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Old 09-26-2016, 09:50 PM   #71
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The only thing I can add to the discussion is that I have pulled my Airstream with the Jacobs brake and the Hensley since 06 when I purchased the trailer. Interstate driving, winding two lane roads and the scenarios mentioned in these posts.
I've had the car trailer to Florida and back, even driving through the outer squall line of a hurricane as it was coming in...yeah, great timing. Trips into the midwest...etc without the sway bars hooked up.
Compression, tension, heavy loads, light loads all I can say is that I feel safe with my family in the vehicle with the set-up I have.
I would disagree that " vehicle type,size and engine are irrelevant". They have a huge impact on towing. I wouldn't want to hook a small SUV into my 31 footer just like it would be overkill to hook a Bambi to a 3/4 or 1 ton. But, if you had a F350 and wanted to pull a Bambi ,at least you would have the chassis, engine and brakes to handle the tow(and a factory EB and brake controller would be nice).
I bought my truck first, engine brake, then the hitch and then selected my trailer. Whatever direction you go, choose well, have fun and travel safe.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:43 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rostam View Post
I trust the GM engineers and am sure all your concerns are taken into account by them.

Quote them, then.

And, what's the procedure with brakes and throttle to correct a swaying trailer? To put the hitch into compression or tension?
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:49 AM   #73
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Quote them, then.

And, what's the procedure with brakes and throttle to correct a swaying trailer? To put the hitch into compression or tension?
From the 2016 Chevy Canyon manual, page 46:

"Downshifts may be automatically selected to increase engine speed, which increases the effectiveness of the exhaust brake. The number of downshifts selected is determined by the length of time the brakes are applied and the rate the vehicle is slowing. The system delivers the correct amount of braking to assist in vehicle control. The heavier the vehicle load, the more active the engine exhaust brake will be. Use of the exhaust brake will help maintain vehicle speed when used with cruise control."

======
No place in the manual even mentions weight when talking about the exhaust brake. Sounds to me like they are in effect saying use of the exhaust brake is approved when towing any load the truck is rated for.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:30 AM   #74
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Standard operation for steep/long descent is downshifting. How is an exhaust brake less safe than downshifting?
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Old 09-28-2016, 07:07 PM   #75
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Use of the EB without corresponding TT brake activation means hitch is in compression the entire descent.

TT is pretty much ALWAYS traveling faster than TV in a descent.

Takes little wind or other problem to upset the apple cart

Descent without EB -- and using service brake intermittently -- keeps tension applied. Choose the right gear. Choose a lower speed.

Sure as hell won't change anyones day to travel at a more cautious speed.

Emergency procedure in event of sway (usually noticed TOO LATE and especially so with the lack of feedback in a solid axle 4WD with worm sector steering) is to slam throttle open and slam TT brakes on full.

There's no time for less. Hammer it.

EB use will LIKELY correspond with descent speed that is too fast to have adequate room to follow that procedure.

It's not at all a safety aid. An EB isn't even a convenience with one of these trailers.

A 16k fiver? Yeah, now one is into that territory. But it still isn't necessary. If it had disc brakes, even less so.

Even in a 79,000-lb Class 8 on the Interstate it's a convenience. As the hitch compression problem doesn't exist, on a dry day it's damned nice to have.

But one is still choosing gear and speed target to obtain a safe descent.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:24 PM   #76
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At the risk of also being called a troll, I'd say they reading comprehension is fine around here. It's perhaps the engineering comprehension that may be lacking by some.

Example: it's very common strategy in trailering, and always has been to drive down hills in the mountains, using lower gears, and therefore using the engine as a "braking force" for the combined rig, without needing to use any brakes at all ( tow vehicle or trailer ).

Guess what: is the hitch connection in compression, or tension ? Hmmm....you got it...it's in compression.

I've towed bumper pull trailers countless miles down twisty mountain roads since the late 1960's, using this procedure. Not once, not one single time, have I had an issue with this.
I would suggest, the real key here is a properly engineered trailer, correctly loaded and hitched to an adequate tow vehicle piloted by a skilled driver.

Some may want to brush up on their engineering comprehension. Or failing that, I'm thinking the poster rostam has it right: just rely on what the the manufacturer says in their manual, such as the quote I posted earlier from the GM manual.
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:08 PM   #77
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Not once, not one single time, have I had an issue with this.
Engineer here. PhD in fact, not that it matters.

The issue for me is that using an EB or downshifting on downhills means that all of the brake traction is down by the four tires of the TV. Meanwhile, the four tires of the TT are just going along for the ride.

EB and downshifting were important back in the day when brake failure was a real concern. But with modern equipment on a dry road in good condition, I have no doubt that a person could go a lifetime without incident.

But anytime I'm descending on the road under difficult conditions, i.e., rain, grease, sand, snow, etc, there's no way I'd rely on four tires for braking when I have brakes on eight. And I'll do everything I can to keep the hitch in tension which means have the TT brake controller should be set a bit more aggressive than the TV. YMMV, Dave
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:08 PM   #78
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Depending on engine/exhaust braking of the truck's rear wheels to hold your Airstream while it is pushing you down the hill is terrific. Until you hit a patch of ice or loose gravel on a curve.

We'll stay with our method of reduced speed, engine compression braking through low axle gears and a downshifted transmission, combined with truck and trailer service brakes and the brake controller set to favor the trailer's brakes. If the road surface is unsure, I would reduce speed further and move my hand near the brake controller on the curve.

