Trailer is fishtailing on the highway...HELP! - Page 2
 
 

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Trailer is fishtailing on the highway...HELP!

This is a discussion on Trailer is fishtailing on the highway...HELP! within the Horse Trailers forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
  • How to stop a fishtailing trailer
  • Pulling a trailer on the highway

 
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    02-27-2010, 09:11 AM
  #11
Green Broke
WARNING
Either you posted the wrong truck or you have your towing capacities wrong. That truck is only rated to pull 3500 pds - 6300 max depending on your model. YOUR TRUCK IS TOO SMALL is more likely the problem
     
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    02-27-2010, 03:34 PM
  #12
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by churumbeque    
WARNING
Either you posted the wrong truck or you have your towing capacities wrong. That truck is only rated to pull 3500 pds - 6300 max depending on your model. YOUR TRUCK IS TOO SMALL is more likely the problem
Very good point. If it is too short (meaning the wheel base) that can easily cause the problem. I would be more concerned about wheel base then towing capacity. A Featherlite should be a light vehicle and with one horse, shouldn't be a problem at a 3500lb rating but if the wheel base is too small or too short, that will make the rig touchy to drive.

A picture, as maura suggested would be a big help.
     
    02-27-2010, 04:09 PM
  #13
Trained
Lots of really good things already mentioned. Check out everything that IRide suggested, and verify the towing capacity and configuration of your truck. I'm not all that familiar with Nissan products, but I'll bet that if that thing tried to tow 10,000 lbs down the highway you'd be in big trouble in a hurry. 10,000 lbs is a heavy, HEAVY load. For example, my 3/4 ton heavy duty can haul my 2 ton boat on a 1.5 ton trailer (that's 6500 lbs, but it's not too happy about it.) I'll bet that Nissan, even with the "off-road" extras will pull 5,000 lbs ok. It should pull that trailer I think. I don't think I'd want to put more than a couple horses in it though. You could take the trailer to a truck stop or wrecking yard and get it weighed as well.

So, if all is OK with the truck and trailer themselves, the most common reason I have seen for fishtailing is improper loading or connection that results in, as mentioned above, not enough weight in the front. If that's the case, what happens is that when the trailer starts to go one way, instead of the truck controlling the trailer, the trailer controls the truck and pulls it sideways. Then you get a vicious fishtail that doesn't end.

It could be, given that the truck is newer and the trailer is older, that the truck hitch is sitting too high for the trailer, forcing the weight back. Again, as mentioned, should be level and when loaded, you should notice your truck's suspension bearing a good portion of the weight of the load. You may need to take your truck and trailer to a heavy trailer garage to have it set up properly. Don't go to some place like Canadian Tire (or it's equivalent in the US); go to a heavy truck shop where truck drivers go. Or some place that specializes in horse trailers or boat hauling.
     
    02-27-2010, 05:12 PM
  #14
Green Broke
How fast were you driving? I know speed can be a factor in addition to bad tires- axle issues and some of the others mentioned.
     
    02-27-2010, 05:21 PM
  #15
Green Broke
My point was depending on which engine and such her truck is it may be maxed at capacity with an empty trailer. So put a horse or 2 in it and it will be way over. That truck is not very big at all it is like a sport truck not a full size pick up. Not sure where she came up with it being rated to pull 10K. That is what my Duramax 2500HD is rated at
     
    02-27-2010, 05:55 PM
  #16
Foal
There is very probably nothing wrong with your trailer, so don't get upset with the seller just yet. There are a few things I would like to add/emphasize to/about the info in this topic (I have been towing all sorts of things with all sorts of vehicles for many years and try to be very familiar with what can go wrong):

1) Fishtailing does not come from towing capacity of your vehicle, but rather wheelbase/tongue load/tongue length. A short, light vehicle towing a longer, heavier trailer is a recipe for problems, and as several folks have said here, you need the proper tongue weight on the hitch. If your hitch was "popping" ("bang" sound and jerk) when you start off from a stop, your tongue weight is probably too light (hitch popping up off the ball and jerking back onto it when you move). You will also have issues if the distance from the end of the trailer tongue to the trailer axles is too short. This can also cause fishtailing.

a) Just FYI--towing over the capacity of your truck will wear out your transmission and engine quickly, but the main issue you will see is with braking. Most people don't think a load is any problem if their truck will *pull* it, but just try to make a quick or panic stop with that load pushing you. Plus, you will wear out your brakes quickly and warp rotors. YOU ARE A DANGER TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS WHEN YOU TOW OVER CAPACITY OF YOUR TOW VEHICLE.

