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Old 05-08-2011, 01:39 AM   #1
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Tow vehicle wheel base

I'm about to buy a new tow vehicle and I'm curious if any one has experience going from a short to long wheel base truck.

I currently tow with a Dodge 2500 4X4 extended cab short bed. It's not the shortest wheel base but it's pretty short. When I tow my 30' Classic on the horrible/trashed/tore up, sorry excuse for highways in California I get the holy hell beat out of me and my trailer. It's awful! Buckin', bouncin', jolting, banging...no matter what speed or how I try to dodge it...just freeking awful. When I risk the traffic ticket and get out in the left lane...the #1 lane in california...it's smooth and easy on me and my rig.

My question is if I get a new mega cab short bed 4X4 will the longer wheel base be better for getting thru the ruts, pot holes, cave ins, pits, gouges, and sink holes we call highways in california?

Thanks in advance
Mike
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:56 AM   #2
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Hi, I can't answer that question, but I have one for you. What is the wheel base of both of these vehicles and how much are you going to gain?
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:59 AM   #3
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The longer wheel base will smooth it out a bit. The rough ride is caused by the roughness of the highway and failure of the truck's stiff suspension not responding and absorbing the shocks of the pot holes and roughness. A softer sprung truck would help. The mega trucks usually have stiff suspension an may not help.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:26 AM   #4
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"pretty short"????
are you kidding??

You don't mention the year of your truck, but I have a "quad-cab" short bed, and its about as long a wheel base as can be had. Longer than the world's most perfect tow vehicle. (that being the Suburban).
People report Cadillac-like smoothness from much shorter vehicles, so I doubt your problem is wheel-base. Perhaps the hitch isn't setup correctly, or as has been mentioned, the stiff suspension.
Its suggested by some to use lighter weight spring bars when towing with the 3/4 ton.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:27 AM   #5
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I recently went from a long wheelbase 3/4 ton truck to a short wheelbase 1/2 ton truck, both standard cabs, both 4x2. I have found that the shorter wheelbase has a smoother ride, doubtless due to the softer suspension of the 1/2 ton truck, but the seams in the road and potholes are more pronounced. A 1/2 ton, long bed, extended cab truck with 2wd would probably be best as far as towing stability and smooth ride. The shorter the wheelbase, the more harsh the ride. The 4x4 adds to the harshness, since it sits slightly higher (more pitch and roll), as well as the 4x4 gear adding unsprung weight to the suspension. Oh, my new truck is a Ram 1500.
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Old 05-08-2011, 08:20 AM   #6
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My 2001 BMW X5 rides about the same with or without the AS (see avatar). It has rear air suspension, a 111.0" wheelbase and a curb weight of about 5,000# (a GM Surburban has a 130.0" wheelbase and about the same curb weight). The only time the ride is uncomfortable when towing is when a concrete road suffers from "frost heaves" where the concrete joints are raised; this can set up a harmonic bucking ......... oh, and the roads in Michigan where 7 and 8 axle trucks chew them up.
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Old 05-08-2011, 08:58 AM   #7
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We have towed our 19-foot Bambi from Phoenix to the Bay Area numerous times with both a 3/4 ton Chevy crewcab with a long wheelbase and a 1/2 ton Tundra CrewMax with a short bed. The stretch of I10 between Indio and LA is really bad with harmonic dips that get both rigs bucking like a bronco. I don't think switching tow vehicles will help much; the real problem is the roadway. We now take some parallel side highways that are much smoother to avoid this stretch.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynmike View Post
When I tow my 30' Classic on the horrible/trashed/tore up, sorry excuse for highways in California I get the holy hell beat out of me and my trailer. It's awful! Buckin', bouncin', jolting, banging...no matter what speed or how I try to dodge it...just freeking awful. When I risk the traffic ticket and get out in the left lane...the #1 lane in california...it's smooth and easy on me and my rig.
Lane #1 is not traveled by large/heavy vehicles so it does not take the same kind of wear and tear as the other lane. My bagged Durango pulls our 19' on any road without bobbing, bounching or banging and different speeds here in Cali. In my case, it helps a lot to be able to stiffen/soften my suspension on the fly and occasionally I will add/remove air in my bags in transit to adjust the attitude of the trailer on a given stretch of road. (FOR REFERENCE: 1999 Dodge Durango v8 318, 2x4, airbags, tekP3 + equalizer hitched 04 19' Intl CCD)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
The longer wheel base will smooth it out a bit. The rough ride is caused by the roughness of the highway and failure of the truck's stiff suspension not responding and absorbing the shocks of the pot holes and roughness. A softer sprung truck would help.
^THIS
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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I assume you (the OP) move around "in" the lane. Sometimes riding on the edges of the ruts lessens things (for me; in another state; with a different rig).
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:39 AM   #10
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Mike, bigger wheels will make the pot holes a little smaller also. Buying the truck with larger wheels from the factory (with a tow package) usually gets you a higher gear ratio. Example, the 20" wheel package on the ford F250/F350 usually get's you a 3.55 differential instead of a 3.31 that comes with 18" wheels. None of this helps your trailer of course. Red's got the right idea on finding a less traveled portion of the lane.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:19 AM   #11
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I have a stockish 2000 Dodge 2500 diesel extended cab pickup. It will pull buildings out of the ground, but is sprung so hard it will also take your breath away on a rough road. I used to drive big trucks so it does not bother me. I understand the new Dodges ride MUCH better with the independent suspension. I've not had a chance to ride in one yet. Take a 2500 for a test ride & let us know about it.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:43 AM   #12
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The longer the wheel base the better the control. Based on personal experience.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:09 PM   #13
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Thanks to all of you for your info. I talked to Andy at Inland RV for hitching info...short story I have light bars on my Reese Straight Line hitch and it's set up correctly.
I've got a 4x4 because I need it on occaision and 3/4 ton because I want a diesel and the towing capacity is more approriate for my 30' Airstream.
I think my biggest problem is some of the roads I drive. I was just in southern Cal last week having some stuff done to my trailer at Inland RV and the worst roads are the concrete and the lanes the big rigs use.
I think the longer wheel base will help and I know the newer Dodges have at least 17" wheels....mine was the last year of the 16" so I'm expecting a little smoother ride... AND I think I'll get the maps out and find some less traveled roads....prolly be better scenery anyway!
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:10 PM   #14
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I went from a F-350 Crew Cab 4X4 long WB to an F-250 Extended Cab-Short bed. I can tell you from my experience, that the short bed is alot smoother both solo and towing. For some unknown reason, the long bed CC was SOOOO bad my wife would not ride with me if I was going on the interstate. I tried everything and finally went to Blisten shocks and Velvet Ride shackles. Those 2 things definately helped but it was still bad. When I bought my F-250 short bed, it was a whole better situation. The short bed doesn't "match" the sections of interstate like the long bed and doesn't buck much at all. Of course, a rough road is a rough road, and there isn't much you can do about that, except go on another road.

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