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Old 10-11-2006, 05:49 PM   #99
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Barry,

I second Fred's comment, fantastic craftsmanship.

bill
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:03 PM   #100
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Thanks all!
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:23 PM   #101
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10-12-2006

The mock-up for the handle went so well I just went ahead and fabbed up a handle shaft out of an alumimum bolt. I squared the end after threading on a thin nylock. I drilled and tapped a 10-32 hole for the screw that holds the handle to the shaft. The nylock allows me to set the pressure on the hatch skin allowing the handle to move, but not flop around.

I'm not sure which way I want the handle to face.

This way?



Or this way?



I'll cut the head off of the aluminum bolt and clean up the threads. Another nylock will thread on from the new end, sandwiching the latch in-between the faces of the nylocks with a star washer to maintain position.

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Old 10-12-2006, 08:43 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry2952
10-12-2006


I'm not sure which way I want the handle to face.






I vote for (not that I actually have one) this view. It seems more natural and follows the rivet line. But that's just me - a rivet line follower. Fitting, given the nature of this forum, huh?
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Old 10-14-2006, 05:48 PM   #103
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10-14-2006

Finished wall and wiring repairs.





Just a reminder of what I started with after the accident.





I've come a long ways.





The last step before final finishes is the installation of structural foam. In order to do that I have to hit the open road for a 20 mile trip to the foam installer.

I'm going to await the arrival of the new weight distributing hitch before I venture out again.

The insurance company bought the defective hitch. I posted questions about WD hitches on several towing related websites and the brand Equal-I-Zer kept coming up.

The construction of the hitch is simpler yet performs both weight distribution and sway control.



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Old 10-14-2006, 07:34 PM   #104
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I thought I wanted another brand of hitch until I really investigated the Equal-i-zer brand and then I insisted on it when I bought my new Airstream. I have been more than pleased with my decision and I think you will, too. Just make sure you have one rated high enough for the weight of your trailer and your heaviest anticipated cargo.
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Old 10-14-2006, 11:40 PM   #105
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Hello Barry ,

that hitch in the photo shows the same drawbar that bent all out of shape .
hopefully you are not getting another one like it .That Reese i posted about
would be great for the size of your rig ,I hope you at least looked at it first.
after all that you just did I would definatley be going with the best there is .
forget what is the popular thing ,who cares if it cannot control your trailer .
and the last hitch wasn't it .By the way does that trailer have any tongue
weight ? It needs to be 15% I think is it of the total weight .I thought I
remember it sits level by itself.

Scott
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:17 AM   #106
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"Over hitched". Look up the term here and you will find several posts on the subject.

I have been following the build of your trailer for a long time. Sorry to hear about the accident.

I found your trailer after looking up information on the MK to get a rough idea what the 56 MK my buddies boss has sitting out behind his shop rotting.



Your trailer has a HUGE design flaw and once you get that heavy Lincoln in the back you will have a recurrence of this accident if you don't correct it.

The loss if the bar was as a result of too stiff Weight distributing bars, Too little tongue weight and tow rig with stiff suspension. Simply put wrong hitch parts and the trailer is too neutral. You are "over hitched".

You mentioned "porpoising" on your test drive. Thats what triggered me to start thinking about the dynamics that happed to cause your wreck. Most people do not put thought to the hitch in relation to what happens when the tow vehicle nose dives or when you crest a hill. It unloads the tips of the bars at the chains. With the stiff suspension of the truck and the light tongue loads you created and the ability of the trailer to shift load off the tongue by the amount of air the front axle carries. You simply didn't have the bars tensioned enough. They literally unloaded as it porpoised and the chains dropped off and they disconnected.

To start with all WD hitches if the trunnion is leaned back will created some amount of sway correction. Once under tensions with the lean in the trunnion the bars will try to swing out way from the hitch and fight each other till they come to a neutral point that helps resists the trailer getting out of line with the tow vehicle. The chains reduce that effect but its still present. The Equalizer, with its ridged mount and the Reece Dual cam with its saddles, remove the chain slop and there for make the sway reducing effect that much better. However they are all depend on constant load on that bar. If it unloads the sway prevention is gone.

To correct the problem you need to increase the tongue weight up to at least 500lb. You may also need to go down to a 500lb bars to deal with the stiff suspension of the tow vehicle. Then you need to let the hitch level the tow vehicle with tension on the bars.

