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Darkfire 11-16-2010 11:27 PM

flat towing jeep big sway problem HELP
Back ground information:
I am double towing my 2000 TJ behind my 21' 5th wheel.
Jeep has a 4" pro comp lift and 33" tires.
I have a XRC front bumper and I am using the recovery point to attach the hitch.
I am using a ROADMASTER's BlackHawk 2 All Terrain style tow bar.
The tow bar at the trailer is about 6"-8" or so lower then the jeep.

I hooked everything up this weekend to head out and made it about 1/2 mile down the freeway and the jeep started swaying the 5th so bad I had to pull over, unhook it and have the wife drive it to our destination.

Anyone know what my problem is? :banghead:

s3nt3nc3d 11-16-2010 11:56 PM

Just to double check something... are you making sure to leave the ignition on so the steering wheel isn't locking and causing it to jerk and drag the front wheels?

I'm not real familiar with flat towing stuff, but I work for a Chrysler and RV dealership...if you don't get a good solid answer from someone else on here, I'll pass this post on to my buddy who's the rv sales manager out there and see if he can figure out your issue.

Darkfire 11-17-2010 12:09 AM

Yes key was in and steering unlocked, transfer case in Neutral and transmission in 5th gear

Thank you

Rjsimms 11-17-2010 07:10 AM

With the hitch point on the fifth wheel being that much lower than the front of the Jeep is part of your problem. The tow bar should be as close to level as possible, or a little higher at the hitch side. Also, make sure that all of the steering components of the Jeep are in good shape. With having two pivot points, (fifth wheel, then tow bar) that will exaggerate even the slightest problem with a tire being out of balance on the Jeep or improper alignment.

Darkfire 11-17-2010 08:09 AM

The lift was put on 4 weeks ago and has about 700 miles on it and the new tires. HD tie rod kit and bar were installed at the same time.

Jerry Bransford 11-17-2010 10:01 AM

I'm thinking the TJ put too much mass at the tail-end of your 5th wheel trailer which is like having insufficient tongue weight on a conventional trailer which causes sway like that. I think I'd go talk with a good 5th wheel trailer guy and get his advice on this one.

rrich 11-17-2010 10:15 AM

Correct - the tow bar needing to be fairly level from the ball to the attachment points on the Jeep. Get a drop hitch, put it on upside down and put the ball on it so the ball is higher. Did the trick for me dragging a Jeepster behind my motorhome.

The lift recently put on - did it do it before the lift?

Not familiar with the Pro Comp lifts - does it have adjustable control arms on the front end?

If not, the caster angle could be too far negative - or the installer didn't set it positive.
Positive caster makes it want to run straight ahead, but too much can also cause troubles (like not returning to center after a turn.) I think you need between 0 to +3.

Think about it - the hitch is quite a long ways behind the 5th wheel axles. When you turn right the Jeep has to first turn left, then right. Same on the open road, just smaller corrections. If the Jeep has a tendency to resist returning to center, then it fights the small corrections. It gets amplified by the trailer - going from bad to worse.

coolbreeze 11-17-2010 10:47 AM

So it towed fine before the lift and new tires? If so, there ya go. At what speed does it start to whip?
I've considered towing the Jeep behind a 5th, so I could move all the toys at once. Good luck.

530ktm 11-17-2010 12:39 PM

This is a good one but I agree with Jerry that there is not enough weight in the 21 foot trailer to hold the Jeep steady along with the fact the tow bar is not level. I tow mine all the time behind a 31 foot motor home and can not even tell it is back there and it sits up 4 inches higher than stock with 33 inch tires.

Darkfire 11-17-2010 02:02 PM

Thanks Guys there is alot of good info here. as for some of the questions, I never towed it untill now. this was the first time I attempted to do it.

as for the speed and distance before it started, I live 3/4 mile from the freeway so i pulled it to the entrance and got on. made it around 50-60 mph and it went crazy.

I was thinking of hooking it uf to my dodge and take it for a spin to see how it acts.

Jerry Bransford 11-17-2010 02:14 PM

1 more thought, how does your jeep track while you are driving it?

Mrmikeypoo 11-17-2010 02:45 PM

there is alot going on here that may cause a sway problem. First get the tow bar flat. The suggestion of a rise drawbar is great. Is the truck a dodge 4wd of ford 4wd? If so then the bed height(approx54inches) requires the trailer to be raised to allow suffecient clearance between the truck and trailer. this can be done a couple of ways but the most common is relocating the axle tubes below the springs.(axle flip kit) this allows the trailer to tow flat but will have more tendency to sway which will compound the jeep sway. If it is a Jayco product then it will have adjustable spring hangers. just lower mounting points for the springs and equalizer. this does not sway as much. The end goal is to have all hitch points as level as possible.-Truck to trailer and trailer to tow vehicle. I have a customer that tandems a 4door JK behind his Teton (38foot tripple axle) He has no issues but it weighs a ton. As far as castor angles I will defer to the Jeep gurus. also are the trailer tires a heavy rated sidewall? they will flex and roll adding to the issues.

Darkfire 11-17-2010 03:03 PM

First I want to say HEY Jerry, how are things in Escondido? I grew up in San Marcos...

I do not know what the side wall rating on the trailer tires are at this point.
Jeep drive and tracks fine down the road without any issues.
I have a 2000 Dodge TCD 4x4.
trailer is a Jayco with fliped axles

rrich 11-17-2010 05:36 PM

I just got back from the market. Yucca Valley is on the hiway to Johnson Valley - we get lots of rigs going through here.
In the parking lot, waiting for the wives, was a Dodge Super Duty with a very long 5th wheel, behind it was a lifted TJ. Next to it was another Dodge with a 5th wheel and a car trailer behind it with a wild rock crawler and several quads on it. That's a common sight around here.

I asked them.

The TJ has a 6" lift. He's towed it all over - it tows like a dream. But it didn't always. At first he had a short towbar and the anchors on the Jeep bumpers were high, the hitch was low. The towbar sloped down at a bad angle. It whipped quite a bit and got really wild when stopping. He said it felt like the steep angle on the towbar made the Jeep want to climb up onto the 5th wheel's bumper.

He lowered the attachment points on the Jeep - it towed better, but the low brackets caught on everything.
He now has an upside down drop hitch, about 10" - 12" high and a longer towbar (he fabbed the towbar - he does nice work.) The towbar is probably about 5 feet long and sits almost flat. Anchors on the Jeep are on the front of the bumper. (Only trouble is they are knee catchers.)
He said it tows like a dream.

His friend towing the trailer with the 5th wheel - his whipped a little, making him use the electric brake occasionally - he said getting the tongue weight right is important. (Flat towing the TJ there isn't any tongue weight.)
He got a hydraulic stabilizer that attaches next to the hitch, and next to the trailer coupler - same idea as a steering stabilizer. He thinks he got it from Camping World.
His behaves properly now too.

The TJ guy said when towing he can't see the TJ, so he installed a camera back there so he could watch it. He said it's stable as hell.

I use a wireless camera on mine too. Sam's club, about $50 bucks.

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