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Old 08-07-2006, 06:20 AM   #1
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I noticed that on our trip back from WDW that the backend of our van was sagging really bad. We thought maybe the shocks went out or something, but unhitched was fine and next time we towed was fine. The fridge in our camper is in front of the axel and had milk and juice in it. Our cooler was in the back of our van full of soda. Would that weight have caused the prob.

Now, that is the only place to put the cooler and I can't move the fridge. I am looking into getting a narrow cooler that fits between the front seats for sodas to take weight out the back. Should I put the luggage behind the axel of the popup to even the weight or put it on top of the van on the luggage rack? I can also rearrange kids to put the littlest in the back LOL!

On shorter trips, we have not had this problem as we don't bring as much stuff. Still need to figure out how to fix the prob.

Oh, and would this heavy tongue or saggy back cause sway?

Any ideas?
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Old 08-07-2006, 06:20 AM   #2
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I noticed that on our trip back from WDW that the backend of our van was sagging really bad. We thought maybe the shocks went out or something, but unhitched was fine and next time we towed was fine. The fridge in our camper is in front of the axel and had milk and juice in it. Our cooler was in the back of our van full of soda. Would that weight have caused the prob.

Now, that is the only place to put the cooler and I can't move the fridge. I am looking into getting a narrow cooler that fits between the front seats for sodas to take weight out the back. Should I put the luggage behind the axel of the popup to even the weight or put it on top of the van on the luggage rack? I can also rearrange kids to put the littlest in the back LOL!

On shorter trips, we have not had this problem as we don't bring as much stuff. Still need to figure out how to fix the prob.

Oh, and would this heavy tongue or saggy back cause sway?

Any ideas?
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:14 AM   #3
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We had the same problem on our four hour trip. On the way there, we had carefully put most of the weight above or behind the axle, and very little in our van. I had even removed the rear seat (it's HEAVY). On the way back however, we didn't pack as well, and had more stuff in the van so the hitch was nearly dragging! How you load you weight can make alot of difference!
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:50 AM   #4
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Thanks, I guess it will be trial and error getting the weight balanced right. Removing the back seat is not an option as we have 5 kids. LOL We were considering a full size van though. I say "were" because with the gas prices this high, we couldn't afford the gas bill.

The only thing about loading the camper instead of the van is that we have moved and must now store it in a storage lot. That means a bigger hassle loading and unloading it.

Will try rearranging things though. Apparently, the astros have the same problem as me.... heavy rear! LOL
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Old 08-08-2006, 06:21 AM   #5
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I don't know anything about your TV or trailer but it sounds like you may be overloaded. A trip to a scales loaded like you were for your trip may be very enlightening. Be sure to check tire presures and tire load capacity. Also if you are not overloaded and don't have a WD hitch that could do wonders. You don't want to be heavy on the rear of the trailer. If you have any or all of these conditions you could end up in a mangled mess and you don't want that.
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:14 PM   #6
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CD, I don't want any accidents either. I know we are not over our weight. Don't know much about a wt dist hitch, what all does it entail,and how much? Would it help to load the luggage on top of the van?

When we travel, I limit our luggage to 2 suitcases. One for the boys, and one for the girls. On our disney trip, our niece came, so that was an extra small suitcase. It was just all the food I think. Maybe next time, we will look into doing the food shopping closer to our destination.

I am looking into finding a scale to weigh our setup. Found a good site detailing how to go about weighing it.

Also, our TV has a GVWR of 5000lb. Our popup is well under 3K.
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:28 AM   #7
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You have to be careful with the astros. The springs in the rear are really soft. You can be nowhere near the weight limits and the rear suspension will be nearly bottomed out. Our was sagging last year with a tent, cooler, and two suitcases just because they were behind the axle on the inside. If it becomes a regualar issue you could add overload springs. These will not make any changes when not towing, but give extra support with a load. Sure, you don't want the trailer to be lifting up on the TV and trying to pop off. Another option is to raise the ball so the trailer rides more level, and not nose down, in effect leaning on the TV.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:51 AM   #8
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OK, I am revisiting this issue as we are leaving for another trip to WDW in under 2 wks. I am looking into buying a narrow cooler to fit in between the 2 front seats that way the soda weight is not in the back. Then we will only have 2 suitcases and an overnight bag behind the seats. I can put the cooler with the milk and such either behind the seat or in the camper above the axel.

