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Old 08-18-2013, 07:18 AM   #85
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With a weight distributing hitch, increasing bar tension is not just about lifting the back of the tow vehicle. It's about distributing that weight to the FRONT axle of the tow vehicle as well as the trailer axle(s).

With an improperly set up rig, the trailer is not just squashing the rear suspension on the tow vehicle, it's using the tow vehicle's rear axle as a fulcrum and the frame as a lever to remove weight from the tow vehicle's front axle, further destabilizing the rig - especially in a side wind situation!

Many people make this much more difficult than it needs to be. There's no rocket science/wizardry involved/required to set these up properly. Match the ball height of the tow vehicle to the trailer and use enough bar/bar tension to level the rig. That's it! Assuming the trailer has the required 10-15% tongue weight, it will tow great, EVERY TIME! Be it an 8' utility trailer or a 36' tri axle travel trailer.

Comparing a TT to a 5'er regarding hitch/setup is comparing apples to oranges. Neither set up is without their own issues.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:16 PM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wandering1 View Post
A TT will sway unless you have enough tow vehicle to control the trailer instead of letting the trailer control the tow vehicle. There have been numerous articles about the denali and youkon and most suv's not having a long enough wheel base to control the TT. The SUV's are 1/2 ton vehicles at most with soft mushy suspensions which wd hitchs and anti sway bars will not make up for. Your first clue that you dont have enough tow vehicle to control the trailer is the trailer sway.
I have to disagree with ya on that one. Any trailer will sway if its not loaded and set up right, regardless of the tow vehicle. I'm not making this statement based on someone else's opinion,...it's from years of my own personal experience in towing. Like what was said, we don't know if the OP's Denali was a 3/4 ton or not. Those particular models don't have "soft mushy suspensions" like you would tend to think. They have the same suspension setup as the GM 2500 series pickups. I know that from owning 2 of them. We all know that trailers act a certain way when loaded a certain way,...too much weight forward of the trailer axles,...this happens,...too much weight behind the trailer axles,...that happens. What If I hooked up my 18 ft utility trailer behind my Kenworth, with 3 or 4 thousand pounds a little bit behind the trailer axles, and hit the road? My trailer would do the same thing. Would it be because I didn't have enough tow vehicle to control the trailer? Just throwing my $.02 to give you something to think about. Anyways,...I'm glad no one got hurt in this situation. We can replace our toys, but we can't replace our lives. To the OP,...I hope that whatever route you go,...I hope it bring lots of fun and joy to you and your family.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:28 PM   #87
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The OP deserves to have a wider range of possibilities mentioned.

"Safety" is not in size, but in sophisticated design. Nothing any more fancy than what was available 50-years ago for the TT; where the latest TV can really do its stuff.

A crappy RV has a leaf sprung, straight axle suspension. Same for any tow vehicle. Same for too high ground clearance and resulting center-of-gravity being too far off the ground. There are good or bad designs and not really anything in between.

A "big truck" is not safe-r. Pickups have this disconcerting tendency to roll over where cars nd the better SUVs will just spin out. Hooking a TT to them doesn't change this problem one bit. Serious injury and death is always more likely in a pickup.

While the OP may have already bought replacement vehicles, putting forth the idea that a 1T truck is the best general choice is as bad as many of the problems discussed in this thread.

Start from scratch, if "safety" is a concern. Aerodynamic, low-center-of-gravity, lightweight TT's have been made since WWII (Airstream, and others) and the addition of fully independent suspension makes them without peer for "towing safety".

And despite the ignorant opinions about a virtual pivot projection (VPP) type hitch, they are FAR better than anything else. (HENSLEY or the improved PRO PRIDE). Sway elimination is worlds different than sway "resistance".

The idea that a 5'er is "more stable" is laughable. I can do maneuevers with my pickup and H/A-hitched 35' TT that would put ANY 5'er into a rollover. And I can do them endlessly. The additional burden of the huge sail area just means that 5'er owners need to shut down in crosswinds pof any note . . have someone follow you and video how that 5'er is leaning over taking up suspension travel that is already limited. But, that crude pickup with recirc ball steering and 4WD masks that this is happening. Ignorance is bliss, so they say.

Set it up on a weight scale, any RV type. All of them need individual tire/wheel position weights. If a WD hitch is required (usually above 350-lbs TW to be rigorous) then adjustments by axle weights is best, tire values second.

There is no perfect RV. But between good and bad is dependent on understanding design differences (the towed vehicle is crucial), and being trapped by having to use a pickup is corollary to the bad towable design.

