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Old 01-26-2019, 01:53 PM   #1
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Ferry axle clearance

I live in Washington State where we live and die by the tides and ferries.
My new Viking 17FQ is a single axle trailer.
I want to get on ferries with it but have great concern the back end including the black water and grey water discharge (sewer port) could hit bottom and break off or get damaged.

The ferry ramp from the road connecting to the ferry, especially in low tide conditions, is at probably a 15% angle.
So, when getting on the ferry the tow vehicle would be on the ferry deck (flat - level)while the trailer is still on the ramp at an angle before it rolls onto the flat ferry deck (level).

I have about 10" from the lowest point on the sewer discharge port to the ground.

I may be over thinking this but I don't want under think it either. Could ruin a nice vacation and a new trailer.

Any experience or thoughts?

I've attached a picture with the ramp highlighted in red.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:48 PM   #2
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Hey IslandEd,
We did a trip up the Sunshine in BC this summer. Its 2 ferries up there and 2 ferries back, stayed at the government site at Saltery Bay...very relaxing.
Had no issues on the ferry ramps, even on low tide. My son in law drug the bumper on his 5er the once, but we were all good.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:14 PM   #3
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Pickup another drop tow bar... one that lowers the tongue below what your normal height is. Rig up the lower tow bar as you enter the area, then after you exit the ferry area, stop and put the normal tow bar on. For about $50 this should do the trick by giving you a few extra inches of clearance at the back of the trailer.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:32 PM   #4
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A photo of your sewer outlets would be helpful. 10" clearance at the very back of the trailer is very different than 10" near the axle.

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Old 01-27-2019, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC.campr View Post
Hey IslandEd,
We did a trip up the Sunshine in BC this summer. Its 2 ferries up there and 2 ferries back, stayed at the government site at Saltery Bay...very relaxing.
Had no issues on the ferry ramps, even on low tide. My son in law drug the bumper on his 5er the once, but we were all good.
If you get a minute would mind measuring the distance from the bottom of the sewer discharge port to level ground so I can compare?
Much appreciated information.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:52 PM   #6
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If you get a minute would mind measuring the distance from the bottom of the sewer discharge port to level ground so I can compare?
Much appreciated information.
I'm also interested in where you camped in BC. Planning trip for July.
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:18 PM   #7
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I also have a Viking 17FQ. My only concern was dragging the stabilizer jacks in the back. The jacks were mounted on the very back of the frame and they hung about 4 inches below the skid shoes. I moved them forward about 3 feet so that they skids would hit first. My tank drains are far enough forward that I don't think I could hit them unless I went over a very high, short bump. I would not go over a bump like that if I saw it before I hit it.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:34 PM   #8
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I also have a Viking 17FQ. My only concern was dragging the stabilizer jacks in the back. The jacks were mounted on the very back of the frame and they hung about 4 inches below the skid shoes. I moved them forward about 3 feet so that they skids would hit first. My tank drains are far enough forward that I don't think I could hit them unless I went over a very high, short bump. I would not go over a bump like that if I saw it before I hit it.
BarabooBob,
Thanks for that information.
I also have a 2017 Toyota Highlander with a Fastway E2 WDH.
Have you ever had the skids drag?
Also, are you suggesting I should be more concerned with hitting the stabilizers than the drains and as long as I don't go over a high short bump I should be ok?

The ferry ramp entrance and exit is not much of an angle. Please refer to the picture at the top of this thread and give me your opinion. The ramp is outlined in red. I know it will be a guess and will not be relied upon.
I'm just being extra cautious. My nature. Measure twice cut once kind of thing.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:39 PM   #9
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We originally had the 13 tires on ours...with **** for clearance. I swapped the axle and put 15 on our unit and lifted it 4. You can see in the pic where we sit for clearance now.
Even before, if we touched in the back end it was always on the skid bars. I didnt take out the plumbing even at 8 clearance, never hit the jacks.
Dont think youd have an issue at 10 clearance....
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:11 PM   #10
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We originally had the 13 tires on ours...with **** for clearance. I swapped the axle and put 15 on our unit and lifted it 4. You can see in the pic where we sit for clearance now.
Even before, if we touched in the back end it was always on the skid bars. I didnt take out the plumbing even at 8 clearance, never hit the jacks.
Dont think youd have an issue at 10 clearance....
BC.campr,
Whats the approximate cost of flipping the axle and is there a downside. I have 14" tires.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:29 PM   #11
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You may be able to just slap a pair of 15 tires on your trailer. I know some of the owners have done this on the trailers that came with 14s with no issue. No room on the earlier models with 13 to do this.
Putting the axle on the other side of the spring will lift it a good 4 or 5.
I was able to do all the work myself so just time in for me, couple bucks for the new saddles to weld onto the axle. I added a pair of shocks at the same time...it road good before, now its excellent.
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Old 01-30-2019, 10:50 PM   #12
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I modified my gray and black waste pipes on my Apex Nano for the same reason. They hung too low and has too many bends in the pipe. Super easy job, purchased a new San tee and a 3' section of abs pipe. Attached the San tee directly to the black tank, and piped the gray over to the tee. Gained about 6" of clearance and now easy to clean the tank.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-31-2019, 03:55 PM   #13
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If you are using a WDH, adjust them so hitch is down and tail is up before loading. Reset when off ferry.

