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Old 04-01-2014, 06:11 AM   #477
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Originally Posted by ALANSD View Post
Yes the axle is the 3.42 not the 3.7 which would have been better. I will check the tires when I get home.

Yes, not a good towing gear. the available 3.73 would have been much better but would have hurt non towing mileage. I drove our '51 Ford truck to Nashville on vacation...got 24.7 MPG on regular unleaded with a 2.73 gear. A couple of days after I returned, I changed the rearend to a 4.11 just so I could tow the Airstream over the mountain north of Helen on the Falluminum trip. Since then, we took it on another vacation out of town, it now gets 19.7 MPG. A friend has given me a 3.42...but if I put it in, I can't tow the camper. I'll likely put it in for a while and then sway to a 3.73 when I locate one.

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Old 04-01-2014, 07:35 AM   #478
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Hi Alan

The tires on your Trail Blazer are causing you a lot of problems. The original size was a 245/70 x 16" but someone has installed even larger 255/70 x 16" tires. This tire is 10" wide but is mounted on a 7" wide wheel rim. This gives the tire about 5" of side to side sway. You can see this just by pushing side to side on the back of the truck.

As well as the side sway these are giving you in effect a taller gear ratio and increased rolling resistance which hurt your performance and mileage. The tire that works really well on Trail-Blazers is a Goodyear Assurance Tripletread. The size you want is a P235/65R x 16". This size will give you in effect a 3.60:1 axle ratio but the decreased rolling resistance should improve your solo mileage slightly. This is a nice precise handling tire with lots of traction. You will hardly beleive you are driving the same vehicle afterwards.

If it has the original shocks still a set of HD gas charged shocks will also help a great deal.

Even though these tires will make it dramatically more stable it is still important to make those little changes to the hitch I suggested earlier.

I hope this helps.

Andrew T
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:08 AM   #479
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My experience shows you are correct, as long as the new tires are the correct load rating, and I am sure they are. This will be a relatively inexpensive fix along with better shocks for a tow vehicle. Much cheaper than buying a new one. Jim
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:36 PM   #480
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I will check into making the tire swap. ...and see what I can do.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:17 PM   #481
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As posted in another thread, here's our SOB rig:



2014 CampLite 21BHS behind a 2011 Ford Flex with the EcoBoost engine and factory receiver.

Andy from CanAm was nice enough to be our guru on equipment selection (I owe him a Mexican dinner!). He recommended the EAZ-Lift Elite with a Husky sway control. As installed:



Bear in mind I have never towed anything larger than a utility trailer. My impressions:

1) At first I honked down the sway control, using the ON-OFF lever, assuming I needed to tighten it all the way for the bottom adjustment to come into play. Towing was fine, but there was a godawful creaking/moaning when turning. Eventually backed off on the ON-OFF lever, and in Knoxville got a BBQ brush and removed the pad material that had transferred to the sliding portion. I backed off to just two turns in from initial contact on the ON-OFF lever and think I found a sweet spot where there's no sway and no noise.

2) I asked the dealer about tire pressures. I had put in the 37 psi recommended for my 20" wheel/tire combination. He said with the low profile tires, that pressure should be fine and I did not adjust it upwards. It felt fine, though I can see the logic of going a little higher to compensate for the tongue weight.

3) As asked in another thread, I'm wondering if drilling another hole in the hitch and moving it about 3" closer to the receiver would be worthwhile.

4) The Flex got around 21 or 22 mpg on the highway going up to IL. First leg with the trailer got 8.4 (!). That was into a 20 to 25 mph headwind. Later legs seemed to settle into about 12 to 12.5 mpg. I used 65 mph as my conservative upper limit.

5) Power was never an issue, and there are some pretty long grades between IL and N GA. Temp gauge never moved with outside temps around 40º.

6) The transmission on the Flex with EcoBoost seems ideal. Regular "D" worked fine on level ground. Putting it into "M" first puts it in "grade assist" which was fine for gently rolling terrain, always keeping the transmission in a slightly lower gear. A few times I went into Manual using the paddle shifters to downshift to fifth for uphills to keep around 2,000 rpm, then shifting to sixth on the downhills for about 1,600 rpm unless lower was needed for braking.

