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Old 10-15-2006, 05:27 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 59toaster
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.

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.
You guessed correctly. I had been traveling safely westbound in the right lane of M-14 north of Ann Arbor. It's the unmarked horizontal section on the map. We came to rest by the Barton Road exit.



Heading west you must exit on the left side of the freeway. I had just moved from the right lane to the left and no one would let me in to the exit lane. I was forced onto a crowned section of road, but stayed on the road.

The exit is downhill on a curve. Everything seemed fine but there was some porpoising of the trailer, which made the tow vehicle act a little strange, but manageable.

As you can see on the map the ramp curves and dumps you on another section of the freeway where you have to merge from the left. I wanted very badly to be in the right lane so I slightly moved the wheel to the right and we crossed the crown in the road and all hell broke loose.

We went into four severe wags. As we entered the second wag I applied the massive braking capacity of the trailer (24,000 lbs of braking with a 1,600 psi electric/hydraulic actuator). NOTHING HAPPENED! I managed to get through the third wag without hitting anything and I tried the brakes again and got immediate results. The truck/trailer straightened out but had us headed right at the concrete median. I yanked the wheel and avoided hitting the wall with the truck and barely clipped the driver's side right at the very end. There are tire tracks on the floor where the Porsche moved sideways about 10" from that impact but it never made contact with the inside wall.

Yanking the wheel to avoid the wall cause us to go off in another direction and downhill again. I was now headed for a ravine. I yanked the wheel back left and made contact with the side of the box truck against the guardrail with the trailer making contact soon after.

The built up inertia of the Porsche amplified by the impact ripped the Porsche loose from it's rear bindings and it went sailing into the side wall. The trailer side wall was trapped in-between the moving Porsche and the guardrail, luckily, containing the Porsche within the trailer. The impact bent a lot of sheetmetal and broke numerous wood studs but it held together nicely.

The broken hitch's stinger was bet upward and of to the side by 20 in each direction. I believe the truck was up on 3 wheels for a few moments. That would account for one of the bends. There was traffic all around me. I luckily made contact with no one. The guardrail saved my life. Actually, the trailer brakes played a big part too, The reason nothing happened the first time is that I didn't wait long enough. It takes a couple of seconds before the pump can fill the area behind 24 pistons in the brake calipers. Once there was pressure they worked incredibly well.

Here's my take. I created a pendulum by putting a rear-engined car in the rear of the trailer and guessed at the tongue weight. Unlike the Equal-I-Zer hitch the round bar hitch uses chains and each link is a full 2" adjustment in torsion. 7 was way too loose and 5 was extraordinarily tight. 6 links looked just like the picture in the instructions and the written portion clearly said that the in-tension bars should be parallel to the frame and to the ground. Cinching the end of a three-foot bar another 2" would have drastically changed the angle and the orientation in contrast to the instructions.

There are two clear wear patterns on the round bar that fell out. The larger one is in the same position and size as the wear pattern on the other bar. The second pattern is above the first on the bar that fell out, telling me that the round bar slipped out of its retainer and dropped about 1/2". I think this happened as I exited the freeway and went over the first crown. I think the round bar fell out when I went over the second crown. With only one torsion bar in place and the whole WD hitch head shifted to one side, the trailer wanted to go in circles.

I believe that while the WD hitch was hooked up it masked my ill-loaded pendelum. Apparently it did have some sway control capabilities with both arms in place but all that went out the window when the equalizer hitch became unequal.

I don't believe that the trailer was the problem at all. I back that up by the fact that I was able to disassemble the WD hitch, drop the tongue onto a standard 2 5/16" ball insert, tied the Porsche where it landed 4-feet further forward, turn around and drove 30 miles home with a very smooth ride, even having to do several lane shifts and shoulder drives in construction zones. It tracked beautifully and there was no porpoiseing or wagging at all.

I realize that that's just anecdotal evidence but you'll have to admit that it's hard to explain away.
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:10 PM   #114
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What were the bars rated?

Here are a few posts worth reading that cover dynamics of WD hitches.

