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Old 10-17-2020, 10:49 PM   #1
Dao
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Am I just a wimp?

I"m towing a 17RK (about 3300#'s) with a 2018 F150 and Anderson WDH. The tow vehicle should be more than enough for the trailer, but when I'm going down hill or in winding conditions, I panic. Going down hill I feel like I'm being pushed and when it is windy, I feel like the rear of my truck is going to hop to one side. I see other heavier trailers happily going along without a care in the world. The most sway I see is about a 1 foot to either side in these conditions, but it just feels like something bad is about to happen. I"m new at all this, so maybe I shouldn't worry about a bit of sway and pushing. Am I just overly sensitive?
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Old 10-18-2020, 05:29 AM   #2
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Welcome to the wonderful world of camping trailers !
Sometimes, being a wimp is good. Us wimps live longer... :-)

Not all of us will admit it, but we've all been there.

Towing a trailer is something you have to learn, and one of the important lessons is that it "feels different".

Yes, you ARE getting pushed from behind, on a hill or during braking. There's a ton and a half of dead weight back there, in a hurry to get somewhere. Downshift, brake early and sparingly, make sure your trailer brakes are set up right

Drive slower... you're towing a big, non-aerodynamic, portable blind spot, and it feels like it's got a sail mounted on it. Especially when a big truck goes by, and you get that moment when the trailer tries to steer the truck from behind. Then you figure it out and, before you know it, you're anticipating it, and correcting for it, without even thinking. Suddenly you're an "old hand" (and that, of course, is when you get complacent and accidents happen :-)

Sideways movement in a strong crosswind is to be expected, and if it's really bad, maybe you should consider stopping. (add another item to your trip planning... "check the weather forecast")

If you feel you're getting more sway than you should, try adjusting the sway damper on your WDH. Make sure your weight distribution is right (You have checked it, right?)

The reason all those other trailers are travelling "without a care" is perhaps because they've been doing it longer.. or they don't understand the risks!
Let them go, don't try to keep up... go at a pace that's comfortable for you and your vehicle/trailer combination.. You will find that pace in time... it will just "click".
We have yet to find it for our new TV this year, but, for the old Jeep, the "sweet spot" was exactly 63mph. Set the cruise control to that, and everything just "settled", and hummed along all day.

Practise, and relax. If you drive with white knuckles, you're going to arrive in no state to enjoy your stay, and dreading the return journey... this is not what camping is about. (If I wanted my vacations to involve lots of stress, I'd go by air !)

Above all... have fun, and be safe,
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Old 10-18-2020, 05:31 AM   #3
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Do you have a compatible brake controller? My JayFeather Sport has similar weight and our 2010 F150 roll along just fine.
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Old 10-18-2020, 06:07 AM   #4
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You will get used to different situations that present the uncomfortable times of towing. I remember my thoughts when 3 or 4 semis would pass going the same direction as me on interstates. They create a huge amount of turbulence which in turn makes the TT get squirrely. Now after getting used to it, I don't even pay attention to them anymore which may not be good either. A little concern is probably good, so we don't let our guard down. Happy and Safe Travels!
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Old 10-18-2020, 07:04 AM   #5
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Dao; sounds like you are paying attention to how your rig is behaving in relation to it's surroundings..that isn't being a wimp. Kudos on maintaining situational awareness! Your smaller rig may indeed be a little less stable while towing, compared to the larger (multi axle) rigs you witness in your travels. I know that an 8X8 enclosed snowmobile trailer doesn't tow as well as my previous 24 foot travel trailer. Just bought our 17 footer; we'll see how well that tows.
The others that have replied to your post have made some good suggestions. Best wishes!
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Old 10-18-2020, 07:32 AM   #6
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Make double sure your wdh is set correctly. If you didn't do it yourself chances are that it's not right (disclaimer, I'm not familiar with this style hitch ).
Next make sure your break controller is set properly (see above).
The rule of thumb for towing in hilly or mountainous conditions is: Never go any faster down than you went up. If you don't have tow/haul mode shift down as needed.
I have never felt pushed by any tt I've owned, from 5000lb to 11,000lb.
I have a diesel, torque converter stays locked until 32mph, that helps slow things down. I take cruise control off. I then let rig gain speed until I feel breaking is needed, then I break aggressively until I slow to my comfort zone then let off. NEVER EVER do I ride the brakes!!! If I can't control my rig in this manner I will manually downshift to 2nd gear.
Trucks passing seldom if ever cause a sway. In really cross wind conditions I'll get some sway so I slow down.
This is how I do it and have always felt safe, note, nothing wrong about going slower.
Hope this gives you some insite.
By the way I use the equal-i-zer wdh

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Old 10-18-2020, 07:49 AM   #7
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I'll echo what Ian and Paul said. Last weekend we had a strong head wind on the way down and a strong cross wind on the way home. It was a 5 hour trip that became 6 because I slowed down and stopped a few extra times. It helped a lot. I normally tow around 65mph on the interstate unless the speed limit is less. On this trip I went 60 on the way down, 55 on the way home. At the end of the day, it was only an extra hour and I made it to my destination safely. It was my first time towing a TT on a windy day, and the winds were only about 15-20mph. No sway; I just left like the whole unit was being pushed around.

