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Discussion Starter #1
Brought home my first travel trailer yesterday, Monday, driving I-10 west bound MM70 to MM7. Relatively hilly....for Florida. Wife and I, 330# together, luggage about 100#.

Here is the concern. Truck felt really light in front end, steering required constant input. Nerve-wracking to say the least. Never "saw" any trailer sway. Is it the trailer swaying?

Trailer is 27' 11", UVW of 5497, GVWR of 6995, hitch weight of 515. All those according to manufacturers web site specifications. There may have been some fresh water in the tank left over from delivery inspection.

Truck is 2018 F150, SCrew, 4500 miles on it, 4x2, 2.7, 3.55 rear, 145" wheelbase. 6360 GVWR, 7700 Towing capacity, 1710 Max Payload, Trailer Sway control, and RV dealer added WDH. Transmission shifted from 10 on downhills to 7 on some uphills. Never went over 70mph. Steering seemed to improve when speed down to 45 or less.

Did I buy too much trailer?
 

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I highly doubt that the first attempt to setup the WDH was "on the money"

It's like setting up a custom suspension and dialing it in.

Also, in my opinion, Load E tires and upgraded rear shocks contribute to that "comfort behind the wheel" feeling considerably.

The front end shouldn't feel light if it isn't light. That Wdh is supposed to put the needed weight back up there.

But you need that back end to feel stout too. Stiffer sidewalls and shocks that properly damp those first few inches of travel. The oem shocks are very soft initially

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the input. I know the dealer adjusted the WDH after it failed their eyeball test when trailer was first hooked up. No fender well measurements were taken, just eyeballed it. Guess I need to find a level hard surface to take measurements. My trailer is parked in an open storage lot just up the road.
 

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Yea, take that tape measure with you.
Patiently "do the math"

I don't want to overpromise, because you'll never get that setup to be "it's like it's not even back there" lol

But I'm positive that you can get that sweet truck to haul that trailer with increased confidence from behind the wheel. It's incredibly satisfying to experience the improvements as you make the changes. Find that balance. :)

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You also gotta remember that you probably had 1-2 propane tanks and batteries sitting near the tongue of the trailer that were not figured into that tongue weight. I bet you are looking at much closer to 650+ lbs empty tongue weight and 5800 lbs UVW. Maybe even 750. Those batteries are heavy mf'ers. When you are loaded up for camping, I would not be surprised if you are pushing 800 lbs or more on the tongue.

What weight are your WDH spring bars rated for? What brand? I would think you would want 1000 lb WDH bars for that trailer. I run 1000 lb bars on my 5500 lb GVWR trailer because I suspect I am up near 700+ lbs tongue weight once I am ready to camp. I pack a lot of our gear in the front of the trailer.

That shouldnt be too much trailer though. Its only slightly bigger than mine length wise and I have 0 issues.

Readjust the WDH once you the get the trailer stocked. We have stuff that we always keep in the trailer like cookware, camp chairs, table, tools etc. Depending on where your water tank is, you may need to adjust when that is full. Mine sits between the axles but the black and grey water tanks are forward of the axles so my tongue will actually get heavier on my way home from camping.

Also, i agree on the shock recommendation above. I think Bilstein 5100’s should be a manditory upgrade in all F150’s, not just ones that tow
 

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Probably not. You will need to weight the trailer for accurate measurements however. To me it sounds like the wdh isn't adjusted correctly for your current setup. Sometimes dealers try to "guess" where it needs to be after you add in gear, which as a new trailer owner, you likely have none. If this is your first time towing, get used to adding some steering input...it shouldn't be as you described but it isn't going away completely either. I do not know what kind of hitch they gave you, but if its the one that most people get, it probably came with 1 friction anti-sway unit. You can add one to the other side, which I have done to mine. It was due to a different vehicle, however it helped enough to keep me from spending $100's of dollars on a new hitch.

Getting back to weights, I doubt your hitch weight is 515. That weight is usually determined prior to adding accessories in the trailer, propane tanks, battery. Got a microwave? TV? All of that may or may not be an accessory. I would bet your closer to 600 , maybe a bit over even. I doubt anywhere near 515.

So when you finished PDI and they showed you how to hook up the WDH, they probably didn't explain it more than "let 2 links dangle for now, when you put gear in it, maybe 3 links" or something like that. Really what you need to do, is take the trailer to nice level ground. Maybe that is in front of your house, maybe down the street, maybe a parking lot. Doesn't have to be perfect, pretty close should suffice. Now unhook the trailer completely. Have your wife, luggage whatever you might bring in the bed etc with you. With the trailer unhooked, measure from the middle of the wheel well to the ground, on both sides. Now hook up the trailer, attach the WDH bars like they told you to and remeasure the wheel wells. Goal here is to return to the same spot as you started, so if its 38" unhooked and your measuring 39" you need to tighten up another link on the WDH bars. If you do that, and its 37.5", I would leave it there and try it like that. Heck even if its 37" I would probably try it and see how it feels.

