View Full Version : Newbie trailer towing question
03-31-2011, 12:31 AM
I need to ask a question of any who can lend their two bits on a question that may seem totally ridiculous but I have to ask it anyway. As someone who just picked up their new Jay Flight Swift 264Bh yesterday from the dealership, it is my first experience with towing a travel trailer of any size and my question is this...just what should you feel in the tow vehicle when towing? ie...should it feel a little bouncy or soft in the back of the truck? I have a 2007 Chevy Avalanche w/5.3 and 4.10 gears and the trailer is well within towing capacities and I have a WD hitch that makes it seem as if the back of the truck barely goes down at all when fully hitched...looks very level so I know that must be okay. But it's the "sensations" of towing that I am looking at getting from people as a new person to this whole thing I seem to be a little edgy with the new trailer weight behind me. Any opinions/thoughts/comments would be appreciated.
03-31-2011, 06:07 AM
Start out taking short trips and you will soon get use to the trailer back there. Take your time and check your mirrors constantly. You will have to make wider turns so watch that mirror. Always keep in mind to be on the lookout for low bridges, you can find the height of your TT in the owners manual. Have someone stand behind the TT to help you when backing up. Tell them to point in the direction the TT needs to go and to check for low branches. Tell them to move around to always be able to see your face in the mirror, if they can't see you, you can't see them. Before long it will be a snap.
03-31-2011, 07:34 AM
Hi there , In all my years of towing, pickups w/ car trailers, otr tractors w/ heavy equip the only "bouncy" feeling I ever got was with our 19H ( who'd a thunk). I think it's because of the barely noticeable uneveness of the roads,hidden concrete joints under the asphalt, plus the lightly sprung trailers which will bounce to some degree. I also think that when loaded correctly you will notice it less. Happy towing
03-31-2011, 08:11 AM
One other tip that helped me in the beginning. Hand on the bottom of the wheel. The way your hand moves on the wheel is the way the trailer will move!
03-31-2011, 08:12 AM
As a suggestion, "load up" your trailer and truck as if going on a normal camping trip. Then, visit a scale and get your combined items officially weighed. One must weight the Trailer axles and truck axles. Remember while truck is connected to trailer, its front and rear axles much weight near the same. While disconnected with level tongue, the trailer's tonque must be between 10% - 13% wegitht of the loaded trailer. If wondering, some trailers tow better at 15% because of their frontal wind drag.
For more details about weighing Tow Vehicle & Trailer, surf: http://rvbasics.com/techtips/weighing-your-rv.html
If both TV and trailer isn't "balanced" properly or its attached WDS system isn't adusted properly (even if the TV's rear looks near level), the truck's rear will have bounce. And, at times, uncontrollable bounce (which is a very bad thing).
03-31-2011, 08:55 AM
You and I have similar setups. Mine rides pretty level, but my entire truck is a little bit lower. It will feel very different - but should feel pretty solid overall. I get bounce, but not that much - I would call it more of a slow wave. I tow a smaller 10 foot single axle scout trailer it has bounce! Even going over railroad tracks with the TT, I barely feel it with the weight bars properly tensioned. Do you have chains on your weight bars? If it does not feel right, maybe you need to go up one link on your chains?
We just got back from a trip through Arkansas and they have really bad highways. As you are going over the bridge from Memphis, each span sags in the middle. Even without the trailer you feel like you are bouncing all over the place. The trailer really got to bouncing and all I did was just slow down and it was all good again.
As far as driving, there is nothing wrong with going slower than the speed limit. I generally go about 60 and just keep it going in the right lane. It is much more relaxing because I am not passing many people and dont have to change lanes much.
What kind of brake controller did you get? Make sure it is properly adjusted. I have one with boost mode, and it really makes a different in my opinion.
03-31-2011, 09:51 AM
Your shocks may be too soft (old, worn out) Towing will magnify any maintenance issues you may have
03-31-2011, 12:02 PM
HammerDown mentioned using a second person to help when backing. Additionally, a set of walkie-talkies is realllllly nice to have... far easier to communicate even for us "veterans". Also, go slow when backing.
I do most of the driving when traveling. Weird that I notice the tt behind me on every trip as I pull out especially if I had been drving the truck w/o the tt. But, after I've gone a few miles, I don't even know it's back there. :)
03-31-2011, 12:11 PM
The proper use of the WD hitch is something that I will admit to not knowing much about. As it does have chains on it, how do I know how many links to set it at? Bringing it home the other day it was set on the 4th link but how does a person know it shouldn't be at a different setting?
03-31-2011, 12:17 PM
The manual that came with mine recommends starting with it parallel to the trailer when weight is lowered on it. You can add a links if the ride is not firm enough or you get too much sag.
My dealer added too many links to start and the bars actually rubbed against the frame a bit so I lowered it one.
Did you add an electric tongue jack? I actually had the dealer install it when I got it and it is best option I have on the camper. I could not imagine manually cranking up and down that thing to get the bars on every time.
03-31-2011, 12:29 PM
Find online elsewhere ... For Newbie Trailering Tips (http://www.rvforum.net/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=188:trailer-towing-tips-for-newbies&catid=26:towing-and-towables&Itemid=45).
And Correct adjustment of WDH (http://www.rvforum.net/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=79:correct-adjustment-of-a-weight-distributing-hitch&catid=26:towing-and-towables&Itemid=45) (we used this formula when verifying the dealer adjusted our hitch correctly) :)
03-31-2011, 12:40 PM
Thanks for the suggested link healthi!
03-31-2011, 08:35 PM
YOur welcome. Let us know how it goes :)
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