jack the trailer up as high as it will go to take the pressure off the sway bars to make unhitching them easier, and then lower the trailer back down to un-lock the trailer hitch. All standard stuff. But when I raise the trailer back up to disconnect the trailer from the hitch ball, at the moment of disconnecting, the truck often jerks forward (away from the trailer) if the parking brake is not on. So should I use the parking brake on the TV when unhitching to prevent that lurch forward and release of energy? Would using the TV parking brake make the trailer try to lurch backward while the truck stays put? Seems to me that it's better that the truck moves than the trailer. This obviously also demonstrates the need to always chock the trailer wheels even if on level ground.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:10 AM   #2
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I always use the parking brake everytime I exit the vehicle....I have a buddy who recently didnt set his brake and thought he was in gear (manual) when he stepped out of his truck on relatively flat ground. As he stepped out with his left foot, the truck began rolling backwards and knocked him off his feet. His right foot got trapped under the pedals. He was dragged upside down until his truck stopped in a ditch.

I set the brake no matter if its auto, manual, flat ground, or whatever. I especially don't want to be between the truck and trailer and have a mishap.

Back to the original question. Yes, my auto truck will sometimes spring loose off the ball if the brake isn't set. Neither the truck nor trailer seem to jolt if the brake is set.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:23 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by CRH View Post
I always use the parking brake everytime I exit the vehicle....I have a buddy who recently didnt set his brake and thought he was in gear (manual) when he stepped out of his truck on relatively flat ground. As he stepped out with his left foot, the truck began rolling backwards and knocked him off his feet. His right foot got trapped under the pedals. He was dragged upside down until his truck stopped in a ditch.

I set the brake no matter if its auto, manual, flat ground, or whatever. I especially don't want to be between the truck and trailer and have a mishap.

Back to the original question. Yes, my auto truck will sometimes spring loose off the ball if the brake isn't set. Neither the truck nor trailer seem to jolt if the brake is set.
A word of caution if using parking brake in freezing weather the cables can freeze then cannot release brakes.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:32 AM   #4
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Hi

The "unhook lurch" can occur with or without the parking brake. It has as much to do with the relative angle of the TV and TT as anything else.

One other note (do as I say ...not as I do ...). Running the jack up to release the WD hitch is one of those things the jack manufacturer gets bothered by. They seem to want you not to do it ....

Bob
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:00 AM   #5
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Agreed that the unhook lurch can occur independent of anything else. Can't really avoid it sometimes. Just depends on the tension that is left in the lashup. I find it's more likely to occur when on uneven ground because of odd angles and pressures to keep things where they are.

As with CRH, I always set the parking brake. I would emphasize this is especially important when under tow. One never wants to only rely on the parking pawl in general, but especially so with 2x the vehicles weight to potentially hold in place.
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:28 PM   #6
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Hi

The "unhook lurch" can occur with or without the parking brake. It has as much to do with the relative angle of the TV and TT as anything else.

One other note (do as I say ...not as I do ...). Running the jack up to release the WD hitch is one of those things the jack manufacturer gets bothered by. They seem to want you not to do it ....

Bob
That's because the ratings on their tongue jacks are sketchy. IMHO
If you have a trailer with 1,000 tongue weight and a TV that is equally as heavy at the hitch a 3,500 pound tongue jack should have no problem raising the units high enough to set or unset the WD system.
If your jack fails in this process. Get a new jack with a higher rating.
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:33 PM   #7
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A word of caution if using parking brake in freezing weather the cables can freeze then cannot release brakes.
I still set the brake. Yep, i have a truck that has a cable that occasionally freezes. I carry a piece of PVC with a hook on the end in the bed. On cold mornings, I have had to yank the cables to release the brake.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
That's because the ratings on their tongue jacks are sketchy. IMHO
If you have a trailer with 1,000 tongue weight and a TV that is equally as heavy at the hitch a 3,500 pound tongue jack should have no problem raising the units high enough to set or unset the WD system.
If your jack fails in this process. Get a new jack with a higher rating.
Hi

One *might* note that AS has upgraded all the power jacks to ones with higher ratings for the current model year .....

