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Discussion Starter #1
We have a 2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E AWD. We're thinking of purchasing a 2020 Airstream Nest travel trailer. We want to make sure that we can easily tow this trailer with our Ridgeline. In addition to the weight of 2 passengers (300 lbs), we expect to carry up to 1200 pounds in cargo, distributed across the back seat area, truck bed and trailer. The Airstream Nest is 16'7" long and has a hitch weight of 375 pounds. The dry weight of the travel trailer is 3400 pounds. We'll probably get a WD hitch with sway control. What do you think? Is the 1200 pound cargo load reasonable?

Thanks!
 

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Honda was conservative with the tow rating numbers with this truck. You will be surprised at how well it will handle that load. Sounds like a nice camping/travel set-up.
 

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If you do this @Jan&Rick please post some follow ups, love to see, Ridgeline’s doing truck things
 

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Here is a good article on that topic..


it seems pretty conservative...
I was surprised that the all aluminum Airstream Bambi’s might be a better choice...


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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We are quite happy with our RL towing a Airstream Sport 22FB. Our trailer weighs a bit more than the Nest coming in at 3,634 lbs dry and 422 lbs tongue. We were probably about 4,000 lbs on our recent trip (got home today). The RL did very well.

Do you know what the tongue weight on the Nest is?

We don't have a WDH or sway bars at the moment. Our hitch is just a regular style unit but it has a handy tongue weight scale built into it.

I read on the Airstream forum that they might be some challenges installing a WDH on the Nest due to the forward cover being in the way. There are some attachments that could be bolted to the outside sides of the frame to connect the WDH chains.

You can see that we have a bit of rear end squat but this is with the water tank containing an extra 160 lbs. of water. I drained it out before we hit the road home.
402405
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the info & photo! Great looking rig.

Specifications for the Airstream Nest that we're looking at are as follows:

Hitch Weight (with LP and Batteries: 375 lbs

Unit Base Weight (with LP and Batteries): 3,400 lbs

Maximum Trailer Capacity (GVWR): 4,000 lbs

We're thinking that we'll get a WDH with sway control, since Airstream recommended it. I contacted Airstream customer service about that.

Just out of curiosity, in what part of the country was your recent trip and how many miles did you cover?

Thanks again,

Jan&Rick


 

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We have had 2 trips so far, The first was from Penticton, BC to Vancouver to bring the trailer home (400 kms with the trailer), This one in the photo was from Vancouver to Whistler and back (300 kms). In both cases we encountered hilly roads.
 

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Several posts here are utilizing the "Dry" weights provided by the manufacturer. Dry weights are a joke, no one tows an empty trailer and once it rolled off of the assembly line it began to gain weight {Dry weights typically do not include batteries, propane cylinders and any other accessories like Microwaves, awnings, TV's etc though this does vary from the different manufacturers}.

A travel trailer needs approximately 13% of its actual, loaded weight on the tongue. Less can be sway inducing and not in a good way. A trailer that actually weighs 4,000# "needs" 520# of tongue weight. Now add in the weight of the weight distribution hitch which is typically around 100# and now you are up to 620# of tongue weight.

My 2019 RL has 1,477# of payload and all tongue weight comes right off of that number. This would leave 857# of available payload before you load thing one {or anybody} into the RL. I think it is doable but it is nowhere near as clear cut as some would have you believe. I have been towing various trailers for 12 years, first with an F-150 SCab and now with my RL. The trailer I now tow, a 10' cargo trailer that is 7' tall {14' overall length} has an actual weight of 2,600# when fully loaded with my Rzr and misc gear {and 2,250# when I am hauling my Indian Springfield motorcycle}.

My RL tows it well, last summer we pulled from Tucson up to Angel Fire and Red River NM in the southern Rockies. The 1,400+ mile trip involved a lot of interstate {I-10 and 25} which I ran with the cruise control set to 65 along with multiple high passes up to 10,000'. I would not want to tow anything much heavier than my current setup but recognize the the RL is rated to 5,000# and I believe the hitch weight tops out at 500# {but I am not certain of that number}. The point is do NOT believe, much less attempt to utilize any so called "Dry" weights and any salesman that quotes them is not your friend.

:eek:

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My 2019 RL has 1,477# of payload ...
I wouldn't trust that payload sticker that Honda put on the truck, either. There was a big discussion on here a couple years ago about Honda putting incorrect payload stickers on the G2, possibly from the Pilot. The payload ratings shown were 1373lbs, IIRC.


Some other examples of incorrect information:

My 2019 RTL also shows 1477lbs payload. Honda's press info states that the payload capacity is 1569lbs.

The 2017 RTL was rated at 1569lbs also, but did not have the moonroof or rear slider.

The 2020 RTL is also listed at 1569lbs, although it has a different transmission and the addition of safety sensing equipment, as well as a tailgate lock and a different HU. Unless the transmission weighs less than the outgoing trans by the same amount of the added safety equipment, etc., something is amiss.

