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Old 06-21-2006, 10:09 AM   #15
Mad1
 
1989 29' Excella
Dallas , Texas
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1/2 ton trucks

In a former life I towed a '76 25ft Caravanner (5500lbs) with a '91 Dodge/Cummins 3/4 ton (7000lbs) without a
W/D hitch with no sway problems at all. Currently I have
a 29ft '89 Excella (6800lbs) Reese Dual Cam and a 1/2 ton Nissan Titan (5800lbs) and discovered a different ball
game when the trailer weight exceeds that of the tow vehicle. Though the hitch settings of the original owner worked when I picked up the trailer and I did not have sway problems on the long haul home I was less than thrilled with the handling of the truck. The trailer was fine
but the Nissan was squirmy and I felt it was being pushed around just a bit. So I have been on a mission to improve
my 1/2 ton tow truck for the job.
First I changed tires to something better, the OE tires were junk and this did make a difference. Then I added
front and rear rubber overload springs
http://www.timbren.com/home.htm

This made a big difference in the handling of the truck
loaded and unloaded, of course at the sacrifice of the soft
1/2 ton ride, it "feels" like a 3/4 ton now.

On my most recent trip I discovered the final piece of the
puzzle for me. I decided to tighten my bars one chain link
less than I had before, effectively adding weight to the hitch. This had a dramatic effect on handling, the modern
trucks we are towing with are designed to accept quite a bit of hitch weight (my old dodge had no problem with the
5-600lb hitch of my old trailer) and the W/D hitch arose in the era when folks towed with big softly sprung sedans.
The Nissan with the tow package is almost 2" higher in the rear than the standard version, giving it more hitch weight
seems to have "lined" things up right.
On the road the other day in deep rural Texas
(Evant, Coryell County)

http://tinyurl.com/nc6mz
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:25 PM   #16
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1978 24' Argosy 24
Woodinville , Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Ms75Argosy
I'm assuming a two wheel drive? Even my little Astro did move side/side quite a bit when I pushed on the sides of the van (the 1 ton Dodge doesn't budge), however, the Astro really didn't sway too much either. How are your chains set up on the w/d hitch?
It's AWD Safari with factory tow package. I've posted on a couple other threads with my WD adjustments. Basicly what I've found is that even front and rear is MUCH better than the 1" difference (rear bias) recommended in the Reese instructions. I thing the 1" is for pick-ups that are designed to handle better with a load in the back. Passenger van is a different animal.


Quote:
Do you have sway control?
I have the friction sway control. It came with the trailer. However, there appears to be two little clips that I'm missing to hold the thing on the mini-balls on the trailer and hitch head. So far sway hasn't been a big issue. More just getting pushed around when I had the WD set with a rear bias rather than even. I'll pick up some of the clips since I have the anti-sway bar but from what I've been told they really don't make much difference. Maybe if there was a sway problem they'd help but I'm of the school of thought that if you have sway you need to fix it rather than mask it. I also plan on towing in the snow this winter and it's recommend NOT to use this device on icey roads. That sort of makes me wonder if it might just amplify the "push" effect the trailer has on the TV under normal conditions. I'll try it but I'm not expecting much.

Don't have a good side picture of the rig hooked up but they way it handles best (quite well) is with the van level. With the TV set-up using the recommended 19-1/2" ball height unhooked ( one inch lower when hitched) the trailer is also just about perfectly level. Maybe ever so slightly up in the nose.

I'll have to look for scales in the Seattle area. I went on this quest many years ago and came up empty. I'm really interested to see how close I'm coming to the rated capacity of the Safari.

-Bernie
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
I'll have to look for scales in the Seattle area. I went on this quest many years ago and came up empty. I'm really interested to see how close I'm coming to the rated capacity of the Safari.
Try the TA Travel Center on I-90 at North Bend ... Exit 34 ... they have a CAT scale. Probably about 40 miles from you.

http://www.tatravelcenters.com/taweb...n.aspx?uid=362
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Old 06-21-2006, 02:34 PM   #18
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1966 26' Overlander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhayden
I actually bought new shocks but haven't had time to get them installed. The TV was ready for them anyway so towing just made it more of a priority. Ping me in a couple weeks if I haven't reported back.
The shocks in question were the ones on the trailer. At least that was my assumption. And worn shocks on the TV may induce a sway onto the trailer?!!

