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Old 09-24-2011, 03:43 PM   #1
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Inaugural trip a hit!

We just got back from a quick, one night, trip to a park near home. We've got a list of things that we need to get and I've got a much better handle on the hitching/unhitching process. I've determined that the rig pulls right pretty noticeably and that higher speeds make it worse. There was no wind to speak of so I'm wondering what's out of alignment.

Here's a phone pic to tide everyone over until I upload the photos from my camera.



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Old 09-24-2011, 03:44 PM   #2
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:33 PM   #3
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Inaugural trip a hit!

Greetings phbarnhart!

Good to hear that your inaugural trip was a great success.

A couple of items came to mind when you mentioned the instability/pull to the right issue. Among the things that I would suggest checking include:
  • Tires on tow vehicle
    • Are the tires "P" Metric automobile tires or "LT" light truck tires? The stiffer sidewalls of LT tires will help to control perceptible "pulling" when weight shifts side-to-side while towing.
    • Inflation pressures. Were all tires inflated to allow for the added weight of the trailer tongue and other materials added to the tow vehicle? Often, particularly with OEM tires the tires need to be inflated to the maximum posted on the sidewall for safe towing. With some tow vehicles the tires on the same axle need to be inflated to the same pressure or "squirm" may result under load.
  • Tires on trailer
    • Are all four tires the same size? Sometimes when a tire fails, a replacement in the same size may not be available and a tire one size larger or smaller may be substituted causing a pulling issue to that side. I understand that your coach is a new 2012 so this is unlikely unless a tire problem developed while it was being delivered to your dealer.
    • Were all four tires inflated to the same pressuer? When I first started towing in 1995, a veteran Airstreamer recommended that I carry a small electric air compressor so that I could check and properly air my tires prior to departing each campground . . . took her advice and have had air pressure check as part of my pre-departure routine since 1995.
  • Hitch Rigging problem
    • If you have Reese Dual Cam, I know that it is imperative that the tow vehicle and trailer are in a straight line before making final adjustments. If the coach and tow vehicle weren't in a true straight line when the final adjustments were made, the hitch will try to correct and force the combination into the angle they were in when the final adjustments were made. (I had this problem with my '75 Cadillac/'64 Overlander last summer -- correcting the final adjustments eliminated the unwanted pulling that turned into sway at higher speeds.).
    • I don't have experience with other sway elimination hitches, but I am certain that they also have a final adjustment that when not properly completed will cause unwanted pulling/sway.
    • If you are using just a weight distributing hitch, another possiblity would be a difference in tension between the left and right weight distribution bars. Count the links between the snap-up bracket hook and the bar itself . . . the count should be the same on both sides . . . a difference in count could result in a pull to one side.
  • Road Conditions
    • The way in which some roads are constructed or wear patterns that have developed in the pavement can cause a pulling sensation when the trailer and tow vehicle don't track in the same ruts in the road . . . . or when pavement grooving causes a resonant pitching motion (I have no idea why it is only on some grooved highways, but there was a strech of US 151 between Dubuque, Iowa and Platteville, WI that would make me nervous every time I towed my Overlander across that section as it felt like all-out sway would begin at any moment).
    • Cross winds can also cause a feeling of being pulled to one side or the other. It doesn't take a very great cross wind to cause such a sensation.
  • Trailer Wheel Bearings (Highly Unlikely IMHO)
    • One other thing that to me would be quite remote might involve wheel bearing adjustment on the trailer. If all four bearings weren't adjusted to the same standard; a bearing that was too loose or too tight could cause some strange issues as well. If this were the problem one or more of the the wheels would be running hot (check by holding hand over the center hub area.
I strongly suspect that you are going to find that the issue is something small related to hitch rigging or tire type/inflation.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:56 PM   #4
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Kevin - thanks for the information. We have not experienced the problem but hopefully will avoid it by following your suggestions.

"ph" - congratulations and good luck with your new baby. Let us know how you make out with the pulling issue.

