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Old 11-14-2009, 08:17 AM   #1
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2009 27' FB Classic
Smithville , New Jersey
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Towing Question

Hi folks
I'm looking for some input on my towing. We've got a Chrysler Aspen with a tow rating of 8750 lbs pulling my 27' classic. In a perfect world I would trade it in for a diesel F250 or F350, but since it only has 28000 miles, I want to do the best I can with it until I must take the loss on the trade.
After speaking to my mechanic, who also RVs, camping world and my AS dealer, the general opinion is that the TV is fine, but to improve they all suggest 3 things:
1. Better tow rated tires.
2. Better shocks.
3. Load leveling air cushions for the back springs.

Everyone also seems to agree that if I do the first 2, I may not need #3.
The reason I'm looking into this is just the feeling that I'm not in complete control when big rigs pass me on 95. I've gotten better at handling the vehicle and I know that a bigger TV would solve the problem, but this is my situation right now, and I was looking for comment on these 3 suggestions, plus any comment of the specifics of the 3.

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Old 11-14-2009, 08:44 AM   #2
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Good luck. The very day we picked up our AS from the seller, on the ride home, the decision was made for us to buy a proper TV. We thought we would get by for a couple more years with our then-tow vehicle after we had the gearing changed, etc. Now we are in complete control and towing is enjoyable. IMO, your heavy Classic is far too much work for that vehicle, no matter what you do to the TV.

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Old 11-14-2009, 08:45 AM   #3
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you need to look at your hitch setup before anything else. I don't know what a "tow rated tire" is; the load rating of your tires isn't going to change anything; having them properly inflated for the load might.
airbags are definitely NOT the way to level a tow vehicle. If you're experiencing poor handling due to the front axle being unloaded, you need to correct that with your weight-distributing hitch; not by jacking up the rear end.
You might want to contact Can-am rv...andyT on the forums; I think he's made some comments about things specific to this particular vehicle...can't remember exactly what they were, but something to do with the rear suspension.
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:59 AM   #4
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Here's a thread with some pro and con opinions on the Chrysler Aspen as a tow vehicle.
To find more, click on the search menu at the top of the screen (third word in from logout)
What kind of sway control and weight distributing hitch do you have?
With that large a trailer, I would want the Hensley or ProPride.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:02 AM   #5
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Your insecure towing feeling most likely comes from too much trailer for the tow vehicle. Generally too short of a wheelbase relates to the "tail wagging the dog" An acepted rule of thumb for wheelbase vs trailer length is:
For the first 110" of wheelbase, this allows you 20' of trailer.
For each additional 4" of wheelbase, this gets you 1' more of trailer.

Turning that around, for a 27' trailer you would need a tow vehicle wheelbase of 138" (110 + 4x7). I don't know the wheelbase of your Aspen, but I doubt it is anywhere near that long. I would also doubt that the braking capacity of the Aspen is within a safety margin for towing a 27' Classic. Please be safe and considerate of your family and others on the road and consider a more stout tow vehicle.

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Old 11-14-2009, 09:04 AM   #6
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Your 27FB is probably weighing out in the 8000# range ready to camp with a tongue weight around 800#.

That's a pretty tall order for a small SUV. When the trailer nears double the weight of the tow vehicle, everything has to be set up properly to have any kind of near pleasant towing experience.

You need a high quality weight distributing/sway control hitch system. This is a case where a Hensley or ProPride is probably in order.

Your small SUV probably has load range C passenger car tires on it. These are not sufficient for the kind of weight that your are towing. I would suggest at least load range D's, or preferably, load range E's. This is a safety issue.

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Old 11-14-2009, 09:14 AM   #7
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Better tow rated tires? (stiffer sidewalls)
Better shocks? Again ... stiffer?

I don't think the sway from passing trucks is coming from your vehicle suspension. Your Classic's ST tires have stiffened sidewalls and that's not stopping sway from passing trucks.

