Fishtailing tow vehicle?

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What causes a trailer to fishtail?
I was towing a trailer with 2 ric of firewood home the other day, and I couldn't go above 55 miles per hour, the trailer was weaving back and forth
so much...
I have a dakota quad cab 4.7 4wd 3.55 axle 2001, and a 5x10 flatbed trailer, with 13" tires.
What did I do wrong?
J.
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Load towards the front so the tongue has some weight on it, more weight than is behind the trailer axle. Tire pressure should be checked as well.
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Max Dodge wrote:

I do not think that will fix it, too much load and too little tow vehicle. Try running trailer and rear truck tires at max rated cold pressure. Low pressure car type tires lack in side/sway stability control. Is it a tandum or single axle trailer? If it was a single axle trailer, you were clearly overloaded for the trailer and truck.
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Ya know, I'm not really sure where in the hell you get your info. The OP never mentioned any details as to how much wood he had on the trailer. As such, its hard to figure it was overloaded for sure.
But lets assume it was. IF it was overloaded, it would drag like it was in mud, and getting to 55MPH would be the issue, not towing in a straight line.
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"I was towing a trailer with 2 ric of firewood home the other day, and I couldn't go above 55 miles per hour, the trailer was weaving back and forth so much..."
that's a good amount of information. "you ant from around here are you boy?"
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A "ric" equals how many pounds?
"the trailer" equals how long, what weight capacity, and what gross weight allowed?
You ain't got any more clue than I do, do ya? At least I know what I'm looking for.....Facts.
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Max

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I was wondering too how a "ric" weights too??? Did a Google search and found nothing that I would share on here :-)

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Two rics make a cord and depending on wood type and moisture content the wood could weigh 3000 to 4000lb or more and through in trailer weight and you are at two tons or better. You should think before you comment because you are the one that is really clueless here and should not be giving advise.
Max Dodge wrote:

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Yeah, so you have trailer weight narrowed down to.... a half ton either way. Yup, thats accurate.
BTW, speaking of not commenting before knowing what you are talking about: You should be aware that even with the huge range in weight you guess the trailer could be, its STILL within towing capacity of the vehicle you earlier claimed was too small.
Another note, having done considerable firewood gathering, a cord weighs no where near 4000lbs (I doubt over 3000lbs either), as the dimensions are 4x4x8 feet.
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and
because
way.
Far more so than you Maxi.

But could be loaded completely wrong.

no
And once again, you would be wrong. http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/forestry/g881.htm Look at the chart, Red oak wet is 4888 and white oak (what a waste for firewood) is 5573 wet and 4200 dry. Not even close huh??
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Yup, and if, instead of opening your yap and bashing me, you had checked my reply to the OP, you'd find thats EXACTLY what I told the OP.

This assumes a solid or nearly so cord. Since air space is inherent in a cord of wood, weight will be less than the figures in the table. Having loaded more than few trucks with firewood, I can say with some assurance (whether you want to believe it or not) that a cord weighs less than 4000 lbs.
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Given that the Dak he was driving is rated to tow just over 6,000lbs.... now - let's say he was hauling 3,500lbs. of wood. A 5x10 flatbed trailer is usually a single-axle, and usually weighs in under 1,000lbs. (750lbs. is closer). He probably was a little over on the trailer, (again, assuming a single axle, 3,500lb. rating - pretty typical), but he's still nowhere near the towing capacity of his truck.
But - it's very possible the trailer wasn't loaded properly, resulting in too little tongue weight, causing the instability. I think I read that posted here already....
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Yeah, like back in my first reply to the thread. For being full of shit like Tbone would like to believe, I not only was the first post to say that, but almost everyone thinks the same thing, except for Snoman.
Some things never change.
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Tom Lawrence wrote:

You really are clueless here arent you. Towing is not cut and dried and lots of varibles to consider mas weight goes on on a LD SUV like that (like hitch weight) and the 6000lb "rating" is not worth the paper it is printed on as I have a 2000 K3500 tht is only "rated to tow 8K but it will handle 13k (I have done it with no stabilty issues at all) a LOT better than that truck will handle 6K
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There are two things that are pretty much cut and dried when it comes to stable towing: 10% of the loaded weight on the hitch and a 3:1 ratio of tongue length (hitch to axle) to track width.
But one variable has been completely over looked: How far is it from the truck's rear axle to the hitchball? The greater the distance, the more sway from hinge effect, and if the truck's tires were deflated for a soft ride . . . .
That was why the wagon didn't tow well behind the 54 Chevy for me, soft, tall tires and a big hinge effect. I'm still thanking God I didn't let my 19 year old nephew drive the rig home.
Budd
TheSnoMan wrote:

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Thus proving that the overloading issue you claim was part of the problem isn't really part of the problem.....
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It's that apparent, huh? :)

So you're admitting to pulling more than 50% over your vehicle's legal limit, but I'm the one who's clueless because I point out that the OP wasn't pulling more than his vehicle was rated for.
Got it...
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On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 22:59:15 GMT, "Tom Lawrence"

Tom.. I have the same Dakota.. 4.7, 3:55 gears... it's max tow according to Trailer Life is 5,200 pounds... goes up to 6,400 with 4:10 gears..
mac
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mac davis wrote:

On flat ground with a tail wind maybe and no curves
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wrote:

A full cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet - 4X4X8, but actually contains only roughly 100 cubic feet of wood. Well seasoned hardwood should come in just under 4000 lbs. Spring cut maple could be over 6000 lbs. Dry white oak is about 4200 lbs, Dry basswood is about 1900. Dry Maple is about 3600, unless it's silver maple, at about 2700, more or less.
A properly loaded trailer of any weight will follow calmly behind just about any vehicle capable of pulling it. Conversely, a trailer with only 600 lbs on it can get VERY hairy if the load is on the very back, making the hitch "light".
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