Were other campers going faster? You betcha. And my DW even commented on it, as if we were doing something wrong. I reminder her that we have a fairly long (32'), light (6,000 pound), trailer. They were similar in length, but much heavier just based on the number of slide outs you could see on them. The wind might not have effected them as much. Just because they were going faster does not mean I should. Drive as fast as you feel is safe, as long as you don't speed or exceed the limits of your tires.
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:00 AM   #8
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All the above have given you good advice. One foot of sway from side to side? Yes, something bad is about to happen I'd say. You really need to revisit your hitch set up and make sure its set up correctly. Is your trailer too nose high? What is the tongue weight of the trailer as its loaded right now? You need to get to a scale and find out what weight the trailer is putting on the truck. With your combo you should be able to put all the tongue weight of that trailer on the hitch easily unless you're carrying too much junk in the bed. What does the little yellow sticker on the driver's door pillar of your truck read? It will say what your max payload is. All the stuff you carry plus your tongue weight cannot exceed that number. I have no experience with the Anderson hitch but I'm sure you can get it dialed in once you know your weights.

Nose high or too little hitch weight will cause the problems you describe for sure. Don't be afraid to put more trailer weight on the truck, its made to carry weight. Also make sure your tires on the truck and trailer are set to max cold inflation that is stamped on the side walls, it does make a difference.

Go weigh your combo and report back to us, please. Rustic Eagle posted a good Cat Scale weighing guide so search the forum and find it. Tells you exactly how to do it correctly and it will help you figure out where you are off in your setup.
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:07 AM   #9
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If it sways as much as you say, especially on down hill runs, sounds like a not enough tounge weight issue. A friends kid lost his dads f250 hauling a roofers trailer that had all the weight behind the axles. I watched another super duty loose it 1 car ahead of me. It was just like the u tube videos. When you can see the tires on 1 side of the trailer over the roof of the car in front of you it is time to back er down. As I krept past the truck/trailer blocking most of the 3 lane interstate, he was standing where the drivers window used to be talking on his cell phone.
Old drivers tip that may ( or not) help save you a$$ in that situation is to put you foot on the go fast pedal while manually applying the brake controller slide as hard as you can.
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:41 AM   #10
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Thank you all, there have been some excellent tips and thoughts on towing here. I will look into whether my WDH is correct. I just set it up myself after watching a Youtube video. I suspect I may not have it quite tight enough. I'll look at other threads on the Anderson for tips.

Mostly, I think I'm just still learning how it feels and need more experience with driving techniques and situations. I don't drive overly fast, usually about the speed limit. Unfortunately the "Speed Limit" is about 10 to 15 mph slower than everyone else wants to go. This adds to my angst since I don't want to be holding up traffic.

I guess at the end of the day, having fun and being safe is what it is about. As I gain more experience I hope to do more of both!
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Old 10-18-2020, 09:44 AM   #11
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This was supposed to be a reply to ekonjack, but I'm new to the forum too and it showed up down here? You guys are going to think "Well of course he has trouble towing, he can't even figure out how the forum works!"

I don't have the factory controller. I have a Tekonsha, seems to work fine. Is there something in particular I should be looking out for?
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Old 10-18-2020, 10:45 AM   #12
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I bought my 195RB and the dealer installed and "adjusted" the Andersen hitch. But before I left the dealer I added a full turn to the adjustment nuts. After two stops and 30 miles I stopped two more times and added some tension to the nuts. Why? Because in that short drive I felt the front end of my Jeep was 'floaty" and the steering was less than positive. And a passing truck gave me some sway.

After the Andersen was dialed in the steering oddness and sway disappeared. A couple trips later that brackets slipped and the feeling came back. I called Andersen and they recommended I reposition the brackets and drill holes to keep it in place. Since then - perfect.
Last month I went to my local grain elevator and found my front axel lost no weight when my hitch was on.

Regarding stopping. Make sure your brake controller and the actual brakes on the trailer are working. Lots of youtubes and look via the search bar above or many who have had brake adjustment problems.
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:07 PM   #13
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Sorry to disagree with everyone you should be able to go at least 75 miles an hour mabey 80 if you are in a hurry. The road conditions do not matter. Ok mabey I am lying. Go as fast as you feel comfortable. And in my experience the motion during towing is something I have gotten use to. Strong wind gust can still make the backside pucker occasionally though.
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:35 PM   #14
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Dao,

The 17RK being a single axle TT by nature can be a little more 'sensitive' with wind, sudden maneuvers, poor road conditions, etc.,.........., especially if the WDH needs to be dialed-in and/or lack of tongue weight. With a single axle TT I would recommend a loaded TT tongue weight at 13% to 15% of loaded gross weight for enhanced TV handling characteristics.

