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Read this before towing

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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Read this before towing
    Posted: 11 Aug 2019 at 12:39pm
I just saw this article from Consumer Reports, and realized that it's a good general-purpose overview of what goes into towing. Kind of a primer on vehicle capability and what it can and can not tow. It focuses on just pickup trucks, but is adaptable to any "tow-capable" type of vehicle.
bp
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2019 at 1:00pm
Good summary of the basics in general but I don't agree with one statement:

"Tongue load should usually be 10 percent of the trailer’s total weight—if you’re towing 5,000 lb., then the tongue weight shouldn’t exceed 500 lb". 

Unless you enjoy trailer sway, 10% is the minimum the tongue weight should be, not the maximum. Also, they don't touch on the use of weight distribution hitches, which are a must have for many of us. 

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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2019 at 1:40pm
Originally posted by offgrid

Good summary of the basics in general but I don't agree with one statement:

"Tongue load should usually be 10 percent of the trailer’s total weight—if you’re towing 5,000 lb., then the tongue weight shouldn’t exceed 500 lb". 

Unless you enjoy trailer sway, 10% is the minimum the tongue weight should be, not the maximum. Also, they don't touch on the use of weight distribution hitches, which are a must have for many of us. 
You and I agree on that aspect of this. I consider the 10% number to be the minimum tongue weight, and generally aim for 10-12 percent. Over 12% is probably too much; or at least more than necessary. You want stability, not an overloaded TV.
bp
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2019 at 3:04pm
I'm actually around 14% right now. Based on the rpod axle problems and now a frame problem too I'm starting to think that for us higher is better as long as you're not adding weight, just relocating it forward off the trailer axle, and you're not exceeding the TV tongue weight rating. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2019 at 4:44pm
I am at the 10-11% amount pulling my 177 with a full tank of water, which is located behind the axle on my 2013 Ford Explorer.  One thing that caught my attention was that I had to have both rear wheel bearings replaced, and I only have 112,000 miles on the Explorer.  I can't attribute the bearing failure to anything else but to excessive stress when towing the 177.  Our '08 Explorer towed the same pod for 5 years, no problems.  And my recently sold '94 F-150 with 322,000 miles, never changed a wheel bearing, no engine issues (5.0 L V-8).   About the only big thing changed on that was at 258,000 miles it needed a new clutch and throw-out bearing.  We have recently 'upgraded' our 2013 Explorer as a tow vehicle (we are still keeping her) to a 2011 F-150 with the 5 L V-8 Coyote engine.  Mileage won't be a good but the power needed when in the Rockies will certainly be an improvement.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mcarter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2019 at 5:21pm
If you go to any pickup dealer, they will never talk WDH. Not their product. Owned a gaggle of trucks and every time a dealer wants to sell the truck that covers all you want to tow with their options. Consumer reports talks WDHs, but never when discussing OEM options. Me, I'm a 10 percenter or close to that, with a friction sway bar. Very savvy on weights. 380 lbs with genset on rack. No water.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2019 at 6:33am
Jato, re your bearing issue on the Explorer, were your running a wdh? That should help reduce bearing loads. 

As a boondocker I inevitably have to carry fresh water (in front of the axle) outbound and gray water (behind the axle) inbound. 

That weight shift gives me a tongue weight range of 11-14% (shifting 250 lbs of water from front to back makes a 3% or 120 lb tongue weight change on a 179) which is right in the middle of the generally recommended 10-15% range. I'm pretty happy with that, my biggest worry was the trailer axle, tires, and wheels, all of which I have now upgraded or reinforced. 

But after Olddawgsrule's frame issue and the calcs I just did on that I'm getting concerned about the frame at the axle attachment point too. Thinking a bit about what can easily and cheaply be done to reinforce that area now.....


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Post Options Post Options   Quote crankster78 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2019 at 9:15am
Greetings:
One thing not mentioned in the article is the wheelbase of the TV.  It makes a major difference in windy conditions and wet slippery roads.  Most full size pickups have a long wheelbase.  SUV's are usually shorter.  The single axle on the longer pods is maxed out, so one has to be careful to maintain proper tire PSI and check for any tire or axle damage.  I highly recommend a WDH.  

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Post Options Post Options   Quote jato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2019 at 5:21pm
Offgrid:  Negatory, used only a swaybar on the Explorer.  That being said we put about 18,000 miles on our '08 Explorer towing the same 177 with no wheel bearing issues.  The '13 Explorer had about 8,000 miles towing our 177.  So. . . .maybe Ford cheapened wheel bearings over the years?  Not sure, but the mechanic told me that he has seen a lot of rear bearing failure on small SUV's like ours pulling travel trailers.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Aug 2019 at 2:57am
Originally posted by jato

Offgrid:  Negatory, used only a swaybar on the Explorer.  That being said we put about 18,000 miles on our '08 Explorer towing the same 177 with no wheel bearing issues.  The '13 Explorer had about 8,000 miles towing our 177.  So. . . .maybe Ford cheapened wheel bearings over the years?  Not sure, but the mechanic told me that he has seen a lot of rear bearing failure on small SUV's like ours pulling travel trailers.

Roger that. There are a bunch of posts on Explorer forums complaining about getting short lifetimes out of wheel bearings, going back to as early as the Gen 3's. Lots of folks say they are getting <100k miles out of them so maybe you just got lucky with your '08 going as long as it did.... 
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