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Old 06-16-2015, 08:45 PM   #1
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Towing Question

Have a question for some of you experienced towers of longer trailers. My experience prior to our 29' Oasis 25BH was a 15' T@B and a 16' Scotty. Never needed a weight distribution hitch for either and never knew either trailer was back there when hauling.

However, since doubling the length of my trailer, I'm experiencing some things when hauling that I'd like to get opinions on. First, I've got the Blue Ox Sway Pro weight distribution hitch. The Shasta is completely level when on the hitch. My tow vehicle is a 2003 Toyota Sequoia. When I'm on the interstate and I've got a 18 wheeler passing me, I can feel some instability from the force of air that the semi is pushing against the trailer, all the way until he passes me. It gets to where in most cases I need to completely back off the throttle to 1.) let him get by faster, and 2.) to gain some stability. Since I'm new at hauling a longer trailer, is this sympton "normal"? I've had so many thoughts into this that asking for personal experiences will be my first...and cheapest...option as to fix this. The wheel base on the Sequoia is 119", which is somewhat on the short side for a full size SUV. Just wondering if this is my problem, or if in fact it could be normal. Or maybe I could stand to try a different WDH. Or maybe getting a different tow vehicle with a longer wheel base.

Thanks in advance for all your insight!

Pat
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:11 PM   #2
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All the things you mentioned would certainly help, but with your current setup you might still be able to tweak it. And no.. it's not normal or safe to be getting pushed around like that.

The first thing I would do is to find out exactly what my pin weight is. If it's too light and you have a heavy rear... that could certainly lead to excessive sway. I would also drop the nose of my TT to level or just slightly down.. maybe 1/2" or so. You also want to check that your hitch is installed and fine tuned. I can't tell without a picture...

You might "also" be heavy on the pin for your particular TV. I dunno.. didn't catch any weights. If your light on your front axle and your TT is rear heavy I wouldn't be surprised if your rig wasn't waggin your TV. :-)
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:23 PM   #3
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What kind of tires do you have on the Toyota?


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Old 06-16-2015, 09:26 PM   #4
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My initial thought was the wheelbase of the suv. I normally drive short box crew cab trucks and have had those issues. I am not familiar with your hitch system, but I know it is up in quality compared to other hitches. I will say that every hitch system I have had the dealer install had to be readjusted by myself. I would suggest reading the manual and doing the measurements and hookup yourself. Check out some videos on youtube or etrailer. Another issue may be the passenger tires if you have issues with rear having a spongy feeling.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:55 PM   #5
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Great Laker: The dealer hooked up the WDH for me when we picked up the trailer. It was waaay out of whack...not level whatsoever! I got the hitch properly adjusted based on a very helpful etrailer video. My front wheel well height was the same height prior to hitching up compared to after I hitched up with the WDH.

Tonkatoy77: The tires are Continental CrossContact "EcoPlus" 265-65-R17.

Yarome: Weights are something I'm looking into. I took advantage of etrailer's sale on tongue weight scales last week. The trailer's currently in the shop for some warranty work, so I can't weigh it just yet, but the payload on the Sequoia is a paltry 1300lbs. The factory weight on the tongue is 530, but with the battery and dual propane tanks I'm sure I'm well over 600. The bars I have for the WDH are rated at 750 lbs. Not sure if going up to 1,000 lbs bars would help or not.

Here's a pic of the trailer & SUV hooked up. Nice & level.


Also, here's the setup of a Blue Ox. This is the installation video I followed to hook up mine, and I'm confident everything is hooked up correctly:

One of the cheap things I'm going to try is hooking it up to my brother's '04 Silverado. Basically trying that to see if by chance a TV with a longer wheel base helps, as it's some 14" longer wheel base than the Sequoia.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:15 PM   #6
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I know the Toyota is a daily driver but putting LT tires will help with sway and the yaw and roll feeling when a truck passes. I would also check the tongue weight as you have mentioned. If the water tank is rearward travel empty. I had a 32 Ft Rockwood TT on a F 150 and it handled like crap. I traded the truck and with the new heavier truck it was better but not great until LT tires where on the truck did stability improve. You have a good hitch, I do know the setup of this but possibly a local hitch shop can help.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:06 PM   #7
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That looks pretty good.. um.. it might just be the angle of the photo, but it almost looks like your TV's rear is jacked up a bit (front axle looks like it's compressed). Again, it may just be the lighting and angle, but the back tires on your TT look like they might be riding a bit heavier than the front axle. You might try dropping the nose of your TT down just a touch.

Just tossing out ideas... You can't really do much to it until you have your weights. I'll be interested to see where your pin weighs out at.

A larger wheel base and heavier TV are definitely going to improve the handling, but if you don't take it out all that often, I don't know if it would be worth upgrading your TV. Your within you limits so there has got to be a tweak that will give you a little better handle on it.

