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Old 05-25-2023, 06:35 PM   #1
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2014 23' FB Flying Cloud
Jacksonville , Oregon
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Hitch Help, friction or chains ?

Sorry if this has been covered but couldn't find answer to my questions, hopefully I'll get some help here. TV is a 2019 Dodge Ram 1500, towing a 23'FB Flying Cloud, hitch is an old Valley WD with 800-1000lb bars & chains.
I've adjusted the TV & trailer a few times to exact spec called out in Valley's hitch instructions. I've had it adjusted at an RV dealer one time and also added a Curt sway bar. Problem is it still sways ! I've checked tongue weight about 620lbs we travel with full to 1/2 propane & water with hardly any extra load in trailer or truck. Tire pressure on TV at about 48-50psi & 60psi on trailer. I've tried different tire pressures with no difference noticed.
I'm in the market for a new hitch and wondering what provides better sway control the friction type or chain type ?

Hitch choices are,
Blue Ox 67FR, Curt 17499 or Reese RP6659 all friction type as my chain style set up seems to be of little help for sway control, all cost about 600-700 bucks.

Also odd is I can drive at 65-70mph without sway than theirs times when anything over 55-60 is scary. It seems most of the time not all the time at 60-65 there is always a little sway going on. I'm really hoping with a small trailer I can solve this problem without spending the big bucks on a pro ride or equivalent 2500-3000 dollar hitch.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 05-25-2023, 07:18 PM   #2
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Can you share some photos of the combination and the hitch setup?
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Old 05-25-2023, 07:25 PM   #3
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CAT scale Tickets would help...at least three passes.

TV alone loaded for camping...
TV & AS no weight distribution.
TV & AS with WD set for proper weight return to TV steering axle.

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Old 05-26-2023, 07:07 AM   #4
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Sway control is not a panacea. You still have to have the trailer tongue weight in the right range. You need 10% to 15% of the trailer's weight on the tongue. Personally, I prefer 12% to 15%. That is one reason that Robert Cross wants CAT scale readings, so we can calculate the percentage of trailer weight on the tongue. That also may explain why your issue is so intermittent. Sometimes you have more tongue weight than others, and no sway. Other times you have less tongue weight and sway.
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Old 05-26-2023, 08:10 AM   #5
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RE: Hitch Help, friction or chains ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2link2 View Post
Hitch choices are,
Blue Ox 67FR, Curt 17499 or Reese RP6659 all friction type as my chain style set up seems to be of little help for sway control, all cost about 600-700 bucks.

Also odd is I can drive at 65-70mph without sway than theirs times when anything over 55-60 is scary. It seems most of the time not all the time at 60-65 there is always a little sway going on. I'm really hoping with a small trailer I can solve this problem without spending the big bucks on a pro ride or equivalent 2500-3000 dollar hitch.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
I have used the same basic hitch setup across many tow vehicles and three different trailers since 1980, and it is the Reese Strait Line with Dual Cam Sway Control. There was only one time that i was the least bit concerned about its performance and that was when I made my brief foray into the world of pickup trucks as tow vehicles. In 1995, I purchased a new Chevrolet K1500 Z71 4 X 4 to tow my 1964 Overlander Land Yacht International (6,000 pounds with 700 pounds on the hitch ready for travel). The trailer was prone to near constant oscillations, not horrible sway, but not the smooth towing experience that I was accustomed to with my full size sedan as tow vehicle. It took months of investigation before I found a Reese hitch specialist who really knew his equipment and he identified my problem as the very stiff springs that my truck had as a result of its options of heavy duty towing package plus four wheel drive, plus off road package. His recommendation was to switch from the 800 pound weight distribution bars that I had been using with my sedan to 700 pound bars -- the difference was phenomenal -- the trailer regained its exceptional towing manners. I also saw a virtual elimination of popped rivets on the interior of the trailer once I switched to the lighter weight distribution bars. I appreciate how versatile the hitch is as I have gone back to towing with my full size car, and just switched back to the heavier weight distribution bars and the trailer retains its composure.

You will note in the photo below that my Strait Line Hitch is the "classic" variety that has been discontinued since the HP variety has been on the market. The photo is also of my weekender outfit, 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible towing my 1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre.



Since that Cadillac was stolen, I have adopted a 1992 Buick Roadmaster Limited sedan with the heavy duty factory tow package as my tow vehicle.
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Old 05-26-2023, 09:41 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies

R. Cross, I bought the trailer last year & the prior owner gave me the "about" 620lbs TW. I have never had it checked, I will see if I can find CAT scale near me and do that.


Bobbo, the 10%-15% may be part of the problem a 620lb TW is barely 10% of trailer weight. The intermittent handling is on same trip, it's never an all bad or an all good ride no matter what I'll get sway, smooth, or slight sway & bounce all on the same trip same tank of gas.


