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Old 02-02-2014, 03:48 PM   #295
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I can't believe there is an issue here that is a problem. We have a similar setup and it easily transfers weight and it's no big deal to attach the bars. Mr. T. is the man to talk to.
HUH? Dang. Do you have the EazLift? How exactly do you hook the chains?
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:50 PM   #296
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Have you tried less psi inthe air shocks? Would that make any difference?
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:50 PM   #297
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Good question Steve.

First, I just assumed we want to get our f/r weight distribution close to what the car is without a trailer. 51% front. Second, when I test drove the first condition (140# on front) the steering felt too light. There was a bit of wander, and the steering felt a bit vague. This was at 55 MPH on the freeway.

My intuition says that when hooked up, I will get the best handling when the f/r weight ratio is as close as I can get to 51%.
That's a reasonable assumption with a sedan, but may not be achievable.

When I get that light on the front end feeling in the steering wheel, I increase air pressure in the TV rear tires, and reduce air pressure in the front tires and it usually takes care of it. I normally run the door sticker air pressure in the front tires when towing.
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:59 PM   #298
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That's a reasonable assumption with a sedan, but may not be achievable.

When I get that light on the front end feeling in the steering wheel, I increase air pressure in the TV rear tires, and reduce air pressure in the front tires and it usually takes care of it. I normally run the door sticker air pressure in the front tires when towing.

That has also been my experience.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:01 PM   #299
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That's a reasonable assumption with a sedan, but may not be achievable.

When I get that light on the front end feeling in the steering wheel, I increase air pressure in the TV rear tires, and reduce air pressure in the front tires and it usually takes care of it. I normally run the door sticker air pressure in the front tires when towing.
Interesting. I get the idea. Suppose I have sticker pressure at the rear (which I do), then lower the front by 10%? Or would you be thinking even more?
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:04 PM   #300
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Ahhh, so you are in the same boat it sounds like? Do you know how much WD you are getting on your Sienna?

Dumb Question: What would happen if the rear wheels lost touch with the pavement? Does the parking brake work on the front wheels too? We've been wickedly nervous about such a high lift of the back of the car.

So maybe it "ain't no big deal?" Really? REALLY? LOL
We hitch up on a sloping drive and I've even had the rear wheels off the ground with no problems. The Sienna is front wheel drive so I stick it park and all is OK with the car, but I also have my x-chocks in place between the wheels of the trailer and I have a couple of yellow plastic chocks in place on the leading wheels as a back up. If the trailer won't move then neither will the car.

This year, I took the chains up a third of a link (long story but happy to explain if you want) so the chains are shorter now and require a little more effort to get them in place. I have to get the car's back wheels almost off the ground, hook the chains on then use the pipe lever to snap the hooks in place on the A-frame; sometimes a reasonable amount of force is required. Once hooked, I lower it all down and I can see the bars flex and the torque acting on the hitch receiver (it comes up and forward a bit).

I haven't done a proper weighing process so I don't know what the transfer is like, but both car and trailer sit visibly level and drive well.

Andy T might suggest that you persevere with lifting the rear of the car; it's a bit worrying when you start doing it but you get used to the process. After a while, the bars will wear in a bit and I'm sure it won't be so hard to do anyway.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:05 PM   #301
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Interesting. I get the idea. Suppose I have sticker pressure at the rear (which I do), then lower the front by 10%? Or would you be thinking even more?
For stability reasons, I always run the rear tires at max rated pressure, and start with the front tires at door sticker mfgr's recommended pressure.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:05 PM   #302
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Have you tried less psi inthe air shocks? Would that make any difference?
Lowering the air shocks will lower the back end. The back end needs to go UP in order to reduce the subtended angle of the car chassis and trailer chassis. That's the only way to get the chains connected.

Right now it takes about 18" of lift on the tongue jack!

I suppose mostly it just "feels wrong" to me. If that's the normal method, then I guess I could just raise away! However, I don't think I will ever get 300# on the front. Ain't gonna happen.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:07 PM   #303
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ALANSD,

You originally asked for photographs - unfortunately I don't have any to offer. At least not right now. But your question brought something to mind... Last year at Alumapalooza there were lots of Airstreams being towed by relatively small SUVs and a variety of sedans. I seem to recall a Chrysler 300, a Dodge Magnum, several BMW X series, a Mercedes or two. Some of these are not exactly small but certainly smaller than your Excursion.

