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Towing help! Sailing the SS Minnow!

 
Old 12-21-2011, 11:15 AM
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Default Towing help! Sailing the SS Minnow!

I have a 2011 lariat super crew 4x4 and after driving it all week, I had enough miles to tow with it for the gun show last weekend.

Since the bumper height was almost the same, I put the load levers the same as the Tundra it replaced. The truck and trailer looked level, set the trailer brakes and we took off.

As we were driving into town, it felt real boaty kind of like if you overloaded a bumper mounted ball and front wheels near off the ground. When driving 55, I would slightly wiggle the steering wheel side to side to see how boaty it was and the trailer sway actually kicked in. As this was kinda freaking us out, we stopped in Miejer's gas station to crank the levelers up a link to stiffen it up a bit. It was so hard to lift, it started bending the bars. Now the trailer was up to high and leaning back which was not good so I let it back down. I checked the tires and they were at 30psi which surprised me as the truck was only a week old and silly me, I thought the dealer would go over the truck before shipping it out. It was also my fault as it is the normal routine to check all tires before towing. So I put 41psi in the tires and it helped a lot but it is still squirrely and driving on the highway still worries me.

I had a 07 Toyota Tundra 4.7 SR5 and it didn't feel this bad even after I put softer tires on it. They did make it move around more but I sold it for lack of power and transmission.

I am towing the same loads and same positions as we always did and was wondering what may be the problem and a solution. I don't know if the speed adjusting steering is exasterbating the situation further or if I need new stiffer tires. The dealer knew why I was buying the truck and would be towing certain loads so if it is to soft of tires, should they replace them to live up to what they promised me?

Any help will be appreciated and thank you for your time.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:12 PM
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How was the trailer loaded? Was the load evenly distributed? Too heavy tongue wight or too light will cause the trailer to pull badly.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnACman View Post
How was the trailer loaded? Was the load evenly distributed? Too heavy tongue wight or too light will cause the trailer to pull badly.
Same as we have done for the last 5 years.

It is a 16', tall model box trailer with dual axels and evenly loaded. We put all the guns up front and ammo over the axels and slightly back to balance it out. I do not want to much tung weight but I also do not want rise either. Total weight of the trailer loaded is 5,568 pounds ( had it weighed ).

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Old 12-21-2011, 10:44 PM
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Sounds like you might need to lower the shank a bit and crank up the tension on the bars.

You may need to jack the nose up a bit with the tongue jack to get enough tension.

Btw, it is normal for the bars to bend. Bending cushions the ride.

There are a lot of variables in properly setting up the WDH, go to rv.net and look up a good sticky thread on doing it properly.
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:48 PM
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Also, your tongue weight needs to be at least 10% of total trailer weight, and preferably 12-15%.

Bars need to be rated at equal to or greater than tongue weight. Too light and they won't transfer enough weight. Too heavy and they ride very rough.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:57 PM
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I know the bars bend but it took twice the pipe to adjust them.

I went to the dealer (had to have the console cover replaced) and talked to them there and they checked out the truck. We checked the load levelers, the suspention and they said they checked the anti sway system and all looked fine. Come to find out, the truck has P series tires instead of LT tires with 2ply side walls and now I can see part of the problem, soft tires.

I told them what I needed the truck for and what I would be towing but they do not want to upgrade the tires. I don't think I should buy a truck with a tow package that cost extra and now have to spend a ton of money buying new tires. Am I wrong here?
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:29 PM
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Until you do some hard measurements (fender height front/rear unloaded) then hooked up with bars on, you are shooting in the dark.

I have to jack mine up quite a bit to snap my 1000# bars.

Ideally you need to get some weights at a set of scales and see what you really have.

I know when I first started with mine, I didn't have enough weight transferring. Hit a bump and it would really compress the rear suspension which in turn would cause the front to dive 1/2 second later. I would call it "porpoising".

My truck dropped 3" in back and raised 2" in front at first. Kept tweaking on setup until it dropped 1.5" in rear and the front was 3/4" higher than unloaded.

