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Old 06-13-2017, 07:27 PM   #1
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Sway with me...

Oh, I hate to post this- I've read every post until I'm blue in the face, but without putting my actual numbers down here I just can't figure out if I've got this set up correctly (I really doubt it).
Have a 1500 Ram w/ max towing 8800, max payload 1661, GCWR 14150. New Zinger 28BH GVWR is 7836 (hitch wt 836).
Scale today: Truck 5480 (unhitched), tongue 1180, axles 6360. Total 13020.
Have a Husky WDH and sway control. Bars are level with the ground.

Had a little porpoising, dropped a few links to level the bars and that went away. My issue now? SWAY! White knuckle, gasp when the trucks pass kind of sway. I went back to the dealership and ascertained that not one guy in the place knows a thing about towing-no one could help me. I literally told them "well, I'm going to go home and ask the forum". I hope I've included all the relevant numbers to ask my question:

I'm wondering if my tongue weight is too high. Would that cause the abundance of sway? I know my (brand new) tires are probably partly to blame- told the guy I would be towing 7K pounds and I ended up with 4 ply tires (which I literally may take back now that I know better- they're two weeks old). I feel like I'm ice skating. At 60 miles an hour, not a good feeling.
Any advice is appreciated. Already contemplated a new truck, not in the cards.
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Old 06-14-2017, 04:17 AM   #2
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Short answer is you need stiffer tires for your truck. I think you have plenty of tow vehicle so no worries there as I am pulling our 6500lb trailer with a sequoia and once I put stiffer tires on the truck (overkilled with 10 ply loade range E) and I added a $90 set of air bags all of the porpoising, sway, and squishy tire feelings went away. I comfortably tow at 60-65 and get passed by big trucks all the time (and pass them) and the entire setup is steady as a rock. Due to the payload on our SUV at a little over 1300lbs i run the tongue weight around 900lbs. So like so many on this forum have said to others those P rated tires are the first thing that needs to go. I would of just went with 8 ply load range D on the truck but could not find any for the 20" stock rims so went the a set of 10ply michelins and run them at 65lbs when towing and put the air bags at 33psi.
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:00 AM   #3
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Yea would start with the tires on truck and make sure your air is correct on TT tires.
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:51 AM   #4
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Update- went to the tire dealership and talked to the manager- showed him the receipt for the tires they sold me, explained that I had come in for tires that would handle a 7K trailer. Without blinking an eye he credited them and I'm getting 10 ply tires put on this afternoon. That extra couple of hundred dollars is nothing in the face of the hair-raising trip I took yesterday. I know the ride won't be as smooth, but that's okay- the truck will stay on the road!
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:18 AM   #5
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You are correct on your assumptions. If I am reading your numbers right, bottom line is you hitch weight is way too high for your 1/2 ton truck. Tires are important , but you got to get that hitch weight down or your not going to be happy.


This is right out of RAMs towing brochure " The maximum tongue weight for Class IV receiver hitch is limited to 1100 lb"

Remember, max capacity in a brochure and comfortably towing are mutually exclusive of each other, trust me, you get that hitch weight down and it will pull much better without sway regardless of what WDH you have.

I've had the shock of weighing the hitch only to find out i was around 1200 for a 8000# trailer. I've always recommended on this forum to get a good hitch scale. They sell them on Amazon for 150 bucks. Money well spent since you can do this in your driveway before pulling out. Not only will the sway go away, your truck will handle better...and yes, you need 10plys to stop the "tire float".

Good luck.
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:22 AM   #6
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Update- went to the tire dealership and talked to the manager- showed him the receipt for the tires they sold me, explained that I had come in for tires that would handle a 7K trailer. Without blinking an eye he credited them and I'm getting 10 ply tires put on this afternoon. That extra couple of hundred dollars is nothing in the face of the hair-raising trip I took yesterday. I know the ride won't be as smooth, but that's okay- the truck will stay on the road!
You can drop the PSI down when you are not towing so the ride is not so stiff. I called Michelin direct and told them what I was driving and they said I could run the tires at 50psi when not towing and no more weight than I put on them with the trailer hooked up to run them at 60-65. Really did make a world of difference you will be much happier with them I am sure.
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:33 AM   #7
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You are correct on your assumptions. If I am reading your numbers right, bottom line is you hitch weight is way too high for your 1/2 ton truck. Tires are important , but you got to get that hitch weight down or your not going to be happy.


