Sunline RV Forum
Sunline User Photos

Go Back   Sunline Coach Owner's Club > Technical Forums > Towing and Tow Vehicles
Click Here to Login

Join Sunline Club Forums Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-23-2008, 08:05 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 167
SUN #527
ScottK
Towing Setup for smaller TV & TT

There seems to be a fair amount of "opinion" out there when it comes to safe towing setups. I am having some trouble forming my own opinion partly because there is not a lot of info out there about towing with my TV and TT. Everything seems to be about much bigger rigs (both TV & TT). I would like any suggestions you can offer, about my smaller setup...

My TV & TT:
1988 T1550 Saturn
According to this document http://www.sunlineclub.com/docs/88.pdf my TT weight empty is 1750#'s & GVW is 3000#.
1999 Toyota 4-Runner.
According to this document www.trailerlife.com/downloads/99towingguide.pdf my towing capacity is 5000#'s.

My Towing Experience with the 4-Runner:
Twice pulled a fully loaded single axle 6' x 12' enclosed trailer from Minnesota to Colorado (through the mountains).
The load was construction materials, tools, etc. I would guess the loaded trailer weighed ~3000lbs
No trailer brakes, sway control or WD on either trip.

I suspect I didn't have the safest rig on the road with those CO trips, but I don't think I was crazy either though. I would like to find a balance between pulling safely & comfortably and not wasting my money on expensive tow setups that are overkill or unnecessary.

I do plan to pull our new Sunny out west for a long distance trip this summer so I will definitely be adding a brake control to my truck, since the camper has brakes. According to these forums it sounds like the prodigy is the way to go in that area, right?

Will I benefit by also adding WD or sway control? If so, which product(s)?

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
1988 Saturn T-1550 (sold 6/10)
2004 Solaris T-1950 (sold 5/14)
2007 Solaris T-276SR
2012 Toyota Tundra Crewmax
ScottK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 08:54 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 272
SUN #139
Al in PA
When I bought my 1550, it came with a WD hitch, so I used it. My concern with a short wheelbase TV was always sway problems. If your TV had a stiff rear suspension, you may feel you can do without the WD hitch (if the TV and TT set level). However, you would have less white-knuckle trips with at least a friction anti-sway bar. I use a Reese brake controller which seems to do a decent job, but everyone raves about the Prodigy. In PA, we must have brakes and annual inspections for any TT that has a GVW over 3,000 pounds; otherwise, no inspection and brakes are optional. You would be wise to make use of the trailer's electric brakes.
__________________

__________________
Al
1985 T-1550
1993 T-2051
2007 T-2553
2003 Silverado 1500
Al in PA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 09:12 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 167
SUN #349
OPIE is an unknown quantity at this point
When I picked up our 1983 T1550, I had to get it out of the previous owner's driveway in a hurry. I towed it with a 2000 Explorer V6 with no brake controller on a bumper mounted tow ball. I know - crazy right? But you know what, I wouldn't want to take a long highway trip like that, but with that little trailer, I hardly noticed it was there, except over a big pot-hole, we got some up and down bounce.

Now we're towing with a Chevy Trailblazer and a cheap Reese brake controller. No WD hirtch or sway control needed, it tows great.

You'll figure out in a hurry if you need more than that, but I doubt it.
__________________
OPIE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 10:59 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
luvrque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 230
SUN #517
luvrque
TV & TT

Your TV @ 5000#s and TT @ 3000#s is a great combo.
You said you will add the brake control which I think is a MUST!
There should be NO need for a WD or sway control IF:
#1...Your weight on the ball is app.300 lbs. (If you have the TT at app.3000lbs.) or less if the TT is lightly loaded. Ball weigth should be APP. 10% of total TT weight.
#2...Your TV sits LEVEL w/ TT hooked up...........IF it sags in rear you should beef-up the rear any way you like..(w/springs,air bags etc.)I do not know what is available for your veh. If you have a lot of mis.on your TV the rear suspension could be weak.

