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Old 01-06-2020, 12:25 AM   #1
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Suggestions / Help Hauling an old Wildwood

Hi all!

I've been lurking for ... plus or minus 9 years :-/

I semi-inherited (long story) a nice 1998 Wildwood (32') from my grandparents back in 2011, but my kids decided they liked middle / high school sports more than camping. We used it once or twice with my old Expedition, parked it, and my family has used it a few times a year with their own tow vehicles.

Just a few weeks ago, I finally traded in my 2004 Expedition (217k+ miles on it) for a reliable tow vehicle. A 2018 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4, with the air ride and tow package. As a day-to-day vehicle, it's awesome. Amazing.

RAM's specs are GVWR of 6900#, Base Weight of 5378#, GCWR of 13800#, and a max trailer rating of 7990#.

Wildwood's specs are GVWR of 7540#, UVW of 5660#, and about 1880# of CCC.

Went back out this weekend with the Wildwood, which is a BIG trailer for me (I may be the worst at driving TT's), and for the most part, it handled OK in the West Texas winds (0-40 mph gusts sometimes) as long as I stayed under 65. No liquids in any tanks. As soon as I hit 65 mph, I started dealing with sway and the trailer "walking" or pulling me back and it appeared I had less steering control than I'd like.

It's got a very basic WDH from Eaz Lift (V5?), and no sway controls. It's level with or without the air ride engaged.

Of course, now as young adults - my kids (and wife) loved it.

Thoughts on this set up? Too much trailer? Not enough tow vehicle? Need to add on a few of the Eaz-Lift sway controls? Need a better WDH / sway control? Just live with driving 60mph?
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:44 AM   #2
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Check your RAM for tow package, based upon what you have listed it does not have one. Too low trailer weight.

Weigh the truck then truck and trailer together. This will tell you what you have for Cargo Capacity.

At this point you are over weight. Need smaller trailer or new truck.
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:24 AM   #3
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B and B - It's got the tow package, integrated trailer brake, etc... Not sure what you mean by the "too low trailer weight".

https://www.ramtruck.ca/documents/ra...cations-en.pdf
and
https://www.ramtrucks.com/content/da...Ram%201500.pdf

Both list the same SAE numbers? Somewhere else I should be looking?

Just curious ... Why am I over?
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:02 AM   #4
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You have a beautiful truck and with the Laramie pkge you have somewhat reduced your tow ability. Since I have a similar truck- I can make a few suggestions.
First is to bring your tires up to max air pressure as per the tire sidewall. Next is to make sure you have the wdh properly set for your new ram . This is tricky with the air suspension since it will try to adjust automatically. You can temporarily turn it off. I would suggest taking your loaded trailer and ram ( put weigh in it to approximate family members)to a scale where you can measure individual axle weights. You will find that the weight numbers that you thought you were working with are no longer relevant.
Now take a picture of your door stickers showing gvwr and ccc and compare those numbers to the info from the scale.
You may or may not be comfortable with your Ram.
My scale showed 14,195 starting out on our first trip and 15,200 coming home a few months later. It was an eye opener and I definitely purged before the next trip. I use a 4 pt equalizer that offers sway control and I will be updating to Lt tires from the pmetric . I also found that reducing your speed to 60 mph doesn’t add much to your travel time and saves you trying to pass the “60mph fleet trucks.
Good luck
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:08 AM   #5
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Blurngr, it looks like from your specs that your payload on the Ram is about 1600 lbs. or less. Check the yellow sticker to be accurate. Just guessing on your Wildwood, with 1000 lbs above the "dry weight" to allow for options and camping gear, batteries and propane plus your WDH, your loaded weight ready to camp is probably between 8500 and 9000 which would most likely put your tongue weight in the 1200+ area. This would only give you 400 lbs for people, pets and anything else you may need to put in the truck. My guess is you don't have enough truck for the trailer. Also with a 1500 your brakes and suspension are light duty.

As for the WDH, I had good luck with the Equal-i-zer 4 point with my 35' Flagstaff. It also gives you built in sway control. I towed with an F250 super cab short bed with a V10.
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:05 AM   #6
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In addition to the advice above, I'd check those trailer tires. Most trailer tires are speed rated for 65 mph.
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Old 01-06-2020, 02:23 PM   #7
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I'd strongly suggest weighing the whole setup to see where you're at versus specs:
https://learntorv.com/weigh-rv/

Once you're done with that, it'll also tell you what your tongue weight is looking like. Getting sway could be an indicator that you're a bit tongue light.

I'd also recommend that you check the DOT date code on your trailer tires. Given the age of the rig, it could be that you're running on older tires. Generally with trailer tires, you want to replace them every 4-5 years:
DOT Tire Date Code
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:04 PM   #8
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As a fellow west Texan I can tell you that you need a sway bar. We very rarely have a day with so little wind that it's not needed. Remember what we call breezy is dang windy for most folks. We pull a 35 foot Windjammer currently with a chevy 2500HD but pulled it for 4 years with our 2012 1500 and had no real problems but for the slow down in the mountains, but we never pull without sway control.
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Old 01-07-2020, 02:01 PM   #9
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blurngr --- I must agree with Westtexgranny
I do not live in Texas but know what it feels like in crosswinds.