A low HP demand TT with sophisticated design can be towed by other than a truck. A better handling, better braking and more resistant to road hazard combination can be done.

FWIW, a ten year old Airstream is better than any off-the-lot TT of the covnentional type. With that in mind, any number of earlier and even older TT's of this type (my TT is a "new" 1990 model) can be purchased for prices in the same ballpark as a TT that may be in consideration. Or less, even after some resto work (cosmetics, mainly, appliances possibly).

Good luck to the OP!

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Old 08-22-2013, 07:53 AM   #88
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I have read the whole thread and I haven't seen any pictures. Did the fiver AND the TV get totaled?
I know the OP is ok, but geez! That must have been nuts!
If I were the OP, I'd jump at buying a trailer at cost from them, and then get someone who knows towing to check everything out!
I'd also hire an attorney to review if there is any liability on the part of the dealer. That is negligence.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:05 AM   #89
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I think this is the pic of the OP leaving... Rear end looks low.

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Old 08-25-2013, 09:08 PM   #90
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yeah. The WDH was not correct, and the TT was too heavy as well. But that would not have caused the sway. Tight as you can get it, is not the right way to do it, and then adding hundreds of pounds to the rear is a certain way to crash.

What in the world made you think that if it was swaying at city speeds. It would settle down at highway speeds.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:33 PM   #91
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First to the OP, really sorry on your experience with the new rig, and the loss of both the trailer and TV, BUT very happy to hear that all are OK.

Sad that you did the right thing to control the sway condition, but it failed to arrest the sway.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rednax View Post
The OP deserves to have a wider range of possibilities mentioned.

"Safety" is not in size, but in sophisticated design. Nothing any more fancy than what was available 50-years ago for the TT; where the latest TV can really do its stuff.

A crappy RV has a leaf sprung, straight axle suspension. Same for any tow vehicle. Same for too high ground clearance and resulting center-of-gravity being too far off the ground. There are good or bad designs and not really anything in between.

A "big truck" is not safe-r. Pickups have this disconcerting tendency to roll over where cars nd the better SUVs will just spin out. Hooking a TT to them doesn't change this problem one bit. Serious injury and death is always more likely in a pickup.

While the OP may have already bought replacement vehicles, putting forth the idea that a 1T truck is the best general choice is as bad as many of the problems discussed in this thread.

Start from scratch, if "safety" is a concern. Aerodynamic, low-center-of-gravity, lightweight TT's have been made since WWII (Airstream, and others) and the addition of fully independent suspension makes them without peer for "towing safety".

And despite the ignorant opinions about a virtual pivot projection (VPP) type hitch, they are FAR better than anything else. (HENSLEY or the improved PRO PRIDE). Sway elimination is worlds different than sway "resistance".

The idea that a 5'er is "more stable" is laughable. I can do maneuevers with my pickup and H/A-hitched 35' TT that would put ANY 5'er into a rollover. And I can do them endlessly. The additional burden of the huge sail area just means that 5'er owners need to shut down in crosswinds pof any note . . have someone follow you and video how that 5'er is leaning over taking up suspension travel that is already limited. But, that crude pickup with recirc ball steering and 4WD masks that this is happening. Ignorance is bliss, so they say.

Set it up on a weight scale, any RV type. All of them need individual tire/wheel position weights. If a WD hitch is required (usually above 350-lbs TW to be rigorous) then adjustments by axle weights is best, tire values second.

There is no perfect RV. But between good and bad is dependent on understanding design differences (the towed vehicle is crucial), and being trapped by having to use a pickup is corollary to the bad towable design.

A low HP demand TT with sophisticated design can be towed by other than a truck. A better handling, better braking and more resistant to road hazard combination can be done.

FWIW, a ten year old Airstream is better than any off-the-lot TT of the covnentional type. With that in mind, any number of earlier and even older TT's of this type (my TT is a "new" 1990 model) can be purchased for prices in the same ballpark as a TT that may be in consideration. Or less, even after some resto work (cosmetics, mainly, appliances possibly).

Good luck to the OP!

.
Well big post, but it think many of the TT and TV seen in rollovers are shorter WB Cars, SUVs and LD pickups, pulling a long light weight TT. Long light weight will blow over easier in a wind that a slightly taller 5er, due to the 5er heaver weight, and the limited roll of the 5er hitch.
I don't know what type of sports car handling you can perform in your rig, but if necessary I could likely match it.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:11 AM   #92
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The idea that a 5'er is "more stable" is laughable.
Under the conditions we are discussing as a result of the OP's post, a fiver with the pivot point above or in front of the tow vehicle axle IS inherently stable whereas a trailer on a normal hitch way behind the TV axle is inherently unstable. Just a matter of physics.

