Towing - Feels jerky and heavy - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Towing - Feels jerky and heavy

New to towing ... so don't blast me too hard. :)

Tow vehicle is a 2017 GMC Canyon SLT V6 CCLB
Trailer: 2020 Geo Pro 19FBS
WD/Sway - Equalizer

I don't know the true hitch weight - don't have a scale near me and haven't bought a scale yet. I know of the bathroom scale trick but ours is a digital job that won't work the way it should.

Dealer set everything up and the first tow home felt pretty good. But after doing almost nothing (salt shakers, sheets, and a few dishes) it feels heavy behind the truck and very "jerky". At slow speeds it feels like it speeds up and slows down the truck, and it seems to bounce the truck around a bit. Highway is better but a little floaty. I've checked the measurements and followed the guide from Equalizer - everything looks good. Any thoughts?

Measurements:
Top of hitch on trailer: 24 1/2"
Top of ball on hitch: 23"

w/o trailer - Front 34 3/4"
w/o WD - Front 35 1/8"
with WD - Front 34 7/8"

Trailer Frame ---
18" on level ground front and back.
on hitch: 16 3/4" at the front, 19" at the back.


Pic attached with trailer connected. Any thoughts on how I can make this a more pleasant experience?
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File Type: jpg 20190606_192921.jpg (267.9 KB, 69 views)
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:01 AM
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Others may have some specific answers, but I will just ask a few questions.

1. Is your brake controller properly set?
2. Did you add or subtract water from tanks that could have changed the tongue weight?
3. Did you add or subtract payload in the bed - not likely an issue, but just asking.
4. Can you increase the tongue weight, in other words, shift some weight forward on the trailer?
5. You are not perfectly level, but honestly, that little bit should not make a difference as long as the WD hitch is doing it's job.

Do you know dry weight of the trailer?

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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by netsyd View Post
Dealer set everything up and the first tow home felt pretty good. But after doing almost nothing (salt shakers, sheets, and a few dishes) it feels heavy behind the truck and very "jerky". At slow speeds it feels like it speeds up and slows down the truck, and it seems to bounce the truck around a bit. Highway is better but a little floaty. I've checked the measurements and followed the guide from Equalizer - everything looks good. Any thoughts?
Some of this is probably just normal. You are after all dragging around something behind that is pretty close to the weight of your truck. So to some extent it's just the novelty of having something back there.

I would though buy a hitch scale, and I do like CaryBosse's comments about brakes. I don't think hitch weight would impact what you're describing, but other bad things can happen. As to brakes, on my first tow I had my brake setting set too high and it was probably 200 miles before I adjusted it down.
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:30 AM
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I found that making sure the coupler is adjusted to be snug on the ball helps with jerkyness. If the coupler can rock back and forth on the ball, it will amplify any movement relative to truck and trailer.

But as goodspike indicated, you trailer has roughly as much mass and momentum as the truck, and it'll let you know that it's back there.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
Some of this is probably just normal. You are after all dragging around something behind that is pretty close to the weight of your truck. So to some extent it's just the novelty of having something back there.

...
May sound like a crazy idea, but if you have a buddy with some trailer towing experience, take him or her for a ride and ask them if it feel normal.

I have had a light utility trailer with next to nothing for wind resistance make a truck feel like the old tail wagging the dog when the trailer was empty.

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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:36 AM
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Per Random website:

SPECIFICATIONS
Hitch Weight: 413 lb
UVW 3075 lb
CCC 838 lb
Fresh Water: 37 gal
Gray Water: 30 gal
Black Water: 30 gal
Awning Size: 11'
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaryBosse View Post
Others may have some specific answers, but I will just ask a few questions.

1. Is your brake controller properly set?
2. Did you add or subtract water from tanks that could have changed the tongue weight?
3. Did you add or subtract payload in the bed - not likely an issue, but just asking.
4. Can you increase the tongue weight, in other words, shift some weight forward on the trailer?
5. You are not perfectly level, but honestly, that little bit should not make a difference as long as the WD hitch is doing it's job.

Do you know dry weight of the trailer?

Someone posted the rough weights below, I believe dry weight on my specific unit is about 3300 lbs.

Brake controller is a Redarc Tow Pro Elite. I have it set to about 5 (on auto) which feels good when I try to stop.

No water at all. No change from the first tow to now. Same with shifting weight. It's basically straight off the dealer lot.

2017 GMC Canyon SLT CCLB
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:13 PM
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I have towed trailers for years, boats and campers, it sounds like not enough tongue weight so the tail is wagging the dog...all you should feel is a pull,

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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:23 PM
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I ended up adding shims to the top and side of the receiver shank, because it had a lot of slop and causing jerk on take off and stop. Cannot tell in your picture, looks like you have the trailer jack down? If not, your WD Hitch set up looks just right. With the Single axle trailer, any movement will be amplified. If you experience sway, it will be amplified. Takes some getting used to towing a single axle travel trailer, because of the height above the truck, and the wind factor. You will get used to it, just do not get speed happy, because that is when bad things happen.

Like this:

2016 White Colorado LT Ext. Cab. 3.6L V6 6 Spd. Automatic 2WD

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 283 V8 3 Spd. Manual

2002 Pontiac Trans Am 5.7L V8 6 Spd. Manual, tuned, all bolt-ons, LT headers

See my album for pics

Last edited by 16WhiteColly; 06-07-2019 at 12:32 PM.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:38 PM
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Maybe just for a trial on one way of your next tow, try and bring your WD Hitch Bar tension adjustment UP one hole, tighter, and see if that helps. It should be easy to do on the equalizer hitch.

