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Barry Wolk

The Phoenix Rising - Disasters tend to happen in 3's

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Barry, not trying to rile you here. We're just throwing ideas at you. <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

A web site is a poor device to cure mechanical problems such as yours.

I could add all kinds of ideas here, but not having driven your tow truck would leave me at a disadvantage. My pickup is a regular 2 wheel drive pickup, so I have no experience with a dually. That being said, and considering that I drive a Commercial Truck Trailer(18 wheeler) everyday, I still know what swaying and tail wagging is. Even my loaded tanker trailer can sway when slamming on brakes in a turn in a panic situation. The trailer has been known to swing the back of my tandem tractor at times too. So, in fact a heavy trailer can do strange things to your towing vehicle. Sorry to get long winded here. We all hope you get to the bottom of this handling problem. Your trailer is too pretty to mess up again.

Wayne

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Assuming that I didn't tighten up the chains sufficiently, all that should have happened is a lack of function. Under no circumstances should the round bar drop out of its socket. Wouldn't you agree? </div></div>

I agree 100%, the safety pin should have held the bar and it obviously didn?t. I don?t recall if you stated the gross weight of the loaded trailer, but I assume it is under the 16K that an F450 dually is rated at.

I think I might be tempted to contact the NTSB to investigate ?why?. Luckily no bodily injury occurred, but it sure could have. The only thing I question is the amount of preload on the bars, but even with no preload the bar should not have dropped out.

<img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The only thing I question is the amount of preload on the bars, but even with no preload the bar should not have dropped out.

<img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> </div></div>

That's all I've been saying.

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I went back and re-read the instructions, again and again, and found that I followed them to the letter.

The instructions clearly refute the previous post that said I had the torsion bars too loose. The instructions clearly say that the bars are only meant to be brought level with the ground from their pre-stresses position. The links on my chains are 2" long so snugging it up from 7 links to 6 would have been way beyond what the specs clearly call for.

I measured the parts that I think related to the failure. The round bar is 1 15/32" in diameter. The socket it fits into is 1 9/16" in diameter. When in even slight tension that leaves a gap at the level of the pin of 3/32". The groove on the round bar is 5/16" deep but the pin only intrudes into the cylinder by 1/4". If you deduct 3/32" (the gap between the round bar and it's receiver socket) from the the 1/4" length that the pin protrudes into the socket you get a friction surface of only 5/32", barely over 1/8"! Since the groove of 5/16" coupled with the gap of 3/32" comes to a proper length pin of 13/32" or 5/32" longer than the pin supplied. They could even have added an 1/8" to the pin, keeping it in tension ahainst the groove.

When you think about this pin holding on to the round bar by only 5/32" and the bevel edge of the round bar's mating surface, I believe I can clearly see how the round bar slipped out.

Just to correct an earlier statement, it was the bar on the driver's side that fell out.

My wife brought up the idea that the chain cinch could have failed, dropping the tension off of the bar, allowing the round bar to come out of it's socket. I guess that's a possibility, too. It is only held in place with a set screw. I agree with the previous statement that welding the tensioner in place would be the safe thing to do but the unit is tagged with a statement that welding or altering any parts voids the warranty.

I distinctly remember tightening these bolts before and after loading the hitch. The bolt mentioned is merely a locator bolt, keeping the cinch on the edge of the frame. Its strength comes from being pulled downward into position on the frame by the round bar. The cinch could have loosened up and fallen off leaving the bar without tension.

I also discovered that rotating the round bar about 90° from its intended position will force the pin out of the groove and the groove only covers about 60% of the circumfrence of the roundtube.

I'm trying to envision how a round bar could get 90° off from its intended position I suppose that could have happened in the wild gyrations the trailer was taking. The only thing that's confusing to me is the position of the parts on the highway. I would have expected that if the chain tensioner fell off first it would have been furthest from the wreck and that wasnt the case. However, the tensioner was pretty beat up and could have rolled much further than the round bar slid.

I hope this has been as confusing to you as it has been to me. I'd love to resolve this so I can start sleeping at night again.:(

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">DISASTERS TEND TO HAPPEN IN THREES

8-10-2006 I carelessly damaged my Mark II as I pulled it out of the garage to go to a Press Preview of the Willistead Classic. It's parked on a four post lift, in the down position during the summer as I park the Porsche on top for winter storage.

I pulled too far over and took off the Mark II emblem and left a very nasty set of gouges in the paint with the lift's support cable. I went to the Press Preview anyway.

</div></div>

About a year ago I did something like you did with your Mark II. I backed off my 4 post lift and scrapped the garage door opening. I didn't notice it until I got to the car cruise where someone else discovered this white stripe on the quarter panel. At first I couldn't figure out where it came from. I was looking for a white car in the parking lot! But thanks to a good wax job and luck, I removed the stripe with gental ise of metal polish. Turns out I had hit the garage door opening just barely enough to transfer paint from the garage to the Bird. Also the wood was soft so there was the slightest of indentation on the wood with a trace of red paint.

Good luck on your repairs.

