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Old 07-18-2014, 05:34 AM   #1
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weight ditribution & sway... or not

This may be a dumb question...
It's obvious the T1350 is not a big trailer nor is it heavy (1750 dry weight) then add our "STUFF" to the trailer could result to 200 or 300 on top. Food, clothing, bedding, dining tent, camping do-dads and other stuff. All our tanks are empty during trip. Both 20Lb propane are full and I have 2 deep cycle batteries...200 to 300??

I tow with a Ford Explorer, V8, 4x4, AWD. So, my truck as a wee bit of meat.

I contacted a couple of RV dealerships and a company that installs nothing but hitches, wiring and other towing packages. They've been in business for years. Even our government's Ministry of Transport said there are no rules for a trailer this size.

Everyone of these people said I do not require a weight distribution system or a sway bar.

I just finished a 1,000 mile return trip and during that trip we found that the various roads that we uneven made my trailer heave-ho and sway when looking in my mirror. I try to avoid main highways and try to take the back country roads.
I am now of the belief that I should have weight distribution system and a sway bar system to prevent that rocking and rolling. We found over the wavy roads that the action of the trailer produced a negative reaction on the Explorer. A trailer should never control the tow vehicle. I could actually feel the trailer. My previous vehicle, an old Aerostar towed a 2700 lb trailer but had a weight distribution system and sway bar. Obviously that was many years ago. Even tho the old V6 was working hard I never really felt the trailer controlling the vehicle.
Has anyone else had any similar experiences?
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:46 AM   #2
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Just wanted to add. When your tow vehicle and trailer are rockin-n-rollin you know this can't be good for fuel consumption as each vehicle is fighting each other. I may be wrong but I think the added stability of weight distribution and sway bar for a 1750 lb trailer should be a must. Maybe the super light weights like the Bolers and other tiny trailers don't need them but I'm sure mine does
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:45 AM   #3
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Hi JerryJ: I work for a dealer who mostly sold Coleman pop ups with GVRW's of 1000 to 3500 lbs. I have never had to install weight distribution hitches but always installed sway control. I would at least start with getting sway control and see how it works.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:14 PM   #4
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I was kind of thinking along the same line. Since my receiver and draw bar is only class 2, it would be costly to start replacing everything to go to a class 3. I think I can get a sway control bar for under $100 plus installation. I probably could do it myself but would rather let someone do it that really knows how to install it. (not like me to make mistakes). LOL
Thanks for the heads up
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:21 AM   #5
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I was looking for some info on this very subject. We have a weight distribution, and sway bars with our setup. I'm wondering about the tension of the chains that lock in. When we turn a corner, there is a creaking that seems a bit excessive. I figured it is normal to have some creaking, but would like some opinions and/or suggestions on correct use of the chains.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:03 PM   #6
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Installation of a Pro Series Weight Distribution System - etrailer.com - YouTube

Try this. If you already have a weight distribution system you're in good shape. This is a youtube link and you'll find many, many other links on youtube. They're all pretty much the same but one guy might explain better than the next.
When I had my last minivan and trailer I had a weight distribution system for that and found it to be an easy install. Some manufactures systems may show differently to the next but the basics are all there

Hope that helps
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Old 07-19-2014, 04:35 PM   #7
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Thank you Jerry. I just spent some time watching a few videos, and got my answer, and a few others, as well.
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:21 AM   #8
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During the course of the summer I had all new quick struts replaced. Springs and shocks front and back on my Explorer. The old one were double the expected life span. I also have the TT springs reached just to help raise the trailer anything 1985 can sag.

While everything seems to be better, it does not seem to be great. I recall towing our 2,700Lb TT with our old V6 Aerostar that it towed beautifully and solid. Not so with the explorer and with new suspension one would think things would be "perfect"?

I still have that heave-hoe on secondary roads and after a certain speed I can see the TT wig-wagging in my mirror.

While my system might not call for a weight distribution system and sway. I definitely feel that it should have a system. The last thing we want is for the tail to wag the dog. My problem is I have a 1 1/4" class 2 draw bar and receiver, so to go to class 3 I have to upgrade everything.

While we love our little T1350 we're also thinking of upgrading to a slightly bigger TT, not sure which one. We had all 4 grandkids with us on a trip, no moms or dads, just us two grandparents and 4 grandkids. We had a blast. one trailer and one tent plus 4 bikes and all the gear. I wedge all 4 bikes inside the TT. No I didn't have a bike rack for the TT either.

Shopping list
  • bigger TT
  • class 3 receiver
  • weight distribution
  • anti-sway control
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:20 PM   #9
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Two things I can think of that would have an effect:

* Is there enough tongue weight?

* Are the tires on both the tow vehicle and trailer at full pressure?
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:57 PM   #10
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Any major road trip we take I always check air pressure all the way around TT and truck. However for our last trip just the 2 of us and we took minimal supplies at best. What ever excess luggage and stuff weight we did have was placed over the front portion inside the trailer. Was it enough? Not sure. I did not weigh things. One of these days I have to get off my duff and weigh the tongue of the trailer empty and loaded. I keep talking about it.
That said every trip we take we change our style take this one trip and don't the next. longer durations we take more "stuff"
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:17 PM   #11
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When ever I pack the TT I always think about weight distribution If I throw something like the bikes on back I move something heavy like the grill forward. If I don't have the bikes I move the grill or something towards the rear. Best thing you can buy is a Sherline tongue weight scale. You can also weigh your tongue weight with the bathroom scale method.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryJ View Post

I also have the TT springs reached just to help raise the trailer anything 1985 can sag.

