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Old 08-10-2012, 03:04 PM   #1
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Bike rack on TV or TT?

Which do you have?
Which do you prefer?
Any bike damage when traveling with bike on back o TT?
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:24 PM   #2
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Inside the TT. We have folding bikes that we got a long time ago, and while I don't take them often, when I do, they conveniently fold up into a bag and go inside. Since they are in the cloth bag, they really don't hurt anything.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
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I've struggled with that same question. There's little to do with a pick up with a tonneau cover. Inside the camper is best but we don't have folding bikes and I worried about floor, cabinet or furniture scratches.

I now have a sturdy ladder on the back of the camper and I found a ladder rack at Camping World for $40 that is perfect. Easy load and unload for two bikes. Careful if you're thinking about a rack on the bumber of your camper. They're not made for the weight nor torque load.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:28 PM   #4
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Hi Kit,

Carrying bikes is a problem. There is not a one size fit all as we all have different TV's, campers and physical limitations.

I have carried them in 3 places, The back of the camper (never again), the front of the truck on a front mounted receiver, good carrying but a had to deal with a lot to get the lights of the truck proper, and the final location I have now. On the TT tongue which is for me situation the best setup for me.

For your situation and your present TV here are cautions of what not to do and why I say this.

Do not mount to the rear of the camper. This subtracts tongue weight which reduces the good weight balance the TT has for natural low sway characteristics. On your short wheel base truck you need the TT really well balanced. The truck cannot compensate for a lower tongue weight. In order to even attempt a rear mount it should be on a separate frame that ties direct to the TT main frame rails. This is often down with a 2" hitch receiver welded the back of the TT frame. It adds even more weight but is the way to create a solid mount and then to use a bike rack that cradles the tires and not a top hanging rack. The bumper can barely hold the spare tire's weight. It physically cannot hold a bike rack the way Sunline made them on purpose. This options does not work on every camper as it can upset the trailer towing pending what tongue weight balance you are starting from.

The next do not do, an A frame mount on the TT itself. While this is a very good location for a bike rack and safe for traveling of the bikes, it adds tongue weight. In my case it added 109# more of tongue weight for 2 adult bikes. Your truck cannot handle this added tongue weight. My heavy truck and trailer A frame can.

Now options that can work.

If you can get the bikes inside, wrapped in a blankets and secured down, this is an option.

A roof rack on the Jeep. Very doable only the issue is loading them up there. I do not know if this is a concern for you. The good news is the Jeep is low to the ground. When I towed with my K2500 Suburban that truck was so high up there, over 6 foot to roof, that it was a large drawback for me.

Inside the back of the Jeep. My son did this with his GMC Jimmy and Pop up. They fold the back seat down, takes the front bike tire off and puts 2 adult bikes in the back of the truck. No cost for a bike rack, very safe on the bikes, does not break your back getting them up on the roof, does not have the inside issues of the TT. The one con is you lose the back seat. Do not know if this is a problem or not. If you have a 60/40 split folding rear seat you may have 1 seat down plus one seat up.

While the front of the Jeep is an option, this one is not simple and pending the state you are in may not be per state DOT law. Blocking of ligths and signals needs to be addressed. It is not a cheap solution, need a front receiver and a bike rack.

Other folks may have some suggestions for your TV and TT. Those are the ones that come to mind for me.

Hope this helps

John

PS if you have a PU truck there are other options but right now you are in the SUV world so I did not list them.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:48 AM   #5
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I am buying a roof rack for my bikes. I won't always be towing the TT when I use them. They are road bikes so not as heavy as mountain or cruisers so I can and have lifted them onto the roof. I have also taken the front tire off and put the bike in the back of the 60/40 folding rear seat. Great info as usual folks, very helpful.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:02 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=JohnB;107050]
Do not mount to the rear of the camper. This subtracts tongue weight which reduces the good weight balance the TT has for natural low sway characteristics.

Hi JohnB
On my Sunline the water tank sets behind the wheel base. So if what your saying about bikes is true . Wouldn't traveling with or or without water upset the balance between TT and TV?
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim44646 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Do not mount to the rear of the camper. This subtracts tongue weight which reduces the good weight balance the TT has for natural low sway characteristics.
Hi JohnB
On my Sunline the water tank sets behind the wheel base. So if what your saying about bikes is true . Wouldn't traveling with or or without water upset the balance between TT and TV?
Hi Jim,


The statement you cut and pasted was referencing Photo Kit’s situation. Let me explain some. There are some similarities and some differences between the fresh water tank and the bike rack.

