Trailer sway

A forum for discussing issues relating to trailers and towing MacGregor sailboats.

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Trailer sway

Post by Tomfoolery » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:57 am

My diesel comes off lease in February, and I just found out that, thanks to Volkswagen's shenanigans with emissions testing and software, certification of the EcoDiesel has been held up, and NO diesel Jeeps are being offered. Same with the Ram 1500's with the same 3.0 liter EcoDiesel. The bigger Cummins Rams are presumably not affected.

So I don't know what I'm going to do come February. :cry: Maybe just the six cylinder gas, but if I'm going back to gas, there's a huge array of SUVs out there to choose from.

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BOAT
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Re: Trailer sway

Post by BOAT » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:11 pm

Tomfoolery wrote:My diesel comes off lease in February, and I just found out that, thanks to Volkswagen's shenanigans with emissions testing and software, certification of the EcoDiesel has been held up, and NO diesel Jeeps are being offered. Same with the Ram 1500's with the same 3.0 liter EcoDiesel. The bigger Cummins Rams are presumably not affected.

So I don't know what I'm going to do come February. :cry: Maybe just the six cylinder gas, but if I'm going back to gas, there's a huge array of SUVs out there to choose from.
There really is nothing better than the German diesel engines, but if you are forced to go to elsewhere I looked at the new little diesel that Chevrolet is making for a lot of GM cars and it gets really high marks.

Cummings and Caterpillar are great but those are big heavy power plants for big trucks, - and even in that class the preferred engine these days is the Volvo D13 (the old MACK standard) - Volvo is also the marine standard for commercial ocean vessels.

I would never put all the extra weight of a Cummings in my car unless I really needed it. (It's not a good motor for a grocery getter). You should wait for the small German diesel. The V6 gas will work for me since it will not be the primary tow car - you think it will be okay?

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Trailer sway

Post by Tomfoolery » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:25 pm

I think it would be very good for your needs. It even has the 24.x gallon fuel tank, same as the diesel and the big hemi, so it should have excellent range (just not as good as the diesel). I will seriously consider it. I just got off the phone with my local dealer, and he confirmed that the diesel is on hold for now, though it's in high (relatively) demand. That explains why they're sending me letters offering to release my lease early with incentives - late model used EcoDiesels are sought after. Who knew?

To your concern about trailer sway, some models do offer anti-sway control. I don't recall if mine has it or not, but I think it does. Some folks have reported excellent trailering with anti-sway option in other vehicles (like mastreb's Mercedes, I think). I've never actually had a sway issue with mine, where I thought I was remotely going to get into trouble, but I'm also conservative, and more so since I stopped being a road warrior decades ago, and especially with a bumper-pulled trailer behind me (fifth wheel connections have different dynamics).

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Sumner
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Re: Trailer sway

Post by Sumner » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:17 pm

Personally I don't believe the tow vehicle has anything to do with making the trailer sway or not. Where it does come into play is if the trailer starts to sway will the tow vehicle be more or less effected by the sway and give you time to slow enough to stop the sway.

The other factor that enters into things with the tow vehicle is the tongue/hitch weight that it will accept. The more weight forward on the hitch and ahead of the axle/axles the less tendency for the trailer to develop sway. The 10%-15% hitch weight is out there, but as far as my experiences with a number of different trailers (I have 5 right now) there is no problem going over that and the trailer will tow better over that as long as the tow vehicle itself is heavy enough and has the springs and such for the extra tongue weight.

A 5,000+ lb., Suburban, pickup or small motor-home is going to be less effected by problems caused by the trailer than a 3000-4000 lb. car and as mentioned above the longer wheel base is also going to really help. I had a longer wheelbase jeep Scrambler that weighed over 4000 lb. and it was a handful pulling the Mac with the single axle trailer on twisty mountain roads, especially down hill sharp curves. The larger the tow vehicle the safer one will be,

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by AndyVS » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:40 pm

I pull my "S" with a Chevy Tahoe with sway control and before I understood tongue weight it would sway easily above 55mph. I now move nearly everything inside the boat to the bow when trailering. Anything heavy in the laz will lighten the tongue weight. I also pull off the Ruddercraft rudder and stow it in the truck. I have to leave the 9.9hp motor as it's too heavy. With 300+ lbs on the tongue now, it's solid at 65mph but will wiggle some at speeds above that.

