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Old 07-09-2011, 11:18 PM   #1
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1973 25' Tradewind
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Help with Hitch set up evaluate First Trip out with TW and F250

It has been awhile. I am hoping a few folks could look at the pictures of TV and 1973 TW and see if set up seems ok. Drove around fine just don't want to miss anything due to inexperience. The 1996 F250 is new to me. This is my first run with it and second run total. I had the 1/2 chevy van and was over on the combined over vehicle weight so I found the well cared for power stroke with 85,000. We are hoping for a fun safe trip so your help is much appreciated. Thanks Tony
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:15 AM   #2
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it looks like you might already have done so in the last pic, but it seems that your electric connector cable is hanging a bit low. you sure would want it dragging and scraping as you travel.

safe travels,
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:59 PM   #3
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I've been told to get my breakaway cable away from my chains. It's safer to connect it to a separate part of the truck frame from the hitch assembly.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:03 PM   #4
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I connect the breakaway safety cable in to the luggage tie-down in the bed of our Suburban, i.e. not connected to any other part of the towing system should the whole hitch assembly become unrusted, etc.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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1973 25' Tradewind
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Thanks guys I'll take your advice on the brake away cable. Did do the 600 mile round trip to central Oregon. Much fun all went well. We are working out how we want to update the 73 TW. This is our second trip out so we have much to learn and evaluate. again Many Thanks Tony
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:45 PM   #6
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You'll want to dial in the hitch rigging via certified weight scale. Make a chart of these eight [8] readings required. Best to be exhaustive, IMO, to cover all future contingencies and/or other trailers:

TRUCK

1] Weight per Ford (published shipping weight)

2] Weight per scale reading (FF & RR axles) Empty (being driver, full fuel and only other items that remain permanently in truck)

3] Weight per scale reading; as above, except Loaded for travel.


TRAILER

4] Published weight

5] Trailer empty (full water & propane plus equipment that never leaves trailer)

6] Trailer loaded


TRAILER TONGUE

7] Trailer empty

8] Trailer loaded

Trailer level for all readings



Proceed to:

(from Ron Gratz)

Weighing #1 -- TT attached and Weight Distribution Activated

Let Front Axle Load be "FA1"

Let Rear Axle Load be "RA1"

Let TT Axles Load be "TT1"

Then, while in same position on scales, take
Weighing #2 -- TT attached and Weight Distribution Not Activated

Let Front Axle Load be "FA2"

Let Rear Axle Load be "RA2"

Let TT Axles Load be "TT2"

Then, drive off scales and drop TT. Return to scales and take
Weighing #3 -- TV only -- TT Not Attached

Let Front Axle Load be "FA3"

Let Rear Axle Load be "RA3"

From the above values, you can calculate:

TV weight = FA3 + RA3

Gross Combined Weight = (FA1 + RA1 + TT1)
- should also be equal to (FA2 + RA2 + TT2) if scale weights are correct

TT Weight = Gross Combined Weight - TV Weight

Tongue Weight = (FA2 + RA2) - (FA3 + RA3)

Load Transferred to TT Axles
when WD System in Activated = TT1 - TT2


The rule of thumb nowadays is 75/25 as the TW is distributed onto the rear axle and TT axles where the FA remains at the unhitched weight. The commonly accepted understanding is to preserve braking & handling, but it is more to the reduction of yaw (SAE J2807).

One may accept a bit of weight added to the FA, but it would be more desirable to have only a bit removed. Keep working until the FA returns to the same weight & height as before hitching and applying WD. Never, ever exceed any wheel/tire/axle ratings.

Pictures are a necessary adjunct, but the lack of real or perceived "level ground" can make them hard to decipher.

.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:37 AM   #7
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Tony S,

If I were you, I'd change the tilt on the hitch head so the bars are farther down from the trailer "A" frame and snapup brackets. Some of the hitches use a pin with washers under it to space the ball out from the drawbar, and others use a toothed washer afair. From the looks of yours, I believe it uses the washers.

Every additional washer you install, will tilt the ball farther back, and for the same amount of load on the bars, will lengthen the chains, usually a link for each washer. After this is done, then you might want to weigh the axles of the TV, both before and after hitching up.

With the hitch angle the way you have it, the chains are very short between the bars and the snapup brackets, which could cause a bind in a tight turn such as backing into a camping spot, or even a tight turn in a gas station.

From the pictures, everything else such as trailer level, looks good.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:53 AM   #8
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Rednax

I wish I had that info when I was out and about. I will do it again ASAP. When I went on the scales Yesterday Axle 1 was 4260 Axle 2 4420 and Axle 3 4580 for a gross of 13260 lb I did this at a certified scale at a truck stop paying $8. Is this the type of scale I should be going to? If so or not is it normal to be hitching and unhitching on scale as suggested? I do want to get all the info you suggest next time out. I am shooting in the dark a bit.

Steve it does use washers. I will adjust it as you suggest. I thought there might be an issue with the bars going up toward a frame.

Thanks

p.s. Including some pic the why we go The Cascades mountains Above Bend Oregon
Tony S
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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A CAT Scale is easiest what with 1,300 locations across U.S. Repeat-ability no matter where. Really do need the empty weights, first, to determine how well the WD is happen'in. You won't be unhitching, per se, if you use the Gratz chart. I prefer to have all the weights separately, beforehand, which is why I showed them first. Then, any scale work has a set of numbers to work against.

TW is the pain to find. One can purchase a SHERLINE gauge, or use a good ol' boy method. Do several readings. Do them with trailer empty, and trailer full. It's a small, very small, PITA the first time in acquiring the trailer "empty" weight and the truck "loaded" weight. Plus TW. They are benchmarks against which all future scale readings are compared. (The Hserline gauge makes it easy to do spot checks anytime).

Both vehicles tend to grow in weight over time. I've been weighing my vehicles the day of purchase for years. Future readings are always higher. With my rig, in under a year, I had more than a dozen scale tickets. Never a strict agreement among them. Which is why the empty weights are "critical".

(Obviously, a trailer with full fresh water/empty holding tanks/supplies will show some different numbers than headed home empty, but with partially full holding tanks (TW gets light in a hurry depending on trailer). I like to know what to adjust my hitch to, if necessary.

I have unhitched, completely, on the scales a few times. No scalemaster (person at fuel desk in truckstop responsible for operation) will likely "allow" it, but one could ask. This is why the chart is handy as all weights can be ascertained without unhitching. I would recommend driving around and getting on the scale a second time for the second reading -- let the scale re-set itself -- though it may not be necessary.

Experience with one rig, with different loadings, and before too awful long one can pretty well guesstimate the weights. Never perfectly, but sometimes in ballpark. All about prediction, IMO. A pile of scale tickets, of differing trips, is my friend. (Keep in logbook; pics also).

.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:52 AM   #10
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Thanks I will read and digest. I am out the door Thanks for all the effort. Tony
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:23 AM   #11
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I agree with Steve about the bars. I've been told they should be parallel with the frame. I'm setting up a new hitch right now. Does anyone know how to estimate the proper ball angle from the start? Or is trial-and-error the only method?
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crios View Post
I agree with Steve about the bars. I've been told they should be parallel with the frame. I'm setting up a new hitch right now. Does anyone know how to estimate the proper ball angle from the start? Or is trial-and-error the only method?
You can start with a little tilt to the rear (maybe about 10 degrees), but in the end, it is trial and error.
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