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Old 05-24-2013, 03:21 AM   #1
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Bumper-pull trailer sway behind 5er

Hello, I've asked a similar question on a truck forum with some responses that were helpful, but, I think that I need to ask in a forum that is populated with more folks that pertain to the area of the question.


So....the question is:

Are there any fixes, modifications, or tricks that would help control the sway of the bumper-pull trailer behind 5er (crack the whip effect)?


I am in search of a 5er to add in between my F350 and Klamath boat, and if I can learn the do's and don'ts, I will be ready to make the adjustments before I actually start towing this doubles setup.


Thanks in advance,

Rich
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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Be ready - many will ask what state you are in - it's illegal !!!

Some will ask are you over 60 or 65 foot whatever their state limits it to...

Some will say it's fine - hookup your train and go

Since I don't do it, I won't comment too much except to say...

IF you do it, make sure both towables are aligned and both have brakes, and both have sway bars /wd hitches (well maybe no wd on the second towable)

good luck...
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:32 AM   #3
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two trailer's

Make sure you have a sway bar on the back trailer,and drive safely and stay in your lane and not speed and you should be fine.and truck is big enough to do the job.
The appearance is everything,if you look unsafe, Believe me you will be pulled over. I pulled a 5th wheel and a motorcycle trailer all over the south & and East coast & Midwest with no problem.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:52 AM   #4
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Keep the speed down. The more speed the more trouble you will have. Personally if I were going to try it I would stay under 55.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBoyToo View Post
Be ready - many will ask what state you are in - it's illegal !!!

Some will ask are you over 60 or 65 foot whatever their state limits it to...

IF you do it, make sure both towables are aligned and both have brakes, and both have sway bars /wd hitches (well maybe no wd on the second towable)

good luck...
I'm in California where it is legal to pull a 5er with a bumper-pull trailer behind the 5er, but, not legal pulling 2 bumper-pull trailers.

The total length of "the train" cannot exceed 65' here in California.

I like the sway bar idea for the second trailer.

Hey JohnBoy, thanks for the idea.


Quote:
Originally Posted by M zoll View Post
Make sure you have a sway bar on the back trailer,and drive safely and stay in your lane and not speed and you should be fine.and truck is big enough to do the job.
The appearance is everything,if you look unsafe, Believe me you will be pulled over. I pulled a 5th wheel and a motorcycle trailer all over the south & and East coast & Midwest with no problem.
Another vote for the sway bar idea. Cool.

Malcolm & Julie, I grasp your info with much appreciation, as I drive a 5 yard dump truck with a backhoe for my work. I don't want to be unsafe. Thanks

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Keep the speed down. The more speed the more trouble you will have. Personally if I were going to try it I would stay under 55.
Thanks for your input Cliff, no need for speed with doubles. I appreciate the advice.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:40 PM   #6
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The best way to stop the sway is don't do it.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:33 AM   #7
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You will need to be legal in each and every state you tow through. Each state has different laws about what and who can double tow and the max rig length. Texas has a max rig length of 65'.

I have heard of stories that people were pulled over and had to drop the 3rd piece and arrange to have it towed out of state.

Ken
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:56 AM   #8
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Agree in east Texas saw many pulled over after a mud run made them unhook
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
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The best way to stop the sway is don't do it.
Uuuhhuh...that thought never crossed my mind. I'll have to make sure not to make the trailers sway.

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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
You will need to be legal in each and every state you tow through. Each state has different laws about what and who can double tow and the max rig length. Texas has a max rig length of 65'.

Ken
Thanks Ken, No plans to travel too far from California until possibly retirement age. If I do wander far, I'll be researching this forum first for what each state allows, legal lengths, and number of traliers.

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I have heard of stories that people were pulled over and had to drop the 3rd piece and arrange to have it towed out of state.
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Originally Posted by whem2fish View Post
Agree in east Texas saw many pulled over after a mud run made them unhook
That'd suck to extend the road trip to go rent a truck for the other trailer.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:45 AM   #10
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Are there any fixes, modifications, or tricks that would help control the sway of the bumper-pull trailer behind 5er (crack the whip effect)?
As others have suggested, assuming your second trailer has a wet and loaded weight of less than 5,000 pounds, one thing you need is a simple friction-type sway bar added to your hitch setup. You need three things to do that:
1] The sway bar. Here's a cheap one that will do the job. Better ones are available for two or thee times the price.
Pro Series Friction Sway Control Kit - Economy - by Draw-Tite, Reese and Hidden Hitch Pro Series Weight Distribution 83660

2] Second little ball. Notice the kit above includes one little ball to connect the sway bar to the trailer. But you need a small ball at both ends of the sway bar, so order that too:
Replacement Ball for Reese Friction Sway-Control System Reese Accessories and Parts RP58060

3] Ball mount with provision for including the sway bar ball. You need a tab sticking out from the weight-carrying ball mount where you can mount the sway bar ball.
Curt Ball Mount with Sway Control Bracket, 3/4" Rise or 2" Drop Curt Ball Mounts D320

I had my local welding (blacksmith) shop add the tab to a ball mount I already had.

