Sway

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Lusters, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. Lusters

    Lusters New Member

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    I have a question for all you experts. We purchased a 1998 Coleman Mesa and have taken it out 3 times. If we go over 65 mph poppy starts to slightly sway. We are towing it with a 2004 Mercury Mountaineer (V8). We see people towing popups flying by us. Also it feels liek the TV is lugging and does not have a smooth ride. this is the first time my husband and I have ever towed and he keeps telling me its normal and I'm not convinced it is. We are taking a 400 mile trip with poppy in a couple of weeks and I need to know if this is normal or if I need to get something checked out.

    thanks so much
     
  2. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    I'm sure lots of people with more experience will weight in, but from what I've learned here, it could be a number of factors, including the tongue weight and/or how the trailer is loaded. If there is much more weight at the back of the trailer than the front, it makes the tongue weight lighter than it should, and the trailer may sway.

    I would try adjusting the load around.

    There are anti-sway bars you can have installed, but try that first.

    As for your vehicle lugging, are you locking out OD/top gear? Most of us do, which stops the torque converter from locking up all the time, and saves wear on the tranny. On my vehicle, I have a button on the shift column.

    Are your tires fully inflated on both the TV and popup? The Popup tires normally run above 50 psi.

    Normal is that acceleration is slow, mileage sucks and you have to take it easy. Lugging along indicates something is wrong, especially when you have a strong TV.

    James

    1976 Lionel LPL 80
    2002 Mazda MPV
    Wife/3 Kids/Black Lab
     
  3. Lusters

    Lusters New Member

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    Since I don't know anything about cars.. in layman's (sp?) terms should the OD be on or off?

    Thanks!
     
  4. dupreet

    dupreet New Member

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    Check your vehicle's owners manual for the manufacturer's recommendation about OD....most will suggest turning it off while towing. As mentioned, this will avoid premature wear on tranny components. In my case, I am towing a small percentage of my van's rated amount and if things are fairly flat and the transmission isn't frequently up/down shifting, I will leave OD on. If it does shift up/down a lot on more mountainous terrain, I turn it off.

    I would say your rig is acting fairly 'normal'. As mentioned, play with the load balance in the camper, and what you have in the back of the truck. A friction sway bar is only about $75 and will cut down on the camper's movement. I also would recommend you stay at 65mph or below. The tires on your camper are not rated for higher speed and you are asking for trouble running above 65. Yes, folks do it all the time - some have no problems and some have numerous blowouts. I for one keep it at 65mph or below unless its a quick pass/movement/etc. The one thing you do not want to have happen is getting fast enough that the rig gets away from you, or you get in a situation where you can't slow down or maneuver successfully.

    Good Luck,

    Todd

    Wife, 3 Kids, 4 Dogs, 3 Cats, The Wabbit
    '88 Palomino TXL hardsider
    '93 Ford E-350 Van
     
  5. jim1999

    jim1999 New Member

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    Sway is not "normal".

    There are a lot of factors that can cause sway:

    Load not distributed right....mainly too much in the rear of the trailer.

    Wrong type or under inflated tires.

    Trailer tongue too high or too low when connected to the tow vehicle. For best towing it should be level or nearly level.

    These seem to be the most common problems in regards to sway issues.

    One last thing. Better check the speed rating on those trailer tires. Some are not rated for more than 55 or 60 mph and the faster you go over their speed rating the more likely a blow out occurs.

    1994 Jayco 1006
    Its not what we take with us that matters but what we leave behind that counts.
     
  6. HaTaX

    HaTaX New Member

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    One reason you may be getting sway is because your TV has a shorter wheelbase then some of the other vehicles passing you by.

    http://www.rvtowingtips.com/how-long.htm

    There is a good site on trailer length and what's a safe trailer size behind a vehicle with a particular wheelbase.

    It also wouldn't be a bad idea to take the wheel bearings out for a repacking and inspection, if you've got one that's worn or its been a while since it's gotten fresh grease, you could have one wheel "dragging" slightly more then the other.

    And like others said, put heavy items in the pup towards the hitch, over the wheels or in the rear will make for a jumpy trailer.

    1998 Palomino Filly SC
    2005 Chrysler 300C
     
  7. Tikker

    Tikker Member

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    you really shouldn't be towing over 65mph anyway

    sway is usually a combination of too fast, and wrong inflation level of tires in the PUP
     
  8. Lusters

    Lusters New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your tips. We will check the tires this week. We've been keeping them at 45 but it appears we need to keep them at 50. We just had the bearings packed so that side of it should be good.

    thanks for the advise and happy puppin!
     
