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Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

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Topic author
altozwei
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:44 am

Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by altozwei »

We just purchased a new (to us) popup, a Coleman/Fleetwood 2003 Tacoma. We had hoped that, because it has a shorter box on it, that it might get us past a glitch we have with a bad angle going into and out of our driveway. The hitch receiver always drags and the front end of the trailer itself ( just the stabilizers) can drag slightly also. I just had new shocks put on our Astro (97) last year but we weren't towing at the time and I didn't consider air shocks. We've been told to flip the axel on the trailer but my husband is not mechanical and so I'm looking for an easier solution. I understand that an air bag system might be the way to fix the problem but have no idea what, exactly, I'm looking for. Any suggestions? While I won't be able to do this work myself, having a reasonably good idea of what we need will go a long way toward not getting ripped off at the mechanic's shop.

Kidhauler
I sleep in my van
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:46 pm
Location: Vancouver B.C.

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by Kidhauler »

I put a airlift bag system in my van with a on board compressor. If you run the bags up to 90-100 psi it will lift the rear of the van about 3 inches or maybe more. The nice thing with the bags is that when your not towing you just run a few pounds to keep the bags inflated. But when your loaded you pump them up and take the sag out of the rear.

The other option would be a different hitch. If you could find a step down style hitch that will work upside down to step the front of the trailer up a few inches.

Even if your not a mechanic at heart the airlift system bolts in with only drilling a few holes in the frame any shop should be able to install it in about 4-5 hours. If you flip the axel it will lift the van around 4 inches or more and you will never fit in a parkade again.

If its just the stabilizers that touch why not pull out onto the street and then put the bars on?
1999 Safari Touring edition.
trailer tow pack with a 3:73 posi
Bucket bench seats, Rear heat, Rear Airconditioning.
teal green
300 000 kms
AirRide air bags in the rear to fix soft stock suspension.
Onboard aircompressor to make it all work nice.

Topic author
altozwei
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:44 am

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by altozwei »

While the stabilizers on the front corners do catch most of the time, the receiver for the hitch drags every time. If my husband is backing slowly enough, I can usually get him stopped before he snags the trailer itself. We've tried filling the dip with boards, bricks and Lynx Levelers in various configurations, with only limited success. And, its pretty scary when one or more of those items shoots out from under a wheel at you. Air bags sound like they might do the trick. I guess I'll need to do some more reading and see what I can learn about them. The shop that put the hitch on for us may have some suggestions for me. I've got to talk to them about a brake controller, so might as well ask about the air bags too. Thanks!
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maestro
I am smitten with my van
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:25 pm

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by maestro »

I just put a pair of these on: http://www.monroe.com/products/Sensa-Tr ... -Absorbers
They are great for supporting that extra weight to eliminate rear end sag.

LiftedAWDAstro
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 4379
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: New Haven, NY

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by LiftedAWDAstro »

Welcome to the forum! Any chance you can post pics of the issue. I do pretty much know what are dealing with. My concern about just raising the rear of the van up is you will then need to lower the hitch height to keep your camper fairly level. This will defeat the lift. I think when you mentioned axle flip you were talking about the camper itself. This will lift it up about 4" and then you can use a hitch that is higher to level the trailer out. The axle flip on the trailer should be able to be done by any truck spring shop, any off-road 4x4 shop and possible an RV dealer. You can also ask where you get the brake controller installed.

Here is a pic of my previous 1998 Astro that sits very high. You will see I had to make a 6 or 8" hitch drop to keep our pop-up level.

Image

Image
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

astrozam
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 2770
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:57 am

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by astrozam »

The good o'le days... :supz:

Image

Kidhauler
I sleep in my van
Posts: 877
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:46 pm
Location: Vancouver B.C.

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by Kidhauler »

That's why I thought a bag over leaf set up would work. You can pump the bags way up to exit the drive then bleed of pressure to level the ride.
1999 Safari Touring edition.
trailer tow pack with a 3:73 posi
Bucket bench seats, Rear heat, Rear Airconditioning.
teal green
300 000 kms
AirRide air bags in the rear to fix soft stock suspension.
Onboard aircompressor to make it all work nice.

Topic author
altozwei
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:44 am

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by altozwei »

Yes, definitely talking about flipping the trailer axle, not the van. I know a lot of trailer folks do this to give them more clearance but I don't think I'm ready to do something that drastic yet. I did talk with my hitch guy today and he said they can add the air bags. In the meantime, he flipped the hitch over and moved the ball so now it is a few inches higher. It may not be quite enough but it will give us an idea of how many more inches we need for clearance. This has never been a huge problem anywhere but home. For the last few years, we have left our older trailer at my parent's house because their driveway is so much easier to use (and they have a carport). We are currently trying to get that house fixed up to sell now so we have to use our driveway again.

LiftedAWDAstro
I have my van tatooed on my cheeks
Posts: 4379
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:35 pm
Location: New Haven, NY

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by LiftedAWDAstro »

Now you will need to watch the rear of the camper when you pull in. By raising the front you lower the rear. You don't want to drag something important and break it.
Current rides:
2013 Toyota Tundra DC 4x4
2008 Dodge Nitro 4x4
2005 Nissan Sentra 1.8S Special Edition

Mileage spreadsheet

Vans owned:
1986 Safari 2.5L 4 speed manual - scrapped
1995 Astro 2WD conversion 4.11 posi, shift kit, DHC rock rails - sold to Skippy
1998 Astro 4x4 D44, D60, NP231, full hydraulic system with 9k# Milemarker winch and snow plow - sold to Lockdoc
2003 Astro AWD all stock - traded for a 3/4 ton truck
2005 AWD, 4.10's - sold to skippy

Topic author
altozwei
I am merely driving my van
I am merely driving my van
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:44 am

Re: Suggestions Needed For Towing Problem

Post by altozwei »

Oh absolutely. We will be taking the trailer in to the RV shop this weekend to get the brakes inspected and bearings repacked. Getting it out of the driveway should show us what other adjustments are needed. Just reversing the hitch and ball may allow us to squeak by but you are correct in pointing out that what goes up(in the front) goes down (in the rear). That is one of the reasons I'm trying to do this in increments, so we don't fix one problem and cause another. ](*,)
What I'd really like to do is bulldoze the front of the driveway and have it all paved in a more gradual slope. We already did that once, though, and it still didn't entirely fix the problem. Our driveway completely destroyed the lower part of the front bumper on our Quest before we got it redone the first time.
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