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Old 05-23-2013, 08:47 AM   #15
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We just bought our new 30' TT, and towed it twice....40 or so miles each time.

It did some bouncing on rough roads but was fairly smooth on the hiway, except for bridge joints....bounced again.

I decided to try the Firestone air bags, and ordered them today. Never used them before and never thought about them when pulling a 5th wheel.

This is the first time I ever used a weight distribution hitch, and the dealer set it up....since I bought this unit, I have not yet checked all heights or level but will be doing so this weekend.

I am a bit concerned that the WDH chains were set by the dealer on the last link of the chain....as I drive thru campgrounds, I noted that most WDH setups are not at their chain limit.....lots to learn about this, and I have to say that the 5th wheel was much less hassle.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myredracer View Post
We have an F250 and tow a trailer of 29' overall. The TT weighs about 6600 lbs as weighed at a scale and the factory UVW is 5,237 lbs. That's quite a difference and we don't really have much of any real weight loaded in the trailer. I think a lot of options and other things were not included in the UVW such as elec. stab jacks, electric awning, fiberglass cap. The factory hitch weight is listed as 518 lbs but the scale numbers show it to be 960 lbs. Quite a difference on that too. The actual tongue weight on our TT is 14.5% of the trailer weight which is on the higher side of normal.

My point is that your total/actual trailer weight and hitch weight could be much higher than you think. Your trailer could weigh over 8,000 lbs wet/loaded and the actual tongue weight could be up around 1200 lbs.

We don't have much squat in our F250 with 960 lbs of tongue weight. It has taken several trips to the scale and many adjustments to get the weight transfer in the right ballpark. We also have a Reese dual cam WDH which works really well now. Very little sway and no porpoising and almost no bounce in the truck when the trailer bounces. We have new Bilstein shocks which help too.

So.... There should not be much squat in your truck at all with a properly set up WDH, especially being a 1 ton. You might consider going through a scale somewhere - truck only, truck + TT with hitch hooked up and truck + trailer without hitch hooked up. Doing this will tell you a lot and will also tell you how much weight is being transferred between axles. The ideal is 25% on the steer axle, 50% on the drive axle and 25% on the trailer axles. You may *think* you have enough weight transferred to the front of the truck and between drive and trailer axles, but you can easily be fooled.

If you have the tongue weight distributed in about the right proportions, the actual added weight to your hitch ball (bars connected) is much less than your actual/total tongue weight. So if your actual tongue weight was say a high 15% (it is usually in the 10-15% range) you are getting maybe 600 lbs added onto the rear wheels. Hard to imagine an F350 squatting up to 4" with only 600 lbs added over the rear wheels.

I would have to guess that you do not have enough weight transferred onto the front wheels and the rear wheels are getting way too much of the tongue weight. You may need to take a couple or more links out of the chains and may need to even change the angle of the hitch head by adding or subtracting washer(s).

You should only be able to engage the chains onto the snap-up brackets by lifting the rear of the truck up via the trailer jack. Procedure is too lower the trailer coupler onto the ball and hook it up. Then jack the truck and trailer up together to take enough stress off the bars to allow you to get the chains hooked up. If you are hooking the chains on without lifting the truck up a bit, you are just not transferring enough weight.

You want your TT to be close to level after all hooked up and properly transferring weight. Or a little nose down if needed. With your TT level, the ball of the truck should be about 1 1.5" higher than the truck so when hooked up and the truck settles down a little, the trailer is close to level. You don't want the rear of the trailer to be higher.

I you had an older truck, I would suspect worn out shocks, but I can't see that being the case with a '12.

The tires on your truck and trailer need to be at the proper pressure. Your truck tires will depend on what's actually on your truck (see sidewall figure) and the trailer should probably be 50 psi but again, check what's on the actual tires. You should NOT need air bags - period.
Thanks for the detailed reply. My hitch has the bars without chains but I understand what you are getting at. My estimation of droop was eyeball. I'll be performing a measured test before heading out on our next trip to get exact measurements. I'll post my findings. It seems to tow well, I just want it to tow as well as can be expected.

Stay tuned.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:54 AM   #17
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Forget about the rear of the truck for now. What you need to do is get the front of the truck correct.
Proper way to do it is to measure the front fender well from the ground up unhitched.
Then hitch up w/o the spring bars.
Now measure the front fender well again.
You want to be 1/2 the distance or less but no more than the unhitched number when hitched up.
Example.
Unhitched 38"
Hitched w/o spring bars 39"
Hitched using spring bars 38-38-1/2"
The rear will take care of it's self if you set the front up correct.
You also need to get the truck and trailer weighed so you know what exactly your dealing with. Your tongue weight should be a min10% but 12-13% is better.
Do those things and the proposing should go away.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:03 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Cumminsfan View Post
Forget about the rear of the truck for now. What you need to do is get the front of the truck correct.
Proper way to do it is to measure the front fender well from the ground up unhitched.
Then hitch up w/o the spring bars.
Now measure the front fender well again.
You want to be 1/2 the distance or less but no less than the unhitched number when hitched up.
Example.
Unhitched 38"
Hitched w/o spring bars 39"
Hitched using spring bars 38-38-1/2"
The rear will take care of it's self if you set the front up correct.
You also need to get the truck and trailer weighed so you know what exactly your dealing with. Your tongue weight should be a min10% but 12-13% is better.
Do those things and the proposing should go away.
Edited
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:35 PM   #19
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Yes, but with the risk of making this too complicated, also, different hitch manufacturers specify slightly different figures for the before & after drop of the front of the truck. In our case, the height measurement method was way off and we weren't getting any weight transferred to the front at first. Even after getting the front of our truck about right based on actual weight transfer, we still have too much transferred to the trailer axles and not enough onto the truck drive axles. Needs more fine tuning. Point is that the height measurement can be too far off and even if you get the steer axle loaded about right, the two other axle sets can be off.

