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Ponyboy96

Trailer Adjustment?

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Has anyone here have to adjust your trailer weight distribution?  I’m curious since I’ve never quite been able to get my trailering to ride right while towing.

ive been thinking it could be my trailering vehicle. I got the hitch as level as I could. It goes better, but I still don’t feel it tows as well as it should. I’m towing with a 2013 F150 fx4.  I know my cargo capacity is 1161 on the truck for a gvwr of 7200lbs.  Loaded with my family and gear I’m right at the max weight with the boat hooked up. 

Have you had to adjust the axles or the post to make it tow better? Or do you think it’s a vehicle issue?  I’m considering upgrading to a F250 diesel as I know it will be more than capable. 

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What are you towing and how much does it weight?

The tongue weight should be approximately 10% of the total trailer weight.

 

.

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I think you have a H20?  21 ft?

You should have no problems with your F150 pulling that.  What engine in the F150?  But it sounds like you do not have the Max Tow package, since the GVWR is low (1161 cargo capacity).

Toddler nailed it, though.  Do you know what your tongue weight is?  Most boats trailers at 5% to 10% tongue weight to total weight.  Travel trailer, campers, etc. are should be loaded to more like 12-15%.

Figure fully loaded your boat is 4500 (worse case rough estimate), steel trailer (worse case) is another 1500 or so for 6000 total.  600 lbs of tongue weight at 10%, leaving you 500 lbs and change for people and cargo in the truck.  You are right, it is at the edge of the GVWR.

But beyond GVWR, you should have no problems with the towing that load.

Couple more questions beyond tongue weight:

1.  Steel or aluminum trailer?

2.  Single or double axle?

3.  Drum or disc brakes, on how many axles?

4.  Are your trailer tires inflated to the maximum?  They need to be, cold, at all times.

I pull my 264 with ease behind by 2014 FX4 Ecoboost.  Dual axle aluminum trailer, total weight when loaded is just under 8000 lbs.  I am at 8% tongue weight last I checked.   I will say, my new trailer (the aluminum one) has surge brakes with self adjusting disc brakes on both axles and no problems stopping at all.  I was going to put and electric over hydraulic setup on it, but after towing a few times with it I decided I did not need it since it stops so easily.  Disc brakes make a huge difference over drums, and on both axles even more so.

As for adjustments, best you can probably do is the bow post if you have room to adjust it, or as you mentioned the axles.  But knowing your tongue weight is the most important piece of information.  Making sure your breaking system is working properly and the tires inflated properly will help a lot as well.

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6 hours ago, Ponyboy96 said:

I’ve never quite been able to get my trailering to ride right

 

6 hours ago, Ponyboy96 said:

I got the hitch as level as I could. It goes better, but I still don’t feel it tows as well as it should

Can you describe what's wrong?  Does the trailer shimmy side to side at speed?  Not enough power on hills?  I personally feel the trailer attitude when connected to truck should be slightly nose up.  Slightly.

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any recently made 1/2 ton with a  v8 or v8 equivalent(ecoboost) should tow a 21ft boat in its sleep.  So either something is weird going on, or maybe this is your first thing ever towed and have unrealistic expectations of what towing is like.

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It’s just a rough ride. Like when I hit bumps or uneven pavement it pushes the truck around a bit. On the interstate, I get blown around a bit by passing trucks. It’s just not a comfortable feeling. This is the heaviest thing I’ve towed  I also tow atv trailer with a couple of ATVs hooked up ~3000lbs  

For my truck, my payload capacity is 1161. Add in the family and some gear and I’m right at the limit if not over with the boat hooked up.  Remaining payload is by my calculation is 280-330. I’ll need to weigh it to get exact, but using my estimate, I’m either close or over payload and Gvwr using a 6% tongue weight. 

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Sounds fairly normal, really.  Do you have a single axle trailer; or hopefully a tandem?

What boat are you towing, and did it come with a trailer when you bought it?  Pictures, of course, could be helpful.