2) You need to make sure your whole rig rides level with the full load in the trailer and truck. Many people discount all the stuff they throw into the back of the truck, but that all adds to your rolling load. Your truck should not squat or bottom out with the trailer loaded properly. If it does, and your truck is rated for the load, the best thing to do is add a set of air-bag helper springs to the back of your truck. They can have air added for trailering and removed for regular driving. The trailer also needs to ride level for safety, tire wear and the comfort of the animals inside. Be sure you have the right drop on your draw bar (part with the ball on it that goes into the receiver on your truck) to make the trailer ride level.

3) Trailer brakes are also essential, especially when towing a heavier load. I would personally never put my horses in a trailer with no brakes. You must have a brake controller mounted in your vehicle and you need to make sure it is set properly. Used correctly, trailer brakes can help correct a fishtail caused by other means, but are NOT the answer to the fishtailing problem.

4) You MUST also have the proper rated tow equipment on your truck. It needs to be at least Class 3 (rated for 5,000 gross trailer weight and 500 pound tongue weight) and maybe better, depending on your load weight.

5) You also MUST have and use safety chains properly. If the trailer hitch breaks away for any reason, the chains will keep it attached to the truck and not running off across lanes of traffic. What usually happens is the hitch breaks away, the chains catch the trailer and jerk it hard, you respond to the jerk by slamming on the brakes, and the trailer rams into the back of your truck and both pieces come to a halt. Otherwise, the hitch breaks away and the trailer falls behind the truck very quickly, often dropping the hitch into the pavement and flipping the trailer, or it takes off into traffic and kills people.

6) Anti-sway bars and load-leveling hitches are very helpful when towing larger loads, but all of the above must be done before you can consider adding them. They do not make up for improperly loaded trailers or inadequate towing equipment, but can provide safety and comfort when things are done correctly.

I hope this helps. Trailering, especially with live animals, is not something to be flippant about. You MUST use the right equipment, and properly, or you WILL end up having a very nasty mess at some point--there's no two ways about it. I would strongly suggest going to someone who knows about this stuff and can help you (not someone selling trailers and equipment who wants to get $1,100 out of you for anti-sway equipment).
     
    02-27-2010, 06:25 PM
  #17
Banned
Great post, Mule Wrangler.

Sums it up very nicely.
     
    02-28-2010, 08:41 AM
  #18
Foal
Exclamation Fishtailing trailer Pictures.....

Here are the pictures of my trailer and truck together... I will admit the truck looks a little small compared to the trailer.............
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SDC10054.jpg (77.0 KB, 338 views)
File Type: jpg SDC10057.jpg (100.3 KB, 324 views)
File Type: jpg SDC10056.jpg (75.2 KB, 331 views)
     
    02-28-2010, 08:48 AM
  #19
Showing
That is way too much trailer for your truck. Your wheelbase is way too short to be pulling a trailer of that length. What is happening is that any movement of your steering wheel is magnified by the time it gets to your trailer. What is worse is that as a truck passes you, their draft is going to effect the trailer and, in turn, work it's way up to the truck and both are going to sway.

Sway bars may help but you really need a bigger truck or a smaller trailer.

EDIT: btw, your safety chains are a little long and the emergency pin release for your brakes is not set up properly.
     
    02-28-2010, 09:07 AM
  #20
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
That is way too much trailer for your truck. Your wheelbase is way too short to be pulling a trailer of that length. What is happening is that any movement of your steering wheel is magnified by the time it gets to your trailer. What is worse is that as a truck passes you, their draft is going to effect the trailer and, in turn, work it's way up to the truck and both are going to sway.

Sway bars may help but you really need a bigger truck or a smaller trailer.

EDIT: btw, your safety chains are a little long and the emergency pin release for your brakes is not set up properly.
Well....not exatly what I wanted to hear... But it is what it is... I REALLY appreciate your input.. I am new at this horse hauling thing and want the safety of my horses to be my #1 priority.... I guess my hubby is just going to have to find me a new truck..... Thank you again!!
     

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