bigfoot weight distribution hitch - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-27-2013, 09:58 AM   #1
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bigfoot weight distribution hitch

We have an appointment to get a weight distribution hitch on Monday. We have a 17.5 Bigfoot with CB. What is the best way to make the cutout on the frame cover for the lift brackets?
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:22 AM   #2
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Trailer: 1993 Bigfoot 17 ftCB / 2011 Toyota Sienna
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Cutouts for Bigfoot 17 WDH

Leave the propane/cover off while the WDH gets set up properly.
Then measure, measure, measure the positions for the cutouts.
Use a small paint can or other circular container (Margarine, etc.) that seems to be a good size and trace out a half circle on each side of the cover.
It's actually a good idea to use painter's masking tape on the cover before you trace the cutout so that you're cutting through the tape, minimizing chips on the edge. Use a fairly fine blade on an electric scroll saw and cut out the holes.
Peel off the tape and lightly sand the sharp edges and you're done!
Good luck.
Mike .....>
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Pupeza View Post
Leave the propane/cover off while the WDH gets set up properly.
Then measure, measure, measure the positions for the cutouts.
Use a small paint can or other circular container (Margarine, etc.) that seems to be a good size and trace out a half circle on each side of the cover.
It's actually a good idea to use painter's masking tape on the cover before you trace the cutout so that you're cutting through the tape, minimizing chips on the edge. Use a fairly fine blade on an electric scroll saw and cut out the holes.
Peel off the tape and lightly sand the sharp edges and you're done!
Good luck.
Mike .....>
My stomach tightens every time this subject comes up about cutting the front shroud on a Bigfoot. If you're dead set on going through it everything above sounds good except using a saw blade, large number of teeth per inch or otherwise. They all tend to leave a jagged edge to some degree with the gel coat being the most susceptible to chipping. A smoother cut can be made with an electric or pneumatic rotary cutting wheel. If you haven't purchased the hitch you may want to consider a Hensley, either standard or Cub model. Both do not require as much intrusion into the shroud as conventional weight distribution hitches. Hope this help.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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My stomach tightens every time this subject comes up about cutting the front shroud on a Bigfoot...
If you haven't purchased the hitch you may want to consider a Hensley, either standard or Cub model. Both do not require as much intrusion into the shroud as conventional weight distribution hitches.
An interesting suggestion, but you could just buy a replacement shroud if you mess up the cutting, rather than paying the extra thousand dollars (beyond the price of a common WDH) for a Hensley Arrow!

The brackets of an Andersen "No-Sway" WDH might fit with less (or no) shroud trimming - I don't know, but it wouldn't hurt to check if considering alternate WDH designs.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
An interesting suggestion, but you could just buy a replacement shroud if you mess up the cutting, rather than paying the extra thousand dollars (beyond the price of a common WDH) for a Hensley Arrow!

The brackets of an Andersen "No-Sway" WDH might fit with less (or no) shroud trimming - I don't know, but it wouldn't hurt to check if considering alternate WDH designs.
The Andersen has an interesting friction type sway control design, one that I hadn't seen before. Thanks for mentioning it. It still requires cutting the shroud at the frame mounting, although not as much as some of the other weight distribution hitches.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:50 PM   #6
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Thank you for all the feedback. I just ordered the Andersen "No-sway" WDH online. I think we have enough play on the shroud to avoid any cutting but will keep you posted when we receive it.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:59 PM   #7
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Trailer: 2005 Bigfoot 25B17.5G. Pulled by a 2006 Toyota Tundra Double Cab
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No Cutting - Bigfoot Propane Cover and Andersen WDH

