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Old 03-07-2009, 10:49 PM   #1
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Default 2008 X-189FBS Tow Vehicle and WD Hitch

Hi,
I have been watching and reading this forum since first becoming interested in a LW TT. We first looked at a very well abused T-139 and then found a “like new” X-189FBS, which we felt, would serve our needs. After very little shopping, we found a 2005 Toyota 4Runner LTD, which had a 7,000# tow rating which we bought and then went back to the trailer dealer to negotiate the purchase of the trailer. The negotiated price was to include “everything needed to tow the trailer properly.” Along with the brake controller, the dealer’s principal assured me that all I needed was a sway control. When I questioned him about a WD hitch assy, he was very emphatic in telling me that they didn’t even make a WD hitch for a “trailer that light.” Obviously, I wish I had done more research on this and other sites to have been able to refute this “expert opinion.”

This trailer is quite a downsize for us having always had larger 5th wheels and a couple of motor homes. Never having a TT was not accidental as I once had a very spiritual experience over 40 years ago when a large cargo trailer’s load shifted and the trailer lifted the rear end of the station wagon off the road and the trailer drove me from ditch to ditch on a 4-lane divided highway until it threw enough furnaces and air conditioners off to let the wagon steer again. At any rate, the seat of my pants is still very sensitive and with the 30-mile trip home and two short 4-day outings, I am of the opinion that I would be much happier with a WD hitch.

On our way “out” on our 2nd trip, we stopped a truck stop and weighed the rig. The 4Runner, which is the 4.7L V-8 by the way, weighed 4,960# with the wife, the cat, toolbox, air compressor, ¾ a tank of gas and most of the gear we would take on any trip. I was not on the scale when I pushed the button. With the trailer, the tow weighed, 5,400#, again without me; making the tongue wt 440#. The segment with the trailer scaled 3900#, making a total trailer weight of 4,340#. Due to the way the scale was segmented, I could not get a separate axle weights on the trailer without a lot of jacking around. The trailer had two full LP tank, 1 battery, and a full fresh water tank. I’m guesstimating that if we went for a 2-3 month jaunt, which is our goal, that we might add another 150 to 200# that could be partially offset by loading front of the axle and eliminating 2/3’s tank of fresh water.

All things considered, the fact that the tow vehicle doesn’t weigh twice the trailer weight seems to be reason enough to consider the WD hitch according to what I’ve read to date. The SUV seems to pull the trailer just fine and with moderate side winds and plenty of semis passing me on I-19 and I-10 here in southern AZ, the friction type sway bar seems adequate but the “bounce” I feel from the trailer again points to the need for the WD hitch. “The displacement of clothing from the hangers in the rear closet reinforces this “seat of the pants” indication.

Since I’ve pretty much convinced myself of the need for a WD hitch and a showdown with the dealer, I would still like to have input on the following: (along with any other salient info anyone cares to offer)

The brand “Equal-I-zer” which has integral sway control seems to be well regarded and easy to install. Given that I might have to “eat” the friction type sway bar, I now have if I went to this brand, what other brands are effective, easy-to install and compatible with the friction sway bar?

Again with limited reading and less experience, I find that I want the rating of the WD system to exceed my total trailer weight and tongue weight. This would point to a 600/6000# rating but some would say why not 1000/10,000#? “Stiffness” seems to be the argument against the oversizng?

Finally, I am still concerned about “tongue weight”. One of my pipe dreams is a two bike rack on the rear of the trailer. I can’t see any other practical place other than the roof of the SUV, which would add wind resistance, and be a real pain. I’ve not done any calculations but I would guess the total weight I would add to the “tail of the dog” would be 200#. Can anyone guess what this would do to the tongue wt? Does the WD hitch still require the minimum of 10% TW and will the WD hitch help eliminate the bounce that would be potentially destructive to the bike rack as well as the clothes in the rear closet?

I’ll really appreciate everyone’s thoughts. Hard irrefutable facts are even better!
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2008 X-189 FBS Newbie
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:02 AM   #2
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Hey fayrankin,
As to different WD systems that would work with your friction bars, it is hard to say without knowing what you have, and how it is mounted and how it operates. Each WD system bolts onto the “A” frame of the trailer, usually onto the main frame rails in simular fashion, but in mechanically and physically different ways. You would need one that would work in harmony with your bars in design and in the area where they are installed. This might be too tall an order to fill. Does the manufacturer of your swaybars make a WD system?

For safety and security I can not say enough positive things about the combination of WD AND Swaycontrol designed as one unit. I know this would render your friction bars inop, but I would recommend doing just that. As you may know from my signature line, or from reading postings I’ve made, I employ the 600#/6000# Equal-i-zer hitch. IMO it is the best in regards to design, cost, ease of use and performance. Now that’s not to say other brands will not perform as well, but I like the mechanical friction and advantage the spring bars offer. They are a bit noisy; they creak and pop a bit, but provide outstanding performance. For your application I think the 600/6000# model would be perfect. I hear the problem with the larger models used with lighter weights is they are not properly loaded, and can exhibit undesirable reactions in certain situations.

