Great weekend, but PUP sways like crazy!

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by Tdogg, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Tdogg

    Tdogg New Member

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    Recent camping trip took us to Homosassa Springs, FL (3.5 hrs). Just purchased a new TV, 2011 F150, 5.0 V-8. Also purchased a bike rack to put on the back of the PUP, which is a 2002 Coleman Utah. After putting the bikes on the rack, I noticed there was a good bit (.5 inch) of Left to right movement of the bikes. Going down the turnpike, at about 60 mph, I began to notice a ton of sway in the trailer, to the point, I felt unsafe driving. I tried various speeds, but had the same issue at 50. Pulled over in a service area and used a ratchet tie down to eliminate the movement of the bikes, thinking that was the problem. Helped a good bit, but I still have the issue. 2 things, I looked at the hitch on the back, and some of the welds look pretty bad. Considering taking it in and having the welds inspected. 2nd, would a anti-sway bar help? If it would, does anyone have any recommendations? Never had an issue with my old truck 2000 F150, supercab 8ft bed. I'm thinking the longer wheelbase of my old truck helped reduce the sway. Any hints / tips/ tricks greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Jimbow

    Jimbow Well-Known Member

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    My problem was solved with more tongue weight. Try it without the bikes. Then rework your balance. Also are you towing tongue up, down, or level?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  3. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    Based on my limited experiences, you definitely have a weight distribution issue. You need to lighten the rear and increase the weight in the front, but not past the tongue weight rating of the TV or the PUP. A "simple" check would be to hook up and pull the PUP around for a test drive without the bike rack attached. You've made a couple of changes it sounds like, with a new TV and adding the bikes, but eliminate the bikes, keep all else the same and see if that helps or not.

    I shifted weight internally forward in my PUP and completely eliminated any sway I was having. I do not have a WDH or anti-sway bar.
     
  4. badgamuss

    badgamuss Member

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    I agree. I would start with the tongue weight. Adding the bikes to the back removed needed tongue weight.
     
  5. RockyRoo

    RockyRoo Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD

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    ^x2. However, adding a sway bar will never hurt. The longer wheel base theoretically does help as well, but it seems you have something else going on. I would try without the bikes as well and see if that resolves the problem. If so, then add tongue weight to counterbalance it. You also may need to drop your tongue a hair if it is up or even level. It helps to be tongue level or even down a little.
     
  6. Tdogg

    Tdogg New Member

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    THanks for the replies...I am level on the camper when towning. not quite sure how to drop it up or down. Also, I did add a second propane tank to the tongue for the GF grill we use. What other types of weight can you add? I already have the accessory box pretty full with the table and sink I made and all the other stuff. I suppose I could fill the hot water tank up as well, since it's located in the front accessory box, but it's not all that big, likely less than 10 gal.
     
  7. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    Generally, water heaters are 6 gallons, but that's 49.8 pounds of added weight on the tongue. It might not take much.

    Taking it all to a scale and having it weighed is another great option. Take it with the bikes loaded and do the full gamut of weighing the total, the tongue, just the wheels, etc. This will give you good information to work from. 10-15% of the total weight should be on the tongue. With the bikes back there, it is likely to be less, based on your experiences.
     
  8. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    I would remove the bikes as I imagine that is the major part of the problem.
     
  9. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper Home is where you park it!

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    Where my camper is parked now.
    I've known a couple of people with Coleman Utahs of that era.
    They had a problem with sway without the bike racks on the back as there was not enough tongue weight.
    I think you need to take them off the back to solve your problem.
    Adding enough weight to counterbalance them would probably put over the pups GCWR and tire limits.
     
  10. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    Load your supplies and equipment forward of the axle in the pup. Add a friction sway control bar such as this http://www.harborfreight.com/trailer-sway-control-kit-96462.html [/size]I added over 200lbs to the rear of my pup. I added one (sway control) and it tows fine even at speeds beyond what I should (70+mph). Generally, you should add to the front of the pup what you remove by putting on the back keeping the GVWR in mind 10-15% of weight SHOULD be on the tongue. That is the safe, generic, legal, vicarious liability recommendation by every mfg out there. Also, the fresh water tank can be a ballast if need be, if it is the right place. Proof is in the pudding. Bad mods can cause crashes. Good one can improve your life. Feel free to take a look at my photos in my profile. I got lots of opinions from top engineers on another board. Bottom line is that it works, I'm a safe Informed aware professional driver and oh ya, did i say it works great. Good luck. Think outside the box. J
     
  11. Tdogg

    Tdogg New Member

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    THanks for all the info...I think I have a plan of attack:
    First, I'll purchase an anti sway bar (thanks 94)...can't hurt right?
    Second, I'll take it for a drive without the bikes and see how it handles
    Third, need to get the back hitch re-welded, it looks like it's been roughed up!
    Fourth...I'll do a better job of packing axle forward, maybe add a little water to the mix as well!
    Fifth...If I pass a weigh station, I'll stop by (has anyone done this, where do you go, what do you do??
     