I still have that heave-hoe on secondary roads and after a certain speed I can see the TT wig-wagging in my mirror.
Hi Jerry,

Your mention to speed points to a trailer stability issue. What speed was it that things started to come unstable?

45mph is sort of rule of thumb where things can come unstable, where 40 mph was sort of OK and 50 mph was not good.

For the camper, need to know about these 4 things from your post,

1. The actual loaded tongue weight in relation to the actual loaded GVW of the camper. On a little camper with gear moves, shoot for 13 to 15% on the tongue so one gear move does not take TW down into the concern range. The lighter the camper, the more effect a gear change can have.

2. Are the TT tires at max cold side wall pressure?

3. Was the camper level, nose low or nose high when towing down the road?

4. You said the "TT springs reached just to help raise the trailer" I do not understand the reached to help raise the camper, Thinking you mean you moved the axle from under the springs to over the springs to raise the camper this brings up a trailer alignment issue. Is the axle 90 degrees to the tow ball creating a thrust angle issue? if you moved the axle around let us know I can think of some things that may be not right cause the trailer to track off center.

Items 1 to 3 are the first things that come to mind, but no 4 is a possibility if the axles have been moved.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
Hi Jerry,

Your mention to speed points to a trailer stability issue. What speed was it that things started to come unstable?

45mph is sort of rule of thumb where things can come unstable, where 40 mph was sort of OK and 50 mph was not good.

For the camper, need to know about these 4 things from your post,

1. The actual loaded tongue weight in relation to the actual loaded GVW of the camper. On a little camper with gear moves, shoot for 13 to 15% on the tongue so one gear move does not take TW down into the concern range. The lighter the camper, the more effect a gear change can have.

2. Are the TT tires at max cold side wall pressure?

3. Was the camper level, nose low or nose high when towing down the road?

4. You said the "TT springs reached just to help raise the trailer" I do not understand the reached to help raise the camper, Thinking you mean you moved the axle from under the springs to over the springs to raise the camper this brings up a trailer alignment issue. Is the axle 90 degrees to the tow ball creating a thrust angle issue? if you moved the axle around let us know I can think of some things that may be not right cause the trailer to track off center.

Items 1 to 3 are the first things that come to mind, but no 4 is a possibility if the axles have been moved.

Hope this helps

John
First off one word is a typo. "reached" is supposed to be 're-arched'. It seems I can't type any more.
Back a couple of weeks ago when I had all four struts and springs replaced I also had new springs added to the trailer ending in re-arching the trailer springs.

The axle has not been moved or inverted.
In your #1 do you mean camping gear shifting around? If so I have very little of that and anything that does shift is light weight stuff, a pillow or a lawn chair

Tire air pressure is checked in the beginning and the end of each trip. I also feel for heat from the brakes during pit-stops.

It seems at 60MPH I start to get the sway. Below 50 MPH I'm fine as you suggested. I do not feel the tractor trailers passing me. I pay particular attention to that.

My trailer seems to sit an inch or two high on the front (nose high). Initially, I thought it was because of my TT springs sagging. It's an 1985, hence they were re-arched and hopefully things would level out. hmmm not so.

My hitch is a Ford factory class 2 hitch. The truck is rated at 5,000 capacity and the hitch is rated at 3,500 capacity and the TT is at 1,750 dry. Either empty or fully loaded it sits the same way.

My class 2 draw bar is a drop down type so there's no dropping down any further IMO. I do realize that if she rides nose high I will be asking for aerodynamic problems, adding to the sway. ("she?" no wonder I have issues ) .

If all my suspension has been corrected to factory specs (or as close as possible) and I have the correct draw bar where am I going wrong?

BTW when I first bought the TT and learning all the specs, I talked to an un-biased hitch shop that has been is business for decades he said my class 2 is fine and I do not require weight distribution or sway bar.
Two local RV shops said the same thing and a government website had no rulings MTO said I should be ok.
I am not a pro in that department and I hate to question anyone that has been doing that stuff for years. However, I really think a sway bar and weight distribution can be the cure-all for all this stuff. Krazedave who works at a dealership also suggested a sway control, so that's a given.

To do so, I'd have to upgrade to a class 3 because I won't be able to find a class 2 draw bar designed for weight dist.

BTW on my previous TT and minivan I had a class 2 and it had a weight dist system (not available anymore because I can't find one.)
It weighed 2,700lbs. I had weight dist and sway bar. I did feel the drag because of a sad, underpowered V6 but I did not feel any heave-ho nor sway.

I also asked the one tech at the hitch store about the nose high. He said it's not enough to worry about and you'll be fine. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I beg to differ..
I know class 3 is the way to go with weight dist and sway but I have to keep budget in mind as well.
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Old 09-12-2014, 07:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryJ View Post
...
My trailer seems to sit an inch or two high on the front (nose high).
...
My class 2 draw bar is a drop down type so there's no dropping down any further IMO. I do realize that if she rides nose high I will be asking for aerodynamic problems, adding to the sway. ("she?" no wonder I have issues ) .

If all my suspension has been corrected to factory specs (or as close as possible) and I have the correct draw bar where am I going wrong?
...
One thing I neglected to mention was trailer riding level. The wind hitting the front and the wind under a raised front on the trailer can dynamically reduce the tongue weight and make it squirrely. The faster the air moves the more the "wing" wants to raise the airplane, or in this case trailer. One or two inches on a short trailer make a bigger difference than on a longer trailer.

Not all tow vehicles sit the same height so there is no "one" drop that is correct for all. Here are some choices from Etrailer https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Bal...-Class_II.aspx .

Krazedave is right of course, sway control will help.
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