Assuming you don't have yours overloaded on the nose of the trailer, yours should have similar drops.

Your owners manual gives you the way to measure and where they want the final sag in the front to be. Basically, the front ends final ride height is supposed to be half way between the unloaded height and the loaded height with no bars.

For example, if your front height is 37" unloaded, and 39" hooked but no weight bars, them your goal for weight transfer is to get the front height to 38".
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:33 PM
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Btw, leveling the trailer out is the last thing you do. Get your bars transferring the correct amount of weight. Then adjust the height of the shank to have the trailer level or slightly nose down. Nose high will induce sway as well

Your ford dealer most likely doesn't have someone who knows about WDH's and how to fine tune them. Heck, some camper dealers have a hard time adjusting them.

Rv.net is your friend. :-)
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by gunfreak00 View Post
I know the bars bend but it took twice the pipe to adjust them.

I went to the dealer (had to have the console cover replaced) and talked to them there and they checked out the truck. We checked the load levelers, the suspention and they said they checked the anti sway system and all looked fine. Come to find out, the truck has P series tires instead of LT tires with 2ply side walls and now I can see part of the problem, soft tires.

I told them what I needed the truck for and what I would be towing but they do not want to upgrade the tires. I don't think I should buy a truck with a tow package that cost extra and now have to spend a ton of money buying new tires. Am I wrong here?
Yes you are wrong If you look at the load rating. on your P metric tire it is more than 1/2 the GAWrating [2 tires/ axle] And if you check the weight rating on acomperable E rated LT tire its nearly the same. The LT requires 50/60 PSI to carey the weight while the P metric Will Carey the max wt at 35 PSI+ the P metric is speed rated @118MPH while the LT is only rated @ 85 MPH. So you are probably loading your trailer wrong or your exceding the GAW rating of your truck. And to answer your question why P metrics on a 1/2 ton truck? would you by a 1/2 ton truck with a top speed of 85 mph due to tire limets? Ford is just covering there backside Bobbabud
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:58 AM
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I went to the trailer dealer to have the trailer serviced and while there, we checked everything. I had them check axel straightness, tires, adjusted all the brakes and then went at the WD hitch set up. We weighed the trailer, then weighed it front to back to check the balance of how I had it loaded ( which was close as you can get as I have been loading trailers for years) and then the tung weight. With all that done, we adjusted the hitch hight, angle and bars so it was exactly moving the weight properly and was what Ford recommended. They even put the truck on their portable scales to check the weights with and without the load attached so all is good here. They were really surprised how the rear sunk down with only 568 lbs of toung weight.These guys really went above and beyond the call of duty here and only charged me $50 for the service and I was there 3 hours.

So with the tires pumped up to max pressure, I took off to the dealer for my meeting with them. Although barely noticeable, it was slightly better but still all over the road. When I got to the dealer, they had a truck with the same specs waiting for me to compare. We took mine out first and the guy agreed it was squirrley and not towing like it should. Then we hooked the other up and with 35psi in the tires, it was really squirrley and we got the antisway to kick in several times.

We returned to the dealership where the tech guy and salesman had sheets with every possible configuration of a suspension to show me how the HD package was not offered in a Lariat and emails showing Ford will not let him stiffen up the suspension ( which I already knew was not possible). He then said I could add air bags or a helper spring to take care of the issue at my cost of course. I turned to the sales man and asked him why then did he tell me it would do everything I would need? I then pressed them about the LT tires as it would help a lot with the tire roll I was getting and the answer was non come with a Lariat package so they can't officially put them on my truck. Luckily the Tundra was still on the lot and asked if they would swap out the tires as I just spent a ton of money on them a year earlier. After some arguing they agreed to change them and even did a oil change while the truck was up in the air even though it only had 1600 miles on it.

The different tires made a huge difference in the ride and handling while towing. I guess I now have to put out more money and will be looking into
airbags to level it out and finish the job and to be happy with the new truck.

Last edited by gunfreak00; 01-15-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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