Overlander, it looks like your Reese is friction type & the bar weight is interesting. My bar weight is 800-1000lbs maybe that is also part of the problem. Valley I believe no longer makes bars so finding one with less rating will be hard.



I guess prior to buying a new hitch I need to get TW & TV weights nailed down, get at least 12% of trailer weight on the hitch & see how it does. I didn't think towing a trailer was going to be a problem. In the past I've towed open trailers & heavy eq. & never used a WD hitch & never had a sway problem. The other thought I had was getting the trailer wheel alignment checked I'm not sure that has anything to do with sway or even if that is something that would ever need to checked. Anyway time to go find a CAT scale !
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Old 05-26-2023, 07:50 PM   #7
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I suggested a photo because that can help with the diagnosis. For example, Overlander64ís photo shows a rearward cant of the ball, which makes a difference. Also, are you getting enough weight transfer to the front axle of the tow vehicle?

I realize that youíve tried to follow the hitch manufacturerís instructions, but you might find some insights from this video:

https://youtu.be/JrgCNR6HvRI
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Old 05-27-2023, 07:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF View Post
For example, Overlander64’s photo shows a rearward cant of the ball, which makes a difference.
It's not the rear cant of the ball that changes the geometry, it's the rear cant of the HEAD, meaning there's increased leverage on the bars.
I've used a Equal-I-Zer hitch since day one and I never have sway. The downside of the Equalizer is it's a pain to adjust, and mine is at the limit of the bars. The good news is it tows so well I hate to "improve" it.
The big plus of chains is that WD adjustment is as easy as adding or removing a chain link in the setup.
The Blue Ox Sway Pro is one example with a chain setup that promises sway control. Lots of people swear by it.
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Old 05-27-2023, 08:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertF View Post
I suggested a photo because that can help with the diagnosis. For example, Overlander64ís photo shows a rearward cant of the ball, which makes a difference. Also, are you getting enough weight transfer to the front axle of the tow vehicle?

I realize that youíve tried to follow the hitch manufacturerís instructions, but you might find some insights from this video:

https://youtu.be/JrgCNR6HvRI



Thanks for video link.

Trailer is at storage, I won't get out there for few days & I'll take a few pics. 1st I've heard of a cant in the ball/head as an adjustment to help sway. The hitch head I have uses washers as shims on a pin for changing the ball angle. I have taken out washers and added washers increasing/decreasing the ball angle with no noticeable results.
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Old 05-27-2023, 09:47 AM   #10
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After re-reading the Curt set up instructions, (I was curious about the head angle cant)
The Curt instructions are vague at best & call out "vertical or slightly tilted back" saying it may need adjustment later but the head angle is never mentioned again. Curt also calls out to measure the bumber height front & back not the body in 4 places like in video https://youtu.be/JrgCNR6HvRI
In video He says 90 degrees is no good for head angle but doesn't say what angle is good ? But looking at His head set up there is way more cant/angle than I ever tried.
I'm going to use his method, increase head angle & take more care in TV measurements I know I wasn't getting within a 1/16 to 1/8" I was using 3/8" saying close enough. I'll try that before my trip to the CAT scale & see if there is any difference.
A lot more to this than I ever imagined !
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Old 05-27-2023, 09:54 AM   #11
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FWIW, we have a 1500 (a Sierra), and a 20FB: we use a BlueOx SwayPro, and really like it. Initial setup is important: get the trailer level, have at least 10% (12% or up to 15%) tongue weight, and use a block under your tongue jack to make sure you raise it high enough to get the pressure off the bars when removing or hooking them up.
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Old 05-27-2023, 04:25 PM   #12
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Went to CAT scale today I can't seem to get any pics posted, results of 3 passes are
1st pass truck only Steer axle 3240lbs
Drive axle 2340lbs gross weight 5580


2nd pass TV+TT not WD hooked up Steer axle 3000lbs
Drive axle 3140lbs
Trailer axle 4800lbs gross weight 10940




3rd pass TV+TT & WD hooked up Steer axle 3220lbs
Rear axle 2700lbs
Trailer axle 4940 lbs gross weight 10860


If I'm looking at this correct my tongue weight is 800lbs. TheTT has 2 full propane tanks & pretty full fresh water & nothing much else in TT. What I find odd is the 80lb weight difference in then total weight between the 2 passes. The WD in place seems to add 220lbs to front axle & remove 440lbs off the rear. It seems the TT weight is 5,360lbs but that's only doing the math I never weighed it unhooked from truck.If that's correct TT weight it means I have 14.9% tongue weight.
OK now for some great news & (bad) I changed 4 things today prior to towing. Per video that AlbertF posted the guy threw out a loose fitting hitch. My hitch had at least 1/4" of side to side play so overall you could move hitch aprx 1/2" left to right.
1st change, was I shimmed hitch solid no side play at all.

