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Old 06-09-2015, 12:14 PM   #21
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There is way more to the sway dynamics than just weight distribution and wheel base.
Weight distribution improves the dynamics of the steering and the result of the forces on the hitch (leveling the trailer) but suspension design of the TV, chassis/body design, traction( front / rear, 4x4), etc everything working together will bring a result that may or may not be good.
As an example, attached is a picture of a X5 towing a 8300lbs Airstream with a 1000lbs tongue weight. When this picture was taken, the guy had already towed for 20K miles with no problem. His hitch? A Hensley which eliminates (way better than control) sway...
So to me, discuss TV model, wheel base, etc is worthless without evaluating the dynamics of the set up.
The British have a nice testing were TTs are set up on cars (yes cars) and they go to a racing track and measure how the set up performs when doing sharp lane changes in high speed using cones ... that is, in my understanding, a better way to evaluate this matter.
In lack of that, I would look for how many G's a TV can sustain in a curve...

That being said, "be good" in sway control is irrelevant when the right situation happens... you had a condition were the highway was going down (hitch lower than the normal compared to the TT CG), freezing temperatures, 60MPH (at freezing temperatures???) and a passing semi.... It's possible that the guy that was following with the Dodge didn't experienced the same problem just because he had time to slow down a bit when he reached the frozen spot and the semi "got him" before he reached the spot...
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:22 PM   #22
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My opinion - the TT was too long and too heavy for the truck. Cargo capacity determines the max tongue weight - along with the GVWR for axles. Most 1/2-tons are capable of pulling that much weight, but their suspensions are not built to control it in an emergency situation. And the longer the tail, the more it wags the dog.

I don't know if there are any hard and fast rules for 1/2-ton tow vehicles, but if anyone were to ask me "how big a trailer can I tow with my 1/2-ton truck," my answer would be, "Nothing longer than 21-24 feet, and nothing heavier than the GVWR specs allow."

Most folks look at that "towing capacity" number, then the weight of their trailer, and think the two are related. They are not. The numbers to compare are the GVWR and its cargo/payload capacity of the tow vehicle , and the maximum GVWR and max tongue weight of the trailer being towed.

Most trailers have a sticker that states the max GVWR, but only lists the tongue weight for the unloaded dry weight - which is not a realistic number. To calculate the tongue weight, figure 13-15 percent of the max GVWR for the trailer. Example - my Jayco 32RLDS has a max GVWR of 10,250#, so my max tongue weight could be as high as 1537#. There is no 1/2-ton made that could safely handle that load. In fact, that trailer is pushing the limits of my 2500HD pickup!

There is a reason that 3/4-ton trucks are more expensive than 1/2-ton trucks - they have heavier suspensions, HD brakes, HD transmissions, and a higher cargo capacity - resulting in a higher rated towing ability. If you want more, ya gotta pay for it - or you might end up paying for it.

Again - this is my experienced opinion.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:38 PM   #23
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My opinion - the TT was too long and too heavy for the truck. Cargo capacity determines the max tongue weight - along with the GVWR for axles. Most 1/2-tons are capable of pulling that much weight, but their suspensions are not built to control it in an emergency situation. And the longer the tail, the more it wags the dog.

I don't know if there are any hard and fast rules for 1/2-ton tow vehicles, but if anyone were to ask me "how big a trailer can I tow with my 1/2-ton truck," my answer would be, "Nothing longer than 21-24 feet, and nothing heavier than the GVWR specs allow."

Most folks look at that "towing capacity" number, then the weight of their trailer, and think the two are related. They are not. The numbers to compare are the GVWR and its cargo/payload capacity of the tow vehicle , and the maximum GVWR and max tongue weight of the trailer being towed.

Most trailers have a sticker that states the max GVWR, but only lists the tongue weight for the unloaded dry weight - which is not a realistic number. To calculate the tongue weight, figure 13-15 percent of the max GVWR for the trailer. Example - my Jayco 32RLDS has a max GVWR of 10,250#, so my max tongue weight could be as high as 1537#. There is no 1/2-ton made that could safely handle that load. In fact, that trailer is pushing the limits of my 2500HD pickup!

There is a reason that 3/4-ton trucks are more expensive than 1/2-ton trucks - they have heavier suspensions, HD brakes, HD transmissions, and a higher cargo capacity - resulting in a higher rated towing ability. If you want more, ya gotta pay for it - or you might end up paying for it.

