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Old 12-01-2015, 05:06 PM   #31
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Several comments

1st. Most important Don't trust dealers ( truck or trailers). Their only interest is selling you something.

2. You truck pulls the trailer fine it just cant tow it normal circumstances.
Check tires. are they LT or Passenger What is load range are they at rated pressure.

3. Most likely truck does not have tow package ( Trans Cooler, HD alt, Brakes) which will have other negative impact down road.

Suggest you have hitch set up at another dealer then have it weighed .
Remember there is a You tube video of a man pulling a 737 with his teeth.


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Old 12-01-2015, 08:00 PM   #32
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I tow a heavier trailer than yours, with small truck (same as Nissan Frontier PRO4). It tows it fine with EZ2 hitch. I have load E Nitro tires on the truck. The only problem with it is I would like more power on long hills. I have no problems with sway. Trailer ready to go is 5900lb.

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Old 12-01-2015, 08:13 PM   #33
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Did we get played? OP has not checked back in. Maybe at the dealer getting new truck or did we scary him\her off?

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Old 12-01-2015, 09:51 PM   #34
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The ranger is simply too small and light to control a full height trailer if sway or some other stability issue, such as a high crosswind, blowout, or something else happens. It doesn't matter what anyone has done in the past with anything else. Ford evidently had a reason for the 50 sq ft frontal area limitation the Ranger always had, along with a sub note that as trailer weight approaches capacity frontal area must be reduced. That essentially says a full height trailer is not recommended. Adhering to that limitation is not meant to be optional

Usually when the tail is wagging the dog it doesnt end well.
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Old 12-01-2015, 10:50 PM   #35
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As pointed out there are many potential causes or factors involved with sway. So you are going to have to do some learning and figuring.

For learning you first should understand trailer stability. Your trailer will have a Center of Gravity (CG)which is the point where the trailer balances front to back and side to side. The location of the CG is very important to the stability of the trailer. If the CG is behind the axle the CG will try and get in front of the axle and you will get sway (or the "ground loop" you experienced). Thus you want the CG to be in front of the axle, and the further in front the more stable the trailer will be. This is the basis of the 10% rule for putting trailer weight onto the hitch. Understand that 10% is a minimum and more weight on the hitch corresponds to a CG further ahead of the axle which will be more stable.

Watch your weight and loading carefully here to keep that forward bias. Sounds like cargo needs to go up front, especially the heavy stuff like the cast iron Dutch Ovens

Next learning is that sway is often a harmonic oscillation (airplane guys call it flutter). The problem with harmonics is they can add/amplify energy as you see with a sway that starts small and keeps getting bigger. Everything (your trailer suspension, your truck suspension, etc) has a natural harmonic frequency where it likes to bounce and you operate in it at your own peril. However change a parameter and you change the harmonics. For example speeding up or slowing down changes the harmonics but travelling at just the wrong speed...

Here is a harmonic scenario: the trailer moves right taking the truck with it. The truck moves because there is movement in parts of the suspension: tires, springs, suspension bushings, etc. These parts absorb energy like a spring until there is a balance with the push of the trailer. This stops the movement at the hitch but the trailer still moves. But since the hitch is not moving the trailer begins to be steered by the hitch. But the trailer also has movement in springs and tires and bushings. Eventually they all get loaded and the trailer stops moving to the right and in fact starts moving back to the left. This starts a new cycle to the other side. But going to the other side has some extra help from the wound up spring action in the trailer and truck. So the deviation to the left can be a bit stronger than the deviation to the right was.

Note that if the trailer "spring" unwinds before we get to the right limit we avoid the amplification. Similar with the truck. What we want to avoid is having the same back and forth frequency of everything: the trailer, the movement and the truck.

Stiffer components have a higher natural frequency and softer are lower. Sway tends to be a low frequency harmonic. Thus stiffer springs in truck/trailer will help. Stiffer shocks will help. Stiffer tires on truck/trailer help.

Note that bigger trucks often come with stiffer springs and shocks and tires, thus the common perception that they tow better. The larger truck is effect but not the cause.

