Fishtailing tow vehicle?

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clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:


Very true. Most utilty trailer those only have 2900 to 3500 pound rated axles and a cord would overload it and the tires on it making it less forgiving couple with a soft tow vehicle with soft springs and tires spell trouble. Also I guess the previous poster has not cut and hauled much wood to make the statement that it likely does not weigh over 3000lbs. It takes a serious P/U to haul a cord of it in the bed without dragging its tail.
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I know that feeling.... we took several wood cutting trips to the local forest this year and a few times were what I would consider overloaded... Pine and fir cut to 18" in 12" to 20" rounds, stacked a little above the top of the bed... VERY wet wood, been downed by storms and under the snow for months.. I'm guessing that we had just a little over 1/4 of a cord, but it had to weigh close to 800 or 900 pounds...
We didn't weigh it, but when a ram 1500 levels out and grips the road like a sports car, you're overloaded.. lol
The wood cutting permits from the forestry service come with 4 stickers per cord and encourage you to limit each load to 1/4 cord...
mac
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I heated with wood for 10 years. Even given the table of weights, we still don't know what wood he was hauling.
Even with an overloaded trailer, if the weight is properly distributed it'll pull straight, but sluggishly.
I feel sorry for the rest of you if your half tonners weren't "serious" enough to haul a cord of wood.
Maybe thats why I've always driven a Dodge, not just switched over in the past decade.
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My dad occaisionally hauled a full bush cord of wet hard maple in a 1/2 ton Ford. Had six plies and they had to be over 45psi. It DID drag, but if loaded high at the front of the box, it was the whole truck that squatted. I occaiasionally hauled over a yard of crushed stone in the trailer ( back half of and old F100) behind my Aerostar.3200 lbs if I remember correctly. Thats about 2700 lbs per yard. It was a balancing act getting the tougue weight right. I remember( the first load) shovelling some of the load forward to stop the swing - which had the added advantage of getting the axle off the bump stops.
I also remember moving my tool box on my '57 Fargo Custom Express. I had the roll cab and top box right back at the tailgate, and the truck drove like it had sloppy linkage and power steering. Could spin the steering wheel with one finger. Good thing I wasn't going far.
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clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

We had 3 1/2 tons of gravel once in a J20 Jeep P/U many years ago. I still have that truck and it did no damage to it. It did not squat much but the tires were buldging with 80 PSI in them too.
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If two rics equal a cord, then the trailer was first of all, grossly overloaded based upon the tire size. Assuming a cord is 128 cubic feet and allowing for air space lets say that cuts it down to 100 cuubic feet of actual wood. The density of oak/hickory varies from 40-55 lbs/cubic foot, so for the sake of argument lets say the average would be 45 lbs/cu ft. Therefore the weight of the load would be 4500lbs, plus the weight of the trailer depending on construction would be ~400 lbs for a total combined weight of 4900 lbs. The highest rating for a 13" tire that I can find in a load/inflation chart is 1620 lbs x 2 for a max load of 3240 lbs.
Assuming the trailer is commercialy manufactured, the axle rating is probably not much more that the tire rating especially since it was designed for 13" wheels.
A lot of factors to consider but without having all the facts, I'd say tongue weight is probably numero uno for the squirrelyness closely followed by tire overloading and in this extreme example frame flexing is not out of the question.
The truck is capable of towing the load, but the trailer is simply not up to snuff.
Mike

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forth
Had this happen to me in the 60's pulling a car trailer. About the scariest ride I ever had. The trailer was making "S" skid marks and I about lost it more than once. In my case it was a loose front end in the truck. I replaced all the bad parts and had the front end aligned. Never a problem after that. When it happened we tried to add weight to the truck by moving the car forward on the trailer, then we unloaded the car and turned it around and tied it as far back as we could. Must have mover that car 20 times, nothing helped. The only way to stop the weaving was to stand on the gas. Going down hills was murder.
About 10 years ago I saw this happen to a guy in a Wagoneer pulling a camping trailer. He stopped and I offered to pull it with my truck. Hooked it up and it was a solid as if it was on railroad tracks. I pulled it about 40 miles and then we hit I-10 and went different directions.
Al
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The scariest tow I ever made was towing a 68 AMC fullsize wagon (engine trouble) with a 54 Chevy for my older brother.
70 series radial tires on the wagon, a short tow bar and 6.70 X 15 bias-ply tires on the Chevy.
At the first turn, a 5 mph street corner, the wagon tried to push the Chevy sideways. and that was to be the norm for the 60 mile haul back home on all but the slightest curves.
Yes, the steering wheel was free to turn in the wagon.
Budd
Big Al wrote:

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Jason Purcell wrote:

Improper weight distribution. You should have about 10% of the weight on the tongue. What that means is if the trailer and cargo weigh 2,000#, then the tongue weight should be 200#. With the kind of hauling you're doing, that's pretty tough to measure or estimate. So do this. With the truck on an even keel, measure the height of the bumper. Now find somebody who weighs about 200#, and have them stand on the trailer hitch ball. Now measure the height of the bumper. That's how much the the rear end sags with a 200 pound tongue weight (On my truck it's about 1.5"). Now you can guestimate tongue weight by measuring the bumper.
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Jason Purcell wrote:

The worst I've seen was as a police officer a few years ago. A guy was going on vacation driving a brand new Dodge Ram pulling a popup camper pulling a boat behind it. Well the boat trailer started to fishtail and that's all she wrote. Highway was shut down for hours while I worked this wreck. His beautiful new boat and camper were ruined as well as his brand new Ram. I felt so sorry for the guy.
Bob
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I've often seen these rigs and wondered about the wisdom of them. Impossible to back up, certainly, but to be on the dog end when the tails wags the dog would be a bit much to take.
Budd
Bob M wrote:

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wrote:

That's why they are outlawed in Ontario, most of the rest of Canada, and I'm sure half the states.

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On Sat, 31 Dec 2005 06:06:40 GMT, "Jason Purcell"

Not enough weight on the hitch - your load was too far back on the trailer. At least that's the MOST COMMON cause.
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Jason Purcell wrote:

I heated with wood for around 20 years and have hauled my share. It starts out weighing somewhere over 3,000 pounds after you cut and load it. But by the time you haul it home it will have gained at least 100% more weight depending on how far it is to the wood pile. I think that damed stuff soaks up all the energy out of your back and arms, gaining weight in leaps and bounds. I had a camper one time that had the fresh water tank at the back under the bed. After I loaded the trailer the way I wanted it, towing was nice and stable, until I would get close to the destination. You see I was smart enough to know that water weighed a considerable amount and there was no need to haul it all the way across country. But when I made my water stop and filled the tank it made the trailer lighter on the tung and would fish tail after you got up around 45 or 50. I would think his trailer was a toy hauler type with the single axle near the center as they sometimes are. If he loaded it evenly it would not have enough weight on the tung, that should be around 12 to 15 % of the overall weight to give a stable pull.
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