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Old 11-11-2014, 12:14 PM   #1
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Getting Pushed Around By The Toad

Hi All,
We recently (July) purchased a new-2-us 2010 Fleetwood Encounter 32BH and have logged about 2,500 miles on it so far. Mostly while towing our 2005 Honda Pilot which we bought specifically for the purpose of hauling Myself, DW, and 4 growing boys when not in the MH.

We've done the usual camping thing, started in tents, got off the ground with a tent trailer, tried an older, no slide, Class C (for a very short period of time,) then a 30' travel trailer, and now on to our current Class A.

So far, we love this latest upgrade to our RV'ing life. It's got everything we need, drop-down full queen up front, a set of bunks that convert to an additional 2-person dinette, the queen bedroom for the grown-ups, and two slides that do a pretty good job of keeping us having to climb over each over. Its based on the F-53 chassis with 6.8L V-10, that's got a decent amount of power, but its also got a pretty decent overhang past the rear wheels. And that's where the problem lies.

Being this is the first experience with a MH AND toad. I didn't know what to expect and was surprised (read: scared poopless!) when we entered the first good curve and felt a sudden and unusual amount of over-steer that came on a second after I thought I found the perfect line around the turn. This is especially fun on two-lane mountain roads! I couldn't figure out what was happening!

It wasn't until we detached the toad later in our trip that I realized the MH drove perfectly without anything attached to it. Almost as nice as a car! I then realized the over-steer was being caused by a combination of several factors, the length of overhang behind the rear wheels of the MH, the weight of the toad, and the length of the toad.

I have had the MH and toad weighed, MH (18k Chassis) is under 17,000 (wet), Toad is 4,500. Adjusted tire pressure according to 4 corner weigh, these are the original Continental 19.5" that came with the coach. The previous owner fully upgraded the suspension, Roadmaster sway-bars front and rear, Superstreet rear trac bars, Koni shocks. I tow with a Falcon 2 bar, and an EvenBrake System. I recently did the Cheap Handling Fix (CHF) which DOES seems to have a noticeable effect on the MH (minus the toad) on top of all the upgraded components. Haven't tried it with the toad yet.

I have learned (very quickly I might add) when to expect the over-steer to occur and how to compensate for it. But I want to know from those who have far more experience, if there is anything else that might be done to reduce the effect. And no, getting a smaller car is not one of the options, tying kids to the roof or shoving them in the trunk, is illegal in most of the states I have checked. Not that I haven't thought of it, when a little peace and quiet was needed inside the car. Though the DVD player legally takes care of that problem.

Hopefully I have included all the relevant information, given the length of my post, I can't imagine I missed anything! Thanks in advance for all the help!

Tom
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:20 PM   #2
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Hi Tom you might have your alignment checked. I had a buddy pull my toad with his motorhome and he could not keep it on the road it was scary to drive, but with out the toad it drove fine. Then he had the alignment done and Wow what a difference that made now he can pull my toad and it drives nice.
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:25 PM   #3
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Never having pulled a toad myself, I'm certainly not an authority on the subject. Just by reading on here and other web sites, the only thing I could suggest, since you have already addressed suspension issues, tire air pressures and have a trac bar, is the tow bar itself. Is it level or within a couple of inches or so of level, when hooked up to your toad ? I understand that can make quite a difference in the way your toad tows.
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:28 PM   #4
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Heavy towed at about the weight of the MH. I think the Pilot weighs more than 4,500 too as our Ody weighs 4,400 dry. I'm betting the wet weight of the Pilot is 5,000#'s or more.
Yes, it's going to push you around! We tow a 2005 Ody (just like your Pilot, it isn't OK'd by Honda to tow four down) but we weigh 33,000#'s and the Ody doesn't push us around.
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:35 PM   #5
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Just a thought after reading your post.

If the toad has locking steering, you are unlocking, yes?
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:36 PM   #6
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In addition 6 in the motor home is added weight, what are you putting in the Honda that could add a lot of weight also.

