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Old 02-10-2010, 07:52 PM   #1
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Poqprince
New guy 2363 frame

Hi all I am new to the group and just read a thread on frame issues. Is this also a problem on the 2363? Just had the axel flipped and nothing was noted. Would appreciate I need to look for in this regard...most other things have been easy to work with and we have really enjoyed the unit. Just want to make sure my family is safe. I am using the dual cam hitch.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:08 PM   #2
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Hi George

1st Welcome to Sunline Owners club!

Now to your frame, we need some more info to see if you are in the group of ones that may be affected.

1st, what year camper do you have?

2nd, do you know your loaded tongue weight?

3rd, what size WD bars on your hitch are you using?

4th Can you confirm that your TT is a 5,500# GVWR TT?

You may or may not even be in the right year to have the issues. 2005 and newer up until mid 2007 on the 7,000# GVWR frames is where the issues showed up with heavier tongue weights or heavy WD bars even on medium weight tongues.

Once we know what you have we can show you where to go looking and how to help reinforce if you feel you need to.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:05 AM   #3
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Hi John thanks for the quick response!

1st, what year camper do you have?
My camper is a 2003

2nd, do you know your loaded tongue weight?
My loaded tonge weight is 810lbs...this is considerably over what the brochure indicated.

3rd, what size WD bars on your hitch are you using? I am using the 1200 lb set. Which I thought originally would give me a safety margin. Turns out the 800 was to small...just got lucky on that one as I just weighed it recently and was quit shocked at the real weight.

4th Can you confirm that your TT is a 5,500# GVWR TT?
Only from the brochure and the weight sheet in the closet unless there is a marking on the frame somewhere.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:11 AM   #4
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George, that's a pretty high tw for a 2363 although it loads to the front especially if you're also carrying water. Also if that's a bathroom scale weight, that method is really only good for an eyeball measurement and there's no substitute for a commercial scale. I'm assuming that as you didn't state the trailer's loaded axle weight. I'm concerned that if the tw really is that high, 15% of 5500 lb. = 825 lb., you may be running too heavy. There's nothing inherently wrong with those numbers if your truck can hold that weight. I have a 1000 lb. tw, loaded 6000 lb., so am actually closer to 17%, but I'm well within the GVWR of my trailer and truck where you're pushing the edge.

Look for a commercial truck stop scale that has 3 platforms or segments for weighing the 2 truck axles and the trailer tandems in one pass. You should be pretty much at traveling weight. Ideally you should also unhitch the trailer with the tongue and axles on separate segments and get the tw. That can be dicey at a commercial scale--I don't like to get in the way of people who are working for a living while playing with my toys. At the very least unhitch in the parking lot and get the axle weights of the truck solo. That will still give you a very good idea of where your rig sits weight wise.

Henry
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryj
George, that's a pretty high tw for a 2363 although it loads to the front especially if you're also carrying water.
850# does seem a little on the high side. I'm not sure of the tank layout on the 2003 model, however, on my '02, the fresh water tank is to the rear of the axle (under the bed), the grey water tank is roughly above the axles and the black water is (just) in front of the axles. So fresh water should unload the tongue, grey should be relatively neutral and black should load the tongue slightly.

For reference, JohnB measured my tongue weight ('02 2363) back in 2008 at the M&G at 650#. This was carrying roughly one full LP tank, a single battery (at that time), no fresh water and maybe 10 gallons in the black tank.

The previous owner apparently took this rig cross-country once, and I ran it for a year and ~2000 miles with 2 6V batteries on the tongue and full LP.

I'm now running considerably more tongue weight with 4 6V batteries on the tongue. 800# bars on the reese dual-cam. I have kept a fairly close eye on the A frame (just in case) and it is showing no signs of stress so far. As JohnB mentioned, it seems that the problems were occuring on the later model frames. I'm not sure what frame differences there are between the 02 & 03 frames, but so far the 02 seems to be holding up just fine.

BTW, George, let me know how you like your axle flip on that coach. I've been contemplating that one myself.

