Rookie questions!!!!

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NwLa

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Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Posts
8
Hey ya'll. My family and I are new to the TT scene. Just bought a 1995 Dutchman 26'. Very good shape and I am pleased with the purchase ...so far. I do however have some questions that I know are rookie questions for most but gotta get over this anxiety before we pull out Friday. If anyone can help, jump on!

1. I am pulling the TT with a 1997 Ford F-150 4.7L 4x4. I have a weight distribution hitch but when I hook it up, my truck drops about 2 1/2 inches. Is that normal. Everyone tells my that it should not drop that much. I thought I tried every configuration. When I crank the trailer up before hooking the chains, I thought I was going high enough. At leat 4" above normal rest.

2. I pulled it last night for a short distance. Of course there are the standard sounds when pulling a trailer but in turns I hear what sounds like chains popping. Is that normal? I have plenty of safety chain.

3. O.k. here is a really crazy question. When at a camp site and there are full hookups, is there any special attachments to use the sewer hose where it goes into the ground? or even at the dump station?

If anyone is wondering, I bought the TT from an individual, not a dealer. Well I am sure I will have many more but defiantely do appreciate the help anyone can give. I am not worried about when I get to the lake this weekend, it's just getting there that is stressing me out! Happy trails. ;D

 

Tom

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NwLa

I'll let the trailer experts respond to first couple of questions.

Different states and even different campgrounds have their own requirements for the end of the sewer hose that goes into their sewer connection. For the most part they require that the connection doesn't allow venting of the smell. This can be achieved with a simple rubber donut into which you put the end of the hose, or some connections are screw-in type. A visit to Camping World or your local RV supplier will be illuminating. They sell all kinds of sewer hoses and connections.
 

dneighbo

Active member
Joined
Jun 14, 2005
Posts
40
Tom said:
Different states and even different campgrounds have their own requirements for the end of the sewer hose that goes into their sewer connection. For the most part they require that the connection doesn't allow venting of the smell. This can be achieved with a simple rubber donut into which you put the end of the hose, or some connections are screw-in type. A visit to Camping World or your local RV supplier will be illuminating. They sell all kinds of sewer hoses and connections.

It is rather amazing the amount of crap they sell for a crapper isn't it.  :)
 

Tom

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Sure is. As Fred Thomas would say, most of the products sold for RVs isn't needed &/or is junk.
 

Carl L

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NwLa said:
Hey ya'll. My family and I are new to the TT scene. Just bought a 1995 Dutchman 26'. Very good shape and I am pleased with the purchase ...so far. I do however have some questions that I know are rookie questions for most but gotta get over this anxiety before we pull out Friday. If anyone can help, jump on!

1. I am pulling the TT with a 1997 Ford F-150 4.7L 4x4. I have a weight distribution hitch but when I hook it up, my truck drops about 2 1/2 inches. Is that normal. Everyone tells my that it should not drop that much. I thought I tried every configuration. When I crank the trailer up before hooking the chains, I thought I was going high enough. At leat 4" above normal rest.

2. I pulled it last night for a short distance. Of course there are the standard sounds when pulling a trailer but in turns I hear what sounds like chains popping. Is that normal? I have plenty of safety chain.

3. O.k. here is a really crazy question. When at a camp site and there are full hookups, is there any special attachments to use the sewer hose where it goes into the ground? or even at the dump station?

1.? ?You have a 4WD truck.? ?If your trucks suspension is an off-road suspension it will have a lot of compliance:? ie. up and down movement.? 2-1/2" in a on-road set up is a wurra.? On an off-road setup is it less of a concern.? ?Do you have any bottoming while pulling the rig?? ?If not, fergitit.

2.? ?Do you have a dual cam sway control like on the Reese Dual Cam system or its? Equalizer equivalent?? If so banging is the sound of the cams working on a short radius turn.? ?No problems other than startled pedestrians at intersections.? ?;D

3.? Yes.? ?The most common is a hard plastic? right angle elbow fitting that is inserted in the park's sewer inlet.? ?That is all you need for a dump station.? ?Some states and some parks also require a gas tight fitting at the sewer inlet in a trailer campground.? Even if they don't it is only polite to your neighbors to use one.? There are several of those marketed.? The one I use is a a rigid plastic bushing that has three threaded steps on the outside and a friction tight mate for the plastic elbow on the inside.? ?You screw the bushing into the park inlet and insert the hose's elbow into the bushing.? It not only gives you a gas tight union but it also keeps the hose from being bucked out during a dump or by accident in the middle of the night.? ?The most common are red plastic elbows and bushings sold at most any place that pretends to supply RVers.  They are not a major expense.
 

