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Old 10-28-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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7700 lb tow cap, but WD not recommended

At the risk of getting another insult about my tow vehicle, I've come across an odd issue with my new tow vehicle which replaces a GM SUV.

The trailer is small. 18' box with 2' hitch (20.6 ft).

The wheelbase of TV is 108". The formula of WB/5 = 21.5 ft. (OK)

The trailer's GROSS weight is 4900 lbs (dry 2900). Comfortably under the 7700lbs cap.

Tongue (dry) is 300 lbs. Vehicle has 550lbs tongue limit.

What the problem is, in fine print, the TV says NOT to use a "Weight Distribution" hitch.

In my old TV, I used a typical spring bar setup, but I did not really need it, as the Escalade had air adjusting suspension, keeping it level. I used it anyway because I understand that it's moving more weight forward on the steering portion of the vehicle. I stopped using the sway-friction bar because it was stable no matter what passed me, or how high the cross-winds were. I could even invoke some wobble, and it would straighten out in quickly.

The NEW TV is shorter by 8", a 2011 Range Rover Sport, but weighs 5500lbs, just 500 less than the old one. However, it has no springs, just 4 air bags which are constantly kept at a level ride. The LR's have air reservoirs which make sure the vehicle quickly recovers from any incorrect profile.

I've not towed the trailer yet with the RRS, as it's in winter storage. My question is whether it's OK to tow this without WD, but using the FRICTION bar only.

If I find some control issues, is it OK to use TWO FRICTION bars without the WD?
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borwick View Post
The NEW TV is shorter by 8", a 2011 Range Rover Sport, but weighs 5500lbs, just 500 less than the old one. However, it has no springs, just 4 air bags which are constantly kept at a level ride. The LR's have air reservoirs which make sure the vehicle quickly recovers from any incorrect profile.

I've not towed the trailer yet with the RRS, as it's in winter storage. My question is whether it's OK to tow this without WD, but using the FRICTION bar only.

If I find some control issues, is it OK to use TWO FRICTION bars without the WD?
I may be the wrong guy to ask (I think the Range Rover dealer should be your first stop) but I have to stick my snoz in, so here goes. I think your answer resides in "it has no springs, just 4 air bags which are constantly kept at a level ride." The major reason for the WD hitch is to level the tow vehicle by moving tongue weight to the front wheels. Sounds like you have full time auto-leveling as well as full time 4wd. The rear bags should automatically inflate more PSI than the front to shift that load forward.

As to the friction snubbers, I think one should be plenty. Why do you think two might be needed? The friction type sway control is used to dampen out sway AFTER it happens. If sway is not an "issue" based on your TV to camper length and height, then one should be plenty in case of an unanticipated cross wind (like coming out from behind sheltering trees on the highway).

PS: Sounds like you did your homework on the TV choice, so happy trails!
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:46 AM   #3
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It may be overkill what you are trying to do. If the trailer only weighs 2900 with a 300 tongue weight, then you probably do not need the WDH as long as you have the tow ball set up to where the trailer is level when towing.

I pulled a 2200 lb (dry) popup with 350 Tongue weight with a Mazda Tribute and never had a problem with sway or towing level (6cyl romt wheel drive).

just my opinion on the WDH.

as far as anti sway goes, it never hurts to add this to your setup and they do help to control the load.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:27 PM   #4
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NOt sure about your Land Rover but often vehicles without an actual frame, like the Honda Ridgeline, do not want you to use a WD hitch. I'm betting your LR is a unibody without an actual frame.
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:44 PM   #5
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NOt sure about your Land Rover but often vehicles without an actual frame, like the Honda Ridgeline, do not want you to use a WD hitch. I'm betting your LR is a unibody without an actual frame.
Actually, this thing has a more rigged frame than most any other SUV, due to the need to articulate its wheels on rock crawls. The air-bag suspension can recognize 1 wheel up to the bump stop, another wheel extended all the way down, and balance its air springs to provide equal contact weight all around. Just like the old Citron cars, you can raise and lower the whole vehicle with a button.

That's why this thing weights as much as full-size SUV, but at an BMW X5 size. The hitch is actually IN the frame itself, not a cross-member between frame rails. Rover builds a full hydroformed wrap around frame, not two rails and cross members. Then the cabin itself is a self-contained unibody on top of the frame. Again, weight.

A similar question I have on the Rover Forum so far indicates that it's because the suspension system gets confused by odd weight behavior. Most people on that forum have boats or car trailers, not giant boxes susceptible to every gust of air. Rovers are notorious for poor reliability as it is, and trying to confuse the computer is asking for trouble, (as I've heard).

The Rover recognizes a trailer being pulled, and kicks in behavior regarding transmission, engine characteristics, dynamic traction control (sway correction), and so on. However, I'd rather have the whole package work right without relying on some computer software trying to correct my driving.

I write software for a living, and it's rare that something doesn't goes wrong at some point.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by acadianbob View Post
NOt sure about your Land Rover but often vehicles without an actual frame, like the Honda Ridgeline, do not want you to use a WD hitch. I'm betting your LR is a unibody without an actual frame.
I wonder if this relates more to the hitch design than the vehicle. All hitches are NOT created equal. Just look at some hitches on the market that are rated class 3 (scary). There are some RV dealerships that will reinforce or make custom hitches in order to provide a better towing experience. I know because I have one!

I have a unibody T.V. using a W.D. hitch and friction sway control.

happy camping!
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:35 PM   #7
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I believe your point is true. The rating of 7700 lbs and 550 tongue sounds great, but there must be some issue about the torque the WD setup puts on the frame in this case. Rover says that all leveling is handled with their suspension control.

