Trailer weight distribution - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-01-2018, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Trailer weight distribution

Dramatic but simple demonstration of weight placement consequences towing a trailer.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-01-2018, 04:08 PM
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I have seen this a few times now. While I am not saying the concept is wrong, this is a treadmill and ignores at least a couple aspects of towing physics. It would be nice if someone were to do the same test using RC cars or similar.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 05:27 AM
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The above video, perhaps a bit extreme, is a good representation of what could happen with incorrect weight distribution.

Having double axle will result better stability at highway speeds and less prone to sway.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 08:35 AM
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That actually happened right before this photo was taken.

The esprit was loaded too far back on the trailer by a few inches. On the highway it started to wiggle (I' was driving my Esprit following 2 friends towing theirs from Denver to Tahoe). Then it started to sway a lot!
It actually dragged the Ford Exploder (my friend and his family including 2 small kids) and the trailer with the Esprit right off the highway into the center median.

He was able to regain control and get back on the road. Today there are steel cables in the center median on that part of I-25.

We stopped and moved the Esprit forward on the trailer, and then it was fine the rest of the trip to CA and back.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 11:47 AM
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I've read a number of research papers regarding the stability of car-trailer systems. The seminal paper was probably Handling Characteristics of Car-Trailer Systems; A State-of-the-Art Survey. Most of the research predicts a critical speed for car and single axle trailer systems around (only) 60 mph. Above that, the system does not have positive stability and a disturbance can lead to ever-larger oscillations. Closely spaced tandem-axle trailer systems don't seem to be much better. Like @Vulcan Grey , I've seen a car-trailer system go out of control. The incident I saw was an SUV towing a 15' travel trailer: they went over a frost heave then careened down a hill, out of control, directly at me. The trailer broke the hitch and the safety chains, rolled over and ground itself to a pile of rubble before stopping. The SUV's heading was pushed up to 70į left and right of the direction of travel by the out-of-control trailer oscillations. The SUV almost rolled twice.

I tow with a 10,000 lb pintle hook and ring. On a single-axle trailer I run 10% - 15% of the load on the hitch. I've towed that configuration over smooth, paved roads up to about 65 mph and over gravel up to about 75 mph with no problems (Canadian gravel roads. . . better than a lot of U. S. paved roads). Rough roads or the potential for maneuvering will prompt me to stay below 60 mph. The graphic by @Montrose Trailers puts 20% on the hitch . . . that seems kind of high to me.

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Last edited by Glen; 08-03-2018 at 12:13 PM.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulcan Grey View Post
That actually happened right before this photo was taken.

The esprit was loaded too far back on the trailer by a few inches. On the highway it started to wiggle (I' was driving my Esprit following 2 friends towing theirs from Denver to Tahoe). Then it started to sway a lot!
It actually dragged the Ford Exploder (my friend and his family including 2 small kids) and the trailer with the Esprit right off the highway into the center median.

He was able to regain control and get back on the road. Today there are steel cables in the center median on that part of I-25.

We stopped and moved the Esprit forward on the trailer, and then it was fine the rest of the trip to CA and back.
YIKES! Glad everyone is safe. Especially with a X180R in tow!!!

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 02:46 PM
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YIKES! Glad everyone is safe. Especially with a X180R in tow!!!

Kiyoshi
That was on the way to WCLM in 2004

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 04:15 AM
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The graphic by @Montrose Trailers puts 20% on the hitch . . . that seems kind of high to me.

Glen
The graphic file above represents a general rule of thumb in the industry for loading conventional, fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailers. 60% of the cargo weight should be towards the front of the trailer.

Again, this is just a general rule of thumb.


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 05:54 AM
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I always back my Elise on the trailer when towing it. If the engine is up front I do the opposite.





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