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Old 04-25-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
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1987 32' Excella
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Weight Concerns - Reese Dual Cam Set up

Greetings all!
I have a 1987 Excella, 32', got a couple months ago. Ready for the first road trip now. Got the Reese Dual Cam set up, installed yesterday and today. I have it set at the correct height. I have the hitch ball the first setting tilted to the rear, from vertical. I had six links, but there was not enough change in the tow vehicle, so I changed it to five links. Better on TV. Took it to a truck scale for weight. Trailer is somewhat loaded for tomorrow's trip.

Gross weight, TV and AS - 12,980.
TV steering axle - 3080
TV rear axle - 3320
AS weight - 6580

Disconnected AS from TV, put tongue only on scale - tongue weight - 1160...it was too light to print a ticket, he had to write it on some paper for me.

AS total weight, disconnected from TV, total trailer now on scale - 7380.

Now for the problem - I am really worried about that tongue weight of 1160, as it was recommended to me to use 750 pound bars on the Reese set up. On the open highway headed to the scales, in a head wind, the steering was...well, kinda goosey. It made me a little nervous. After we weighed, heading on the highway with the wind behind me, it was still goosey, so I changed the set up to 4 links from 5. If anything, a little worse. So after a mile, I changed the setup from 4 links to 6...a little better, but still not as stable as I would like.

What am I doing wrong?
Thanks!
Steven
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Old 04-25-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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You need a BIGGER TRUCK!! Sorry, just kidding.

Can you describe the problem in more detail? I'm sorry, I don't understand what "goosey" means.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:25 PM   #3
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ok, more information. I'm driving a Dodge Ram 1500, with the large Hemi engine, factory tow package, and tow capacity of 10,000 pounds. The mfg. front axle GAWR is 3700 (and I weighed in at 3080 with the trailer attached) rear axle GAWR 3900 (with trailer I weighed 3320) and the mfg. GVWR is 6700 (I weighed 6400). Looking at the weight limits, I'm fine.

By "goosey" I mean, well, I had a 1952 3/4 ton GMC one time... no power steering. When I'd haul a ton of sand in it for the kids sandbox, the power steering was REAL nice, if you get my meaning. That's the sensation I had when the AS was attached to the truck this morning. Now we had real high winds today, but still... I almost felt as if I was driving on ice. What concerns me is that I may have the Reese system set up wrong.
Thanks for your help.
Steven
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
Greetings all!
I have a 1987 Excella, 32', got a couple months ago. Ready for the first road trip now. Got the Reese Dual Cam set up, installed yesterday and today. I have it set at the correct height. I have the hitch ball the first setting tilted to the rear, from vertical. I had six links, but there was not enough change in the tow vehicle, so I changed it to five links. Better on TV. Took it to a truck scale for weight. Trailer is somewhat loaded for tomorrow's trip.

Gross weight, TV and AS - 12,980.
TV steering axle - 3080
TV rear axle - 3320
AS weight - 6580

Disconnected AS from TV, put tongue only on scale - tongue weight - 1160...it was too light to print a ticket, he had to write it on some paper for me.

AS total weight, disconnected from TV, total trailer now on scale - 7380.

Now for the problem - I am really worried about that tongue weight of 1160, as it was recommended to me to use 750 pound bars on the Reese set up. On the open highway headed to the scales, in a head wind, the steering was...well, kinda goosey. It made me a little nervous. After we weighed, heading on the highway with the wind behind me, it was still goosey, so I changed the set up to 4 links from 5. If anything, a little worse. So after a mile, I changed the setup from 4 links to 6...a little better, but still not as stable as I would like.

What am I doing wrong?
Thanks!
Steven
Steve.

What "exact" tow vehicle do you have?

The tow vehicle is a part of the overall question and answer.

It appears that you need more weight on the front axle of the tow vehicle.

When your rig is in a straight line, are the bars seated correctly on the saddles?

When you cange links, you may have to adjust the saddle.

The cams must be seated correctly on the saddles. If not, it can "hunt". That may be what your calling goosey.

The hunting will stop, when the cams are properly seated on the saddles.

Andy
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Old 04-25-2009, 05:13 PM   #5
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Hi Andy! Thanks for chiming in. I followed the instructions, and did several 20-45 degree turns right and left after first hooking up... the crook of the bars settled on the cams just fine, and stayed there. Then I drove over 100 yards in a straight line, per instructions, and then ran up the cam nuts to keep their position. When the rig was in a straight line, saddles were on cams just fine, everything looked level from a distance, from the rear of the trailer to the front of the truck.
Thanks,
Steven
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Old 04-25-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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Post Script - sorry... Exact Tow Vehicle is a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, with the factory installed tow package, and the 5.7 liter Hemi engine. Truck is rated to tow 10,000 pounds. The company I bought the trailer from put fresh water in all three holding tanks to test them. With all three holding tanks full, trailer loaded to travel, it weighed 7380 pounds.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:58 PM   #7
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pictures from the side and top would help.

you need to transfer about 200 lbs to the front axle.

tighten up the setup. shorten the lengths under tension.
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:35 PM   #8
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Steven,

