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Old 05-24-2013, 01:36 PM   #1
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Towing opinion wanted

I was unable to obtain a shank with enough drop to reach the ideal level configuration. So for this upcoming trip I am forced to deal with what I have.

That being said what I end up with is a tongue that is 3 inches higher than it should be when hitched up. With the weight distribution hitch in place the TV has a 1/2 inch drop on the front fender and a 1 inch drop on the rear fender. I have already towed this setup 160 miles and did not note any unusual characteristics.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate my risk of having any issues? Where 1 is no problem and 10 would be dangerous.

Thanks for your opinion. (Yes, I am looking for a warm-fuzzy here.)
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:09 PM   #2
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All I've read indicates you should not have any front fender drop. Can you turn your shank 180 degrees in your receiver to lower tongue height? I have a Huskey hitch that you can do this with. You may want to provide some more specific infomation or a picture of your setup to get some better answers here. Sorry, no warm fuzzy here!
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nighthawk 96 View Post
All I've read indicates you should not have any front fender drop. Can you turn your shank 180 degrees in your receiver to lower tongue height? I have a Huskey hitch that you can do this with. You may want to provide some more specific infomation or a picture of your setup to get some better answers here. Sorry, no warm fuzzy here!
This is a Husky hitch. Yes, I did flip it over and it is as low as it will go.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Chuck,

Assuming that all other aspects of your TV and HTT are to specifications and within limits, I wouldn't classify it as a dangerous situation under "ideal" towing conditions.

IMO to minimize the effect of being a little tongue high I would want the loaded tongue weight to be closer to 15% then 10% of the HTT's loaded weight (based on the 10% to 15% manufacture recommendation).

I also think your TV to HTT weight may work in your favor as well.

Bob
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:33 PM   #5
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I would use it as is and keep an eye out for a hitch with a longer shank. They are around. I had a similar problem going from a 1/2 ton to a 3/4 ton truck and I ended up going to a welding shop and they cut the shank loose, lowered it so it was flush on top, and added some longer and thicker webbing to keep it strong. So if your hitch sticks up and down from the part that goes into the receiver you have a possible fix.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnchuck100 View Post
I was unable to obtain a shank with enough drop to reach the ideal level configuration. So for this upcoming trip I am forced to deal with what I have.

That being said what I end up with is a tongue that is 3 inches higher than it should be when hitched up. With the weight distribution hitch in place the TV has a 1/2 inch drop on the front fender and a 1 inch drop on the rear fender. I have already towed this setup 160 miles and did not note any unusual characteristics.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate my risk of having any issues? Where 1 is no problem and 10 would be dangerous.

Thanks for your opinion. (Yes, I am looking for a warm-fuzzy here.)
Your post actually has two parts and needs to be addressed as such.

The tongue height is going to affect the way the truck handles when towing. The trailer should be as level as possible, measured at the corners. If it takes a different hitch to accomplish that, that personally is how I would go. You might possibly find a welding shop that can do some fabrication on your existing hitch, but you'll be happier with the correct hitch. Your current configuration also affects your ability to correctly adjust the WD which is the second part.

Your WD is not adjusted correctly. Your truck manual should specify how much weight should be transferred back to the front axle. This can either be determined by weighing the front axle on a CAT scale, or by following the instructions in your truck's manual. The manual will specify the needed height. Usually the front needs be returned to the original height, but in some cases, like the newer Fords, they will say to return it to half of the height between unhitched and hitched height. While not creating a dangerous condition, towing long term with this setup will accelerate wear on your front suspension and tires and needs to be corrected. This can actually be deceptive as the truck may appear to handle well, and it probably does, but it's not right.

Don't get hung up on getting the truck level. That is not the purpose of WD, it is to return weight to the front axle and nothing else. It's possible to level the truck by overloading the tension bars but in doing so can actually lift the rear of the truck to the point of losing traction and braking ability. It doesn't matter if the rear of the truck sags, get the front right and let the rear take care of itself. Ignore any advice that tells you to tweak it until the rig looks right or until it "feels right". Likewise for any responses you get from posting a photo of your rig that say, "Looks good to me". You can't tell if it's right by looking at it
Finally, go to the towing section on RV.Net and read the two stickies on WD setup and how it works. They should be required reading for anyone who buys a trailer.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:18 AM   #7
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Just to add some clarity to my dilemma....
1. This set up is temporary.....until I can get the correct shank. I am aware of what is needed for ideal. But I am stuck with this arrangement for this trip.
2. Weights are all well under limits.
3. The ONLY change was in moving from a 2002 Suburban that ALL was properly set to a 2007 Suburban where the receiver height is 8 inches higher than the 2002.
4. My concern is the amount of risk with my trip next week. That is why I asked for a 1 to 10 rating of risk. Which no one has provided.
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
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snip..... My concern is the amount of risk with my trip next week. That is why I asked for a 1 to 10 rating of risk. Which no one has provided.
Chuck,

I didn't overlook your request for a level of risk (1-10)..., it's just that I didn't feel comfortable assigning a numerical value to someone else's risk potentinal..., there are many variables (driving habits, weather, etc.) that can influence one's level of risk and can vary from one person to another.

