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Old 07-20-2009, 12:03 PM   #1
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TT Accident, Thoughts on Toy Haulers

Take a look at the pictures of a Toy Hauler Accident in Va on I-81:

Here's my thoughts for discussion:

1) Do you think the variable TT weights (i.e. empty versus several hundred pounds hauled behind the axles) could/would contribute to an unstable vehicle? (I'm thinking changes to the weight distribution setups)

2) Do you think it would change the tongue weight enough to make a diffence in handling?

3) What could owners of Toy Haulers do about it, if anything?


1) Thankfully, it appears there were no/very minor injuries. No transports to the Hospital.

2) I have no more info than what is in the article, including causes.

3) Not a Sunline, but there are Sunline Toy Haulers.



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Old 07-20-2009, 12:24 PM   #2
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It's a very interesting post. Recently we had two trailers turn over on the Maine Turnpike.

Your thinking is interesting. Most people I know with toyhaulers have large fifth wheels, which tend to be very stable but also the toy would be a smaller percentage of the rig's weight.

Of course many toy haulers are not fifth wheels and I imagine it could be a problem on a couple of levels. Certainly the weight distribution could change dramatically as well I could imagine a toy coming loose and being an ever larger problem.

I do recognize from experience that on our little rig there is a limit that one can add to the rear bumper without disrupting handling.

Good thought,


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Old 07-20-2009, 06:35 PM   #3
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I'm not very familiar with the Hobbi, but I do know a little about it. It appears to be a 220.

Hobbi Model 220 Specifications
Weight 4695
Carrying Capacity 2750
Hitch 585
Length 26' 3
Width 8'
Height 10' 1
Fresh Water 50 gal.
Waste Water 30 gal.
Gray Water 30 gal.
LPG 40
Tire Size 205/75D14C
Rim Size 14 x 5

I have seen one around here, it's parked out in front of a house for sale. I'm not sure of the model of that one, but I did note that the axles are spread apart a lot.

I suspect Keystone did this to allow them to keep the tongue weight down but still allow a heavier load in the back. This way smaller TV's such as this Tundra could tow them, which is practically impossible with most TH's.

I was quite shocked to see the TW on this Hobbi, dry, is just shy of 600 lbs. Ours is at least double this.

Based on my take on it, I assume most toy hauler owners travel with the toys in the back >75% of the time, so the approximate loaded TW is really more important with these vehicles than the dry.

I think the main reason for the low TW here is in a normal toy hauler, the rear has really no weight when unloaded due to all appliances being in the forward half of the trailer. In this trailer, everything is pretty evenly split like a normal trailer.

In our toy hauler, I actually make sure to pack it with the heavier machine as far back as possible because the trailer really has too much TW empty. Taking some of the weight off is key to allow the trailer to pull better.

Despite all the TW issues we've had, I'd still take the high tongue weight any day over very little.

I suspect with this trailer being low profile and pretty light weight, it probably used a friction sway (if it used anything that is), and with so much weight in the back half, it wouldn't take much wind to push that trailer beyond the capabilities of the friction sway.

Oh yeah, in looking back at the floorplan quickly, it is interesting that the trailer fell on the heavy side with the machine there. While I do put our heavy one in the back, it rides right in the center. What a bad toy hauler floorplan design...

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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Re: TT Accident, Thoughts on Toy Haulers

Mack comments in blue

Originally Posted by MACK C-85
Take a look at the pictures of a Toy Hauler Accident in Va on I-81:

Here's my thoughts for discussion:

1) Do you think the variable TT weights (i.e. empty versus several hundred pounds hauled behind the axles) could/would contribute to an unstable vehicle? (I'm thinking changes to the weight distribution setups)
Tongue weight is one of the most important things owners of trailers need to know and realize. And yes improper tongue weight combined with a light TV can become unstable even with no wind. Speed can create an unstable situation as the TV/TH or TT is creating the wind. Putting a heavier suspension TV in the same place will reduce the problem but not cure it. The trailer needs to be balanced to ride stable any time.

2) Do you think it would change the tongue weight enough to make a diffence in handling? Yes, low tongue weight will handle badly and gets worse with speed.

3) What could owners of Toy Haulers do about it, if anything? Buy a Sherline tongue scale for $120 and measure it. Weigh the TH, record it,. load it , weigh it. Get it balanced right loaded and unloaded. A must is a good WD and anti sway hitch
We are glad no one was hurt. There are many things that could of went wrong and we have no info to even start where to guess at. We do not even know if they where using a WD hitch and if it was setup right. A tire blow out, a pot hole, something in front of the truck that made the driver swerve quickly and they lost it.

Seeing these things helps drive home making sure your own rig is setup up optimized. And if you do not know about it, start out on an education program to learn about it. Ask questions, read and go check your own setup. Question all of it until you totally understand it.

Every summer we get a few of these and it shakes me every time.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:28 PM   #5
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When buying a new trailer, the only manufacturer's numbers readily available are GVWR, UVW and dry TW. It's a real juggling act, then, to figure out how these numbers, especially TW will shake out in the real world and whether you have enough truck to tow that perfect tt. What I learned after several years of reading buyers' guides and shopping is that the dry TW should be about 10% of the GVWR, and it should be way over 10% of the UVW--yes, the 2499 scores big on both points. This gives you a fighting chance with loading and water to get the loaded TW up in the ideal 12-15% range. Avoid tts that carry water behind the axles and otherwise load heavy to the rear. Inconsistent loading is a huge variable on any given trip and can unexpectedly introduce sway at the worst possible time.

I crunched some numbers on this line and their dry TW is 6-8% of GVWR. This is too low for any tt without some very careful loading. It is compounded by the fact it is a toy hauler with a rear bathroom that almost certainly has a black tank behind the axle as well as a toy. It might be possible to add close to 1000 lb. to the tail. I don't even want to think what that would do to a 500-600 lb. tongue. The cargo capacity is close to, and even over, 3000 lb., but where would you put another 2000 lb. in front of the axles to compensate!!? If it's even possible to overwhelm a Hensley hitch, this would be the case.

Sunline's two toy haulers have a dry TW of 755 lb. on a 7000 lb. GVWR and a whopping dry TW of 1040 lb. on a 8600 lb. GVWR. They still might both need to carry some water when there's a toy in the back, but I would be comfortable towing either one.

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Old 10-05-2009, 05:19 PM   #6
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I know I can feel the difference in our 2380 on the back of my 2500hd whether we have a full freshwater tank or not.

From my experience as a trucker, any weight changes will change the physics of the combination, and I am sure that a toy falling free of its restraints (as the one in the photo seemed to have done) will have a SERIOUS adverse effect in an emergency situation, much like a non-baffled tanker truck, the motion just keeps on rolling...

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'05 2380s Solaris Lite, axles flipped
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