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Author Topic: Big Rigs/Wind  (Read 726 times)

busyx3

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Big Rigs/Wind
« on: June 18, 2017, 10:16:52 PM »
We are brand new to this, NEVER towed a thing.  Hopefully we will be able to pick up the 15 ft TT (3200 lbs) we have a deposit on this week, just waiting on the hitch to come in. I'm trying to read & learn everything I can as we have been tent campers and are totally unfamiliar with RV's.  Very excited about the camping, not so excited about towing for the 1st time! Hoping we can become pros at this so when hubby retires we can head out to the Grand Canyon & Amish Country in PA.

If I'm the one driving home instead of my hubby we will be traveling minimum legal speed on the interstate.  :o ??? :-\  I know it will take longer to stop with the TT hitched to the truck, generally how much longer?  When the big rigs zip past us, what kind of swaying should we expect (70 is the speed limit)? How high do winds/gusts get before you really notice the pull of a TT this size? The truck doing the towing is only a full size 1/2 ton 2011 Chevy.  I'm assuming it will be easier to drive the 1st time on the interstate rather than back country roads.  What do I need to know that I'm not asking???  Thanks for any advice!

alan6051964

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  • Posts: 169
Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 10:42:38 PM »
Hi OP, well, i'll toss in my .02's worth. first, your TV and TT weigh nothing, so as far as the lowing load ?, your good to go. yes..your doing right with the hitch set up. make sure you fully understand the anti-sway control bar !!. this is not really needed for your light weight, small camper ?, but it never hurts to be over the top..then under the bridge !..lol. 65 mph should be your top speed, slower is even better..there is nothing in your day that makes you need to rush to get from point A, to point B !!!..take your time..safety first !. tow mirrors are a must have !!. when stopping for fuel, rest area's ?, try to plan your enter path, and exit path as you approach the area. a little planning as you move is always good. I always try to keep my truck and camper in a straight line, facing the way I am headed, less worry of having to back up. caution !!!!!, be very careful when backing up with the sway bar on !..they will bend fast, some say to remove them before you back up ?, others have done it with them still attached to the hitch. some hitches don't have the sway bar separate from the hitch, they have it built into the whole hitch, no sway bar. it will take some fine tuning to set the sway bar tension before you feel good about the camper not swaying all over the road when an 18 wheeler flies by ya :-).
1992 22ft Fleetwood wilderness TT

alan6051964

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 10:46:36 PM »
forgot to add, I pulled my 1992 22ft Fleetwood from texas back to Arkansas without the sway bar on when I purchased it ( I did not even have one then ), I drive a 2000 chevy 1/2 ton, 2wd,reg bed,2 door, with full towing package, my camper is tandem axle, I never felt the camper move one bit when big trucks passed me. I did have a WDH on this ride, It was pretty easy, no white knuckle moments at all :-).
1992 22ft Fleetwood wilderness TT

grashley

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  • Western KY for now.
Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 10:48:34 PM »
First, welcome to the Forum!    This is a fantastic place to learn.

Resources include the Library tab in the banner, which has many articles on specific topics.
Read lots of threads, especially on this board and the "General" board.
As you read, questions will pop into your head.  ASK!

With respect to your questions, a decently equipped ton pickup should handle a 15 ft, 3200# camper with ease!
Does the camper have trailer brakes?  It should!  If it has a 7 pin round wiring harness, it should have brakes.  In many states, any trailer over 3,000# is required to have brakes.  To make them work, you need a Trailer Brake Controller in the truck.  They are not horribly expensive and are easy to install.  If, in the rare case of the trailer having surge brakes, then no controller is needed.  Surge brakes are a gizmo on the hitch which detect the Tow Vehicle (TV) slowing, and apply trailer brakes.

What hitch did you order?  That will allow much better answers on sway issues.  Since the truck is not even close to overloaded, that will help reduce sway.  Sufficient hitch wt. helps, too.

Slower speed significantly increases fuel economy and makes driving more comfortable.  Many stick to 60 - 62 mph when towing.  Some less.

A couple comments on weights:  I assume the 3200# is the DRY wt of the camper.  That is what salesmen use.  It is hogwash!  That is the approximate weight of the camper as it left the factory, and nobody goes camping with an empty trailer!!!  Use the GVWR of the camper as a much better estimate of how much weight you are towing, and use 10% of that as a much better estimate of hitch wt.

