importance of, & measuring for level tow? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-24-2021, 05:13 PM   #1
gwc
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importance of, & measuring for level tow?

13' Burro with 2011 RAV4 TV.



#1 Am I correct to measure frame height at trailer wheel & establishing same height at ball receiver? Seems like that's foolproof?



My 1.5" off-set receiver gives me almost exact level when in the lower position but ball bolt has touched bottom on extreme driveway/street pitch angles (once)



If off-set is flipped I'm as much as 2" higher in front BUT much easier to attach if TV & trailer are on uneven ground & no drag issues.


#2 Is 2" higher front tow unsafe with this trailer/TV setup? Have actually towed it both ways & didn't notice a difference but then if conditions were wrong??
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Old 06-24-2021, 10:35 PM   #2
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Level

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwc View Post
13' Burro with 2011 RAV4 TV.

#1 Am I correct to measure frame height at trailer wheel & establishing same height at ball receiver? Seems like that's foolproof?
Only if the camp site is level. Biggest reason to be level is safety of towing and yours tows OK. Next is being level for the refrigerator to work, perfect is not necessary but close and you should not have problems.

Next, why not use a level to check level, If you are comfortable in it when parked and it tows OK all should be well.
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Old 06-25-2021, 07:31 AM   #3
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Yes too high can be very dangerous. It’s all about tongue weight. Data wins. You may be ok, you may not.

If the ball is too high, and trailer slopes upward towards the front, you will lighten tongue weight. Google trailer sway to see the potential consequences. If you still have enough tongue weight (we are back to getting data) you will be ok.
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:28 AM   #4
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I agree that maintaining a forward weight bias is the most important factor in preventing dangerous sway, but I'm not convinced small variations in towing attitude are as dire as you suggest. Raising the tongue an inch or two pivots the center of mass slightly rearward. The effect is small, and as long as your tongue weight is not marginal to begin with, it is unlikely to cause serious instability.

It would be easy enough to check with a bathroom scale, a piece of plywood (to distribute the weight), and a measuring tape (to set the couple height). It would also be helpful to know the gross (loaded) weight of the whole trailer.

Boxy trailers may also experience some aerodynamic changes that affect stability when towed nose-up, but with a rounded egg trailer, that is negligible.

We tow our Scamp with around 12% tongue weight. I have two drawbars. One is perfectly level and the other is a little nose high (5-3/4” drop vs. 4” drop, so 1-3/4” higher). I’ve tested stability with both up to 70 mph, well above my normal towing speed, with no issues. I typically use use the lower drawbar for high speed highway towing and avoid tongue strikes by crossing steep driveway aprons at an angle. I use the higher drawbar for shorter local trips, which often involve off-highway travel.

If you have a 3-way fridge, it will not be affected by slight off-level towing, but you'll want it level for overnight stops. If you're towing a bit nose high and want to leave it hitched for an overnight stop, you could pull the trailer wheels onto blocks.
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:37 PM   #5
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As another reply said, Close is good enough.
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Old 06-25-2021, 05:49 PM   #6
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Great comment. Hadn't thought about the change in tongue weight as ball height changes. In my case a bit higher may solve my problem of 10# over tongue weight max of TV. Should remain nose heavy for the 1200# trailer weight including load.
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Old 06-26-2021, 08:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by gwc View Post
Great comment. Hadn't thought about the change in tongue weight as ball height changes. In my case a bit higher may solve my problem of 10# over tongue weight max of TV. Should remain nose heavy for the 1200# trailer weight including load.
Changing the hitch height is the wrong way to manage tongue weight IMO. Instead, adjust your loading. One heavy item moved toward the back could well make a 10# difference.

But what is 10#? If you’re running that close to your limits, consider that tow ratings are based based on 1-2 people and no additional cargo in the tow vehicle (see manual for specifics). Most people have stuff in the cargo area. I’d recommend getting an axle-by-axle weighing of your fully loaded rig at a CAT scale (truck stops do it for a modest fee). Compare to your axle and gross weight ratings. If they’re good, you don’t need to worry about the 10#. OTOH, you might find your problem is more than 10#. The rear axle is often the one to watch.
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:15 AM   #8
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Ball Hight on TV

All on level ground:
On our car ball is set at 18" top no trailer, which is the top inside of hitch receiver when the trailer is level on flat ground.
We use a weight distribution system with sway bar (WD) not sure if WD makes a difference. Car has a special class 3 frame hitch made for our unibody car. When towing one link puts us a little low an 2 a little high, we go with two but both are close enough. Rides great.
Sway bar makes a big difference in towing sway.

Agree with Jon in AZ set weigh by shifting load not trailer angle.