  9. ShawnBrown

    ShawnBrown New Member

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    Check and read carefully what is written on the sides of the tires. There should be something about MAX PSI and that is what you want to pump it up to. Something like "Max Weight Rating of 1535 lbs at 90 PSI". (Going from memory, but should be similar to that.) Many tires are different so yours are somewhere in the range of 45 PSI to 90 PSI.

    My tires also list a warning about mounting the tire and not to use pressures higher than 35PSI. Don't be confused if you see that there also! That warning is for the tire guy that mounted it on the rim. You want the MAX PSI number.

    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp"> '94 Coleman Sequoia
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle"> '00 Toyota Sienna
     
  10. lilrhodycamper

    lilrhodycamper New Member

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    What does the weight rating on the tires mean? I know that it is the weight the tires are rated for, but my question is if the tires are rated for 900lbs is that per tire or total? Just wanted to double check.

    '79 Bridget <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_kisses.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Kisses">'82 Jimmy <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_hardhat.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Major Mods">
    '93 Rio Grande<img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle alt="PopUp">'01 Tacoma <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_suv.gif border=0 align=middle alt="Tow Vehicle">
    "Necessity is the mother of all inventions"
     
  11. PattieAM

    PattieAM New Member

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    The contents weight within your camper and it's distribution may play a part in sway, as well as the 'tongue weight'.

    Having a friction sway bar can be very helpful in preventing sway.

    Crowned roads/truck ruts can play heck with your tires and can also create sway.

    Over/under inflation of your tires can contribute to sway.

    Excessive speed can contribute to sway! You might want to slow it down a bit.
     
  12. dupreet

    dupreet New Member

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    lilrhodycamper,
    The weight rating on the tire is 'per tire' at maximum PSI. In your example of 900 pounds, the pair of tires will support 1800 pounds. Remember to go by the gross weight rating of your trailer first, then check it against your tire's rating. It is also important in older campers to make sure the 'right' tires are on your camper - there was a posting here a few weeks back where the just purchased camper was found to have passenger car tires!!! It is also possible for a previous owner to buy tires that don't have the correct weight rating and are unsafe.

    Hope this helps,

    Todd

    Wife, 3 Kids, 4 Dogs, 3 Cats, The Wabbit
    '88 Palomino TXL hardsider
    '93 Ford E-350 Van
     
  13. DansAndDogs

    DansAndDogs New Member

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    I have a Coleman Utah, and on the first trip out with it "loaded" it was a real handful. Now, I'm probably just about maxed out at what my TV should be towing, but I still have plenty of power left. I have towed alot of things and my pup was awful (my dad's 30' TT tows better). I took my whole rig to Camping World and talked to a technician there about it. The factors that he said mattered most were: tire inflation, tongue weight, and tongue height. After some research I learned that the tongue height on most Coleman's is 17". Measure that from the ground to the top of the reciever on your hitch, subtract that number from 17 and you get how much drop, or rise you need for your ball mount. I also strongly recommend getting an anti-sway bar. They're affordable and easy to install. If you find that you need a new ball mount in your measurements be sure to get one with the tab on the side for the sway bar ball to mount on. I have'nt made all these changes to mine yet, but I'm really hoping it helps because I was a nervous wreck pulling mine. Good luck!

    2000 Coleman Utah
    2006 Town & Country
    Me, the Wife, our daughter and 3 dogs
     
  14. DansAndDogs

    DansAndDogs New Member

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    One other thing: as a former owner of a Ford truck, the owner's manual probably says to leave the OD switch on, DON'T! After 3 transmissions in the truck (did I mention that I had towed alot of trailers?) the transmission shop finally told me that this was a big factor. Leave the OD off, and you'll save the tranny.

    2000 Coleman Utah
    2006 Town & Country
    Me, the Wife, our daughter and 3 dogs
     
  15. barb_dave

    barb_dave Active Member

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    We have a 98 Mesa and just finished a 2000 mile trip pulling it with our 97 voyager. We generally towed it 65 to 70 MPH with no sway. (I actually drove a short distance at 80 MPH) We pulled it in Overdrive unless we had some lager hills or were pulling at slower speeds, such as some traffic congestion. As mentioned tire pressure is important inflate the tires to max inflation. Make sure the camper is level while being pulled.

    http://community.webshots.com/user/Barb_Dave
    1998 Coleman Mesa 1997 Voyager
    Nights Camping 2008-20
     
  16. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    See my post here

    Trailer Hitch Ball Mount - Get the right size


    http://www.popupportal.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=18012&FORUM_ID=47&CAT_ID=18&Topic_Title=Trailer+Hitch+Ball+Mount+%2D+Get+the+right+size&Forum_Title=Tow+Vehicle+%2F+Towing
     

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