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Old 12-21-2015, 04:26 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
This is good, but there are limits to the "counterweighting" idea. Adding mass to each end of a trailer can result in the same tongue weight, but it still makes the trailer less stable. In this case it is just a couple of bikes on a 21-foot trailer, and is apparently no problem.

I had momentary instability with a 6'x12' U-Haul once, but I know why: I didn't have a tall enough ball mount and so it was sitting a little nose-down - bad for tandems.
When I rented a 6'x12' U-Haul, I got a taller ball mount that made the trailer almost level. I was also towing this with a Chevrolet Astro van that had about a five thousand # towing capacity. My main concern was hitch weight as the Astro was a uni-body and I was worried the channels the hitch was bolted to wouldn't take the weight. Anyway, anything over 57 mph and it really started to fishtail. It was a long slow drive to Florida. I've had the Escape over 80 mph passing and it's like it's glued to you. Loren
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:45 PM   #22
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I added both new 21' weights (with & without the bikes) to the spreadsheet.
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Loren & Cathy View Post
When I rented a 6'x12' U-Haul, I got a taller ball mount that made the trailer almost level.
Getting the right ball mount is definitely the right move. I just couldn't find one in the town where I started, in part because I have a 1.25" receiver - there is much less selection of ball mounts for 1.25" than for 2"

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Originally Posted by Loren & Cathy View Post
I was also towing this with a Chevrolet Astro van that had about a five thousand # towing capacity. My main concern was hitch weight as the Astro was a uni-body and I was worried the channels the hitch was bolted to wouldn't take the weight..
I wouldn't worry about that. In years of following multiple forums for both trailers and the Sienna (a unibody van) I've never heard of a properly installed hitch having structural problems with a unibody. I'll note here that random framework bolted through the trunk floor panels of a car is not "properly installed"... but that shouldn't be an issue for an Astro.

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Originally Posted by Loren & Cathy View Post
Anyway, anything over 57 mph and it really started to fishtail. It was a long slow drive to Florida. I've had the Escape over 80 mph passing and it's like it's glued to you. Loren
I suspect that the U-Haul's tongue wasn't quite tall enough. It's a lot shorter than an Escape 21', so it could be more sensitive to tongue height.
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:21 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Getting the right ball mount is definitely the right move. I just couldn't find one in the town where I started, in part because I have a 1.25" receiver - there is much less selection of ball mounts for 1.25" than for 2"


I wouldn't worry about that. In years of following multiple forums for both trailers and the Sienna (a unibody van) I've never heard of a properly installed hitch having structural problems with a unibody. I'll note here that random framework bolted through the trunk floor panels of a car is not "properly installed"... but that shouldn't be an issue for an Astro.


I suspect that the U-Haul's tongue wasn't quite tall enough. It's a lot shorter than an Escape 21', so it could be more sensitive to tongue height.
I towed a fairly heavy HILO trailer with an Astro van and Reese Dual Cam hitch. There were weld studs at the front of the receiver that broke from the stress. Can't remember if they pulled out of the metal or the the stud snapped. Anyway, I drilled them out and ran extra strength bolts up through the floor pan with fender washers and that took care of the problem. I think a trip along the the St. Lawrence Seaway had particularly bad pavement that caused the outfit to do a lot of bouncing. I think that may have caused the failure. Seems similar to some of the reports on here about issues with the Honda trucks.
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Old 12-21-2015, 08:46 PM   #25
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I towed a fairly heavy HILO trailer with an Astro van and Reese Dual Cam hitch. There were weld studs at the front of the receiver that broke from the stress. Can't remember if they pulled out of the metal or the the stud snapped. Anyway, I drilled them out and ran extra strength bolts up through the floor pan with fender washers and that took care of the problem. I think a trip along the the St. Lawrence Seaway had particularly bad pavement that caused the outfit to do a lot of bouncing. I think that may have caused the failure. Seems similar to some of the reports on here about issues with the Honda trucks.
The failed studs would be scary, but still not necessarily a failure of the unibody, right? If it was a fastener failure, it would be the same as the bolts which hold a receiver to a truck frame failing. The fact that they were at the front of the receiver, and a WDH was in use, suggest that it was adjusted too tight, so when the rig pitched hitch-down the force was too high.

