Hitch setup analysis--F150 & Bigfoot 25B25RQ - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-18-2013, 01:22 PM   #29
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Bruce,
Regarding that horse trailer, I will make one very likely correction to your wording: "these trailers WERE designed...."

"Were".
Key word there. To my knowledge nobody mass produces trailers of that design anymore. Reason is, tongue weight is a good thing when trying to achieve a stable, safe, towed trailer. That design is probably best left to just hauling things around the farm at maybe 20 mph or less.
My opinion. Armchair engineer. A fair bit of practical experience though.....
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:48 PM   #30
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Actually, the horse trailer set up is no different than those double tractor trailers on the road today. In those scenarios the last trailer has no tongue weight but is merely being pulled. With the front wheels positioned up front sway has been eliminated.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:11 PM   #31
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I'll take a stab at it and say both trailers were modified for other reasons.

First the ATV its easy to see that there is no way that RV could tow that trailer with out the extension. The bumper would impact the trailer and possibly the bike.

That horse trailer with semi wheels looks like it started out as center axle (single or double) and was converted to front and rear axle. Little harder to guess but the tow vehicle and particular uses that owner had were probably deciding factors. I can tell you that if the tow vehicle has some over hang then the trailer wont be cutting the corner as much.

But nice side benefit is both designs help with tongue weight.

Jason
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:58 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Actually, the horse trailer set up is no different than those double tractor trailers on the road today. In those scenarios the last trailer has no tongue weight but is merely being pulled. With the front wheels positioned up front sway has been eliminated.
Actually it is different. The dolly under a double ( or triple ) for a semi trailer is a fifth wheel plate. The wheels do not steer as they do on that horse trailer contraption.

Also, for whatever it's worth, I know a young fellow who drives for FedEx, and at the FedEx truck driving school in Indianapolis, they taught them that pulling a double is "far" more hazardous than a single. The double is much more likely to roll ( tip ) over in a corner.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:03 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
Actually it is different. The dolly under a double ( or triple ) for a semi trailer is a fifth wheel plate. The wheels do not steer as they do on that horse trailer contraption.

Also, for whatever it's worth, I know a young fellow who drives for FedEx, and at the FedEx truck driving school in Indianapolis, they taught them that pulling a double is "far" more hazardous than a single. The double is much more likely to roll ( tip ) over in a corner.
So, what do you perceive the difference to be in a fifth wheel dolly vs. a center pivot axle? Same end result, if you ask me.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:09 PM   #34
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So, what do you perceive the difference to be in a fifth wheel dolly vs. a center pivot axle? Same end result, if you ask me.
You are right, the horse trailer pictured had a center pivot. I was thinking of one my buddy had that actually had steering linkage, similar to the front end under a car.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:55 PM   #35
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The horse trailer is a "full trailer", rather than the more common (and essentially universal in RVs) "pony trailer" - this does completely change considerations of tongue weight. They are suitable for tow vehicles with the power and traction to pull the trailer, but not the ability to support substantial tongue weight. I think it is a useful idea, and it is very commonly used in commercial rigs; however, it may not be legal for non-commercial vehicles, depending on location, and it has other problems (backing up, tug traction). It can be built of a semi-trailer and converter dolly (typical A-train), a trailer with rear-mounted fixed axles and what we're calling a "centre pivot" steering axle or tandem axle set in front (just like a child's toy wagon or traditional horse-drawn wagon, and common in gravel trailers), or a trailer with rear-mounted fixed axles and steering front axle controlled by the drawbar. These have been discussed in FiberglassRV before, although perhaps not recently.
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:58 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw photos View Post
Also, for whatever it's worth, I know a young fellow who drives for FedEx, and at the FedEx truck driving school in Indianapolis, they taught them that pulling a double is "far" more hazardous than a single. The double is much more likely to roll ( tip ) over in a corner.
Sure, but the rear trailer in this A-train is being pulled by the lead trailer, a combination which is inherently less stable than pulling that same rear trailer (and dolly or whatever makes it a full trailer) directly with a tractor/tug.
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:05 PM   #37
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The very long tongue in Bruce's rig is a good idea for stability, and in this case allows the ball to be close to the lead trailer axle, which is very desirable. This sort of configuration is (rarely) used in some large trailers towed by commercial straight trucks. As Andrew mentioned, despite the decreased load carried by the hitch, at least some point along the trailer structure is more stressed by a longer tongue configuration, although in this case the extension "splints" that area and the trailer and there may be no adverse effect on the trailer frame. Again as Andrew suggested, to make a substantial difference for the same hitch location requires too much tongue extension to be practical in most cases.

