Wave-like motion when towing with my Pilot - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-20-2017, 08:33 PM   #1
LJY
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Wave-like motion when towing with my Pilot

So, I picked up my 21 and Dennis installed my Andersen WDH on my Honda Pilot. There was no lack of power when towing. The car and trailer starts to take off as soon as I take my foot off the brakes. However, in the local drive to Cultus Lake, I experience a lot of front to back or back to front wave-like motion. Since it's my first time towing a trailer, I don't know if it's normal?? or is there an issue with the WDH setup?

We tried to put everything of weight over the 2 trailer axles, but the tow was a bit scary from Sumas to Cultus Lake already...

Help?
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
So, I picked up my 21 and Dennis installed my Andersen WDH on my Honda Pilot. There was no lack of power when towing. The car and trailer starts to take off as soon as I take my foot off the brakes. However, in the local drive to Cultus Lake, I experience a lot of front to back or back to front wave-like motion. Since it's my first time towing a trailer, I don't know if it's normal??
That's a good description; I would call it pitch oscillation, and some call it "bucking".

If it is occurring continually, it sounds like inadequate damping in the Pilot's rear suspension, meaning that better shocks might help.
If it is only triggered by bumps in the road... welcome to tandem-axle trailer towing. When the trailer's leading axle hits a bump it pitches the trailer nose-up, then when the trailer's trailing axle hits the same bump it pitches the trailer nose-down. If the combination of axle spacing, speed, and characteristics of the vehicle all combine in an unfortunate way, it can be annoying.

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... or is there an issue with the WDH setup?
The WDH fundamentally does not exist to stop this, and doesn't cause it... but the WDH is a big system of springs so it changes the frequency of motions such as this one. The right adjustment of a WDH for its intended purpose might not be the best for pitching, but that doesn't mean the WDH adjustment is wrong.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:45 PM   #3
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I had that for a while at first and then it seemed to stop without doing anything. Don't know if it was the road or what. Could have been something that I noticed at first that I no longer notice, just being new to towing then, but could be something else. We have a WDH and it was on.

Have you been to a scale to check weights and get the tongue weight to 10-15%? Need to do that. Coming out of the factory, people often do not have the tongue weight they need and have been known to have problems going home in some cases. You may need weight up front, not just over the axles.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:46 PM   #4
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That's a good description; I would call it pitch oscillation, and some call it "bucking".
.
Or porpoising. Our single axle 17 and Tacoma combination used to do it when I didn't have the WDH attached but very minimally with the WDH on and properly adjusted.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:02 PM   #5
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The comment about tandem axle towing is correct. We get a bit (very little) of porpoising sometimes when the combination of the road and speed are right. Although its primary purpose is anti-sway and weight distribution, we do notice it's less of a problem with our Andersen hitch.

When we encounter it, sometimes slowing down a bit will also make it go away.

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Old 05-20-2017, 10:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
That's a good description; I would call it pitch oscillation, and some call it "bucking".

If it is occurring continually, it sounds like inadequate damping in the Pilot's rear suspension, meaning that better shocks might help.
You may want to consider overload springs to dampen the motion. Also make sure 60% of the weight in the trailer is forward of the wheels. Too much weight in the rear can contribute to the pitch oscillation.

https://www.etrailer.com/susp-2015_Honda_Pilot.htm
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:21 PM   #7
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Some roads seem to have the perfect dip depth and frequency to induce porpoising too.
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:02 AM   #8
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Some roads seem to have the perfect dip depth and frequency to induce porpoising too.
I have noted it sometimes when going over bridges, perhaps due to a sudden change in road composition. I have, however, read "complaints" in the past that the rear suspension Honda uses on the Odyssey and Pilot is a bit mushy. I think Brian may have hit the nail on the head with his assessment of the cause and potential corrective measure.
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Old 05-21-2017, 08:08 AM   #9
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This may sound odd, but I rearranged my stuff to ADD hitch weight. Put heavy non dirty stinky stuff under the dinette ..... helped alot
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Old 05-21-2017, 12:15 PM   #10
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where are the tanks in 21?

Do you guys know where the tanks are located in our 21? Maybe I can use some fluids to test out different weight distribution..

