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Old 07-14-2014, 12:45 PM   #1
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Help Please: Scary, Scary Towing

Hi Friends,

Although this is my first post, I’ve been lurking for a while. You’ve all helped me organize, shop for a new camper, and understand maintenance even when you didn’t know it!! I’ll apologize in advance for the long post that’s coming but we REALLY need help.

My husband and I are very new to the camping world, having just bought our first camper last September (A128S). Well, we love it so much (22 nights between 09/13-05/14) that we just upgraded in June to a Mini Lite 2306. The Nissan Xterra that had served us well since its birth 240,000 miles ago just wasn’t going to safely cut it for the Mini Lite so we also upgraded to a 2014 Nissan Titan w/ OEM tow package.

I’m here in hopes that all of you more experienced folks can give us some insight as towing the 2306 is SCARY. Scary to the point that Paul and I almost don’t want to travel with our trailer.

We experienced no sway or “white knuckle” moments with our Xterra/A128S combo but the Titan/2306 rig is downright nauseating. Our dealer is roughly 160 miles away from home. On 2306’s adoption day, there was some wiggle so we cruised home 50-55 and taking it easy with a brand new setup. Paul had a sway bar put on the following week thinking that it would eliminate the wiggle.

The next weekend, we set out for our week’s vacation. The drive to our final destination was about 250 miles. 30 miles in, Paul is feeling a little more comfortable and picks up some speed. At about 65 mph, the trailer took on a life of its own. He was able to control the swing and keep us alive but it was a harrowing moment. It ended up taking us nearly 8 hours to drive from Tampa to Jacksonville. Really.

The sway (understatement) is persistent at anything over 50 but becomes dangerously pronounced beyond 55. We both truly thought that Paul was just having a really hard time adjusting to the bigger truck and trailer until we asked my brother to come take her for a test drive.

My brother has been towing, literally, since he was old enough to drive. In addition, he’s had his CDL for 10+ years and drives a big rig every day. The guys went out last night so that my brother could feel what I was feeling in the passenger seat and could also drive to see if he could replicate the problems we’re having (this is code for ‘make fun of his brother-in-laws lack of driving ability’). He got it to around 57 and agreed that we have a problem. They even went so far as to swap out trailer/truck/Ranger boat combos to effectively eliminate one piece of equipment. The common factor is undoubtedly our trailer.
We have a friend that is towing his 2306 with a Traverse and is comfortably able to tow at 65 with no adverse wind conditions so we're REALLY confused.
It does look like our axles are bent some (if we put a 4’ level across it, the level doesn’t sit flush and you can see air between the axles and level in roughly the center) and they aren’t bent symmetrically but to be frank, I haven’t been digging around under a ton of trailers looking to see how much “bow” is normal (if at all).

Paul is calling our dealer today but I’m scared to death that we’re going to get a pat on the head and told that we’re just inexperienced. Something is wrong and if we can’t figure it out, I’m prepared to take a big loss and just be done. Not worth it.

ANY insight you guys can provide is welcome. We have also done the standard things (loosen/tighten sway, checked lug nuts, tire pressures, etc.).

-Diane & Paul
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:49 PM   #2
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Sounds like a light tongue weight. Or wdh not set up properly. You should not be experiencing scary towing with your rig.
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:11 PM   #3
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Hang in there, there is a TON of information here someone will chime in. Don't get discouraged . Unless I missed it there was no mention of a weight distribution hitch with sway bars,( such as the e2 ) even though its a light trailer I am certain you can gain some advantage and control over you TT. Also what type of brake controller are you running ? My trailer is 7000# and 32ft, and they all will give you " white knuckle moments ". Just wait the experts will chime in and fix your problems. My TT has a ' Sweet spot " for towing which is about 58 mph, I am not sure if that is where the trailer likes it best or where I feel more comfortable. Remember, someone said on this site its supposed to be a relaxing adventure, try to enjoy it.

Chuck "I am still in Va "
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:20 PM   #4
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Add these to your need to check list.

Trailer weight, how is the load in the trailer distributed?
Bent axel/s
Check your air pressure!
A friend thought he had handling problems on his brand new trailer, till a BRAND NEW tire blew out (he thought the dealer would have checked the air...WRONG!!!)

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Old 07-14-2014, 01:53 PM   #5
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Big rigs and travel trailers use very different balance equations. A truck will not have much weight behind the rear wheels so the tow vehicle front wheels will have different reactions to the weight of the trailer; more weight in the back or the front can really affect the affect the ability of the truck to manage sway.

A good place to start is here:

Forest River Forums - Downloads - Weigh Your RV - Bridgestone

The statement:
"It does look like our axles are bent some (if we put a 4’ level across it, the level doesn’t sit flush and you can see air between the axles and level in roughly the center) and they aren’t bent symmetrically but to be frank, I haven’t been digging around under a ton of trailers looking to see how much “bow” is normal (if at all)." has nme concerned. It sounds like one of the axles could be damaged. You will definitely want the dealer to correct that issue.

Beyond that, make sure you are testing it with and without water in the fresh water tank. At 8lbs per gallon it can make a world of difference in the handling particularly when it starts to slosh around.
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses so far. I'll post the type of sway bar & brake controller when I get home this evening. I will also have Paul check the tongue weight.

Not sure how to answer the question about weight distribution in the trailer. As far as the extra schtuff we're taking along, I think it's pretty well distributed in front of and behind the axles. Nothing exceptionally heavy either way.

We have checked pressure in all truck and trailer tires and all is well.

What constitutes a bent axle? I've attached a pic of our level resting up under the front axle. Note the gap of daylight just over the center bubble.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:36 PM   #7
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That's axle preload to allow for flex bouncing down the highway. The difference is compensated at the spindles. Mine are the same way.


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Old 07-14-2014, 02:42 PM   #8
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Yep, that axle is perfectly normal. I would agree you have a tongue weight issue. What kind of WDH are you using? Does the trailer sit level or slightly nose down when hitched? Or is the nose high?
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:47 PM   #9
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Just spoke with hubby and we have a Curt sway control (non-wd) and a Prodigy P2 brake controller.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:49 PM   #10
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The TT should be manageable while towing. It appears to me to be a hitch/ weight issue more than anything. I can see the daylight above the level in the pic, I wouldn't be surprised to find most axles may have a slight bend, designed for towing, cornering etc. My TT have the tandem wheels off set. It will really be interesting what the dealer has to say , they need to make it right. My dealer adjusted my hitch several times and even replaced my coupler at no charge. The dealer should be responsible for the proper setup. They sure don't want you in the showroom complaining about towing issues on a TT you purchased there with customers around. Good luck with it I am sure there will be other posts all with very good and valuable info.

Chuck " still in Va "
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