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Old 04-03-2018, 12:48 PM   #1
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Towing A frame

Fellow A framers,

We are now the proud owners of a 21' Flagstaff High Wall A frame. (I know, there goes the neighborhood!) It pulled beautifully behind our Ford F150, but we will be trading the F150 in on a Toyota Highlander. Wondering on road experience towing with a mid size SUV. Has anyone felt a need for anti-sway bar or weight distribution hitch?

Thanks for sharing any thoughts.
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:25 PM   #2
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Towing A frame

Iím not sure what the tow rating is for a Highlander but we sometimes use our GMC Acadia and have no problems at all.

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Old 04-03-2018, 07:13 PM   #3
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I tow my T19qbhw with a Mazda CX-9, 3500lb tow rating and I use a sway bar when going on trips, not because I need it but because the dealer installed it when I bought my camper. I have recently towed it from storage to the house a couple of times without the sway bar and I did not notice a difference.

I do not use a WDH.
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Old 04-03-2018, 08:41 PM   #4
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We tow ours with a Traverse with no problem. Just get trailer brakes.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:55 PM   #5
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We towed our A-frame with a 2010 Highlander last year without any problems. The back end dropped about 3-4 inches so this year I want to add a weight distribution hitch to minimize stress on the suspension.
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Old 04-04-2018, 05:47 AM   #6
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We tow ours with a Traverse with no problem. Just get trailer brakes.
We got a Prodigy 2 Brake Controller, it plugged right in and works great.
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Old 04-04-2018, 01:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mtmurphy56 View Post
We tow ours with a Traverse with no problem. Just get trailer brakes.
To clarify, the trailer comes with brakes.

You have to get a brake controller installed in the TV, for them to work.

Hopefully your TV has the factory tow package, which comes with pre-wiring for the brake controller.
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:02 PM   #8
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Tongue weight is more likely to be a problem, compared to sway. Weigh the trailer tongue and check the rating on the new TV. Also make sure the TV is rated to use a WDH, as not all are. If the weights are within the manufacturers ratings, it might still be a good call to use the WDH.

And I agree with the suggestion that you should order the tow package on the new TV as well. Or get the same things installed aftermarket.
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:11 PM   #9
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Your tongue weight is going to be on the order of 400lbs +/- (normal for Forest River A-frames). Any vehicle with a softer suspension than your pickup is going to benefit from a WDH.

My minivan was unacceptable as a tow vehicle for my A-frame without a WDH. The A-frame porpoised at 25MPH which caused the minivan rear end to bounce with it. I went into the dealership ready to unwind the deal. Dealer suggested and I accepted an Equalizer 600/6000, which the dealer installed for $320 (heavily discounted to keep the sale). The minivan/A-frame rides like the stock minivan - enough so that the wife is quite comfortable driving while towing, even in 35MPH cross winds on the Interstate. I would never again tow that kind of tongue weight with a non-truck rear end unless I had a WDH.

I had a 1993 Ford Explorer towing a Coleman Westlake Popup - no WDH. That was a miserable experience. The rig would start to sway above 62MPH, and the rear end sag would bottom out on road dips.

I urge you to get a WDH if you tow with a 6 cyl SUV - you won't regret it.

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Old 04-10-2018, 09:38 PM   #10
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I urge you to get a WDH if you tow with a 6 cyl SUV - you won't regret it.
No way to argue with this assessment. There is no reason to take a chance with the rear axle weight when a WDH is so easy.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:02 AM   #11
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Returning from our camping trip this weekend, we stopped and had the trailer weighed. We unhooked and had the axle on one pad and the tongue on another pad. I was surprised to see the tongue weight was 500#. We have a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder with Tow package and 2017 T21TBHW A-frame. The Pathfinder will pull 5000# with a tongue capacity of 500#. So we were at max. When I got home, I ordered a Sherline LM 1000 scale to help me dial in a better tongue weight. We also have a Sway Control bar that the dealer "threw in". Driving two lane or interstate roads, I never felt a sway or bounce even when trucks passed me. I was very please with that aspect. I drove 65mph even when the speed limit is 75. My trailer tires are Speed Rated as L. That is a 75mph max.

