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Old 07-05-2019, 04:42 PM   #1
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Safe Towing Speed?

What is the safe towing speed of these trailers BEFORE adding anti-sway / weight distribution hitches and AFTER?

I just recently pulled a Hymer Touring GT and was limited to 55mph for safety. There’s not good anti-sway options for it with its current surge brake setup.

Thinking of selling it for an Escape and want to know what I would gain.
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Old 07-05-2019, 05:01 PM   #2
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While towing speed can affect the need for a WDH, it is needed more to distribute the weight from the rear axle of the tow vehicle so it rides level.

I don't recall an Escape ever having trouble with sway, except in a couple cases where the tongue weight was too low, and that needs to be corrected with proper loading of the trailer to eliminate this.

For me the maximum towing speed is up too the rated speed of the tires for the given load and pressure, and only a bit more when needed for something like passing.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:09 PM   #3
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For me the maximum towing speed is up too the rated speed of the tires for the given load and pressure, and only a bit more when needed for something like passing.
Agreed. Note that if an ST tire does not have a speed rating on it (L=75 MPH, M=81MPH) then it is assumed to be 65 MPH. This is true of the stock ST 205/75R15 tires on my new 5.0 from ETI.

As a practical matter, I follow the posted speed limit for trucks if different than cars, or the tire speed rating whichever is less.

Assuming the trailer is properly loaded, I think that the set up of the Tow vehicle is the next critical variable in a safe tow. If the trailer load is right at the limit of the tow vehicle's tow rating and/or over payload capacity, safety margins will be compromised.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:40 PM   #4
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Not that they came on the Escape, but my Goodyear Endurance's are rated N, so I guess I can go up to 87 @ up to 80 psi. No idea if the speed rating changes for running ETI's called for 50 psi.
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeromed View Post
What is the safe towing speed of these trailers BEFORE adding anti-sway / weight distribution hitches and AFTER?

I just recently pulled a Hymer Touring GT and was limited to 55mph for safety. There’s not good anti-sway options for it with its current surge brake setup.

Thinking of selling it for an Escape and want to know what I would gain.
Limited to 55 mph, by what exactly? Trailer owner's manual? Trailer felt unstable or was waggling?

A quick search turned up this page from e-trailer, in which they discuss the issue and give a list (at very bottom of page) of WD hitches with built-in sway control that they claim should work ok with a surge-braked trailer. https://www.etrailer.com/question-51522.html
But one might also be able to use a simple friction sway bar.

But first things first... if your Hymer felt unstable or gave you a sway problem, check your hitch weight; it needs to be 10%-15% of the total trailer weight. A too-light hitch is the leading cause of dangerous sway, but you should be able to remedy it by loading differently. I bet you can check it with a bathroom scale, it's probably not over the 300 (or 350) lb limit of such a scale.

If all else fails, I could take the Hymer off your hands for, oh, say $15 grand...
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:44 AM   #6
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Not that they came on the Escape, but my Goodyear Endurance's are rated N, so I guess I can go up to 87 @ up to 80 psi. No idea if the speed rating changes for running ETI's called for 50 psi.
No, it doesn't change. The speed rating applies as long as the tire is within its rated load and inflated to at least the minimum pressure for the actual load. 50 PSI is more than enough for any Escape.

But 80 PSI? That would be a Load Range E tire, which is a surprise. An Escape with a tire of the stock size (ST205/75R15) only needs a Load Range C (max inflation 50 PSI), and some have Load Range D (max inflation 65 PSI), but 80 PSI would be Load Range E, which Goodyear's load inflation table doesn't show as existing in the Endurance ST205/75R15. If these are ST225/75R15, they only need 35 PSI to meet the axle rating, and only 25 PSI to handle a 5.0TA at GVWR. Bob, if these are your 2017 tires, I think you mean 65 PSI, in ST205/75R15 Load Range D.
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:51 AM   #7
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Hymer speed limit and balance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
Limited to 55 mph, by what exactly? Trailer owner's manual? Trailer felt unstable or was waggling?
...
But first things first... if your Hymer felt unstable or gave you a sway problem, check your hitch weight; it needs to be 10%-15% of the total trailer weight. A too-light hitch is the leading cause of dangerous sway, but you should be able to remedy it by loading differently. I bet you can check it with a bathroom scale, it's probably not over the 300 (or 350) lb limit of such a scale.
The trailer (briefly) sold by Hymer North America is largely a copy of their European product. It probably comes with the same recommendations as in Europe, which would typically limit speed to about 90 km/h (55 mph) or even less, unless a sway-reduction device is used... which could be sway-reduction coupler, added shock absorbers in the trailer suspension, or an electronic trailer sway control feature in the tow vehicle or on the trailer.

