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Old 01-31-2014, 10:29 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Landrum View Post
I try to avoid interstates in a large part due to the porpoising. What I'm calling porpoising is a fairly quick/rapid bounce in the middle row of the sequoia. The wife and myself can feel a little in the front row, but the kids really bounce. What I don't know is whether that rapid bouncing is transferring to the front of the airstream. I would think that shaking, if it is transferred to the AS, would be bad for the airstream?
That changes things, when I think of porpoising I'm thinking more the front end bouncing. With the back end of the TV bouncing I would say that is a symptom of too much weight distribution, taking too much weight off the rear axle. So it seems your 1200 lb bar are too much or at least adjusted too tight. Bar rating goes by the most weight they are rated to distribute so 801-1200lb would be 1200lb bars.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:48 AM   #30
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It would help if he measured the actual tongue weight so we know what we are dealing with.

Perry
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:12 AM   #31
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@ youngpeck "what setup do you use when you pull with your F250?"

I suspect my Safari has quite a bit more tongue weight (700-900 lbs) than your trailer so while I can pull with no WD, it does squat alot. On my F150 it pretty much bottoms out the rear suspension with no WD.

The thing here is tongue weight. In some ways your mechanic is right but may not understand just how much tongue weight an Airstream is set up with.

For example, I have a utility trailer that pulls at 10,000lbs, loaded. I do not use any WD or anti-sway with it. That is much more total weight than my Airstream, but I am able to adjust the cargo distribution inside to keep the tongue weight from squatting the truck.

Same with large boats which have a few trailer adjustments to manage tongue weight.

I use the same WD/anti-sway set up on both the F150 and F250. The only difference is that I tighten the chains up a notch or two on the F150 to transfer more weigh to the front than I need to on the F250.

It is a Reese Dual Cam setup with the 1200lb WD bars that also do double duty as anti sway bars.

The Airstream needs WD even on the F250 for a comfortable towing experience. Now....even though I do not need WD with the 10,000lb utility trailer, there have been times on the highway when anti-sway bars would have been nice.

So if you were to go with something like the Reese Dual Cam you would get the antisway, and could pick the a set of WD bar weights that match to your Airstream. The Reese chart I posted above gives a way to calculate the applicable tongue/cargo load for your airstream . It sounds like from the experiences posted here you could go with a lighter bar than what Reese recommends if you wanted to.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:23 AM   #32
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It would help if he measured the actual tongue weight so we know what we are dealing with.

Perry

I have measured my tw at 550 with a Sherlin (sp?) scale. We pack pretty light and don't carry water.

It seems in my case the setup is too stiff. The bumps of the concrete joints are transferring into the vehicle and not being absorbed by the tires, shocks,etc. I have been so worried about my GYM's based on stories about tread separation I've been running my GYM pressure at 50. I could reduce that quite a bit based on my actual axle weights. I was hoping to avoid wasting money, but I think I need to bite the bullet and try lighter bars. I also think I'll reduces tire pressure slightly on the AS and TV. I may start with tire pressure as a test first to 'see' what the effect is.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:21 PM   #33
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Wayward:
Thanks for uploading the charts. I suspect my Caravanner tongue weight is in the 600-800 range. When the weather breaks here this spring I will attempt to get a real weight on it. And I agree that my mechanic probably doesn't quite understand the AS dynamic. My F250 has beefed up rear springs and heavy duty shocks, but I'd still like to use a WD hitch. I like the idea of the Reese being adjustable. Now I understand that towing and hitch systems are probably some of the most discussed subjects on this entire forum, but I haven't seen anything that deals with off-pavement towing. What I have in mind is this: at low speeds on bumpy gravel roads or jeep trails (I'm talking real boondocking, I guess) would said WD hitch system at all hinder the pulling of a trailer? I've read on other threads how some guys get nervous when they have to back into a high-pitched driveway. Some of my friends take their big horse trailers into some remote areas, and I want to be able to join them. Is the solution to undo the WD hitch on backroads and trails such as these?
Thanks again for your thoughts. I'm getting quite an education here.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:21 PM   #34
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Towing offroad is not something I have done. Like the driveway issues you mentioned, a gully on a sharp grade offroad could be tricky.

The WD bars do stiffen the pivot point between trailer and truck but it does still move. The tension on the bars is adjustable.

If your buddies are towing horse trailers I gotta assume they are on trails rated around 3 or less. Since you already know your rear suspension will handle the tounque weight, you have the options of loosening the WD bars when you get to the trail, or even removing them if they start to bind up.

Jut remeber as you loosenin the WD bars weight moves back so your front drive wheels will lose traction an you rea rwill gain it in 4WD.

You might want to start a new thread on towing off road with WD. That ought'a be real interesting discussion
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:32 PM   #35
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It would help if he measured the actual tongue weight so we know what we are dealing with.

Perry
I asked my RV dealer and they did not have a tongue scale, and I don't have $162.09 laying around for a Reese 5780 Trailer Tounge Weight Scale : Amazon.com : Automotive

It seems like any good RV dealer that is wanting to properly set up weight distribution hitches should have one, shouldn't they?
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:22 PM   #36
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I asked my RV dealer and they did not have a tongue scale, and I don't have $162.09 laying around for a Reese 5780 Trailer Tounge Weight Scale : Amazon.com : Automotive

It seems like any good RV dealer that is wanting to properly set up weight distribution hitches should have one, shouldn't they?
A good RV dealer could rightly assume your Airstream model tongue weight is 835# empty with no options and a customer may well add 200# or more to it, and install 1200# to 1400# tapered bars to ensure you are able to transfer enough weight with your 1/2 ton truck to ensure good steering control on slick roads and your headlights are not lighting the tops of the telephone poles.

The relatively soft suspension of the 1/2 ton and trailer tire pressures recommended by the tire manufacturer will help ensure a soft ride for your Airstream. Road condition matters and it is getting tougher to find decently smooth roads these days but we can try, and control speeds when we can't.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:30 PM   #37
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If your buddies are towing horse trailers I gotta assume they are on trails rated around 3 or less. . . .
You might want to start a new thread on towing off road with WD. That ought'a be real interesting discussion
Thanks for the link to the trail ratings. I've not seen that before (or perhaps I have but not realized it) and I've been off-roading for the nearly forty years I've lived in Utah. Your hunch is about right--three- and four-horse trailers need a fairly decent trail, and do not have much clearance. I figure I can go where they can, if I'm very careful. I'm not nearly as adventurous as I once was, but there are many out-of-the-way places in this part of the country that will accommodate boondockers in a safe fashion.

Thanks for your suggestion about starting that off-road WD thread. I'll take a couple of days to collect my thoughts and then get to it.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:52 PM   #38
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600 vs. 800 vs. 1200 lb trunnion bars?

I have towed my '64 Overlander Land Yacht International with three different truck-based tow vehicles since its purchase in 1995. Initially, I towed with the hitch as set-up by an independent hitch shop that included 1,000 pound weight distribution bars with a standard Reese Hitch and friction sway control. I didn't give this set-up much thought as it paralleled the set-up utilized by the trailer's original owners (1964-1980) the only difference being the tow vehicles that they utilized included:
  • 1957 Mercury Monterey
  • 1967 Mercury Monterey
  • 1970 Mercury Monterey
  • 1975 Oldsmobile 98
The second owner towed the Overlander very sparingly with their 1/2-ton, 2WD Ford pickup so there were probably only about 20,000 miles towed behind that vehicle.

I noticed few problems with the heavier hitch set-up with my first truck-based tow vehicle, a 1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer with 360 V8 with 4bbl. carburetion and 3.90 differentials. The Grand Wagoneer and Overlander were quite happy together, but fuel mileage was horrible at 6 to 8 MPG when towing and a best of 10 MPG.

The difference when I upgraded to a brand new 1995 Chevrolet K1500 with Z71 package was immediately noticed. The truck had the heavy duty trailering package with a 6,000 pound trailer tow rating (5.7 Liter V8/3.73 Differentials). Regardless of how that hitch with 1,000 pound weight distribution bars was adjusted the result was the same . . . closet door popping open while traveling, pillows deploying to the floor regardless of where they began travel, cabinet doors popping open, and draperies opening and closing on their own. While this was disturbing, I couldn't find anyone who could answer my questions about why the trailer seemed to be riding so roughly . . . I had never heard the original owners' speak of such problems in all of the years that they owned the trailer (they were long-time friends of my family).