Anyway, I think we done good. First real outing will be at the SpringStream in a couple weeks. Looking forward to meeting a few of you guys and tossing ideas around!
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:57 PM   #482
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastEddieB View Post
As posted in another thread, here's our SOB rig:



2014 CampLite 21BHS behind a 2011 Ford Flex with the EcoBoost engine and factory receiver.

Andy from CanAm was nice enough to be our guru on equipment selection (I owe him a Mexican dinner!). He recommended the EAZ-Lift Elite with a Husky sway control. As installed:



Bear in mind I have never towed anything larger than a utility trailer. My impressions:

I asked the dealer about tire pressures. I had put in the 37 psi recommended for my 20" wheel/tire combination. He said with the low profile tires, that pressure should be fine and I did not adjust it upwards. It felt fine, though I can see the logic of going a little higher to compensate for the tongue weight.

As asked in another thread, I'm wondering if drilling another hole in the hitch and moving it about 3" closer to the receiver would be worthwhile.

The Flex got around 21 or 22 mpg on the highway going up to IL. First leg with the trailer got 8.4 (!). That was into a 20 to 25 mph headwind. Later legs seemed to settle into about 12 to 12.5 mpg. I used 65 mph as my conservative upper limit.
Your rig looks great!

I have done extensive testing for years regarding tire pressures and the effect of even slight rear end sag on towing and gas mileage.

One of the biggest things I've found regarding drag and its effect on mpg is tire pressure; I feel like I'm pulling a trailer with pillows for tires when tire pressures are lower. I hate that slushy wallowy feel; I like tight, sports-car handling with taut jostles over bumps, not bouncing and flailing. I have definitely learned over the years that this means towing with my trailer tires at their maximum pressure. I have had no trailer damage from doing so, and riding in the trailer in testing indicated that at least the Airstream rides super cushy as it is, even with 80lbs in my Michelin XP Rib tires. Even more important, I have found that my truck pulls easier with less rolling resistance with maximum cold pressure in the truck tires with nothing but benefits regarding the ride; when towing, it's not harsh or rough. Increasing the tire pressure increases the weight carrying ability and reduces heat...as well as reduces again the rolling resistance; you will be AMAZED at the increase in mpg while towing running your tires at maximum on both car and trailer.

I have found that even the slightest bit of rear end sag seems to greatly increase frontal drag when towing with a low profile vehicle (I use a Chevy SSR). Making sure your weight is distributed evenly is imperative not only for handling but also for wind resistance; that slight sag combined with a slight raise on the front of the trailer makes a BIG difference. I see that your Flex is slightly sagging in the rear. It is slight, but it is there. Getting a hitch exactly right is a time-consuming and lengthy process, with a little trial and error thrown in. I "thought" I had mine dialed in a couple times until I finally found the exact combo; I get between 12mpg (towing at 70-75) to 16/17mpg (towing 55-60) pulling my 19ft Bambi with my truck, and it is a 400+hp LS2 V8. The best way to set up a hitch is not only with a truck scale but also with a good old-fashioned yardstick. Ideally you want the same drop front and rear on your tow vehicle, but variables surely exist. I find I get the best mpg and more importantly the best POWER when my wind resistance is reduced and both front and rear axles on my truck drop 1/2"; I have no sag, the truck retains the factory "rake" which seems to reduce the wind buffering effect on the front of the trailer. It seems by your pics that you could use more lift on your hitch to transfer a bit more weight to your front axle; but, you may have to lower your head on the shank if this raises the front of the trailer too high as it already may have a slight tendency for that; any increased lift on the front of the trailer is going to increase that wind resistance. Ideally, everything should be level, with an EQUAL drop on both car axles...and, if anything, a slight dipping of the FRONT of the trailer rather than the rear. But again...you should be able to get the trailer nearly perfectly level with an equal drop front and rear on the tow vehicle.