The hitch wt MUST BE at least 10% of the actual trailer weight.  Less weight usually means lousy towing manners - sway, porpoising.

I hope these comments help.  Keep reading and keep asking!
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

alan6051964

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2017, 10:50:58 PM »
First, welcome to the Forum!    This is a fantastic place to learn.

Resources include the Library tab in the banner, which has many articles on specific topics.
Read lots of threads, especially on this board and the "General" board.
As you read, questions will pop into your head.  ASK!

With respect to your questions, a decently equipped ton pickup should handle a 15 ft, 3200# camper with ease!
Does the camper have trailer brakes?  It should!  If it has a 7 pin round wiring harness, it should have brakes.  In many states, any trailer over 3,000# is required to have brakes.  To make them work, you need a Trailer Brake Controller in the truck.  They are not horribly expensive and are easy to install.  If, in the rare case of the trailer having surge brakes, then no controller is needed.  Surge brakes are a gizmo on the hitch which detect the Tow Vehicle (TV) slowing, and apply trailer brakes.

What hitch did you order?  That will allow much better answers on sway issues.  Since the truck is not even close to overloaded, that will help reduce sway.  Sufficient hitch wt. helps, too.

Slower speed significantly increases fuel economy and makes driving more comfortable.  Many stick to 60 - 62 mph when towing.  Some less.

A couple comments on weights:  I assume the 3200# is the DRY wt of the camper.  That is what salesmen use.  It is hogwash!  That is the approximate weight of the camper as it left the factory, and nobody goes camping with an empty trailer!!!  Use the GVWR of the camper as a much better estimate of how much weight you are towing, and use 10% of that as a much better estimate of hitch wt.

The hitch wt MUST BE at least 10% of the actual trailer weight.  Less weight usually means lousy towing manners - sway, porpoising.

I hope these comments help.  Keep reading and keep asking!
I totally forgot to mention about the electric brake controller !!..thanks for tossing that in !. great advice ^^^ !.
1992 22ft Fleetwood wilderness TT

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 07:30:24 AM »
Quote
I assume the 3200# is the DRY wt of the camper.

It's only a 15 footer, so 3200 could well be the GVWR.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

busyx3

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 08:19:21 AM »
First, welcome to the Forum!    This is a fantastic place to learn.

Resources include the Library tab in the banner, which has many articles on specific topics.
Read lots of threads, especially on this board and the "General" board.
As you read, questions will pop into your head.  ASK!

With respect to your questions, a decently equipped ton pickup should handle a 15 ft, 3200# camper with ease!
Does the camper have trailer brakes?  It should!  If it has a 7 pin round wiring harness, it should have brakes.  In many states, any trailer over 3,000# is required to have brakes.  To make them work, you need a Trailer Brake Controller in the truck.  They are not horribly expensive and are easy to install.  If, in the rare case of the trailer having surge brakes, then no controller is needed.  Surge brakes are a gizmo on the hitch which detect the Tow Vehicle (TV) slowing, and apply trailer brakes.

What hitch did you order?  That will allow much better answers on sway issues.  Since the truck is not even close to overloaded, that will help reduce sway.  Sufficient hitch wt. helps, too.

Slower speed significantly increases fuel economy and makes driving more comfortable.  Many stick to 60 - 62 mph when towing.  Some less.

A couple comments on weights:  I assume the 3200# is the DRY wt of the camper.  That is what salesmen use.  It is hogwash!  That is the approximate weight of the camper as it left the factory, and nobody goes camping with an empty trailer!!!  Use the GVWR of the camper as a much better estimate of how much weight you are towing, and use 10% of that as a much better estimate of hitch wt.

The hitch wt MUST BE at least 10% of the actual trailer weight.  Less weight usually means lousy towing manners - sway, porpoising.

I hope these comments help.  Keep reading and keep asking!

Don't laugh....but a heavier load means more sway?  I was thinking lighter loads would have allowed more movement.

