towing problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-23-2015, 11:23 AM   #1
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Trailer: 1973 13' Boler
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towing problem

I have a 73 Boler that I am towing with a 2015 v6 Colorado w/7000lb towing capacity. I took it out for a pre-camping spin last night and it felt like the camper was pushing and pulling the truck. This happened on bumps and smooth roads. The ball and hitch are both matching size, hitch is fully down and locked in the ball and it is level. Any ideas?
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:46 AM   #2
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I have experienced some of the same symptoms with my Honda Pilot pulling a 13' Scamp. Two things to consider: (1) make sure you have sufficient tongue weight, and (2) install an anti-wobble device on the drawbar-to-receiver connection. I just ordered a Hitch-Vise. Another popular version is the Roadmaster Quiet Hitch.

With an older trailer you might also want to check to make sure the axle has some life left. Raise one side of the trailer on the frame near the axle and see if the axle arms drop. Little or no movement indicates the rubber inside is hardened, and a bouncy ride is the result.

Don't know about your Colorado, but I have to use a fairly large drop to get a level tow. I've often wondered if that magnifies the effect of any bounce or looseness in the connection. Wonder what others think?
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:17 PM   #3
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There's often a misconception about towing one of these small trailers. The idea that "you don't even know it's back there" is not real. You're pulling a 1,500lb trailer around. It's going to have some effect on the handling of the tow vehicle. I suggest that you have somebody that has experience towing a small travel trailer to drive your combination. You may only have a perceived problem instead of a real problem.
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:33 PM   #4
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Byron, you may be right, but I do know this- I previously towed the same trailer similarly loaded with a Toyota Sienna (slight rise in the drawbar, maybe 1") and the ride was noticeably smoother. So right now I am thinking either the new receiver/drawbar has more slop than the old, or the large drop is magnifying small bucking motions. I'm hoping the Hitch-Vise will calm things down.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:24 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I will load the trailer heavier at the front and maybe raise the hitch angle an inch or so. I have a new axle on the frame so that is ruled out. The drop hitch arrangement definitely has some slop in it.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:51 PM   #6
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Joe, can you post a side view pic of your rig so we can have a good look at it.

Thnxs

PS, what did you tow the trailer with before the Colorado? How did that work out by comparison.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:12 PM   #7
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Yu really need to know your hitch and trailer weight so you know where you are at. If you have less than about 140 lbs on the hitch I'd almost bet you will get the wobbles, Ditto if the trailer is as much as 2" high in front.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:22 PM   #8
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This makes me a little nervous about planning to (possibly) buy a trailer and tow it home through the mountains (about 280 miles). We would be using our Aerostar van (for now, since I don't yet have a hitch on the Volvo).

The van is set up to tow our sailboat (I think around 1800 pounds), and I'm pretty sure that trailer has a pretty heavy tongue weight. It is VERY heavy when we move it around with the trailer dolly. There are no brakes on that trailer, and we do fine through the mountains, etc. It has the four-prong plug for lights.

Possible new trailer (lil Bigfoot 13') does have trailer brakes and a 7-prong plug, but they say they have an adapter. The axle appears to be in good shape. Should I worry about hitching up an unknown entity and towing it for 280 miles?

LP
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Old 07-23-2015, 03:59 PM   #9
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I'd make the usual checks before puling a new-to-you trailer almost 300 miler.... How old are the tires. If 7-8 years old or less they should be OK for the tow home, but anything over that I'd look for new tires when I pick it up. The tire age dates are right on the sidewall. Ask if you don't know how to read them. Check tire pressure, it should be within 10PSI of the max shown on the sidewall.


You mentioned that it had been sitting for a long time. Be sure that the sellers have had the wheel bearings repacked sometime in recent memory. It's a quick job at a garage if not done recently.


Check the trailer ball size. Some Lil'Bigfoots had a 1-7/8 ball', others a 2" ball. Don't tow on a wrong size ball.


Make sure that the paperwork is in good order before handing over cash (most sellers will want cash on the barrel head.)


Boat trailers are usually hitch heavy, that's normal. If the Lil Bigfoot seems light on the hitch (it sways a lot) just buy 3-4 36 bottle pack of water an put them on the front couch, it works great.