I've lived around the WA state ferries all my life and have watched crews adjust approach ramps for vehicles that might hit. The ramp is not just one long ramp, they have a shorter ramp at the ferry end that is lowered and raised for each ferry. The main ramp can be lowered to flatten out the last approach for "tail draggers". The crews are pretty good about knowing which vehicles need what.


FWIW, I've found that one can often drive around either through Tacoma or farther South through Olympia if only going to one of the peninsula areas (Kitsap or Olympic) for about the same as the ferry fare with a long trailer. Of course not an option if going into the San Juan Islands.

Lastly, the ferry terminals where low tide creates problems often have runs cancelled during the lowest tides. Most often the run from Coupville to Port Townsend.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hwkscr View Post
I modified my gray and black waste pipes on my Apex Nano for the same reason. They hung too low and has too many bends in the pipe. Super easy job, purchased a new San tee and a 3' section of abs pipe. Attached the San tee directly to the black tank, and piped the gray over to the tee. Gained about 6" of clearance and now easy to clean the tank.Attachment 195742Attachment 195744Attachment 195745
Fabulous idea. I'm going to see if that will work on my Viking 17FQ
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:21 PM   #15
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If you are using a WDH, adjust them so hitch is down and tail is up before loading. Reset when off ferry.

I've lived around the WA state ferries all my life and have watched crews adjust approach ramps for vehicles that might hit. The ramp is not just one long ramp, they have a shorter ramp at the ferry end that is lowered and raised for each ferry. The main ramp can be lowered to flatten out the last approach for "tail draggers". The crews are pretty good about knowing which vehicles need what.


FWIW, I've found that one can often drive around either through Tacoma or farther South through Olympia if only going to one of the peninsula areas (Kitsap or Olympic) for about the same as the ferry fare with a long trailer. Of course not an option if going into the San Juan Islands.

Lastly, the ferry terminals where low tide creates problems often have runs cancelled during the lowest tides. Most often the run from Coupville to Port Townsend.
I did not know the ferry crew could help out. Do you need to notify them in advance and let them know to watch?
I will be taking on the ferry(s) in May and would really like to know a solution.
I don't think lowering the WDH is an option for me.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:33 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BC.campr View Post
You may be able to just slap a pair of 15 tires on your trailer. I know some of the owners have done this on the trailers that came with 14s with no issue. No room on the earlier models with 13 to do this.
Putting the axle on the other side of the spring will lift it a good 4 or 5.
I was able to do all the work myself so just time in for me, couple bucks for the new saddles to weld onto the axle. I added a pair of shocks at the same time...it road good before, now its excellent.
B.C.camper,
Is there any DOWN side to putting the axle on the other side of the springs?
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Old 01-31-2019, 10:33 PM   #17
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Downside...mmm, guess the biggest I can think of is the step up into the trailer. The single step now needs either swapping out to a two step...or using a riser on the ground. We went from a 12” step from the ground to a 17”, so we use a riser instead of buying a two step unit.
Jack leg...added a 4” riser, was a PITA cranking all the way.
You are talking about a 5-6” lift, it’s a large change. I played with shackle height to lessen the total amount of the lift. I can’t say there was any negatives in ride. I didn’t have to add shocks, just wanted more stability...which it achieved.
Could always look at a different spring arch? I looked at that...but availability was tough locally.
Lots to ponder...lol.
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Old 02-01-2019, 03:20 PM   #18
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One of the firsst things I did to out 17FQ was flip the axle. I came with 13" tires and there was not enough clearance to just replace them with 15's. I did all the work myself so all it cost was a few bucks for new saddles and then I built and shock absorber mounts, BEST darn thing I could have done to it. Much more pleasant to pull and it was not that bad to begin with. I did go ahead and replace the single step with a double, just easier than having to keep up with a riser to place on the ground so SWMBO can get into it when we stop for lunch or mid day break.



I really like the added ground and axle clearances from doing the flip and would not hesitate doing it. There is a post here showing pics of the added clearance and shock mounts, peasonally I think all of them should be equipped with shocks to smooth out the ride and handling.


http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ip-116799.html
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:36 PM   #19
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I'am guessing ,on that small of a trailer, its a low rider for smaller tow vehicles. ( I used to have a 19 ft KZ) same problem. EZ-pass would count my sewer drain as a second axle! Anyhow,,,see if you axle is mounted on top of the springs,, if so, there is a remedy. Can't remember who supplies it but there's a kit you can buy to mount the axle "under" the springs and you gain about 4 more inches of clearance. Start with timbrensprings,com and maybe others on here can help.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Hwkscr View Post
I modified my gray and black waste pipes on my Apex Nano for the same reason. They hung too low and has too many bends in the pipe. Super easy job, purchased a new San tee and a 3' section of abs pipe. Attached the San tee directly to the black tank, and piped the gray over to the tee. Gained about 6" of clearance and now easy to clean the tank.Attachment 195742Attachment 195744Attachment 195745
Looks nice. Bet it helps at those sites with "too high" sewer connections, too.
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