Lou Schneider

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Mar 14, 2005
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I am pulling the TT with a 1997 Ford F-150 4.7L 4x4. I have a weight distribution hitch but when I hook it up, my truck drops about 2 1/2 inches. Is that normal

Do you mean the rear of the truck is dropping 2 1/2" compared to the front?  If so, you need more tension on your equalizing bars.

Without the bars, the tongue weight of the trailer will cause the rear of your tow vehicle to drop, forming a "V" between the truck and trailer.  Usually the front end will also rise, indicating that weight is being removed from it.  The equalizing bars form a bridge across the hitch, attempting to straighten out the "V" so the truck and trailer stay level with each other.  Leveling the truck also compresses the front springs, transfering more weight to the front axle.

The bars are properly adjusted when both the front and rear of the tow vehicle drop an equal amount when hitched to the trailer. Measure the height of the front and rear bumpers before you hitch up, then again after you hitch.  If the rear of the truck drops more than the front, you don't have enough tension on the equalizing bars.  If the front drops more than the back, the bars are too tight.

It sounds like you aren't getting enough tension on the bars.  There's an easier way to adjust the bar tension than raising the trailer tongue.  Look closely at the saddles where you attach the chains.  There should be a short round tab extending out near the top.  This will fit into the end of a piece of 3/4" pipe to make a lever that will let you lift the bars and apply tension to them without having to raise the hitch above it's normal height.
 

Carl L

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Do you mean the rear of the truck is dropping 2 1/2" compared to the front?  If so, you need more tension on your equalizing bars.

You know Lou, I had not considered that possibility in evaluation    If the truck is sinking 2-1/2# evenly fore and aft after the hitch is tensioned, my answer is right.  If the rear is sagging unequally 2-1/2", your answer is right.  Thanks for spotting the alternative.

Weight distributing hitch spring bars must be tensioned so that the tow vehicle regains the fore and aft attitude it had before being laden.  That is done by raising the bars to the proper link on the shackle chains.  In doing so use the hitch jack to relieve strain and a 3/4" 3-foot length of GI pipe as a cheater on the shackle as you say.

 

NwLa

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Posts
8
I truly appreciate the responses here. Heck, if I can't get the unit hooked up right, then it isn't doing me any good! I just left my local rv dealer. He pointed out a couple of tips. No I am not mechanically inclined but he recommended tiltin the receiver down slightly. He stated by doing this it will put more of a slope on the stabilizing bars which in turn when hooked up will give more of a "bow". Does that sound anywhere reasonable?

Also, I had several questions on operating procedures and they were a huge help.
 

NwLa

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Posts
8
Just an update. I think now I have tried every possible scenario by adjusting the height of the hitch, angle of the hitch and the height I raise the truck up. I cannot get any better than a 2" drop in the rearend. I know 2" may not seem like much but looking at it fro the side, there is still a very slight V. Someone else said that my springs may be slightly worn. I am going to pull it tomorrow about 40 miles from home. For the most part flat land. Does anyone see a problem with this setup? I know one thing for sure, I will be getting a 5th wheel next time if I can't get this worked out. I thought this was supposed to be fun :D Thanks for any input. NWLa
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
If there is a slight downward "V" at the back of the truck, then you are still not equalizing fully.  Either you need to pull the spring bar chains up tighter (another 2-3  links on the bar chains) OR you need heftier spring bars.  The spring bars come in various "weights", e.g. 500 lbs or 750 lbs, that represent the amount of weight they can transfer forward. The hitch dealer may not have provided bars with sufficient capacity for your load.

Changing the hitch height will have no effect on the sag at therear, so leave that alone. You adjust the hitch height only if the trailer tongue is noticeably uphill or downhill AFTER the truck has been leveled with the equalizing (spring) bars.

You don't need stronger truck suspension (springs or air bags) unless the suspension actually bottoms out while driving, e.g. when you go over a bump in the road.  If that happens, I would recommend a bigger truck rather than helper springs because it indicates your truck is overloaded anyway.

You should also consider whether the trailer has excessive weight on its tongue (where it hitches to the truck). The ideal tongue weight is 10-15% of the total trailer weight when fully loaded.  The weights can be measured at any truck scale, either by weighing the trailer alone (front and rer) or truck + trailer and then truck alone, then subtracting to find the difference.
 