Rover has an odd way of attaching the receiver to the frame. It's nice from the asthetic standpoint, but weird in the functional sense.

Would take a lot to explain, but sounds like this is it.

Therefore, my question is mostly about managing my sway issues with friction bars and no WD. Hope I can do it because its a little late to change my mind now.

They advertise for 2011 a Sway Control System, called TSA (Trailer Stability Assist) which manages any odd wagging purely through controlling the engine, wheel power, and individual wheel braking. Hope the engineers know what they're doing.
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:35 AM   #8
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Follow Up

Well I finally allowed my new TV to meet our TT. As described in my opening post on this thread last year, I traded in my Escalade for a Range Rover Sport.

Range Rover gives you nothing after spending a fortune for an SUV. I had to buy a wiring kit ($129) to provide a place to plug in the trailer, a receiver attachment ($380) that snaps into the frame, and then purchased a Prodigy 2 controller. About the only accommodation was that the under-dash plug is a Ford design, and so this was pretty easy.

However, adding in the trailer wiring was either $400 labor from the dealer, or a learning experience for me. Being a hands-on guy, I did it myself. Had to totally disassemble the rear of the vehicle, removing all plastic fascia from the rear bumper, removing inside panels, and doing all kinds of tricky stuff just to get the harness in. 5 hours later, it was in, but no real way to test it other than with a test probe. The Range Rover's ECU (computer) keeps many power functions from working unless it "knows" the trailer is back there. Since the Range Rover is designed to run through almost 2.5 feet of water, it has all these "features" to prevent problems while swimming.

Finally, this week, we did the test. As you can see, it's all lit up, so my wiring was ok. With the 375 hp Jaguar engine, it pulled it just fine. Without any WD, it leveled out quickly using it's air spring system. However, I can feel that when going over bumps or dips, ALL the tongue weight pushes only on the rear axles. This may take some getting used to.

The one cool thing is that when backing to hook up the trailer, you can actually lower and raise a Range Rover's suspension using the keyless remote. There is almost a foot of travel possible on these things. So I backed the ball under the tongue, dropped the suspension, backed in 3 more inches, then from outside the vehicle, raised the vehicle onto the trailer. Didn't need to use tongue jack.

On the freeway, I got it up to 70, and then initiated some swerving (without other traffic around). I had attached only the sway bar (no WD), and it seemed to stay straight on. However, I could sense I was being pushed a bit, but no wagging occurred.

I know that the real test will come when I'm not ready for it, but I hope it all works out. The Rover is one nice, smooth and quiet TV.
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:14 AM   #9
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Good report. Usually I am pro WDH, but on a vehicle with no springs, I just don't have enough information to justify a comment.....other than slow and easy does it. You stated that you got up to 70 mph.....beware ST trailer tires are rated at 65 mph maximum.

Regardless, IMHO a sway control system should be used on any conventional travel trailer.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borwick View Post
Well I finally allowed my new TV to meet our TT. As described in my opening post on this thread last year, I traded in my Escalade for a Range Rover Sport.

Range Rover gives you nothing after spending a fortune for an SUV. I had to buy a wiring kit ($129) to provide a place to plug in the trailer, a receiver attachment ($380) that snaps into the frame, and then purchased a Prodigy 2 controller. About the only accommodation was that the under-dash plug is a Ford design, and so this was pretty easy.

However, adding in the trailer wiring was either $400 labor from the dealer, or a learning experience for me. Being a hands-on guy, I did it myself. Had to totally disassemble the rear of the vehicle, removing all plastic fascia from the rear bumper, removing inside panels, and doing all kinds of tricky stuff just to get the harness in. 5 hours later, it was in, but no real way to test it other than with a test probe. The Range Rover's ECU (computer) keeps many power functions from working unless it "knows" the trailer is back there. Since the Range Rover is designed to run through almost 2.5 feet of water, it has all these "features" to prevent problems while swimming.

Finally, this week, we did the test. As you can see, it's all lit up, so my wiring was ok. With the 375 hp Jaguar engine, it pulled it just fine. Without any WD, it leveled out quickly using it's air spring system. However, I can feel that when going over bumps or dips, ALL the tongue weight pushes only on the rear axles. This may take some getting used to.

The one cool thing is that when backing to hook up the trailer, you can actually lower and raise a Range Rover's suspension using the keyless remote. There is almost a foot of travel possible on these things. So I backed the ball under the tongue, dropped the suspension, backed in 3 more inches, then from outside the vehicle, raised the vehicle onto the trailer. Didn't need to use tongue jack.

On the freeway, I got it up to 70, and then initiated some swerving (without other traffic around). I had attached only the sway bar (no WD), and it seemed to stay straight on. However, I could sense I was being pushed a bit, but no wagging occurred.

I know that the real test will come when I'm not ready for it, but I hope it all works out. The Rover is one nice, smooth and quiet TV.
I have a couple questions. How come you took off your towing mirrors for the photo? Mckesh makes some really ugly but totally functional tow mirrors that fit anything. You NEED to be able to see past the rear of your trailer for a couple reasons. 1. To see anyone doing crazy things behind you (like passing in inappropriate situations) 2. To see any trailer sway that may be happening, you can't react to something you can't see!

I personally would take this setup to some certified scales (cat, flying J etc.) and see where you are at for your axle ratings, a good $10 investment in my opinion...

It can be so tempting to speed but you really shouldn't (the ST tires and 65 mph thing already mentioned).

Great looking combo, wish my vehicle was white also!

happy camping,
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