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Old 05-20-2016, 10:07 AM   #1
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WD and Sway on a Palomino PUP

I am new to towing a camper and trying to educate myself on towing. I am interested in adding weight distribution and sway control to my 2008 Palomino 4123 camper. Everything I have read seems to indicate its an investment in safety and a smoother towing ride. I contacted Palomino directly and the Service Manager for Palomino, Mike Kernagis, advised to not use any Weight Distribution hitch on any Palomino pup.


Additionally the Honda tow vehicle is listed as "not recommended" for WD hitches.

So now I am considering my options. I would like the added control, margin of safety and improved ride from a WD with sway control but don't want to destroy the camper. Do I go against the advice of the manufacturer? Add only sway control? Other options?

The pop-up specs are:
  • 2008 Palomino 4123 Yearling (12 foot box)
  • Dry weight: 2053
  • Gross weight: 3000 (ish)
  • Hitch weight: 250#
It does have electric brakes, front storage box, A/C unit, front propane and battery.

The tow vehicle is a 2013 Honda Pilot Touring with tow set up including variable brake controller. Tow weight max is 4500 pounds. It will be loaded with four people (and sometimes a big dog). We should have little problem coming in under the gear weight for max equipment on the camper.

Any more experienced folks have any good ideas on the set up, options for ensuring a safe and secure ride or other issues? Thanks for any help you can give.
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:40 AM   #2
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Look at the Anderson hitch. You can add a little WD and sway control without adding 100 pounds of tongue weight
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:53 AM   #3
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x2 on the Andersen . complete sway control and some Weight distribution whole set up is only 60 lbs . though you really don't need WD with your lite set up if you do the Andersen is the way to go
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:23 PM   #4
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If the vehicle and trailer manufacturers are BOTH telling you not to use a WDH, then DO NOT use a WDH.


That trailer loaded is probably 2800 lbs max. Times 12.5% is only 350 lbs on the ball. Yes, a WDH would be great to get lost weight back on the front wheels. But you don't need it, and neither vehicle allows it. Not worth the risk.


Add a friction sway controller for $50 and go camping.
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:46 PM   #5
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Do not put a weight distribution sway control on the Honda Pilot. I will interfere with the vehicle stability control of the abs, steering, and torque distribution to the Automatic 4wd on your touring model. My last rig was an Rpod 171 pulled with 2009 4wd Pilot. Similar in tow weight. Could easily drive 60 to 65 before sway. The Pilot is steering , brake and torque controlled by computer. According to the manual it will sense emergency maneuvers and augment steering and braking power to 120%. Altering with weight distribution may confuse the computer and make the cars less stable in an emergency.
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Old 05-21-2016, 08:31 PM   #6
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Thanks Rich. That is very specific information as to the reasons. I had heard it was more a precaution so that Honda could absolve themselves of a poorly set up WD hitch. I guess the safe route here is to look at a single sway control device and make sure the trailer is set up properly.

Thanks to you and thebrakeman for the technical advice.
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:59 PM   #7
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WDH on a pup

I have owned two pup's, a Jayco and a Viking. I still own the 2008 Viking Epic 2407. I was told not to use a Wdh on both of them. I do use a friction sway bar on the Viking. If you ever look at the frame under a pup you will see that is not strong enough for wdh. You can bend the frame of a pup with the stabilizer jacks.
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Old 05-22-2016, 02:52 PM   #8
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Curious as to why you think you need a wdh. Have you experienced any sway issues while towing? The reason I asked was that I pulled a Palomino Mustang for years with a Ford Aerostar, a Dodge Dakota, and a Dodge Durango. I believe the Mustang is a bigger, heavier unit than the Yearling altho that may not be right. Anyway, I never had any sway issues with any tv with the pup.
As long as you load it somewhat nose heavy, and don't hang anything off the rear bumper, like bikes, you should be fine.
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:16 PM   #9
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Mostly it was for improved margin of comfort and safety. I haven't had any issues but would like to avoid any too. Once the camper, family and all is packed into the Pilot and hitched up I'll be closer to maxed weights than not. I am a preventative kinda guy. If adding the weight back to the front axel and improved tracking(sway) were feasible and safer, I would be all for it.

