Tire pressure and camper swaying - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-12-2019, 10:23 PM   #1
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Name: Lisle
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Tire pressure and camper swaying

I recently got my 16' Casita from it's previous owner in NJ and drove it home to Mass empty. Towed easily up to 65mph which was as fast as I'd want to tow. Getting ready for full time, I checked the tire pressure which was about 40. The tires say max weight is 2400 and tire pressure should be 65. Haven't had a chance to weight her loaded yet, but am suspecting she is at or near 2400. So I increased the tire pressure to 60 cold. Driving her with my gear inside (heaviest stuff in the TV), she started to sway quite a bit at 57mph. So I just didn't go any faster. I wasn't using a sway bar because the previous owner said not to bother and she didn't need it when I drove back from NJ. Was the swaying related to increased tire pressure, heavier load, load maybe not balanced side to side? I will try using the sway bar but am wondering if there is something else I need to do to help her ride better.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:28 PM   #2
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pretty sure 50 PSI is the recommended pressure on a Casita. 2400 lbs a tire would be 4800 lbs axle weight, your casita 16 max loaded will have about 350-400 lbs tongue weight and 3100-3150 lbs axle weight, or ~1600 lbs on each tire...

running too high of a pressure reduces the tire contact patch, which reduces the traction.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:44 AM   #3
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Lisle.....

On the 16' Casitas, the axle is mounted a bit too far forward, and they have a tendency to sway easily. The solution, I am informed, is to concentrate added weight forward of the axle....and to use a well-snugged friction sway control.

Hope to meet you somewhere down the road.

Frank
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:26 AM   #4
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Start with the basics. Take your fully loaded trailer- just like it was when you experienced sway- to a scale and determine its axle weight, tongue weight, and total weight. That will tell you if you’re running too light on the tongue, which is the most common cause of sway, and give you an idea how much weight needs to be shifted.

It will also give you something to go on when determining the best tire pressure. About that... what size and load range tire are you running, and what does Casita recommend for tire pressure?

Is the trailer sitting level when hitched?

A friction sway bar is well and good, but you want to correct the instability first.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:32 AM   #5
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frank is right. the 16'ers are notoriously tongue light. i carry a honda 2000i generator on the tongue of my 16'er and have installed a porcelain toilet (more weight). carrying less than a full fresh water tank will help also. and, i always use the sway bar. at 62mph and the tires @ 60psi there are no sway issues.

p@
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Old 09-13-2019, 07:39 AM   #6
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If your tires are rated for 65 psi there is no issue with filling them that full, though would not be necessary. It would not affect sway. Trailer tires are designed to hold their shape and really do not flex much.

As mentioned by others, I would check the loading you have done on the trailer, including a weighing of the trailer and the tongue weight. I would highly suspect tongue weight is the problem, so loading weight forward would be required.

While there is no disadvantage to using a sway bar, the problem creating the sway should be addressed first instead of relying on it to solve a problem. I have towed many hundreds of different trailers over hundreds of thousands of kilometres, and using proper loading have never had to rely on sway control.
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Old 09-13-2019, 09:57 AM   #7
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Sway

Tire pressure rating of 65psi indicates the tire is load range D. I run 60 to 65 psi in my load range D tires and check them once a month or just before a trip. I also have temp and pressure sensors on the tires with a monitor on my dash. I agree tire pressure should not be a problem at 60psi. Light tongue weight is very likely the problem.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:35 AM   #8
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I'm in 100% agreement that if your tires are inflated correctly- which I believe you when you say they are- the other is "Tongue weight". Alot of people dont take the time to do this, but weighing your trailer to know EXACTLY what you have- to ME- is imperative before traveling!!

With that said, I recall you saying you put "Most" of your weight in the TV which is fine--- UNLESS.....

If you weigh the trailer and see you need to increase the tongue weight to be within the apx 12% recommendation, I would NOT add a heavy sway bar when all you have to do is "transfer" some of the weight in your tv to the trailer and fix it for FREE...AND keep your travels lighter. Not to mention less fuss without the sway bar. Of course, this is adding it to the FRONT end of the trailer and not the rear!!! Adding weight to the rear of the trailer would only exacerbate the problem!!

Let us know what you find out....

Darral
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:52 AM   #9
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Step 1: load the trailer like you are camping.

Step 2: drive to a nearby truck stop and get certified weights: trailer weight, tongue weight, tow vehicle weight.

Then it can be discussed with intelligence. I am doubting tire inflation.

Sway is not normal and can lead to a crash.

Consider what has happened so far is a warning. I’d heed it!
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Old 09-13-2019, 11:28 AM   #10
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Just a reminder tire pressure is supposed to be proportional to the load on the tire, with the maximum load at the maximum pressure embossed on the tire sidewall.


There is a formula for relating tire pressure to partial load which I have never been able to find anywhere. The tire pressure sticker on your car offers a couple of points on that curve. A Continental Tire engineer I was corresponding with said it was proprietary information, but he did say it was not a linear relationship, and offered to send me the results for two of my vehicles. My F350 pickup with Load Range E tires he suggested running at full pressure of 80 psi.


It is much safer to run tires slightly overinflated than slightly underinflated. Underinflated tires flex more and run hotter, to the point of blowout, make handling squirrelly and unsafe to the point of loss of control, and also hydroplane more easily.



I have always run my tires a couple pounds over the sticker pressure anyway, and add air when carrying more passengers and cargo. When I have a heavy load I go to the maximum pressure shown on the tire and have never had a problem.



Something to watch out for is rental agencies, tire dealers, and car dealers under-inflating tires. I have never picked up a rental car or truck that had safe tire pressures; I bring my own tire gauge and fix that immediately. Even if they set the pressure to the sticker pressure when they rotate the tires, I am always running more load than that and have to add air when I get home.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:25 PM   #11
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Sway

Air pressure is important but an over looked item is tire balance.