I really question if you need to do some redesign on the trailer suspension. the ability of the trailer to load that front axle really can cause and unintended weight transfer to the rear in a hurry and get that hitch unloaded. I wonder if you ming not be better served to allow air transfer from the front axle to the back. It would help prevent the tendency for the trailer to loose tongue weight when the front axle comes up on a high spot. It would in effect force the air to the rear axle and put more tongue weight to the hitch instead of less.

If you look at a dual axle it has the equalizer between the two axles to transition the load as the trailer pitches. with your set up if the front axle hits a high spot it lifts the trailer and causes a weight transfer to the rear unloading the hitch. This happed with a very light Porsche. Thin once you get that Continental in there with all that weight will be able to do, it will get ugly real quick.
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:19 AM   #107
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It's pretty clear that the accident was caused by poor workmanship in the hitch and my loading the Porsche too close to the rear of the trailer. It wouldn't have unloaded had the car been further forward.

The porpoising I experienced was from the load being too near the rear, too. I experienced no porpoising whatsoever when the crashed car was moved forward in the rig.

I have purchased a tongue scale. Empty, with no air in the suspension I have about 800 lbs of weight on the tongue. Aired up to about 40 lbs I get 1,100 lbs of tongue weight. Adding 4 batteries to the bank up front will give me the recommended 15% tongue weight.
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:18 AM   #108
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If I can interject a thought, what we have here is a physics problem. A body tends to stay in motion (13,00 lb your trailer) unless acted upon by another force (the tow). You need a massive tow to control the trailer.
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:01 AM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell2
If I can interject a thought, what we have here is a physics problem. A body tends to stay in motion (13,00 lb your trailer) unless acted upon by another force (the tow). You need a massive tow to control the trailer.

Russell,

I think all would agree with you.
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Old 10-15-2006, 09:32 AM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry2952
It's pretty clear that the accident was caused by poor workmanship in the hitch and my loading the Porsche too close to the rear of the trailer. It wouldn't have unloaded had the car been further forward.

The porpoising I experienced was from the load being too near the rear, too. I experienced no porpoising whatsoever when the crashed car was moved forward in the rig.

I have purchased a tongue scale. Empty, with no air in the suspension I have about 800 lbs of weight on the tongue. Aired up to about 40 lbs I get 1,100 lbs of tongue weight. Adding 4 batteries to the bank up front will give me the recommended 15% tongue weight.
It has been a while since I read through your build up. As I recall the trailer has active load leveling capability correct? I seem to recall you doing a trick where there is no tongue jack and you jump on the A-Frame and the trailer countered and leveled itself. Correct me if I have that wrong because thats what I am basing my theory on as the the potential problems you may have.

What was the bars rated on that hitch?

I feel they were the wrong rating for the applications not a design flaw. I know this sounds back-wards but with a 3/4 or 1 ton truck you actually need to go to a lighter bar. The bars date back to a time when people were towing with cars not medium duty trucks. They needed to be very stiff to combat the soft suspension of the car. Those bars MUST NOT loose tension when the plane of the trailer and the plane of the tow vehicle are not the same. Take a couple sticks one being trailer one being tow vehicle. Nose the tow vehicle down and think what happens at the union of the load bars and the Aframe......It unloads. If it totally unloads you loose the sway control and in the case of the previous hitch it came unhooked because it lost the tension that retains it. It was "Over Hitched".

Add the fact that your suspension on the trailer does not act like a boggy but three independent axles capable of changing load and therefor shifts the pivot point the tailer rotates on in relation to its horizontal plane. Your trailer can literally move that point from the front axle to the back axle as it tires to level itself in relation to where the axle is to the underside of the trailer.

Think about how that suspension is going to react when the back of the tow vehicle goes to the ground.....It is going to try to pull that hitch back up. That front axle and possibly middle axle will start adding air trying to get back to its ride hight and when it does that it takes weight off the hitch. It will shift the pivot to the front axle in the process.

Here is an idea to prove or disprove what I am saying. Do you have access to a set of wheel scales? Put them onto the front and rear tires and see what it says. Then see what happens as you shift weight in the trailer.