It would be interesting to know what the door stickers for 2017 and 2020 RTLs show for rated payload capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We have had 2 trips so far, The first was from Penticton, BC to Vancouver to bring the trailer home (400 kms with the trailer), This one in the photo was from Vancouver to Whistler and back (300 kms). In both cases we encountered hilly roads.
PB_NB, Thanks again for the info!

Jan&Rick
 

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Several posts here are utilizing the "Dry" weights provided by the manufacturer. Dry weights are a joke, no one tows an empty trailer and once it rolled off of the assembly line it began to gain weight {Dry weights typically do not include batteries, propane cylinders and any other accessories like Microwaves, awnings, TV's etc though this does vary from the different manufacturers}.
Hi Captain, you may be spot on with most of the trailers out there. With Airstream, they list the UBW (Unit base weight) with Propane and Batteries and standard items. Options are not included in this weight. As far as options go, there are really only the solar panels and an extra battery if you want. We chose the base model because there was only one unit on the lot and it was a base. So we are dealing with 3,634 lbs and we can shove another 866 lbs in it to max out the axle capacity at 4,500 lbs. We probably loaded about 200 lbs of clothes and drinking water into the trailer.

My Weigh Safe hitch says we are running a tongue weight of just under 400 lbs. I think we are above the minimum 10% tongue weight. Airstream says the tongue weight is 422 lbs. which would put us at 11%.

In an effort to minimize sway, one of the best ways to do this is to keep your speed down. I keep it at 60 mph as a max and if I am going up a mountain pass, I will be doing around 45 to 50 mph. On some freeways, it is hard to keep a lower speed and not get pushed off the road into a ditch!

I still have to look at adding a sway bar or 2 and see what options are out there from Weigh Safe regarding WDH designs. I really like the scale in the hitch!
 

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Hi Captain, you may be spot on with most of the trailers out there. With Airstream, they list the UBW (Unit base weight) with Propane and Batteries and standard items. Options are not included in this weight. As far as options go, there are really only the solar panels and an extra battery if you want. We chose the base model because there was only one unit on the lot and it was a base. So we are dealing with 3,634 lbs and we can shove another 866 lbs in it to max out the axle capacity at 4,500 lbs. We probably loaded about 200 lbs of clothes and drinking water into the trailer.

My Weigh Safe hitch says we are running a tongue weight of just under 400 lbs. I think we are above the minimum 10% tongue weight. Airstream says the tongue weight is 422 lbs. which would put us at 11%.

In an effort to minimize sway, one of the best ways to do this is to keep your speed down. I keep it at 60 mph as a max and if I am going up a mountain pass, I will be doing around 45 to 50 mph. On some freeways, it is hard to keep a lower speed and not get pushed off the road into a ditch!

I still have to look at adding a sway bar or 2 and see what options are out there from Weigh Safe regarding WDH designs. I really like the scale in the hitch!

I addressed your first statement... "Dry weights typically do not include batteries, propane cylinders and any other accessories like Microwaves, awnings, TV's etc though this does vary from the different manufacturers".

I assume your Weigh Safe Hitch, which I think is a neat product, is accurate but it demonstrates that you are woefully short of tongue weight and combine that with your lack of a weight distribution hitch I think you are asking for serious trouble. You noted the rear sagged, a properly set up WDH would cure most if not all of that by transferring a significant amount of weight to the front axle.

A properly set up rig should sit dead level and again you really should be a lot closer to 13% tongue weight as the less tongue weight, the greater the propensity for sway. Once a sway event commences it is very difficult to control much less recover. Absent a WDH and running light on the tongue you are very vulnerable to passing trucks and or a sudden gust of wind to commence a scary sway event.

Don't lose sight of your payload. If you end up at even 4,000# total weight of your trailer... and that is likely, your tongue weight "should be" 520# + the weight of the weight distribution hitch that you clearly need {add 100# for a total of 620# which comes right off of your RL's payload.}. Most folks with a 20 anything foot trailer generally load and average of 1,000# or more. Unless you always run with empty tanks, which is simply not going to happen all of the time your trailer weight will creep up dramatically. My 24' Class C only has 20 gallons of black and gray capacity but if the dump station is full, backed up or just out of order you can easily find yourself heading home carrying and extra 300#+.

Do yourself a huge favor and load your rig as you normally travel and get down to the local CAT Scale. I think you will find the results educational in a very good way.

My point and concern here lies with the trailer industries propensity for using "Dry weights" which by their misleading can easily get folks seriously dead. I think Airstream is one of the finest trailers out there but they still have only one function and that is to sell as many trailers as possible with little regard for who is towing it and with what.

As always... opinions and YMMV.

Good luck!

:cool:
 

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We did experience a sway situation which had a bunch of things combining to make it happen. We pulling our little Camplite dry weight of 1,620lbs. and GVW of 2,200 lbs and had tossed in some of our stuff for the trip, we never used the water systems on this trailer so all the tanks were empty. Moving at around 70 mph on a windy day and passed by a semi. The little trailer started swaying! it was quite an experience. What was weird is that I didn't feel it in our car. I just looked back and saw the back and forth. I just took my foot of the accelerator and let it slow down. It finally stopped swaying at about 40 mph. So in this case, we were light on the tongue and had high speed and windy conditions. I did have a sway bar which may have helped to slow the oscillations. One thing to note is that I had just installed some new 13" radial ST tires but found them to be very sloppy at full pressure.