- Frank
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:56 PM   #6
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Hi Frank

When i returned from Florida I weighed the rig in a different manner than you suggested and will give it another try. The unit weighed in at 5,520 so I was slightly over. I would prefer to keep at least a 10% reserve. I have two of the 30lb tanks and two 6volts. The tanks were all dry and they are in the same location as the 02s. I found I had also exceeded the GVWR of the Durango by roughly 220 lbs because of the miscalculation of the hitch weight.

The commercial scales I used were for scrap metal and had only one way to use them and it was rather rushed because of the waiting trucks but we got a total unit weight, unit weight and the tongue weight. Not sure the unit was level.

I will take it to another scale before we head out to Florida again in a few weeks and weigh things the way you have suggested.

I flipped the axels for several reasons. When first purchased it drug horribly in our driveway. I noticed the skids had been almost worn through so I took it to a local shop and had steel rollers welded to the frame and the skids removed. That made it seem better but I began to worry about the twist in the frame when the unit had to move over the end of the drivway and in other locations. This was made worse by the hitch being slightly to high with no further downward adjustment. It appeared to be about an inch difference between the front and rear of the trailer.

It also seemed that we were consistently having to deal with trying to get sewage to flow up hill. Also the lip of the portable tank I bought was slightly higher than the sewage pipes. It was no fun playing slinky with the sewer hose to make it all work...all under the eyes of those who just knew I was going to spring it loose and fill the camp area with unauthorized gray water. They would have been justifiably upset.

So I will let you know about the handling aspects in March. But I can tell you we no longer drag in the driveway even a little. The durango exhaust is not reverbrating on the front of the unit, I can comfortably get under the unit.(read a short 281pounder) and I am not stooping as far for my stuff. And the four wheeled portable tank will now drain. It ran $387 with parts and tax and depending on handling issues I would certainly do it again.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poqprince
Hi John thanks for the quick response!

1st, what year camper do you have?
My camper is a 2003

2nd, do you know your loaded tongue weight?
My loaded tonge weight is 810lbs...this is considerably over what the brochure indicated.

3rd, what size WD bars on your hitch are you using? I am using the 1200 lb set. Which I thought originally would give me a safety margin. Turns out the 800 was to small...just got lucky on that one as I just weighed it recently and was quit shocked at the real weight.

4th Can you confirm that your TT is a 5,500# GVWR TT?
Only from the brochure and the weight sheet in the closet unless there is a marking on the frame somewhere.
Hi George

1st off Im sorry this has been so long in responding. With the snow mess I got distracted and then accidentally forgot about your post. Sorry. Next time just pester, no problem.

OK we now have something to work with and "maybe" Im seeing something in your hitch setup.

From the replies it looks like you have a 810# tongue weight on a little over a loaded 5,500# GVW TT. If those weights are right that is 14.7% loaded tongue weight. That is not out in left field, actually it is good, but like Henry stated your TV needs to be able to handle it. If you can still read and find your VIN sticker from being faded on the front left of the TT, they posted the TT GVWR on other 2003 models.

This is what has some level of concern until we can get more input from you. You said 800# bars did not do a good job and now you have 1,200#. Well 800# bars on a 810# tongue will work and will work actually very well providing a few things work along with them.

Whe did not see the reason posted that caused you to change?

And on your Durango, is the 2004 the older body style? My son in law has a new body style Durango that I have pics of the truck receiver which is unique the way Dodge did it.

Can you look for a sticker on the receiver or in the TV manual for a receiver rating? We are after the allowable tongue weight in weight distributing mode. And that it actually allows a WD hitch. Some of those Durangos with the larger Hemi had a high tow rating but that does not mean it has a high WD rating in the receiver. And don't feel alone this happens on just about every other brand too.

Reason for asking this is if the receiver is twisting more then it should, that can give the appearance that the WD bars are not heavy enough as the WD is getting lost in all the receiver wind up. Depending on what you come back to us with some answers, we can help you actually measure the receiver twist and see if it is excessive.