Once you start bringing sail area into the discussion then you need to compare like with like and then I think the same simple physics (well, maybe not so simple) will show that a side wind on a travel trailer will more readily cause instability than the same side wind on a fiver of the same height and size.

Other factors that do matter - pretty impossible to load a fiver with zero weight on the front, but quite easy to do on a travel trailer. Hard to load a fiver to result in a large moment of inertia around any axis, but quite easy to do in a travel trailer. Just these two factors alone means that in conditions of very bad loading weight and balance, the fiver will remain stable while the travel trailer is instantly uncontrollable.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:37 AM   #93
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All of that sounds great on paper. However, 5vers do bounce around quite a bit. We had to tie everything down just as much as we did in our TT. There was an RVer traveling east of Cheyenne on I-80 a year or so ago. Towing a 5ver with a crew cab dually. He never felt what the wind was doing to his 5ver until it ripped out of the hitch with wind gusts. Dually wasn't hurt very much. In a bumper pull you would feel every bit of that wind and probably be driving at 30 mph or less or maybe parked vs maybe 50+ mph because you think all is OK with a 5ver. All that physics sounds good on paper though.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:14 AM   #94
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Expensive lesson for the OP and one heckuva way to start RVing! The Yukon XL was a 1500 because they don't make the Denali version in a 2500. The short story is that the trailer was too long and heavy for the truck, the WD hitch had insufficient capacity to handle that tongue weight, and loading the full water tank behind the axle was the icing on the cake. The situation had to be really bad if the OP flipped the trailer the first time he got to 40 mph!!! I've seen a lot of marginal rigs, but this is out of bounds even for the worst dealers.

A hitch like the Hensley or Pro Pride would have eliminated the sway and prevented the TT from flipping, but he wouldn't have it too many miles before he cooked either the transmission or the rear axle.

To the OP, 5ers are not inherently safer than TTs, just easier to get dialed in because there is no WD to fool with. Yes the hitch is above the rear axle, but a Hensley or Pro Pride do the same thing for a TT using the geometry of the 4-bar linkage.

A few takeaways as you shop for new trailer, whether 5er or TT:

1. You will exceed the vehicle's carrying capacity before you exceed its tow rating;
2. A loaded trailer will weigh about 1500 lbs more than the dry weight on the sticker, not including water. Your 7400 lb TT was likely over 9000 lbs when it flipped and FAR exceeded the capabilities of your Yukon XL;
3. A 5er puts 20-15% of its weight on the pin so be sure whatever pickup you buy can carry the weight;
4. Best to buy the trailer you want first then find a truck that will pull it rather than vice-versa.


Consider posting here with models and weights before you buy the next rig, get some good advice from experienced RVers. Remember that not all the advice you will get here or elsewhere is good, there is plenty of crap in this thread as it stands.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:16 AM   #95
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5vers do bounce around quite a bit. We had to tie everything down just as much as we did in our TT.
Again, a different issue not related to the OP's situation.

Possibly because neither had decent suspension and or had overinflated tyres. Still some manufacturers think that shock absorbers are only for vehicles with soft sooky humans riding in them.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:08 AM   #96
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I think at this point it looks like it wasn't sway that caused the accident, although there was swaying involved that may have contributed. It looks to me like the front end of the truck was way too light due to high tongue weight and improperly set up WDH. At low speeds the truck would be steerable but once it picked up speed, any side to side movement of the trailer as it picked up speed would make the front end and steering of the truck more and more unstable until it reached a point of SEVERE uncontrollable and irreversible understeer or oversteer. Understeer or oversteer on any vehicle is a very scary thing at any speed. Imagine not being able to turn the TV in the direction you want. And once that happened, if brakes were applied, it would have made it even worse. If the driver was inexperienced at towing, he probably did not recognize how bad the TV was handling at first and the disaster he was creating by getting up to higher speeds.

That's my theory anyway but we'll never know. In any event, it emphasizes the need to your actual weights and capacities and have the WDH set up properly along with having sway control.

I was chuckling a couple of days ago after we bought a portable metal firepit with enclosed screen so that we could have a fire in a burn ban area. It came with a 2 page list of safety do's and don'ts. It was ridiculous almost. But when you buy a new travel trailer or 5th wheel, the dealer can sell you almost anything, hook you up and send you on your merry way with nary a caution or warning. No safety brochures or pamphlets, no demonstration, no seminars, no courses, no DVDs, no pointers and tips or suggestions - absolutely nothing on weights, capacities and WDH setup. Doesn't make sense at all. It's pretty sad that many don't find out until they start reading RV forums. It's the dark side of RV-ing.....