I can get my boat to move with the Mac bump but at the launch I usually use I have to get my rear wheels in pretty deep which gets the brake pads wet. I have learned that if I drive a few miles while using the brakes normally to get the brake pads to dry, they grab better and then the boat will move using the bump.

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by Ponaldpe » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:53 pm

[quote="Sumner"]Personally I don't believe the tow vehicle has anything to do with making the trailer sway or not. Where it does come into play is if the trailer starts to sway will the tow vehicle be more or less effected by the sway and give you time to slow enough to stop the sway.

The other factor that enters into things with the tow vehicle is the tongue/hitch weight that it will accept. The more weight forward on the hitch and ahead of the axle/axles the less tendency for the trailer to develop sway.

The larger the tow vehicle the safer one will be,

Sumner

The hitch placement on the tow vehicle dose /will have an effect on trailer sway the closer the connection , trailer to tow vehicle, the better it will tow. That is why fifth wheel / goose neck trailers tow better than ball hitch trailers.

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Sumner
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Re: Trailer sway

Post by Sumner » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:09 pm

Ponaldpe wrote:.... The hitch placement on the tow vehicle dose /will have an effect on trailer sway the closer the connection , trailer to tow vehicle, the better it will tow. That is why fifth wheel / goose neck trailers tow better than ball hitch trailers.
I agree that having the ball at the right height and as close to the rear axle is going to help and needs to be done, but still the dynamics of how much weight is ahead of the axle/axles and how much behind is going to be the main factor. Weight behind the axle is going to have a pendulum effect once anything initiates sway to begin. Lowering the ball will move some weight forward and can help to a degree but one can't take that too far. Moving the ball as far forward as possible will help to shorten the moment arm on the tow vehicle if sway starts, but I don't feel that it has an effect on sway beginning or not.

A 5th wheel has the axles way back so there is most of the weight ahead of the axles with a lot of it directly over the pull vehicle's axle, very similar to the dynamics of a semi's trailer. Our trailers have a lot of mass behind the axles which isn't good.

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March
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Re: Trailer sway

Post by March » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:16 pm

All good points!

For what it's worth: I started trailering with a Dodge van and there was no noticeable swaying, even above 60 m/h. No doubt, because of the van's longer wheel base. (The engine power was right at its upper end, so the engine would over-heat when climbing a slope)

Now I trailer with a Nissan SUV. I immediately noticed serious swaying above 50 m/h. Redistributing the weight so as to get 10% on the tongue definitely helped. The best speed (including gas consumption) was between 60 and 65.Thought about adding an anti-sway device, just in case, but never got around to it

Once I started using a two-axle trailer, swaying was no longer a problem, but I still like to keep it at 63.

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by npsrangerchuck » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:05 pm

So...I don't specifically know what my wheel base is, but I tow my :macm: with my 2005 4Runner, 4L V6 and I have to say I've been impressed overall with the towing and handling capabilities, even at 75mph (we drive a little fast on the West Virginia interstates :wink: ). I have never felt any real "sway", although you do tend to feel the effects of another vehicle passing at a high speed. I have the original factory single axle (steel) trailer too. The only time I wish I had a bigger tow rig is when we are pulling up a long mountain- by the time I get to the top of the climb, I'm generally geared down to L3 and running about 52mph in the truck lane....

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by Tomfoolery » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:15 pm

npsrangerchuck wrote:So...I don't specifically know what my wheel base is, . . .
109.8"

I've had two of them. :wink:

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by BOAT » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:43 pm

Huh, I wonder what ever happened to warren? Image and his 10 pound tongue weight? I was hoping for an update. (I hope is wasn't anything I said), or my smell.