I have attached a photo showing a rig from Thorson's Enclosed Vehicle Transport which I saw while on a trip; the trailer has a relatively long tongue, with the hitch well under the truck, in this case with a fifth-wheel hitch (perhaps due to the weight of the trailer). Sorry for the poor image quality...

The idea of moving the hitch point close to the rear axle for stability takes two forms: the relatively common over-the-truck configuration such as an Escape or Bigfoot fifth-wheel or Scamp 19'; or these unusual under-the-truck-body hitches. The Pull-Rite is actually usable for our trailers, and effectively extends the tongue with a hinge under the bumper and hardware like a typical WD hitch to minimize vertical force at the hinge point, approximating an under-mounted gooseneck. For someone with a truck limited by rear axle capacity this could be a good idea; however we are finding in this and similar examples that it is the tug's GVWR which is the problem, not the truck's rear axle capacity. Regardless of capacity, it should increase stability.
Attached Thumbnails
AutoTransport.jpg  
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:05 PM   #38
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I do remember the horse trailer that my buddy had was rather beat. So at least in potential fairness to the design, it could be it was just shot. It had the linkage pieces "behind" the front axle that actually did the steering inputs. I remember laying under it and tugging and pushing and pulling on stuff....and nothing was exactly what I would call tight and snug.
He said, "towing this thing is scary".....he said it would do just kind of a gentle weave....not really a sway, but thinking, "it could become a sway really quickly if this isn't my day !" And he said when he used the brakes it would kind of do a little sideways shuffle. again, it may have just been poor setup and in need of a rebuild.....didn't matter, he didn't like it so he sold it and bought a conventional two horse trailer. At the time, which would have been early-mid '80's, he was pulling with a '78 Chevy 1/2 ton.
Man....I have not seen one of those trailers in years. Probably whatever is left of them have pretty much rusted away to nothing. Good riddance, far as I'm concerned !
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Old 07-18-2013, 04:11 PM   #39
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Brian,
Yes, I have looked at the pull-rite, and it does indeed look like it might be a really nice functioning hitch. The only downside to it that I can see is that I'd really want to take the time to look after it from a winter salt/crud standpoint. They use a lot of salt around here where I live....ugh.....
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:35 AM   #40
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As long as the topic has drifted, I feel I can add a comment on:

"These trailers are designed to be pulled behind a full size car such as a Lincoln or Cadillac".

Due to a death in the family, I was just offered (for free) a full sized 2004 Cadillac Sedan DeVille with 65,000 on the clock. A beautiful (but huge) sedan that has always been serviced by the dealer. It has the NorthStar V8, actually gets over 20 MPG on the hiway and was exactly what used to be the vehicle of choice for pulling an Airstream back in the 60's....

BUT WAIT... Opened up the owners manual to the towing page and whatsitsay????

Max trailer weight: 2000 lbs, Max tongue weight 200 lbs.
That's the same rating as my 4 cylinder GMC Sonoma

So much for that idea..... Back to my new-to-me Blazer
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:03 AM   #41
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The old cars from the 60's had frames, with unibodies now the tow capacities are lower.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:58 PM   #42
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Since almost every non-commercial vehicle other than a pickup (and the SUVs that are left still using pickup chassis) is now a unibody, and many of those unibodies have a few tons of towing capacity, perhaps it it more relevant that there have been many changes in vehicle sizes, ride and handling expectations, and standards for towing ratings.

Also, there were lots of unibodies in the 1960's, although not typically the full-size sedans.

What does this have to do with setting up an F-150 to tow?
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