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Old 08-25-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
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towing performance

I recently changed from a class a to a TT and a truck. we were out on the first trip and the truck performance seemed poor, speed terrible and a lot of sway. Had to slow to 50 mph to be comfortable.
I reviewed the TT weight versus the truck and realize I need to go bigger--to a F-250. the F-150 will pull the TT at the unloaded weight but I need more. so i'm going after a bigger truck.......
My question is about performance. surging/lurching/bouncing of the trailer affecting the truck. acceleration poor.
Is this normal? I was expecting a much more comfortable drive without all the motion.
Gary
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:43 PM   #2
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Years ago , towing boats and flat deck trailers with race cars , I found the same issues you describe. So when I started into RVing , I knew TTs were not for me , and went straight to 5ers, nine years and 4 , fifth wheels then into a Class A. I can't imagine going back to a 5er and being comfortable driving.
That being said, a properly equipped 3/4 ton will be a big first step in improving stability , 1/2 ton tires alone could be part of the problem , not always up to the towing task.
Nothing in your post about weights and hitch type, trailer brand , equalizer , bar strength.
Balancing the TT's load and getting the hitch weight , into the preferred % of total weight will help.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:15 PM   #3
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towing

the TT is a Flagstaff 831FKBSS with a weight rating of about 6900# and the truck is a 2013 F-150 with Ecoboost and was supposed to handle this. The Trailer has a stabilizer bar and lightly loaded (no scale weight yet). 2 adults in the truck of average weight.
experienced sway at 50 mph, lurching and bouncing at almost every bump. took a long section of highway to let me get to 60 mph and the acceleration was poor.
so how will I know the ride will improve with a F250 unless I go borrow one and test it out? (My mission tomorrow is to find that borrowed F250 with the right wheelbase and find out).
and could it be the trailer?
Gary
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:07 PM   #4
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The sway @ 50mph is caused by your trailer and not the truck. A bigger truck is just a band-aid to something else not setup right. i would take it to a towing place and have it all checked out. If you want to fix it yourself find out the actual tonge weight and trailer weight and go from there. Properley adjust the wdh and then make sure you have 12-15% weight on the tounge and then get it all weighted again to verify.
F150 ecoboost is a strong engine but regardless your definitly going to feel it pulling 8000lbs behind you. If you want better acceleration/performance then you need a diesel. Any gaser (6.2l) even in a f250 will have slightly better acceleration but nothing jaw dropping. good luck
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:39 PM   #5
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The sway @ 50mph is caused by your trailer and not the truck. A bigger truck is just a band-aid to something else not setup right. i would take it to a towing place and have it all checked out. If you want to fix it yourself find out the actual tonge weight and trailer weight and go from there. Properley adjust the wdh and then make sure you have 12-15% weight on the tounge and then get it all weighted again to verify.
F150 ecoboost is a strong engine but regardless your definitly going to feel it pulling 8000lbs behind you. If you want better acceleration/performance then you need a diesel. Any gaser (6.2l) even in a f250 will have slightly better acceleration but nothing jaw dropping. good luck
I agree. The word bouncing makes me think low hitch weight. That also causes or aggravates sway. I don't know all the details of the weights, truck and such but I wouldn't make a $40,000+ decision just yet. I know some say you can't tow without at least a 3/4 ton, but if everything is in spec you should be able to tow in reasonable comfort. And not just at 50mph.

Are you willing to load it all up and go to a local scale? That is really the first step since you already own all of this.
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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Sounds like the hitch was not set up properly and do you have a sway control? Maybe need more hitch weight. Was the fresh or waste tanks full and aft of the trailer axles?

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Old 08-25-2013, 07:52 PM   #7
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Sounds like the hitch was not set up properly and do you have a sway control? Maybe need more hitch weight. Was the fresh or waste tanks full and aft of the trailer axles?

Ken

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You make a great point about asking about sway control. This truck likely does and if sway is detected, the ABS system will attempt to control the sway and if not, engine power is reduced. This may be part of the lack of power. However the rear gear ratio is also important.

To the OP, what rear axle ratio do you have. Our dealership seems to order most ecoboost trucks with a high gear ratio which is not great for towing.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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Until you figure out what your actual weights and capacities are3, you are just guessing and flying blind. The best thing you can do is go to a scale and calculate what the actual trailer total and tongue weights are and what the actual truck payload capacity is. Don't let anyone tell you simply "you will be fine" until you know for sure what your weights are. Then make an informed decision.