I think you are at max weight and really feeling it.
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Old 11-11-2014, 02:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Percival6 View Post
Hi All,
We recently (July) purchased a new-2-us 2010 Fleetwood Encounter 32BH and have logged about 2,500 miles on it so far. Mostly while towing our 2005 Honda Pilot which we bought specifically for the purpose of hauling Myself, DW, and 4 growing boys when not in the MH.

It wasn't until we detached the toad later in our trip that I realized the MH drove perfectly without anything attached to it. Almost as nice as a car! I then realized the over-steer was being caused by a combination of several factors, the length of overhang behind the rear wheels of the MH, the weight of the toad, and the length of the toad.

I have had the MH and toad weighed, MH (18k Chassis) is under 17,000 (wet), Toad is 4,500.
Tom
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IMO if your toad is negatively affecting the handling of your MH in ANY WAY...either the toad is to heavy or the MH is not heavy enough.
Except for slightly slower acceleration, my 3,000# toad can not be felt behind my 23,000# coach.
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:11 PM   #8
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Just a shot in the dark here, how parallel to the ground is your tow bar? If it angles up towards the MH, that could cause a problem if you lift as you are cornering.
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Old 11-11-2014, 03:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D M View Post
Hi Tom you might have your alignment checked. I had a buddy pull my toad with his motorhome and he could not keep it on the road it was scary to drive, but with out the toad it drove fine. Then he had the alignment done and Wow what a difference that made now he can pull my toad and it drives nice.
X2... Alignment is critical. I have seen long tail gassers towing Chevy Tahoes. That is way heavier than your toad.
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Old 11-11-2014, 04:51 PM   #10
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I think the suggestions for checking wheel alignment and tow bar angle are good ones. Have you checked the tire inflation of the motorhome? We tow a Chevy Captiva and while that is admittedly smaller and lighter than your Honda Pilot, I can't believe it would make a great difference and we don't notice the Captiva at all when cornering or slowing down, so I think I'd concentrate on the alignment and tow bar, and tire inflation.
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Old 11-11-2014, 04:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
Just a thought after reading your post.

If the toad has locking steering, you are unlocking, yes?
My first thought also
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:11 PM   #12
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Getting Pushed Around By The Toad

My Honda CR-V is a great toad (and it is OK'ed by Honda for four down towing). I believe it may be a little more than a 1K lbs lighter than the Pilot (~3.3K lbs). Regardless, I hardly know it is back there.


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Old 11-11-2014, 05:16 PM   #13
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I passed a mh with a toad on the E'way the other day that was weaving quite a bit. The mh was relatively small and the toad was pretty good size. I don't remeber the respective models of each but the mh had quite a long rear overhang and the towbar was at quite an angle, probably nearly a 8 or 10 inch difference. I would have been pretty nervous driving that rig.


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Old 11-11-2014, 06:18 PM   #14
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Hi Again, Thanks to everyone for the ideas and suggestions!

To those that have mentioned the alignment, the MH/Toad combo has no problems on the straightaways and the MH by itself rides perfect w/o the toad. I have seen several posts about setting the caster of the front wheels to be more aggressive (right term?) to help with tracking. I will look into that.

The Pilot is a great match for the height of the MH. The tow bar sits nearly parallel when flat. Though with the long overhang, it can vary greatly depending on the maneuvers at any given moment. Don't think there is much to do about that. I did read the "Sticky" in this section regarding that, great advice.

Yes, I have the key in the toad's ignition whenever we're underway to keep the steering wheel unlocked. Thanks for checking though.

I think that it comes down to the sizing of the motorhome and the toad. Toad is heavy (though actually lighter than the Odyssey) at 4540 lbs, actual weight (per public scale), with 1/3 a tank of gas and about 75 lbs of kid's bikes in the back. While the MH is "only" 17,000. Good point that it is about 1/4 the weight of the motorhome. Don't think there is much to do about either, we need a larger car for all of us and another RV is kind of cost prohibitive. Plus we love this one!

Keep the ideas coming! Otherwise, I'll just have to make it a point to drive only on straight roads! There is no disconcerting movement to the rig at any other time, it has plenty of power and the few sudden stops I have had it handles fine. I drive safely and keep good distances from over vehicles to try to avoid emergency maneuvers. But you never know...

Thanks again!
Tom
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