Trailer ZigZag


Information, ideas, experiences and help with camping, pulling a trailer and roughing it on your Goldwing
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okie2ee
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Trailer ZigZag

Post by okie2ee » Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm



What causes a trailer to zigzag back and forth at speed..................brother claims it's due to the crown and troughs in the roadway but I've seen the trailer do it on flat highways.............oscillates enough to wiggle the back of his bike (ST1300)........oscillation comes and goes and is not constant...........ideas?



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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Fri May 31, 2019 10:47 pm

Really simple solution or a matter of how well you know how to pack your trailer.

Draw bar length, and weight on the trailer tongue, loading of too much weight past the axle towards the back of the trailer can cause significant and dangerous conditions of trailer wag.

It is like the tail wagging the dog.

Get a small weight measuring meter - like one used to weigh your suitcases. Then look up some youtube videos to sort the problem - it is really not caused by crown of the road.

Here is a very short example for you





found another good one as well





Cheers

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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by Charlie1Horse » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:28 am

Usually occurs because of negative tongue weight. Load your gear a little more toward the front of the trailer. You should probably have at least 20lbs of tongue weight at the coupler.
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by DenverWinger » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:03 am

Trailer tongue length is important, too. Too short a tongue can add instability..
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by dingdong » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:45 am

A minimum tongue length is 1.5 x the width of the axle. Measured from the axle. As stated, tongue weight is just as important.
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okie2ee
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by okie2ee » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:11 am

Thanks for all the great information...............will definitely follow the suggestions and check my tongue length to axle width ratio

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okie2ee
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by okie2ee » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:12 am

How is tongue length calculated?..................from the axle to the coupler or from the front of the trailer to the coupler.............thanks

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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by DenverWinger » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:16 am

From axle to coupler. If it isn't 1.5 x the axle width you may want to get it lengthened. An extra foot longer than that wouldn't hurt either!
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by FM-USA » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:07 pm

okie2ee wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
What causes a trailer to zigzag back and forth at speed....
....oscillation comes and goes and is not constant...ideas?
Along with tongue length there's another critical, mass weight. It's rare but oscillation can be caused by improperly loaded trailers.
Keep the heaviest centered and slightly forward of the trailers axle. Also keep the heaviest weight equal between the tires. Try to do this throughout the trailer with all items. Otherwise one tire will start bouncing if there's more weight on one unless the trailer has shocks.




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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by PunWinger » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:48 pm

Interesting information here! I learned from hauling wood that when I went from a receiver hitch on a minivan :oops: to the bumper hitch on an Exploder that having the tongue raised not only makes the trailer look like it's coming in for a landing, but also shifts the load center back over the axle more. That Exploder made that thing sway all over the place! A receiver with a 2.5" drop hitch fixed most of the problem. A new, bigger trailer fixed the rest! I never tried hauling wood on a bike! :D
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by AZgl1800 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:46 am

okie2ee wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 10:36 pm
What causes a trailer to zigzag back and forth at speed..................brother claims it's due to the crown and troughs in the roadway but I've seen the trailer do it on flat highways.............oscillates enough to wiggle the back of his bike (ST1300)........oscillation comes and goes and is not constant...........ideas?
Balance the trailer's load towards the front.
be sure the Tongue is a minimum of 1.5 times the width of the tires.

I moved the spare tire from the back of the trailer ( where it used to be )
and placed it directly under the hitch just behind the hitch itself.

Make the tongue load about 15% of the trailer's weight.
Mine tongue weight is about 35lbs.

When I first bought the trailer, it wig wagged so bad at 50 mph, that it wanted to change lanes. I added 24 inches to the tongue length, and the other changes I mentioned.
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Re: Trailer ZigZag

Post by Oybie » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:29 pm

Definitely need to load your trailer with the appropriate weight distribution. I have pulled a trailer a bit and find it so useful and easy. For many years it pulled as straight as an arrow behind until one year it wobbled so much I was afraid that I would get thrown off my bike. I stopped and checked the load and redistributed it. Ended up doing that 2 or 3 times with very little improvement.

Being a NASCAR fan I began to think about tire pressure. They will use one half pound of pressure to improve their handling.

I checked my tires. One tire had 5 pounds more pressure than the other. Just imagine what that differential will do to the diameter of those little tires! I equalized the pressures. Wow! We're back to the arrow running! That is the most important thing I check before I pull the trailer. Never have had an issue again.



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