I suspect that you are going to find that your truck is not big enough and you would be better off with a 3/4 ton. It's not just about horizontal towing capacity, it's also payload capacity and other things like GCWR, axles ratings, tire capacities and hitch receiver rating.

Whatever the door jamb sticker says on your truck, it is going to be less. Any factory options, dealer installed options and owner installed accessories will reduce that number as well as the factory only includes for a 145lb driver and full tank of gas. By the time you allow for DW, kids and passengers, pets, toys, tools, camping gear, groceries and other cargo, that can easily add around 500 lbs or so which will come off the payload capacity. The best way to approach this is to load it all up with these things and go to a scale, weigh the truck and then subtract that from the GVWR to get your actual/available payload figure.

Don't know what year your TT is, but a 2011 MY has 6476 lbs for dry weight, 8814 lbs for GVWR and 814 lbs for dry tongue wt. Factory dry weights are next to useless info. and you need to weigh the trailer to get actual numbers. If your unit has factory options, they can add a lot of weight onto the UVW. Loaded for camping, you could have around 1500 lbs added to that 34' TT for about 8,000 lbs actual. Published cargo carrying capacities can be way off the actual and the 1900 lb figure for you trailer could be significantly less. Until you weigh it, to be conservative, I would use the GVWR to estimate the tongue wt. which is usually in the range of 10-15% of the TT wt., which could mean a tongue wt. as high as 1320 lbs. Actual tongue wt. is always higher than the factory wt. I'd speculate that your 814 lbs could be more like 1200 lbs.

Besides the implication of tongue weight on the truck's payload capacity, the actual tongue weight is needed to determine the WDH bar rating. Don't know what WDH hitch or type you have. If Reese trunnion bar for example, you'd need at least 1200 lb. bars and maybe the next size up. You do not want to have undersized bars because it may make it very difficult, if not impossible to transfer enough wt. back onto the steer axles of the truck. Not enough weight can definitely cause some serious handling issues. A trailer of that length definitely needs to have sway control. Many say the add-on friction bars work fine. I like our Reese dual cam setup. Some will say you should go straight to a high-end type but if you have inherent weight issues, you can't solve them with a fancy and expensive WDH.

I think you would be better off with a 3/4 ton truck with a trailer that long and heavy. They have a heavier frame, better brakes and stiffer suspension which make for a much nicer towing experience. Having gone from a 1/2 to 3/4 ton, I would not tow with less than a 3/4T unless it was a small trailer.

Too many TT manufacturers are pushing lightweight trailers with labels like "1/2 tone towable" when many 1/2T trucks are actually too small and need HD payload options to make it work. And truck manufacturers are all pushing "towing capacity" and conveniently don't talk much about payload capacity and other equally important factors.
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:47 PM   #9
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For what it is worth, check the prices on a comparably equipped F350. You may not need it, but for the money difference, and if you ever trade rigs, you may need it. It may save you another trading headache in the future.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:44 AM   #10
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That TT is way too much for your F150. According to the brochure weights the dry tongue weight is 945lbs, that's almost the max on your receiver. At almost 35' long and weighing close to 8000lbs loaded you really need a 3/4 ton.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:24 AM   #11
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towing

feedback appreciated---its off to the scale to under my weighting, etc
also highly considering the F250 for the capability .
need to understand better my low hitch weight problem and how to fix/solve
Gary
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:22 AM   #12
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For what it is worth, check the prices on a comparably equipped F350.
That is good advice

I have been researching, evaluating a 5th wheel as the next RV. I decided for the small price difference I would go to a 3500 Dodge Ram vs. a 2500, if I went to a trailer.
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Old 08-28-2013, 12:37 AM   #13
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"surging/lurching/bouncing of the trailer affecting the truck"

We have experienced the above when traveling on concrete pavement when the joints in the pavement are not level (notably I35 south of OKC and also on streets within some city limits while driving 30 - 40 mph). Road surface can greatly effect your ride, as well as WD.
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:27 AM   #14
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I find your post interesting, mat state they tow 10K, and the truck does fine! They state that they do just fine on the flats and in the hills.
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