Quote:
I am in search of a 5er to add in between my F350 and Klamath boat,...
Again, assuming the gross trailer weight of the boat and trailer is less than 5,000 pounds, then double check to be certain you have at least 10% of gross trailer weight as hitch weight. If you don't, then move the trailer on the boat trailer, or adjust the trailer axle position, until you have at least 10 percent hitch weight. Ignore anyone who claims that "boat trailers are different". Boat trailers are still subject the laws of physics, and the laws of physics say you need at least 10% hitch weight to minimize sway.

But if your boat and trailer when wet and loaded for the road might weigh more than 5,000 pounds, then cancel the idea of adding a sway control bar to your weight-carrying hitch. Instead, install a weight-distributing hitch with built-in sway control. If your boat trailer has surge brakes, then you must find a weight-distributing hitch that will work with surge brakes. The only one I know about is the Equal-I-Zer hitch. Such as this one:
Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution System w/ 4-Point Sway Control - up to 1,000 lbs TW (tongue weight) - Equal-i-zer Weight Distribution EQ90-00-1000

Note that one is good for hitch weight (tongue weight or TW) of 700 to 1,000 pounds. If your wet and loaded hitch weight is less than 700 pounds or more than 1,000 pounds, then you need a different Equal-I-Zer hitch.

Caveat: Not all 5ers can have a receiver hitch added to the rear end of the trailer. Some 5ers are built "lite" with no frame at the back of the trailer. Be certain the 5er you buy can have a receiver hitch added to the frame at the back of the trailer by a competent RV, hitch, or blacksmith shop. And be certain that receiver is a class IV that can handle the maximum weight of the hitch and gross trailer weight of your boat trailer.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:11 AM   #11
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There is one other thing that can and will cause sway and that is inadequate tires on one or both trailers. Years ago I had a 17' TT with 14" 4 ply tires. I couldn't tow it over 40 without it going crazy. I put 15' 6 ply LT tires on it and it was solid as a rock at any speed that I tried. I have had truckers tell me that when they first pulled doubles (truckt trailers) that when they looked in the mirrors it scared the crap out of them so they quite watching. I guess some sway may be normal.
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:50 AM   #12
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assuming your second trailer has a wet and loaded weight of less than 5,000 pounds,
Yes, its just a 15' aluminum boat on trailer maybe around 1500 - 1700 lbs. with all accessories, cooler, and stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Caveat: Not all 5ers can have a receiver hitch added to the rear end of the trailer. Some 5ers are built "lite" with no frame at the back of the trailer. Be certain the 5er you buy can have a receiver hitch added to the frame at the back of the trailer by a competent RV, hitch, or blacksmith shop. And be certain that receiver is a class IV that can handle the maximum weight of the hitch and gross trailer weight of your boat trailer.
I have heard from a co-worker's story of their friend's 5er frame getting tweaked because it was weak and not designed for a hitch, so they did some welding to reinforce the frame. Thanks, I'll make sure to get a class IV hitch and reinforce the frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
one thing you need is a simple friction-type sway bar added to your hitch setup. You need three things to do that:
1] The sway bar. Here's a cheap one that will do the job. Better ones are available for two or thee times the price.
Pro Series Friction Sway Control Kit - Economy - by Draw-Tite, Reese and Hidden Hitch Pro Series Weight Distribution 83660

2] Second little ball. Notice the kit above includes one little ball to connect the sway bar to the trailer. But you need a small ball at both ends of the sway bar, so order that too:
Replacement Ball for Reese Friction Sway-Control System Reese Accessories and Parts RP58060

3] Ball mount with provision for including the sway bar ball. You need a tab sticking out from the weight-carrying ball mount where you can mount the sway bar ball.
Curt Ball Mount with Sway Control Bracket, 3/4" Rise or 2" Drop Curt Ball Mounts D320

I had my local welding (blacksmith) shop add the tab to a ball mount I already had.

Again, assuming the gross trailer weight of the boat and trailer is less than 5,000 pounds, then double check to be certain you have at least 10% of gross trailer weight as hitch weight. If you don't, then move the trailer on the boat trailer, or adjust the trailer axle position, until you have at least 10 percent hitch weight. Ignore anyone who claims that "boat trailers are different". Boat trailers are still subject the laws of physics, and the laws of physics say you need at least 10% hitch weight to minimize sway.
Great, in-depth info you've spent time preparing and sharing. I greatly appreciate it, SmokeyWren, as I will reference this information when I make the transaction.

Thanks,

Rich
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
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There is one other thing that can and will cause sway and that is inadequate tires on one or both trailers. Years ago I had a 17' TT with 14" 4 ply tires. I couldn't tow it over 40 without it going crazy. I put 15' 6 ply LT tires on it and it was solid as a rock at any speed that I tried.
This is great info, Cliff. I'll look into a better set of tires and rims.
Quote:
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I have had truckers tell me that when they first pulled doubles (truckt trailers) that when they looked in the mirrors it scared the crap out of them so they quite watching. I guess some sway may be normal.
I was given the opportunity to tow doubles (truck trailers) for a few months when I was going for the doubles/triples endorsement on my license. It is a experience.
I did watch on tv (possibly wildest ride videos) trucks in Nevada towing triples and flipping the last trailer because of wind and over-steering.

Thanks again Cliff,

Rich
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