I tow my 3500# Que w/NO WD or sway control. It tows GREAT at any speed...I dont know it is there (if not looking in the mirrors)..Yes I know my TV is larger BUT #1 & #2 are the important factors.

Hope this helps somewhat....Joe
__________________
Joe & Donna

2007 Que RE
2011 Tahoe LTZ.
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/h...orums/Qsig.jpg
luvrque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 12:09 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 272
SUN #139
Al in PA
As Joe and OPIE stated, I don't think you will need a WD hitch for your 1550. As for the friction anti-sway bar, try it without and see if you feel a need for one. I did not use one with my 1550, but the WD hitch may have added some stability. I had an old 15' Scotty (big mistake) before the 1550 and I never used either a WD hitch or sway control.

I have experienced sway problems with utility trailers where there was not enough tongue weight. I also had a few white-knuckle trips pulling my 2051 with a Chevy Astro Van even with WD and friction bar. Therefore, I suggested the anti-sway bar.
__________________
Al
1985 T-1550
1993 T-2051
2007 T-2553
2003 Silverado 1500
Al in PA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 02:48 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Steve Collins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 1,846
SUN #264
Steve Collins is an unknown quantity at this point
I'll second the advice on the Prodigy. The prices have come down a lot over the past 3 or 4 months, and you should be able to get one for about $90 to $100. If your TV has the factory towing harness, the adapter is another $13. If you don't have the towing harness in your truck, the install is pretty easy with the items that come with the basic Prodigy. I just bought one a month ago, and can't wait to use it!

Ditto on the friction sway control. They only cost about $100 and if you need it, you need it. There is a school of thought that says that while your particular rig may not sway under normal conditions, it still might sway under unusual conditions. 18 wheelers blowing by you on the interstates can cause sway. Panic stops and sudden lane changes can cause sway. If you don't have a sway control device, and you encounter a severe sway condition, the results can be catastrophic. Not being a doomsayer here, but I have seen too many rigs with the greasy side up because of sway to not tell it like I see it.

Weight distribution is more complex. One problem that can occur is that the weight of the tongue on the rear of your tow vehicle can unload the front end to the point that you could lose steering ability in some situations. Again, every situation is a bit different, but if your tongue weight is pushing 350# or more, I would advise you to strongly consider it.

Helper springs, air bags, etc. are not going to change the forces working on your system. They may level out the rig, but they don't alter the weight pressing down on the rear of the TV which in turn lightens the weight on the front end of the TV. WD systems transfer weight from the rear of the TV both forward to the front wheels, and backward to the trailer's wheels.

If I were in your position, I'd try it without WD for a few short trips and see how it works. It may not be necessary in your case.

I see used WD systems on craigslist all the time for less than $200.

Does your tow vehicle already have a Class III receiver with a 2"x2" opening for a drawbar of some kind. Since your trailer is GVW'd at 3,000#, a Class III receiver is essential. Even if you don't tow WD, that minimal rating on the receiver is critical.

One exercise that I now consider essential: Examine the weight ratings of every component of your towing system from the trailer and it's axles to the coupler on the trailer through the drawbar or ball platform, and on to the receiver on the TV. The ball itself matters too. And there is the weight rating of the TV itself. In your case, every component should be capable of towing 3,000# and 300# tongue weight in a weight carrying situation.

For example, if everything is rated 3,000/300 except you're using a 1,000# max. drawbar, you've got a weak spot. That drawbar might fail at any moment because you're towing a 3,000 rated trailer. It may never fail, but you just can't bank on that.

The funny thing about this discussion is that I just purchased a 1 ton dually, and with my 5,500# GVW trailer, WD could be a non-issue. I've never towed without WD, and except for one item, the truck, trailer, and towing system can easily handle that full load. The one problem? Oh yeah, Dodge (and Ford and Chevy) all put receivers on their 1 ton trucks that are only rated at 5,000# max trailer, and 500# max tongue weight in a weight carrying mode. Doesn't make much sense when you realize that my truck is rated to carry 4,700# in the bed of the truck!

