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Old 04-30-2014, 11:37 PM   #1
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First time pulling TT long distance

We just bought our TT in Jan and have took 2 local weekend trips. We are heading to the beach in a few weeks (by car is about 5/6 hrs). I'm trying to be really careful about what I pack so we don't put too much weight in the camper.

Any tips on driving long distances?

We have one sway bar, do you recommend 2?

We are taking 4 bikes with us and plan on putting them in the back of the truck but we have seen where you can attach a hitch to the back of the trailer and put them there. Which is better?

I'm just really nervous about pulling it that far since we just started camping so any tips/ideas you can give is appreciated!
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corne73 View Post
We just bought our TT in Jan and have took 2 local weekend trips. We are heading to the beach in a few weeks (by car is about 5/6 hrs). I'm trying to be really careful about what I pack so we don't put too much weight in the camper.

Any tips on driving long distances?

We have one sway bar, do you recommend 2?

We are taking 4 bikes with us and plan on putting them in the back of the truck but we have seen where you can attach a hitch to the back of the trailer and put them there. Which is better?

I'm just really nervous about pulling it that far since we just started camping so any tips/ideas you can give is appreciated!
Good you have taken a couple of shorter trips so you can get the feel for towing. If it takes 5 to 6 hours by "car" it will take you longer when you are towing a trailer. I don't know where you are going, but it takes about 4 hours from my house to get to coast in a car, 5 to 6 hours (that includes fuel stop & grand kids wanting food, throwing up & "pit stops") when I am pulling our trailer, I use almost every turn out (the last twenty miles are slow going & take twice as long with a trailer).

Tips on loading, if you can, put the heavies items forward or on the axles, if you are concerned about the load abilities of your tv & trailer the best thing is to weigh them when you are loaded for a trip.

What to you mean you have "one sway bar?" Are you using a weight distribution hitch?

We try to limit our driving to 3 to 4 hours a day, figure on around 200 or so miles, of course that depends on the roads we are traveling & if we are pushed for time, thankfully we normally are not in a hurry to get where we are going. When we go to the coast, no easy way to get there & we usually have a couple of grand kids who do not like to travel, especially on windy roads, a 200 mile trip is about 6 hours pulling the trailer with the grand kids when you stop for fuel, food & pit stops. Always plan ahead for fuel stops, pulling a trailer requires more room to enter & exit fuel stations & you may have to pay more for fuel but that is part of pulling a trailer. Same thing for stopping or food or groceries, you need room to park & pull out of the location. Before you pull into that fast food place, make sure you have the room to get out of the parking lot.

Don't be nervous, be cautious and use your common sense when towing, you know what your skills are and go with that. It is going to take you longer to go anywhere pulling a trailer so give yourself the time & don't push it.

On our previous trailer I had a 2" receiver hitch installed under the rear bumper, it was welded to the trailer frame & to the bumper, strong & clean looking. I would recommend that you have a set bolt on the receiver so you can tighten the bike rake & minimize movement. Our present trailer does not have a bumper & I have to put the bikes in the truck bed (we have a camper shell), I miss the 2" receiver for the bike rack on the trailer. Go with the receiver on the trailer but have it welded to the frame, don't use the clamp on type.
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:48 AM   #3
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We do have a weight distribution hitch and one sway bar. But we thought we had read where you could use another sway bar just to help extra with swaying of the trailer? I know the last trip we took, the wind was blowing pretty hard and my husband said it wore him out because it was making it sway more.

We don't really plan on taking a lot of heavy items. We will get groceries when we get there except for stuff that stays in the camper anyways. Probably the heaviest items would be our luggage.

Also, I was told by a friend that pulls a TT that interstates are bad for the tires and we should try to stay off of them. Is that true? We don't really have straight interstates to the beach but I just wondered if that was true.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:33 AM   #4
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I think you are overly worried about this. If your truck and trailer is matched properly you need not be so concerned. How far is it to the beach? Looks like you are in North Carolina so the beach can't be that far. Also your trailer tires are new as your signature indicates a 2014 trailer. We plan to tow about 4000 miles in June. Our new trailer is only 24 foot but we have towed a 31 foot from the rockies to the East coast of Canada to Florida to Myrtle beach etc. I can't see why the Interstates would be harder on tires unless we are talking about some of the cracked concrete or faster speeds and more heat on the tires. But again it does not look like you are going that far. We have and will put 800 miles a day on our trailer tires. I would rater stay on the Interstates with a trailer. Once you get it going keep it rolling. The other highways you are always speeding up and slowing down and having to brake for others turning and merging etc. To me its much easier to drive on the interstate and likely get better gas milage. Just keep the speed down take your time and enjoy. I have never had a second sway bar even with the 31 foot trailer on an F150 but that may depend on your setup.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:58 AM   #5
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It's good that you are concerned. This will help you in making smart decisions. If you use common sense you will have no problems as you seem to have a nice combo for towing. You will soon get a feel for the rig and confidence will increase. Best of luck with it.
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:03 AM   #6
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I agree with CanadianCrew. You're over analyzing it. Load it up and hit the road. Drive till you've had enough. It ain't no biggie.
1010 said he limits his driving to 200 miles a day. If I did that I wouldn't get any where. If your setup is right and tows fine you should be able to go 6 hrs easily. I find that it's not the miles that matter, it's the time. Think about it, if you're driving the interstate at 55-65mph you're going to cover far more territory than if you're traveling back roads at 45-55mph. As far as someone saying that interstates are bad for trailers is clueless. How do you think people get anywhere. Ask your buddy to tell you what happens different on an interstate as opposed to a hwy.