I will have our food and linens in the camper as well and can use them to make sure the cooler stays on the axel and does not slid around. Don't want that for sure.

I am still considering loading the suitcases on top of the van. I need to know if this will affect towing at all. I know it will more evenly distribute the weight, but how about creating drag? We always put our luggage up top when we tent camped and put the tent and gear in the back. Anyone know if this would be a wise move? Then the only thing behind the seat would be the cooler and I won't have to worry about it sliding in the camper if I don't load right.

I have weighed all the kids and and dh and I and the total is about 700 lb. The girls will be in the back and their total is 150 lb. I can move the 25 pounder to the middle seat between the boys if I need to. The luggage weighs about 75 - 80 lbs. Don't know how much the cooler will weigh. The food is all dry goods like cereal and no canned goods, just breakfast stuff.

So, any opinions on the suitcases on top?
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:43 PM   #9
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Sandra ; the only real weight issues are.
What is the GVW on the Van?
What is the GVW of the camper?
And of course what is the towing max for your van?

As you add all you weighed and put in in the proper place. only 10 % of your trailer weight should go to the tongue weight. Be sure you don't over pack the camper, or the van. If you can put the stuff from the roof inside some place, even in the camper. It will not cause a drag from wind and help your gas mileage some.
Towing will never give you good mileage. We don't carry water in the tanks to help weight. We even wait to buy most of our food until we get there if possible.

When loaded you want the camper and van as level as possible to much tongue down can cause sway, and too much tongue up is no good either.
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:50 PM   #10
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Sandra,

Here's what you could do.

Connect the van (with full gas tank) and trailer and park it on a level surface. Measure the van's ride height at either the hitch or rear fender, then load the van. Throw a bag of potatoes in the passenger seat (in place of you), have the family load the van, and then measure the ride height again.

If there is less than 1" difference at the fender (or 2" difference at the hitch) then you will probably be fine the way it is. If more than 1" difference at the fender, you might need to re-distribute your load.

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Old 11-21-2006, 04:05 PM   #11
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George, FYI, I weigh WAY much more than a sack of taters .

OK, still not totally sure what to do. I do remember on our trip back from WDW feeling so much sway. Don't want that.

Towing capacity of the van is 5K. Camper's is 3K, but we are no where near that. We are under 2500 with our stuff in it.

As for gas mileage, I am not too concerned about that. We get about 14mpg towing. We are bringing all of the dry goods for the 9 days, but will buy milk again half way through. We are also eating only breakfast at camp, so we don't have much food anyway.

I guess I will take George's advice and see what happens when we load it and then play around with it. Lucky for me, dh is off Friday and we leave Saturday morning. We were planning on picking the camper up from the PORV lot at lunch and then loading it that afternoon. I guess I will see what happens.

I have one more question about putting the suitcases on top of the van. It will obviously create drag and may decrease gas mileage. Point taken. Will it decrease safety in any way? Will it cause the camper to tow differently? Will it make tipover more likely? There would only be the 2 suitcases on top. Weighing a total of like 65 lbs. Safety is my biggest concern. I would hate to put them on top and then have to pull over because it felt unsafe.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:12 PM   #12
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Sounds like a bit too much in the rear of your van and/or the front of the trailer. There was a mini-weight distributing hitch, I believe it was made by Reese, that was specifically for smaller trailers and smaller vans. Might want o look into that.

Shocks do nothing to lift the van. The helper springs wont help with the towing ability, just level up the rear. Sounds like you need a weight distributing system on the trailer. Also have seen some of the smaller trailers with a friction type sway control bar.

Here is a link to the Mini 350

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Old 11-22-2006, 06:05 AM   #13
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Thanks Ken, looks like something worth getting. How easy is it to install. Can we do it ourselves? Keep in mind that I am the handyman in the family. LOL When we do stuff like this, I am the brain and he is the brawn. LOL We make a great team. Just wish I had as much brain as he has brawn sometimes. Luckily ds15 can throw in his brains and brawn and things usually work out fine. LOL

Just not sure if we have the time or money before our trip.

I am not sure how that works though. It looks so small and compact. How does it distribute the weight? I can see how it would control sway, which is a biggie. I am all for making our trips safer and easier.
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:38 PM   #14
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Here are sosme more sites on the Reese site...HERE

They should be able to get you an online installation manual. Installation is not hard assuming you already have a 2" receiver on the Astro.

Ken
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