I just purchased an Andersen WDH for my 2005 Bigfoot 17.5G on EBAY. My current plan is install the Andersen without cutting the Bigfoot's propane tank cover. I plan to remove the fiberglass cover from the frame; attach the Andersen WDH to the frame; insert washers on the sheet metal screws between the fiberglass cover and the frame to give the Andersen bolt heads a bit of room, reattach the fiberglass cover, and be done. This experiment will be conducted as soon as the rain stops on the Oregon Coast.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jay Moeller View Post
I just purchased an Andersen WDH for my 2005 Bigfoot 17.5G on EBAY. My current plan is install the Andersen without cutting the Bigfoot's propane tank cover. I plan to remove the fiberglass cover from the frame; attach the Andersen WDH to the frame; insert washers on the sheet metal screws between the fiberglass cover and the frame to give the Andersen bolt heads a bit of room, reattach the fiberglass cover, and be done. This experiment will be conducted as soon as the rain stops on the Oregon Coast.
That should work. The only limitation that I can see is at the front where the shroud has limited movement across the width of the frame. The result will probably be a slight bow along the bottom. Give it a try and let us know how it looks.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:07 PM   #9
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Yes please, don't cut the shroud unless you absolutely need to. Is Bigfoot even making a replacement shroud? DON'T ASSUME! Over the years, I remember folks looking for the propane hatch, etc. and couldn't find replacements. YES, I know that was during BigFoot's Dark Time....
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:02 PM   #10
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I have a different take on this and question the wisdom of a WDH at all with a 17/17.5 foot Bigfoot. What kind of tow vehicle do you have? The thing is the axle load on even a mildly loaded 17/17.5' BF is nearly at the axle limit. I would be cautious about transferring even more weight to that axle. I'd rather have the TV take the weight. Easy for me to say, I tow a 17' BF with a Tundra. I barely know it's there and I just towed it from Alaska to California with no WDH and no sway control and it towed like a dream. Gas mileage is another story but the trailer was stable as a rock even on the worst roads. I would be cautious about a WDH with one of these trailers. I had one when I towed it with a Montero Sport and found it to be useless with that vehicle as well. It was more level and towed much better without it.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:28 AM   #11
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Andersen WDH on Toyota Tundra and Bigfoot 17.5

TJ-
According to advertising claims, the Andersen hitch is designed to correct both sway and sag without anti-sway bars. I hope to use the Andersen to solve both issues in my Bigfoot 17.5G without cutting holes in the propane tank cover.

Like you, I too have a Toyota Tundra and a 17.5 Bigfoot. However, unlike your trip down the Alcan, when my Tundra towed the "new-to-me" Bigfoot down western interstates and mountain passes this summer it did not behave very well. My Tundra is a 2006. Double Cab, 4x4, SR5 with a factory installed tow package and 17 inch wheels. Maybe you have a different model or the TRD trim package? Maybe the highway conditions and landscape we traveled is different?

SWAY - At speeds over 60 MPH, in the wind, and on curvy roads the Bigfoot swayed like a drunken sailor trying to follow the Tundra's dance leads. My previous trailer, a Burro 17' Wide Body, that weighed less than 1/2 of the Bigfoot, never behaved like that. I experimented with shifting weight from center of the Bigfoot cabin to a more forward position but it did not help. I hope the Andersen will reduce sway and keep the two rigs in-line.

SAG and BOUNCE - I think the suspension in the SR5 trim package is tuned for comfort, not for hauling. I weighed the Tundra and Bigfoot at a state weigh station, pulled out my handy smart phone calculator, and did the math. The hitch weight of the Bigfoot combined with the weight of the camping supplies stored inside the bed of the Tundra and Bigfoot cabin was only a few lbs. less than the Tundra's rear axle limit. So, I am hoping the WDH will move some of the weight off the Tundra's rear axle and onto the other two axles - the Tundra's front axle and the Bigfoot's single axle.

The final factor in the decision to purchase the Andersen WDH was the Tundra owner's manual which recommends a weight distribution hitch when towing a travel trailer.