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Maybe something as simple as heavier duty shocks and / or larger sway bars on the tuck, if it doesn't already have the heavy duty towing package, which seems likely with that low towing rating.

My '04 F150 has the heavy duty tow and pulls my 2550 just fine (except more HP for the hills would be nice). There is a huge difference in how my truck handles while towing if I have my C-rated 35 psi winter tires on vs: the E-rated 55 psi summer tires on the truck. The E-rated ones are by far more stable on the highway while towing the heavy load.

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Your truck should be plenty big enough to tow an H20.  check all your tire pressures.   if you can winch the boat forward a bit, that will increase tongue weight.

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I just think its an expectations thing.  When towing its not going to be like driving normal.  You do have slow down some, and add a little more caution to what you are doing.  a 3-4k lb load is nothing for that truck, ive done double that with my ford without an issue.  There are things you could look at like getting less bouncier tires, higher load rated tires typically bounce less.  Look at your hitch set up, move your boat forward maybe.  You could get helper air bags added to the truck.

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If the center of weight point of the boat is NOT over the center of ALL the axles ?   You will go crazy .  You have to get very close to that point to start with.........

TUNING a trailer to be safe & very stabile is not that easy. With new or used parts that are wrong.

Pictures of the boat on the trailer hitched to truck on a LEVEL space will help us a lot. The side view from about 50' away is best.

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Probably a little light on the tongue. If you can weigh the set up you will know for sure. Any way to move the boat forward a few inches?

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Thanks for all the help and responses. This is why this place is an awesome forum. 

1. Boat is a 2017 21 H2O ski fish outboard, trailer is tandum axle. Dry weight is 3780 + 40 gal fuel + trailer 880lbs + stuff (~250) = about 5158. I’ll need the get everything weighed this weekend. 

2. Not sure on exact tongue weight, I’ll weigh this weekend. 

3. Currently the setup is factory locations for everything. Boat is at the end of the bunks, so that sounds correct. No idea on how the weight is distributed, but I’m guessing with the outboard, it’s on the back. I’m not sure if I can move the post up or not, but I’ll give it a shot. 

4.  I’ll get some pictures this weekend. 

5.  Expectations - yes they get you every time. Mine are that I should feel it back there and need to slow down and take it easier.  Then there’s bottoming our on bumps on the interstate.  Makes for a not so great ride. I have towed other things without issues.  Mostly an ATV trailer loaded that weighs about 4000 lbs  don’t have issues with it  

Another wrinkle to this, after all this talk the Admiral wants me to go look at F250s for the additional margin. I’m kind of torn on this. I like my truck and it’s paid for. How often does the admiral give the ok to look at a bigger truck. She wants to be able to take it to the coast more and knows that she isn’t comfortable with the way it tows now. 

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Really need to get it the truck and boat weighed at the scales to get some real numbers.  You really shouldn't have much trouble towing a 21 foot boat.  

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TOO much tongue weight makes / FORCES the trailer to tow fantastically.   TOO little tongue weight on the hitch ball will never tow solidly.  Lane changes always give a wiggle or 2 .

 

I have found NEW BOAT dealers & used boat dealers. Well actually everyone selling a towed boat.  ALWAYS put a UNDERSIZED trailer into the deal.  Or a used piece of a wreck with a new coat of paint.

Axles not true bent wheels not balanced........... The list is long & some problems only show up at high speed.  I tow the 16' Lowe Aluminum fish boat on the Chap 186 trailer . The tongue weight is horrible. The bow of the boat is WAY back on the trailer. The slip stream of air from the Accord Lifts the boat upward.  Talk about a warning system !! 55 mph in interstates.   Or it wiggles.  NO passing at 55.

 

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I bought it new and the trailer is the factory coyote aluminum trailer. Not worries about it being undersized.  Just trying to get it to tow better which started all this. It’s ok, just not great. I’m never comfortable towing at speed. 