Bob
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:27 PM   #9
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I give up. Sometimes it is virtually impossible specify what one is asking succinctly enough to get valid opinions.

The only risk evaluation I was requesting was the tongue height. Not other variables like weather, driving habits, speed etc.

Thanks anyway.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnchuck100 View Post
I give up. Sometimes it is virtually impossible specify what one is asking succinctly enough to get valid opinions.

The only risk evaluation I was requesting was the tongue height. Not other variables like weather, driving habits, speed etc.

Thanks anyway.
But... all that stuff figures into it.

If the trailer is not level then it loads up one set of wheels. That is not a good thing. You towed for 160 miles with no problems, that is not a bad thing.

The Suburban is a good solid tow vehicle.

If you keep your speeds down then that would cause me to hedge toward the lower risk range. Lower speeds can minimize many of the problems. Higher speeds can increase the problems exponentially.

I just towed my 2001 23b with my Dodge Sprinter for the first time ever. I read all kinds of stuff about weight distributing hitches and what I should have.

Here is some of what I just posted on the Sprinter-source forum. My evaluation is not scientific. I am not the kind of driver who feels I need the best tires, best shocks, etc. for my truck. It is a truck, it drives like a truck. FWIW. vic


Selected text:

Anyway, the reason I'm answering my own thread is that based upon our 250 mile Memorial Day W/E round trip I would not hesitate to tow a Jayco 23b with a T1N 2500 Sprinter.

When we bought the trailer the dealership RV parts department told me we would need a Weight Distributing Hitch WDH and was happy to quote a 10,000# high capacity model which was about $800+ installed. When I offered that my Sprinter was only rated for 5000# tow capacity they moved down to a lesser model in the $600 price range. I told them that I would think about it. Their reply included something about safety and a WDH being a "must have".

I did some searching and decided that because the trailer had once had a friction type anti-sway bar ball mount attached I would just go with that and hold off on a WDH. I ordered a anti-sway bar figuring that the swivel ball mount would be an industry standard. WRONG. The holes almost aligned, but were just off enough to need significant modification.

Because other schedules got in the way I didn't get the anti-sway bar installed. So our first trip was without an expensive WDH or even an inexpensive anti-sway device. The wind on the delivery was maybe 15 mph. Our speed was generally around 60 mph with a little bit of 65 - 70 mph for shorter periods of time. I had no trouble with the 23b tracking behind me.

The return trip was a bit windier with gusts to a solid 25 mph, maybe more, being pretty common. The rig moved around a bit in the bigger gusts and when passing trucks disturbed the already windy air flow. Even in those situations I felt very much under control. There was a bit of buffeting around at times on the return trip, but nothing even approaching a white knuckle event. The rig tracked just fine.

I will install the anti-sway bar which I bought. Based upon this one trip, had I not already purchased it I probably would wait and see whether to spend the money.

I added some mirror extenders. Again, had I not already purchased them I probably wouldn't bother. My stock Sprinter mirror position gave me all the view which I needed for lane changing and backing up.

I ran the 185 80r 13 Goodyear Marathon tires at 50 psi which is max pressure. I always run any trailer tires at the max pressure indicated on the sidewall. Whenever we stopped I checked hub and tire temperatures by feel. All the tires and hubs felt like they were similar cool to warm temperature. Not one felt at all hot.

I dialed in the electric brake controller and was happy with the brake operation on the trip. The brakes had been NYS safety inspected. Even so, the day before leaving I took a turn around the block with the trailer in normal mode. I felt all the trailer wheels and all were cool. I did another turn around with the manual brake controller button held on. I could feel the drag. When I stopped to feel the temperatures of the trailer wheels each one felt a bit warm. Not very scientific, but it gave me an indication that the brakes were released on the first trip, and that all four wheels had at least some brake applied for the second time around. As an aside, I used #10 awg wire for the brake control wiring as Roger always suggests (as does Etrailer).

I didn't weigh the trailer and Sprinter. My guess is that the trailer was probably 4200# max because we don't have dishes, pots, pans, and other stuff accumulated as yet. The tongue weight was probably 350# with a 400# max. The rear end of the Sprinter did not squat at all. The dual axle trailer was level. The Sprinter had a medium cargo load inside, not a heavy load at all.

So at this time it seems that the T1N 2500 single rear wheel cargo Sprinter is up to towing a 2001 Jayco 23b trailer. After I get the simple friction anti-sway bar installed and have a few more trips under my belt I'll update here. I'm thinkin' that it's going to be fine and lots of fun. FWIW. vic
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