But it sounds like the best option is to avoid wd and address sway in other ways.
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:29 PM   #10
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Yes, you can add a friction sway bar without Wdh if you feel like you need it. As was said above, don't hang bikes on the rear bumper of the pup. You want to try and keep 10 to 15 per cent of total trailer weight on the tongue of the pup. This will help prevent sway. If you have a scales in your area you can load your trailer and weigh it by its self and then weigh the tongue. Move stuff around to get tongue weight where it needs to be.
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:55 PM   #11
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Do you have any specific recommendation for a friction sway device out set up? Something that worked well and was quality for you or someone you know?
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebrakeman View Post
If the vehicle and trailer manufacturers are BOTH telling you not to use a WDH, then DO NOT use a WDH.
I pulled a 2280BH with a Honda Ridgeline for a few years. What I learned in that time is that FR said that WD was allowed on box framed popups but not on smaller units with "C" channel frames, as they weren't heavy enough to support the added stress of the hitch. I also learned that Honda never said "do not" use one (in fact the factory receiver listed WD specs) just that it wasn't recommended "as an improperly adjusted WDH could, blah, blah". I understand the reasoning for both.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jking46 View Post
Curious as to why you think you need a wdh. Have you experienced any sway issues while towing? The reason I asked was that I pulled a Palomino Mustang for years with a Ford Aerostar, a Dodge Dakota, and a Dodge Durango. I believe the Mustang is a bigger, heavier unit than the Yearling altho that may not be right. Anyway, I never had any sway issues with any tv with the pup.
As long as you load it somewhat nose heavy, and don't hang anything off the rear bumper, like bikes, you should be fine.
I thought the same thing until I started using one. Granted, my unit had about six feet of rack out the front, two bottles, and two batteries...made for 400-ish lbs. up front on a 2500 lb trailer. Eliminating the front end lift made a world of difference, especially in the rain.

I'd measure the front wheel wells before and after being hitched and weigh the trailer tongue. If the front wheel wells came up more than 1/4", and the trailer frame is heavy enough for it, I'd look into it. Just make sure it's matched to your TW and set up properly. If the front end doesn't come up 1/4"+, I'd just look into stand alone sway control.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich.M View Post
Do not put a weight distribution sway control on the Honda Pilot. I will interfere with the vehicle stability control of the abs, steering, and torque distribution to the Automatic 4wd on your touring model. My last rig was an Rpod 171 pulled with 2009 4wd Pilot. Similar in tow weight. Could easily drive 60 to 65 before sway. The Pilot is steering , brake and torque controlled by computer. According to the manual it will sense emergency maneuvers and augment steering and braking power to 120%. Altering with weight distribution may confuse the computer and make the cars less stable in an emergency.
Respectfully, I really think it's more about the structure (or as somebody else said, just being overly conservative).

Putting 350 lbs on the rear of the vehicle might increase rear loading 500 lbs (for example), and decrease front loading by 150 lbs. If changing weight distribution will throw off the computer, towing without WDH is worse than towing with WDH, since the WDH would get the front back to stock, and take some of the weight off of the rear (though not all).
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:03 PM   #14
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The idea of restoring the weight lost by hitching to the front axel for improved control is what I was after. The camper has a four inch tubular steel frame so I would have thought it could take a WD but maybe there is some other factor I am not aware of. I still like the idea but I think at this point I should outfit the thing, hitch it up and see what changes are actually occurring. Actual weight readings and adjustments are probably the only useful things to know at this point.


If something seems jagged up after I have it in trip ready mode, I'll reconsider.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:48 PM   #15
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One thing I would recommend is airing your tires to max inflation printed on the tire, especially with 4 people loaded in the vehicle.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:28 PM   #16
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If you wind up opting for a WDH, Reese makes a single bar light duty WDH that we used for many years on a pup (~3500 max), along with the reese friction bar anti-sway. I wish I could have carried it forward onto our current pup.

we had a lighter pup (~2000) for some years before that and used nothing, with no apparent problems. All units towed with Fd Explorer.

Never missed having it on the first trailer. Would not have gone without it on the second trailer. One emergency avoidance move without out the sway tightened on the second pup convinced me of that. WDH made a big difference in leveling the car. Of course you are dealing with tow pieces of hardware with that setup.

.. lost a wheel in traffic once with sway control and avoided splattering everything across I-95.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:40 PM   #17
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My first camper was a PUP, weight was never an issue but i would get sway going to fast. I was young and always went fast lol. yes yes i have learned over the years, i am the guy going slow and steady now.

But in regards to the sway i use to get, at one point i had an aluminum canoe that i would strap to the top of the pup. The canoe acted like a rutter (not sure that is the right word here) and i could go any speed and never sway.

dont take me wrong, fast is not the key, slow and steady is my moto now. rather get there 15-20 later in one piece.
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:40 PM   #18
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JoeNic,

I assume you mean the trailer not the Pilot?
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:50 PM   #19
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[/QUOTE] .. lost a wheel in traffic once with sway control and avoided splattering everything across I-95.[/QUOTE]

These are the stories that make me want to find a solution that does not twist the camper into a pile and doesn't affect the Pilot's systems. And admittedly, in addition to learning how the camper works, I will have to learn that one can actually get somewhere at less than 80.
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:21 AM   #20
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Please do. Remember, most trailer tires are speed rated for no more than 65mph.
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