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Old 07-22-2013, 11:07 PM   #1
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New to RVing, checking my math and wondering about "sway"

We're looking at picking up a Jay Feather SLX that I believe is in my towing range. I've done what I think is the correct math to get where I am.

Vehicle: 08 Dodge Caravan SXT, 4.0 V6
Trailer Tow Prep Group includes according to the vehicle's window sticker:
  • Trailer Tow Wiring Harness
    Load Leveling and Height Control
    Heavy Duty Engine Cooling
    Heavy Duty Radiator
    Heavy Duty Transmission [Oil?] Cooler (This is on the fold, can't read it clearly...think it says "oil")

Tow capacity according to manual is 3600 lbs.

Hitch: Curt Class 3

Possible Trailer: Jay Flight SLX 154BH
UVW = 2450
Hitch weight = 260

Calculations:
3600 pounds - 260 hitch weight - estimated 600 people/cargo = 2740. That puts me about 290 pounds below my tow rating.

Combined Gross Vehicle Weight 8700 - van weight 4514 - trailer/people/cargo 3340 = 876 pounds to spare

Questions:

- is there anything I'm missing for figuring weight?

- I keep thinking, Jayco specifically says these trailers are for "made for minivans and crossovers" and I have one of the biggest engines you can get in a minivan and the trailer I've chosen is the second smallest of 5 available...I've got to be okay weight-wise, right? Otherwise what minivan is Jayco talking about here?? :-)

- I keep reading about "anti-sway" bars or sway controls. One product I see looks like it sits between the vehicle hitch and the trailer arm (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...-controls/7369). I'm pretty ignorant about what I'm looking for here.

- along those lines, weight distribution hitch? I didn't get one. Was that a mistake?

Thanks for any help you can provide a beginner!
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:09 AM   #2
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dakranii

Your specs are very close ours - we are actually a little "thinner" in some calcs....I think you are going to find your actual tongue weight is closer to 360# (and up). We have to pack our TT very careful to keep the tongue weight down to @ #300 and less. Car and van suspensions tend to be a little soft and most don't "like" 400+ #s levered off the back. And while it's good you have load leveling suspension...you still will want to be conscience of your tongue weight as hitches can have maximum tongue weight ratings.

We have a 400# WDH with sway control.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:09 AM   #3
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you need your tongue weight to be 360 to 490 lbs (10-15%).. less than that and you WILL have sway problems..
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:20 AM   #4
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Those seem to be competing suggestions. Threebutchers says tongue weight below 300, Sean says 360 to 490?

Do I control tongue weight with where I load the trailer? Front vs back
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:08 AM   #5
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dakranii,

Welcome to JOF

It appears that your working with the UVW and/or dry weights published by Jayco, which can be a little misleading. The actual "Ship Weight" of the 154BH will be closer to 2,750lbs (approx., check yellow sticker on trailer). What also must be considered is the weight of the RV dealer added items (battery, misc.), adding at least another 50lbs......, figure approximately 2,800lbs off the dealer's lot.

The 154BH has a GVWR of 3,200lbs, which doesn't leave much of a CCC (3,200lbs - 2,800lbs = 400lbs CCC). I believe towing the 154BH at it's 3,200lb GVWR will be highly probable in most cases do to the limited CCC, so the recommended RV manufactures "loaded" tongue weight range should be 320lb to 480lb depending on your personal loading habits (10% - 15% of loaded trailer weight of 3,200lbs). Maintaining a 10% to 15% loaded tongue weight of the loaded trailer weight will provide proper TV handling.

The published Tow Rating of any vehicle doesn't represent the "actual" tow rating, so in your case it will be less then 3,600lbs....., please note: https://www.jaycoowners.com/showthrea...uot-Tow-Rating

To reduce the weight guess work, take your Caravan under loaded conditions to a CAT scale and weigh it. Subtract the CAT scale weight from the Caravan's specified GVWR (identified on driver's door)...., the remaining weight is what you have for the trailer's loaded tongue weight and any other Caravan weight not accounted for at the CAT scale.

Once you weigh your loaded Caravan/154BH combination at a CAT scale you can confirm all your actual loaded weights.

Some of the smaller vehicles and OEM receiver hitches aren't designed for using WDH's..., so check your Caravan's owner's manual for any exclusions and/or WDH rating limits. Basically, if the loaded tongue weight of the trailer exceeds the "Weight Carrying" weight limit stamped on the OEM receiver, then a WDH is required as long as the loaded tongue weight doesn't exceed the "Weight Distribution" weight limit stamped on the OEM receiver.

Yes, the incorporation of a properly sized WDH and a sway control device would be recommended........, at least a sway control device like the one shown in the link you provided.

Hope this helps.

Bob
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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I think Seann misread your figures....

The ship weight of the 154BH is 2,450# (yellow sticker)

Max TT cargo weight is 600# (fully loaded w/ water, camping gear, and options added) - BTW....I weighed all my loaded / add-on gear @ 200#...(not including fresh water)

My gross trailer weight is about 2,800#

Remember it's accepted practice to include 15% of all weight on and behind the rear axle of the TV toward your calculated tongue weight. That includes the hitch gear (mine weighs 80# or 12# additional tongue weight)

I'm perfectly OK with my 300# TT tongue weight + 12# of TV tongue weight = 312# or @ 11%

Bottom line....you are making an OK choice on TT selection. For peace of mind...I would contact the mfg of your non-OEM hitch to check the specs on max tongue weight and WDH compatibility.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:50 AM   #7
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Thank you for the reply.

Just removing some of the complication here (I'm imagining the look I'll get when I tell my wife we're going to pack for camping but not actual go camping, but rather drive down the interstate to the closest weigh station), I keep coming back to this thought:

Jayco specifically says these trailers are for "made for minivans and crossovers" and I have one of the biggest engines you can get in a minivan and the trailer I've chosen is the second smallest of 5 available...I've got to be okay weight-wise, right? Otherwise what minivan is Jayco talking about here? They would be irresponsible to suggest that a product is made for a particular vehicle when even the most hardy of those vehicles can't actually handle it.

Perhaps I'm being na´ve, perhaps I'm being lazy.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threebutchers View Post
snip......The ship weight of the 154BH is 2,450# (yellow sticker)........snip
That's good to know because just about every other Jayco HTT, TT, and FW the actual Ship Weight (yellow sticker) is anywhere from 250lbs to 700lbs above the published UVW (depending on how it is configured). In the case of the 154BH having the UVW and Ship Weight at 2,450lbs works in favor of the limited CCC.

Thanks for the confirmation.

Bob
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:17 AM   #9
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Threebutchers and Rustic Eagle, thank you for the replies, they are both helpful. That makes me feel more comfortable about my decision.

Looking to clarify this point, as it's a new one to me:

"Remember it's accepted practice to include 15% of all weight on and behind the rear axle of the TV toward your calculated tongue weight."

So my hitch and ball mount weigh 59 pounds combined. I would also include anything I've got stored in the back of the van, so camping equipment. Say another 50 pounds. Total I've got 109 pounds behind the rear axle.

15% of that is about 16 pounds. I'd add that to the 260 pound tongue weight of the 154BH?
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #10
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I figured I'd just pack our cargo in the van rather than the trailer. But that might not be best practice. Where should I pack my stuff, the back of the van or in the trailer. And if in the trailer, back, front?
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