Speed limit when towing in CA is 55 MPH


Check your personal messages, I am sending you more info
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Old 07-23-2015, 04:18 PM   #10
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Adapter 4 prong tow to 7 prong trailer does not give you brakes. Brakes are one of the other 3 connections. Have to have brake controller in TV and connections at hitch to have trailer brakes work.

Nose up trailer can be totally squirrely to tow. Make that really squirrely. Sway and wiggles. A lot. Trailer level or a little nose down is what you want hitch drop/rise configured for.

Level and about 10% of the trailer total weight on the hitch is where I would start. Once that was accomplished then you would know if there were other issues.

As mentioned whipped out old axle torsion rubber, bad bearings or old tires that are rotting from the inside out due to age breakdown are all things that can introduce sway or unsteady towing.

There can be a problem with weight focused on the extreme front and rear. E.G some sort of carrier with weight on rear trailer bumper and dual propane and batteries on the hitch. Hitch weight is "ok" amount but the trailer wants to pivot that weight constantly side to side and up and down in response to bumps.

Some place there was a link to a YouTube video showing how shifting weight on a model caused unsteady tow.
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keaner View Post
Thanks for the replies. I will load the trailer heavier at the front and maybe raise the hitch angle an inch or so.

Adding weigh to the front and then raising the hitch - does what for you? By raising the hitch you are taking the additional weight you put on the tongue off the tongue.

DO not raise the hitch up above the level until you try a few other things first. Raising the hitch up above level is a recipe for bigger problems. Also do not add any equipment such as anti sway bars etc until you spend some time figuring out what the issue is and that you have fixed it. Every trailer and tug combo is different! An anti sway bar is simple masking a set up problem and there is no guarantee it will actually stop a problem from happening.

A Colorado is a mid sized truck and yup in my experience in pulling with small SUV vehicle, mid sized trucks as well as full sized trucks you are going to feel a 2000lb trailer behind a mid sized V6 truck and it will be doing as you describe if the trailer has no brakes. You may not feel the trailer when your doing 60mph down a flat highway but you will feel it when stopping and staring for sure!

The back end of an empty mid sized truck does not have much weight to it (less than a small SUV in fact) and a 2000lb trailer can push/pull it around. Currently towing with a mid sized truck and I have had to add another 70lbs of weight to the tongue weight (compared to when I towed it with a small SUV) and tow with it just a little bit down on the tongue (rather than level as it was with the small SUV) in order to get the most stable tow. Have also found that tow stability improves particularly in side wind conditions if I have some heavy items in the rear of the truck as well, helps to stop the trailer from being able to tug the back of the truck.

If you don't have brakes on the trailer you may want to add them. Depending on how frequently you plan on using the trailer the cost of adding brakes to the axle is pretty cheap compared to replacing the brakes pads on your truck every 2 years or so. Not to mention that if you plan on pulling the trailer outside of Ontario you are going to find that some provinces require brakes on trailers less than 3000lbs - for example Manitoba and Alberta require brakes on any trailer of 2000lbs or more - which most 13' Boler's weigh once loaded up, as the owners of them who have bothered to weigh them have discovered.
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:41 PM   #12
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I towed our 19' Scamp for thousands of miles with a Toyota Tacoma and the hitch designed and installed as per Scamp. (Bolted to the bed and not fixed to the frame). The issue I had was an almost continuous jerking. Now with the Frontier and the hitch fastened to the truck using Reese 5th wheel rails attached to the frame, that is completely gone. I only post to let you know that you shouldn't overlook the possibility that there is flex somewhere in your hitch system.
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Old 07-23-2015, 07:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keaner View Post
Thanks for the replies. I will load the trailer heavier at the front and maybe raise the hitch angle an inch or so. I have a new axle on the frame so that is ruled out. The drop hitch arrangement definitely has some slop in it.

Raising the ball will likely make it worse, not better. When I said my Sienna with a 1" rise rode better, I did not mean the trailer sat higher than with the Pilot; in both cases the trailer was level. However, the receiver sits so much higher on the Pilot that I have to use about 5" of drop to get the trailer level, vs. 1" of rise with the Sienna.

I'll let you know if taking the slop out helps. The Hitch-Vise arrived today, so I may take it on a trial run tomorrow.
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Old 07-23-2015, 07:35 PM   #14
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I believe that the Lil'Bigfoot Elpea is looking at has brakes, but they don't have a controller in the van they will be pulling with and, I believe that it is in California where brakes are required on RV's at or over 1500 lbs.
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