towing expectations

AdamNeedsInfo

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How much sway is too much? How much rear squat is too much? How fast is too fast when pulling a TT? I'm just trying to set some expectations. I have a 2019 Expy 4x4 Max with HD tow package. Towing an Apex 256BHS, dry weight 5745lbs, loaded around 6500lbs, tongue weight 760lbs, family of 5 + dog 800lbs. Using an Andersen WDH, unsuccessfully, at this point. Our first camp trip was close to home, thankfully. Had about 3" of rear squat in expy, uncomfortable sway over 55mph. And was over the RAWR limit, as I discovered later at the CAT scale. Like many of you have discovered, payload and RAWR will be the first numbers to top out. I've moved some things around since then and have tightened nuts on the WDH (9 threads). All of my weights are now under the limits. But still getting about 2" of rear squat and occasional sway over 60mph. We have a big trip coming up soon. Wife wants to switch out the Andersen and go with a traditional WDH and sway control. Fastway E2 is the leading contender at the moment. But I’m wondering how much a different WDH/sway will help? Thoughts, opinions?
 
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JasonH

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You should have 50% front axle restoration. If the front rises by 1.5 inch when you load the hitch, that rise should be reduced to .75 inch when you hook up the weight distribution. Once you do that, visit a scale and make sure all your weights are within limits and that you have 10 to 15% of the trailer weight on the ball.
Also air up your tires to maximum if you're running load C. Upgrading to D or E and using higher tire pressure will improve stability by a significant amount, but it's not a substitute for distributing weights correctly. There are other threads discussing pros/cons of heavier index tires. Trailer ST tires are usually limited to 65 mph, unless you upgrade to something like Goodyear Endurance. Mpg will plummet as speeds increase because drag increases exponentially. Safe travels!
 

Fasttimes

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My guess is you need to transfer more weight to the front axle. Is the tongue weight of 760 your listed amount or what you see at the scale? Test it at the scale. Do 4 passes at the scale when loaded up for a trip. With WDH hooked up, with WDH unhooked, With trailer tires on one pad and tongue jack on another, and final pass of just Expy with your 5 and dog passengers. Using those numbers you should be able to see how much your true tongue weight is, how much weight is being put back on front axle, how much weight is on rear axle and make adjustments. It's a huge pain, took me a couple years to get it just right. But if you make the time ahead of a trip and do this a few times after adjustments it'll go a long way to getting to an enjoyable drive. For a long time I was not putting enough weight back on my front axle and had about a 1000lb tongue weight but didn't know till I really got my scale skills figured out. I'm using a 10,000lb Equalizer WDH. I adjusted it more to shift more weight to the front axle. In it's case it uses iron bars for leverage and I also moved the arm connections as far out on the bar to get the most leverage.

I've been considering an Anderson in my future to save roughly 50lbs on the hitch over the Equalizer so I'll be curious to see if you are able to adjust it more to get the correct balance.

As JasonH stated, air up tires to max inflation on trips. I suggest beefing up sway bars front and back from Hellwig. And add sumo-spacers to rear springs. Since payload is the major limiting factor of our Expys I'd shoot to make sure you come pretty close to what your campers listed tongue weight is and try not to go much more than that. Move cargo around and what I did was put my trailer on a diet. Got rid of heavy items I could replace with lighter, moved cargo to in trailer storage over trailer axles versus front storage hatches that will just add to the tongue weight. I even have gone down to one single 20lb propane tank and ditched the dual 30lb tanks to take weight off.

All these measures made a huge difference. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

Pawpaw

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Bought a Keystone Courgar TT that can gross out at 8800 lbs. Loaded lightly about 7500 lbs. Still about 1000 lbs hitch weight. Using a 4 point Equalizer that son in law tweaked to get more weight on the trucks front axle. I've got the max towing package with 3.73 gearing..brake controller and larger radiator. Using BFG KO2's at 65 psi to help reduce sway. One propane tank is empty and use maybe 10 gallons in the water tank. Only have one battery but do have a second AC in the front bedroom. Trailer has been stable since the winds have been light and at 60 to 62 mph handling has been OK but nothing like the 41' 5th wheel and a F350 dually pulling it. Wife and I are the only 2 in the tow vehicle and we pack light in the camper and have the weight over the axles or a little to the rear. No scales around here but I do plan to weigh it soon. My Expy's payload shows 1769 lbs on the door jamb and 4400 lbs rear and 3300 lbs front. Regular length and not the Max. Tows better then I thought it would!!
 

chuck s

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Lack of sufficient weight on the steering axle creates an unsafe condition. The tow vehicle will wonder and that causes sway. The various instructions for setting up a WDH only seem to put some of the original weight back on the steering axle. I want the front suspension compressed the same (or nearly the same) with the trailer on the ball as it was with nothing. I do this by measuring the height of the fender lip above the pavement. Measure empty then keep moving trailer weight forward until it's back to where it was. Trial and error with your WDH and often not as simple as adjusting the bars but once set up lasts for years. I don't recall having to make any adjustments that I made with my '07 when I moved the trailer to my '17.