This is right out of RAMs towing brochure " The maximum tongue weight for Class IV receiver hitch is limited to 1100 lb"

Remember, max capacity in a brochure and comfortably towing are mutually exclusive of each other, trust me, you get that hitch weight down and it will pull much better without sway regardless of what WDH you have.
Tongue weight may be too high for the hitch as you say but technically the more tongue weight you have the less sway you will have in the trailer as the center of gravity for the trailer is further forward. I think the combination of such a heavy tongue weight on those 4ply tires was the biggest problem. Given the weights you described you could easily knock a couple hundred pounds off of the tongue weight and still be plenty good. You could probably drop down to around 900lbs and still have plenty of tongue weight. Rule of thumb is between 10-15% of the trailer is good. I shoot for around middle of the rd at 13% and pulls just fine.
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Old 06-14-2017, 08:40 AM   #8
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I respectfully disagree with you. You need to account for the vehicle when considering the "fulcrum" including the truck axles. The more weight on the hitch lifts your vehicle front axle reducing tire contact and control of the trailer to correct sway.

I'm lousy at explaining but etrailer has a good article on the matter.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:04 AM   #9
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I respectfully disagree with you. You need to account for the vehicle when considering the "fulcrum" including the truck axles. The more weight on the hitch lifts your vehicle front axle reducing tire contact and control of the trailer to correct sway.

I'm lousy at explaining but etrailer has a good article on the matter.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-weightdistribution.aspx
Totally agree with the added weight raising the front axle. But he said he adjusted his WDH bars to get the truck back level, so by tightening up those bars some more that added more weight to the front axle and leveled the rig back out. So in the same token when you remove some of that tongue weight you may find you need to back off of the bars a bit so that you are not slinging too much weight up front. The goal of a WDH is to get the front axle as close to stock as possible
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Old 06-14-2017, 02:11 PM   #10
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Okay, tires are on- only 25$/tire more than the 4 ply, which I found surprising. He left them "soft" for non-towing, I'll bump them up before picking up the trailer this weekend. I'll reorganize my bays to redistribute the weight- can't wait to try it out! Heading out for the first five-day trip on Sunday. The new rig and I will really get to know each other next week! :-)
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Old 06-14-2017, 03:38 PM   #11
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Good deal on the new tires !
I strongly suggest you still take $10 and 10 minutes to run by a cat scale to get your unloaded weight and then go back to get your combo weight... so you KNOW how much rear axle weight you have with the truck and the tongue weight...

allows you to adjust your WDH AND how much air should be in the tires...

also, the cat scale site can tell you how to weigh, and calculate all your numbers...
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Old 06-14-2017, 05:38 PM   #12
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I think you will be pleasantly surprised between the new tires and dropping a couple hundred pounds of tongue weight per Marks suggestion
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:05 PM   #13
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Good deal on the new tires !
I strongly suggest you still take $10 and 10 minutes to run by a cat scale to get your unloaded weight and then go back to get your combo weight... so you KNOW how much rear axle weight you have with the truck and the tongue weight...

allows you to adjust your WDH AND how much air should be in the tires...

also, the cat scale site can tell you how to weigh, and calculate all your numbers...


John, what do you mean by "unloaded"? Take everything out of the trailer completely like when I got it? I hope not LOL. And does "combo" mean hitched with the rear tires/tongue on the second scale? I did that first but the weighmaster didn't understand that I wanted a hitched and unhitched reading so I just have the unhitched measurements. I'll have to go back (closest scale is about a half hour/quarter tank of gas away in the opposite direction of my storage facility, so that may be a month or so).


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Old 06-14-2017, 11:01 PM   #14
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You made mention,that your bars were parallel to the ground, but to be set correctly they should be parallel to the ground & to the frame with enough tension to have the truck & trailer level, which may require tilting the ball mount to achieve it, once you find the perfect setup paint or tape the chain link so you'll know next time.
My FIL several years ago had traded rvs & didn't readjust everything & had the bars so tight it had almost no weight on the rear of the truck which almost had the tire off the ground & handled horribly, took about 2 hours of trial & error to get it readjusted.
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Old 06-15-2017, 05:53 AM   #15
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Just a thought. Were you weighing at the jack stand, or did you use a tongue weight scale at the ball hitch? It will weigh more at the jack stand than the ball hitch. For mine it weighed 900 at the jack, 825 at the tongue. It's easier to weigh at the jack so it's about 91.6% of that weight if I choose to weigh in the future for me.
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:00 AM   #16
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Just a thought. Were you weighing at the jack stand, or did you use a tongue weight scale at the ball hitch? It will weigh more at the jack stand than the ball hitch. For mine it weighed 900 at the jack, 825 at the tongue. It's easier to weigh at the jack so it's about 91.6% of that weight if I choose to weigh in the future for me.