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Old 06-21-2006, 03:14 PM   #19
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1975 Argosy 26
1963 24' Tradewind
Seattle , Washington
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Oh, so confused??

I thought Michael W started this thread, but it looks like two people need help? Oh well, same things apply, I think.

Bernie - nice to see a fellow Seattlite here! We live by downtown, but our trailer is stored up north. I went to a scale place up in Marysville (Donna's truck stop right after the Quilceda Casino, exit right after Walmart and go West over the freeway, it's right there). North Bend, however, is so much closer... but if you want to drop a few dollars too....

You are right, sway is better eliminated, but the sway control helps you out in an emergency (i.e. quick lane change with heavy braking .... like avoiding a deer, which I've done twice now in northern CA). I use mine in the rain fine... really, that little brake is NOT going to lock out the trailer from letting the tv turn, but it does slow down occilations... snow may be another matter, however. I too lost one of my clips, I found that I was able to go to my local True Value and find a long bolt, a couple of washers, and a nut to go from one hole and out the other hole, trapping the ball in place. Washers keep the nut from going through the holes. Works great, and easy to replace too.

As far as the Astro, yes, I did have a little rear squat (I also used 235/60/15's for a shorter sidewall and wider footprint) when I had it. I also had transplanted a 350 V8 into it. It was a beast to drive in the rain (can you say power oversteer? ) and had cooling problems. My biggest issue was lack of braking ability though. Even with my boat (3500#'s), I was smoking the brakes on Orcas island's windy roads- and not going fast at all. That was it for me.

I got a 1 ton Dodge Van from Metro Vanpool. My CAT weights (off of memory here) for our 26ft trailer is approx (for tv)2950#'s front, 3150 rear, 4050 on the trailer with a GVW of 10,080#'s. I know those #'s don't totally add up, but I'd have to go to the van to get the actual numbers (if you want them, let me know).
Marc
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Old 06-21-2006, 11:31 PM   #20
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1976 26' Argosy 26
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Swaying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi
You need to differenciate between sway and being pushed by the truck bow wave.

"Pushed" is when you feel the unit moving to the right as the truck approaches and then to the left as you get sucked in as it passes. You can do little about the bow wave for little money except lean into it when you see them about to pass you.

"Sway" is when the unit continues to move back and forth even after they have passed. This means there is an instability in your rig.

Simplest and most effective thing is to add more air pressure to all the tires to stiffen up the sidewalls. If that works, you might consider going to beefier tires, which would cost you some money and make the ride harsher for you and the trailer. You might have to think about bigger bucks of newer axles with softer spring rate to take up some of the bumps and restore the ride. That is getting to be big bucks. You might consider a bigger tow vehicle with longer wheel base and heavier. They handle the "push" better than smaller trucks. (Also will cost you more money) .

Look into how the hitch is attached. Is it too far back from the rear bumper of the truck. That is a bad thing. Do you have a sway control element like a frictional damperner or twin cam system? Is it properly adjusted? If you do not have a sway contol element, it might make a good investment in you peace of mine and nerves.

Is your rig properly loaded? Not enough tonque weight. Too much gray water and sewage in the back of the trailer? Move the heavy stuff from the back of the trailer to the cap of the truck or the living room floor.
A better term would be "fishtailing". Its the push pull that starts a chain reaction that ends up in swaying or the worst form of swaying is fishtailing. Its happened twice in a year. First time when I picked up a screw in tire and and a week ago when a travel tour bus zipped past me. There is a instability in my rig as I feel an independent movement of the RV with the "push and pull" of passing semi's. This last trip I did not fill the 30 gallon front tank. There is no liquids in the rear tanks. I do not have a WD hitch and after the new shocks arrive that will be next. The distance form the ball to the bumper or reciever is about four inches. I could have a machine shop drill a hole to cut that distance in half. As for the tires I was running them with 50 lbs of air, but could go up to 65. My biggist problem is the C rated firestone tires on the tv. Any suggestions where to find a stiffer side wall in a 15 inch tire. The Max on those tires is 50 lbs. By the way thanks for your response it has been very informative. Michael W
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Old 06-21-2006, 11:51 PM   #21
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1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
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I have a couple things to add to todays discussion.I replaced a fuel pump
on a customers 94 astro today .It is a really common repair.Anyway,as
I looked it over knowing they are used for towing big trailers ,I don't understand it.The front and rear brakes are small ,not 1/2 ton either.It is a very short wheel base and they do make a little longer model ,not by much.
It a 4.3 v6 ,pretty small but they have decent power .The cooling system is small ,not close to a 1/2 ton truck in any way .I know some think they are great and have towed everywhere ,but it is just not big enough or heavy
enough for a large trailer ,they are not prone to sway do too the axle location
close to the rear of the van ,finally ,no mass and definatley not matched to the trailer being towed,let alone an excella ,holy smokes ,how is that possible
and safe?