Some big picture things first.

Sunline was good about trailer weight and balance. Even the dry unloaded camper weights created a stable towing trailer. Once loaded, they had a good idea where folks load gear in the camper, or at least the know where they created space to load gear. So even with gear added, the trailers for the most part still remain stable for towing. Some times this gets skewed as someone will load more that then realized in one area and not so much in others.

I'm going to make a big picture statement; I myself have not yet found a Sunline that suffered from low unstable tongue weight by design.

Now granted I have not seen or investigated every camper Sunline ever made so the statement is a broad “opinion” only. I have talked with Sunline on this before they went under as my 1st camper had the opposite problem, heavy tongue weight. They took extra effort in creating floor plans creating good stable towing tongue weights. Some other brands are not so good about this.

Floor plan is a large part that drives loaded tongue weight on our Sunlines. On campers with the fresh water tank behind the axle it will subtract from the tongue weight. The laws of physics are alive and well in our Sunlines.

However on these models Sunline knew it would and as such would create other areas of the camper to have the ability to load gear into to help offset that water to be filled and not allow the tongue weight to go too low. In the fresh tank situation, it was a planned event by design and Sunline compensated for this.

The rear mounted bike rack on the other hand is not a Sunline planned event. The rear bumper is the most rear location on the camper. Since it is so far from the rear axle, smaller weights of the bikes, rack and mount can have a large effect on removing weight from the camper tongue pending what floor plan one has.

My original statement was created for Photo Kit with her TT and TV. She has a short wheel base TV and a small camper. In this combination I cautioned about a rear bike rack as the bikes can have a larger effect on her TT and TV combination. The smaller the camper can have a larger impact on tongue weight loss then a large camper that starts with high tongue weight.

If Kit had a T2499 rear living room camper and a heavy truck the caution would be different. With the T2499 floor plan, that camper has 14.5% dry tongue weight goes up into to the 20% range when loaded with gear if one packs heavy. Loosing 2 or 3% tongue weight off of a 20% loaded tongue does not have the same effect as loosing 2 to 3% off of a 12% to 13% loaded TW camper.

A good thing to do regardless of what camper you have, is go get it weighed. And if you travel with fresh water, make sure it is filled when you go. Then you are armed with exact weights and you can see if you are approaching the 10% TW area or heading to 20%.... A lot of this comes down to our camping "stuff", how much and where we load it.

If you need more on this, please ask. Glad to explain more. I tried to explain it some and it may still leave some open questions.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:28 PM   #8
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The reason I ask was I was planning to use a rear mounted bike rack (reinforcred bumper) and not carry water as I fill when I arrive at camp ground if I don't have full hook up. I have a T-2553 rear storage, 2001 Dodge Ram Quad cab 4x4 w/tonneau cover loaded with firewood. Reese duel cam hitch.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim44646 View Post
The reason I ask was I was planning to use a rear mounted bike rack (reinforcred bumper) and not carry water as I fill when I arrive at camp ground if I don't have full hook up. I have a T-2553 rear storage, 2001 Dodge Ram Quad cab 4x4 w/tonneau cover loaded with firewood. Reese duel cam hitch.
Hi Jim,

What year is your T-2553, I'll look it up and give you some thoughts on this.

Thanks

John
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:24 PM   #10
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Hi Jim,

What year is your T-2553, I'll look it up and give you some thoughts on this.

Thanks

John
Mid model year 2001.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim44646 View Post
The reason I ask was I was planning to use a rear mounted bike rack (reinforcred bumper) and not carry water as I fill when I arrive at camp ground if I don't have full hook up. I have a T-2553 rear storage, 2001 Dodge Ram Quad cab 4x4 w/tonneau cover loaded with firewood. Reese duel cam hitch.
Hi Jim,

I did some looking for you. If I have this right you have a 2001 T-2553 front kitchen camper. The dry unloaded GVW is 4,340# with a 515# dry tongue. This means camper has a 515/4340 *100 = 11.9% dry tongue weight (TW). This is a good empty tongue weight and the TT empty will tow stable.

Now to the floor plan. Front kitchens can load heavy to the front from the kitchen being up there. Many layouts of this type have space under the rear bed for gear. In this case is your fresh tank back there under the bed on the inside? or it is outside? Do you have a large storage area even with the fresh tank in the back?

Sunline knew to not put the fresh tank forward of the axle on this floor plan as the TW could get really high to the point a lot of 1/2 ton trucks could not hold it up. So in the case the fresh tank behind the axle would help offset the heavy front kitchen to help balance the trailer out. That and most likely cargo space behind the rear axle.