LT tires are a good idea. That's a lot'a surface area to overcome though.
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Old 06-17-2015, 06:38 AM   #8
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What pressure do you run the TV tires when you tow? I tow a 30'TT with a Ford Expedition. Same wheelbase as yours. When I had P rated tires on it I would air all the tires to max (50 PSI). I towed it once without airing them up and I could feel it squirming around. Luckily it was across town to get the TT inspected. I would never do interstates like that. I just replaced them with LT this year. I still run them about 35 PSI empty. I don't think it rides any harder. In fact i think it rides and handles better. I've only towed with them a couple of times this year but I air them up the 55 PSI when I did. It made a huge difference compared to the P rated tires.
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Old 06-17-2015, 07:12 AM   #9
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Bigger bars are not going to help you. Your rig looks nicely adjusted and level. Sway is the issue. It may come down to the wheelbase of your tow vehicle and the tires.
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:09 AM   #10
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I was pulling a 35' TT @ 7000 lb with a GMC 1500. I had a cheap no name hitch with a friction sway control on it.
First make sure the air pressure on all the tires is at their max inflation. Then make sure the TV is has proper weight on each axle by dialing the hitch to lift the rear to add the weight to the front axle. You can do this by measuring the height of top of the wheel well front and back without the TT and with the TT. The key is that the front wheel well height stay the same or even be lower. After you find the right setting then set your TT height to look level. After that loading the TT could be adjusted to keep the balance in order. The next option is LT tires to tight up the tire roll.
The bottom line is to learn the limits of your equipment. Like the time you see a 40' FW towed by a one ton dually passing doing 70mph and you can't keep up. Just drive in your comfort zone and be safe.
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Old 06-17-2015, 11:07 AM   #11
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:02 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input on tires. I typically run mid 30's on my pressures in the Sequoia. Sorry for my ignorance on this, but I've always just followed the factory PSI that's on the door when towing. The Continentals I have show a max PSI in the sidewall of 44. When I get the call from the dealer that the Shasta is ready to pick up, I'll pump them up to 44 and see if it behaves differently on the drive home.

As for going to LT tires, is there any particular brand/style that's a favorite? Hate to put out $1k on a new set of tires when the ones on there are less than a year old with maybe 6k miles on them, especially without knowing if it's going to fix my wiggle.
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:10 PM   #13
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I would bump them to 44 and see how it goes. I towed my vibe with a minivan and needed to bump up the pressure to reduce the movement in the rear. I find it interesting that north american and Japanese cars only have one pressure listed. The European cars I have had , had two pressures, one for normal load and higher for full load, they also recommended upping the pressure for high speed driving.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:25 AM   #14
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The sway control has an adjustment. You may not have enough tension on the bar. Tighten the adjustment to several positions while driving around and see if that does the trick
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaven View Post
Thanks for the input on tires. I typically run mid 30's on my pressures in the Sequoia. Sorry for my ignorance on this, but I've always just followed the factory PSI that's on the door when towing. The Continentals I have show a max PSI in the sidewall of 44. When I get the call from the dealer that the Shasta is ready to pick up, I'll pump them up to 44 and see if it behaves differently on the drive home.



As for going to LT tires, is there any particular brand/style that's a favorite? Hate to put out $1k on a new set of tires when the ones on there are less than a year old with maybe 6k miles on them, especially without knowing if it's going to fix my wiggle.

I have the same tires as you. They are a pretty stiff tire and seem to last as I have about 40k miles on mine and are hardly worn. I air mine up to 42 psi while towing and they seem to handle better. My next set will be LT tires and I really like the Michelin LTX AT/2. I also have 20" wheels.
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsjohns71 View Post
I have the same tires as you. They are a pretty stiff tire and seem to last as I have about 40k miles on mine and are hardly worn. I air mine up to 42 psi while towing and they seem to handle better. My next set will be LT tires and I really like the Michelin LTX AT/2. I also have 20" wheels.

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Old 06-21-2015, 03:59 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by roadmaven View Post
The wheel base on the Sequoia is 119", which is somewhat on the short side for a full size SUV. Just wondering if this is my problem...
Pat, I think you nailed it. And no conventional WDH/sway control is likely to cure your woes. LT tires and/or increased tire pressure can help but ultimately the size differential between your TT and the Sequoia will manifest in some undesirable handling characteristics. If you're intent on keeping the Toyota, a ProPride or Hensley hitch could rectify many of these handling issues. However, they're pricey and won't negate that fact that your TV is likely just a wee bit too small (wheelbase) to comfortably tug you TV.

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Old 06-21-2015, 05:28 AM   #18
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I had the Blue Ox hitch with my TT. It work very good but as you say from time to time I noticed some sway.
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:00 AM   #19
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Might be the camera angle, but it looks to these old eyes that the trailer is a little high in the rear and the tv a little low in the front. IF, that is the case, you need to raise the hitch head and lower the tension on the bars. LT tires are a must! You can sell the P's on Craig's List to offset the cost of new ones.
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:09 AM   #20
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One caution. I have not seen any discussion of hitch capacity. With 530lb tongue weight posted, you most likely have a hitch rated to tow only 5000lb. My $.02.
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