Again - this is my experienced opinion.
This is exactly why we traded in our F150 for an F250 to pull our 31 RLDS with, TT has the same 10,250 GVWR as yours. On paper the F150 Ecoboost with HD towing could handle it, but would have been right at it's limits. I did not want to test the edge of the envelop in an emergency.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:53 PM   #24
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Semi-trailers are usually 40' long (many exceptions apply).

They gain a HUGE advantage in stability by having the trailer's axles near the rear of the trailer and put over 50% of the trailer's (and cargo's) weight on the tow vehicle.

Then we can start discussing the fact that the tow's hitch is slightly AHEAD of the rear axle.

You can't compare a purpose-built rig with close to 100 years of improvements to the built-in compromises of a tow vehicle that has to do more than tow.

Next, we can discuss closer coupling of the two braking systems.
I totally agree - I disagree with the semi driver stating so simply that it was just the trailer length that was an issue. Fact is unless he was an engineer trained in transportation his opinion is not reliable.
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:05 PM   #25
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I totally agree - I disagree with the semi driver stating so simply that it was just the trailer length that was an issue. Fact is unless he was an engineer trained in transportation his opinion is not reliable.
I agree with this. I've been following this thread for a while (I'm trying to understand if the driver was found culpable at all), and I keep thinking back to what the Semi driver said. What does he know about it? And why should anyone care what he has to say about it?

The simple fact is that there are WAY too many factors in play, and for some old trucker to lean back on his hips and say "well, I reckon that wee little truck just waddn't 'nuff for that long ol' trailer" is just inappropriate to be included in anything having to do with this incident.

The setup could have been perfectly safe and totally acceptable, but just got caught in a whirlwind of circumstances that all added up to a real bad day. There are many people who are of the opinion that you should over-spec your rig (and I'm one of them now). But I'm not going to fault someone for operating a rig that is within spec just because I would be more comfortable with something else.

So, did the insurance cover the accident? Did they take into consideration the trucker's opinion? (they should not have if they did) Was an investigation conducted to determine if the driver was negligent in some way?
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Old 06-09-2015, 02:55 PM   #26
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Was an investigation conducted to determine if the driver was negligent in some way?
Can 60 MPH towing a trailer in freezing temperatures be considered negligency?

Just trying to learn here...
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:02 PM   #27
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Can 60 MPH towing a trailer in freezing temperatures be considered negligency?

Just trying to learn here...
I don't think the topic starter said this happened in freezing weather. I live in the mid-west and there are many freeze/thaw cycles during a winter, which create what we call "frost heaves." Frost heaves cause the joints between pavement slabs to become uneven. Sometimes they can be quite abrupt.

Unless I am mistaken, that was what he was talking about.
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:06 PM   #28
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I live in the mid-west and there are many freeze/thaw cycles during a winter, which create what we call "frost heaves." Frost heaves cause the joints between pavement slabs to become uneven. Sometimes they can be quite abrupt.
They are part of driving in the Northeast too!

With potholes being more frequent, but no less dangerous.
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Old 06-09-2015, 04:07 PM   #29
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Most folks look at that "towing capacity" number, then the weight of their trailer, and think the two are related. They are not. The numbers to compare are the GVWR and its cargo/payload capacity of the tow vehicle , and the maximum GVWR and max tongue weight of the trailer being towed.
110%!
Even more important (IMHO) are the individual axle ratings. A GVWR or "Payload" number includes both axles. If your payload is 1500# that doesn't mean you should pull a TT with a 1500# tongue, only part of that 1500# payload can (should) be put on the rear axle.

The CAT Scale is your friend.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:17 PM   #30
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On my Tundra both axles are rated at #4100 but payload is #6900 which is #1300 less than the combined axle weight rating.

My trailer loaded is #6800 with around #900 on the tongue. This is right at my max payload, but #400 less than rear axle weight rating.

I believe in the 80% rule. I am right at it with a total combined weight of #12800 with a total combined vehicle weight rating of #16000.

These are CAT scale weights. The CAT scale is your friend.

The GVWR of my trailer is #7500. That is all I would care to pull with this truck, despite its over #10000 tow rating.

We are really happy with the trailer and truck and the towing experience.
We are sticking with both of them for the long haul. Almost paid for as well!
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