I researched the WDH to decide if I needed or wanted one and will wait until do our own weight distribution with the camping gear. If we can't reduce the tongue weight enough, I'd probably buy a WDH.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by traveling.geocacher View Post
Returning from our camping trip this weekend, we stopped and had the trailer weighed. We unhooked and had the axle on one pad and the tongue on another pad. I was surprised to see the tongue weight was 500#. We have a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder with Tow package and 2017 T21TBHW A-frame. The Pathfinder will pull 5000# with a tongue capacity of 500#. So we were at max. When I got home, I ordered a Sherline LM 1000 scale to help me dial in a better tongue weight. We also have a Sway Control bar that the dealer "threw in". Driving two lane or interstate roads, I never felt a sway or bounce even when trucks passed me. I was very please with that aspect. I drove 65mph even when the speed limit is 75. My trailer tires are Speed Rated as L. That is a 75mph max.

I researched the WDH to decide if I needed or wanted one and will wait until do our own weight distribution with the camping gear. If we can't reduce the tongue weight enough, I'd probably buy a WDH.
My A213HW wth full propane tanks and two 6v batteries is right at 500#. The angle of the photo makes it look a little less.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:16 PM   #13
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I also have a Sherline Tongue Scale and with the two propane bottles and just the one battery, my tongue weight is 300 #.
I use a WDH just for my own sense of safety but the camper pulls great without it but since I have one I use just.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:32 PM   #14
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backpacker3, we have the same floor plan but mine is Flagstaff. I can't wait until I get the scale to check it out. To get to 300#, do you have water in the water heater? To save the 50#'s of water, I'll drain and fill at each campsite.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:02 PM   #15
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You need to remember that a weight distribution hitch does just that. It moves some of the weight to the front tires of your TV. While you may say it "tows just fine without a WD hitch". Until you have a WDH you will not understand how much nicer it should tow.
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:45 PM   #16
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I have water in water heater and have very little in the tank. The DW no longer wants to camp so I go by myself and carry very little in supplies and equipment. Usually only gone for 2-3 nights so I don't need much thus very little weight.
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Old 04-15-2018, 04:23 PM   #17
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Two (2) different A Frame dealers ( Rockford and Flagstaff) have told me the trailer frame of my Flagstaff T12RB is not stout enough to support a WDH. Yet, alot of folks use them. TV is a Jeep Cherokee XJ.
I'm confused...
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:50 PM   #18
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I was actually thinking of looking at a WDH for my A122BH, which I also pull with a Pathfinder. I did pull with a 2014, but now have the 2017 which has increased the towing to 6000 lbs / 600 lbs on the tongue.

Even without a trailer, the Pathfinders squat a bit in the back. I was thinking about getting air bags, which I did on a previous SUV, but thought I might look at a WDH.

If two dealers told you not to use a WDH, maybe I can't do that either and should look at getting air bags. They did work well on a previous SUV.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:51 PM   #19
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I was actually thinking of looking at a WDH for my A122BH, which I also pull with a Pathfinder. I did pull with a 2014, but now have the 2017 which has increased the towing to 6000 lbs / 600 lbs on the tongue.

Even without a trailer, the Pathfinders squat a bit in the back. I was thinking about getting air bags, which I did on a previous SUV, but thought I might look at a WDH.

If two dealers told you not to use a WDH, maybe I can't do that either and should look at getting air bags. They did work well on a previous SUV.
I just talked to Forest River. They DO NOT recommend a WDH for their A-Frame style campers. The frame material is not sufficient to support the stresses. Sooooo... I'm not gonna use one. Shout out Forest River for returning my call in such short order.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:54 PM   #20
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I just talked to Forest River. They DO NOT recommend a WDH for their A-Frame style campers. The frame material is not sufficient to support the stresses. Sooooo... I'm not gonna use one. Shout out Forest River for returning my call in such short order.
Thanks for checking with them! I know I've read on here that people are using them, but I'll go with FR's word on this one.
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