If you haven't ran acrsoss Andy of Inland RV yet he's worth reading back posts. He was the investigaive adjuster For Airstream. When it comes to hooking a trailer to a to vehicle you can pretty well take his word as gosple. He has investigated hundres of accidents involving travel trailers.


http://www.airforums.com/forum...hlight=hitched

http://www.airforums.com/forum...rty-19133.html

http://www.airforums.com/forum...hlight=hitched

http://www.airforums.com/forum...erhitched+andy
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:21 PM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 59toaster
What were the bars rated?
Both the old and the new were rated for 14,000 lbs.
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Old 10-15-2006, 09:10 PM   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry2952
Both the old and the new were rated for 14,000 lbs.
Double what you need with a 3/4 to 1 ton rated truck. Little high even for a 1/2 ton. They unloaded when you hit the crest and it was porpoising.

So was the 356 a car originally from Detroit? Did it come from Erhard motors by chance? My parents knew Erhard. Dad bought his 55 Speedster from him and his 65 356c Cabriolet, 68 Square back and a Sunbeam Imp from him. Dad sold the 55 to Mitch Mitchel as in Joni Mitchell's Husband to buy the 65.

Thought you might get a kick out of this. Erhard gave it to dad when he ordered the 65.
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:26 AM   #117
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I don't know where the Porsche spent its early life. It was imported to NY by Max Hoffman, American distributor. It spent the last 30 years in Hawaii.

I know Erhard Daum very well. He was at my home last fall identifying some '53 Mercedes parts used on my Mark II convertible. I first met Erhard when he had his Mercedes dealership on Grand River in Farmington.

I'll contact Equal-I-Zer with your comments.
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:22 PM   #118
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When I purchased my Airstream I knew I would occasionally be carrying an additional load in the bed of my 3/4 ton pick-up while towing my Airstream. My local hitch dealer recommended going up one size on my Equal-i-zer brand hitch to help distribute that load as well as the tongue weight of the trailer.

My Airstream has a dry tongue weight of 850 lbs. so a 10,000# hitch is the normally recommended hitch with corresponding 1,000# bars. However, since I planned to carry an additional approximately 1,000 lbs in the bed of my truck, I had the Airstream dealer install the next size up hitch (12,000 lbs hitch with corresponding 1,200# bars) when I purchased my trailer. I have no problems with porposing when hitting rough spots in the highway or when going from asphalt road to bridges or from one lane to the next when one lane has freshly been resurfaced and the next has not (drop-off situation). So far, out of seven trips I have had a load in the bed of the truck only once. This week end will be trip #2. I also called Equal-i-zer and discussed my hitch situation with them and they said that an overrated hitch would not be a problem, but an undersized hitch would be a problem. Perhaps oversizing would be a problem with a chain system; I don't know.

Because the Equal-z-er spring bars are held in place by pins in the hitch head and on L-brackets and under L-clamps on the tongue, it is next to impossible for them to come loose and cause a failure like Barry experienced. As long as the hitch is rated at least as much as the trailer/cargo weighs, plus a margin of error, I can't imagine a scenario where it would fail, even in a porposing scenario where conventional chain and spring bar style W/D hitch might come loose.
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Old 10-16-2006, 03:53 PM   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
When I purchased my Airstream I knew I would occasionally be carrying an additional load in the bed of my 3/4 ton pick-up while towing my Airstream. My local hitch dealer recommended going up one size on my Equal-i-zer brand hitch to help distribute that load as well as the tongue weight of the trailer.

My Airstream has a dry tongue weight of 850 lbs. so a 10,000# hitch is the normally recommended hitch with corresponding 1,000# bars. However, since I planned to carry an additional approximately 1,000 lbs in the bed of my truck, I had the Airstream dealer install the next size up hitch (12,000 lbs hitch with corresponding 1,200# bars) when I purchased my trailer. .
http://www.airforums.com/forum...erhitched+andy

Read that. Understand that Andy literally wrote the book for Airstream when he was their investigator. He has done a lot of testing on the subject and he outlines it in that post.

The bars are to transfer weigh to the front axle of the tow vehicle to level it. So basic logic does say bigger is better in relation to the bars BUT The truck already has stiff suspension for carrying weight. So it sags less then a car. So knowing that we can agree it takes less tension on the bar to level the tow vehicle. We all agree on that part correct?

Now here is where the problems start. Since it took less tension to level the truck that means the if the hitch comes up from brake dive (nose of the truck comes down the rear at the hitch goes up because not only does the rear axle act as a fulcrum the suspension unloads), cresting a hill, wave in the road the angle that the hitch has to come is up less before all tension is lost. Think that out for a minute.