As mentioned, confirm that your Tekonsha brake controller is tuned-in so that the TT starts braking before your TV....., a large parking lot works great for brake testing & adjustment.

I would ask a friend to join you and take your TV/TT combo to a CAT scale for a weigh-in under typical TV/TT loaded conditions. The CAT will confirm your loaded tongue weight, WDH adjustment, proper weight transfer, TV & TT axle weights, etc..

CAT Scale how-to: https://www.jaycoowners.com/forums/f...v-tt-3871.html

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Old 10-18-2020, 09:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dao View Post

Mostly, I think I'm just still learning how it feels and need more experience with driving techniques and situations. I don't drive overly fast, usually about the speed limit. Unfortunately the "Speed Limit" is about 10 to 15 mph slower than everyone else wants to go. This adds to my angst since I don't want to be holding up traffic.

I guess at the end of the day, having fun and being safe is what it is about. As I gain more experience I hope to do more of both!
One thing to remember is, nobody is born already knowing how to tow a trailer. We've all been there, and had to learn just like everyone else. It takes some practice to learn to turn wide, keep a really safe distance from the vehicles in front of you in case they have to stop quickly, and backing it up.

You drive only as fast as you feel comfortable, and don't worry about the people behind you. They'll either slow down, or pass you. The only ones I care about behind me are the occasional emergency vehicle. I use tow mirrors, and check them often.

You'll be surprised how quickly you'll catch on. It's the journey, not the destination
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:51 AM   #16
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Each time I read the headline I cringe. I wouldn't want anyone towing and feeling something uncomfortable and thinking "I'm just being a wimp", and blasting on. It's a variation on the old joke here where they put cockpit voice recorders in Texas pickups. The last words they heard in most accidents was "y'all hold my beer, watch this".

Have a qualified person recheck your set up, you have enough truck to start, tow, and stop that trailer in all but the most severe weather. Yes, some will be experience and getting comfortable. I know on my summer trips of a couple months having the camper behind me becomes the norm.
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:20 AM   #17
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Sorry to disagree with everyone you should be able to go at least 75 miles an hour mabey 80 if you are in a hurry. The road conditions do not matter. Ok mabey I am lying. Go as fast as you feel comfortable. And in my experience the motion during towing is something I have gotten use to. Strong wind gust can still make the backside pucker occasionally though.
I usually go 85 and if at all possible 90... the tires are rated for 80 so no worries there!!!! and if it is raining or really windy try for triple digit speed.. glad it isn't just me
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:24 AM   #18
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I"m towing a 17RK (about 3300#'s) with a 2018 F150 and Anderson WDH. The tow vehicle should be more than enough for the trailer, but when I'm going down hill or in winding conditions, I panic. Going down hill I feel like I'm being pushed and when it is windy, I feel like the rear of my truck is going to hop to one side. I see other heavier trailers happily going along without a care in the world. The most sway I see is about a 1 foot to either side in these conditions, but it just feels like something bad is about to happen. I"m new at all this, so maybe I shouldn't worry about a bit of sway and pushing. Am I just overly sensitive?

go the speed you are most comfortable with... as others have stated you should check your WDH you should have little to no sway. if you do something is wrong and should be checked/adjusted. never exceed your comfort level... have to go 50 so be it, they have passing lanes and 4 lane highways for a reason.. if you notice you have a line of traffic behind you though, please be courteous to those behind you and pull over when safe and let traffic go by that will lower your blood pressure and those behind you...
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:37 AM   #19
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Mostly, I think I'm just still learning how it feels and need more experience with driving techniques and situations. I don't drive overly fast, usually about the speed limit. Unfortunately the "Speed Limit" is about 10 to 15 mph slower than everyone else wants to go. This adds to my angst since I don't want to be holding up traffic.

Don't let yourself get too caught up in this, you are pulling weight and those cars going faster than the speed limit (usually) aren't. When towing my 30' TT I stay at or under the speed limit and stay in the right hand lane. When I know there is a major highway or interstate intersecting with the road I'm driving I get over 1 lane to the left to allow that traffic to merge, then get back to the right hand lane when I am past it.

And don't worry about all those going faster, you have just as much right to the road as anyone else.
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Old 10-19-2020, 08:42 AM   #20
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Trailer sway is not normal and should be corrected. If the sway starts to become excessive use the manual brake on the brake controller to get back under control while keeping light throttle on the tow vehicle. Excessive speed will lead to excessive sway.
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