Ideally the weight on all three axles should share an equal load. Thats the point of the equalizer between the axles on a conventional dual axle is to share the load equally as the trailer pitches. I believe you will find the front or rear axle have more weight and as load and pitch changes, the leveling feature of the suspension will react and move that weight till it levels regardless off the attitude of the trailer in relation to the tow vehicle.

I think you may be safer to have more weight to the rear because its going to shift the weight to the rear axle.....Think about it. The axis that the trailer is going to rotate on in relation to the ground will be to the rear. It will dump air in the front two axles to counter that way using the rear axle as the fulcrum. That will effectively lengthen the working wheel base in relation to where the load center is on the three axles.

I think you need to at the very least disable the leveling feature once you set the tongue weight. Personally I think If it were mine I would change the plumbing to let air transfer between the front and rear axle possilbe center as well with a large transfer hose so that the fulcrum point will always be that center axle and all three axles always carry a shared and equal load. Then adjust tongue weight with the load in the trailer not the suspension. That will prevent the trailer from moving the load between the axles and countering the design of the hitch.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:43 PM   #111
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While your idea intrigues me, many thousands of people have looked at the plans and many trailer experts, including Dexter Axle's engineers, have approved the plans.

Keep in mind that there's only 40 lbs of air in the air bags. They are highly compliant to the changes in the road surface. The Torqueflex suspension is actually doing the work.

Also keep in mind that the changes in the system are very gradual, not instantaneous as you might imagine.

You did pique my curiousity so I went into the shop and set up a test to check the tongue weight based on each axle being a differnt fulcrum. Keep in mind that the centers of the tires are 32" apart so the fulcrum shift will only be over a 64" area.

What can you extrapolate from this data?

The trailer is 36 feet long. The body is 32 feet long. There's about 1,200 lbs of wood and batteries in the front 10 feet of the cabin. The front axle is 18 feet from the trailer tongue with each additional axle 32" behind each other.

That makes the rear fulcrum 23'4" and the middle fulcrum 20'10" from the tongue.

I did discover that one set will never lift the trailer, but two air bag sets will.

At 40# of system air pressure and each measurement was taken with unweighted and weighted drops on the hydraulic trailer tongue jack:

FCR 920# of tongue weight
FC 600#
F R 750#
CR 1,075#
F 825#
C 875#
R 1,150#

At 0# in all three sets of bags.

900#
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Old 10-15-2006, 03:55 PM   #112
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I am pondering the effect of the differnt load but I am also in the middle of making a 12V refrigerator and was looking up some information on the Danfoss compressor I am using. So a little scatter brained at the moment.

Please don't think me being critical of the coach. I have been facinated with it since I fires found your build page. I am hoping to make sure that you find all problems that lead to the accident so you don't have another.

I will concede that for some reason I thought the suspension was totally sprung with air. I did not recall the trailer having Torqueflex axles. I still feel that the suspension was contributing factor but let me put more thought to how it all related to the other factors that were involved. In particular the WD hitch in relation to the air bag assist on the suspension.


When the accident happened what was the road surface like just before you felt the truck Begin to loose control?

I am guessing that there was a wave in the road surface that started an oscillation that caused the trailer to buck and lifting the hitch causing the WD to drop (only lost one side correct?) and that loss caused the hitch to be unbalanced and started into sway.

I have had a similar accident where the trailer that didn't have WD hitch or any sway control. The catalyst to the accident was a wave in the road in a sweeping curve. It cause the trailer to buck and then it went into a violent sway and about spun the tow vehicle sideways. On level ground it seemed to have plenty of tongue weight. Nearly 300 lb by my guess and the totally weight was only around 2800lb. The CG of the trailer was relatively high with the load so when it bucked the CG moved back allowing the trailer to lift the nose and start to wobble and into a violent oscillation at 70mph.

The events that lead up to the accident are a cumulative in both our cases. There was a trigger and there were several other factors to consider in what caused the loss of control.

In my case I found that I flat out screwed up when I built the trailer. It was built as a tilt and inherently unbalanced as a result. I ended up lengthening it by 2ft in the body making it a 5x10 fixed bed and added an additional 10 inches to the tongue to make sure that when loaded it would be very hard for it to raise the nose enough to let it get where it can start that oscillation again. The vehicle I was towing it with also had some contributing factors. owing it with my Suburban it probably wound not have happened but the truck was very off road biased wit ha soft rear suspension. That allowed the small trailer to get the upper hand on the truck.
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