View Full Version : What's with my trailer?

04-05-2004, 10:01 PM
I believe I'm going to answer my own question but I would like to hear your input or suggestions.

I'm pulling a 5'X8' behind a Ranger. Loaded with a ZTR and pushmower. Trailer is rated at 2500LBs. The ZTR is strapped down.

When driving, the trailer rocks the truck back and forth in a fwd and aft movement.
Braking the truck is close to normal, not like the load is too heavy. Last year I was pulling about 500lbs less and did'nt notice it, This year is the first year with a ZTR ( Scag Tiger Cub).

Is this common? or am I overloaded and undersized?

04-05-2004, 10:39 PM
Probably not the weight. I once towed a car with a toyota on a full trailer. More likely you load is not balanced right and thus the tongue is to heavy or more likely to light.

04-05-2004, 10:41 PM
4 cylinder or 6??

04-05-2004, 10:46 PM
97, 3.0 V6, auto, long bed. Not exactly a work horse but it's holding up.
The 2wd suspension is beefed up, heavier springs front and rear.

I've loaded the Cub fwd and backward, didn't make a diff.
I think maybe the distance between the tounge and axel is too short?,,it's a b*tch to backup.

04-06-2004, 12:59 AM
The smaller the trailer, the harder it is to back. Is the ZTR on the front of the trailer. Sounds like it's loaded to light on front and bouncing up in front which lifts the rear of the truck.

04-06-2004, 02:04 AM
Last year i pulled my exmark on a 4'X8' trailer, i had a 2001 ranger edge 4X4 , i seemed to have better luck with pulling the mower straight onto the trailer with the back tires of the exmark almost over the trailer axel, that way most of the weight is on the axel of the trailer, should help you out, or maybe the tires on the trailer are too flat check the tire pressure!, and make sure everything is tight, sloppy hitches make for a bad pull! and yes backing up a 4'X8' traiker is friggin hard, i would much rather back up a 16 footer any day.

04-06-2004, 03:18 AM
What kind of tires are on the trailer? If someone put radials on there, that may be your problem.

04-07-2004, 12:50 AM
I have replaced the tires...with radials but, I think the ones that came off were radials, I only noticed that they were getting dry rot and bald. The tires were 195's and I went to 205's.

I've also backed the Cub in and drove in fwd. Fwd placement puts more weight on the axel but no change between the two is noticed.

Whats the deal with radials on a trailer...does anyone else run radials?

I tracks perfectly, feels like it hunches the bumper.

04-07-2004, 02:19 AM
Had the same problem not too long ago pulling a 18 foot tandem axle trailer with a F350 4X4. After trying to firgure it out, it was the trailer frame, it was cracked in 5 different places within 8inches, With the truck wanting to move forward and backwards, I would amost bet thats that it is. Check the back to see if one side is lower than the other, and sometimes they are hard to find... Good Luck.

04-07-2004, 07:17 PM
The trailer frame is in good shape after inspection, it's only 3yrs old.

I might try and swap for one that is longer, 10' or 12' is plenty for me.

04-07-2004, 07:20 PM
The tires you put on should be trailer tires not car or truck tires. Pump them up to 50 psi. Make sure you trailer is level. It matters what the height of the tongue is when it's hooked up. It matters how you load the mower, try to center the weight. It was build to pull straight and it should.


Eric 1
04-07-2004, 09:42 PM
That happened to me when i first loaded the Dixie on my trailer.I found,after allot of playing around, that the only way it would pull good and straight is if i backed on with the back of the mower about 16'' from the front.That almost puts the front casters over the axle.

04-14-2004, 10:13 AM
Your weight is too far forward. I have to watch this alot when towing a trailer behind my motorcycle. You need to have less than 100 lbs tongue weight and need to shift the ZTR further to the rear of the trailer.

Eric 1
04-14-2004, 11:53 AM
I had the opposite problem, mine was to far BACK and had to be moved FORWARD.

04-14-2004, 12:44 PM
That's true also. Regardless the problem is the tongue weight. You have to have between about 30 and 60 lbs of tongue weight (depending on the total load) for the trailer to track properly.

04-14-2004, 01:23 PM
That's true also. Regardless the problem is the tongue weight. You have to have between about 30 and 60 lbs of tongue weight (depending on the total load) for the trailer to track properly.

That's way too light. Tongue weight should be 10 to 15% of the trailer's weight.

04-14-2004, 08:36 PM
Well according to the bathroom scales with my 1000lb mower loaded closest to the tounge and backed in, I read 300lbs for the tounge weight.

I'll rearrange tommorrow and see what i get.

Also just bumped the tire pressure (truck radial snow tires) to 45lbs

04-14-2004, 10:38 PM
The snow tires could be part of your problem. IMO

I think mostly it is related to tongue loading though. One reason I like dual axles. Less affected by tongue weight changes.

04-14-2004, 10:57 PM
The tires were brought up earlier??? I'm curious if other people are running radials rather than real trailer tires, which I expect are bais-tires.

04-15-2004, 02:07 AM
I use Carliel ST205/70/R14 trailer tires. They are only load "C", but I've had really good luck with them. They are radials, but are made for trailers.

I just bought a new spare, mounted on a white spoked rim today. Cost me $111.64 total. I might have been able to buy one for less someplace else. I went to my local trailer dealer where I do all my trailer business.

I also go ahead and get them balanced. Cost just a little more, but I feel like they ride better that way.

04-15-2004, 08:48 AM
I also run radial trailer tires. There is a difference. They have different flex characteristics loaded and unloaded then a car or truck tire. Remember a vehicle has an average load on it all the time. A trailer tire can see huge variances in load weight.

Always have you tires balanced!

Still think your problem in tongue weight, but tires, especially snows which are even more different, could be magnifying the problem.

04-15-2004, 07:45 PM
I'm going to "WEIGH IN" on this discussion (sorry, had to say it). I TOO think the problem is TOO MUCH TONGUE WEIGHT on your truck. I have 3 different trailers. Depending on how they are loaded they will act in 3 different ways:

1) Drive correctly (when loaded correctly)
2) Rock the truck front to back (as you describe) when loaded with TOO MUCH weight on the tongue.
3) Rock the truck from side to side when loaded with NOT ENOUGH tongue weight.

I'd shift the mower back a little and get more weight on the trailer axle.


04-15-2004, 10:16 PM
Tested today with 50lbs in unbalanced radial tires and Cub backed in, tounge weight 300lbs...no change, hunching like a horny dog.

Same setup but drove Cub in FWD, this centers more weight on the axle, tounge weight 275lbs...felt much better.:blob3:
I tried this earlier but had lower air psi in tires 35lbs and it did the hunching.

So I got some options,
I liked backing in because it gave me a little more room (5X8 trailer) but that's no big deal.
I don't want to change tires because these are almost new freebies and I got two more just like em under the house. But I believe I will get em balanced.

I could use a 10' trailer so I'll keep my eye open and might work up a swap somehow.
I also have some heavier rear springs for my Ranger that I might try but, anyway it's narrowed down to Cub placement and the tires and YOU GUYS helped me figure it out, so a BIG THANKS to YOU GUYS. :waving: