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Old 04-06-2010, 10:15 AM   #29
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It is quite a tough call to go enjoy National Parks with a solar system, not waste water, buy only what you need AND have to buy a huge TV!
Keep everything in perspective.

My vegetarian environmentalist neighbors drive tiny cars, use the politically correct light bulbs in their house, and take an airline trip to Florida once or twice a year to visit relatives, and occasionally overseas to be sure their children grow up with a broad cultural horizon. I refrain from air travel and take vacations with the 3/4 ton gas hog no doubt to their dismay. You do the math and figure out which family has the larger carbon footprint.

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I am about to trade my everyday SUV for something more efficient and now i need to dump all the benefits for a TV.
Well you can have a 3rd vehicle for towing that you don't use as a daily driver. This has the side benefit of allowing you to choose smaller cars for daily drivers than might otherwise be practical (even if you didn't have an Airstream).
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:17 AM   #30
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On the redesign of the Overlander, we have two 30 gallon gray tanks just behind the axles. The fresh water tank will go under the sofa at the front end. My thought is to use the fresh water tank level to achieve balance in the coach. My other approach is to keep the "heavy" items like batteries over the axles.

The ultimate goal is to have a coach with a relatively low center of gravity. We're sacrificing some of the overhead storage to keep the coach "airy" and the weight down.

The Overlander weighed 4100 pounds dry out of the factory in '67. That includes the "boat anchor" magic chef oven. I think our renovation will bring the weight in right around 4000 pounds or so. Let's call the loaded weight 5000 pounds. At 15 percent tongue weight, we're talking 750 pounds. If a gallon of fresh water weighs 8.35 pounds, a 30 gallon tank will add 250 pounds of weight very close to the tongue. Based on how Airstreams are built, I think it's better to do the balancing on the front end than on the back.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:33 AM   #31
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This is a design factor in the European Airstreams where tongue weight is minimized.

One of the major handling benefits of Airstreams is that they have the axles farther to the rear than most and place the heavy stuff close to the axles.
Thank you for your comment.

Tongue weight is widely misunderstood as a factor in trailer stability. There is no magic about 10% or 15% or whatever; the required tongue weight is a design issue influenced by the centre of gravity of the trailer in question. European 'caravans' work with 6% 'noseweights' because weight is kept very low over the axle(s). Moving the axle forward is simply part of the strategy in lessening the tongue weight.

Boats often tow just fine with 7% tongue weight. I figure my Overlander does well at about 11%. (We also tow with only about 10 gallons of water, just enough to meet our needs on the road.) OTOH, a conventional trailer with a slide (which raises the c of g dramatically) needs 15%+ to be stable. Toyhaulers need even more. This also explains why the only Airstreams with empty tongue weights over 1000 lbs seem to be the SOs.

However, this is not to stay that the 12-15% 'rule' is a bad thing; if you come across a 4000 lb conventional trailer with a 250 lb tongue weight, you know that careful loading will be required to ensure stability.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:49 AM   #32
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If you're moving weights around, the salient points have been brought up and include:

* minimum 10% of trailer weight on tongue; somewhat more is better.
* Keep concentrated weights low and as close as possible to axles to reduce polar moment of inertia.
* Use WD hitch to balance tow vehicle suspension front-rear if needed.

Trying to reduce tongue weight by placing heavy weights in the rear of the trailer both increases polar moment and reduces tongue weight, so that idea is best avoided.

Longer tongues do make trailers more stable, but this is harder to change...

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Old 04-06-2010, 11:51 AM   #33
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One thing to add. We towed the Overlander for over 400 miles in brutal wind/rain conditions on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes. The coach was completely empty (gutted) except for a propane furance and water heater. I know we had gusts of over 50 mph, sustained cross winds of 30 mph and the wind shear from numerous tractor trailers. The Overlander tracked like it was on rails. There were a few times I felt "nudged" by the wind, but never a white knuckle moment.
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:39 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Keep everything in perspective.

'... Well you can have a 3rd vehicle for towing that you don't use as a daily driver. This has the side benefit of allowing you to choose smaller cars for daily drivers than might otherwise be practical (even if you didn't have an Airstream).
On the topic of a dedicated TV that stays mostly parked, I ran across vehicle insurance available by the mile, which saves a costly policy that is wasted on a vehicle that mostly sits in the garage...

