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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to towing a trailer of this size. When driving on the interstate at 62MPH or higher the front of the Durango starts to feel light like the front of the car can walk around the road. This is much worse when semis are passing which makes sense. I was hoping to be able to get to 65 to 70 MPH comfortably (I understand there’s not much I can do about the semis). I have towed a uhaul trailer from Alaska to Mississippi that loaded was around 2700 pounds. The front fender is 1/8 inch lifted with the trailer fully hooked up, the trailer is 1/4 inch lower at the front hooked up than it was level. Any suggestions on how to improve stability? Would tire pressure change much? Am I being unrealistic about getting to 65/70MPH and is the feather light feeling in the front of the tow vehicle a normal thing?
Towing vehicle:2015 Dodge Durango R/T AWD with class IV hitch and break controller.
Travel Trailer: 2018 Forest River Wildwood rt180 18 foot toy hauler. Unloaded weight 3,100LBS with about 1000 pounds loaded in. Hitch weight about 450 LBS.
WDH:Fastway E2 trunnion sway control/WDH.
 

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Toy haulers typically have a very high tongue weight to compensate for the weight of an ATV/SXS in the back. If you don't have considerable weight in the tail of the trailer your tongue weight will likely be higher than your Durango is designed for. This will cause excessive squat and give you the floating feeling on the front end. (I just looked at your camper online. Its only 430lb on your tongue when dry. Your Durango shouldn't have an issue with this trailer if your hitch is set up properly.)
 

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That trailer is about the same size/shape/class as my Aspen Trail 17BH (although mine is not a toy hauler). I load mine for extra tongue weight, putting my tongue weight at around 700#. I pulled mine thousands of miles this summer with my 2018 DD R/T at speeds from 65-80mph (65mph 99.9% of the time) without any issues. I do run my back tires at halfway between the recommended vehicle pressure and the max pressure listed on the tire when doing heavy towing.

If your front end is feeling light, I would suggest that your WDH needs adjustment. What weight rating is your WDH? Have you weighed each axle at a truck scale with and without the WDH bars connected? To get a proper sense of what the WDH is doing?
 

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Also, it looks like the waste water tanks are ahead of the axle on your toy hauler. Do you empty them before towing? Where is the fresh water tank? Do you empty it as well? I have to haul mine with the tanks completely empty or I will overload the trailer axle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That trailer is about the same size/shape/class as my Aspen Trail 17BH (although mine is not a toy hauler). I load mine for extra tongue weight, putting my tongue weight at around 700#. I pulled mine thousands of miles this summer with my 2018 DD R/T at speeds from 65-80mph (65mph 99.9% of the time) without any issues. I do run my back tires at halfway between the recommended vehicle pressure and the max pressure listed on the tire when doing heavy towing.

If your front end is feeling light, I would suggest that your WDH needs adjustment. What weight rating is your WDH? Have you weighed each axle at a truck scale with and without the WDH bars connected? To get a proper sense of what the WDH is doing?
I looked up factory instructions for install and dialed it in to exactly what the WDH recommends. It’s a 6k WDH. I have not yet made it to the scales, I am hoping to see if my dealer has a scale in the next few days (my next day off).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also, it looks like the waste water tanks are ahead of the axle on your toy hauler. Do you empty them before towing? Where is the fresh water tank? Do you empty it as well? I have to haul mine with the tanks completely empty or I will overload the trailer axle.
All tanks are completely empty, and I believe the fresh water tank sits right behind the axle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Toy haulers typically have a very high tongue weight to compensate for the weight of an ATV/SXS in the back. If you don't have considerable weight in the tail of the trailer your tongue weight will likely be higher than your durango is designed for. This will cause excessive squat and give you the floating feeling on the front end.
Yeah I thought about that, I would say about 700 of the 1,000 LBS is behind the axle. My Durango is rated for I believe 720 LBS of Tongue weight and I’m for sure under 500 I would say. I haven’t been able to get to the scales to get an exact weight but Dry my TT is at like 420 and I put 70% of my weight behind the axle so logically I would assume my tongue weight is well within the DD capability’s.
 