2nd change, was Head angle I added 3 washers it increased the angle a lot
3rd change, I inflated TV tires to just under 1lb of recommended max pressure
4th change, I remeasured TV per video and using A LOT of tension on WD bars the rear is 1/2" lower than uncoupled and the front is 1/4" lower
Great news is it now tows fantastic ! I was really surprised it is now very stable I was going 65-70 & 75 just for minute to test and there was absolutely no sway or bounce. It's going to make our trips much less stressful ! Cant wait for our next road trip.
Not real bad news but changing 4 things at once I have no idea what fixed the problem.
A big thank-you for everyone's help !
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Old 05-27-2023, 05:45 PM   #13
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Since you are in Oregon feel free to use the road side truck scales. The state actually encourages use of those scales to ensure your tow vehicle and trailer are properly set up. I prefer the closed scales as there is generally no wait to use them.
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Old 05-27-2023, 05:47 PM   #14
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Great news! Kudos to you for doing the work needed to figure it out and get it right.
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Old 05-27-2023, 06:24 PM   #15
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I'm glad to hear you have a good setup now.



Let me give you a correction.


Your truck (loaded) weighs 5580--that was your first weight.


In weight two, your truck axles were carrying 3000+3140 = 6140. That is 560 greater than weight one. This is your tongue weight. Your rear axle did increase by 800, but that includes the weight lifted off the front axle.



Your TT weight is 5360 and your tongue weight is 10.4% of your trailer's weight.
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Old 05-27-2023, 06:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I'm glad to hear you have a good setup now.



Let me give you a correction.


Your truck (loaded) weighs 5580--that was your first weight.


In weight two, your truck axles were carrying 3000+3140 = 6140. That is 560 greater than weight one. This is your tongue weight. Your rear axle did increase by 800, but that includes the weight lifted off the front axle.



Your TT weight is 5360 and your tongue weight is 10.4% of your trailer's weight.

Thanks for the correction I thought 800lbs was high. I've seen a lot of posts here on 23' FB Flying cloud tongue weights that were all around 600lbs couldn't figure out why I was at 800.
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Old 05-30-2023, 07:50 PM   #17
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Truck weighs 5580
Trailer alone weighs 5360 (10940 minus 5580)
Tongue weight is 560 (5360 minus 4800)
Tongue percentage is 10.44% (560 divided by 5360)

Cross check, (3140 minus 2340 = 800) total weight gained on rear axle, however 240 of that came off the front of the truck, so 800 minus 240 = 560 tongue weight.

You could stand to put a little more weight up front, which may happen when loaded and water added, depending on position of storage and water tank.

Charles
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Old 05-30-2023, 08:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesinGA View Post
Truck weighs 5580
Trailer alone weighs 5360 (10940 minus 5580)
Tongue weight is 560 (5360 minus 4800)
Tongue percentage is 10.44% (560 divided by 5360)

Cross check, (3140 minus 2340 = 800) total weight gained on rear axle, however 240 of that came off the front of the truck, so 800 minus 240 = 560 tongue weight.

You could stand to put a little more weight up front, which may happen when loaded and water added, depending on position of storage and water tank.

Charles

Thanks, here's where I'm a bit confused (it didn't take long) as set up with 560lbs of TW the WDH has now loaded the front axle to 99% of unhitched weight. If I add more tongue weight won't this just start to counter act the weight transfer achieved with the WDH ?
At this point I think I have to much force/tension on the bars the trailer tows great no sway at all, but I think I need to experiment and get some tension off the bars and try with maybe getting to aprx. 80% of unhitched font axle weight. I will load trailer a bit different and shoot for maybe 12% TW
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Old 05-31-2023, 07:04 AM   #19
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You may have to set your WDH again. The FIRST thing you do is get a good tongue weight, THEN you set the WDH. You need to increase your tongue weight to AT LEAST 12%. After doing that, you may have to increase the pressure your WDH applies to get the front axle weight back. Actually, it is possible that your WDH settings will not need to be changed. It is OK to lose a little weight off of the front axle, so increasing your TW from 10.4% to 12% may NOT cause you to have to re-do the WDH.
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Old 05-31-2023, 08:13 AM   #20
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Iíd be reluctant to mess with it.

First, having owned a vintage Airstream, I think they tow just fine with 11% tongue weight. TW percentage is not magic - itís a function of centre of gravity. Airstreams have a low c of g, and they donít need high tongue weight.

Second, is the front axle overloaded? If not, itís fine. The proof is in how well it tows.
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