There is also play between the pin box ID and the hitch shank OD. Pending what WD hitch you have, you can eat up 4 degrees of WD hitch head tilt from play between the shank and the 2 pin box. And that can give the appearance the WD bars are not heavy enough as you have no more hitch adjustment as most was eaten up by pin box play.

Next is what WD hitch do you have and how is it adjusted? What brand and type is it? Any chance of a pic? Then I know exactly what you have. Ill wait until I know what hitch you have as certain hitches have issues allowing enough adjustment to achieve proper WD again giving the appearance the WD bars are not strong enough.

Next question is, what are you declaring is proper WD on the Durango? What procedure are you using to establish the final setting on WD?

And lastly, do you have a qty of stuff in the back of the Durango when you go camping? And If so how much weight? If you have enough weight aft of the rear axle the WD bars are actually working on that weight plus the tongue weight. And that can again aggravate what appears to be WD bars not strong enough.

Now to your original quest on concerns in the frame and 1,200# WD bars. Well the good news is, your year is not in the problem children years of the 7,000# GVWR TT frame from 2005 to somewhere in 2007 that had the issues.

BUT learning from that experience, you may end up in a not good situation pending how youre A frame is made, gear in the back of the Durango and those 1,200# WD bars.

Can you post some pics of how the header connects to the A frame? And we need the width of the header and the flange top and bottom and ideally the thickness. And the width of the A frame channel iron. Im suspecting you have 4 channel iron A frame. But need you to confirm.

This is what was learned from the 2005 to 2007 frame issues. When tongue loads approach 800 to 1,200# heavy forces can concentrate in one side rail of the A frame. Some had 750# WD bars, some 1,000 some 1,200#. And the tongue weights varied with the WD bars and so did truck bed weight.

The issue was force accumulated from the tongue weight, TV bed load and from the WD bar in a turn into only 1 side of the A frame. As the turn progressed the force at the chains area or L bracket area rise really high and the opposite side of the A frame has no load on it. This does not happen on level ground but does happen on uneven ground where a back flex in the hitch can occur evem putting more load into the WD bars. Like coming down hill and in a turn onto a level road of drive way, or on tipped uneven ground going thru a turn etc. Basically normal towing conditions for a camper.

When the load reaches high enough, the 4 channel will start to twist. If the twist is aggressive enough the header has to resist it. And in the case of the heavy T2499s, the header could not take that twist and buckled the header in the middle. The lighter tongue TTs layouts with that same frame setup may not reach that high stress point and even some T2499s may not approach that point if the tongue weight is low enough, the WD bars small enough and the TV bed weight low enough and where they towed.

We can show you where to look and how to beef up the area if you are concerned. The heads up is 1,200# WD bars on 4 channel and not knowing what the header design looks like and your TV rear cargo area weights. Sunline made many 4 wide channel iron frames and this problem did not rear its ugly head until the combo of the 2005 T2499s showed up.

You may be just fine after we get through this check out or you may discover a problem in your hitch setup on why 800# WD bars did not work well for.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 07-24-2010, 07:45 AM   #8
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Poqprince
Hi John

So sorry for the late post. I went through your notes carefully and this is where I am. No issue with the torgue of the frame. I have recently purchased a new TV when I found that I was overloaded and it was something that we had thought about. Picked up a Ram 2500 2006 Cummins. What a difference.

On the axel flip, it made a noticeable positive difference in towing with the Durango. Dropped the mileage a little I think. But hard to replicate again. The new TV is averaging about 12.2 mpg.

Thanks for all the efforts you put in on this site and your patience.

We are at our first GS rally having a great time.

Best regards
George and Steph
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:08 AM   #9
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Hi George

Good to hear back from you and glad you worked thru your issues. And a TV upgrade…. WOW great! A Durango to a 06 2500 Cummins Ram, now that is an upgrade! I know you feel better about it now. I was there once too so when anyone asks, we try to give the best we can to help and explain why.

Happy Camping and enjoy the season.

John
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