I would not assume that 10% to 15% tongue weight is suitable for this trailer. Like other Euro trailers, the axle is located closer to the centre of the trailer than a typical North American trailer, so the tongue weight is lower... by design. While this reduces stability, masses are kept closer to the middle of the trailer to improve stability (no pair of propane tanks nearly on the coupler, for instance). The Hymer manual is important here.
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Old 07-06-2019, 06:11 AM   #8
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Early on I would set 60 mph as my max. Our 5.0TA is our first and probably last travel trailer. After putting some miles on our rig and finding it has impeccable towing manners, now I’ll do whatever the speed limit is. I check my air pressure in the am with a gauge and tire temp by feel at every stop.
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Old 07-06-2019, 07:31 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Bob, if these are your 2017 tires, I think you mean 65 PSI, in ST205/75R15 Load Range D.
My error, I looked at the 225's on the Goodyear website, didn't go out and check the trailer, which has a big "For Max Load Inflate To 65 PSI" written on the sides!
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Old 07-06-2019, 08:57 AM   #10
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My trailer tires have a much higher speed rating than I have .
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:24 AM   #11
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Agreed Steve lol we get there when we get there. Too many things to stop n see along the way
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:35 AM   #12
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I'm used to states where the towing speed limit is lower by 10 mph and generally respect it.

But I also suspect this discussion is like the tow limits ones. Some figure what the vehicle rating is is the real limit, others are conservative. Some figure the posted speed limit is the top limit, others are conservative.

Pushing both could be more of a problem.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:49 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
My trailer tires have a much higher speed rating than I have .
As in everything travel trailer there are bound to be a number of opinions on this subject, usually based on good fortune and often sheer luck. I find that my preferred towing speed on the highway is around 60 mph and that will get me where I need to go in a single day. If I'm towing for 7 hours then this limits my total miles driven by 35 miles. Not enough to make a difference to me. I do use a WD hitch. If you follow the RV social sites long enough you'll find someone who always said they didn't need a WD hitch, and used the minimally rated TV for their trailer. Usually they report about had an accident with the camper and they then buy a bigger TV and new trailer.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:57 AM   #14
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When driving, I also apply the Basic Rule. While not towing Ten Forward, I may be able to travel at 75mph on some roads. It may be totally unsafe while towing my trailer, no matter what speed ratings are on the trailer tires.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:58 AM   #15
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Swaying is the problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The trailer (briefly) sold by Hymer North America is largely a copy of their European product. It probably comes with the same recommendations as in Europe, which would typically limit speed to about 90 km/h (55 mph) or even less, unless a sway-reduction device is used... which could be sway-reduction coupler, added shock absorbers in the trailer suspension, or an electronic trailer sway control feature in the tow vehicle or on the trailer.

I would not assume that 10% to 15% tongue weight is suitable for this trailer. Like other Euro trailers, the axle is located closer to the centre of the trailer than a typical North American trailer, so the tongue weight is lower... by design. While this reduces stability, masses are kept closer to the middle of the trailer to improve stability (no pair of propane tanks nearly on the coupler, for instance). The Hymer manual is important here.
No Hymer manual exists. Us Hymer owners left in the lurch are building our own. Your observations on European trailers is very helpful. It explains a lot of what I've observed as well.

The problem I'm trying to solve is swaying above 60+ mph. Both the European surge brake anti-sway for the Eriba (which is where the Hymer Touring GT came from) and the North American electric brake anti-sway controllers are based upon activating the trailer brakes. Since the trailer is in constant (but not severe) sway mode at 60+, seems like the brakes would therefore be constantly activating thereby leading to potential overheating and brake failure. Weight distribution hitches seem to have some anti-sway built into them by design.

Getting more than 10% tongue weight without going to extremes like loading 5 gallon containers of water near the tongue is not easy.

I was just looking for what a reasonable towing expectation is for a well designed trailer. We use to be able to tow our Coleman pop-up at 70mph though we rarely exceeded 65mph.
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Old 07-06-2019, 11:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
Limited to 55 mph, by what exactly? Trailer owner's manual? Trailer felt unstable or was waggling?

A quick search turned up this page from e-trailer, in which they discuss the issue and give a list (at very bottom of page) of WD hitches with built-in sway control that they claim should work ok with a surge-braked trailer. https://www.etrailer.com/question-51522.html
But one might also be able to use a simple friction sway bar.