If it isn't clear then go hook up your trailer. hook up the bars where you normally do and see how many inches the end of the bar comes up. Now run the jack up with it all attached to the tow vehicle to simulate a crest or brake dive or porpoising and see how easy it is to get that bar unlatched.

What the lighter bar does is allow the bar to flex more so that it cant unload totally when the attitude of the tow vehicle changes in relation to the trailer. If the system is one that fights sway if it unloads you lose sway control. Brake dive on the tow vehicle is going to cause the rear of the tow vehicle to raise so if the bars unload you loose the sway control at the worst possible time....

When did Barry start to really get in trouble?.......the delay it took for his trailer brakes to react. The tow vehicle nose dived, The hitch unloaded the bars and the bar failed for what ever reason. The ONLY reason it wasn't worse is the amount of braking his trailer had. The trailler stopped the truck.

Think of the rating as more of guideline. Those bars were originally rated when people towed with cars and station wagons The soft suspension needed a LOT of help to get the vehicle level. So they were labeled pretty close to Tongue weight as a guide when 4 bags of fertilizer in the trunk was pointing the headlights at the moon.

You are towing with a truck that can handle the weight of a Honda Civic in the bed. You don't need half as much tension on those bars as a car would on the same bars. So once you start talking truck what that bar is rated needs to go out the window. You are matching the bar to the suspension capacity of the tow vehicle not to the tongue weight.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:22 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry2952
I don't know where the Porsche spent its early life. It was imported to NY by Max Hoffman, American distributor. It spent the last 30 years in Hawaii.

I know Erhard Daum very well. He was at my home last fall identifying some '53 Mercedes parts used on my Mark II convertible. I first met Erhard when he had his Mercedes dealership on Grand River in Farmington.

I'll contact Equal-I-Zer with your comments.
Erhard probably hasn't seen mom and dad since around 74. His last Porsche was a 72 914 he bought from him. He might remember him.

Erhard had a old Benz WWII Staff car that my Mom always talks about, He still have that?

Next time you see him ask him if he Remembers Bill and Gloria Hummel.

Did you Know Dottie (Pink Harley) by Chance? My folks knew her and her husband as well from when they hard the Harley dealership.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:43 PM   #121
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Though I don’t consider myself an expert by any means. I have two comments. Maybe you can glean some useful information from some of what I have to share.
I have ranched and farmed all my life. There have been very few days that I haven’t hitched up a trailer of one sort or another over the years. We own all sorts of goosenecks and bumper pull trailers. I’ve experienced a few close calls with trailer sway over the last 40 odd years due to stupidity or not paying close enough attention to what I was doing. ALL of my problems involved too much weight in the rear of the trailer. Usually it involved the hauling of animals in bumper pull trailers where an animal or animals pushed a gate open and got into the back of the trailer thus transferring too much weight to the rear. Once it involved hauling a 6000 lb. Toyota Landcruiser on a car hauler flatbed. The Landcruiser was not loaded far enough forward sufficient to place enough weight on the tongue. It was more or less balanced on the trailer which caused the trailer to sway severely at 30 mph such that the trailer broke away entirely from the tow truck. The point I’m making here is that if you take the weight off the tongue of the trailer, it invariably will start the sway scenario.
I recently had my 31’ Airstream serviced at Roger Williams Airstream in Weatherford, Texas. When I entered the service bay, David Tidmore, the service manager advised that before I left, he wanted to readjust my hitch. My first reaction was to inquire as to why because I thought I was getting a fairly sweet ride with my F-250 and Reese hitch the way it was. I wasn’t experiencing any sway. My trailer was riding level and my hitch bars were level with my hitch. David explained that though my bars were level, he didn’t feel that I had the tongue weight properly distributed. He measured my ball height unloaded, then measured the height from my tires to the bottom of my fenders on each axle. After hitching and tensioning the load bars, he continued to measure the height between fender wells and tires on each axle as well as the height of the hitch ball. To make a long story short, I didn’t have enough adjustment in my hitch shank to allow him to make the amount of adjustment he felt was needed. He traded me a longer shank for my old one and started over. He eventually managed to adjust the new shank sufficiently to suit him and then tilted my ball to the rear so as to get an angle sufficient enough that when he tensioned the hitch both fender wells dropped exactly the same distance indicating that he had achieved equal tension on each axle. At that point, the hitch bars were also level. All I know is that my truck now handles MUCH BETTER with the trailer attached than it does without the trailer. It is amazing to drive properly hitched. It truly handles like a sports car. Though I wasn’t experiencing any sway before the adjustment, I was having to constantly correct and tweek the steering wheel while traveling down the road. Uneven surfaces would cause the truck to duck and roll from time to time. Now, you just point the steering wheel in the direction you want to go and it goes. No more ducking.
I don’t know that either of my comments have much to do with helping you understand your accident. You already suspicion that you had your load too far in the rear. From your comments, you hadn’t measured or weighed your tow vehicle axles so you really have no idea as to what effect the hitch was having on weight distribution. I would attend to that detail the next go around, but I also feel like one or two others, that if I were you I’d look one more time at the air suspension system that you have on the trailer to make certain that it is not taking too much weight away from the tongue in certain situations. I remember seeing the pictures of your trailer in your early posts where it was sitting there in a level position without any jack under the tongue. I hope my experience and comments help in some way.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:45 PM   #122
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Quote:
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Erhard probably hasn't seen mom and dad since around 74. His last Porsche was a 72 914 he bought from him. He might remember him.