Point being that if its higher than before, its making your truck "nose light" and that may make the steering feel too easy and require a lot of input.

Now if you have to tighten it a lot more links making those bars really bend, then they didn't do something right and I would bring it back there. There are adjustments like hitch height and ball angle that also have an effect on things. They might charge you for adjustment, so if you can, load that sucker up like you were camping and bring it there. If you don't they might look inside, see you have no gear and tell you it doesn't make sense to adjust it like that. I would argue differently but that's me and i've been told before that I didn't have any gear when in fact it was loaded the way we travel, so I made them do it anyways. Not everyone packs their house into their trailer to go camping.

All of that said, take all of this with a grain of salt and do you own research on the internet. I give no warranty to my thoughts lol. Lots of info out there to help you figure this out. If you can hit the cat scales and weigh everything, that will help you figure this out too, and if you might be deficient in payload, or at least tell you how much you can have in the bed of the truck.
 

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Oh i always air the tires up to max rating or just under (so no warning lights) when towing. Same for the trailer tires, maybe 2-3 PSI under max. Also make sure you have truck in tow mode too. Helps with shifting on hills up as well as engine braking I believe on the way down.
 

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Having to correct the steering constantly is a sign that there's too much weight on the rear axle and not enough up front. A simple test is to put some tape on your fenders, measure the distance to the ground from the tape. Then do the same thing with the trailer coupled to the truck without your WDH under tension. These measurements tell you the resting, and fully loaded effect the trailer has on your truck. Finally take a third measurement with the tension added to the WDH. A properly setup WDH should bring the front end at least halfway back to the stock height with no trailer on it. The rear may still sag a bit, this is normal, but what you want is enough tension on the WDH so that the front end comes back down towards resting height.

Trailer is probably okay, but being that heavy to start with, I would be careful not to overload it. You could reach max payload before you know it. Something I did on my truck is swapped out the 30 gallon propane tanks for the 20 gallon tanks. This will lighten your tongue weight and give you a little more leeway on payload, especially if you have two batteries and a tool box up on the hitch. I just fill every time I go camping. There's no need to drive with 60 gallons on propane on the tongue.

Not sure what hitch you have, but I would highly recommend the 10K Equalizer hitch. It's very easy to adjust and put the spring bars on.
 

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Without a scale, you're really just guessing... it would be well worth your time to go scale it and spend the time to get it right, then save those settings for later - especially if you intend to pull this frequently.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the input/info. Hitch is a Fastway E2 round bar, rated for 1000 tongue and 10000 trailer. Closest Bilstein dealer is 180 miles away at a place that caters to Mercedes Benz. Hmmmm. Trailer has 2 propane tanks at 20# each, and 1 Interstate marine battery. Hankook tires were about 2-3 pounds under recommended pressure. No idea where the tanks are, as the bottom has a "cover". Trailer is a rear kitchen, queen bed in the front.
 

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You probably just need to adjust your WDH. When I bought my trailer the place loaded up my Toyota Sequoia and not only was the WDH not adjusted properly, but the tow vehicle couldn't even handle the trailer. Those places don't care. The responsibility to tow safely falls squarely on the driver who is pulling the coach. Most coach dealers just want to make the sale. You sign the paper, and BAM, it's your problem. That's really their logic.

I think you'll find even when adjusted properly, the E2 is just okay. It's not a 4-point sway control hitch, which would theoretically offer more sway control. You said sway wasn't really an issue, so adjust the hitch to transfer more weight to the front axle and see how it rides. Hit a scale as others mentioned so you aren't guessing on weight.
 

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Thanks for all the input/info. Hitch is a Fastway E2 round bar, rated for 1000 tongue and 10000 trailer. Closest Bilstein dealer is 180 miles away at a place that caters to Mercedes Benz. Hmmmm. Trailer has 2 propane tanks at 20# each, and 1 Interstate marine battery. Hankook tires were about 2-3 pounds under recommended pressure. No idea where the tanks are, as the bottom has a "cover". Trailer is a rear kitchen, queen bed in the front.
Order the Bilsteins from Stage3motorsports make sure you get the right ones for your truck(2wd or 4wd). These are for a 4wd: https://www.stage3motorsports.com/15F1504WD-2015-2016-F150-4WD-Bilstein-5100-Adjustable-Shock-Kit.html

Or one of the other vendors. You can do the rears yourself in like 10 minutes if you have a wrench. Its two bolts and very easy to get too.

The fronts you could do yourself, but if your not up for it, any local shop should be able to install them as its pretty much just like any other shock assembly.