But I digress.... Bottom line, in my humble opinion, you really need the brake controller, the friction sway control and the Class III receiver. The WD is a "maybe" and you won't know for sure until you've pulled the combination down the road for some miles.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
__________________

'12 F250 4x4 Super Duty PowerStroke 6.7 diesel
2011 to present: '11 Cougar 326MKS
1999 to 2011: '99 Sunline T-2453
SUN264 * Amateur Radio kd2iat monitoring 146.52
Steve Collins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 02:55 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,025
SUN #292
Honda03842 is an unknown quantity at this point
Tow setup

I have a 1982 Sunline 15.5 SB with a dry weight of 1550#s and a loaded weight of 2200 #s. I tow with a Honda CRV.

When we bought it, we towed it home without a brake controller or friction sway bar. The trailer was virtually invisible and handled easily on 200 miles of Interstate.

Since getting it home I purchased a Prodigy Brake Controller and a friction anti-sway bar. I bought the anti-sway bar for that rare senario when it's needed.

We plan to take the trailer on a cross Labrador trip this spring and will see how the Honda does on 1000 miles of dirt and have made a number of mods for the trip.

Good traveling,

Norm Milliard
__________________
Honda03842 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 04:13 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 167
SUN #527
ScottK
Thanks for all the suggestions and input. I towed the thing home just fine in strong winds....I knew it was there but it wasn't uncomfortable. That being said just because it was comfortable once or twice (or even 100 times) doesn't mean I shouldn't have the right equipment for the unexpected.

As soon as it gets warm enough to do a weekend camping trip I will try things out with the new brake controlled and see how it feels when it is loaded.

Given the suggestions here I suspect I will end up with a friction sway control. Any suggestions as to which one?

I did double check my hitch, receiver, and ball. The hitch I can't confirm the rating, yet. It is factory and I am 95% certain it is a Class III. The reciever and ball is rated for 6000#. Thanks for reminding me to check that stuff Steve.

Steve's comment about the "entire system" makes me consider if the tongue should be replaced? It would have to be cut off & welded. I wonder if it is out of date since it has no "pin." Otherwise is appears to be in good shape. Is this something I should be concerned about? See pictures.





Thanks again!
__________________
1988 Saturn T-1550 (sold 6/10)
2004 Solaris T-1950 (sold 5/14)
2007 Solaris T-276SR
2012 Toyota Tundra Crewmax
ScottK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 04:29 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Steve Collins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 1,846
SUN #264
Steve Collins is an unknown quantity at this point
Scott,

Just a couple of thoughts...

You say the "receiver" and ball are rated at 6,000#. I am guessing that you mean the drawbar and ball. I have two of those here, one with a 2" ball and one with a 1 7/8 ball. The drawbars are both stamped 6,000 load/600# tongue weight. But the 2" ball is stamped 5,000# and the 1 7/8" ball is stamped 2,000#. So, respectively, I can tow only 5,000# on the 2" unit, and 2,000# on the 1 7/8" rig.

There should be a sticker on the TV's factory installed receiver. If that is gone, check your owner's manual, it may have that info. If not, then I suggest a call to a Toyota dealer. Given the age of the truck, you may have better luck calling the service desk or parts desk rather than speaking with a salesman.

Regarding the sway control, Reese and Draw-Tite are the same company and they offer good stuff. Pullrite and Hidden Hitch are good, too. There's probably not too much price difference among all the manufacturers on an item like this, so you may want to consider how quick and easy you can get to the nearest dealer.

