Feb 5 2014, 06:47 AM
Hello, leaving for Hobbs New Mexico thursday morning-- going from Sarasota FL . about 1500 miles. we just picked up our travel trailer . We had a few questions---
1- sway control-- only one sway control bar is on, when we were driving we did feel puling when cars passed my boyfriend drove he also said he felt like he was holding the steering wheel very hard to keep it stabilized-- is this normal, should we adjust to sway control or should we add another bar? Also- can you OVER adjust the sway control?
2- the truck is a brand new f 150 super crew with max trailer tow package-- we were towing in
``tow mode ``... the truck was mostly in sixth gear, we were questioning this, found lots of different opinions online, any suggestions?
3- do we make reservations at parks along the way, or can we just sleepover rest stops or wal marts? Is it safe, how much water do we put in our tank, is it bad to have it all sloshing around ?
4- any other tips and tricks, suggestions are welcomed. thank you
Mar 10 2014, 12:42 AM
Well, let me make some assumptions here. I am going to assume you have a weight-distributing hitch with a friction sway controll. The 2 bars mounted to the sides of the trailer tongue to the bottom of the hitch head are to distribute some of the tongue weight to the front wheels of the truck and the trailer axles. You need both of these bars. If there is only one, your rig will not track straight and is an unsafe condition. A friction sway controll is usually mounted on the side of the trailer tongue and this can be adjusted fairly tight to controll sway. You didn't say how big your trailer was. If the weight bars are not at the right setting, you could have too much or too little tongue weight which would adversly effect towing performance. Additionally, make sure your trailer is loaded with a good portion of the load over the axles. Now, I have a toy hauler with large tanks. I usually leave with a full water tank and return with half or less. I have never noticed any difference towing with different tank levels or any sloshing of water. I am not familiar with your truck. I have a Ford Super Duty with the 5 speed tranny. I tow in reg mode and use tow/haul mode when in hilly terrain or for increased engine braking. Read the trucks owners manual. As long as you are within the rated limits of the truck, it will give you the best advice for your set up.
So... how did the trip go?
As to sway control, it actually sounds like you should adjust the front - back weight of the trailer. You might be a little light on the tongue weight. Sometimes just doing something like moving sleeping bags and clothes to the front of the trailer for towing will be enough to help with sway. You can tighten the friction sway control bar, but I would adjust the tongue weight of the trailer first.
If your transmission is in the tow/haul mode, it is fine. What a lot of people don't understand (especially if they don't know about the newer transmissions) is that the new Ford automatic transmissions (I assume Chevy and Dodge are similar) do NOT "lockout" top gear, or overdrive. They just don't shift into that gear until cruising on a flat road. The transmission should quickly shift into a lower gear if needed, but when cruising there is no problem letting the transmission choose the gear.
I assume you already figured out how and where to stay for your trip! So... my suggestions might be a bit late --
My biggest suggestion to new campers is always to "driveway camp" at your own house if possible, or at a minimum at a very nearby campground. That way you can return to your house to get what you forgot. Also, I would suggest getting some experience towing the TT to local campgrounds before going on a long trip.
Hope you had (or are having) fun!
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