You need some sort of sway control along with weight distribution on your hitch.
As you stated you have no sway control. Guessing you are referring to hitch.

Sway control prevents the side to side motion of trailer.
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Old 01-10-2020, 08:12 PM   #10
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Thanks all! Made it to the weigh station today. That was an interesting experience, and I was absolutely shocked at the results.

Landed on this:
GVWR for my Ram - 5800 lbs (door sticker says 6900 lbs, RAM docs say 7100 lbs)
GVWR for the Trailer - 6580 lbs (everything in it) [Max is 7790 lbs, so this is 86% of the max]
Combined weight - 12,580 lbs [Max is 13,800 lbs, so this is 91% of the max]
Tongue weight on trailer - 620 lbs [Max payload is 1600 lbs, so this 38% of the max]

Seems it's enough truck. Needs some serious sway control.

Thanks all!
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blurngr View Post
Thanks all! Made it to the weigh station today. That was an interesting experience, and I was absolutely shocked at the results.

Landed on this:
GVWR for my Ram - 5800 lbs (door sticker says 6900 lbs, RAM docs say 7100 lbs)
GVWR for the Trailer - 6580 lbs (everything in it) [Max is 7790 lbs, so this is 86% of the max]
Combined weight - 12,580 lbs [Max is 13,800 lbs, so this is 91% of the max]
Tongue weight on trailer - 620 lbs [Max payload is 1600 lbs, so this 38% of the max]

Seems it's enough truck. Needs some serious sway control.

Thanks all!
I might be being pedantic, but I think you mean “GVW” or “gross vehicle weight”; meaning what the truck and trailer actually weighed.

vs. “GVWR” or “gross vehicle weight rating” or the maximum allowable weight.
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Old 01-11-2020, 08:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blurngr View Post
Thanks all! Made it to the weigh station today. That was an interesting experience, and I was absolutely shocked at the results.

Landed on this:
GVWR for my Ram - 5800 lbs (door sticker says 6900 lbs, RAM docs say 7100 lbs)
GVWR for the Trailer - 6580 lbs (everything in it) [Max is 7790 lbs, so this is 86% of the max]
Combined weight - 12,580 lbs [Max is 13,800 lbs, so this is 91% of the max]
Tongue weight on trailer - 620 lbs [Max payload is 1600 lbs, so this 38% of the max]

Seems it's enough truck. Needs some serious sway control.

Thanks all!
I think you have some numbers confused. That max payload number looks to be a brochure number...meaning a properly equipped truck 'could' have that rating. Forget what the brochure tells you and look at the sticker on the door it will tell you exactly what the max payload or cargo carrying capacity is for your truck as it rolled off the manufacturer's assembly line. This number is unique to your truck and is required by law.

At least some (if not all) of your sway problem is a result of too little tongue weight. The tongue weight is below 10% which is a recipe for disaster. You need to get that tongue weight up and I'd be willing to bet you are going have a problem staying within the payload for your truck. Again, check your drivers door and find the sticker that tells you what it is for your truck...I'd be willing to bet as optioned (and by your numbers) your payload is around 1100lbs. So, after you increase your tongue weight you are going to have to be careful to stay within your trucks rating.


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Old 01-11-2020, 08:38 AM   #13
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I did not see any reference to replacing the tires on the trailer. When is the last time you replaced the tires?
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:17 AM   #14
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You are pushing the max badly.

Reading SAE specs requires training.

Also trailer mfg specs.

The test trailer is a low profile flatbed. The truck literature somewhere states a maximum frontal area which you are exceeding. Per the specs.

Testing is not done on a windy day.

You likely need better sway control. More tongue weight. More air in truck tires. Which should be light truck tires. New American made trailer tires at proper pressure. Drive slowly. Less than 65.

Just like everyone else with a big trailer and a half ton truck. Got to be careful.

Those videos of the sway and rollover are half ton trucks mostly.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:05 AM   #15
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Sway control is key. I only have experience with the 3p Pro pride hitch, it was expensive but totally worth it for me.
I've heard there are cheaper options but I never tried them.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigH View Post
I think you have some numbers confused. That max payload number looks to be a brochure number...meaning a properly equipped truck 'could' have that rating. Forget what the brochure tells you and look at the sticker on the door it will tell you exactly what the max payload or cargo carrying capacity is for your truck as it rolled off the manufacturer's assembly line. This number is unique to your truck and is required by law.

At least some (if not all) of your sway problem is a result of too little tongue weight. The tongue weight is below 10% which is a recipe for disaster. You need to get that tongue weight up and I'd be willing to bet you are going have a problem staying within the payload for your truck. Again, check your drivers door and find the sticker that tells you what it is for your truck...I'd be willing to bet as optioned (and by your numbers) your payload is around 1100lbs. So, after you increase your tongue weight you are going to have to be careful to stay within your trucks rating.




BigH --- Thank you for those two YouTube videos. Nice demonstration.

Ken
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