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Old 07-22-2008, 05:03 PM   #1
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Hello,
I would like to ask for some help with my current set up. We have a 28 foot Keystone Hornet Sport that we purchased new last Spring. Our tow vehicle is a 1995 Chevy Full size van. I will start by saying that with the trailer and van fully loaded we are about 500 lbs over the max gross weight for the van. I believe this weight is mainly due to the van rear-end ratio of 3.43. If it were the 3.73 ratio we would be 500 lbs under the weight. My theory is we should be able to tow safely even though we are over the weight, just putting more wear and tear on the van. Last year we had many stability issues towing. I have a Curt WDH and sway control. Over the Winter I installed new tie rod ends and air bags in the back suspension. This has helped lots, but if any wind at all, even light, the set up gets very squirally. I have tried everything I can think of (redistributing load in trailer, different adjustments on hitch, etc.) My wife, kids and I all love camping, but both my wife and I are very nervous when we travel. My theory is this problem is due to the vehicle I am towing with but as we don't have a lot of extra money this is expensive to test. I would hate to by a pick-up for a tow vehicle and have the same issues. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have another week long trip next month and the wife says (she's being smart!) that if we don't get these issues resolved we will not be going. Please Help!!!
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:03 PM   #2
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Hello,
I would like to ask for some help with my current set up. We have a 28 foot Keystone Hornet Sport that we purchased new last Spring. Our tow vehicle is a 1995 Chevy Full size van. I will start by saying that with the trailer and van fully loaded we are about 500 lbs over the max gross weight for the van. I believe this weight is mainly due to the van rear-end ratio of 3.43. If it were the 3.73 ratio we would be 500 lbs under the weight. My theory is we should be able to tow safely even though we are over the weight, just putting more wear and tear on the van. Last year we had many stability issues towing. I have a Curt WDH and sway control. Over the Winter I installed new tie rod ends and air bags in the back suspension. This has helped lots, but if any wind at all, even light, the set up gets very squirally. I have tried everything I can think of (redistributing load in trailer, different adjustments on hitch, etc.) My wife, kids and I all love camping, but both my wife and I are very nervous when we travel. My theory is this problem is due to the vehicle I am towing with but as we don't have a lot of extra money this is expensive to test. I would hate to by a pick-up for a tow vehicle and have the same issues. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have another week long trip next month and the wife says (she's being smart!) that if we don't get these issues resolved we will not be going. Please Help!!!
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:50 PM   #3
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full size vans come in 1500/2500/3500 sizes. What is yours ?? And the trucks GAWRs. If you have the 1500 it probably came with P rated tires which can have carcass roll that induces sway problems. A upgrade to a LT C load range will eliminate that carcass roll. Tires tread such as A large tread block AT and especiall a MT can also induce sway. Hauling over max axle loads/tires capacities (RAWR) also can induce sway.

Jim
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:10 PM   #4
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Thanks for quick response. Van is a G20 so I believe 3/4 ton. GVWR is 6600 and GAWR is 3400. Trailer weight is 4900 lbs I'm assuming dry. Tires don't appear to be more of a passenger car type tire not really a heavy duty truck tire.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:34 PM   #5
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Vans have an inherent towing problem, long overhang behind the rear axle. This causes problems with sway and trailer wagging. You should be running LT tires on the van, and have them inflated to sidewall maximum to increase stability, as JIM said. If your van does not have a rear stabilizer/sway bar, install a quality bar. It will greatly reduce body roll and sway. Replace stock shocks with Bilstien, Monroe Rancho, or similar HD shock; which BTW have a lifetime warranty.
Until you get the van controlled, slow-down and keep your family safe!
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:22 AM   #6
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I towed a 35' trailer with a Ford Excursion for a while and experienced a lot of the instability problems I think you are experiencing with your van.

I bought a Hensley and was a happy camper.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:07 AM   #7
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What speed are you towing at? I agree with the above posts. If you are using P type tires and are at or above max weight, that is a problem. If you are trying to go 60/70, that is going to add to the problem. IMHO, over 60 is asking for trouble unless you have much more TV than the Min. Try slowing down until sway stops, then slow down about 5mph more and you will be OK. I towed my equipment trailer W/tractor on it that was loaded too far to the rear. I knew it was too heavy on rear but could not get it forward because of fender wells. At 45 it started to sway. I was able to get it home @ 40 but was no fun. That was with my 1T dully.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:44 AM   #8
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I would also suggest that you look into a new hitch. I use to get quite amount of sway when passed by a large truck or semi. I bought the Reese Dual Cam HP, added it to my current WDH and that problem disappeared. You would have to change the trunnion bars with your Curt hitch, but it might be worth it.

I bought mine on Amazon for under $200.00 and installed it myself in under two hours. I can't afford the more expensive hitches, so this worked really well for me.

Might be an afforable alternative to purchasing a new truck.

Good Luck!

Jeff
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:30 AM   #9
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Thanks to all that responded and all the suggestions. One good things about bad gas prices,,, gas powered TV's are starting to go cheap. This morning I stumbled upon a 1998 Silverado 2500 extended cab with 8' box truck. It is all set up for towing, is in mint, mint condition, has only 68,000 miles, 454 engine and I picked it up for $6500, I don't thinkd that is too bad. I would rather have a diesel as I realize the mpg's will be very bad, but I will put less than 3000 miles a year on this truck so it doesn't bother me much. My family and I can't wait to get out camping again with this newer vehicle, I anticipate it will be a much better TV than the van it is replacing. Once again, Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:29 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Ray,IN:
Vans have an inherent towing problem, long overhang behind the rear axle. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>GM full size vans have short overhangs when compared to most full size SUVs (Suburban, Expedition EL, Excursion) and shorter than most full size puck up trucks with the 8' box. Same for the NON extended HD Ford E van.

On the extended GM vans, the Express or Sanana's have a longer wheelbase so the rear overhang does not change unlike the extended Ford and old extended Chrysler vans.

It's not unusual in a campground to be asked how well our van does with our trailer on the highway from owners of pickups who wish they had more room in the cab of their tow vehicle (yes I know I can't pull a fifth wheel - and NO I would not use a wheeled fifth wheel hitch to do so). They are generally surprised to hear my answer and even more so when my wife answers that she enjoys the towing as well.

A simple add on sway bar on a 28' trailer is not enough and the suggestions about the Reese Dual Cam is a very good one and would still be recommended for the 3/4 ton truck although the truck might give you a bit more carrying capacity than the van.

Verifying actual weights and capacities from everything like tires on the tow vehicle and trailer, hitch capacity, ensuring everything is level for towing and then verifying these weights at a certified scale such as a CAT scale will go long way to locating an issue with instability or sway.

Enjoy the truck Smblack8 and even though we would love a Duramax in our tow vehicle as well, gasoline is cheaper!

Mike.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:25 AM   #11
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Personally I think you are making way too many assumptions. First the tires, you say they appear to be more stable than a "P" rated tire. But, have you actually looked at the side wall? Even a "LT" rated tire can be soft unless it is steel belted and running at the max recommended pressure. Second you are "guessing" on your trailer weight. That is probably the first thing you MUST get right. Load up just like you are going camping and make a trip to the local scales and get some real weights. My guess, you are not just a little over weight but grossly over weight. Last but not least is the length of the TT. Is that the actual as built length or is that the model designation? 28 feet behind a relatively short wheel base vehicle can make for some really bad stability issues. Especially so if your hitch is not properly setup. Last, are you using the factory receiver? Might want to check that too. GM is notorious for problems with the round tube receivers and you may have issues there.
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