Can I show up on the highway scale station in Canada or USA to do a weighing ? or is this something to be done at home?
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Old 05-21-2017, 12:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by arniesea View Post
You may want to consider overload springs to dampen the motion. Also make sure 60% of the weight in the trailer is forward of the wheels. Too much weight in the rear can contribute to the pitch oscillation.

https://www.etrailer.com/susp-2015_Honda_Pilot.htm
I was looking at this and the airbags, but saw a video test that showed using these actually puts more weight on the rear axle of tow vehicles.
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Old 05-21-2017, 01:59 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Do you guys know where the tanks are located in our 21? Maybe I can use some fluids to test out different weight distribution..

Can I show up on the highway scale station in Canada or USA to do a weighing ? or is this something to be done at home?

I "like" towing with black and gray tanks about 1/2 full. Try not to have a full fresh tank, yet anyways. Waste tanks up front, fresh over the axle (more or less). Do you have the front storage box?


Dennis set up my Andersen for the day of pick up (when my truck bed was loaded down). After getting the truck unloaded, and testing, I reduced my tightening from 7 to 2, maybe 3.

YMMV.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:05 PM   #13
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tip: Industrial Road that runs behind ETI is a great "shake and bake" road to test your hitch/dishware storage out that's close to the factory. The big trucks beat the heck out of the road, and repairs can't keep up.


Use Yale Road overpass to cross the highway and find a turn around back again.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:11 PM   #14
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I "like" towing with black and gray tanks about 1/2 full. Try not to have a full fresh tank, yet anyways. Waste tanks up front, fresh over the axle (more or less). Do you have the front storage box?


Dennis set up my Andersen for the day of pick up (when my truck bed was loaded down). After getting the truck unloaded, and testing, I reduced my tightening from 7 to 2, maybe 3.

YMMV.
I do have the front storage box, but pretty much empty.

I had the SUV loaded with stuff in the back when the WDH was installed. I wanted to unload everything to the trailer before installing the WDH. But they said no.. I forgot that it will be a problem exporting the trailer to Sumas with my stuff in there.

By 7, 2 or 3, do you mean the threads showing after the urethane spring? Dennis had told Michael and me to put 5 threads on mine.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:23 PM   #15
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Right threads, couldn't remember name.

As a guess, 5 at empty trailer pick up might turn into 3 loaded for the road. I can't say but experience will tell you what is best for your rig.


PS load up the storage box for sure. I have two tool boxes on the floor of mine, which is correct for me.
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:19 PM   #16
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I was looking at this and the airbags, but saw a video test that showed using these actually puts more weight on the rear axle of tow vehicles.
Airbags are just additional springs. Changing the springs cannot change the axle loads, so either there's some miscommunication or someone posted a video of nonsense on the internet. Can you provide a link?
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:23 PM   #17
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Do you guys know where the tanks are located in our 21? Maybe I can use some fluids to test out different weight distribution..
In all Escapes, the fresh water tank is behind the axle(s), under the step up in the frame (and floor, for those models with a stepped floor), and between the frame rails.
The black waste tank is on top of the floor and under the toilet, extending into the adjacent cabinet (which in the 21' means across the front of the trailer including under the bed).
The grey waste tank is ahead of the axle(s), under the floor, between the frame rails.
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Airbags are just additional springs. Changing the springs cannot change the axle loads, so either there's some miscommunication or someone posted a video of nonsense on the internet. Can you provide a link?
This one: https://youtu.be/XBZu39pQ8Gg
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:29 PM   #19
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Can I show up on the highway scale station in Canada or USA to do a weighing ? or is this something to be done at home?
It depends on province or state, but certainly in British Columbia and Alberta the government-run highway scale stations are free for anyone to use. Most are only staffed during limited hours, but are left turned on when not staffed so you can check weights without taking anyone's time, and likely without holding up any truckers.

Tongue weight is pretty low to accurately determine on these scales, which have enough capacity for more than 10-ton truck axles, which is one reason that it makes sense to measure that at home... but you can certainly get reasonably close on the truck scales.
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:36 PM   #20
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Thanks.
I haven't watched the video yet (and at 13 minutes of mobile internet data for a one-minute topic I'm not in a rush to do it), but I note that the video comes from a WD system manufacturer. They presumably meant that the rear axle load without WD (regardless of whether you have air bags or other springs) is higher than the rear axle load with WD (because that's what a WD system does).

Air bags and other supplementary springs exist to help the rear suspension handle high loads better. They do not increase the axle weight rating (which may not be an issue), and they do not change the axle loads.
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