  12. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    It may sound counter-productive but I'd save the anti-sway bar until last. As others have said, the main reason for sway is poor trailer balance: too much weight behind the axle/too light on the tongue. You need to find a way to re-balance the trailer so it does not sway. Otherwise, adding an anti-sway bar just masks the symptoms. The physical forces in play that cause sway are still there. Fix the problem and then, if it makes you feel more comfortable as a form of insurance, add the anti-sway bar afterward. It's possible that in the end you may need to look for another location to carry the bikes, like a rack on top of the PUP placed at the front. Don't mess around with sway. It can go from a nuisance to deadly in a few seconds.
     
  13. RockyRoo

    RockyRoo Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD

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    I would agree with UT on this one, put the sway bar last. That said, I am a believer in having a sway bar for cheap insurance. As for a scale, find a truck stop with a CAT scale, they can tell you what to do from there. They will probably tell you some of your weights can't be printed, but you can still have them just write them on a piece of paper.
     
  14. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    Relocate the bikes forward, or remove them. I still think they are the major contributor to your problem. Forget repairing the hitch weld; that much weight on your bumper and frame is a problem in itself.

    Don't stop at an interstate weigh station; that's not what they are for. Look for a commercial scale at a truck stop, gravel place, dump, etc. Weigh the pup fully loaded and the rv as it will be used, and then weigh the tongue only. Chances are very good those bikes are putting too much weight at the rear, a very poor situation for towing and the cause of your sway.

    Don't buy an anti-sway bar until you correct the problem, too much weight at the rear. You may not even need it if you fix the problem by removing the bikes.
     
  15. teejaywhy

    teejaywhy Active Member

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    Agree with the others - a sway bar is a safety measure but shouldn't be used to mask a problem with a tow setup. And there is definitely something wrong with your tow setup.

    Regarding weighing: see the instructions here:
    http://catscale.com/how-to-weigh

    Check the CAT Scale locator to see if there is one near you.
     
  16. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

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    Me too! Fix the problem [MOD] hence the recommendation to properly load and balance your trailer. But, if you decide to install the sway control as an added safety measure, which for my situation worked nicely, I highly recommend welding the plate on (instead of those goofy sheet metal screws). and if your frame is not boxed in, add a gusset where the towbar plate is attached. That will help ensure proper strength for the connection.


    Good luck.
     
  17. arthuruscg

    arthuruscg Active Member

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    You can do a quick tong weight check with a bathroom scale.
    But an even dirtier method would be to put the bikes back on the rack and then try picking the tong up by hand. I am betting you would be able to lift the tong one handed do to the amount of counter balance.

    Since you have a truck, why not put the bikes in the bed?
     
  18. Mickeyrv

    Mickeyrv Week day camping is great

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    [TV] [HYC] Had the same problem years ago. I solved it by putting large rock in the V next to the hitch. It worked so well I kept the rock for years and let it go with the camper. Problem was "Not enough tongue weight" Did not have a bicycle rack on the back of the pup instead had it loaded improperly. Try putting the majority of your internal pup load in front of the axle and see if that helps.
     
  19. smokincanuck

    smokincanuck Member

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    Fix the sway issue first, don't use anti-sway to mask it. Likely the added weight of the bikes on the rear of the PUP (which IMHO is a terrible place to put bikes) is unloading an already light tongue weight resulting in sway. If you have an F-150 the bed of the truck is the best place for bikes.....again IMVHO [:D].
     
  20. Tdogg

    Tdogg New Member

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    Thanks for the info...Don't like to put the bikes in the back, as I have to carry wood. Living in FL, wood is scarce around here (and expensive). I get mine from a tree trimmer and split it myself to reduce cost...camping is expensive enough anymore. I will go to a CAT scale (one less than 20 miles away (thank TeeJay)). I've been wanting to do this anyway. As far as a bike rack, I saw some better designs, has anyone ever used the towable type [/http://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-Racks/Swagman/S64955.html].
     

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