NwLa

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Posts
8
Good point. I bought the TT from an individual who had a comparable truck. Let me ask this. This is how I am measuring the drop. The bottom of my hitch is 16" off the ground. I am jacking the hitch to 19-20". Then hooking up the chains. I can go about 4 links. After hooking that up, I lower the trailer and measure again. It measures at the bottom of the hitch to the ground at 14" for a total drop of 2 inches. Do I need to go higher than the 19-20"?

I also measures the front of the vehicle. The center of the wheelwell is 36 1/2" unloaded at normal rest. Loaded hooked up it measures 36 1/4". I don't know if this may help any. Thanks again for everyones help. This forum is definately an assett.
 

Carl L

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west Los Angeles
NwLa said:
Good point. I bought the TT from an individual who had a comparable truck. Let me ask this. This is how I am measuring the drop. The bottom of my hitch is 16" off the ground. I am jacking the hitch to 19-20". Then hooking up the chains. I can go about 4 links. After hooking that up, I lower the trailer and measure again. It measures at the bottom of the hitch to the ground at 14" for a total drop of 2 inches. Do I need to go higher than the 19-20"?

I also measures the front of the vehicle. The center of the wheelwell is 36 1/2" unloaded at normal rest. Loaded hooked up it measures 36 1/4". I don't know if this may help any. Thanks again for everyones help. This forum is definately an assett.

OK, we are getting tied up in ifs and buts.? ?Lets go back to square one.? Here is how to set up a weight distributing hitch.? ?All this is done on reasonably level ground.? ?I assume that your dealer gave you the correct ball angle adjustment.

1. Adjust ball mount height:? ?Level your trailer fore and aft.? Measure the distance from the ground to the top of the coupler.? If your truck has heavy duty springing set the ball height on the ball mount to that measurement.? ?Regular duty suspensions add 1/32 inch for each 100 lbs of tongue weight.

2. Determine spring bar rating:? Choose a spring bar set with a rating at least equal to your tongue weight, or up to 250 lbs over it.

3.? Determine normal attitude of tow vehicle:? Move your truck into coupling position with the trailer.? Establish reference points with masking tape on the fenders above each of the truck's axles.? ?With the trailer tongue jack raised to clear the ball, relieving all weight, measure the height of each masking tape from the ground.? Record each and note their arithmetic difference.

4.? Couple the trailer and install spring bars:? Lower the coupler on to the ball and lock it to the ball.? With the tongue jack, raise the trailer a-frame and the rear of your truck a few inches to facilitate the installation of the bars.? Install the bars and raise them to the same link on each chain of the two frame snap-up brackets on the trailer.? Pick a chain link that slightly tensions the bars.? Lower the tongue jack raising its plate off the ground to place the trailer load fully on the ground.

5.? Set bar tension to restore normal truck attitude:? ?Now measure each of the masking-tape marker heights above the ground.? ?If your bar tension is correct, the difference between the two new measurements will be equal to the difference between them when the truck was unloaded -- or at least within 3/4". ? ?If the difference indicates that the rear is still too low, raise the trailer tongue with the jack to relieve all strain, put the bars on the next higher chain link, and lower the jack and remeasure.? Repeat until you find the correct link.? ?If you cannot find a link that gives enough tension, or if you are on the last link, you need heavier rated bars.? ?Ideally you should be somewhere in the middle of the chains.

Once you have determined the proper links, memorize them and/or mark them for all future use.




 

NwLa

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Posts
8
Carl Lundquist said:
OK, we are getting tied up in ifs and buts.? ?Lets go back to square one.?

Sorry, didn't mean to waste anyones time. It has been very stressful anticiapting my first trip when I don't feel comfortable in how the rig is set up. I have had several people come by and give thier tips. I have tried every confuguration possible. I am going to see if the bars may need to be heavier.

I did take it out this weekend and had a great time. Besides the towing, everything else was easy to set up, use and comfortable. I definately have gotton hooked. I appreciate everyones input and hopefully I can get my truck set up right for the next trip.
 

Carl L

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Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
Sorry, didn't mean to waste anyones time. It has been very stressful anticiapting my first trip when I don't feel comfortable in how the rig is set up. I have had several people come by and give thier tips. I have tried every confuguration possible. I am going to see if the bars may need to be heavier.

I did take it out this weekend and had a great time. Besides the towing, everything else was easy to set up, use and comfortable. I definately have gotton hooked. I appreciate everyones input and hopefully I can get my truck set up right for the next trip.

You didn't waste anybody's time.  We are all volunteers here and are glad to help you out.  We have been there ourselves.  ;)
 

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