New tow vehicle! Yay! Now what? - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 06-04-2019, 01:53 PM   #1
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New tow vehicle! Yay! Now what?

So, I upgraded my Kia Minivan to a Nissan NV mega-van.

My trailer is a Coleman CTS16FB. 21' TT, fully loaded at 3800# (full of fresh water and ready for a three day dry camping trip, weighed at my local weigh station).

My previous TV was a 2012 Kia Sedona. This actually rocked. It towed the trailer great, though I watched the tachometer like a hawk when climbing grades (and I avoided steep grades.) My biggest issue is that I expanded my side-gig vendor business which required hauling more stuff to shows (volume and weight). I felt that I had finally exceeded safe operation of my beloved minivan.

My new TV (and stuff hauling monster) is a Nissan NV SL. It's a V8 beast.

The big question ... what changes do I make to my tow set up? Camping World set my van/trailer combination up upon pick up ... so I realized that I'm not certain in my direction with this new vehicle of mine.

My current (minivan) set up included a weight distribution hitch with integral anti-sway. The NV documentation indicates weight distribution only required over 5,000#. Can I do away with the weight distribution? Is there a way to tell that without actually hooking it up?

I know my WD hitch ball is adjustable, but if I don't need that anymore, is there a trick to measuring if you need a ball with rise or drop? (Without buying/testing/returning/buying different?) And I assume I'd still want some sort of anti-sway?

Any tips to maneuvering with a TV that has a longer wheelbase? I think I need to go practice maneuverability again ...

(yeah ... just a smidge excited with a little nervous sprinkled in!)
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:06 PM   #2
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I think I'd go to a dealer and have then make the adjustments to your set up. They should know what you need and don't need.
A vehicle with a longer wheel base means the rear of the TT will get there faster in reverse. Cornering may be a little different too. As you suggested, do your test drives and get the feel.


Oh yeah, nice lookin Datsun!
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:45 PM   #3
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I think I'd go to a dealer and have then make the adjustments to your set up. They should know what you need and don't need.
A vehicle with a longer wheel base means the rear of the TT will get there faster in reverse. Cornering may be a little different too. As you suggested, do your test drives and get the feel.


Oh yeah, nice lookin Datsun!
"Datsun" ... that's a name I haven't heard in a long time!

But how do I tow the trailer to a dealer to get it set up if it's not set up to tow?

I guess I'm lucky enough that the nearest dealer is only a few miles away and it's decently straight line driving...

I'll give them a call today. Maybe I can have them install my brake controller as well. My brake controller has four wires, the truck pre-wire harness has five ... gah!
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:55 PM   #4
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"Datsun" ... that's a name I haven't heard in a long time!

But how do I tow the trailer to a dealer to get it set up if it's not set up to tow?

I guess I'm lucky enough that the nearest dealer is only a few miles away and it's decently straight line driving...

I'll give them a call today. Maybe I can have them install my brake controller as well. My brake controller has four wires, the truck pre-wire harness has five ... gah!

Sometimes the 5th wire isn't used. I have 5 on my Chevy and the 5th (orange) wire is used.
I cut my foreign car mechanical teeth on Datsuns and Toyotas back in the 70's when they first started making their presence in the US.
The dealer may be able to match your van with a like TT in order to get it to them for final adjustments.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:51 PM   #5
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Curious as to what the towing specs are on the new van? That is one ugly vehicle
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:55 PM   #6
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Curious as to what the towing specs are on the new van? That is one ugly vehicle
Ugly as sin, my dear! The color "Java" is available, but that brown color really made it look like a duck-billed platypus! LOL

With the V8 engine the listed tow cap is just under 9,000#. This now gives me room to upgrade the TT if/when my husband decides that the bathroom in this one is REALLY too small! (Hey, at 5'3", it's perfect for me!)
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:54 PM   #7
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Personally, as your are so far below the 5,000 lb requirement for the WDH I wouldn’t bother. As far as adjusting the height of the hitch ball I would try to adjust it so that when the trailer is connected both the trailer and TV both appear level. Or possibly have the trailer just a touch nose high.

I think your biggest concern would be the front bumper height of the tow vehicle being too high, for two primary reasons, the first is that if too high you will blind oncoming traffic with your headlights which will be angled up and the second is that if the front tires have too little weight on them then under braking it will be way worse and your TV could understeer or “push” when turning under braking which would be very dangerous as you would be forced to go straight under a hard braking situation or panic stop while turning—like you are going downhill on a turn and come up on someone or something you didn’t see before the turn.

If you are not able to keep things level without the WDH then you should probably use it.

BTW, there are probably some reference materials on line with more details on how to set the correct hitch height. And for what it is worth I would trust one of those shops that installs hitches only (like Eckert) or a trailer service and repair far more than a dealer for the setup, but that is just me.

Good luck!
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Old 06-04-2019, 05:14 PM   #8
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I'm the biggest advocate of weight distribution... you have way more dog than tail. That van weights over a ton more than the trailer does. It's probably built close to a 3/4 ton pickup, you should be able to tow the wheels off of that camper. You'll know immediately when you test it. As mentioned, just get the new hitch height setup.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:35 PM   #9
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So, the trailer is a bit nose up, but I there's no water on board (the fresh water tank is stupidly at the nose of the trailer).

I was able to get out and practice today. It tows great and the fact that I don't have to deal with the WDH is awesome!

I did get a anti-sway bar as I'm super paranoid about cross winds and semi-truck air pressure. The instructions that come with it, though, are super vague. "Turn to tighten"...but how tight?