MileMeter - Auto Insurance Buy the Mile!

I don't own stock, I have a TV that mostly sits quietly waiting for its use. We use a Honda Civic (40mpg) as a daily driver. I was just lamenting the cost of conventional insurance for a vehicle that is rarely on the road. (Even as full-timers, we don't travel that much!).
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:39 AM   #35
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Airstream accidentally built a trailer with the attributes you desire. It was the 34' front kitchen model, and was a horrible trailer to try to tow, because that 34' trailer was constantly flailing around all over the road because it had almost no tongue weight. Both holding tanks as well as the fresh water tank were toward the rear of the trailer. I have a Hensley Arrow that was on one when it went out of control and flipped. If a Hensley and a duallie can't handle the sway induced by your idea, what chance do you think a small car would have? I've towed one, only one, and hope I never have to tow another one.
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:54 AM   #36
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It was the 34' front kitchen model, and was a horrible trailer to try to tow, because that 34' trailer was constantly flailing around all over the road because it had almost no tongue weight. I have a Hensley Arrow that was on one when it went out of control and flipped. If a Hensley and a duallie can't handle the sway induced by your idea, what chance do you think a small car would have? I've towed one, only one, and hope I never have to tow another one.
What the heck,

I once had the pleasure of towing a 34' with a front kitchen. It had an Easy Lift WDH on it. It was also being towed with a car and it towed great without issue!
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:06 AM   #37
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I don't have the info to get into the last two posts.

But here's another thread about towing problems with light tongue weight inherent with the rear door Argosy. This problem was mentioned in another thread too, but this is the thread I could find: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...ues-39263.html
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:36 AM   #38
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You all know that in this discussion on WD y'all are missing a few other valid equations that play into stopping sway. That is center of Gravity & Mass! The reason you do not see boats with sway problems is because the center of gravity is close to the ground as well as hardly no mass.
Mass of a camper is its; height, Length, width.
Center of Gravity; is Height, length that dictates its location from the ground up the side.
Even though you can move the weight to a lower point you will only change the center of gravity slightly, because of the mass center of gravity will still dictate into the equation of sway as well as mass.
Moving weight from the front to rear is a good idea in its thought, but it does create other problems such as you will have a tank in the front regardless if it is solid or bag will still allow water movement unless you have it filled to the top to stop or minimize the wave movement. If you want more idea of what you are dealing with talk with a trucking company that hauls water or diesel as they are both in the same weight catagory and see what they tell you about liquid movement. Example; a 50 gal tank 1/2 full is 25 gals @ 8.5 lbs=212.5 lbs that is constantly moving, if you think you have a sway problem now wait until that 212 lbs starts moving side to side and back & Forth.
When talking about sway remember there are many other things to take into account. If you want to know how that above reacts, Talk to a fire dept with a tanker truck or you know or live near a farm that has a plastic tank mounted on a flat trailer for hauling chemicals & water for livestock in they are generally about 50 gal tanks ask them to fill it 1/2 full and then go for a ride and see what happens in a quick stop, turn, lane shift, uneven road.

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Old 04-07-2010, 10:18 AM   #39
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This is why larger tanks (water, fuel, etc.) often have baffles.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:07 PM   #40
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What the heck,

I once had the pleasure of towing a 34' with a front kitchen. It had an Easy Lift WDH on it. It was also being towed with a car and it towed great without issue!
Many of them were "fixed" by Airstream after this tendency was discovered. The one I towed had not been retrofitted with the "fix". The "fix" is to weld several hundred pounds of steel into the tongue of the trailer. I didn't go into that because it was not relevant to the topic.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:16 PM   #41
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Good info Terry. That explains it. thnxs
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:49 PM   #42
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Many of them were "fixed" by Airstream after this tendency was discovered. The one I towed had not been retrofitted with the "fix". The "fix" is to weld several hundred pounds of steel into the tongue of the trailer. I didn't go into that because it was not relevant to the topic.
Quite relevant as Airstream did exactly the opposite of my silly idea by adding weight to the tongue instead of removing it.

Another question: does the amount of axles on the trailer reduces sway?
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