As I recall the one Honda Pilot issue - if we're thinking of the same one - it was the receiver itself that bent in the box opening area (when a WDH was used, which Honda doesn't recommend); there was no problem with the attachment to the unibody or the unibody itself.
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:37 PM   #26
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Would bikes on the back of a 5.0TA matter as far as tongue weight, since there is technically no tongue like with a pull behind? Would it make a difference if an Andersen Ultimate gooseneck hitch was used?
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:18 AM   #27
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Would bikes on the back of a 5.0TA matter as far as tongue weight, since there is technically no tongue like with a pull behind?
The pin box is the tongue, and yes, the pin weight matters in the same way that tongue weight matters for a pull-behind trailer.

The 5.0TA has essentially the same critical dimensions as the 21' - those are the distance from rear to axles, and axles to hitch - so load on the back would affect the pin weight in the same proportion as load on the back of a 21' affects the tongue weight; that is, for every two units of weight (pounds, whatever) added to the rear, one unit is lifted off of the pin.

So, placing the spare over the pin and adding more than twice that much weight to the back (generator and other stuff in box) means an overall effect of more rearward mass distribution - and thus lower pin weight - than before the changes. Also, even if the pin weight were the same, increasing the mass and putting the increase at the extreme ends of the trailer reduces stability as with any trailer. Fortunately, the stability is good to start with, and rigs (such as these fifth-wheels) with the hitch close to (or ahead of) the axle improve stability.

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Would it make a difference if an Andersen Ultimate gooseneck hitch was used?
The use of Andersen's ball hitch alternative to a fifth-wheel doesn't change anything about the load distribution, or the effect of load distribution on stability. It is possible that the small (2-5/16") metal-on-metal ball hitch has less friction than a fifth-wheel hitch with a greased plate or a greaseless lubricant plate, in which case the ball hitch (such as the Andersen Ultimate) would be a bit less stable, but I'm sure that's not a big effect. Ball hitches are very commonly used with gooseneck trailers, especially in agriculture, and they work fine.
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:35 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The failed studs would be scary, but still not necessarily a failure of the unibody, right? If it was a fastener failure, it would be the same as the bolts which hold a receiver to a truck frame failing. The fact that they were at the front of the receiver, and a WDH was in use, suggest that it was adjusted too tight, so when the rig pitched hitch-down the force was too high.

As I recall the one Honda Pilot issue - if we're thinking of the same one - it was the receiver itself that bent in the box opening area (when a WDH was used, which Honda doesn't recommend); there was no problem with the attachment to the unibody or the unibody itself.
On the Astro, I think the studs either pulled away from the metal or the metal ripped out where they were welded. Been a long time and can't remember exactly. The issue with unibody is that you don't have the beef for a concentrated load like a bolted in receiver and WDH. The hitch was properly adjusted and tongue weight was within spec. Spring bars were lightest at 550 lbs as I remember. After I ran bolts up through the floor never had an issue. Why I like full frame for towing.
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:03 PM   #29
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On the Astro, I think the studs either pulled away from the metal or the metal ripped out where they were welded. Been a long time and can't remember exactly. The issue with unibody is that you don't have the beef for a concentrated load like a bolted in receiver and WDH. The hitch was properly adjusted and tongue weight was within spec. Spring bars were lightest at 550 lbs as I remember. After I ran bolts up through the floor never had an issue. Why I like full frame for towing.
Got to agree with Carl on this one. On the Astro that I had, one look under the truck at the channels where the studs were welded on and you could see that hitch weight would be a limiting factor. A friend of mine had the front end of his Chevy Silverado come off the ground after the guy loading a forklift overshot the center of the trailer and went to the front. No damage noted but I'm sure glad it wasn't my truck. Loren
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Old 02-29-2016, 01:04 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
I added both new 21' weights (with & without the bikes) to the spreadsheet.
Hey Jon - thanks so much for doing this! Much appreciated. Great info, and very helpful.

Lil Camper still talks about Quartzsite ..... we hope to see you there in 2017.
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