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Old 04-26-2013, 10:51 AM
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Default 9-day Trip to Hilton Head, SC – (THH#1: 55mph!!):

9-day Trip to Hilton Head, SC – (THH#1: 55mph!!):

Love the commentary from fellow TMers and am looking forward to more chatter as Spring takes hold!

We just got back from a 9 day trip from south of West Palm Beach, FL to near Hilton Head Island, SC and back (approx 1000 miles) with multiple stops along the way. I have lots to talk about!

First off, 55 miles per hour!! I confess, we actually went up I95 through FL and GA at 58 mph on average. Not as good as at 55 mph, but not so bad either. People generally drive at 80 mph down here in FL and that’s a BIG difference in time in travel.

Wondering why I need to drive at 55 mph, I did a Google blog search for commentary on why 55 mph is designated although I mostly see huge RV trailers hauling down the road doing at least 70mph. Our TM model is the 33-26 with two tires on each side instead of the usual one tire per side, so it should be safer – right?

Well, no. I found a couple of what seemed to be sufficiently good explanations for keeping to 55 mph.. First problem is that the heat that is generated in a tire as it spins along the road is directly proportional to the linear speed of the vehicle/trailer; thus, if the tow vehicle is traveling at 70 mph with 15 in tires, the TM’s 14 inch tires are “running faster just to keep up” and getting hot.

Second problem is that as the trailer goes over bumps in the road, it tends to rock up and down. At higher speeds, that rocking can actually lift the front wheels of the tow vehicle slightly off the road thus leading to potential flip overs.

The positive sides of all this is that we chose to drive slow, stop and visit more places along the way, and only drive about 4 hours per day with lots of coffee to stay awake because interstate driving at 55 is so b-o-r-i-n-g!

Also a positive for us was that our miles-per-gallon was routinely 15.2, which is not that much different than when we drive at 80 in our Ford, V8, p/u without the trailer.

As for the 26 foot long (folded up) TM, it traveled beautifully. We’ve had a 24 box trailer for which we had to have sway bars and still sucked in our breath when 18 wheelers passed us! Our p/u does have the tow package, but we don’t need sway bars and don’t notice any sway at all!

Note: Best sign seen along the trip: "Used Cows For Sale."

-more to come -
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:41 PM
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I tow my 3326 with an Expedition and a weight distributing hitch. My receiver is only rated for 5000 lbs without the use of a WDH. I have not weighed my trailer yet but it would not surprise me to exceed that with this model.

Lifting of the front end should not be an issue with a WDH in use. Have you checked the receiver capacity for your F-150 with and without one? My Expedition was far from level when I hung the trailer off the ball as an experiment.

Tire temperature is related to several factors, including speed and road materials. Tire pressure is one of the most important. I personally don't think doing 60 creates an unreasonable risk. YMMV.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:41 PM
Scott O
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Well put! I never intentionally go over 60mph. I feel it is safer and easier on the TM. And this is from someone who likes to go really fast off-road. But 55 does seem to be the sweet spot as far as mileage is concerned and I find the older I get the easier it is to slow down!
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:47 PM
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Carlisle as an example recommends towing at 60 or less. They state Type-ST trailer tires have a maximum speed rating of 65.

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Old 04-26-2013, 05:05 PM
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I am sure yours was a typo and you meant 500 pounds NOT 5000 pounds for maximum tongue weight. Yes, if you look at the tag on your factory installed F150 you will see a max weight for tongues to be no more than 500 unless you are using a WDH and then it jumps to the thousands. I am not certain but I have not found any hitch that took more than 500 tongue weight, so almost all of us need the WDH for the safety factor even if the truck does not sag from the weight.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:48 PM
T and C T and C is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 432

I also have the 2010 F-150, standard tow package, 3 valve 4.6 motor. I tow at 55-58 in CA where the speed limit is 55 mph for towing. In AZ where the speed limit on the interstate is 75 with no tow restrictions, I still only tow at 58-61 mph.

The reason? Gas mileage and safety. BTW, I tow my 3023 w/o a WD hitch, but have never had any trouble with front end lift. My recent trip to Tucson AZ gave me 16.4 mpg.