Another route you might think about is Air Bags for the rear suspension of your TV. If sway, control and overall operation is acceptable, Air Bags can be used to level the TV, and rid you of the bounce from riding on the “Bump Stops” in the rear suspension. Since you already have sway bars, a set up like this will probably fix your problems and be very cost effective. Check out… http://www.firestoneindustrial.com/riderite/rrkit/
Or… http://www.airliftcompany.com/load_support_index.html

I hope this helps, let us know how it works out.
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Old 04-29-2009, 01:10 AM   #3
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Default 2008 X-189FBS Tow Vehicle and WD Hitch

Thanks to Alan for all the info. I finally settled on a Valley 70270 Trunion Type WD hitch with a 300 to 500# tongue rating with a 5,000 max rating. (a bit cheaper than the Equalizer) It was fairly easy to install but is going to cause me to turn my batteries 90 degrees -narrow sides forward-when I add the 2nd one as the bolts that hold the lifting arms to the frame intrude slightly into this space. They took up a lot room before I changed to shorter bolts. The Valley has a place for the small ball for the sway bar and can actually accommodate a 2nd sway bar on the other side.

I have only taken 1 short run with the new set up so don't have a feel for the hoped for improvement yet. I'm still experimenting between 5 links (shifts quite a bit of wt forward- and minimum recommended) and 6 links which is not too much.

PS to the gent who contacted me off-site. I'm sorry I have lost your e/m. I will comment on your question as I recall. I think you had a V-6 4Runner. Personally, and speaking as a wienie and a devout coward, I would not feel comfortable pulling this trailer - even with the WD hitch- with any less power or any lighter vehicle. I don't think I have shared with this group but I once had a cargo trailer pickup the back end of a station wagon (a big OLDs wagon) I was pulling it with when the load shifted as i fishtailed after a bus passed me- . The trailer drove me from ditch to ditch on a four lane divided highway until it threw off enough furnaces to re-balance the load. That was over 30 years ago and the seat of my pants is still highly sensitive and the reason my first RV was a 5W.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
PS to the gent who contacted me off-site. I'm sorry I have lost your e/m. I will comment on your question as I recall. I think you had a V-6 4Runner. Personally, and speaking as a wienie and a devout coward, I would not feel comfortable pulling this trailer - even with the WD hitch- with any less power or any lighter vehicle.
I'm just curious about this..
First off. Which style 4runner is he talking about. Because if it's the older style, then I would have to say I wouldn't tow much with it either. But if it's the new age then please read.

The V8 only adds 10hp & 38ftlbs TQ +100lbs.
I'm pretty sure that no one wouldn't notice the difference between towing with the two if they didn't know before hand.

I find it very funny people always say, I'd never tow with a V6.

All you have to do is take a look at the numbers.
Nowadays V6's make alot more TQ & HP than V8's (with larger tow rating) from 5-10 years ago (hell even some now). Yet people still say "V6 doesn't have enough power". Sure you the Tq curve is on the higher end of the rpm's, but big deal. Gas engines are made to be rev'd.

Quote:
I don't think I have shared with this group but I once had a cargo trailer pickup the back end of a station wagon (a big OLDs wagon) I was pulling it with when the load shifted as i fishtailed after a bus passed me- . The trailer drove me from ditch to ditch on a four lane divided highway until it threw off enough furnaces to re-balance the load. That was over 30 years ago and the seat of my pants is still highly sensitive and the reason my first RV was a 5W.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience towing. At least it didn't keep you from enjoying RV'ing.

fayrankin, I don't want this to sound like I'm bashing you or your experience. This is just to give my opinion on the topic. Like I said before I'm sorry you had a bad experience, and that it still is affecting you. But Towing isn't as easy as everyone thinks and that's why I think every "bad" experience should be seen as a learning experience. With that said.

Towing Cargo trailers is alot different than Travel trailers for the exact reason that was pointed out (shifting load). Travel trailers are a static load. I'm not saying one is easier than the other, just different.

Weight & power would not of stopped this from happening. Only the application of trailer brakes (and proper WD & sway control) can stop swaying once it has started.

The newage 4runner is a very capable tow vehicle in both V6 & V8 forms. Just take a look around, there is alot of people towing bigger, heavier trailers than the 189.