Our truck is set to be wired this week for a 7 pin harness.  As far as the hitch, we're having that done locally and gave the man the gross weight of the TT and our truck info.  He's a life-long RV'r, so I'm really hoping he knows what he's doing.  He said our truck should have no trouble handling the TT.  We will have a sway bar, honestly don't remember the details of the kind, just that it's the "middle" grade.

It is 2455 lbs dry weight,  and 3200 lbs gross.  We won't travel with water in the tank, and heavy items will probably go in the back of our truck so they don't flip and slid all in the TT.

Thanks for the reply!

busyx3

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 08:27:07 AM »
It's only a 15 footer, so 3200 could well be the GVWR.

One guy said 15 ft, the other said 20.  Factory says 17' 6".   Gross weight 3200 lbs,  Dry weight 2455 lbs.   I had tried to research on-line before buying to make sure we found something the proper weight.   

busyx3

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 08:45:07 AM »
Hi OP, well, i'll toss in my .02's worth. first, your TV and TT weigh nothing, so as far as the lowing load ?, your good to go. yes..your doing right with the hitch set up. make sure you fully understand the anti-sway control bar !!. this is not really needed for your light weight, small camper ?, but it never hurts to be over the top..then under the bridge !..lol. 65 mph should be your top speed, slower is even better..there is nothing in your day that makes you need to rush to get from point A, to point B !!!..take your time..safety first !. tow mirrors are a must have !!. when stopping for fuel, rest area's ?, try to plan your enter path, and exit path as you approach the area. a little planning as you move is always good. I always try to keep my truck and camper in a straight line, facing the way I am headed, less worry of having to back up. caution !!!!!, be very careful when backing up with the sway bar on !..they will bend fast, some say to remove them before you back up ?, others have done it with them still attached to the hitch. some hitches don't have the sway bar separate from the hitch, they have it built into the whole hitch, no sway bar. it will take some fine tuning to set the sway bar tension before you feel good about the camper not swaying all over the road when an 18 wheeler flies by ya :-).

Thanks for the reply!  No worries about safety on my part, my husband jokes that I should work for OSHA! And I've already told him twice we've gotta have tow mirrors. I AM concerned about making errors out of ignorance. Like backing up and bending sway bars  ;D.  We have a large yard, so I'm planning on practicing backing up and stuff here and around my personal vehicles before heading out.  I'd much rather damage my property than someone else's, though of course I'd rather not damage anything! 

kdbgoat

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 10:40:36 AM »
My old trailer with a Reese Dual Cam hitch- Pulling at 8200# with a Ram 1500, I had no real issues with sway from 30 mph+ crosswinds or tractor trailers. Same trailer and hitch, loaded to over 9300#, pulling with an F250- could definitely feel crosswinds and tractor trailers. I thought it was my loading, so I scaled it several times. Still running at 12.5 to 13 % tongue weight. The only thing I could figure is with the F-250, I really didn't need the weight distributing part of the hitch, I used it more for sway control. I can only assume the sway came from the spring bars being lightly loaded, not allowing the cam system to be fully utilized. I initially set the hitch up to return 50% of the weight back to the front axle as the newer recommendations state, then I tried 100% return, then also tried a little bit more. Nothing made it any better, so I went back to 50%.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

grashley

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  • Western KY for now.
Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 11:00:24 PM »
It sounds like you have things well under control!  You are doing things right!!

The hitch weight must be at least 10% of whatever the TT weight is.  Less and you can get front to back bouncing (porpoising) and excessive sway. 
Preacher Gordon, DW Debbie
09 Grand Junction 35 TMS  Andersen Ultimate hitch
2013 F350 Lariat LB SRW Supercab diesel 4X4
Nimrod Series 70 popup (sold)
It's not a dumb question if you do not know the answer.

papachaz

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 09:07:40 AM »
congratulations on your first TT!

sounds like you know you need to learn a lot, so that's a good thing. It also sounds like you ARE learning a lot. I've been pulling trailers of all sorts for over half my life. I will state before anything else, that I DO NOT know it all yet, so you'll always be learning.

some things I've seen and learned, that maybe will help you:

yes, you need anti sway with a TT, doesn't matter how small, when you're on the interstate and a big rig goes blasting by, it WILL push you around, so yes you need that.