I have an '86 32' Excella and my TV is an '85 Chev Suburban 2500 Silverado. When I was using the 750 lb bars I couldn't get enough weight transfered to the front axle of my TV and the steering was light and in a cross wind the whole rig wanted to wander. My tongue weight is around 900 lbs., lighter than yours, but we usually only travel with 1/4 tank of fresh water and empty grey and black tanks. So the tongue weight will vary. Anyway, I went to 1,200 lb bars and tilted the ball up somewhat to finally get everything even and eliminate that "goosey" driving. If your tongue weight is as much as you say then you likely need to go to the heavier bars. To bad Reese doesn't sell 1,000 lb. bars casue that would be just the ticket, but they don't. The option is 800 lb. bars or 1,200 lb. bars. The only other thing that occurs to me that might be causing your rig to drive "goosey" are your TV tires. Sidewall stiffness varies quite a bit from brand to brand. If your sidewalls are real flexible it could be giving you the ride you discribe.
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:20 PM   #9
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Ok, thanks for the advice all, I'm going to make some adjustments tomorrow, and head out for a 150 mile drive to camp for a week. I'll fiddle with it as I go, and see what combination works...
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:29 PM   #10
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What is your tire pressure? I run 60lbs in my TV and 55 in the AS...the pressure
may need to vary depending on the tire brand and other variables...but tire pressure
is one of the critical factors in getting the proper/best set up combination for your TV and AS...
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:08 PM   #11
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Need the scale weights on the truck, solo, as well. First, with driver, full fuel, absolutely zero other items in truck. Second ticket needs to be same as before but with any pax, supplies, tools, etc. in truck; loaded as it would be for traveling.

As to tire pressure, what pressures does Dodge recommend? My 2004 CTD is rated 50-psi/50-psi empty, and, at max load, 50/70. (Assuming tires are oem equipment).

Have a look at NickCrowHursts calculator (a sticky) for more info.
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Old 05-02-2009, 05:47 PM   #12
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Ok folks, here's the report. I drove 150 miles to Memphis for the week. Combination local state highways and I-55. When I tried to drive 60, I feared losing control. Was comfortable driving 55.

Truck: 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 with 5.7 liter hemi, factory tow package, 10,000 lb tow rating. Tires max. pressure 44 lbs, I had at 35 lbs, recommended for all purposes. Truck weight 5600 pounds.

Trailer: 1987 32' Excella, total weight, 7380, tongue weight 1140 pounds.

Hitched: Reese dual cam, with 750 pound round bars. Connected, front axle weight of truck: 3080, Rear axle weight 3320, trailer axle weight 6580.

In Memphis I took the assembled rig to a professional shop dealing with the Reese Dual Cam. He took a look at it, said I had everything set up perfectly, need the 1200 pound bars. Told him about the need for a soft ride for the AS. He measured installation of mechanism then, looked it over very closely... said I had it perfect, need 120o pound bars. I did not buy 1200 pound bars. Just drove it home 55 mph.

Towing: I ran the rig with 5 links, tried 6, tried 4, 5 seemed the best. When I changed links, I had to adjust the saddle just a little bit. Even so, a couple of drawers popped open, cabinet doors, and one of the return air filters on the a/c popped off.

Conclusion? Since I've never done this before, I'm at a loss...except I'm wondering if I shouldn't have the 1000 pound bars.
Thanks for your input.
Steven
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
Ok folks, here's the report. I drove 150 miles to Memphis for the week. Combination local state highways and I-55. When I tried to drive 60, I feared losing control. Was comfortable driving 55.

Truck: 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 with 5.7 liter hemi, factory tow package, 10,000 lb tow rating. Tires max. pressure 44 lbs, I had at 35 lbs, recommended for all purposes. Truck weight 5600 pounds.

Trailer: 1987 32' Excella, total weight, 7380, tongue weight 1140 pounds.

Hitched: Reese dual cam, with 750 pound round bars. Connected, front axle weight of truck: 3080, Rear axle weight 3320, trailer axle weight 6580.

In Memphis I took the assembled rig to a professional shop dealing with the Reese Dual Cam. He took a look at it, said I had everything set up perfectly, need the 1200 pound bars. Told him about the need for a soft ride for the AS. He measured installation of mechanism then, looked it over very closely... said I had it perfect, need 120o pound bars. I did not buy 1200 pound bars. Just drove it home 55 mph.

Towing: I ran the rig with 5 links, tried 6, tried 4, 5 seemed the best. When I changed links, I had to adjust the saddle just a little bit. Even so, a couple of drawers popped open, cabinet doors, and one of the return air filters on the a/c popped off.

Conclusion? Since I've never done this before, I'm at a loss...except I'm wondering if I shouldn't have the 1000 pound bars.
Thanks for your input.
Steven
Steven.

What is the front/rear weights of the truck by itself?

You may also need to increase the tow vehicle tire pressure, somewhat.

But first, please advise the weights of just the truck.

I will try to help you from there.

Andy
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:24 PM   #14
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I'll have to get the front and rear axle weights of the truck by itself tomorrow afternoon, and then post them.
Thanks.
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