One gotcha is the assumption that the truck side also weighs some specific amount. It certainly is going to be less than the total weight on the rear axle, but how much less? The drive shaft / differential / axle are all still on the ground so they come out of the math. Do you have the gold brick collection in the bed of the truck?

Bob
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:34 AM   #9
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Hi,


I hope this isn't a "duh" statement since we are new, but... In our brief history we have found that sometime when we get into a campsite it's just enough off level that it makes it difficult getting the W/D bars off, at least with our setup. What we are trying now is once we get close to the campground on level road we stop and just remove the bars so we have one less thing to take time doing when people are waiting for you to get out of the way. I suppose this isn't a good idea if your rig would sag in the middle. Ours doesn't. I wonder if this would help your situation?



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Old 10-07-2018, 10:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
That's because the ratings on their tongue jacks are sketchy. IMHO
If you have a trailer with 1,000 tongue weight and a TV that is equally as heavy at the hitch a 3,500 pound tongue jack should have no problem raising the units high enough to set or unset the WD system.
If your jack fails in this process. Get a new jack with a higher rating.
The 3,500 # jacks Airstream installs are puny, especially with the longer trailers. On my previous 30' international I replaced it with a 4,500# and what a world of difference.
I will be swapping out the one on our current 30' Classic this winter now that I got 2 years out of it.
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Old 10-07-2018, 02:58 PM   #11
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After you get the bars off, chock the trailer and allow a bit of distance between the tires and the chocks. Get in the truck, take the brake off, put it in neutral to let the vehicle move to take the pressure off the ball. Set the brake, put it in park, chock the trailer tightly, then raise the hitch off the ball. A lot less movement now that Iíve been doing this.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:23 PM   #12
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Hi

The "unhook lurch" can occur with or without the parking brake. It has as much to do with the relative angle of the TV and TT as anything else.

One other note (do as I say ...not as I do ...). Running the jack up to release the WD hitch is one of those things the jack manufacturer gets bothered by. They seem to want you not to do it ....

Bob
Thanks for all the good information. I too have found that it often depends on the relative angle between the TV and the trailer, and the same goes for getting the WD bars unhooked. If the TV is heading slightly downhill compared to the level trailer, then the WD bars unhook very easily. But I think that keeping the parking brake on no matter what is a good practice. On another note, with these Blue Ox WD bars, if you don't raise the trailer, how the heck can you get them unhooked without breaking an arm (or worse)? Sometimes I have to raise it as far as the jack will go and then hand crank it a bit more.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:25 PM   #13
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After you get the bars off, chock the trailer and allow a bit of distance between the tires and the chocks. Get in the truck, take the brake off, put it in neutral to let the vehicle move to take the pressure off the ball. Set the brake, put it in park, chock the trailer tightly, then raise the hitch off the ball. A lot less movement now that Iíve been doing this.
And this sounds like a good solution. Thanks for this idea, will try later this week.
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Old 10-07-2018, 03:36 PM   #14
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On another note, with these Blue Ox WD bars, if you don't raise the trailer, how the heck can you get them unhooked without breaking an arm (or worse)? Sometimes I have to raise it as far as the jack will go and then hand crank it a bit more.
I've definitely been in situations like this. A strategy if one knows the TV is going to have a nose up attitude relative to the trailer is to run the rear axle of the TV up on leveling blocks to take some tension off the WD blocks. Or preemtively remove the WD bars while still on level roads.

I'm fortunate that my TV has hydraulic suspension with the ability to adjust it's height over a 5" span. It's helped on so many boondocking occasions and is worth its weight in gold to me.

I imagine a TV fitted with rear airbags might have a similar capability should the situation arise.
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