biggest thing I'd mention is don't forget you have it back there! I know more than one person who went from tents or a popup to a 30' TT and next thing you know they've ripped the side out of it because they just weren't used to pulling something that long. It happens.

load the trailer heavier on the front than on the back

if you're not pulling the trailer level, and it can't be set up to get level, you want it nose lower than rear

also, remember that anything you put in the bed of the truck counts toward your 'tongue weight'
Chaz (DH) Jill (DW)
2013 Ameri-lite Ultralite 259 BH
2008 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4WD

busyx3

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 11:34:29 AM »
congratulations on your first TT!

sounds like you know you need to learn a lot, so that's a good thing. It also sounds like you ARE learning a lot. I've been pulling trailers of all sorts for over half my life. I will state before anything else, that I DO NOT know it all yet, so you'll always be learning.

some things I've seen and learned, that maybe will help you:

yes, you need anti sway with a TT, doesn't matter how small, when you're on the interstate and a big rig goes blasting by, it WILL push you around, so yes you need that.


My head is starting to spin from all the info!  How much will I be pushed around by those rigs, even with the anti-sway? As in, hold on to the steering wheel for dear life while repenting of all my sins (which I might be doing anyway), or is just like...well, there went a big rig!  I'd just like to kinda know what to expect so I don't panic.  :)

The dealer we're buying from is maybe 5 minutes off the interstate, so we'll basically be pulling onto the interstate with no towing experience at all.  Luckily, we'll only be about 75 minutes from home and it's not a large traffic route.

Telemark46

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2017, 01:24:24 AM »
I've been towing for about two years, so I guess I'm an advanced beginner.  I tow a slightly heavier trailer with a 4Runner (SUV).  I think your longer pickup will be more stable.  I barely notice the big trucks passing either way--much less movement than the rutted highways in Montana and Idaho.  Perhaps your lighter trailer will be a bit more sensitive.
2006 Toyota 4Runner, 4.7L V8
2007 Jay Feather Sport 186

SkateBoard

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2017, 03:01:12 AM »
It depends on how heavy the truck is passing you. An empty truck trailer gives, a heavily loaded one doesn't. If your doing 55 and he's doing 75 in a heavy truck and you're close to the middle line he'll push you right into the breakdown lane if he doesn't move over. I think 45 is the slowest you can drive on the interstate. I WOULD NOT recommend you do that.

Truckers like to screw with other truckers like this. Two trucks going 75. The one in front waits until the last second to pass you as your moving at 50. The second truck has almost no time to react and shoves his truck up your ***. DO NOT be driving that slow at night either!!!!

In general, if you're that timid keeping your speed up to at least a reasonable amount you shouldn't be on the road.

I once saw bikers coming the other way on a high speed 70mph rural road in Texas riding 2 by 2 and crowding the center line. Truck in front of me does not give an inch. Many ended up in a field.

Prime Trucking Company is a very large carrier. The back of their trucks are chrome and a big PRIME painted on the top in the rear. They are all governed at 55mph. If you see one, get in back and stay there. All truckers know prime and can spot them a mile away and prepare.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Big Rigs/Wind
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2017, 11:10:33 AM »
Well, a large truck pushes a lot of air to the sides, same as the bow wave of a boat.  What you will feel is a essentially a strong crosswind as the truck passes you, growing as it comes up and then decreasing as it moves on by. A push to the roadside followed by a pull backwards as the pressure eases.   The back-pull is actually YOUR doing, since you turned the wheel toward the truck at first to counteract the side pressure. As the side pressure eases off, you have to gradually return the steering wheel to the center position again.  I can't predict your reaction - a few people seem to get stark terror, others shrug it off, and most somewhere in-between.  At least now you know to expect it.  Look around & pay attention as you drive anywhere - you will notice that lots of vehicles tow trailers of many different kinds. They all aren't maniacs - just normal people like you. Most of them manage well enough.

Different rigs react in different degrees. The greater the side area of the trailer, the more "wind' it catches. The lighter to trailer and tow vehicle, the more it is effected by the cross wind. More tongue weight on the trailer tends to keep it tracking better, so less wind reaction. Other vehicle in nearby lanes create their own wind turbulence that can ease or amplify effects. Just too many variables to predict.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

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