The 1995 Chevrolet was traded on a brand-new 1999 GMC K2500 Suburban with 7400 VORTEC and 4.10 Differentials as well as the heavy duty 10,000 pound trailer towing package. The difference between the 1999 and its 1995 predecessor was remarkable. Despite its much higher trailer tow rating, the Suburban rode much better and transmitted fewer road vibrations to the trailer (the Suburban was ordered without the Z71 package or other heavy duty spring packages beyond that required in the trailer tow package). The problem with rearranged pillows and draperies was significantly lessened, but not eliminated. I finally was prompted to search for a solution to the problem when a stress crack began to form above the entry door on the interior skin. I was 500 miles into the trip to the 1998 WBCCI International Rally in Boise, Idaho when the crack began and it continued to get worse as I approached Boise. While in Boise, I was fortunate to encounter a long-time Reese representative who reviewed my set-up and determined that the 1,000 pound bars were much too heavy for my set-up. It was suggested that I go with 600 pound weight distribution bars and I had a Reese Dual Cam system installed at the same time to replace the friction sway control that was more of a nuisance than help. The change was immediately obvious on the tow home. Everything stayed where it belonged with minimal shifting while underway . . . and the stress crack stopped spreading.

The restoration and changes to my Overlander left the trailer weighing 6,000 to 6,100 pounds when loaded for an extended vacation, and the hitch weight fluctuates between 725 and 775 pounds depending upon how much LP is carried and the distribution of weight carried in the trailer. One of the changes that had the most impact on hitch weight was switching from 30 pound to 40 pound LP tanks while the installation of a slightly larger Dometic 3-way refrigerator had a modest impact upon hitch weight . . . most of my heavier equipment resides either over the axles or slightly ahead of the axles. With fifteen years of use, no particular issues have been noted with approximately 40,000 miles of towing with the Suburban.

Good luck with your research and investigation!

Kevin
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:20 AM   #39
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I asked my RV dealer and they did not have a tongue scale, and I don't have $162.09 laying around for a Reese 5780 Trailer Tounge Weight Scale : Amazon.com : Automotive

I have heard folks here talking about measuring tongue weight this way......

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Old 02-01-2014, 05:24 PM   #40
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So I've got a dumb question. What exactly is the effect of lighter bars? Do heavy bars create a 'pinned' (or rigid ) connection between the AS and TV and allow less vertical movement?
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:39 PM   #41
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600 vs. 800 vs. 1200 lb trunnion bars?

Greetings Landrum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landrum View Post
So I've got a dumb question. What exactly is the effect of lighter bars? Do heavy bars create a 'pinned' (or rigid ) connection between the AS and TV and allow less vertical movement?
The heavier weight distribution bars make for a more rigid connection between tow vehicle and trailer. It might be thought of as the difference between gentle undulations (with lighter bars) or sharp, punishing tremors (with the heavier bars). It is these "tremors" that cause pillows and bedding to migrate to the floor as well as cabinet doors and drawers to pop open. In worse case scenarios, the damage can include front end separation and/or stress cracking around openings in the body shell over time.

Another issue that comes into play with Reese Strait-Line Hitches is that the Dual Cam Sway Control relies upon "adequate" tension being applied to the weight distribution bars. Where the bars are excessively rated, the pressure necessary to get the most benefit from the Dual Cam Sway Control makes the ride so stiff that vibration induced damage results. There are a number of threads here on the Forums discussing the sizing and adjustment of the Reese Strait-Line Hitch for Airstream and Argosy travel trailers.

Kevin

P.S.: My experience is with Vintage Airstream products where the frames were typically lighter as was the empty and maximum weights. I often think of the goal of providing my trailers with the ride that would have been provided by the typical tow vehicles when the trailers were new . . . the full-size family car that likely had boulevard-ride suspension that required extra-heave weight distribution bars to create a more solid level link between travel trailer and tow vehicle.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:31 PM   #42
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the full-size family car that likely had boulevard-ride suspension that required extra-heave weight distribution bars to create a more solid level link between travel trailer and tow vehicle

The overhang of full-size and luxury cars was formidable (the distance from Drive Axle center to hitch ball center). A short overhang vehicle squats, but the squat from a long overhang vehicle with the same weight (and other) drops the ball yet further to the ground. More leverage is needed to bring the Steer Axle weight reading back to the unhitched value.

The lightest bar that will get the job done (FALR: front axle load restoration) is the one to have. This requires using a certified weighbridge (see CAT Scale) to dial things in.
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