Your trailer is a big aerodynamic surface -- like fletching on an arrow. The bow wave from a passing or oncoming truck will hit the trailer at different times, resulting in a sequence of lateral reactions depending on the stage of this encounter. It's easier to feel this sequence as a truck overtakes you from behind (let's assume he is passing you on the left):
  1. The wave first hits the trailer behind the wheels, displacing the stern of the trailer to the curbside. The front of the trailer, the hitch area and the aft part of your TV are pushed in a roadside direction.
  2. The truck moves forward and the bow wave pushes more on the trailer forward of the wheels. Absent any wheel skid, the front of the trailer is pushed curbside and the stern now displaces in a roadside direction. The effect on your TV is opposite what it was moments before in stage 1.
Think about it this way and you can feel the specific sway corresponding to those phases. An oncoming truck blasts you quicker but still results in this lateral flexing at the hitch ... probably not in such an ordered sequence. My Reese DualCam antisway does not counteract these effects. I think your only improvement will come from a ProPride or Hensley setup. I shoulda mentioned 'yaw' so that 2air's attention would get drawn to his issue pronto -- hope he chimes in.

You have approximately 1500 pounds payload capacity in you Chrysler Aspen. Per the diagram in the owners manual, have you ever checked your tongue weight with a bathroom scale? This would be a simple and worthwhile exercise. How many people are camping with you? (actually, how much aftermarket weight is the aspen carrying - people, cargo & tongue).

See -- I wrote post #14 there. I'll say it again -- the best authority on towing at the margin of payload ranges is in London, Ontario. And the first thing Andrew Thomson will do is recommend a Hensley or ProPride. Talk to him at least if you aren't interested in driving there.

TomR drew good attention to Andrew T's methods:

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Old 11-14-2009, 09:47 AM   #8
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There's nothing wrong with your Aspen. It's just not hooked up properly; meaning the hitch setup. I bought a regular white box 27' TT last year and was unhappy how my TV was handling. I was miserable. I was real close in buying a new F150. I just happened to be reading some posts on this forum and came across Andrew T at CanAm RV. After calling Andy in London, ON I decided to drive the 8 hours and have him adjust my hitch. You can't believe what a difference. I wrote about my experience in another post. Please check it out.

Needless to say a couple of months later I ordered a new 2010 Flying Cloud 27FB after Andy hooked a similar 27FB International to my TV to demonstrate the difference in towing an Airstream compared to my whitebox. I should get it in January. Can't wait!!!
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by monkeypants View Post
...The reason I'm looking into this is just the feeling that I'm not in complete control when big rigs pass me on 95...
higher rated tires PROPERLY inflated on the TV will help,

so will properly inflating the trayla tires.

along with dialing in the connector bits...

best BANG for your bucks is the tires.

along with tires,

IF you really wanna stop monkey-ing around with control...

connect aspen2airstream with 1 of these...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 11-26-2009, 05:57 AM   #10
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Hi Monkeypants

I am traveling down in Texas at the Moment and did not see this earlier. The Aspen is a very nice vehicle but the suspension has been tuned to ride very smoothly, it is softer than a Cadillac. Ron posted above about his experience with his ML and the 27' Airstream but I wanted to clarify that the ML is a dramically more stable tow vehicle than the Aspen.This is due to ML's independent rear suspension, tighter shocks, firmer springs, better tire and wheel combination, tighter steering feel and shorter rear overhang in relation to the wheelbase.

If you were to reconfigure your hitch in a manner similer to Ron's you would notice a substantial improvement but still not the rock solid stability of the ML. The Aspen has no power issues at all, the Hemi will easily take you anywhere. The easy answer is to install a Hensley or Propride hitch which will solve your handling issues completely. The cost of the Hensley is not much more than doing tires shocks and reworking the conventional hitch but it can be used on your next tow vehicle and be resold at some future date so it the long run it is a less expensive fix.

I hope this helps.


Andrew Thomson
London, Ontario

"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
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