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Old 06-09-2019, 08:43 PM   #10
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looks like you should drop your hitch ball down about 4" Your butt will be dragging when you go over a bump! Nice choice by the way for a TV. I have the Nissan Titan XD PLATINUM with the 5.0 cummins!
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:28 PM   #11
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I too think you are a bit nose high. No issues likely when on the road but you will possibly/probably drag your trailer bumper on driveways like gas stations going in and out. I suggest try to cut across driveways as much as possible to avoid scraping.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:33 PM   #12
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Level tow setup

Park the TT on a flat surface. The surface does not have to be level, only flat. Measure the front and rear height and adjust the tongue jack until they are the same. Measure from the top of the ball socket to the ground.
Park the TV with the TT loaded and connected on a flat surface. Measure from the top of the ball to the ground.
Subtract the two measurements. Obtain a drop or rise hitch mount for that difference. Slightly higher TT hitch is oK.
Many weight distribution hitches have ball mounts that are adjustable. You can use the ball mount to adjust the height without using the bars and/or chains.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:36 PM   #13
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From the picture you posted, you may be able to turn your ball mounting hitch over and remount the ball right side up.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:29 AM   #14
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You dont want to tow nose high, don't know why anyone would suggest that. You want it level or nose down. Being nose high it will be prone to rocking which lifts the tail of the TV.



For a sway bar it needs a pivot point on the ball side, so if you are reusing the head for the WDH, then it may have the hole in it to attach the small ball end. If not, then you will want a shank with one. This may be exactly what you need. There is a plate that attaches to the trailer frame. When backing you want to loosen the screw on it or backing will be a mighty pleasure, not. For it to work you will want it as tight as you can get it, and be prepared for all the noise it will make, don't worry, it isn't ripping things apart, its just very loud.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:14 PM   #15
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You dont want to tow nose high, don't know why anyone would suggest that. You want it level or nose down. Being nose high it will be prone to rocking which lifts the tail of the TV.
Instructions for Anderson WDH:
6-1. For most circumstances, you will be able to see just how well the installation and adjustment is going by standing back and looking at how level the trailer and tow vehicle are. The trailer should be level, while the tow vehicle should be pretty close to level. If either is drastically uneven, follow the troubleshooting steps on the following page.
IMPORTANT Trying to get the Tow Vehicle perfectly level is NOT necessary — you just don’t want to be too extreme in either direction (too much towards the tow vehicle’s front axle or too much towards the rear axle). After hundreds of installations we have found that it is quite effective to basically “sight level” the tow vehicle and get it as close to level as you can by tightening/loosening the Tension Nuts.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:49 PM   #16
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Those are some pretty mucked up instructions.



too much towards the tow vehicle’s front axle or too much towards the rear axle


Say what? Forward? Backward? What does that have to do with ball height?


No matter how you look at it, you want it as close to level as possible, if not level, then slightly nose down always, never nose high as it shifts the CG rearward, and that is what you never want when towing or you can induce sway.



On just about all hitch assembly and setup instructions, the guideline is, level trailer, and measure to the top of the coupler. Set the ball on the shank to 3/4 to 1" higher than the measurement of the couple, but no higher than 1". They will all say to get as close to level as possible, regardless of manufacturer, those posted instructions are just weird.



When you do this, then with the head tilt and correct bar tension, the trailer will be level, or just slightly nose down.



You also never want it down to where it looks like it will dig into the pavement either. I have seen that and all I could think was how were they able to steer?
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:30 PM   #17
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I didn't mean to cause strife here! (but I always seem too!)

Yes, I have bought a sway control bar (Husky) and installed the plate to the trailer tongue already. The current set up is complete with a sway adapter plate that holds the sway ball. My hitch mount currently has a 2" rise.

I plan on either turning my hitch mount over and re-mounting the balls or buying a new hitch mount that will have nearly no rise in an attempt to make the trailer more level.

I think I'm safe as is ... just some fine tuning.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:54 PM   #18
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I didn't mean to cause strife here! (but I always seem too!)

Yes, I have bought a sway control bar (Husky) and installed the plate to the trailer tongue already. The current set up is complete with a sway adapter plate that holds the sway ball. My hitch mount currently has a 2" rise.

I plan on either turning my hitch mount over and re-mounting the balls or buying a new hitch mount that will have nearly no rise in an attempt to make the trailer more level.



I think I'm safe as is ... just some fine tuning.

Thanks everyone!
You may end up needing a load balancing hitch. Take the vehicle with the trailer attached (or not) to the local weigh station. Weigh the truck without the rv then weigh the truck with the RV. This will give you an idea of what you need to do. You may need to transfer some of that weight to the front of the truck to improve stability and braking (very important). at any rate, it can't hurt to know where you are with the weight issue.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:03 PM   #19
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You may end up needing a load balancing hitch. Take the vehicle with the trailer attached (or not) to the local weigh station. Weigh the truck without the rv then weigh the truck with the RV. This will give you an idea of what you need to do. You may need to transfer some of that weight to the front of the truck to improve stability and braking (very important). at any rate, it can't hurt to know where you are with the weight issue.
I might take it to the weigh station just to get the current numbers, but the new big-ass truck and small camper = pretty ok. I'm actually 1500# (fully loaded with water on board) below where the truck manual suggests a WDH. There's very little bumper drop when loading the trailer. (Not like my minivan which felt like it was going to fall to the ground! LOL)
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:11 PM   #20
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I might take it to the weigh station just to get the current numbers, but the new big-ass truck and small camper = pretty ok. I'm actually 1500# (fully loaded with water on board) below where the truck manual suggests a WDH. There's very little bumper drop when loading the trailer. (Not like my minivan which felt like it was going to fall to the ground! LOL)
I think you may be correct. Taking it to the weigh station would be good. looks like turning the hitch over may give you the right level. How big are the water tanks? Weighing it will let you know what the truck is doing and where the weight sits on the truck.
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