This was our second trip about 4 years ago. After that, we would load everything in the front of the trailer. I swapped out the crappy 13 inch tires for some BFG 17" XL tires. which made a huge difference to stabilize the side to side slop. We maintained a max of 60 mph which was a great speed for mileage and comfort with the TDI, we would get 28 mpg pulling the trailer. The setup was perfectly behaved for many years without incident but the trailer was too small.

I will take our new rig over a scale and see what we are getting on each of the axles. You are right, there is always a chance that you have to carry the extra weight form the black and grey tanks which is located behind the trailer axle. This would make the tongue weight drop to the point where we be about 3% of the trailer weight!

I have been planning to discuss a WDH with Weigh Safe and see if they can make this as it appears to be something many tow vehicles will need. I am not too sure if load bars can be installed on the hitch that I have but it is worth asking.

My Ridgeline does drop about 2" in the rear with the trailer, but it seems and looks more level with the load. I am also used to it being empty and sitting high in the rear. Just not used to seeing it with something on or in the back.
 

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I will take our new rig over a scale and see what we are getting on each of the axles.
When you do that, do yourself a favor ....

Weigh the entire rig on the CAT, drive to a convenient nearby parking lot, disconnect the trailer and go back to weight the tow vehicle only. The difference is the loaded trailer weight - that's the number you need to calculate the appropriate minimum tongue weight. You cannot derive that number from any manipulation of axle weights with the whole rig connected.

The weigh-safe hitch may be a nifty device, and I don't discount its utility, but it amazes me how many folks will spend umpteen thousands of dollars on a travel trailer and then balk at the purchase of a ~$150 Sherline Tongue Weight Scale of the appropriate weight range. It's a long-proven accurate, reliable, and easy-to-use device for all rig-setup situations, regardless of hitch type. IMO the Sherline Scale, along with a few trips to the CAT scale to get loaded trailer weights for a few of your 'loaded for travel' scenarios is the best spent few bucks for all travel-trailer owners.

I'll join others here who have suggested: maintaining proper tongue weight bias (e.g. 10%-15% of actual loaded trailer weight) is the sole best method to inherently prevent initiation of trailer-sway, regardless of hitch type. The farther above the 10% absolute minimum, the more inherent sway-prevention gained. That rule and fact of physics / towing dynamics applies with or without the use of a WDH.

A WDH, in and of itself, does nothing to prevent initiation of trailer sway. It serves the role of mitigating tow-vehicle sag that's induced when proper trailer tongue-weight bias is achieved. In other words, use of a WDH allows one to bias tongue-weight sufficiently high to prevent sway and then mitigate the sag that induces on the tow-vehicle.
 
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Just as an example, here's a set of measured and calculated weight data for an actual rig (not an RL) without a WDH:
402454

Some may find the weight transfer OFF the steer axle of interest (you should not be surprised ;)).

Note that if you use a WDH, the WDH must be disengaged (the torsion bars not engaged / loaded) when you do the RIG weights on the CAT Scale in order to determine the true correct Tongue Weight (and CALCULATED Tongue %). Always remember that the target 10-15% tongue weight is without the WDH engaged in order to provide inherent sway prevention.

If you use a WDH and make a third-pass over the CAT Scale with the WDH engaged, you can then see quantitative data showing how the WDH transfers weight TO both the Steer Axle AND the Trailer Axle(s), and OFF the Rear Axle, in comparison to the non-WDH configuration. But again, do not use that data for calculating your tongue weight or tongue weight %.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Picked up our new Nest this week. Here's the CAT scale results with a full tank of gas, driver and one passenger. The fresh water tank in the Nest was 60% full. No significant cargo. CAT scale results before adding the travel trailer were: STEER AXLE 2820, DRIVE AXLE 2120, TOTAL AXLE 4940.

I was pleased with handling towing the Nest, and had good visibility without special tow mirrors. We'll be taking our first trip in a few days.

Jan&Rick
 

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Picked up our new Nest this week. Here's the CAT scale results with a full tank of gas, driver and one passenger. The fresh water tank in the Nest was 60% full. No significant cargo. CAT scale results before adding the travel trailer were: STEER AXLE 2820, DRIVE AXLE 2120, TOTAL AXLE 4940.
This with or without a WDH? Guessing yes ...
 
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Sounds like you are set. I looked at the weight and your Nest is a few hundred pounds lighter than our Sport. I find that the RL does a good job with this size of trailer.

Are you going with a WDH or just a bumper hitch? it's interesting that your front axle went up by 20 lbs. with the trailer onboard. I have been hearing that the front axle can actually get lighter as the added tongue weight pushes down on the back of the truck and the rear axle acts as a fulcrum lifting the front axle.

How does the truck look with the trailer attached? Are you getting some rear squat? Any photos of the combo?
 

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NM, re-read post.
 
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