2016 White Colorado LT Ext. Cab. 3.6L V6 6 Spd. Automatic 2WD

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 283 V8 3 Spd. Manual

2002 Pontiac Trans Am 5.7L V8 6 Spd. Manual, tuned, all bolt-ons, LT headers

See my album for pics
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Good thoughts from everyone thus far - I didn't want to do a bunch of quotes so I'll ask / respond:

@michael - "making sure the coupler is adjusted to be snug on the ball helps with jerkyness" ---- Can you define this a little better? What should I be looking for?

@CaryBosse - Good idea. I'll see if my Neighbor has some time this weekend to give it a drive.

@16WhiteColly - What did you use for shims? There's definitely some slop in the receiver. And yes, the jack was down a bit but not making contact with the blocks. I was still measuring when I took the picture. I raised the jack up prior to rolling out. I wouldn't say I'm feeling any sway. more just push and pull or up and down rocking, not side to side. And I thought about the tension bars as well. I might see what effect that has. I'm also planning to head out tomorrow. Might fill the fresh water 1/3rd to 1/2 and see if that calms it down a bit.
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 01:06 PM
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You can use this for the receiver slop, but I just cut me some 6Ē Long galvanized flashing for shims and forced them in on one side and top and put the hitch pin thru them.
https://www.campingworld.com/roadmas...ers-53713.html
I do not carry any water. The bounce and yanking is typical of a single axle trailer. The added water will add more tongue weight which will cause more rear squat, lighter on the front, steering. More problems.

2016 White Colorado LT Ext. Cab. 3.6L V6 6 Spd. Automatic 2WD

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 283 V8 3 Spd. Manual

2002 Pontiac Trans Am 5.7L V8 6 Spd. Manual, tuned, all bolt-ons, LT headers

See my album for pics
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16WhiteColly View Post
You can use this for the receiver slop, but I just cut me some 6Ē Long galvanized flashing for shims and forced them in on one side and top and put the hitch pin thru them.
https://www.campingworld.com/roadmas...ers-53713.html
I do not carry any water. The bounce and yanking is typical of a single axle trailer. The added water will add more tongue weight which will cause more rear squat, lighter on the front, steering. More problems.
URL wasn't working, but this might be it? https://amzn.to/2ImXbW0
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 02:15 PM
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URL wasn't working, but this might be it? https://amzn.to/2ImXbW0
Thanks. There's quite a variety of devices of that type on Amazon. Some I have to look at the pictures to figure out how they would function, and some that look like they'd be a huge PITA to use.

Some look like they would also help function as an anti-theft device.

Last edited by Goodspike; 06-07-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 02:40 PM
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Ok, I'll ask the one thing I've not seen yet, was it a windy day? I know for sure that wind effects enclosed/travel trailers with a truck with this footprint...they still 'do fine' but you'd feel it on a gusty day!
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post #16 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I'll ask the one thing I've not seen yet, was it a windy day? I know for sure that wind effects enclosed/travel trailers with a truck with this footprint...they still 'do fine' but you'd feel it on a gusty day!
Yesterday when we were moving from one location to another it was calm and clear. We're planning a short trip (2ish hours) tomorrow so I'll get a much better feel for it. I'm definitely going to look for a way to tighten up the slop before doing much else since that's something I know isn't quite right. I'll check where the water tank sits but we're going to need some water so I'll make adjustments if needed after adding that.

Thanks all!
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post #17 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 04:27 PM
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Your fresh water tank should be directly below the water fill cap on the side of your trailer. Your black and grey tanks on that trailer should be behind the axle, in-line with the dump valve.

2016 White Colorado LT Ext. Cab. 3.6L V6 6 Spd. Automatic 2WD

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 283 V8 3 Spd. Manual

2002 Pontiac Trans Am 5.7L V8 6 Spd. Manual, tuned, all bolt-ons, LT headers

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post #18 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by netsyd View Post
Good thoughts from everyone thus far - I didn't want to do a bunch of quotes so I'll ask / respond:

@michael - "making sure the coupler is adjusted to be snug on the ball helps with jerkyness" ---- Can you define this a little better? What should I be looking for?
Quote:
Originally Posted by netsyd View Post
Good thoughts from everyone thus far - I didn't want to do a bunch of quotes so I'll ask / respond:

@michael - "making sure the coupler is adjusted to be snug on the ball helps with jerkyness" ---- Can you define this a little better? What should I be looking for?
As far as I know, the coupler (socket) on the trailer has to fit the ball fairly snug so the trailer/ball connection doesn't rattle. The ones that I'm familiar with have an adjustment somewhere that can be used to take out some of the play. On the simple couplers with the latch on top and a wedge that grabs the underside of the ball, there is a nut under the coupler that can be tightened a bit so the wedge hugs the ball a bit more.

I place my trailer on the ball with safety chains but without weight distribution and gently rock the truck back and forth while listening for any play in either the ball or ball mount.

I think the advice from CarryBose to have someone else drive is good.
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post #19 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 07:06 PM
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Feels Heavy and Jerky.

Check the Brake Controller connections. If you are draging the trailer brakes that will do it. They are electrical activated. Also, take a quick look at the break away switch. If it has an intermitent connection it will activate the brakes quicker than a hurry.
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post #20 of 46 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:49 AM
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16WHITECOLLY: Your suggestion of shimming the ball mount is familiar. Years ago I was concerned with the slop after towing my car hauler a few times. After checking and adjusting the coupler tension, I decided to take some of the slop out of the ball mount. I used my MIG welder to spot a few bumps on adjacent sides on the front and rear of the bearing surface, then used an air sander to fit the ball mount snuggly into the receiver. It made a big difference especially on rough pavement. No more clunking.
Howard
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