Hmm, I was at a commercial scale so I guess I used the jack stand. Didn't realize there would be a difference between the two. I'm going to try to take 200 pounds off the front this weekend if I can. Not sure I have that much stuff to eliminate unless I moved at least one of the tanks, but I'm going to see what I can accomplish. I'm sure I'll be surprised how fast the stuff in the front bay adds up.


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Old 06-15-2017, 06:02 AM   #17
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John, what do you mean by "unloaded"? Take everything out of the trailer completely like when I got it? I hope not LOL. And does "combo" mean hitched with the rear tires/tongue on the second scale? I did that first but the weighmaster didn't understand that I wanted a hitched and unhitched reading so I just have the unhitched measurements. I'll have to go back (closest scale is about a half hour/quarter tank of gas away in the opposite direction of my storage facility, so that may be a month or so).


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Apologies for not 'splanin' myself better...
unloaded as in the truck alone, ready to tow with a full tank of gas, etc...

combo, meaning truck and rv...
front(steer) tires on front scale,
truck rear (drive) tires on second scale,
and then trailer tires on third when together and loaded as in ready to camp...

between the two weights you can then calculate all the numbers you need...

As others have stated, if you have a tongue scale, you can get an approximation of your tongue weight IF you weigh it at the right height and attitude that it will be on your truck,
and if the rear suspension of your truck carries it at the same height you weigh it at...

good luck, just trying to help (as I remember my first trailer tow with a short wheel base jeep a long time ago that was a thrill ride when I hit that first big dip and the trailer was doing the directing and not me )
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:15 AM   #18
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Hmm, I was at a commercial scale so I guess I used the jack stand. Didn't realize there would be a difference between the two. I'm going to try to take 200 pounds off the front this weekend if I can. Not sure I have that much stuff to eliminate unless I moved at least one of the tanks, but I'm going to see what I can accomplish. I'm sure I'll be surprised how fast the stuff in the front bay adds up.


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Remember the axles of the Trailer act like a fulcrum so if you can take a little weight off the front and add it all the way to the back you can have a huge swing in tongue weight. Case in point a few weekends ago I had a couple cases of water sitting up in the front storage compartment (36lbs) moved them back into the bathtub and it dropped 60lbs off of the tongue weight. I have also seen some people on here run the toilet to put some water in the black tank since it is usually well behind the axles. It usually does not take much to swing the weight from the front to the back. Just be careful not to get too much weight in the rear as that will result in the old "tail wagging the dog"
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:15 AM   #19
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You made mention,that your bars were parallel to the ground, but to be set correctly they should be parallel to the ground & to the frame with enough tension to have the truck & trailer level, which may require tilting the ball mount to achieve it, once you find the perfect setup paint or tape the chain link so you'll know next time.
My FIL several years ago had traded rvs & didn't readjust everything & had the bars so tight it had almost no weight on the rear of the truck which almost had the tire off the ground & handled horribly, took about 2 hours of trial & error to get it readjusted.

I tried to prevent this- I paid an hours' labor to the dealership to redo the hitch setup, but they had it pulled up so tight that at the first campground I went to the campground host stopped me on the way in and had me drop the bars a couple of links to level them- the nose of the trailer was pointing up. I genuinely love how helpful everyone is to newbies at campgrounds- my answer to every gentle "mind some advice?" Is "oh please yes!!" . I'm going to find the most level spot on my storage parking lot and take some pictures this weekend after I tweak the setup to what I think it should be. I'll post it once I have a good one.


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Old 06-15-2017, 06:26 AM   #20
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Remember the axles of the Trailer act like a fulcrum so if you can take a little weight off the front and add it all the way to the back you can have a huge swing in tongue weight. Case in point a few weekends ago I had a couple cases of water sitting up in the front storage compartment (36lbs) moved them back into the bathtub and it dropped 60lbs off of the tongue weight. I have also seen some people on here run the toilet to put some water in the black tank since it is usually well behind the axles. It usually does not take much to swing the weight from the front to the back. Just be careful not to get too much weight in the rear as that will result in the old "tail wagging the dog"


Ah, I totally get that analogy after Tuesday's thrill ride. That's why I headed to a scale, wasn't sure if my problem was too much tongue weight or too little. Didn't realize the math went that way, I'd have assumed the weight transferred equally. I need to brush up on my basic physics again LOL. I'll tinker...and likely run out to that scale again. Lordy that's intimidating, feels like an airport tarmac!!


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