Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Learning curve going from 5th wheel to TT
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 > Learning curve going from 5th wheel to TT

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Fstmvrerik

Salina, Ks.

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Posted: 08/05/20 07:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have logged thousands of fifth wheel miles, my wife and I decided to switch to a TT to allow us to carry our kayaks on the truck (easy to load). My truck is an F350srw 4X4 short bed, the trailer we bought is an 2021 Outback 340BH, 39 ft long empty weight 8787, tongue wt 1040. When we bought the trailer I hooked up with my regular hitch that after hitching up the top of the ball was about 2 1/2" below what was level on the trailer (the weight dropped the truck about 3") the springs were just touching the helper springs). I drove home and found the trailer was a real handful over 60mph, with sway issues starting (also 30mph side winds). Once we got home I ordered an Anderson hitch for sway control. I have a set of air bags that I am going to install.
I am wondering if I should set up my new hitch with the truck kept level, or slightly nose down when adjusting my ball height to keep the trailer level, or slightly nose down; or should I set the ball height with air bags at 5psi and adjust the trailer after loading with the airbags to level or slightly nose down. I am not terribly worried about my steering axle weight, so the hitch is primarily to help control sway and bouncing.
I am totally new to TT towing and it is an entirely different towing experience. Am I headed in the right direction, or is my thinking flawed?

BenK

SF BayArea

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Posted: 08/05/20 10:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will need your TV's manual to find what they say your front axle/fender should be brought back to after setting up the WD Hitch

Am not a fan of the Andersen WD and reports that they do better with lower tongue weights

Won't ho into weight ratings, but say to stay withing your ratings and need to weight the whole setup axle by axle, loaded ready to go

Main weight to watch is the TV's rear axle's actual vs RGAWRA...and actual tongue weight around 12%-15%

The trailer should be level at its highest pointing and recommend pointed slightly down

Ball height really doesn't matter...thecabove trailer pointing is

Good luck !


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JRscooby

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Posted: 08/06/20 05:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Park with ball under coupler, measure front bumper to ground. Hook back up, and check again. A large transfer of weight off front will change handling more than adding weight to rear. Might want to check all steering and suspension components for wear. A change in load can magnify any alignment issues you might have.
Many RVers talk about the percentage of weight you need on tongue. Most will not mention that when you check it the tongue needs to be at the same height as when towing. As you lift it, the weight goes down.
Is most of your storage in front of the axles? Maybe just loading your stuff while thinking about where the weight will be might solve the issue

BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 08/06/20 07:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The truck and trailer should as close to level as you get it with everything hooked up, and you also need to make sure you have enough tongue weight, so a trip to the scales is a must once you have the hitch where you think you want it,

A good place to start is the Sticky at the top of this forum called Travel Trailer Hitch Set-up Procedure. Lots of good info there, I would suggest read it through.


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BarneyS

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Posted: 08/06/20 08:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The experience of many members has been that the Andersen hitch is better for lower weight trailers as it seems to have a problem transferring the weight with heavier tongue weights. If you want to duplicate the great towing you are used to with the 5th wheel then you need to bite the bullet and get a Hensley "Arrow" hitch.

I towed with the Hensley for many years and never once had a sway event or even close to one. They are, hands down, the best towing hitch money can buy. Although they are about three times the cost of a "normal" hitch they are worth every penny spent in towing comfort, piece of mind, and safety.

Sorry to say but you are towing a long, heavy trailer and the Andersen is not going to cut the mustard. You need a better hitch for that combination. Yes, your thinking is flawed in that the weight lost off the front axle of the tow vehicle is the major reason for steering issues and sway control. The WD hitch restores that weight and, along with several other issues, the control of the trailer is restored.
Barney

* This post was last edited 08/07/20 08:12am by BarneyS *   View edit history


2004 Sunnybrook Titan 30FKS TT
Hensley "Arrow" 1400# hitch (Sold)
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SweetLou

La Quinta, CA USA

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Posted: 08/06/20 09:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BarneyS wrote:

The experience of many members has been that the Andersen hitch is better for lower weight trailers as it seems to have a problem transferring the weight with heavier tongue weights. If you want to duplicate the great towing you are used to with the 5th wheel then you need to bite the bullet and get a Hensley "Arrow" hitch.

I towed with the Hensley for many years and never once had a sway event or even close to one. They are, hands down, the best towing hitch money can buy. Although they are about three times the cost of a "normal" hitch they are worth every penny spent in towing comfort, piece of mind, and safety.

Sorry to say but you are towing a long, heavy trailer and the Andersen is not going to cut the mustard. You need a better hitch for that combination. Yes, your thinking is flawed in that the weight lost off the front axle of the two vehicle is the major reason for steering issues and sway control. The WD hitch restores that weight and, along with several other issues, the control of the trailer is restored.
Barney

Could you give us a ball park cost for that hitch? I am considering going to a TT myself at some point


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valhalla360

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Posted: 08/06/20 10:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

30 mph side winds, probably is giving you a distorted view of the handling.

Trailer should be level when hooked up to the truck and the ball height simply adjusted to match. Likewise, the truck should be fairly close to level when hooked up...maybe a touch down on the nose when hooked up. This should all be with the full setup including WDH as that will change the squat characteristics.

A WDH and sway control, likely will help but hard to say if it's that or the 30mph side winds that had you rattled...especially if they were gusty winds.

I would check the hitch weight. We only get 2 inches of squat with an F250 pulling a 5er with 2600lb hitch weight. The fact that the bumper pull weight is a few feet behind the rear axle will magnify the amount going on the rear axle but it shouldn't be that much (a WDH will also change the squat).


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BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 08/06/20 12:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with Barney, we also used a Hensley Arrow for years, and 30 mph cross winds create no issues for sway. You might also look at the ProPride 3P, these are the only 2 hitches on the market that use this sway-proof design.

BenK

SF BayArea

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Posted: 08/06/20 12:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Never towed with either HA or Pro (both same architecture and Pro is the newer firm based on HA), so won't comment other than to say I trust both Barney and Burbman


Here is the link to the original post when Andersen first came on the market and RV.net/form members dissected it online in 2012. There was a link to the Airstream forum and their analysis of the Andersen WD Hitch

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/25717515/true.cfm

Force diagram made up for that discussion and haven't looked at the current Andersen WD Hitch system. IMO, the Andersen places most to all of the towing forward force on the coupler latch...not the coupler's front portion of the dome, of which most couplers are designed for

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BarneyS

S.E. Lower Michigan

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Posted: 08/06/20 01:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SweetLou wrote:


Could you give us a ball park cost for that hitch? I am considering going to a TT myself at some point


Ball park would be $3000 for a new one. Both of my sons purchased used ones for under $1000. I sold my 12 year old (guessing) Hensley for $1500. Used ones are very simple to rebuild if necessary. I did my own in my basement and posted about it here, complete with many pictures of the hitch.
Barney

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