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by NiceAft » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:38 pm

When I first got my :macm: in 2005, my tow vehicle was a 2002, 6 cylinder GMC Envoy. Since 2011, my vehicle is a 6 cylinder, GMC Acadia. I have had no problem with either SUV being able to pull up into the Adirondack mountains. With the boat hitched onto the Acadia, this summer I got 12 MPG when going to the mountains. The highway speed was kept to about 65MPH, not over that. The Acadia has a button on the dashboard to be pushed when pulling a trailer. I'm not certain if it has a transmission cooler or not. I have never seen the temp. gauge get anywhere near too hot.

Ray

P.S. GMC used to have an advertising campaign showing an Envoy towing a MacGregor. I don't remember whether it was an :macx: or an :macm: . In the MacGregor brochure, the Macs were being towed by a Ford Taurus :)

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by BOAT » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:48 pm

Just a correction, I did not say that warren has a 10 pound tounge - I was talking about the amount of weight on his hitch. (Geeze, I just can't seem to say anything correctly).

So hey aft, does the 6 cylinder have any issues pulling the boat up the ramp?

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by Tomfoolery » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:05 am

BOAT wrote:So hey aft, does the 6 cylinder have any issues pulling the boat up the ramp?
Not aft, but I can tell you my Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel has no problem at all pulling it up even the very steep ramps I have here, without using low range.

And my Toyota Highlander (Kluger in Australia), with its V-6 gas engine, also had no problem, and it didn't even have a low range.

Same with my two 4Runners (Hilux in Australia?), though those two never pulled the Mac (but did pull the Aquarius).

Lotta torque converter slip while giving it some gas to get up the ramp in high range, but that little bit of heavy heating is short-lived and doesn't register a blip on the trans temp gauge, and certainly doesn't hurt the TC or trans. I pull it part-way up the ramp with the ballast in, and let it drain while I do that, but if there's a line of trailers waiting for the ramp, I pull it clear of the water in one shot to speed up draining, and then mess about looking busy while it drains, which is quick on a steep ramp. No problem.

If you're considering a Grand Cherokee, you'd probably want the 2-wheel drive (rear axle only) version, which is lighter and cheaper, you being in SoCal and all. Unless slippery ramps are the order of the day, but I have no clue about the ramps in your area.

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Re: Trailer sway

Post by BOAT » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:03 am

The ramps here are really good - the only problem with the ramps in so cal are the bridges. We could launch the Aquarius from Alamitos Bay and get under the 2nd St Ave bridge, (great jumping off place for Avalon); but alas, the MAC will not fit under that same bridge so I lost that ramp when I got the MAC. I had to move my Long Beach sailing another 5 miles west to Queensway Dr because i can get under that bridge - it's a better jumping off place for Two Harbors but a little further to Avalon from there. Both ramps are very nice. The Queensway ramp is STEEP - so I was wondering how those 6 banger gas engines do towing the boats up the steep ramps. I guess they work okay?

I will use the "car" instead of the Sprinter truck when I go to Dana Point because they do not allow RV motorhomes at all at their launch ramp - (typical Orange County snobs don't want 'trailer trash' like me making their yacht club look bad so they ban us RV types from their marinas.) FYI Orange County is where Laguna and Newport and many rich people live - it's also the home of the MAC factory in Costa Mesa and Newport is the home port of MacGregor - it's ironic that the only launch ramp for trailer boats at Newport is behind a 20 foot bridge!!! So the 'home of the most popular trailer sailor in the world' can't even launch there. Now, THAT ramp is as slippery as a frogs back and many of the pictures you see in the MAC promo vids of cars slipping and sliding on the launch ramp were filmed there in Newport.

I was considering 4 wd for launching but, like you said, it's a waste of money for a grocery getter and I will never use that ramp anyways. The place to use 4WD is in Mexico, but that place is so screwed up right now we can't go sailing there anymore. It got really bad 2 years ago and now it's beyond gone so we will not be going anymore.

It sounds like the JGC will work fine getting up and down Dana Point - that's all it really needs to do. Thanks

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