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for what its worth boats tend to be more squirelly than other things out there in my experience.  Single axle trailers don't track as well as dual axles either,  longer heavier boats do tow easier.  If you could move things around some and get a few more inches forward it make all the difference in the world.  I would also check multiple places on the trailer with a level it should sit level to maybe somewhat forward.

 

You may also look at getting a rapid hitch, it allows you to move the hitch up and down incrementally to get what you want.  No doubt a diesel will tow it better, but diesels make their money on lots of mileage and heavy loads.  You may also do better with a heavier duty F150 as I think my payload is 2000lbs or so, which means better shocks.  Which brings up another point shocks are cheapy relatively, maybe an upgrade is needed.

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1 hour ago, Ponyboy96 said:

1. Boat is a 2017 21 H2O ski fish outboard, trailer is tandum axle. Dry weight is 3780 + 40 gal fuel + trailer 880lbs + stuff (~250) = about 5158. I’ll need the get everything weighed this weekend. 

That seems a bit heavier than I was anticipating.  Stock dry weight according to chap is 3050 lbs with the OB, trolling motor, etc.  You're saying the dry weight of just the boat is 700 lbs more than that? 

We just bought a 16 F150 5L V8 w/max tow package (3.55 e-locking rear 9100 lb tow cap) for towing the 18 21' H20 we have being built.  I thought this was going to be plenty of truck to tow this boat.  I was figuring between 4500-5000 lbs for boat and trailer....we got the steel/standard trailer though as well.  

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I think your existing truck is more than adequate for towing your boat when properly set. Now if you want to buy a 2500 then it will only do it better. I would work on adding a little more tongue weight and/or consider a set of airbags on the rear axle to counter any squat.

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If you are "bottoming out" on bumps on the freeway with that boat and trailer setup, something is wrong with the trailer.  

I would expect with your F150 you probably needed to drop the hitch 2-4 inches to get the trailer level?  

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Trailer is level. I’ve tried moving the drop up and down an inch. Towed better down, but the rear wheels of the tandem axle trailer looked a bit too unloaded. I’ll get some pics on level ground and get the boat weighed this weekend.  

1 hour ago, Unclebenny said:

That seems a bit heavier than I was anticipating.  Stock dry weight according to chap is 3050 lbs with the OB, trolling motor, etc.  You're saying the dry weight of just the boat is 700 lbs more than that? 

We just bought a 16 F150 5L V8 w/max tow package (3.55 e-locking rear 9100 lb tow cap) for towing the 18 21' H20 we have being built.  I thought this was going to be plenty of truck to tow this boat.  I was figuring between 4500-5000 lbs for boat and trailer....we got the steel/standard trailer though as well.  

You are correct. I was wrong in that number. 3050 dry (according to chap website) + 880 aluminum trailer + 40 gal fuel + ~250lbs of stuff/options added = 4428. I’ll weigh it this weekend to get exacts. I’ve been told that manufacture weights are usually well under reality. Usually the weights are done with lowest hp motor and no options. 

Technically my truck shouldn’t have any issues either. But once you add passengers and stuff, that payload capacity really goes down and impacts overall towing ability. I’m sure it’s a combo of capacity, weight distribution and tongue weight. I’m hoping to get it all sorted this weekend if the rain holds off. 

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17 minutes ago, dsmacey said:

If you are "bottoming out" on bumps on the freeway with that boat and trailer setup, something is wrong with the trailer.  

I would expect with your F150 you probably needed to drop the hitch 2-4 inches to get the trailer level?  

The rear end of the truck bottoms out. Hits the bump stops. 

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^^^ Sounds like the rear shocks aren't up to the task. Shouldn't be bottoming out on the bumpers, all things considered. Try some new heavy duty shocks. May make a world of difference for not much money and hours worth of work..

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I installed air bags on my F250 and it makes a lot of difference. I can adjust the ride height so the trailer is perfectly level.  

Shocks do not prevent the suspension from bottoming. 

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