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Towed vehicle - question

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begentle

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Towed vehicle - question
« on: February 27, 2012, 09:11:02 pm »
Posted this comment on the POLL -- but decided to repost here as a separate topic. Hope it's OK?!

Our "toad" is a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid (about 3700 lb), which can be towed four down, pop her in neutral, set the key so accessory is not on, and off we go!  Roadmaster Falcon All Terrain tow bar, and a US Gear Unified brake system.

Have used this set up with two other rigs as well, and for some reason, in the short 400 or so miles that we've towed the Escape behind the PC, we do "notice" the car.  Previous experience with other rigs, it just rolls along nicely, not talking back.  But with the PC we experience a little sway and some up and down motion.  Hard to describe. On a wavy road (some up and downs) there is up and down re-action from the car -- in addition to feeling the PC swaying in some circumstances.  Nothing severe, but noticeable.  Our 2010 - 2551 has new Bilstein shocks, and Roadmaster sway bars front and rear.  Last thing to double check (can't do it here in our lumpy driveway) is whether we're "level" when on the hitch.  It appeared to be by eyeballing, but haven't done a precise measurement.

Hate to think we'd have to also get a rear track bar.
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ron.dittmer

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 10:31:03 pm »
I wonder what the deal is.  It sounds like everything should be in fine order.  The next step would seem to be a rear trac bar.

One cheap addition we recently added was one of these which eliminated the play between the tow bar and hitch that had developed over the miles.  Though I don't think it will address your concerns, it surely can't hurt to try it.  It really helped us this last vacation with the bucking that was going on under certian conditions.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 10:35:02 pm by ron.dittmer »
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begentle

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 10:39:40 pm »
Thanks, Ron.

Bucking! That's a good word.  Sounds like a good (and less expensive) thing to try before the track bar.  That and checking the level situation.

Deena

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ragoodsp

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 09:33:07 am »
Begentle:

I have your model/year PC with the same "add ons" as well as a steer safe damper.  My Jeep Liberty is a diesel and therefore with the bike rack, bikes,  etc. it weighs in at just over 4500 lbs.  The biggest improvement I obsereved towing the Jeep came when I installed the 2" lift hitch reciever that brought the tow bar (I use the same one you do) into that ideal 3" level position.  Before that I was looking at the Jeep actaully being nearly 6" higher than the hitch and I think that contibuted greatly to that feeling that the Jeep was "running the show" even with the Brake Buddy cranked up.  I would still not say that I do not feel it back there, I feel it, especially on secondary roads.  I would bet  your Escape has about the same ground to bumper/plate distiance as the Liberty.  I would spend the $50.00 to get the Roadmaster riser and the lock set up that Ron D. mentioned.   Thanks and best of luck.
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mciai2000

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 07:41:51 pm »
Gentlemen:
.. 
I too have "toad" my jeep liberty diesel behind my 2010 2350. Never ever noticed it on any kind of road.   Level hitch is very important, no doubt.  I am wondering though "begentle" when was the last time you checked the torque on the nuts and bolts of your tow bars?  I seem to recall a while back that our friend "billy"  discussed this at length.  It is important and they do over time tend to get our of "whack" so to speak.  If you are not sure what the the bolts and nuts should be torqued at,  look it up on the "net" and have your mechanic check it if you do not have the proper tools.  Also, while you are at it, have your mechanic check the connections on the Escape to make sure they are still torqued to specs.  If  you have had this setup a while, which it seems you have, you need to do this too.  If your set up was done in 2009 and has not been re-torqued it is now time to do this and asap.  Simple changes in torque will cause just what you talk about.


 Just my thoughts.

Enjoy.!!!

DJM 
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begentle

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 09:56:56 pm »
Great advice -- all!  Thanks.  Will follow up on all suggestions.

Deena

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DownBy TheRiver

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 04:52:03 pm »
Hey Deena -

All good advice above,

All those adjustments will make a significant difference, but might it also be more noticeable because you've downsized from a class A?

If your RV is the "bouncer", it once was a "sumo" - but is now a mere "heavyweight" or "middle-weight"?




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ron.dittmer

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 08:51:14 pm »
Level hitch is very important, no doubt.
When I read this, a lightbulb went off inside this aging brain of mine.

Why would the bar being level, be of such great importance?

I assumed it had only to do when braking hard, having the front of the tow vehicle lifting, especially if going over a really big bump in the road.  But now I think there is a bigger reason.  I think it has to do with "bucking" that would be significantly amplified when the tow bar is at an angle.

Level = no bucking even when the motor home and tow vehicle are not bouncing in unison.

Angled Tow Bar = Lots-Of-Bucking, pushing the tow vehicle forward-backward with every unequal motion between vehicles.  If the motor home's rear bouces downward while the tow vehicle bounces upward, the bar at an angle greatly changes the horizontal distance between the two vehicles which would cause the bucking.  It's not much, but enough to feel it.

How's that logic?
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 08:53:43 pm by ron.dittmer »
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DownBy TheRiver

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 10:09:22 pm »
Great logic -

Any force applied out of 0 degrees horizontal is leverage.  Leverage multiplies otherwise static weight or mass.  At some point beyond zero degrees horizontal, a tow-bar becomes a lever, positive or negative.  And when braking, you have front axle suspension dive that raises the RV's rear end beyond horizontal, regardless of auxiliary toad braking, eh?

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ragoodsp

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 08:15:27 pm »
I think you gents are really onto something, makes all the sense in the world.  thanks for doing some extra thinking; I am going to measure a little closer now! 
Ron Goodspeed

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Bob Mahon

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 05:29:22 pm »
Under hard braking:
A tow bar angled up to the towing vehicle can be pretty squirrely. Especially without an auxilliary braking system.
A tow bar severely angled down to the towing vehicle can lead to the towed vehicle levering up and becoming part of your motorcoach (remember how a pole vaulter gets his lift?).
Carry on, regardless..................
"In God we trust" to save our country and bring our troops safely home.

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ron.dittmer

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Re: Towed vehicle - question
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 07:32:37 pm »
With my first tow vehicle, a small car, the tow bar was perfectly horizontal.  It had no bucking.

With my Jeep Liberty, the tow bar is at a significant angle upward to the Jeep where a decent amount of bucking has been present.

I bought a hitch adaptor and longer 76" safety cables.  With everything hooked up, the bar is level again.  I have yet to take a trip, but I am ready now.  I hope the bucking will be gone.

Sorry for the huge pictures.  I wish there was a feature to adjust their size.


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