Just waiting for the Oregon coastal rain to stop for a day or two so can hook up the Andersen WDH to see if the Bigfoot's sway and bray can be tamed to follow the Tundra's lead without cutting holes for anti-sway bars.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jay Moeller View Post
TJ-
According to advertising claims, the Andersen hitch is designed to correct both sway and sag without anti-sway bars. I hope to use the Andersen to solve both issues in my Bigfoot 17.5G without cutting holes in the propane tank cover.

Like you, I too have a Toyota Tundra and a 17.5 Bigfoot. However, unlike your trip down the Alcan, when my Tundra towed the "new-to-me" Bigfoot down western interstates and mountain passes this summer it did not behave very well. My Tundra is a 2006. Double Cab, 4x4, SR5 with a factory installed tow package and 17 inch wheels. Maybe you have a different model or the TRD trim package? Maybe the highway conditions and landscape we traveled is different?

SWAY - At speeds over 60 MPH, in the wind, and on curvy roads the Bigfoot swayed like a drunken sailor trying to follow the Tundra's dance leads. My previous trailer, a Burro 17' Wide Body, that weighed less than 1/2 of the Bigfoot, never behaved like that. I experimented with shifting weight from center of the Bigfoot cabin to a more forward position but it did not help. I hope the Andersen will reduce sway and keep the two rigs in-line.

SAG and BOUNCE - I think the suspension in the SR5 trim package is tuned for comfort, not for hauling. I weighed the Tundra and Bigfoot at a state weigh station, pulled out my handy smart phone calculator, and did the math. The hitch weight of the Bigfoot combined with the weight of the camping supplies stored inside the bed of the Tundra and Bigfoot cabin was only a few lbs. less than the Tundra's rear axle limit. So, I am hoping the WDH will move some of the weight off the Tundra's rear axle and onto the other two axles - the Tundra's front axle and the Bigfoot's single axle.

The final factor in the decision to purchase the Andersen WDH was the Tundra owner's manual which recommends a weight distribution hitch when towing a travel trailer.

Just waiting for the Oregon coastal rain to stop for a day or two so can hook up the Andersen WDH to see if the Bigfoot's sway and bray can be tamed to follow the Tundra's lead without cutting holes for anti-sway bars.
Jay,
Have you weighed the tongue on the Bigfoot directly?
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jay Moeller View Post
However, unlike your trip down the Alcan, when my Tundra towed the "new-to-me" Bigfoot down western interstates and mountain passes this summer it did not behave very well. My Tundra is a 2006. Double Cab, 4x4, SR5 with a factory installed tow package and 17 inch wheels. Maybe you have a different model or the TRD trim package? Maybe the highway conditions and landscape we traveled is different? SWAY - At speeds over 60 MPH, in the wind, and on curvy roads the Bigfoot swayed like a drunken sailor trying to follow the Tundra's dance leads. My previous trailer, a Burro 17' Wide Body, that weighed less than 1/2 of the Bigfoot, never behaved like that.
I'm guessing, but I bet the difference is that he has a full-size.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:27 AM   #14
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Trailer: Bigfoot 17' DLX
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Yep, I have a 2012 Tundra. I understand the tongue weight issue although I'm surprised the last gen Tundra is so different in that regard. Not only did I have the trailer weight on the rear end but the entire truck bed loaded with all the personal belongings I drag back and forth between Alaska and California. The tongue still sat exactly where it needed to be.

As far as sway, which you described as "At speeds over 60 MPH, in the wind, and on curvy roads the Bigfoot swayed like a drunken sailor...", this is the exact opposite of my experience, and I did all of that too. I got stuck in those crazy winds in Washington State the other day and the trailer was a steady as could be. A few times I got up to 75 MPH and needless to say, I saw plenty of curvy roads on this 4,000 mile trip.

It makes me wonder if there isn't another issue going on, like perhaps a worn out suspension, old or inappropriate tires, or improper loading of the trailer. Once moving the tow vehicle shouldn't matter much when it comes to sway. If yours is all over the place, perhaps looking for the cause of the problem might be a better place to start than trying to fix it by adding another device. Just a thought.
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