Newbie tow scare - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-05-2007, 12:27 AM   #1
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What do you think happened? We were coming back from a favorite campground yesterday afternoon, I was traveling over an almost level, kind of bumpy road, at about 15 mph, maybe a little slower, when suddenly the truck and trailer each started bucking UP and DOWN (independently of each other it seemed) and the brakes briefly shrieked twice on their own (I'm quite sure I didn't hit them). Scared the living daylights out of me and I pulled over right away, checked the hitch, looked fine, checked all the tires and they looked fine. It drove fine the rest of the way down the mountain, still at a fairly slow pace, particularly over the bumpy patches. When we got home and went into the trailer it looked a wreck! The fridge had come open and dumped food and liquid all over the floor, a cabinet had come open and stuff spilled out all over. I'm not sure what happened. Could the three sets of wheels (two sets on the truck and one set on the Casita) have ended up in a bad combination of holes/bumps and the same time and caused it? That's all I could figure. Has anyone had this happen before? Thanks for the input!
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:46 AM   #2
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Welcome!

Re fridge door, cupboards coming open: no worries: good camping!

We admired the clever mod on the fridge door (tick-tock double-lock!) when we bought our 25 year old Boler.

We named one drawer The Flying Drawer, as it regularly spewed its contents on the floor during travel, then we installed a simple "privacy lock" (like on the inside of the stalls of a Girls bathroom in school) and it stayed shut.

We take our unit on some very rough roads, and so have installed more locks and straps as the Boler informs us. An old curly telephone cord keeps the top two cupboards togther, but with enough flex to not maim the wood.

Oh, and Sway Bars! Search on this site for info.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:04 AM   #3
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Sounds like you found a road and speed that activated the natural haromic vibration of your towing rig, much like the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:07 AM   #4
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Now you have the name for your trailer.. Galloping Girtie!
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
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Could the three sets of wheels (two sets on the truck and one set on the Casita) have ended up in a bad combination of holes/bumps and the same time and caused it? That's all I could figure. Has anyone had this happen before?
Yes, I suspect that's it. While I have not had this problem with my trailer, I have seen tractor-trailer rigs (semi trucks) bucking very badly on some concrete highways: the concrete is in slabs of consistent size, and if they all tilt a bit, and the spacing of the slabs, the length of the truck, the natural frequency of the suspension, and the speed of travel all combine in an unfortunate way, it's a bad ride.

A friction type sway control device should do nothing for this situation, but a weight-distribution system (weight distributing hitch) will change the frequency that the combination likes to bounce at. One with lots of resistance to pitch motion (maybe a Reese Dual-Cam, or Equal-i-zer without lube on the bar ends) will also tend to resist the pitching motion. I would just slow down a bit on that particular section of road...
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:09 AM   #6
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I've had that bucking thing happen. I immediately applied the first, second, third, and forth rule of towing when something doesn't feel right.

RULe 1. Slow Down
RULE 2. Slow Down
RULE 3. Slow Down
RULE 4. See RULES 1 through 3 above.

Did I say slow down?
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:52 AM   #7
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We had the same experience last year while boondocking. We took the road which didn't look bad, but it was a washboard. No matter how slow we went the trailer and van just bucked ... no place to turn around. It was a miserable ride.

When we stopped and looked in the trailer it was a disaster. Even the stove burners were on the floor. Refrigerator was opened and everything spilled - the cupboards didn't open - we have good latches.. of course everything was all over cushions, bedding, it was a mess.

Just a few minutes and everything was close to being back in order. We have decided no more washboard roads we'll take the long way around.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:28 PM   #8
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We did a washboard road two years ago. NEVER, EVER AGAIN unless they're giving away free generators, trucks or tvs at the end of a short road!
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:20 PM   #9
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Washboard roads can be really tricky, esp with a trailer, because at some speeds the vehicle(s) just float from top to top and can easily drift.

BTW, I have discovered, in my travels on '..the road less graveled..' that when going uphill, the uphill lane may be washboarded from tires digging in, but the downhill lane is usually in better shape. Of course, one must pay attention when in the downhill lane going uphill, esp near the top
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:14 PM   #10
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And watch washboard interstates. Interstate 90 near Rushford, MN and in western MN are awful. There was a road in Colorado (76?) when I was driving and Kevin was sleeping that was an awful washboard. Must have been like sleeping in a vibrating bed for those not driving. For me, it was rattling the teeth in my head!

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Old 09-05-2007, 11:45 PM   #11
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Thanks to all of you for your responses. I guess with some roads it will happen. I will slow down, though I didn't think 15mph was that fast for that road, but it may have been. I don't think I"ll ever get the root beer out of the carpet! The other food didn't make quite as much of a mess.
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Old 09-07-2007, 10:46 AM   #12
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Sorry about the scare, I actually bounced the trailer right off my Tahoe on my first trip out on a horribly bumpy road. I'm pretty sure I didnt have it hooked up correctly. Thankfully I had been stopped at an intersection close to home and was just proceeding through it when it happened. A surprised passer-by helped me lift it back up and get it hitched properly.

As for your fridge problems, after dumping the contents of our fridge all over the floor on a recent trip I found this solution.


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It's a child safe lock (for a fridge if I remember right) that just double sticky tapes to the fridge and has a little clip to keep closed. I just tuck the latch up and out of the way when we are not under way. It has worked well for us. I found it at our Lowes hardware store.

Safe travels. Jackie
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Old 09-07-2007, 11:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Sorry about the scare, I actually bounced the trailer right off my Tahoe on my first trip out on a horribly bumpy road. I'm pretty sure I didnt have it hooked up correctly. Thankfully I had been stopped at an intersection close to home and was just proceeding through it when it happened. A surprised passer-by helped me lift it back up and get it hitched properly.

As for your fridge problems, after dumping the contents of our fridge all over the floor on a recent trip I found this solution.


Attachment 9970


It's a child safe lock (for a fridge if I remember right) that just double sticky tapes to the fridge and has a little clip to keep closed. I just tuck the latch up and out of the way when we are not under way. It has worked well for us. I found it at our Lowes hardware store.

Safe travels. Jackie
I think one the ways to keep the fridge door closed is to stuff from banging into from inside. I use friction bars made to do just that. You can get them from Camping World (click here). I make sure everything is tight and can't move around and so far haven't had any problems with the door coming open.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:52 PM   #14
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Both are great ideas, I'll check them out! Mostly I was worried about what I had done to cause the bucking, the mess was the least of the problem. But now when I look at the carpet and think how it's going to need to be steam cleaned or something (which makes me sick because my Casita was in A1 condition when I bought it) I realize a fridge door lock would be a good investment. What if we were on our way TO a campsite when it happened, instead of on our way home?

Quote:
I think one the ways to keep the fridge door closed is to stuff from banging into from inside. I use friction bars made to do just that. You can get them from Camping World (click here). I make sure everything is tight and can't move around and so far haven't had any problems with the door coming open.
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