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Old 05-12-2008, 09:21 PM   #1
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Tahoe Troubles?

Hi all,
We finally completed rebuilding our 2002 Salem 31BH (no slideouts - see pictures in posting Salem Water Damage http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ted=1#post6954) and had our first opportunity to take it for a trip this weekend to a local campground (we stayed dry during the entire weekend it rained!!), and almost didnít make it due to vehicle sway. Beyond towing a much smaller pop-up, this is my first experience towing a trailer so I was looking for some pointers on where to begin looking for issues.
My tow vehicle is a stock 2004 Chevy Tahoe 5.3LT V8 4WD (not the ZZ1) with automatic transmission, and the dealer I purchased the trailer from installed a Prodigy brake controller, a Draw-Tite 66130 Strait-Line 1500 lbs. Trunnion Bar Hitch and Dual Cam HP to provide for sway control and weigh distribution similar to this link (http://www.draw-tite.com/menu/produc...tent=accessory)
Upon reaching 45 on the highway, I could see in the rear view mirror the trailer was swaying side to side, and if I went over 55mph, it got so bad I had a tough time trying to recover from the sway as it began to physically affect the vehicle making it very difficult to recover.
When I purchased the trailer and towed it off the dealerís lot, I do not remember similar issues although this was last year. If you read my previous posting, when I purchased the trailer, all the wood in the exterior walls and the ceiling were saturate with water so they had to be replaced including some of the flooring (I used ĹĒ 5 ply plywood for roof instead of OSB). I havenít weighed the vehicle yet (next month) but I perceive that with the water logged wood gone, the trailer has to weigh less then it did when I purchased it. In regards to additional weight, beyond bedding, a stock in a small pantry area, I added three bikes, a Coleman road-mate grill, and a few chairs (all of which is stored between the front door and the front of the camper in the middle of the camper) there is no added weight, and all tanks were empty.
Additionally, I had to replace the original tires with four new Good Year Marathonís and changed my trucks tires to Firestone Destination A/T tires as the old ones were in need of replacing as the original owner spent some time hitting too many curbs and not rotating them.
Iíve been reading up on the comments regarding using a Tahoe for towing, and still cant come up with enough data to decide. I agree the wheel base may affect things, but I initially didnít have an issue when I first purchased the camper. The question I have, as I have seen Tahoeís towing bigger trailers, where do I begin to troubleshoot this? I assume it could be the truck tires, the trucks rear suspension (although the truck only goes down about ĹĒ when the full load is on the truck), the hitch system, and even the trailer itself, so any suggestions would be helpful as I really donít want to give up the trailer after all the work I have put into it, but also love the truck tooÖ

BTW, no disrespect towards pop-ups, as I loved mine, but beyond the towing issue, the advantages to the setup and teardown of my Salem in comparison to the pop-up, as well as the convienience and confort the Salem offered(I do miss my heated matresses), I dont know if I could ever go back to a pop-up even if gas went to $6 per gallon...

Thanks!
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:14 PM   #2
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Check your adjustments , Is your trailer level? If you are to light on the tounge you will get alot of sway, try adjusting to different links, 1 or 2 links make a world of difference.

I have the same Dual Cam and Love it, we Went Through 50 Mph wind through the Grapevine in Southern Ca. the trailer stayed straight and no big time sway.

Cant wait to see your after pictures for your trailer!!!
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:16 PM   #3
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I can't really help you on the whole towing a camper but I know when towing my atvs on a trailer if the trailer is loaded too heavy towards the back, farthest away from the vehicle the trailer will sway. Tail wagging the dog, is what i have heard it called. So my guess is you are too heavy on the back end or you need more tong weight.. anyway i do not have lots of towing under my belt but this is what i have observed with my atv trailer.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:47 AM   #4
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I had the same thing happen to mine, at 51 mph the sway was so bad it caused one of my rear tire on my tow vehicle to go flat. I toke it back to the dealer and they found the hitch was installed too low. I tow with a 1997 GMC Suburban 3/4 ton. The first time they set up the hitch the ball was at the middle of the lowest part of the bumper (where the tag is) now the ball is located just above the middle of the tag, I am talking about approx 4 to 6" higher, it made a world of difference. I also found other issues with the hitch that I corrected myself.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:48 PM   #5
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I don't know your hitch well, but something is CERTAINLY wrong with the adjustment.

I towed a 25' Travel Trailer with a Tahoe and it didn't sway using an Equal-i-zer brand hitch. The short wheelbase didn't make a great tow vehicle, but it was a lot better than your description.

I agree...it could be your tongue weight/loading in the trailer.
A trip to the weigh scales may do you some good.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:29 PM   #6
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We pull 28'Rockwood ultralight with 2005 Tahoe same hitch which is identical to Reese dual cam. I have pulled trailer most days with zero sway and then another day and sway is horrible. Not sure if it is cross winds or just wrong link adjustment altough I am sure no change was made. One day coming home from Watkins Glen through heavy downpour and thunderstorm I barely noticed I was pulling trailer. Another day all over the road go figure??
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dezolen View Post
We pull 28'Rockwood ultralight with 2005 Tahoe same hitch which is identical to Reese dual cam. I have pulled trailer most days with zero sway and then another day and sway is horrible. Not sure if it is cross winds or just wrong link adjustment altough I am sure no change was made. One day coming home from Watkins Glen through heavy downpour and thunderstorm I barely noticed I was pulling trailer. Another day all over the road go figure??
Could it have been a change in where weight was loaded?
Did you have full tanks/empty tanks that may have caused the difference in the sway? Crosswinds will definately make a difference too.
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:30 AM   #8
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I pull my 33' with an 'Equal-i-zer' brand hitch also. I had to do some adjustments myself to get it right. I can tell I had the same problem when I pulled the Boy Scout many years ago. I took it to a utility trailer maker to fix the problem. He found the axle was in the wrong place for the weight. Remember, your hitch needs to be 12% of your total trailer weight.

David
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:58 PM   #9
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Always pull with tanks empty, same setting on chain links. Only other explanation I can figure is auto load leveling screws up tension on weight distr bars.
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:08 AM   #10
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We have a 2005 GMC Yukon and tow our 33' Rockwood with a Reese WD-Dual Cams hitch setup and a Prodigy Brake Controller. I have found that the number of links I leave hanging for the WD bars is a critical part of the preparations to depart. The weight distribution changes with the level of the holding tanks, the use of propane, the amount of supplies we consumed, and how I loaded the trailer and the back of the Yukon. Since the Rockwood we have is a front kitchen model, I tend to put everything possible over or behind the trailer axles. We have the AutoRide suspension on the Yukon, and I always let it adjust to the tongue weight before I connect and adjust the WD bars. When it is adjusted properly, I have little to no sway. Can't always tell from the level of the trailer since the ball seems a bit high, just how it handles on the road. Good luck!
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