But first things first... if your Hymer felt unstable or gave you a sway problem, check your hitch weight; it needs to be 10%-15% of the total trailer weight. A too-light hitch is the leading cause of dangerous sway, but you should be able to remedy it by loading differently. I bet you can check it with a bathroom scale, it's probably not over the 300 (or 350) lb limit of such a scale.

If all else fails, I could take the Hymer off your hands for, oh, say $15 grand...
You could put in a bid for one of the 12 finished ones at this auction. It is amazing how much stuff is going...
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:37 PM   #17
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You could put in a bid for one of the 12 finished ones at this auction. It is amazing how much stuff is going...
Wow! Clearly their debt to sales ratio was skewed! That is some expensive equipment to pay off. Look at all that inventory! "All must go!"

Quite a contrast to ETI's hand-built-to-order business model.
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:44 PM   #18
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The problem I'm trying to solve is swaying above 60+ mph. Both the European surge brake anti-sway for the Eriba (which is where the Hymer Touring GT came from) and the North American electric brake anti-sway controllers are based upon activating the trailer brakes. Since the trailer is in constant (but not severe) sway mode at 60+, seems like the brakes would therefore be constantly activating thereby leading to potential overheating and brake failure.
I agree that if it is triggering all the time, a brake-based system isn't a great choice.

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Weight distribution hitches seem to have some anti-sway built into them by design.
Fundamentally WD does not increase stability - it actually decreases the stability of the vehicle combination by transferring load off the tug's rear axle and reducing traction. Practical WD designs all have friction and spring effects that bind up the tug/trailer coupling and accidentally reduce sway. Some WD designs deliberately add a lot of friction for the purpose of sway control; any design which involves steel bars scraping over crude brackets (such as the Equal-i-zer and Fastway E2) will reduce sway. The Andersen No-Sway WD is designed specifically for sway control, but has it its own issues.

The European sway-control couplers also use friction, but they clamp onto the ball. This works well in Europe, but towing balls here are normally mounted on a threaded stud, so this type of coupler would loosen the ball - that's likely why this was not offered as an option by Hymer in North America. You could get one of these couplers from Europe, and use a ball which is welded to the ball mount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeromed View Post
Getting more than 10% tongue weight without going to extremes like loading 5 gallon containers of water near the tongue is not easy.
And this is not a good way to increase stability, anyway. Stability is about keeping mass close to the middle of the trailer, as much as it is about having the centre of mass ahead of the axle (and thus having tongue weight).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeromed View Post
I was just looking for what a reasonable towing expectation is for a well designed trailer. We use to be able to tow our Coleman pop-up at 70mph though we rarely exceeded 65mph.
I don't think that there is anything wrong with the design of the Hymer trailer, but the Escape's axle position, which is more typical of North American than European design, can allow higher stable speed if loaded properly and comparably equipped. Tandem axles also mean that tires scrub when the trailer turns (or sways), which can improve stability... and all but one Escape model has tandem axles. On the other hand, if you get a tandem-axle Escape (or other brand of trailer), set the hitch too low so the trailer is "tiptoeing" on the forward tires, mount a huge cargo carrier on the back, then try to fix the resulting instability with a pile of stuff on the tongue, you won't be much better off.

I think most people with properly loaded trailers on suitable tow vehicles have no difficulty with cruising speed up to the traditional ST tire speed limit of 65 mph / 105 km/h, and that's what I have used for a cruising speed on high-speed (straight, multi-lane) highways with my trailer (which is decades old and not an Escape).
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:53 PM   #19
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Agreed Steve lol we get there when we get there. Too many things to stop n see along the way
I'm right there with you guys! I live in a state where interstate speed limits are up to 80 mph. Therefore, I avoid these interstates when towing. No way am I going anywhere near that fast towing a trailer, and I really hate being the hazard everyone is desperate to pass. On secondary roads with speed limits of 60 - 65 mph is where you'll find me, happily driving along at those speeds, pulling over when needed to let people pass, and everyone is happier. I used to be one of "those" people, always in a hurry and getting mad at RV's slowing me down. With age comes wisdom, life is better and much less stressful when you slow down and take your time! I just wish I had figured this out 20 years ago...
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:17 PM   #20
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You could put in a bid for one of the 12 finished ones at this auction. It is amazing how much stuff is going...
Makes my heart pound faster just looking at that stuff. At one time I would have put in a bid for one of the shells and done my own thing.

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