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I looked up factory instructions for install and dialed it in to exactly what the WDH recommends. It’s a 6k WDH. I have not yet made it to the scales, I am hoping to see if my dealer has a scale in the next few days (my next day off).
I use a CAT scale at a local truck stop in conjunction with the CAT scales app on my phone. It is super useful, easy, and inexpensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I use a CAT scale at a local truck stop in conjunction with the CAT scales app on my phone. It is super useful, easy, and inexpensive.
That’s really good to know I’ve seen a sign at the flying Js truck stop for CAT scales I just assumed I wasn’t allowed to use them. So I was planning on taking a few weights.
1. just the trailer
2. Just the DD
3. The DD with the TT hooked up but leave the TT off the scale to get tongue weight.

it sounds like you saying I should also weight the individual axles of the car, with and without the WDH hooked up? What does that tell me?
 

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That’s really good to know I’ve seen a sign at the flying Js truck stop for CAT scales I just assumed I wasn’t allowed to use them. So I was planning on taking a few weights.
1. just the trailer
2. Just the DD
3. The DD with the TT hooked up but leave the TT off the scale to get tongue weight.

it sounds like you saying I should also weight the individual axles of the car, with and without the WDH hooked up? What does that tell me?
So the CAT scale will give you the separate weight of all three axles in one weigh. I don't think you can weigh the TT by itself at the scale as they don't want you parking or lingering on the scale too long. So here's what I did:

  1. Weigh the DD with the trailer on and WDH connected
  2. Go around for another pass but with the spring bars disconnected (this will allow you to compare numbers to the first measurement and see how much of the tongue weight is being spread to the trailer axle and how much is going to your front axle
  3. Disconnect your TT in the parking lot, then weigh just the DD alone.
Put all these numbers into a spreadsheet. You can back-calculate your tongue weight by subtracting the total vehicle weight in measurement #3 from total vehicle weight in #2 (which is DD + tongue weight). Look to your numbers from measurement #1 to ensure that you're below the rear axle load limit for the DD and that that the trailer axle is also below the limit.

Your front axle weight from measurement #1 should be higher than that of measurement #2. If it isn't, you can then tune your WDH settings and repeat measurement #1 to see the resultant effect.
 

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I agree with the other posters that you need to confirm your axel weights and tongue weight to properly troubleshoot. CAT scales are the way to go. Just go in and ask at the counter for help and they'll give you directions.

Another option for checking your tongue weight is to buy a tongue weight scale. I'm betting you'll find the weight at the tongue is way too heavy. The factory listed "dry weights" are a joke IMO. Loading becomes tricky and challenging to balance the weights properly.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So the CAT scale will give you the separate weight of all three axles in one weigh. I don't think you can weigh the TT by itself at the scale as they don't want you parking or lingering on the scale too long. So here's what I did:

  1. Weigh the DD with the trailer on and WDH connected
  2. Go around for another pass but with the spring bars disconnected (this will allow you to compare numbers to the first measurement and see how much of the tongue weight is being spread to the trailer axle and how much is going to your front axle
  3. Disconnect your TT in the parking lot, then weigh just the DD alone.
Put all these numbers into a spreadsheet. You can back-calculate your tongue weight by subtracting the total vehicle weight in measurement #3 from total vehicle weight in #2 (which is DD + tongue weight). Look to your numbers from measurement #1 to ensure that you're below the rear axle load limit for the DD and that that the trailer axle is also below the limit.

Your front axle weight from measurement #1 should be higher than that of measurement #2. If it isn't, you can then tune your WDH settings and repeat measurement #1 to see the resultant effect.
Measurement 1: (DD and TT with WDH)
DD front axle 2,840LBS
DD rear axle 3,560LBS
TT Axle 4,340LBS
Total weight 10,740

#2 (DD and TT without WDH bars)
DD front axle 2,500LBS
DD rear Axle 4,080LBS
TT Axle 4,160LBS
Total weight 10,740LBS

#3 (only DD)
Front Axle 2,880LBS
Rear Axle 2,900LBS
Total weight 5,780LBS
So if I take the difference between #3 DD rear axle and #1 DD rear axle then my younger weight is 660lbs? Is that the correct calculation?
 

