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Old 10-09-2013, 09:56 PM   #1
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Scary Crosswinds: How much is too much???

When I hit 65, (a couple of years ago), I came to the startling realization that many things that never used to faze me, suddenly made me want to look for those big, huge blue "Rest Area" signs...

Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, Kansas drivers (no offense... they seem proud of the fact), blizzards, and torrential rains were the worst culprits, but pulling a 5'er in crosswinds started to move higher and higher up the scale, too.

First year towing, I chickened out and started looking for an RV park or WalMart after the crosswinds hit about 15mph. That was okay; last year we spent a few nights in Guernsey State Park in WY that we will never forget... a cool golf course and nice folks. (Crosswinds have no effect on my golf game... but then again, I don't keep score.)

Anyway, getting to the point here; how much wind does it take to tip over a trailer???

Ron Gratz wrote several years ago in RV net, and it's worth a repeat:
the formula can be easily entered into an Excel spreadsheet.

Ron's formula

V = SQRT(W*b/(0.00666*l*(h-h2/2)*(h/2+h2/4)))

"where...
V = wind speed required to tip over trailer, mph
W = trailer weight, lbs
b = trailer width (tire center-center), ft
l = trailer length, ft
h = trailer height (from ground), ft
h2 = tire height, ft

For example, with W=8000#, b=8', l=30',h=10',h2=3' -- the calculated overturning wind speed is 81 mph.

As expected, the most sensitive factor is trailer height. If the height is increased to 12', the overturning wind speed reduces to 67 mph.

The above equation does not account for any yaw instability effects. It only considers the simple blow-over effect. Wind-related accidents can occur at much lower speeds due to yaw instabilities. In that case, the effect of greater height of a 5er would tend to be offset by its more stable connection to the TV."

Gave me somewhat more peace of mind... (my static V is ~68mph)

But I still slow wayyyy down in x-winds above 20 mph!
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2012 Crusader 290RLT TE, TrailAir flex pin: 2012 Toyota Tundra 5.7 SR5 Dbl cab 4X2 Tow, 4.30 gears, RideRite air, TRD cold-air induction & dual exhaust: Reese 16K Slider: TST tpms
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:05 PM   #2
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when we got our 25rr grey wolf we pulled it across Nebraska with a cross wind. it really raised my awareness cause of the more surface area I had, but when I see trucks start pulling off interstate I pull off.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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Wow, that is amazing. I live in Florida and when winds get up to that level we are having a hurricane and the bridges and roads are closed. I would never try to drive in those conditions with or without a TT. But then again I am from Florida and don't experience the kind of winds you in Kansas City area might experience. I plan on taking a trip out to the west coast at some point. What kind of winds can I expect as a norm.

Nducker, good point on the semi's. if the professionals are getting off the road I sure don't belong out there.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dalford View Post
Wow, that is amazing. I live in Florida and when winds get up to that level we are having a hurricane and the bridges and roads are closed. I would never try to drive in those conditions with or without a TT. But then again I am from Florida and don't experience the kind of winds you in Kansas City area might experience. I plan on taking a trip out to the west coast at some point. What kind of winds can I expect as a norm.

Nducker, good point on the semi's. if the professionals are getting off the road I sure don't belong out there.
The winds out west Kansas and down into the Oklahoma panhandle around Guymon have never been less than 12-20mph anytime I have been through there on hwy 54. When they're tailwinds, all is fine and dandy; headwinds hurt the gas mileage, but are manageable.

The Weather Channel has a good ap for the iPad that gives you current conditions on the road ahead and you can plan accordingly.

I regularly call it quits if the 90 degree crosswinds exceed 20 mph with any gusts at all, and quartering winds above 25mph. Main thing is, if you're not having fun, then it's time to park it.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:54 AM   #5
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Jim & Kathy, thanks for the info on winds. In Florida the main highways pretty much run north and south and we always have the sea breeze which is east/west. Usually less than 20 mph, more like 10-15 mph. I have not experienced winds greater than 20 that I am aware of. My wife and I pulled from Fl to Prince Edward Island, CN and back this summer without issue on wind so I look forward to that experience. I agree, if it is no fun, find the next rv park to wait it out.

You mentioned an app. Do you recall what it is called....
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dalford View Post
... My wife and I pulled from Fl to Prince Edward Island, CN and back this summer without issue on wind so I look forward to that experience. I agree, if it is no fun, find the next rv park to wait it out.

You mentioned an app. Do you recall what it is called....
It's just "The Weather Channel" and I believe Kathy got it free from their web-site, or free from the app store. I really depend on it on the road; only hassle is it will store just 10 locations. But it has been extremely reliable for us, and I just quickly load several en-route locations in every night.

The mid-west is famous for windy conditions, but we have found that the winds are usually worse in the mid-afternoon. Several times, we have made early starts with a mid-day layover (siesta) and continued on later in the day. Watch for dust storms across NM and AZ on I10. (usually out of the SE.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:00 AM   #7
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BTW,
I applied that formula to me struggling with a sheet of 1/2 plywood 4'x8' held 2.5' off the ground. It says I would be blown over in a 17mph wind cold sober. Sounds about right.
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2012 Crusader 290RLT TE, TrailAir flex pin: 2012 Toyota Tundra 5.7 SR5 Dbl cab 4X2 Tow, 4.30 gears, RideRite air, TRD cold-air induction & dual exhaust: Reese 16K Slider: TST tpms
Miles towed to date: 18,950 Nights camped 192
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:19 AM   #8
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I note that you're towing a 5th wheel with a Toyota Tundra. I really believe that this is a large part of the problem.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BarryD0706 View Post
I note that you're towing a 5th wheel with a Toyota Tundra. I really believe that this is a large part of the problem.
I'm not sure that's a fair statement. Given this camper's pin weight percentage (15%), even fully loaded - they're only looking at 1,700 pounds of pin weight. With 3,000 pounds of carrying capacity in a 31' trailer- I'd be pretty impressed if they were able to load it to the gills and achieve that.

Their pin weight is only somewhere between 1,200 (dry) and 1,700-1,800 (max) pounds.

On top of that, it's a couples trailer and the statement that 65 was a couple of years ago, there isn't a crap load of kids and kid-related paraphernalia in the truck.

I don't think we have nearly enough information to make a broad-brush statement like you have.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:20 AM   #10
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I'm with Barry on this one. I love me some half ton trucks, (Tundra just might be the best of all of 'em) but they just don't have the stiffer suspension found on 3/4 ton TVs and up. We've pulled with both, and the difference is night and day in terms of towing stability.
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