Erhard had a old Benz WWII Staff car that my Mom always talks about, He still have that?

Next time you see him ask him if he Remembers Bill and Gloria Hummel.

Did you Know Dottie (Pink Harley) by Chance? My folks knew her and her husband as well from when they hard the Harley dealership.

Erhard's son and daughter have pretty much taken over the business. He has two BMW, one Land Rover and one BMW motorcycle dealership now.

Actually, I wanted an R1200C and my wife pleaded with me to get a big convertible instead. That's how I ended up with the Mark II convertible.
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:55 PM   #123
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I remember seeing the pictures of your trailer in your early posts where it was sitting there in a level position without any jack under the tongue.

That was true at that time. I have since added 850 lbs of bamboo flooring to line the cabin, added 4 gel cell batteries, inverter, furniture and other goodies to the front of the trailer. The air suspension (tested at 120 lbs) will not lift the front end anymore.

Lets get back to the air suspension. I'm only running it at 40 lbs. The air bags are really acting as an assist and damper, not the suspension itself. The Torqueflex suspension is what really provides the motion control.
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:34 PM   #124
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hi barry

i've followed some threads on your project and just now looked at this one.

the accident was horrific yet you are bringing all the metal back to life...

and no one lost life...that really matters...

the workmanship, materials, energy and documentation are all fantastic, thanks for sharing.

can i ask a question or 2?

what does the finished toy hauler weight do you know? approximately?

what t.v. have you decided on?

is it corrrect that sometimes the continental and sometimes the porsche will be carried?

thanks...

2air'
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:55 PM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry2952
Erhard's son and daughter have pretty much taken over the business. He has two BMW, one Land Rover and one BMW motorcycle dealership now.

Actually, I wanted an R1200C and my wife pleaded with me to get a big convertible instead. That's how I ended up with the Mark II convertible.
You know I think Dad bought his 1961 BMW 69RS 600 from him as well. Thats the one I really wish I still had. I know the Speeder was on its way to a rust bucket when he sold it to Mitch. The BMW was pristine though.
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Old 10-17-2006, 12:47 AM   #126
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There are torsion axles with the airbags ,is that right Barry? Then does the
airbags move air between them ,say back and forth as the road changes?
could the porpousing be from the loading and unloading of the bags ?Seems
unusual to have really 2 suspensions going here at once ,bags and torsion arms ,you either have one or the other .I can see lots of shifting of the weight and the unloading of the hitch with this setup ,and the 40 psi is
having an effect on it ,has to as they are pressurized .It would make sense
if your trailer frame is constantly changing its attitude with rgards to the leveling with the bags .Two suspensions here ,can they really work
together ?? do the bags raise the trailer for ride height or for soft ride ,and
doesn't the torsion axles ride smooth already .somthing to really consider
with this setup ,many may say yes its ok ,but that trailer should never
porpouse along the road . this whole setup is a tricky one as well as being
a super long trailer .Im thinking more thought on the suspension .

Scott
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