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Measurement 1: (DD and TT with WDH)
DD front axle 2,840LBS
DD rear axle 3,560LBS
TT Axle 4,340LBS
Total weight 10,740

#2 (DD and TT without WDH bars)
DD front axle 2,500LBS
DD rear Axle 4,080LBS
TT Axle 4,160LBS
Total weight 10,740LBS

#3 (only DD)
Front Axle 2,880LBS
Rear Axle 2,900LBS
Total weight 5,780LBS
So if I take the difference between #3 DD rear axle and #1 DD rear axle then my younger weight is 660lbs? Is that the correct calculation?
Did you leave on the WDH in the hitch for weigh in #3 ?

No, the 660# is because your getting 40 lbs of weight transfer off the front axle.

Correct measurement for tongue weight is GVW from #1 minus GVW from #3

6400 - 5780 = 620 lbs

Weights look ok. If your getting sway from semi’s upgrade to a better WDH with 4-point sway control and upgrade to stiffer sidewall tires
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did you leave on the WDH in the hitch for weigh in #3 ?

No, the 660# is because your getting 40 lbs of weight transfer off the front axle.

Correct measurement for tongue weight is GVW from #1 minus GVW from #3

6400 - 5780 = 620 lbs

Weights look ok. If your getting sway from semi’s upgrade to a better WDH with 4-point sway control and upgrade to stiffer sidewall tires
Wouldn’t trailer sway be an indicator that I need a better WDH? The trailer tracks perfect it’s the front of the car that is light and swaying? I just want to make sure before I spend a bunch of money on a new WDH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Did you leave on the WDH in the hitch for weigh in #3 ?

No, the 660# is because your getting 40 lbs of weight transfer off the front axle.

Correct measurement for tongue weight is GVW from #1 minus GVW from #3

6400 - 5780 = 620 lbs

Weights look ok. If your getting sway from semi’s upgrade to a better WDH with 4-point sway control and upgrade to stiffer sidewall tires
And yes measurement 3 was with the hitch in the car however the bars where in the TT.
 

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Is it more accurate to use the GVW with the WDH bars installed or with them not installed? If you use the bars uninstalled weight then the tongue weight is 800 lbs instead of 620. Am I doing this wrong? That 180 lbs makes the difference between adjusting your load and needing a 4 point sway control WDH.

(The CAT weights seems to show the WDH bars are shifting some weight to the front axel and some weight to the trailer axel(s). That's why I think the no bar weight may be the more accurate one.)

XL rated tires are a must either way in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Is it more accurate to use the GVW with the WDH bars installed or with them not installed? If you use the bars uninstalled weight then the tongue weight is 800 lbs instead of 620. Am I doing this wrong? That 180 lbs makes the difference between adjusting your load and needing a 4 point sway control WDH.

(The CAT weights seems to show the WDH bars are shifting some weight to the front axel and some weight to the trailer axel(s). That's why I think the no bar weight may be the more accurate one.)

XL rated tires are a must either way in my opinion.
That thought crossed my mind also, does anyone have a second opinion? Weather the tongue weight is 620 or 800, with the total weight being a little under 5K I could bring my tongue weight down about 100LBS which could help the issue right? One more thing the manufacture suggests that after the WDH is fine tuned the front of the TT frame should measure 1.5 inches IN EITHER DIRECTION from what it measured when the trailer was level. I am about a half of an inch higher, from other forums I’ve read you want to be lower (have the tongue slightly lower than level as opposed to higher). Thoughts on that? I just paid $1,000.00 for that hitch as it was the one the one the dealer recommended so I really hope I do not have to buy another but if that’s the case you live and you learn, in this case you learn don’t trust the dealer.
 

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I do not include the weight of the WDH itself in my tongue weight calculation, since the WDH should be effectively transferring its own weight to the front axle and trailer axle. Lots of people tow successfully with the Fastway E2. I have one for my new-to-me 16X7 two axle flat bed trailer, but haven't installed or towed with it yet.

I don't believe you have answered the tire pressure question yet. You might have tires that naturally have a squishy sidewall which would have to be run at higher pressure to feel better connected to the road.

You haven't by chance lubricated the point of contact between the spring bars and the L-brackets they slide on, have you? While it gets rid of the creaky squeaky nails on a chalkboard noise, you lose a lot of the friction and sway control that the bars provide.
 
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