Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Bug, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Bug

    Bug New Member

    I have purchased a used 1988 Jayco JayKing 6 Tent Camper. It is large for a tent camper (13'7" box) but only weighs about 2300 lbs (or less) when loaded. I pull it with a 2002 Tahoe. The camper has new "C" rated wheels that are the smaller-type wheel you see on most large tent campers. They are not radials (I have been told radials are not available). The front of the trailer rides very slightly downward when attached to its hitch. The trailer did have a three inch lift installed several weeks ago - but the problem noted below existed before the lift was installed. The trailer has a torsion axel suspension (no springs).

    Although the camper generally pulls very well, I have become increasingly worried about the amount of wagging that I get when making even small adjustments to the Tahoe's steering wheel or especially when passing or getting passed by tractor-trailors on the interstate. When I say "wagging," I mean that the camper continues to wobble back and forth for 4 or 5 seconds after I make a steering adjustment. Although the Tahoe is heavy, I can feel the trailer trying to push the back end around. The problem gets significantly worse the faster I go. It is relatively unnoticable at 55 mph, a significant problem at 70 mph, and unsafe at 80 mph. Wind harshly exaggerates the problem.

    Any suggestions on what could be making such a relatively light trailer wag around so much? Could it be the trailer's wheels? Could it be my Tahoe's wheels (factor original 265/70 R16 Firestones)? I have never seen a tent camper with sway bars on the tounge and hitch -but will I be forced to go that route?

    I would greatly appreciate any advise!!!
     
  2. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Hi Bug,
    What is the tongue weight when loaded?
     
  3. 4play

    4play New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Proper tongue weight is important, are the tire LT's? the difference in sidewall stiffness & the ability to be able to run them at higher pressures may make a lot of difference.
     
  4. donohue

    donohue New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    hey bug, maybe you should try pulling it with my f-150 it pulls 8000lbs just fine.
    your buddy, donohue.
    ps hope your transmission holds up.
     
  5. John Harrelson

    John Harrelson New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Bug,

    May I suggest that you do two things...

    First, increase the tongue weight by at least 50 lbs.. pack some of your stuff farther forward in the trailer.

    Second, adjust your hitch so the the trailer rides as near perfect level as possible.. A two inch tilt either front or aft will make the trailer "wag" more than it should..

    All trailers should ride as near level as possible, regardless of their size or length.. If your present hitch is not adjustable, invest in one that is adjustable. It'll be money well spent.

    John
     
  6. Bug

    Bug New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    C Nash and 4Play:

    I would guess the tounge weight is about 100 lbs. I can lift it - but it takes a fair amount of effort.

    With reagard to the tires, I'm not sure what you mean by "LT's." The tires I have run at 50 psi and I was told that they have relatively thin side-walls. Although my tires are new, I recently found a pair of "E" rated tires with super thick and stiff side walls. They are $45 per tire. Would it be worth the $$ to replace the tires?

    Thanks for your help! :cool:

    p.s. - John Harrelson- I will put some additional weight in the front of the camper and will buy a new hitch to make the trailer ride perfectly flat. As it is now, it probably does have about a 2" slope from the back to the front of the trailer. -Thanks :cool:
     
  7. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Bug,
    Think if you do that you will solve the wagging. What is the diameter of the wheels? if its the 12 inch them little buggers are really ROLLING at 80 :eek: Now Donohue, that's just my opinion and here you have done gone and got Bug worring about his trans :laugh: I believe you are one of those Ford belivers :bleh: Guess I had better go and see how many Fords that little Chevette has eaten today :evil:
    Bug I would be sure and have a trans cooler. :approve:
     
  8. donohue

    donohue New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    hey nash, i really wanted a chevy diesel, but i would've had to sell a kidney to put a down payment on it so i had to settle for a workin mans truck. :laugh:
    donohue
     
  9. Bug

    Bug New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    C Nash - I have the trans cooler. Also, I have been traveling with the fresh water tank empty. However, it is located in front of the axel - so I think I'll fill that with water and see if that puts more weight on the hitch and helps the wagging.

    Thanks again for your help! :approve:
     
  10. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Bug, did you level the unit? Filling the tank might make a big difference, at least worth a try.
    Donohue, you got two of them, why not sell one
    :) . Bad as I hate to admit it, I had rather have the ford diesel :eek: until the duramax has proven itself. Can't forget the ols converted olds 350 that was a bummer :dead:
     
  11. captain crayfish

    captain crayfish New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Hey Bug,
    Rule of thumb over here is that 10 - 15% of trailer weight should be on the towball (tongue?).
    Regards
    Cap
     
  12. Bug

    Bug New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Well -I drove about 600 miles this weekend with the trailer. I put more weight in the front and then filled the water tank. I would guess that it probably added 80-100lbs. to the tounge weight. It didn't solve the problem - but it made a BIG difference. There is still some wagging - but it no longer feels dangerous.

    I will be going to buy a new hitch today to level the trailer. Perhaps that will solve the problem alltogether.

    Thanks again for all your advise! Happy camping! :cool:
     
  13. OddFinger

    OddFinger New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Bug. I pulle a 3500 pound coleman popup with my 96 v6 mazad i do have a sway bar on it. i don't have any problem.
     
  14. OddFinger

    OddFinger New Member

    Help-my camper won't quit wagging!!

    Hi Bug, I pull a 3500 pound Colemen popup with my 96 Mazda pickup v6. I do have a sway bar on it and the coolant part on the engine and i don't have any problem with it swaying.
     

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