If you have the time and $ to attend Alumapalooza this year I suspect you'll find a broad cross-section of alternative tow vehicles. Last year I was able to sign-up for a test drive of AndrewT's Ford SHO Taurus and found it to be quite a capable tow vehicle. Definitely worth consideration.

I'm still in my Suburban frame of mind since I want to bring so much stuff with me but I'll definitely give a smaller vehicle consideration when (and if) we decide to downsize.

Danielle and I will be at Alumaflamingo in Sarasota in a few weeks. If I'm able to take pictures of smaller vehicles towing Airstreams I'll post them here.

On edit... I wonder if AndrewT will be looking for a spring break in mid-April? Maybe he'd consider coming down to Springstream and presenting his towing seminar.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:08 PM   #304
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Half-inch bolt through adjoining links. Shortens the chain by 1/3 of a link. Makes a difference in how the front end feels. I have 600 pound bars so I would guess you would get even more weight transferred with 1,000. lb bars.

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Old 02-02-2014, 04:37 PM   #305
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For stability reasons, I always run the rear tires at max rated pressure, and start with the front tires at door sticker mfgr's recommended pressure.
Ahh, right. I mistakenly said "sticker" before when I meant MAX for the rear.
Ok, I understand your point. I will try that.
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:45 PM   #306
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We hitch up on a sloping drive and I've even had the rear wheels off the ground with no problems. The Sienna is front wheel drive so I stick it park and all is OK with the car, but I also have my x-chocks in place between the wheels of the trailer and I have a couple of yellow plastic chocks in place on the leading wheels as a back up. If the trailer won't move then neither will the car.

This year, I took the chains up a third of a link (long story but happy to explain if you want) so the chains are shorter now and require a little more effort to get them in place. I have to get the car's back wheels almost off the ground, hook the chains on then use the pipe lever to snap the hooks in place on the A-frame; sometimes a reasonable amount of force is required. Once hooked, I lower it all down and I can see the bars flex and the torque acting on the hitch receiver (it comes up and forward a bit).

I haven't done a proper weighing process so I don't know what the transfer is like, but both car and trailer sit visibly level and drive well.

Andy T might suggest that you persevere with lifting the rear of the car; it's a bit worrying when you start doing it but you get used to the process. After a while, the bars will wear in a bit and I'm sure it won't be so hard to do anyway.
Ok, this puts me in a different frame of reference. If lifting that high is normal, I can adjust my thinking. I need to be sure I have better chocking then. I don't have front wheel drive, so my front wheels are depending on the parking brake (I guess).

Do you use ONE or TWO of those "x-clamps" chocks on the trailer? I have none.

I thank you for the detailed response. I really thought I was out in left field with all this lifting.
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:10 PM   #307
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Ok, this puts me in a different frame of reference. If lifting that high is normal, I can adjust my thinking. I need to be sure I have better chocking then. I don't have front wheel drive, so my front wheels are depending on the parking brake (I guess).

Do you use ONE or TWO of those "x-clamps" chocks on the trailer? I have none.

I thank you for the detailed response. I really thought I was out in left field with all this lifting.
Two x-chocks and a couple of the plastic wedge type chocks as backup. You should buy the chocks in pairs, anyway.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:13 PM   #308
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Lowering the air shocks will lower the back end. The back end needs to go UP in order to reduce the subtended angle of the car chassis and trailer chassis. That's the only way to get the chains connected.
Continue to use the air shocks to raise the rear of the car to help get the WD bars loaded. You might want to have the shocks raise the car even higher than you have been -- if possible.

Then, after the tongue jack is retracted, decrease the pressure in the shocks to let the rear of the car drop a bit. This will cause the WDH to transfer more load to the front axle.

By adjusting the pressure in the shocks after you initially use the shocks to get the chains hooked up , you should be able to "fine tune" the load transfer to a degree which is hard to obtain with just chain links and head tilt.

But, you might have to settle for more rear-end sag than you were hoping for.

Ron
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