As you've learned, WIND is your biggest enemy...NOTHING robs power like wind. And, when you combine wind with the devastating effects altitude and ethanol have on horsepower, going up climbs against wind will make you feel like your tow vehicle is broken. And, as you've seen, WIND kills gas mileage more than ANYTHING else. Don't worry about terrible mileage if you're going straight into steady hard wind...it will make a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE effect.

Regarding drilling a hole to get your hitch closer to the car...DO IT!!! This makes a HUGE difference in handling and stability. I have all Trailer Life magazines to the early 60's, and they stress this in nearly every issue; the closer the ball to the rear axle, the greater the stability and handling. I don't remember the formula, but there was some sort of exponential thing happening ha ha. You will notice a BIG difference doing this; I couldn't believe it when I drilled mine. My truck actually handles and drives BETTER towing my trailer than the truck alone now...

Hope this helps!
Jeff
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:05 PM   #483
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Wow! Thanks!!!

Here's another side view showing the slight sag:



Is this the sort of thing one might cure by jacking the rear up a bit more and letting an additional link "hang" - IOW one less link in the chains?

I will almost certainly take your advice on shortening the hitch - I'll let a machine shop handle it to get it right.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:25 PM   #484
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That's one way of doing it...you may also experiment with angling the hitch head back toward the trailer. However, anything you do to lift the back of the car will also lift the front of the trailer...which is going to make the front of the trailer too high. You might want to start by lowering the head one hole in the shank and going from there. Like I said...it's very time consuming to get it exactly right, but it is very much worth it! Towing with a really well set-up hitch is the difference between worrying the whole way there vs just cruising along with a smile on your face.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:00 PM   #485
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Towing with a really well set-up hitch is the difference between worrying the whole way there vs just cruising along with a smile on your face.
Isn't that the truth!
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:01 PM   #486
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Great info.

My first project, maybe even tomorrow, will be to shorten the hitch by having another hole drilled.

3" may not sound like much, but its not an insignificant percentage of the distance from the ball to the axle. In addition, I know from Weight and Balance for aircraft that the "arm" that weight works upon makes a big difference - with the shorter arm there should be less "push" on the back of the car, and that can only help.

From there, maybe move the head down one notch before beginning with the sag measurements, then see what effect one less link in the chains make.

I'm unclear how angling the hitch head affects things. Could you explain it "for dummies" or maybe shoot me a link?

Had no idea that something so apparently simple could get so involved!
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:24 PM   #487
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Tilting the hitch head backwards causes the weight bars to lift the trailer a little more/transfer a little more weight to the front axle of the tow vehicle.
You are changing the "fulcrum" point for the "lever".
Tilting the hitch head back creates a greater angle where the weight bars are inserted into the hitch head, causing the other end of the weight bar that attaches to the trailer tongue to hang lower, so when you put the chains in the saddles it has a greater effect.
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:33 PM   #488
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It's very simple...the more you angle the hitch head back (toward the trailer), more weight is transferred to the front axle. If you angle it forward (toward the car), less weight is transferred to the front of the car.

Different hitch heads use different methods to do this; some use washers where you have to dismantle the entire thing every time you want to change the angle, others use a notched system (such as the Husky Centerline, which I use).

Scroll down on these instructions for your hitch to see how to angle and level the hitch, car, and trailer:

http://manuals.adventurerv.net/Eaz-L...structions.pdf
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:34 PM   #489
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Peugeot Partner 90hp/1600 cc Diesel and 1977 Eriba Troll O

This is our fullsize rig.

Car empty weight 1450 kg, tow limit 1100 kg.
Aluminum Trailer weight 700 kg empty and 900 kg max. weight.

Tom from Bavaria
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:00 PM   #490
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Scroll down on these instructions for your hitch to see how to angle and level the hitch, car, and trailer:

http://manuals.adventurerv.net/Eaz-L...structions.pdf
Thanks for the explanation - it's clearer now. I was overlooking the fact that tilting the head tilted the pivot points of the arms as well.

And thanks for the reminder about the instructions. I already have them on my iPad and will review them before messing with anything.
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