Balance tires is cheap insurance when trouble shooting trailer pulling problems. Also check the tires for cracks or rubber separation.

If I got a trailer new to me I would buy my baby new shoes - new tires that are balanced. At the same time I would also consider upgrading from 13 to 14 inch rim with the replacement tire being a Goodyear Endurance. ST 205 / 75 R 14.
The Discount Tire cost was about $100 per tire. The rims about $75.00 each.
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Old 09-13-2019, 12:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARVZ View Post
Just a reminder tire pressure is supposed to be proportional to the load on the tire, with the maximum load at the maximum pressure embossed on the tire sidewall.
There is a minimum pressure for a certain load on a trailer tire, it is not needed to be met all the time. That would be near impossible with many trailers the load varies all the time. Again referring to my tire shop manager, who has been in the tire business for 40 years and owns a huge tire shop, with a trailer tire you can pretty much always keep them at or near maximum pressure all the time. This is not true for passenger tires which are constructed way differently and use a much softer sidewall with most.
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Old 09-13-2019, 01:30 PM   #13
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Sway bars can save you if something unusual happens. A Simi passed my father in law at high speed and caused his trailer to try to pass him. He did not have a anti sway bar. I think a antisway bar would have prevented the problem.
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:35 PM   #14
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I think a antisway bar would have prevented the problem.

I think there wouldn't have been a problem had the trailer been properly loaded with sufficient weight on the tongue.
Semis pass me all the time and I have no sway bar and no sway.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:09 PM   #15
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Hi Lisle,


You are right to be concerned about the correct tire pressure. If the mfg. say 65psi should be in the tires than put in 65psi. Don't rely on what Casitas says as what they recommend. You most likely do not know how many miles are on the trailer and if they were driven at 40psi, then that's like a 39% reduction in tire pressure.
Trailers tires are meant to be driven at the recommended mfg's psi when cold. Under inflated tires are more likely to cause a blowout than over inflated tires, and this info is from tire mfg's. The sidewalls of trailer tires are stiffer than regular car tires so they do not sway in turns.

You may want to consider replacing the tires if they were driven for some time at that lower psi, you just don't know what condition the sidewall are in even if they look good from the outside.
Ask me how I know, I made the mistake of accepting the advice of Scamp about the pressure of 40psi instead of 50psi. Now after 7k miles I am replacing my tires after doing a lot of research on new tires. I just don't trust them for my next trip which will be 3500 to 4k miles. Even though they look good, looks don't count. I want to feel safe on the road.

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Old 09-13-2019, 04:27 PM   #16
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Hi Lisle,

I had the same issue when I bought my 16' Casita last year. If you want you can look up that thread, I believe the heading is "Casita swaying" or something like that. But basically the issue disappeared after I did 2 things:
1. I adjusted my tow hitch so that the trailer is level with the car. Mine is a Toyota Sienna so it needed a 1.5' or 2" rise. Based on your tow vehicle, it may need to be a rise or a drop.
2. I loaded heavy items in front of the trailer such as fire wood, generator, cooler, etc., filled up both propane tanks on the hitch, and avoided putting any items in the back.

With this simple adjustment I got rid of the sway, and although I did purchase a weight distribution device, I never ended up installing it because I felt it was no longer necessary.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:12 PM   #17
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..
I had the same issue when I bought my 16' Casita last year. ...

I adjusted my tow hitch so that the trailer is level with the car. Mine is a Toyota Sienna ...

... and although I did purchase a weight distribution device, I never ended up installing it because I felt it was no longer necessary.
I also tow with a Sienna, and I noted that the owners manual says this:

If the gross trailer weight is over 2000 lbs. (907 kg), a sway control device with sufficient capacity is required


So in that case, while it might not be needed by the laws of physics, it is needed by the laws of torts.

(Of course in the lawsuit it would be easy to prove if you had a sway control device or not, but it would be very hard to prove that it was actually adjusted so that it did something)

In addition to tongue weight, also look at side-to-side loading. I suspect it would have to be quite unbalanced side-to-side to create a sway issue but it does contribute to sway effect.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:31 AM   #18
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Could be. I towed the same trailer a few thousand miles with no changes, except I added a sway bar, with no problems.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
I recently got my 16' Casita from it's previous owner in NJ and drove it home to Mass empty. Towed easily up to 65mph which was as fast as I'd want to tow. Getting ready for full time, I checked the tire pressure which was about 40. The tires say max weight is 2400 and tire pressure should be 65. Haven't had a chance to weight her loaded yet, but am suspecting she is at or near 2400. So I increased the tire pressure to 60 cold. Driving her with my gear inside (heaviest stuff in the TV), she started to sway quite a bit at 57mph. So I just didn't go any faster. I wasn't using a sway bar because the previous owner said not to bother and she didn't need it when I drove back from NJ. Was the swaying related to increased tire pressure, heavier load, load maybe not balanced side to side? I will try using the sway bar but am wondering if there is something else I need to do to help her ride better.
We always use our sway bar with our Casita. It is just a small anti-sway bar that slides in and out. They came with our Casita from the factory. Make sure you use it correctly. Casita's and most likely other fiberglass trailers are not to be towed over 65MPH! There is a sticker on our wheel wells that state the tire pressure and speed limits. We don't ever tow over 58 MPH to stay within the limits. From all I've been reading on the forum it sounds like the 16' Casita has a sway problem. Ours is a 17' and no sway problem but then we are now towing with a Yukon XL. We've used 3 other vehicles and no problems either.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:05 PM   #20
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