If you don't want to pay for all of them, get the rears. They are the most important in my opinion and offer the most stability, especially towing.
 

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Ha. My wife and I are 345 pounds combined... I account for 71% of that!

I have nothing else to add. Just to say that I need to lose about 35 pounds. lol
 

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Thanks for all the input/info. Hitch is a Fastway E2 round bar, rated for 1000 tongue and 10000 trailer. Closest Bilstein dealer is 180 miles away at a place that caters to Mercedes Benz. Hmmmm. Trailer has 2 propane tanks at 20# each, and 1 Interstate marine battery. Hankook tires were about 2-3 pounds under recommended pressure. No idea where the tanks are, as the bottom has a "cover". Trailer is a rear kitchen, queen bed in the front.
I'm not sure how one adjusts the fastway, but the same rules apply regarding the measuring of the wheel wells. As for the tire PSI, I wasn't referring to the recommended pressure as printed on the inside of the drivers side door, but rather the maximum pressure as printed on the sidewall. I'm sure not everyone does this, and I'm betting that everyone has a reason for either doing this or not. Its just how it has always been recommended to me in the times I have inquired about it. But there are many things I do, check temps of tires and rims etc, that many also do or don't do.

Most report that when the tires are inflated to the max PSI for towing, that it gave them a more "solid and stable" feel. Again, you have to do your own research, and trial to determine what you like and are comfortable with. FWIW, when I inflate the pressures, I always do it in the morning when the tires are cold. Knowing that once I start down the road, they are going to heat up, and along with that the PSI as well. So for me, I feel more comfortable leaving a little room in there for that, so my warning lights don't go off. If they do, I will monitor the PSI as I go, but I won't adjust pressures until I can again when the tires are cold. The only exception to that is if the pressure indicated is high enough to make me nervous, which I think only happened once, the first time I started doing this. I also trust my manual gauge and not the readout on the dash...but they are typically pretty close.

I treat the trailer tires the same way, other than I don't air them back down after we get home from a trip, like I do the truck tires. Its a little more difficult with them to check pressure during a trip, unless yours came with tpms sensors.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ha. My wife and I are 345 pounds combined... I account for 71% of that!

I have nothing else to add. Just to say that I need to lose about 35 pounds. lol
Right there with you. I'm about 65% of our total.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
....

FWIW, when I inflate the pressures, I always do it in the morning when the tires are cold. Knowing that once I start down the road, they are going to heat up, and along with that the PSI as well. So for me, I feel more comfortable leaving a little room in there for that, so my warning lights don't go off. If they do, I will monitor the PSI as I go, but I won't adjust pressures until I can again when the tires are cold. The only exception to that is if the pressure indicated is high enough to make me nervous, which I think only happened once, the first time I started doing this. I also trust my manual gauge and not the readout on the dash...but they are typically pretty close.

I treat the trailer tires the same way, other than I don't air them back down after we get home from a trip, like I do the truck tires. Its a little more difficult with them to check pressure during a trip, unless yours came with tpms sensors.
Yep, I was taught about 30 years ago to check tire pressure when cold. I carry a small tire inflator machine by Slime. Plugs into cigarette lighter plug. Need to upgrade as it was made for motorcycle tires. My trailer tires have nitrogen, so I can't use the inflator on them.
 

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Yep, I was taught about 30 years ago to check tire pressure when cold. I carry a small tire inflator machine by Slime. Plugs into cigarette lighter plug. Need to upgrade as it was made for motorcycle tires. My trailer tires have nitrogen, so I can't use the inflator on them.
AFAIK, there isn't anything wrong with adding "regular" air to nitrogen filled tires. I can see why you might not want to, but if they needed it, I would be much less worried about adding some air from your inflator and much more worried about their load capacity at whatever PSI they might be at currently. Again, its up to you, and your probably close enough I would guess. But if my trailer tires as given to me by the dealer were at 35 PSI, and the sidewall stamped said 45 PSI max, I'm inflating them up to 42 PSI minimum, nitrogen be damned.

Probably the only reason I wouldn't inflate them to the actual max, despite I know that the PSI is going up when they get warmer, is that most of the ST trailer tires given with a lot of newer trailers are questionable (some would call them junk, others chinabombs) at best, so it mentally makes me feel a little better. Knock on wood, mine have been fine for the last 5 years, but I'm going to replace them this year even though they seem ok. I feel like I'm running on borrowed time. But thats more a me mental thing than anything else.

I have a little craftsman air compressor on wheels so I just fill it up and go out the morning of the trip and make sure its the way I want it. In a pinch I could use the stanley fatmax, but the small compressors just don't work as well I've found.
 

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I'd rather have proper air pressure in the tire than worry about having nitrogen in the tire first... ;)

I put 78% nitrogen in my tires and it seems fine.. :)

Good luck!

Mitch
 
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