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Trailer sway questions

Post in 'The Gear' started by yukiginger, Dec 27, 2006.

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  1. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    Looking for advice from you experts: I just hauled my first load of rounds this weekend with a Doolittle utility trailer (6610), which is 6 1/2 by 10 feet. Vehicle is a Honda Ridgeline truck. I've not yet built sides on the trailer so I think the top rail is just 18" or thereabouts. I loaded the trailer pretty evenly front to back, with possibly a little more toward the rear (having the gate . The wood was ash and soft maple and I doubt the trailer was at or much over maximum capacity (3000 lbs.) but I got some sway at about 60 m.p.h., so I backed off to a safe speed.

    The axle is spaced well in my opinion (just past half-way back on the bed), but next time should I try to distribute the weight more toward the front to give more tongue pressure? I had very little weight in the truck bed - probably 200 lbs.

    Any advice from your vast experience is appreciated.

    Mark

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  2. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Yes, move some of the load forward. Get as much tongue weight on that ball as your vehicle can take.
    I know when I was towing boats this always held true, more tongue weight = more gooder

    Sometimes no matter what you do sway rears its ugly head.
    Think of it this way, how would you stop in an emergency?
    Stopping from 50 is MUCH easier than stopping from 65.
  3. bruce56bb

    bruce56bb New Member

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    mark, i think there is more than 3000lbs of wood there,probably closer to 4000lbs. add the trailer weight and you're pushing the ridgelines 5000lb capacity.
    is your trailer a single axle? if it is you are probably overloading it. most trailers capable of weights approaching those levels are dual axle.
  4. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    Bruce, I appreciate your caution, but I really don't think it was overweight, or if so, not by much. The largest rounds were a soft maple that is basically no good - punky. I would guess their weight at not even half green weight. All wood came from logs that were dead before harvesting and have been sitting. Most are in good shape, but much lighter than green.

    Thanks. I appreciate the input.

    Mark
  5. Elderthewelder

    Elderthewelder Minister of Fire

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    I like these Iron Eagle trailers, They are all made from rectangular tube (stronger than c- channel) and all the single axle ones are rated for 3500 pounds, They are made in Portland, Oregon, I know of a couple dealers here in the Seattle area that sell them, When and if I do buy a trailer it will be a Iron Eagle. Do not know what to say about the sway issue you are having
    http://www.eagleirontrailers.com/
  6. stangds

    stangds New Member

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    the tongue weight should be 10% of the gross trailer weight for a tag-along trailer, a gooseneck is 25%. In my experience, if the trailer is wagging around your tow vehicle, either the tow vehicle isn't up for the challenge, or the trailer is light on the tongue. If you have too much tongue weight, you can feel the vehicle work harder, and it can also make steering light.

    A trick for backing up a trailer is to put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel, and move your hand the direction you want the trailer to go. those short trailers cut fast when backing them up.

    also when your trailer starts whipping, it can get out of control real fast, if you have electric brakes on the trailer, you can activate the trailer brakes with the controller, and use the trailer brakes to slow down. another "riskier" approach is to accelerate, but your tow vehicle has to have enough power to pull out, and there is a chance of making things worse.
  7. kevinmoelk

    kevinmoelk New Member

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    I agree with all previous stuff mentioned for trailers swaying... but a swaying trailer can be as simple as having bad tires or under/over inflated tires. Check those tires!

    -Kevin
  8. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    Update: my second load was on Sunday - same type of wood as before. This time I loaded very light at the rear and a little heavier near the front and in front of the axle. I also put about 400 lbs. in the truck bed. I definitely had a couple inches of sag, but no problems at all, although I don't think I went over 60. Truck didn't mind it.

    I will continue to get a little more weight up front.

    Thanks for the help and the discussion.

    Mark
  9. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    Mark

    A couple of things. Trailer sway can be deadly if not corrected!

    First like other have said it is best toput more weight up front which you did.

    Tires need to be fully inflated. If you are nearing the capacity of the trailer and truck trailer brake would be a huge improvement and are not that expensive and can help you bring the trailer under control by applying the trailer brakes and not the trucks brakes.

    If the honda has idependant suspesion then I would suggest a sway bar control weight distribusion set up like many use on campers. Many may say overkill. But it is not uncommon at all to see bumper pull trailes wraped around a small tow vehicle on the road and most often this could be avoided with weight/sway dist set up.

    http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/forums/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/14265335.cfm

    This is a link with lots of towing info on it. Better to be informed than not when it comes to towing.

    If you are towing where semis might pass you than the sway can get really ugly.
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