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garrymny

Trailer sway

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I got a new truck to pull my boat. I'm getting more sway with F150 versus the Nissan Frontier. Once on that bad stretch of the I90 through the Catt Indian reservation it started so bad the anti sway (braking action of the f150) kicked in. Do trailers need alignment? Any suggestions? I don't have a scale to check tongue weight. Should I get some sort of a sway bar? Sometimes it's smooth as can be, for a long way, then all the sudden starts swaying. Is it the road,?IMG_20190824_134556414_HDR.jpeg

 

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Is it me or is that trailer too short for that boat? 

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Two issues here.  First the trailer is too short for the boat, particularly with that outboard hanging out back.

 

Tongue weight being inadequate for the carried load is the first potential cause of trailer sway.  If you don't believe me, look it up on line but I am sure someone else will jump in on this.

 

Your description of sometimes it is fine than it suddenly appears is the classic comment on this issue.

It is a safety issue!

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The New F-150's are lighter with the narrower body and the body being aluminum.  It too little tongue weight, it can sway all over the place. 

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WOW...even from the pic....Looks like a TRAGEDY ready to go ! I would bet you are way too light on tongue weight. I would go to a truck weigh station and see what your boat with all your gear with gas weighs. Then determine the correct tongue weight for this load. Then make sure the wheel/tire capacity is correct for the boat as loaded . If all ok, then I bet you will have to move the boat up the trailer. If you can, move the winch up enough to get the rear overhang down....way too much for my comfort even as regards your transom support, though just a guess. Boy, I'd feel great to see your adjustments later ! Good luck.

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You can switch the position of your winch post and the jack to get the boat slid forward some more. Here’s a picture IMG_2995.JPG

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Young weight should be 10% of the trailer weight with the boat loaded.

 

 

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My hunch is you have a combination of issues. The trailer does look too short  and it doesn't look like there may be enough room to move the winch forward either. The sway is usually from too light tongue weight but weight distribution throughout  the trailer appears to be the source of much of the problem. Sometimes the axle (s) of the trailer have to be moved forward or backward to distribute the weight on the tongue properly. Something I ran into with my boat and trailer was the width of the wheelbase of the trailer being wider than that of my vehicle (tail wagging the dog) and I had to move up to an Expedition from an Explorer to solve the problem on mine. It appears from the pic that the hitch ball is positioned on the truck with the stem containing the ball is in the raised position such that the trailer looks tilted upward to me....meaning that the center of gravity may have changed too changing the weight distribution over the axles. Something that can exaggerate the swaying too is a partially filled gas tank in the boat adding to the sway when it sloshes back and forth during transit 9especially around curves and corners) adding to the change in weight distribution.

You may need to back up to "square one"  and a) check to see that the trailer is sized right for the length and weight load of the boat when loaded, b) that the tongue weight is correct and the axles are positioned correctly under the boat to support the weight properly (and you don't have a bent axle), c) Check to see if positioning the stem that the hitch ball is located on at the rear of the truck might be adjusted say upside down from what it is (if still enough ground clearance to help lower the center of gravity of the trailer). Last but not least is the fact that if the trailer is not the right size for the boat you may need a bigger trailer.

 

Edited by Sk8man

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Move the trailer axles back to increase the tongue weight. Had a similar problem with my new boat right from the dealer. It was scary in traffic. When I mentioned it they fixed it by moving the axle. Good luck

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Tongue weight is not enough-should be 10 to 15 percent of total weight of trailer and load. Load center needs to move forward by moving post forward, shifting axle back or taking weight off rear of boat. Definite safety issue.  Best bet would be to weigh trailer to determine what you need for tongue weight and make sure trailer is not overloaded. Hitch height looks Ok but likely will change when load center comes forward. Tongue should be level or tilted up slightly.  

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While i agree with a lot if the adjustment comments generally, that trailer is not rated for that boat. If a tire were to go it would not end well. Always better to have more trailer than you need, but a potential big problem if you have too little trailer.

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23 hours ago, MCF said:

Two issues here.  First the trailer is too short for the boat, particularly with that outboard hanging out back.

 

Tongue weight being inadequate for the carried load is the first potential cause of trailer sway.  If you don't believe me, look it up on line but I am sure someone else will jump in on this.

 

Your description of sometimes it is fine than it suddenly appears is the classic comment on this issue.

It is a safety issue!

 

It doesn't appear from the picture that you have much if any adjustment left on the trailer. I would look for a new one for sure. Once they start swaying it onlys get magnified the longer you go before correcting it but you've experienced that already, dangerous situation to be in. Another thing to watch is the tire pressure and rating. That could be compounded your problem but not the cause, another issue if you have a blowout like mentioned.

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Thanks for all the replies. I will check the trailer capacity tomorrow, but I think it is adequate from what I remember reading the placard a while ago. The rear rollers are 3 or 4 inches forward of the transom. I can move the front hitch forward 3 or 4 inches, there is room for that. I will try doing that tomorrow after I launch the boat off the trailer. That should increase the tongue weight some. without weighing it I will not know though. Worth a try and definitely can't hurt.  The brochure for this old 1983 grady white bimini 220 says boat weighs 2200 lbs but I don't know if that is with a motor or not. Does not specify that.

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12 hours ago, garrymny said:

  The brochure for this old 1983 grady white bimini 220 says boat weighs 2200 lbs but I don't know if that is with a motor or not. Does not specify that.

Based on the weight I would say its hull only. If you look at the brochure on the boat with an inboard motor they specify "(includes motor") This is not so on the boats with outboards.

So when figuring the total weight compared to the trailer capacity I would add for motor, fuel, gear, batteries etc etc. When looking at trailer tire capacity you need to also calculate the weight of the trailer in too.

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Ok. Finished up fishing on Erie this morning, and moved the winch forward about 3 inches. I'll see how it goes on the way home. My rollers are now right on the transom.

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Hard to say for sure with one trip, but I think moving the boat forward 4 inches helped. Little to no sway coming home. I can come forward another 3 inches, but I will have to move the rear rollers too.  Trailer says load capacity is 3400 lbs.4474 GAWR. So, I'm probably maxed out, 2700 boat, 300 lbs of fuel, 175 HP outboard and 9.8 hp kicker. 

Edited by garrymny

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I'm sure that 2200 lbs for the boat is the dry weight and doesn't reflect the motor weight which is probably well over 600 lbs, kicker another 100 or so, depending on how much gas is in tank can be several hundred more, batteries and equipment etc. and it isn't just the gross weight capacity of the trailer- it is also what the tires will support (e.g. load ranges A-D etc.) and their condition. I would be thinking about looking at the swaying as a "symptom" rather than the problem and look into a "beefier" safer trailer situation for the boat if it were me.

Edited by Sk8man
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Now that you adjusted a bit--if you do not have Radial trailer tires, replace them as $$ allows.

 

I tow my 19' deep vee aluminum ( 3000 lbs loaded) from Florida to Maine and many lakes in between.  Radials are a sway stopper if everything else is ok

 

good luck

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