I like to start early in the morning and travel till no latter than 4:00. That gives me time to settle down after towing. Relax a bit and enjoy the place you're at that you just paid $25-40.00 for. I won't unhitch if in the middle of a road trip. That way all I have to do is raise the jacks pull the slide in and hit the road.
More than likely you'll need to stop every 150 miles anyway to hit the bathroom or get gas. 150 miles works out to about 2 hrs when towing. Good time to stretch a bit and gas up. Also always gas up before you stop for the night. That way you don't waste time in the morning when getting ready to hit the road again.
If you're going by interstate then just get in the slow lane and set the cruise at 60mph and enjoy the scenery. After a few hrs it's just be the same thing over and over. 8hrs towing is know different than 1hr.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:04 PM   #7
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When I tow long distance, I figure my average speed at 50-55. This works out pretty close with fuel stops even when the speed limit is higher. You can the calculate how long it will take you to get to your destination and if you want to stop for the night. One recommendation is to check you tire pressures prior to departing. Higher speeds mean higher tire temps. Good luck
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:12 PM   #8
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Thanks for all your help! I'm the wife so yes I do worry! :-)

CanadianCrew, we are in NC but going to the beach in SC so still a little drive for us. I know everything will be A ok, I just needed some tips and suggestions on making this first long distance trip enjoyable and not a stressful one.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:37 PM   #9
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In my opinion if a truck travel trailer is in need
Of a sway bar that indicates a poor setup. There are plenty of
Good hitch system s that prevent sway instead of trying
to control the sway once its started as the sway bar attempts
To do. Hensley seems to be at the top of that list but its pricey.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:21 PM   #10
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Sounds like you need to properly adjust the weight distributing system. It has to be adjusted based on your loaded trailer and not an empty trailer as you picked up at the dealer. In theory, a properly set up trailer should not sway. But, you still need a sway control device for those whoops times on the road when you get hit with a side wind or a sudden push from a passing truck.

The other issue is the tires on your tow vehicle. If you have a typical light weight tow vehicle, it will have P series passenger tires which have softer side walls. You may need to run a LT tire with heavier side walls. With the P series, you may need to run them at maximum inflation pressure.

Still another issue is do you have enough truck for the trailer and load when loaded? Have you checked to see that you have 10 to 15% of the trailer weight on the hitch?

I do not like the WD hitches with a friction type sway device. For not much more you can get a Reese Dual Cam Straightline hitch with integral sway control.

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Old 05-02-2014, 01:06 PM   #11
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Get thee to a scale! Load truck and trailer as you would for the trip. I use a building material supply company. For 10 or 20 dollars I weigh the entire rig-front axle of truck, both axles, then truck and trailer. Pull off and I un hitch and reweigh just my pick up. There are several threads on this forum about proper weight distribution. Safe handling and stopping is impossible if the weight distribution is wrong. So please weigh the rig and then ENJOY safe travels
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:46 PM   #12
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I've towed from Phoenix to Amarillo in one stretch. It's no different than just driving if you are set up correctly. I do stop every couple of hours and check tires, bearing temperatures, hitch, truck tires.. etc... It's just driving, with a few common sense things thrown in. And... NO... the interstate is not bad for RVs... 65 mph with the cruise set and you can cover a lot of ground. Have fun!
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:39 PM   #13
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Well now that two ppl here have scared you about towing.

Please just let us know what vehicle you are using to tow with.

As far as having a friction bar they are good. But not great. Depending on your trailer size two may be better. But if you are not experiencing any sway issues you should be good to go.

I did my first big trip last year was a bit nervous also. But at the end of the day it all went great.

I set the cruise at a comfortable 60mph. Stopped roughly every 3 hrs or so. And did a total of 10hrs of driving in one day. All was good was not tired because my truck trailer seems to work well together. I added a friction sway control to my setup. Not because I needed it but a few ppl on here recommend I use one.

So at the end of the day just watch your speed take breaks when you can and have fun.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:21 PM   #14
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Well now that two ppl here have scared you about towing.

Please just let us know what vehicle you are using to tow with.

As far as having a friction bar they are good. But not great. Depending on your trailer size two may be better. But if you are not experiencing any sway issues you should be good to go.

I did my first big trip last year was a bit nervous also. But at the end of the day it all went great.

I set the cruise at a comfortable 60mph. Stopped roughly every 3 hrs or so. And did a total of 10hrs of driving in one day. All was good was not tired because my truck trailer seems to work well together. I added a friction sway control to my setup. Not because I needed it but a few ppl on here recommend I use one.

So at the end of the day just watch your speed take breaks when you can and have fun.
Thank you.

We have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad cab with towing package.

We called the one this evening that set it up for us before we left the lot and he told us how to adjust the load distribution bar. We have not had a problem with sway except the last trip and the wind was blowing hard so yes, we had some sway and it wore the husband out.

So you recommend stopping about every 3 hours or so and check tire pressure and such?
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