I *think*, but could be wrong, that it also makes quite a difference from 1/2 to 3/4 to 1 ton trucks. Because the front springs in a 1 ton are much stiffer than compared to a 1/2 ton, you will a lot need more tension on the spring bars. I know for us, going from a 1/2 ton to 3/4, there was a big difference on how much more force is required to get the chains up onto the snap-up brackets.

It really seems to me by what dagmandt is describing, that there simply are too many links in the chains causing almost no weight transfer. Also, the bar angle may not be set correctly and may need to be tilted downwards. Setting up by measuring the drop in the front should help a lot. I would still recommend ultimately going to a scale.

Waiting to hear how it all works out!
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:39 PM   #20
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Thanks for the additional info guys. I'll go through the set up again with front fender measurements etc. and report back. I'll also go to the scales when I get a chance. As you might have guessed, I have been camping every weekend and haven't had a chance to spend a day with complete setup... I got it fairly close and set out camping
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:26 PM   #21
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Have you tried using little or no spring tension on the bars? I have a 28' TT that weighs about 9K loaded. I use the bars but don't tighten them a lot. I have 2 flat bed 28' trailers that I don't use the bars at all unless I am really loaded heavy and that is usually over loaded. The flat bed trailers don't give any trouble towing and the TT doesn't either. The TT was more trouble when I had a 3/4T PU. You may be just over doing it.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:06 AM   #22
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I just took some real world measurements on flat, level asphalt. When hooked up my front fenders are almost exactly where they were before hitching up. Maybe 1/4" higher. My rear sags exactly 1". I guess my eyeballs were deceiving me. I didn't take measurements without the weight transfer bars hooked up yet. I'm heading out shortly and will do that later to get the before and after. I suppose what I'm feeling is just the normal things while towing. I'm not used to towing several tons... The most I've towed before my trailer was less than two tons and you really don't feel much with that.

I'll do tongue weights/scales next. For now it appears I'm set up pretty well.

Darren
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by poppatello View Post
EVERY trailer is built differently and two trailers of the same size but different make could be thousands of pounds off.

I have a 26' trailer and my dry weight is 5600 pounds. Jayco makes a lite version that is 4200 pounds. I wouldn't go by size @ all. Look @ your name plate and it will tell you the dry weight (as it is sold new with nothing in it) and the GVWR which IT SHOULD BE when you add water and items for camping.

I'm new to the weight distribution stuff as well. I can tell you that YouTube is a great source for info...
Poppatella:

You are correct, except that dagmandt's trailer and mine are virtually identical except his is a 2014 and mine is a 2013. The trailers did not change and the dry-weight should be almost the same.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:18 PM   #24
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Poppatella:

You are correct, except that dagmandt's trailer and mine are virtually identical except his is a 2014 and mine is a 2013. The trailers did not change and the dry-weight should be almost the same.

And I'm at a really nice RV park right now sitting at the rear dinette watching Rush Hour with a whisky coke. Internet is spotty but not horrible... Love the trailer.
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:47 AM   #25
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And I'm at a really nice RV park right now sitting at the rear dinette watching Rush Hour with a whisky coke. Internet is spotty but not horrible... Love the trailer.
And that is what it is all about!
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:49 AM   #26
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I sure wish folks would just look at loaded weights and not dry weights. I have yet to see anyone use a trailer in the dry configuration. The brochure dry weight does not include any item listed as OPTIONAL. So you need to add weight for all of these items...microwave, TV, awning, batteries, etc. By the time you add your personal possessions and camping gear, you can easily ass 1000# plus and then add any water and propane in the tanks.

Ken
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:17 AM   #27
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I sure wish folks would just look at loaded weights and not dry weights. I have yet to see anyone use a trailer in the dry configuration. The brochure dry weight does not include any item listed as OPTIONAL. So you need to add weight for all of these items...microwave, TV, awning, batteries, etc. By the time you add your personal possessions and camping gear, you can easily ass 1000# plus and then add any water and propane in the tanks.

Ken
All my perceived upgrades are standard on the wind river. The only options were a couple interior things that add up to maybe 20 pounds. I added about 100 pounds in the pass through and a couple hundred over the axles in the kitchen and 50 pounds or so in the back depending on how much water I keep in the fresh water tank. I'll be hitting the scales soon enough.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:16 AM   #28
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I am an expert in poor WDH setups. I'd say your hitch is not set up correctly. Setup properly, your measurements from a point at the top of your wheel wells to the ground should be nearly the same before and after hooking up. If your squat is that much, you sure are porpoising because not enough weight has been redirected to your front TV axle and you have less control of your vehicle. With my Equalizer I've finally achieved Nirvana. Good Luck.
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