On to sway control ,the friction control is made available to trailer owners
because they work ,it is not suppose to be an option if need be .The idea
is to help control normal sway .You cannot just pile on tongue weight
or put super stiff tires on the tv .Pickup trucks with the bed empty will
be more "loose" in feel when towing as there just isn't enough weight.A small
TV with a large trailer will be pushed around ,physics at work and trying to make tons of changes to control it instead of getting a more capable vehical
doesn't make sense .I use a friction sway control on my tradewind and it works well .The WD dualcam by Reese is very popular because it incorporates
sway control in the design .All these products and controls should be used to provide the safest trailering possible period.

Scott
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:03 AM   #22
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1960 24' Tradewind
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hey Micheal W ,

The D range tires on your tv can help for sure .The idea of redrilling the bar to bring it in 4" is an excellent idea as I have done .I got big rewards there.You need to make sure that the reciever bar will slide in as far as you
need, it can be cut down at the inside end so it will go in all the way .The WD with sway control , however you do it ,will be a huge improvement as it will tie the tv and trailer so to speak together .My first tow with my 60
tradewind was a scarey ride for 100 miles off and on .We stopped at an rv
place and put on the spring bars they had ,My hitch was fine but I didn't have the bars for it .Wow, we knew we would make it in one piece back to
CA from Nebraska .Get it installed.

Scott
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:19 AM   #23
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1975 Argosy 26
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Found the problem...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W
A better term would be "fishtailing". Its the push pull that starts a chain reaction that ends up in swaying or the worst form of swaying is fishtailing. ... I do not have a WD hitch and after the new shocks arrive that will be next. ... Michael W
Michael, I think you NEED a WD hitch. The tongue weight is dropping the weight carried by your steering wheels. It's "light" in the front, in other words. WD takes that tongue weight and moves it from the rear tires to the front. I'm sure if you weighed your hooked up setup, you'd find that your weights are probably somewhere around 1000 less on the front vs. the rear. PLEASE get this prior to shocks.
Good luck!
Marc
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:26 AM   #24
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1973 27' Overlander
peoria , Illinois
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Hi Michael W--I towed our 1973 27' Overlander, with 6200 lbs wet weight, which should be similiar to your 26' Argosy, successfully with several late '80's and early '90's vintage Chevy 3/4 ton window vans, and 1/2 ton Suburbans all with P235/75 R-15 XL tires. I never experienced the sway problems you describe, even in the early days before I had an equalizer hitch. My vehicle was always loaded with people and stuff. Could your problem be related to not enough weight in the rear of your 1990 1/2 ton PU? I know PU's with a light load in the bed are squirrely in the rain and snow without towing an A/S. I always had a load of tools, and or people, and never had any problem in the snow with 2-wheel drive.--Frank S
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:47 AM   #25
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Weight distribution hitch #1 priority. I don't have much recent towing experience but I do go back 40 years when we towed a two horse trailer with our station wagon. GET the WD hitch. Brand is not important. Get it set up right. My "educated" guess is start with even loading, DO NOT over load the front, and adjust from there. Everything else is gravey.
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:25 PM   #26
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Yup!! The new tires helped, the increase in tire pressure helped a little more, the addition of 4 new shocks to the Argosy help even more, but the WD hitch was what really corrected things. Again thanks all.
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Old 10-26-2006, 08:14 AM   #27
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Another thing you might want to check out is the rear spring bushing on your truck. If these are worn the truck will move side to side over the axle. Does yor truck have a sway or stabilizer bar running from the rear axle to the frame, these bushing could be worn also.
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