My advice to this person would be to try towing with his current V6 4 runner. If he feels it's lacking that extra 10hp, then buy the TRD Supercharger. Then he'll be passing V8's like there's no tomorrow.
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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Default X189FBS Towing Experiences

Hello fayrankin,

I read your first post with great interest. My wife and I bought a new 2008 FunFinder X189FBS early this year. My dealer installed a sway control barfor us but did not suggest a WD hitch. I did some reasearch on them and I bought a Husky WD hitch rated for 600lbs. I tow the trailer with my 1999 F-150 5.4 V8. We frequently visit the Rio Chama Campground located next to the Cumbres & Toltec steam locomotive railroad yard. We have some steep windinding roads at about 7,500 above sea level ......the V8 and WD hitch helps.
The hitch and sway bar combo seems keeps the trailer in it's lane however I tend to be a worry wart and I am considering an Equalizer or even a Hensley Cub. I am interested to know how your present WD is working for you and also what you thing of your X189. We enjoy ours....it is a bit tight but comfortable. The slide out is very nice.

We appreciate and information that you or any other member would like to share.
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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Default X-189-FBS w/ WD Hitch Towing Experiece

Hi Mike and Kewpie,

We just returned to SE AZ from a 3-1/2 month outing to cooler climes which was very true for the most part except for about the last 3 weeks when some heat and humidity caught up with us in the midwest.

The first part of our trip involved some serious mountain climbing and descents on secondary roads and we were very pleased with the handling of the trailer and the small V-8 in our 4-Runner and the gear selection made the climb and the descent very comfortable. Easy up; easy down and don't worry about how fast you go up or how slowly you come down seems to work fine. If you are using too much braking or feel any push, you are just trying to go too fast. We were fortunate on all of our steep grade experiences that there was very little traffic so we could go at our speed. We came back to AZ on US 60 across NM from I-25 west and then down to Safford, AZ again with some serious mountain driving and at this point it was a choice as we knew it was very doable and you can't find that kind of scenery off any interstate. Both the 4-Runner and the 189FBS were well loaded which we think we know how to remedy for our next outings.

I would check and make sure that your WD hitch is adjusted correctly if you are feeling anything you don't like. My trailer was riding just a tad nose high so I went to the next ball position lower and I really could tell I had shifted too much weight to the front wheels on the next leg. I changed it back immediately. If the instructions with your hitch, don't cover proper adjustment and how to measure the level of your tow vehicle before and after hookup - mine weren't great- print out the instructions from Equalizer and apply Kentucky windage to make them applicable to your hitch. I am also a 3rd degree worry wart and the sages at that other small trailer group [http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/..._Fun_Finders/] convinced the Scottish side of me that I did not need to spend the extra $$ for a "big brand" WD hitch.

We had very good luck with the TT except the first rain was the first leak. Luckily, I hadn't like the roof of the lap seals on the roof from the first time I saw it and had lap seal along. I'm still not sure if it was the roof or the front window but had no more leaks after the first 2 nites of rain and 2 quick sealing jobs. When cooler weather comes, I still intend to do all the seams and joints on the roof.

AND it is small; we still need to learn to live outdoors more. Our cheap Walmart screen room was very nice when we set it up Campgrounds with nice RR's are a must. The shower is claustrophobic at best and with no rim around the shower base-I had done extensive caulking, sealing and revamping-no matter how careful you are, water is going to run on the floor and the floor just has to be toweled down after showering. I will try to come up with a rim for that rare time when I forced to use the shower. I also have on my "to do" list to check the kitchen sink and faucet caulking and to apply clear silicone to where the counter tops meet the walls.

Small trailers are an acquired taste and we are still acquiring and hope several short trips this fall and winter will increase our comfort levels.

Terry & Nancy L.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:30 AM   #7
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fayrankin,

Thank you for sharing your travel experiences with us. We are preparing for a ten day trip to Monument Valley and then down to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
We are planning on camping at Goulding's RV Park in Monument Valley and then down through Kayenta and Tuba City with a stop at Cameron's Trading Post and then on to the Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon. This will be the longest trip we make with our trailer. We are considering returning home to Santa Fe via 1-40 east. I am not looking forward to the 1-40 leg of the trip. Most people seem to drive 10 to 15 mile per hour over the speed limit and truck drivers are very reckless. We drive at the posted speed limit and stay on the right lane. We drive on the left lane only to pass slow moving vehicles. I often encounter drivers behind me on the right lane dangerously tailgating in an attempt to intimidate me to drive over the speed limit. This tailgating business is very dangerous. Trying to maintain a comfortable, safe and legal cruising speed will towing a TT will be a challenge.

Happy trails!
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Old 09-07-2009, 01:39 PM   #8
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Default Staying Alive on the Interstate

I know exactly what you are saying. I am seriously considering getting one of the orange Slow Moving Vehicle triangles ala the Amish but don't know if it would be legal.

If you have the time, I would think you should consider secondary roads whenever you can. There are multiple benefits.

Hope you have a good safe trip.

We may try to work in a trip to Canyon de Chelley this fall or next spring have been on top but did not take the canyon tour which we regret. You live in a great area for many nice short trips.
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