Andy at Cam-Am RV the hitch specialist told us the same when we got our trailer setup professionally. Think Rav4 is considered a truck so tongue percent maybe different as are some other towing rules.

We pack for about 190 lbs at tongue as it is a car and for cars they recommend 8% to 9%. Think your 10# was 10%

Two 20lb propane tanks and gel pack battery about 137lbs the remaining 60 lbs is trailer. Carole could pick the trailer tongue up on flat ground in yard and move it before we had the wheel "with propane tanks and battery off" in the past.

Hope this helps
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:37 AM   #9
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bottom out

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwc View Post
13' Burro with 2011 RAV4 TV.
My 1.5" off-set receiver gives me almost exact level when in the lower position but ball bolt has touched bottom on extreme driveway/street pitch angles (once)
Have same problem when not using WD hitch system but no problems with it.
You can buy light units for smaller trailers but they have to be ordered. Or maybe you could add cargo coils for rear of Rav4 we did that on one of our cars. Cost is less.

Cargo coils add rear capacity to a car; but do not think they change the max load of passengers, cargo in car, hitch weight, WD or draw system weight, total limit. Our car limit is 825lbs. The 825 lbs was based on front and rear total. Think they should add to max as they add to the back load limit but do not know so better to pack for regular weight check. Again trucks are different.

P.S. load to heavy forward in trailer with regular draw bar and you can affect steering on loose gravel or slippery roads did this once many years ago no harm no foul that time so learning lesson.
Had a tent trailer back then, it was actually as heavy as the boler but wheels were set back farther from center LOL so heavier on tongue. Thought of it as a light trailer and did not know the rules back then.

Hope this also helps
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:12 AM   #10
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I owed a RAV4 V6 Sport, with tow package, and never considered it a truck.
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Old 06-27-2021, 02:32 PM   #11
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Truck or is it a car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I owed a RAV4 V6 Sport, with tow package, and never considered it a truck.
Agree I also see it as a car but under law it maybe a truck.

Just that in Ontario most if not all mid to large suv's are in the traffic laws as trucks and set a total tow rule weight for unit and trailer total.

In the case of the cars we have a load limit it is posted at driver door;
- 825 lbs is our cars limit. The passengers, cargo, hitch weight, WD or drawbar, and tongue weight can not go over this or fine is per kg. it can cost!
- We also only need 8% to 9% on tongue but do not think this is law.
The do not consider the trailer total weight but maybe the feel they do not need to with a car as we have a tongue and hitch limit that should limit trailer size.

Rules for both cars and trucks below
- 50% rule if trailer is over 3500 lbs or is over 50% of the towing vehicle weight it needs electric brakes. (or electric over hydraulic)
- breakaway switch and must be working with battery for disconnect if brakes required or are installed.
- Tires total weight limit and axle limit must total more than loaded trailer. We have D rated ST tires for this reason it is over kill but better than a fine
- chains, hitch lock or pin, working lights as required, mirrors as needed
- Our trailer size means we need a class ll hitch minimum they do not make WD for them so we have an expensive custom class lll frame hitch made for unibody. Hitch needs to meet or exceed trailer requirements

Do not think missed anything but please forgive me if I did.

We went to Andy the trailer hitch specialist at Can-AmRV in London Ontario and the MTO to make sure we were legal. When we got the boler the MTO person helped with explaining all the laws for towing with a car and Andy took our original hitch and modified it into a frame hitch for our car as it is unibody.

When we were new to the boler we went on line, got truck info from people as it seems most pull with a truck no mater how light the trailer. Few knew cars are different under the law so instead insisted on us using truck rules.

Large truck means more gas and the money can be put to fun instead.

That was over ten years ago and the boler is a dream to pull.
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Old 06-27-2021, 03:08 PM   #12
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The Best Trailer Group anywhere

We do not normally post the trailer hooked up to the car as it can cause all kinds of verbal attacks from those that do not know the real rules for towing.

This group is the exception though. Great place to learn and get help.
Was given a rear tail light base from one member, told where to find items from others, the instructions on how to fix things has been invaluable.

This year we added, trailer insurance incase it is stolen or damaged in a traffic accident. It was affordable. They feel it needs to be appraised and is worth more than we said, maybe in the future just have no idea how to get a good appraisal of a vintage boler.

Want to take this time to thank all that have help in resorting our boler and hope that maybe we will meet on the road.
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Old 06-30-2021, 12:54 PM   #13
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The real issue about having your trailer level with tow vehicle is when it comes to a panic stop or evasive manuver. If it's pushing down it will take weight off of your front wheels affecting your steering and braking. If it's pushing up at the hitch you will lose traction on your rear wheels you can find yourself spin around in a hurry.
If this is supposed to be enjoyable experience why take a chance and marr it with and accident and or possibly hurting someone else?
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