One thing you can count on is the way the dealer set the WDH is only good enough to get the trailer home. Plan on a morning with a tape measure and tools once the trailer is loaded.

-- Chuck
 

rollinstone

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Everything stated above right on the money! I use the Andersen WDH which has built in antisway. Before Andersen I was white knuckle driving at 55 mph with boomers blasting by and cross winds. After installing Andersen we’re solid as a rock in all conditions and I arrive at destinations relaxed and happy. The trailer has Goodyear Endurance tires filled to 65 psi. I tow at 60 mph. Everyone is happy.
 

Hellwig

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How much sway is too much? How much rear squat is too much? How fast is too fast when pulling a TT? I'm just trying to set some expectations. I have a 2019 Expy 4x4 Max with HD tow package. Towing an Apex 256BHS, dry weight 5745lbs, loaded around 6500lbs, tongue weight 760lbs, family of 5 + dog 800lbs. Using an Andersen WDH, unsuccessfully, at this point. Our first camp trip was close to home, thankfully. Had about 3" of rear squat in expy, uncomfortable sway over 55mph. And was over the RAWR limit, as I discovered later at the CAT scale. Like many of you have discovered, payload and RAWR will be the first numbers to top out. I've moved some things around since then and have tightened nuts on the WDH (9 threads). All of my weights are now under the limits. But still getting about 2" of rear squat and occasional sway over 60mph. We have a big trip coming up soon. Wife wants to switch out the Andersen and go with a traditional WDH and sway control. Fastway E2 is the leading contender at the moment. But I’m wondering how much a different WDH/sway will help? Thoughts, opinions?
Try SumoSprings coil spring and Helwig sway bar on rear end first. If rear enhancements are not enough, install them for front end too. They should help.
 

falcnjet

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How much sway is too much? How much rear squat is too much? How fast is too fast when pulling a TT? I'm just trying to set some expectations. I have a 2019 Expy 4x4 Max with HD tow package. Towing an Apex 256BHS, dry weight 5745lbs, loaded around 6500lbs, tongue weight 760lbs, family of 5 + dog 800lbs. Using an Andersen WDH, unsuccessfully, at this point. Our first camp trip was close to home, thankfully. Had about 3" of rear squat in expy, uncomfortable sway over 55mph. And was over the RAWR limit, as I discovered later at the CAT scale. Like many of you have discovered, payload and RAWR will be the first numbers to top out. I've moved some things around since then and have tightened nuts on the WDH (9 threads). All of my weights are now under the limits. But still getting about 2" of rear squat and occasional sway over 60mph. We have a big trip coming up soon. Wife wants to switch out the Andersen and go with a traditional WDH and sway control. Fastway E2 is the leading contender at the moment. But I’m wondering how much a different WDH/sway will help? Thoughts, opinions?
I have an Andersen hitch also, with a much heavier trailer pulled by a 2021 Expy with H/D tow kit. I had a rough time with it at first also and was afraid to put too much tension on the chains. Andersen told me it was okay to get them real tight so I kept tightening until I got reasonable sway control. The number of threads you leave showing doesn't mean much because that's completely dependent on the distance between the attachment plate at the front and the frame mounts. As I gained experience with it, I moved my frame mounts back by three links (as far as my frame construction would let me go) and things have gotten a little better.
No trailer will tow sway-free in a significant wind, but what you should be able to expect is a quick return to normal when it sways. It should feel like a brief pull, then normal, or in a bad wind, a couple of pulls before it trails properly. Also, Andersen recommends that you turn your truck's sway control off. They say it can exacerbate the sway. (?)
Don't forget to look for other reasons for sway, like trailer load balance (60% forward) and trailer nose height. The trailer will tow much better if it is slightly nose down (no higher than level) when fully rigged up.
That's the best I can do for you. The Andersen hitch and I have made friends after a period of wondering if I've done the wrong thing. Good luck!
 

JasonH

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Lack of sufficient weight on the steering axle creates an unsafe condition. The tow vehicle will wonder and that causes sway. The various instructions for setting up a WDH only seem to put some of the original weight back on the steering axle. I want the front suspension compressed the same (or nearly the same) with the trailer on the ball as it was with nothing. I do this by measuring the height of the fender lip above the pavement. Measure empty then keep moving trailer weight forward until it's back to where it was.

The Ford Expedition owner's manual also calls for 50% front axle weight restoration when towing. If you return the front axle to its pre load weight, that means you're likely taking too much weight off the rear. The 50% setting is intended to split the added weight nearly even between front and rear axles.
 

chuck s

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That's what it says. :) But if the front of the truck is higher with the trailer on the ball than unloaded there's no weight being added (distributed) to the steering axle -- weight has been taken off it. Unless we adjust the WDH to at least restore to the unloaded height we have still not added (distributed) any weight up there. If weight was being added the front suspension would compress. I bring mine back down to where it was unloaded which doesn't add any weight either but removes less weight.

-- Chuck
 
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