I believe the weak link in a heavy duty pickup/Airstream combo near truck GCWR is traction of the truck's rear tires on steep downhill grades using engine exhaust braking alone. A dually would help some, maybe we'll start seeing more of them as the next progression towards overkill.
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:00 PM   #79
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Engineer here. PhD in fact, not that it matters.

The issue for me is that using an EB or downshifting on downhills means that all of the brake traction is down by the four tires of the TV. Meanwhile, the four tires of the TT are just going along for the ride.

EB and downshifting were important back in the day when brake failure was a real concern. But with modern equipment on a dry road in good condition, I have no doubt that a person could go a lifetime without incident.

But anytime I'm descending on the road under difficult conditions, i.e., rain, grease, sand, snow, etc, there's no way I'd rely on four tires for braking when I have brakes on eight. And I'll do everything I can to keep the hitch in tension which means have the TT brake controller should be set a bit more aggressive than the TV. YMMV, Dave
Dave, you said:

"And I'll do everything I can to keep the hitch in tension which means have the TT brake controller should be set a bit more aggressive than the TV. YMMV, Dave"
=======

And the only problem I have with that theory is that in order to keep the hitch in tension, you would have to be on the brakes the entire descent.
All of it.
Because the instant you let off the brakes, the trailer is going to once again be "pushing" on the trailer. Gravity will ensure that.

EDIT: ps.... I reckon I will conclude that if a truck and trailer combo cannot safely descend a curvy mountain road without keeping the hitch in tension the entire way, then the owner needs to seriously re-think their whole combo of truck/trailer/hitch/driving skills.

EDIT 2: Doug, I would suggest if a person does not have enough sense and skills to get through a curve with ice/snow/gravel etc, then they probably should not be hitching a trailer to a truck to go traveling. I guess common sense is not so common anymore.
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:19 PM   #80
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A dually would help some, maybe we'll start seeing more of them as the next progression towards overkill.
The shape of a tire's contact patch greatly affects braking performance.

Back in the day of skinny tires, the contact patch was long and thin which didn't do much for braking. Reason is that the leading edge of the contact patch is the most effective.

The size of a contact patch is directly related to the vehicle weight. Ignoring the weight supported by the side walls, the size of the contact patch is simply the weight divided by the tire air pressure.

So a dually, with four tires in the back, will have four contact patches that are short and wide. Great for straight line braking and acceleration but not so good for cornering traction.
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:38 PM   #81
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Thanks dasams, not really serious about the dually. More of a comment about the direction these threads tend to go.

But now that I think about it, wouldn't the contact patch also be increased by slightly lower tire pressure? And why do race cars use wide tires if not for cornering traction, a larger contact patch?
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:16 AM   #82
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I pull just on the ball, no hitch, so I have no issue with compression of hitch or not. What I just discovered on my last trip is the importance if good tires. Had my tires checked at two tire shops before leaving and each said the tires were good for several thousand miles more. First wet day and I found myself in sliding mode, no traction. Even without the trailer attached. I don't drive in the rain much and only in town, except on vacation. These were firestone tires which were a bit slippery when new but great tires. I guess I just reached the wear point where traction in wet is compromised. So all this discussion about EB, etc, is mute if the tires are worn beyond safe limits. My trailer brakes were operating correctly and everything was as normal on dry pavement. So check your wet weather rating for your tires and be awRe as they get down to the last quarter of thread you may have traction compromised. An EB equipped trick with worn tires would only compound the problem on wet downhills if trailer brakes didn't actuate properly. I had quite a ride in downtown Columbus on a slight downhill in the rain, no traction from the truck, the trailer brakes obviously worked because I remained straight. This happened twice, I'm a slow learner. On dry all was great.
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Old 09-30-2016, 05:45 AM   #83
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:47 AM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasams View Post
Engineer here. PhD in fact, not that it matters.

The issue for me is that using an EB or downshifting on downhills means that all of the brake traction is down by the four tires of the TV. Meanwhile, the four tires of the TT are just going along for the ride.

EB and downshifting were important back in the day when brake failure was a real concern. But with modern equipment on a dry road in good condition, I have no doubt that a person could go a lifetime without incident.

But anytime I'm descending on the road under difficult conditions, i.e., rain, grease, sand, snow, etc, there's no way I'd rely on four tires for braking when I have brakes on eight. And I'll do everything I can to keep the hitch in tension which means have the TT brake controller should be set a bit more aggressive than the TV. YMMV, Dave

Trailer brakes can fail. Mine failed in the mountains last year. One of the magnets broke loose in mine and tore a wire loose in the process. It shorted to the metal plating bracket and the whole trailer braking system went down. I actually used this forum to help troubleshoot the problem and get me going again. I do not trust electric trailer brakes near as much as I trust the brakes on my truck. I do use my brakes as needed in the mountains, but my exhaust brake makes mountain driving much more comfortable. On my truck I can modulate how much exhaust braking I have just by adding more or less throttle (accelerator). If I feel like the exhaust brake is doing too much and I want to add some truck and trailer braking that is simple to do as well. The exhaust brake is just another tool in the toolbox. I can (and did) pull my 30fb with my half ton, but I have better control and more tools for handling the load with my 3/4 ton diesel. I do not tell people what to tow with. That is their business and something they have to live with, but I much prefer my towing experience with an exhaust brake.
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