Your Ranger, like most vehicles on the road today, was designed for a smooth comfortable ride with a lower load. When you add weight it lowers the natural frequency and makes it wallowy. Wallowy is bad for towing. You will want to stiffen it up for towing much as you would for hauling (BTW: you say it drive great but how does it drive with a few hundred pounds in the back of the bed?). As noted max out tire pressures. Perhaps switch to higher load rating tires. Stiffer springs or helper springs in the rear would be good. Look for stiffer rear shocks too. Make it just a bit harsh without the trailer or load in the back.

It has always puzzled me that trailers do not have shock absorbers... they would certainly help here too.

I used to tow utility trailers with a Ford Mustang which most would consider a very poor tow vehicle. It handled towing great. Of course it was lowered with stiff springs/shocks and had oversized brakes and a torquey 4.6L V8 too. All stuff you would find on a good TV.
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:43 AM   #36
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It sounds like it a clear example of improper and not enough tongue weight. Maybe even the trailer was pulling weight from the hitch. Were your tanks completely empty on the trailer? If you can't get your weight distribution to load some more tongue weight to the hitch, then you might want to add weight to the rear of the truck bed (any Wieght behind the rear wheels counts as tongue weight). Unfortunately, though your Ranger is well within its towing specs, you are towing with a very very light truck and will definitely take more effort to setup properly. I am very sorry to hear about the accident but am glad your safe.
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:58 AM   #37
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Also check the trucks tires. Be sure they are inflated to max pressure listed on the side walls. P metric tires are notoriously squishy when loaded.
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:31 PM   #38
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Thumbs up

A HUGE thank you to everyone who replied to my original post. This is an awesome forum and you've all given me a lot of good ideas and a great deal to think about.

Here are just a few of my take-aways:

- The dealer let me drive off the lot without actually checking the tongue weight. Being a newbie, it didn't occur to me that I should ask them to check that. I trusted them to be the ones to provide expertise and they failed me in this regard.

- One thing that has not been mentioned on this thread but I did hear from another source is the possibility that the brake controller wasn't functioning properly when I had my incident. If the brake controller is not adjusted properly and the brakes on the trailer aren't applied to the correct amount then a minor sway will turn into dramatic sway very quickly. It's possible that when the dealer installed the brake controller in my truck they didn't have it adjusted properly, and it's also possible that the unit failed completely.

- Although all of the tanks were empty, the R-dome awning tent was stored in the rear compartment, which the dealer probably should have stowed in the font compartment to add weight to the tongue.

- My 2000 Ford Ranger XLT may or may not be big enough to tow the R-Pod 178 (depending on who you ask ). I do have to say that after my "The Fast and the Furious" adventure on the Interstate, I feel compelled to buy a bigger truck (probably an F150). Having lived through the experience of doing a complete 180, I don't want to ever come close to having a repeat.

- A couple of different friends of mine gave me the name of hitch dealer in Bellevue, WA that has an excellent reputation. I plan to visit them soon to tap into their expertise. Among other things, I plan to ask them if my truck is too small, if brake controller was adjusted properly, if my e2 weight distribution hitch is the appropriate type and if it has the correct weight rating.

Thanks again to everyone who posted replies. This forum is yet another example of why America (including our friends up in Canada, of course) is the greatest place to live on earth.


- Ian
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Old 12-05-2015, 07:53 PM   #39
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I'm seeing a lot of "the dealer" in your post above. Honestly, these are things you need to be responsible for. When you get in the truck, you need to adjust your brake controller to your trailer. You need to figure out your hitch weight. You need to learn and understand the weight dynamics of your trailer. It is time to do your homework to understand your truck/trailer combo and towing dynamics. Sorry to sound so harsh but you need to take some responsibility here too.
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Old 12-05-2015, 08:08 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by asquared View Post
I'm seeing a lot of "the dealer" in your post above. Honestly, these are things you need to be responsible for. When you get in the truck, you need to adjust your brake controller to your trailer. You need to figure out your hitch weight. You need to learn and understand the weight dynamics of your trailer. It is time to do your homework to understand your truck/trailer combo and towing dynamics. Sorry to sound so harsh but you need to take some responsibility here too.
I absolutely agree, except for one thing: "you don't know what you don't know".

The dealer (there's that word again) should have been more focused on safety and less focused on making the sale and getting me out the door. Although they charged me a "walk-through" fee, they never mentioned that I would need to figure out my hitch weight, they never told me I would need to adjust the brake controller, etc...

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