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I didn?t realize that the cinch-down portion of the setup became separated from the frame. In that case, I think that the more likely scenario would be that the cinch-down came loose first and the bar dropped from the socket subsequent to that event. If the bar dropped from the socket first I think it is likely that the cinch-down mechanism would have just dragged the bar along by the chain?.???? Are there any marks or signs of the cinch mount ?dragging or walking? against the trailer frame?

I just inspected my hitch & bars and there is noticeable play between the bar and socket when they are laying on the ground with no preload tension (this unit was put in service in 1995 and has probably 60-70K+ miles of use), but even rotating the bar at 90 degrees it remains secure in the socket via the retaining pin.

If this whole mess was caused by a defective part, I would surly contact the NTSB and have them look into it......a recall could save a lot of grief for others.

Best,

John

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Barry, I think i figured it out. You have a boxed frame. Those clamps are designed to work with a C channel trailer frame. The bolt when used with a "C" channel frames helps anchor the clamp. In your case the clamp can easily walk off the frame. It doesn't make a difference how tight you make the bolt if it doesn't anchor under the rail it could pop off. The bar can move upward causing the chain to just pull it off 1 2 3.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Barry, I think i figured it out. You have a boxed frame. Those clamps are designed to work with a C channel trailer frame. The bolt when used with a "C" channel frames helps anchor the clamp. In your case the clamp can easily walk off the frame. It doesn't make a difference how tight you make the bolt if it doesn't anchor under the rail it could pop off. The bar can move upward causing the chain to just pull it off 1 2 3. </div></div>

That's a real good point. I can see how a "C" channel or an "I" beam would have retained the bracket because the bolt would stop at the flange. As long as everything was in tension everything was fine.

I suppose that's a possibility. Should I have been able to foresee this potential? Nothing in the instructions would lead one to believe that a box chassis was incompatable with their product.

To me this begs the question, "If a safety device fails, shouldn't it fail in a less dramatic manner than the problem it was designed to solve?"

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I suppose that's a possibility. Should I have been able to foresee this potential? Nothing in the instructions would lead one to believe that a box chassis was incompatible with their product. </div></div>

The real question is, does any company manufacture a bumper pull trailer with a boxed frame? I never seen one. So how can a WD hitch manufacturer offer instructions for something that isn't built?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> To me this begs the question, "If a safety device fails, shouldn't it fail in a less dramatic manner than the problem it was designed to solve?" </div></div>

Well no. A WD hitch is designed to distribute weight evenly across the tow vehicle. This makes for a more stable tow vehicle(front end on the ground instead of in the air). A WD hitch does NOT control trailer sway. Thats what a sway control bar is for. This brings me to my next point. I don't think the clamp sliding off was the lone culprit.

It was a combination of the following;

Low tongue weight(I would love to know what your calculated tongue weight was)

Improperly secured load,once that Porcshe started moving back there it was over(cross those straps).

Over compensation by the driver.

Lack of a sway control bar

and the WD hitch clamp.

Barry thats a huge trailer that sits high up. Sway will be your worst enemy. Please invest in that hitch I listed above.

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Wayne, I've been going to do this and have put it off but figured now was a good time. Since I don't have scales to do the weight measurements, I took measurements at both ends and at the hitch. To see what the differences are. results

According to South paw I should have 491 lbs of tounge wieght. I'll have to see what it takes to squat my truck 1-1/8". (if I put 75 lbs of air in the airbags, 3,000lbs in the bed will only drop the bottom edge of my mudflaps about 1-1/2" <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />)

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Guest BillP

quote:

"The real question is, does any company manufacture a bumper pull trailer with a boxed frame? I never seen one. So how can a WD hitch manufacturer offer instructions for something that isn't built?"

I have a 2 or 3 year old Pace GT, 24 foot enclosed, bumper pull trailer. The frame is box steel tubing. It wasn't special ordered that way, so maybe all Paces are that way. I haul one of my (heavy) pre-war cars in it and find if I don't have the car far enough forward it wags like my Black Lab pup. Putting the car so close to the back end as in Barry's Spartan, in my limited experience, could lead to sway problems.

I'm not well-versed in these things so don't understand how the load-leveling system would take such a large amount of weight off the back of the trailer and put it on the tongue, unless you really, really jack up the back end, enough to move the CG sufficiently forward. Probably ignorance on my part, so don't waste a lot time explaining.

No offense intended, Barry; just interested in your project. The trailer idea and the work you did to bring it to reality is terrific.

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I have a 24' Haulmark and it has box tongue frame. I use the Reese system with load leveling Weight Distribution bars ans seperate sway control. Its like novaman's, except I didn't see the sway "ball" on his receiver in the pictures.

Barry, how did you measure the tongue weight of the Phoenix? I'm tending to believe it was too much weight, not too little. Also, a trailer/RV dealer who saw this thread asked why was the 2 inch receiver used vs. the 2 1/2 inch? Finally, any resolution why the brakes didn't come on line the first time? Was the controller rated accordingly (my electric controller has 3 weight class settings)?

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The brakes didn't come on the first time because they take a moment to load. It's a hydraulic actuator that pushes fluid to 24 pistons on the 3 axles. The second time I tried they came on right away as some pressure had already been built up.