So now we know where you are starting from on an empty camper. The next question is, What is your loaded axle weights and loaded TW on the camper the way you go camping?

By the floor plan the weight on the back may be tolerated from a camper weight and balance perspective, OR it might not be. I can't tell you from here without actual scaled weights if you will have a low tongue weight issue. You have a good truck and that helps however it can't create a total stable rig all by itself, the TT weight and balance needs to be in check first.

Based on a camper length of 25' 4" and that the center of gravity of the TT is 11.9% behind the CG, I made some assumptions to help show how this may come out.

I'm taking a big picture estimate that a bike rack with 2 adult bikes can weigh 110#. (That is my bike rack weight) Hanging the bike weight 12" behind the rear wall could result in 94# of weight taking off the tongue of the camper. Which is something to verify for sure before doing this. There is error in my estimate as I do not know the axle position, only the CG position.

If you can get me these dimensions I can verify how much weight will be removed from the TW:

Center of tow ball coupler to center of front axle. (I'll assume axle to axle is 32")
Center of tow ball coupler to rear most dimension of the bumper.

If you do go to a rear mounted bike rack I would suggest this:
  • Weigh the camper fully loaded ready to go camping, get axle weight and a tongue weight. Include full propane or let us know how much is used. Figure out the loaded TW % of the GVW.
  • Have an estimated TW reduction based on the weight of the bikes. I can help with this if you get me the axle dims above. Make sure you do not go below 13 to most 12% loaded TW.
  • Have a 2" rigid receiver mounted directly to the frame and not associated with the rear bumper. The bumper is just to thin period and Sunline made many of them to break off if the weight is exceeded.
  • Use a bike rack that holds by the tires and not a top hanging one. They are less stressful on the hitch mount. You will need a saftey cable or heavy strap through the bikes to the receiver in case something comes off.
As a heads up, I myself have learned the hard way how bad a beating the bikes can get on the back of the TT. There are no shocks on most campers and the bikes really bounce. I myself would only use the rear of the camper as a last resort and only by the means above I talked about.

Hope this helps. Glad to clarify more as needed

John
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:05 AM   #12
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Thanks JohnB

Right now the only weight I can give you is current TW with full propane and loaded TT w/o water. TW was 330#. As soon as I have rear hitch added that will change. My current rear bumper is a C channel and I'm replacing it with a square tube bumper. Don't like sewer tube inside storage areas.
The rack I have supports bike by tires. Water tank is in left side of rear storage compartment along with full hot water tank.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:56 AM   #13
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Thanks JohnB

Right now the only weight I can give you is current TW with full propane and loaded TT w/o water. TW was 330#.
Hi Jim,

Need to ask to clairify this. Is the 330# tongue weight number you posted correct? How did you come up with the number? It sounds like you weighed it and if so how and what scale?.

And do you have a 2001 T-2553 as shown in this catalog? Sunline Coach Owner's Club - Sunline Owner's Files - 2001 Sunline Solaris & SR Travel Trailers

If the 330# is correct and the camper is the right one, this is not a good combination. You will have large issues adding anything to the back of the camper. You can also have towing stablity issues with what you have right now if a large sway event flares up while towing.

I wanna help here, let's talk and help get this sorted out for you.

Thanks

John
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:57 PM   #14
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John

Sorry 330# was a typo. It's more like 630#. I weighed it using beam and scale method. Will get Cat weight when I'm finished. I changed rear truck tires from P's To LT's. Need to buy 2 more for front next month (Pay as I Go) Need to add rear hitch for bike rack. The kind that supports bike by tires. I have good bikes and don't like them banging together. Will sometimes ride 30-40 mi. a day.
I understand WD hitches I've been towing about 40 years. I've always had front water tanks and main storage. That's why I questioned your answer to PhotoKit
I went from a 234 Jayco 3790# dry weight to the Sunline T-2553 4340# dry weight. I could feel some sidewall shimmy with the Jayco with the P tires but was magnified with the heaver Sunline.
I once had a 20' single axle trailer that was so touchy if you didn't have it loaded right you had issues. Just by using water from front water tank to rear holding tank and not readjusting chain link, (boondocking). O BOY problems
The TT is the one in the T-2553 Solaris, 2001 file. Titled 2001 but born Nov. 2000. Hasn't had axles flipped.
Found it in a barn, only used 8 weeks (once a year for fair week) Last licensed 2010.
Where about in Ohio are you.

Thanks for your concern
Jim
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