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Old 12-17-2009, 08:17 PM   #1
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F-311's first tow..

When we left the dealer's lot, Kitty said she wanted to avoid the rush hour traffic around Frederic, MD. She decided that she wanted to go through Cunningham state park instead.

The road up and over the mountain was full of curves and grades. Not my first choice for a first time towing experience, but Kitty has to be kept happy!

The first opportunity I had to pull over, was 39.3 miles into the trip. I checked the wheel and drum temps at the dealer's lot, before we left and here's what they were at 39.3 miles...

Dealer's lot: All wheels and drums were at 34.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

39.3MI..

RF-wheel: 60
RF-drum: 56.5

RR-wheel: 77
RR-drum: 82

LF-wheel: 104
LF-drum: 112

LR-wheel: 93.5
LR-drum: 88

The wheels were measured between the lug nuts and the drums were measured through the wheel spokes.

Two wheels had temps above that of the drums. That leads me to believe that it might be the bearings. I asked them to check the bearings and was told that they were in excellent shape. It also looks as if the LF brakes are doing most of the work. I'll have to get them adjusted a bit better.

I will say that the brakes on this 5th wheel work a lot better than the ones on the TT did. It will take a while to get used to towing this thing. It is definitely a huge improvement over towing a TT, but still lots to learn.

I managed to make the three point turn, to get it backed into it's new home and did it without sliding the hitch. Next time, I'll try it with sliding the hitch. A word of advice..... Never try to do some difficult maneuvering of a new-to-you trailer at night! It took me almost an hour, to get it where it is sitting now.. And John, it is NOT straight to Kitty standards! She'll have to live with it for a bit though... We're supposed to get snow..
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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Hi Gary

Well glad the first tow went well.

The temps

LF-wheel: 104
LF-drum: 112

That could be all brake heat. Even at the drum. The ID area may take longer to cool down once the brakes heat them as the bearing area is not dissipating heat. The OD of the drum has fins cast in it and a larger sort of fan area. It may give up heat faster by the time you measured it. It could be more aggressively set then the other 3. I would try backing off 2 clicks and try again. Getting all 4 dead on is really hard right out of the gate. I always check the heat after the initial setting, then tweak out the hot one. Except with the new self adjusting ones. They come in quick and even.

Those numbers, while it shows a pattern they are not alarming but I can tell that LF is doing something different. A heavy bearing problem in 39 miles would be really hot.

Good hunting.

John
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:24 PM   #3
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We also went to the Cat scales.....

Steers: 4,780lbs

Drives: 5,760lbs

Trailer axles: 8,220lbs

GCVW: 18,760lbs


By comparison, here are the weights on the 320 when we picked it up...

Steers: 4,640lbs

Drives: 5,120lbs

Trailer axles: 6,420lbs

GCVW: 16,180lbs

When they asked what my tractor number was, I said 05. Kitty's truck is an '05. When they asked the trailer number, I had to chuckle... I said "17!"

EDIT: When we pulled the 320 over the scale, it was totally empty. When we pulled the 311 over the scale, we had everything out of the 320 in it!
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:32 PM   #4
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Almost forgot about the tires...

We ended up getting the Carlisle Radial Trail 235/80-16 LRE tires, with a load capacity of 3,420lbs each.

The sidewall says max PSI is 80, but the dealer only put 65PSI in them.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:47 PM   #5
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Gary

Those weights, what was the difference in fuel in the truck between the F311 weights and the T320SR?

Was that aux tank full both times?

Using those numbers I'm only getting a guesstiamate of 1480# pin weight. The 03 brochure says the dry pin is 2,000#??? But if the truck weight was shifted a lot by fuel it could explain some of it.


Also where is the fresh water tank on the camper? Over the axles?

Is Kittys F350 a 11,000 GVWR setup or higher with the Diesel?

John
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
Gary

Those weights, what was the difference in fuel in the truck between the F311 weights and the T320SR?

Was that aux tank full both times?

Using those numbers I'm only getting a guesstiamate of 1480# pin weight. The 03 brochure says the dry pin is 2,000#??? But if the truck weight was shifted a lot by fuel it could explain some of it.


Also where is the fresh water tank on the camper? Over the axles?

Is Kittys F350 a 11,000 GVWR setup or higher with the Diesel?

John
John, the aux tank was in the truck, but was empty when we got the 320. As far as fuel in the truck, it was about the same both times...

The fresh water tank is near the axles, but I haven't seen it yet. All I know, is that the drain is right behind the rear axle and on the right side.

Not sure about the truck's GVWR.. I'm sure Kitty will look tomorrow!
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:24 PM   #7
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Re: F-311's first tow..

Quote:
Originally Posted by EMD_Driver

I will say that the brakes on this 5th wheel work a lot better than the ones on the TT did. It will take a while to get used to towing this thing. It is definitely a huge improvement over towing a TT, but still lots to learn...
I have heard this from others who switch from a TT to a FW. Why is the FW so much better? In other words, in what way does it tow better? or what is worse about towing a TT?
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:27 PM   #8
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Re: F-311's first tow..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweety
I have heard this from others who switch from a TT to a FW. Why is the FW so much better? In other words, in what way does it tow better? or what is worse about towing a TT?
The best way I can describe it is that because the pivot point is just ahead of the axle, the possibility of sway is virtually eliminated. Also, because of the same pivot point placement, bumps feel much more solid and less like a diving board. I did feel kind of uneasy when going under overpasses and trees, but I guess I will get used to it.

Turning is also much easier, both forward and backing up. Although, putting it in it's spot here at home and in the dark, is near to impossible!
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:38 PM   #9
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Gary, interesting to hear that your FW is easier to turn and back up than the TT. I have found the exact opposite to be true. I was always able to spot my 2570 on a dime, first-time-every-time, but the fifth wheel is significantly more difficult for me, because 1. less visibility, and 2. it requires more steering input for a given amount of trailer turn. Also with my auto-sliding hitch, the trailer must be connected and disconnected at a +/- 15 degree angle from straight on. So not only do you have to get it backed in, but you must do so with the rig "straightened out".

Also FYI, my fresh water tank rides directly over the axles, and stretches the whole way across. Big tank.

Jeff
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:44 PM   #10
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Jeff,

The visibility is a factor, but I already had the mirrors pulled out all the way.. That made it a bit easier. I never did slide the hitch back, so I can't speak to how it maneuvers that way... Yet.

I found out that I have to be pretty straight, or else the tailgate cannot be put down. When we unhitched last night, I had Kitty pull up while I lowered the tailgate. There was no way I was going to get the rig straight...
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:07 PM   #11
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Need to be fair about this evaluation as you were trying to back it "up hill, in the dark(and it's really dark here), and you hadn't slid the slider hitch back, so you were being VERY cautious about our 5er. It's in the "PIT" on the RR ties and connected to the electric, and ready for our usage should we lose power due to this storm.

Kitty
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