TM 3023

TV 2010 F-150 4.6, factory tow pkg, air bags

Last edited by T and C; 04-26-2013 at 05:49 PM. Reason: added a line
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:25 PM
hillbillyhotel hillbillyhotel is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 701

Let me just say, this is jmo, each tv will be diff as with what it is and what you are towing,i have found at 62mph is the sweet spot in the torque curve for me,with the current tv and tm, really tried the 55 to 60 range,seamed to work the truck harder so i can live with it at 62 or so, we got right at 14. Mpg today comeing home today in the mountains, not grt,, but by no means bad either,

2003 3124 KS
TV 02 AVALANCHE 2500 4X4 8.1L

(88) TM 25 KING, (91) TM 23,(98) 3023, (03) 3124KS
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:16 AM
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Regarding tires, I checked tire pressures routinely and think it is a must for safety sake. When leaving home, the weather in FL was around the mid 80’s when I checked and made sure all tires were at 50lbs pressure which my tires call for. On my first and second stops, the weather was about the same, and my morning tire checks tested the same 50lbs. Then, in SC, the nightly temps dropped to the high 40’s, and when I checked my tires, the pressures on all 4 tires tested almost 5lbs less, ie at 45lbs!

Regarding tongue weight, an old race car mechanic told me that it important to balance the trailer correctly. If the trailer is relatively heavy on the front end, the max tongue might be exceeded but also the extra weight causes more heat and wear on the rear tires of the tv plus more heat and wear on the front tires (of four if you have them) of the TM. So, the trailer should be level. The hitch I had to buy for my last (heavy) trailer allows me to adjust the ball height up or down in order to level the trailer to match my pu’s height, but when the cargo area sags I know I must shift some weight inside my TM (or eliminate something).

When I weighed my 3326, as modified and equipped, but not packed for a trip, the weight was about 4600 lbs. I probably should weigh the TM when packed in order to assure that I am not over-packing (Ha!).

On a slightly different topic, at one of my stops with the ever-present group of set-up watchers, a coach driver in the crowd mentioned that he always weighed his RV prior to any trip because he had had a tire blow on a trip that caused some damage. His insurance refused to pay because he could not prove that he had not overloaded the tires and caused the accident himself.

Regarding the possibility of bouncing the TV’s front tires when going too fast while pulling the TM, I believe this to be true. There are two (at least) really rough sections of I-95 where concrete sections have been laid down very poorly (imo) so that there is a LOUD bump over each section. One such is the stretch from St Augustine up to Jacksonville, FL and another is on one of the long bridges going into Brunswick, GA. On each, I can feel the bounce harmonics building at higher speeds than 55mph with a slight lift up on the front tires. I know to slow down.

“Trailering is a learned skill” is my new motto.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:17 AM
Posts: n/a
Default (THH#2): Mods & Stuff I’m glad we did –

On our recent 9-day 1000 mile trip, we had our first chance to try out our mods on a longer (for us) trip to see if they made a meaningful difference in our living on board.

1. First, a solid HoooooRay for the Oxygenics Shower which we have combined with a Brass Flow Control Valve! We had good shower pressure and the valve easily turns the shower water on and almost off when needed. No less appreciated was the DW’s shower curtain mod that put fishing weights on the curtain bottom edge to prevent billowing and a curtain reduction over the tub seat so the seat is available for use.

2. Still in the bathroom, we happily used a goodly amount of Happy Camper treatment. It works well for a couple of days and pretty good for beyond that. We also kept a jar of the Febreeze marbles close by the toilet and gave it an extra shake occasionally. As for the toilet itself, personally I might have been happier digging a hole in the ground.

*** Side grin for fellow TM campers: We stopped for a night at Walkabout RV, I-95exit7. A pleasant manager greeted us and asked what kind of trailer we had. We told him that we have a TrailManor. Oh, he said, then you will want to be close to the public toilets? He went on to say that one of our fellow TM’s had recently stayed there.

3. We had cold nights, in the 40’s, and warm days, in the 70’s. I just set my replacement thermostat at about horizontal and left it there for both the heat strip and the low cool – very comfortable for us.

4. Not long before leaving, I replaced the old radio set with a Kenwood as described by others here. It was a fairly easy task and the sound and sensitivity is much better!

5. The external battery switch did its job. I picked up our TM from storage, opened the bumper, and turned on the battery so the emergency brakes would work, took our trip, returned and turned off the battery to prevent drain.

YET TO DO: Have GOT to add some drawers and cabinet doors!
Now planning our next trip. Retirement life is great!!!!!
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:14 AM
scrubjaysnest scrubjaysnest is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Big Bend area, Florida
Posts: 2,124

All of your reasons are good for the boring part we stay off the interstates and use primary the US highways. For us the sweet spot is 62 in Fl and once it gets hilly and higher about 58 mph seems best. 4 hours a day travel works good for us. Gives time to stop at interesting spots along the way.
Axis 24.1 E 450 chassis, 6 spd tranny. GVWR 14500# GVCWR 22000 # GW(scales) 12400 #

mods: 2- 100 watt solar panels, on roof, 300 watts portable

“They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin
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