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Old 04-18-2013, 07:57 PM   #1
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New to towing, question about my experience

Hi guys,

I've towed 2-4k pounds without a weight distribution hitch for short distances in the past. Easy, no concerns, hook up and head out. I now have a new 30' travel trailer with an Equal-I-Zer weight distribution hitch. I'm towing about 7,600 pounds dry. The trailer is perfectly level and my F350 squats about 3" - 4" when hooked up. The truck looks pretty level as well when hooked up.

I'm feeling what I believe is called porpoising. I hope I spelled that right. Anyway... the trailer tends to tug at the truck a little... like it slows the truck down for a fraction of a second when going over bumps or wavy roads. For all I know this could be normal.

My question is: Is that normal or should I expect a more "smooth" ride?
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:06 PM   #2
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7600# DRY? Do you know your wet and loaded weight.

Next what weight ratings are your weight distributing bars?

I would not expect a trailer of about 9000# loaded (guess) to squat an F350 that much if the W/D bars are correct and the set up is correct. I would guess your hitch or tongue weight would be around 1000#, but you need to get some weights.

If you do not have 10 to 15% (prefer about 12%) of the trailer weight on the tongue, it can cause problems like you are experiencing.

It sounds as though something on the hitch is not set up correctly or the wrong weight ratings on the W/D bars.

Let us know what you have.

Ken
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:40 PM   #3
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My tongue weight dry is about 670 pounds (per supplied specs, not measured). I have 1,000 pound bars. I'll be loading somewhere around 200 pounds in the pass through max so I should be well under 1000 pounds on the tongue weight. You know, when I did the squat test the trailer was pointing down hill a bit so that might account for the excessive squatting. I'll pull it out on the level street this weekend and get a real measurement on flat level street. I did measure the trailer height front and back on flat and level ground though. I figure 2" would be fairly normal for my truck to squat and agree that 4" seems excessive. Probably because of the downhill slant.

I haven't had a chance to weigh it wet and loaded. I've been debating on getting a tongue scale or trying the bathroom scale trick.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:51 PM   #4
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I have the same hitch, I believe you measure the height of the trailer axle to the ground and set the hitch ball 2" higher, I'm no expert but you can probably get this info from the manual, good luck
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:10 PM   #5
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I have a MH but all my buddys that tow trailors have air bags on there trucks. One of them even tows a 26 ft fifth wheel with a f150 lightning 1000 lb air bags with a 100psi in them, It is like riding in a car.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:19 PM   #6
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I found the Equalizer hitch install instructions that the dealer had tucked away. I'll be going through the entire setup this weekend to see if it varies from my current setup.
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagmandt View Post
I found the Equalizer hitch install instructions that the dealer had tucked away. I'll be going through the entire setup this weekend to see if it varies from my current setup.
I think this will help your problem. By chance, do you have a water tank, fresh or gray, behind the axle with water? Light on the tongue will tend to make it more prone to porpoising and sway.

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Old 04-19-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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I think this will help your problem. By chance, do you have a water tank, fresh or gray, behind the axle with water? Light on the tongue will tend to make it more prone to porpoising and sway.

Ken
I've been driving around dry. I'm not certain where the tanks are, the entire bottom of the trailer is sealed up. It appears that fresh water is behind the axles while gray and black is in front but that is just a guess based on the fill location of the fresh water and the drain for the gray/black.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:02 PM   #9
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I had this brand of hitch for many years. It works very well. You really do need the hitch weight as you are loaded for a trip however. You may be surprised at how heavy it really is. You should be able to level everything up if you set up the hitch correctly but only if the hitch weight is actually below the rating of the spring bars.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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Might be more to it than tongue weight

If I remember right you should only have an inch or two of squat with the spring bars properly adjusted. And you want both the truck and the trailer to be as level as possible.

I had the same problem with my F250 towing a 10,800# Arctic Fox. I solved most of it it by adjusting the spring bars and replacing the crappy OEM shocks with adjustable Ranchos. It was better, but not quite good enough. After my DW got car sick from the motion I added air bags and it was 99.999% better.

Then I moved on to the brakes.
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Old 05-17-2013, 06:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagmandt View Post
Hi guys,

I've towed 2-4k pounds without a weight distribution hitch for short distances in the past. Easy, no concerns, hook up and head out. I now have a new 30' travel trailer with an Equal-I-Zer weight distribution hitch. I'm towing about 7,600 pounds dry. The trailer is perfectly level and my F350 squats about 3" - 4" when hooked up. The truck looks pretty level as well when hooked up.

I'm feeling what I believe is called porpoising. I hope I spelled that right. Anyway... the trailer tends to tug at the truck a little... like it slows the truck down for a fraction of a second when going over bumps or wavy roads. For all I know this could be normal.

My question is: Is that normal or should I expect a more "smooth" ride?
I'm just curious about what you mean by the "dry weight". If you mean the as-built weight, I think 7600 lbs might be off. I have a 2013 Wind River 250RDSW and by dry weight is only about 6900 lbs.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:46 PM   #12
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I'm just curious about what you mean by the "dry weight". If you mean the as-built weight, I think 7600 lbs might be off. I have a 2013 Wind River 250RDSW and by dry weight is only about 6900 lbs.

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...
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:56 PM   #13
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Hi guys,

Just checking back in. By dry weight I meant with little in the trailer... mostly as it is shipped. I'll have to double check my numbers when I have a chance. I think I was incorrect and probably meant 6,700 instead of 7,600.

I've towed it a few hundred miles now with it fully loaded including a few gallons of fresh water for toilet usage along the way and firewood in the truck. It seems to tow pretty well. It does indeed squat 2-3" when hooked up but the truck and trailer look perfectly level. I'll do more experimenting as I go this summer.

I still get a little bit of jerking over rough roads, I assume it is somewhat normal. For the most part it tows great.

Thanks,
Darren
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:46 PM   #14
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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.
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