Also, I fail to understand how a fancy Hensley or Propride WDH can cure an overloaded TV condition or failure to set up a hitch correctly in the first place. Nobody should just go and spend big money on one to cure handling problems when the underlying cause is not addressed.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:37 AM   #97
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I was chuckling a couple of days ago after we bought a portable metal firepit with enclosed screen so that we could have a fire in a burn ban area. It came with a 2 page list of safety do's and don'ts. It was ridiculous almost. But when you buy a new travel trailer or 5th wheel, the dealer can sell you almost anything, hook you up and send you on your merry way with nary a caution or warning. No safety brochures or pamphlets, no demonstration, no seminars, no courses, no DVDs, no pointers and tips or suggestions - absolutely nothing on weights, capacities and WDH setup. Doesn't make sense at all. It's pretty sad that many don't find out until they start reading RV forums. It's the dark side of RV-ing.....
I agree, but the same can be true about the vehicle manufacturers. We all jump on the RV industry right away but the owners manuals have a very vague chapter on towing. That coupled with the fact that the information that is published is so misleading, the tow data is totally useless. Very rarely do they give you the GVWR on their towing charts. Only the GCWR. The max trailer weight uses the same inaccurate method as the truck weight. You must then try to figure out what the "real weight" of the truck is to figure out the GVWR. And most RV salespeople use the trailers unloaded weight when selling a unit. One reason why I only lasted 3 weeks as an RV salesman. I told people the truth and got chastised for it, so I quit.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:12 PM   #98
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[QUOTE=K-Star;1702843]I agree, but the same can be true about the vehicle manufacturers. QUOTE]

Totally agree. There's a lot of things about towing that can make you give your head a shake. Truck manufacturers and any manufacturer of other vehicles that can be used for towing are just as much to blame. On some SUVs, even though some have reasonable "towing capacity", they make it really difficult to find things like GCWR, payload or receiver hitch capacity. If there even is something in a manual on towing RVs or anything else, it's pretty vague, basic and lacking info. like sway control.

It's not just RVs that can be a towing problem. What about all the horse trailers, utility trailers, car trailers and haulers, boat trailers, etc.? What about things that can get loaded onto a flat deck trailer like say a 6,000+ lb skid steer loader. Those are really easy to tie down in the wrong fore/aft position resulting in way too little or way too much tongue weight. Where are the TV manufacturers or anyone else to tell you what should be done for safety?

When we bought our old trailer the year before last, the dealer sent us to a nearby hitch shop. The shop explained nothing about WDHs for RV use, nothing about the different types and brands, nothing about how to adjust the weight transfer, nothing about things like bar weight ratings and nothing about sway control. Just slapped it on and sent us on our way. They also slapped on a basic cheapo brand brake controller. Same sort of things there. Just gave us the instructions that came with it. Within a year, we ended up replacing it because it just wasn't doing a good job for us and went to a Prodigy P3. You would think of all people, a hitch shop would explain WDH hitches to you and even give you a brochure or something to read. We didn't even get the manufacturer's (Curt) instructions that I'm sure came with it. That is just plain wrong.

When I picked up our new TT this year at the dealer, he took one look at the Reese dual cam WDH and asked "what is that thing"? Our salesman helped put it on even though I didn't ask and didn't really want his help. He tightened the two big nuts with a battery operated impact gun. Not good. It's supposed to be something like 300 lbft. IIRC. I ended up finishing it myself and did the basic measurement of fender heights to see if okay. He never asked if I had the weight transfer set up and was good to go. Felt like he was pushing to get me off the lot asap and that safety wasn't much of a question. Very disappointed in their approach but from what I read, still better than a lot of them.

Maybe a newbie lawyer will get in a bad accident some day and destroy his/her truck and trailer and sue the pants off everyone involved. Maybe that's what it will take to change things for the better.

I still don't get it. An electrician or plumber requires a licence to work on your house. But a dealer or hitch shop can hook up your trailer without a licence or any kind of discussion on hitch safety. Seeing as the last person to hook your trailer is typically the dealer and not the TV manufacturer, perhaps they should be required to have a licence and install a sticker that shows it complies with safety requirements. I know I wouldn't hesitate to have to pay a little more if they were required to do this.
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