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Old 07-03-2013, 03:44 AM   #1
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Newbie Question: Cadillac Escalade Towing

Took delivery of my first RV two weeks ago and took it out for the 1st time this weekend. I really wished I had browsed this site before I became an owner! Good news: Everything on the TT seemed to work fine. What I am concerned about is the towing.

I have a 2003 Escalade rated 7900 lbs. (6.0 V8, AWD). Did homework ahead of time and found that +/- 6600 lbs is real limit. TT weighs 5600, another 500 +/- with gear. Power is not issue...Traveled up steep grades no issues- except 3 mpg! What I am concerned about is back end of vehicle sags. At some points I felt like front tires not responding to commands well...scary! I do have a WD hitch, doesn't seem to make a difference- regardless of chain rung I use. Escalade has air shocks and built in compressor. After hitching, seems to raise up to correct level but after few minutes goes down again. Compressor stops working after awhile...until vehicle is turned off and back on.

Any recommendations? can I add some modification to bolster suspension...or am I in need of new vehicle?

BTW not going back to dealer- tech who hooked up for first time didn't know about air system in Escalade and essentially told me opposite of owner manual...this and the "noooo problem" towing with this vehicle make me less than confident in their recommendations.

Thanks!
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:48 AM   #2
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When you hitch, make sure vehicle is turned off as you put weight of trailer on hitch ball. Adjust WD chains to achieve level vehicle. Then start vehicle. Air compressor may still run some to adjust. If vehicle is on when you put weight of trailer on it the air shocks will immediately start to adjust and you will not get proper setting for WD bars.

If air compressor continues to run repeatedly, you may have a leak in system or worn out shocks.
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:25 AM   #3
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Sounds like a nice set up ~ congrats on your purchase and welcome to FRF ~ oh, and good luck working out the tweaks; Lots of great folks on here to help you out
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:27 AM   #4
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If the rear end raises when running and then sags, you definitely have a leak in the self leveling system. Without anyone in the tow vehicle, measure from the ground to the wheel opening on the front and back. Hook up to the trailer and shut the engine off. Adjust the bars until you have the wheel opening measurements back to within 1/4" of what they were without the trailer. This may require tilting the hitch head. It doesn't have anything to do with the suspension height, but with P tires, you might want to consider increasing tire pressure both front and back or switch to a LT tire to greatly increase the rear end sway (not squatting, sway)
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:11 PM   #5
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Thanks! So I follow your and RVBill advice and hook up with car off- thats what manual says--tech told me to allow to level than adjust WD!

But... Even on second to last rung of chain car still sags 3-4". I read WD hitch instructions and got out the tape measure- no change with any rung.

If this is case... you guys think I either have worn shocks or a small leak in air system?
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
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If you haven't already, I'd suggest breaking out the WDH manual and going through the setting up instructions line by line. I think there's more to it than just moving rungs - I've also read about folks tilting the hitch head, as well.

But, I've never had a WDH.. just echoing what I've read here.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfunston View Post
T
But... Even on second to last rung of chain car still sags 3-4". I read WD hitch instructions and got out the tape measure- no change with any rung.
Do the WDH instructions say anything about a minimum number of chain links between the snap-up bracket and spring bars ?? 2 rungs is not enough to let the chain "swing" during turns. Some manufacturers state no less than 5 chain links be used between the snap-up brackets and spring bars. If 5 links doesn't give you enough weight distributing, then the head assembly needs to be tilted back more as Old Coot explained.

What make and model WDH do you have.

Also, with a 5600 lb. trailer, that tells me you probably have something over 30' long. With that long of a trailer, and the fairly short wheelbase of an Escalade, you need a really good anti-sway system.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bfunston View Post
Thanks! So I follow your and RVBill advice and hook up with car off- thats what manual says--tech told me to allow to level than adjust WD!

But... Even on second to last rung of chain car still sags 3-4". I read WD hitch instructions and got out the tape measure- no change with any rung.

If this is case... you guys think I either have worn shocks or a small leak in air system?
Unhook the trailer and tilt the ball back about 1/4" and do it all over. When you lift the chains into the lock position, it should be a little hard and the rear end of the vehicle should lift. You can use the trailer jack to help. Keep repeating until the rear end no longer sags. It may take a couple of hours, but don't get discouraged. I always had ours where I had 3 links of chain loose and the tv level.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfunston View Post
Took delivery of my first RV two weeks ago and took it out for the 1st time this weekend. I really wished I had browsed this site before I became an owner! Good news: Everything on the TT seemed to work fine. What I am concerned about is the towing.

I have a 2003 Escalade rated 7900 lbs. (6.0 V8, AWD). Did homework ahead of time and found that +/- 6600 lbs is real limit. TT weighs 5600, another 500 +/- with gear. Power is not issue...Traveled up steep grades no issues- except 3 mpg! What I am concerned about is back end of vehicle sags. At some points I felt like front tires not responding to commands well...scary! I do have a WD hitch, doesn't seem to make a difference- regardless of chain rung I use. Escalade has air shocks and built in compressor. After hitching, seems to raise up to correct level but after few minutes goes down again. Compressor stops working after awhile...until vehicle is turned off and back on.

Any recommendations? can I add some modification to bolster suspension...or am I in need of new vehicle?

BTW not going back to dealer- tech who hooked up for first time didn't know about air system in Escalade and essentially told me opposite of owner manual...this and the "noooo problem" towing with this vehicle make me less than confident in their recommendations.

Thanks!
Your experience make me glad I made the decision I did before our 1809S came in. Had a Buick Rainier - like you did the research & thought it could handle the 1809S. However a few days before the trailer was ready to be picked up found a very nice extended cab 1/2 Chevy pickup to trade for. Have been very happy with the whole setup.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:58 PM   #10
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When we first bought our trailer in August of 2010 the dealer included the WDH as part of the deal. We were towing with a Ford Expidition LT, and the numbers were all within range. We had a full time nose high situation, and during our first trip someone suggested that the spring bars that we had been sold were too light weight. At the time I knew no different and after we got back home our dealer agreed and swapped out the 800 lb bars with 1200 lb rated bars and the nose high issue was gone.
Hope that your issue can be fixed as easy as ours was.
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