We've mentioned this in other threads, but you may have better luck and lower prices buying from a trailer shop as opposed to an RV dealership. The shops that deal in utility trailers and all kinds of towing systems generally offer lower prices on the same products.
__________________

'12 F250 4x4 Super Duty PowerStroke 6.7 diesel
2011 to present: '11 Cougar 326MKS
1999 to 2011: '99 Sunline T-2453
SUN264 * Amateur Radio kd2iat monitoring 146.52
Steve Collins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 05:08 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
luvrque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 230
SUN #517
luvrque
WD on lite TT

Scott,
How sturdy is the frame? Back then they may have been built sturdier than my 2007 Que I don't know. My Que is not heavy duty by any means
Before you think about a WD........PLEASE read the post by: Jim Ray from March 19,2007 from the Que Forum Subject: Que tow Vehicles Page 1 ... A MUST READ!
You can find it from the member LIST or from the Que Forum under Que Tow Vehicles Pg.1
As I said before I towed my Que without a WD.. For over 4000 miles (including to FLA.) With NO swaying at any speed W/semi's passing me & going the other way ....Just MY experience.

Good luck.......Joe Added at app 9:25 on 2/23/08----Jim Ray"s member is #214 on Page 5 of the members list (for now) It changes with ea. new member added.
__________________
Joe & Donna

2007 Que RE
2011 Tahoe LTZ.
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/h...orums/Qsig.jpg
luvrque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 07:13 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
 
kanyonkitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 2,289
SUN #17
kanyonkitty is an unknown quantity at this point
Hi Scott,

My friend had a 1982 Sunline T-1550 that he towed with his 1993 6 cyl. 4 dr. Explorer. Now, we all know early model year Explorers were not power houses, and were quite soft sprung. He towed his Sunline using the factory installed hitch (not the ball on the bumper) and a reese friction sway control. The trailer sat level when hitched to the Exp. He didn't have sway control problems, but used friction bar just IN CASE it should ever be needed. I can't remember what brake controller he had. We traveled to Pigeon Forge, TN every thanksgiving and that setup worked well. I am a firm believer in some type of sway control EVEN IF you've never experenced any sway. I'd rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. SO for about 100 bux, friction sway control is cheap protection.
__________________
Sunny #18 2003 F-344SR #8157
Sunny #19 1997 T-2653 #5485
1999 Ford F350XLT DRW Crew Cab, Long bed 7.3 PSD
2002 VW Jetta TDI.. AKA: Kitty's Kruiser
kanyonkitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2008, 09:38 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 211
SUN #287
nickster60
I have a t-1950 and I like the friction sway contol I thinks it helps. I have a very long wheel base truck (Dodge 2500 Quad-Cab Longbed) and without the sway control I can feel a differance on the highway. But try it first without it and see if you need it.
__________________
2006 T-1950
1999 Dodge 2500 8.0l V10
2005 F150
nickster60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2008, 10:27 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 273
SUN #225
Mark
To comment on Opie's post about you figuring out what you need form your experience.

With the right setup, the only time you will realize you need a sway control is when you see the trailer next to you in the passing (or on coming) lane.

Even if you combination is nice matched, you have to worry about idiot drivers, kids, deer, moose , etc. You emergency swerve with a truck and trailer combo will make you wish you had the extra margin of safety. A sway control is cheap insurance.
__________________

__________________
Pittsburgh, PA

2002 Chevy Silverado
2003 Sunline 2553
Mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Reese HP DC setup on my 93 F250 this evening EMD_Driver Towing and Tow Vehicles 4 07-31-2009 09:41 PM
In need of a receiver, draw bar and dual cam setup EMD_Driver Wanted 8 07-12-2009 09:19 PM
Reese HP Trunnion and Dual Cam Hitch setup thesteigers Towing and Tow Vehicles 8 07-01-2009 09:54 PM
2009 Buttonwood "Towing Setup Talk" JohnB Sunline Owners Meet & Greet 20 06-11-2009 05:10 AM
List is getting smaller 264SRinPA Modifications 0 04-06-2008 07:52 PM


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sunline RV or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:41 PM.


×