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Friartuck, I don't run a sway control. The hitch I got for my '76 GMC (bought used) had the tab but no ball. Been passed by semis and have passed them with no sway problems. Might be the advantage of an open trailer. Even towing with my old trucks 76' GMC and '80 something Dodge, both with 6' boxes, the trailer towed like a dream.

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BARRY HAVE FOLLOWED YOUR PROJECT WITH GREAT INTEREST SORRY ABOT THE DISASTER,I DO BELIEVE

YOU SHOULD HAVE SWAY CONTROL ARMS USE TWO,HOWEVER I NOTICE IN THE PICTURE OF YOUR HITCH

INSTALLED IN THE TRAILER TONGUE THERE IS NOT ANY CASTER ON THE RECIVER,HITCHES OF THIS TYPE

CAN BE SET UP TO HAVE CASTER SO THAT THE TRAILER WILL LEAD AS IN THE STEERING ON A CAR,

ALSO WHEN THE RECIVER IS INSTALLED IN THE HITCH HOW MUCH FURTHER INTO THE HITCH WITHOUT THE PIN

INSTALLED WILL IT GO,IF IT WILL GO MORE REDRILL THE PIN HOLE, YOU WANT THE BALL AS CLOSE TO THE BUMPER AS POSSIBLE LEAVEING ROOM FOR TURNING 1 TO 2 INCHES WILL MAKE A DIFFERNCE.YOUR TOW

VEHICLE IS GOOD NOT MANY TRUCK WOULD KEEP THE REAR END PLANTED ENOUGH TO HAVE THE RECIEVER

BEND 20 DEGREES THAT IS A LARGE FORCE WHEN A TRAILER SWINGS. LASTLY AT 45 MPH I DONT

THINK THE TRAILER SHOULD HAVE FISHTAILED.FISHTAILING OR SWAY REALY MEANS THE TRAILER IS

GOING FASTER THAN THE TOW VEHICLE THAT IS WHY YOU ARE TOLD PEDAL[GAS] TO WOOD TO BRING A TRAILER

UNDER CONTROL JUST A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS THANKS PETE

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Friartuck, I don't run a sway control. The hitch I got for my '76 GMC (bought used) had the tab but no ball. Been passed by semis and have passed them with no sway problems. Might be the advantage of an open trailer. Even towing with my old trucks 76' GMC and '80 something Dodge, both with 6' boxes, the trailer towed like a dream. </div></div>

My 24? Stidham enclosed trailer is also a box frame and has the same Valley WD hitch as Barry?s trailer (mine is welded to the frame). It came with the friction sway control bar and I used to hook it up, but have found that there is no sway if I don?t. I?ve towed approx 40K miles with this trailer in all types of terrain and weather first using a Ford F350 and now a Dodge 3500 and have NEVER had a problem with sway or trailer control (even with a few blow-outs on the trailer tires @ 70 MPH). I?m sure the Hensley is a nice hitch, but I can?t see shelling out $3000 when the one I have is doing the job perfectly well.

I?m sure that when Barry gets back on the road with the hitch welded to the frame and the weight distribution dialed in he will be fine.

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Your last comment intrigues me. You say to accelerate out of a sway. I was told that the most effective way to bring a trailer under control is to apply the trailer brakes to drag the tow vehicle straight. Which is it?

In fact, I did apply the brakes and the pair did snap fairly straight. I see your point, too.

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I had 450 lbs on the gate over the hitch and only dropped the rear 3/4". 200 lbs dropped it 1/2". I'll have to find more weight to drop it to the 1-1/8" mark which was the height difference with the car on the trailer and no weight distrib.

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I can offer no opinions, but would like to ask a question, I have a Reese load leveling hitch with 600 lb. bars. I went over a bridge with a pretty good change in elevation. The chain stripped the "U" bolt out of the bar. Since that happened, I don't pre-load the bars quite as much. My question is, what is the proper pre-load?

post-30950-143137904741_thumb.jpg

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Hi, Bob...

As you know, I haul a 2450# TR6 in a 16' enclosed trailer. Bought a "tongue weight scale" from Camping World at the time I bought the trailer. Use a Reese anti-sway bar system with a 2.75 dia. ball hitch.

First, I hooked up the trailer, then, drove the car into it. Placed a cinderblock below the trailer tonque. Unhooked the truck. Lowered the tonque onto the tonque weight scale. Moved the car a few times back and forth until the scale read 600#.

Then, marked off on the trailer bed for the proper location of 2 steel wheel chocks. Bolted the chocks to the trailer floor. Hence, every time I load the car, I know it is in proper weight ratio balance.

When using the anti-sway bars/load leveling bars, remember that they make the tow vehicle and the trailer into "one unit". (Only problem I ever encountered with the load leveling bars is driving over a dip, such as leaving a parking lot and driving over a drainage depression...a few times I had to switch to 4 WD as the rear tires lost traction.

(Let me know if you want to try the scale...I could UPS it to you...)

Regards,

Peter. (Say hello to Patty)

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