Happy traveling,
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:33 PM   #5
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Does your Suburban pull to the right without towing your trailer? or only when towing it? Check tire pressures as stated above. You have an equalizer hitch so it should not affect towing. Check to assure both top or on new hitches bottom nuts are torqued evenly. You said that you towed close to home but, check your tire wear on your trailer. It might be kind of hard to determine abnormal wear because it is new but take a look. Last I would measure the distance between tires on the trailer, they should have the same gap on the right and left sides. Good luck. Nice looking rig!
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:36 PM   #6
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Hey neighbor, congrats on your beautiful Airstream! We're just over in Springfield -- where did you go for your first trip?
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:28 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the suggestions as to what's going on. I just went for a drive without hitching up and I'm thinking that the Suburban may pull slightly even without the trailer so I'm going to have the alignment checked (that's the appropriate thing to do, right?) I tried several different roads including a freshly asphalted stretch of I-5 that should have been all but rut-free.

Tire pressure on the TV is 41psi in the rear. The tires are Nokian Vativas. They are P metric but are XL rated.

The tires on the trailer are all four the same Michelins. I still need to check the pressures, distances between wheels and the distances of the brackets from tip of the A frame. It is an equalizer hitch.

I'm also planning on calling the service center at Sutton RV and asking them if they have any thoughts on what could be going on.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leopattie View Post
Hey neighbor, congrats on your beautiful Airstream! We're just over in Springfield -- where did you go for your first trip?
I'm almost a little embarrassed to admit it, but we went to Armitage Park. The idea was to be really close in the event that we forgot something crucial.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:45 PM   #9
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I had a GM pickup that had a right power pull. I had the frame checked, alignments, new tires, everything the alignment shop and I could come up with. It was the dealer that diagnosed it finally. The truck was out of warranty and the fix, as I recall, was a new steering box. I just bought a new truck and sold the old one at curbside.
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Old 09-25-2011, 07:47 PM   #10
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Congratulations. Couple of lucky dogs and kids you have there. We love the Eddie Bauer but I haven't taken a breath since buying our 2007 Classic. i know the tires on the EB are bigger than mine but that pressure seems a bit low.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:48 PM   #11
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Congratulations. Couple of lucky dogs and kids you have there. We love the Eddie Bauer but I haven't taken a breath since buying our 2007 Classic. i know the tires on the EB are bigger than mine but that pressure seems a bit low.
That was the rear tire pressure for the Suburban. I just checked Eddie's tires and they're all right around 70psi.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
I had a GM pickup that had a right power pull. I had the frame checked, alignments, new tires, everything the alignment shop and I could come up with. It was the dealer that diagnosed it finally. The truck was out of warranty and the fix, as I recall, was a new steering box. I just bought a new truck and sold the old one at curbside.
I'll be looking into all possible causes of this issue. Tires, alignment, steering, etc. I measured the distances between the hubs and I come up about a half an inch different between the two. The trailer is presently sitting at an angle (both front to back and side to side); could that have an impact? I'm not that familiar with torsion axles.
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Old 09-26-2011, 01:12 AM   #13
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If you live in Oregon, it could be the roads. If you get a lot of rain and/or snow, the roads in some areas have a crown in the middle (i.e., the center of the road is higher than the edges); and your vehicle will constantly try to run off towards the right side of the road, because it's slightly downhill. The high crown is to promote water drainage, so it doesn't pool on the roadway. Interstates are usually relatively flat, or slope to one side or the other. However, older two lane highways often have a high crown in the middle.

We used to live in Colorado, and years ago, a lot of the older two-lane roads had high crowns. The front-end alignment on your TV can be adjusted for this. However, when you travel through areas that don't have high-crown roads, your vehicle will pull to the left. Usually, it is just better to leave your alignment alone; i.e., adjusted for straight, level roads.

One way to tell if your alignment is off (and pulling) is to find a newly paved highway that is relatively flat, with no noticeable crown, and see if your tow vehicle pulls to one side on that stretch. Then try it with your Airstream in tow.

We have one stretch of Interstate near our home that I know is flat, and I frequently drive down that stretch and let go of the wheel to see if it pulls to one side or the other. Since I have used this stretch for years to test the alignment on all of our cars, I know if it pulls to either side, the alignment is out.

Also, as mentioned above, check all tires for proper pressure. One tire as little as 5-10 psi low can cause noticeable pulling.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:35 AM   #14
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Phoenix has brought up the most common reason for drifting right..road crown.

Here in WNY it is one of our most common complaints, Winter drainage requires that most all our roads have a pronounced crown.

A proper alignment will reduce it too a minimum, but adjusting to compensate could significantly degrade tire ware.

Bob
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