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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In the spirit of @JimmyD's thread I figured I'd start one with my experiences after switching to 19.5s on my (completely stock suspension) SRW. I did this because, well...



For reference, the 3500 SRW stock rear tires have a combined capacity of 7050 lbs, so I'm considerably over. And I'm not done adding stuff to the trailer.

I went with the machined Vision Hauler 19.5 inch wheels (model 81F-9787M25 -- found 'em on Walmart's website), Michelin XDS2 245/70R19.5 tires, and Centramatic balancers. I had them installed at Barnwell House of Tires in Fairfield NJ. This shop does tire installations for class 8 rigs and I believe they use the heavy duty Hunter balancer for road-force balancing. The wheels have a +25mm offset; the stock ones are +44mm but the result of the narrower wheel/tire is that the outside sidewall will wind up about where it was previously. The tires have a speed rating of 75 MPH and I had them up to that speed on the highway; I experienced absolutely zero vibrations or anything indicative of imbalance. What I did experience was greater steering "inertia"; the formerly sports-car-like handling on the highway is no more. It's less responsive to steering inputs at high speed, but the duration of the response seems to extend a little bit beyond the period of the input. Maybe that's too confusing, but the bottom line is that it's not that big of a deal. It just drives like even more of a truck than it did before. Note that I have not experienced any rubbing and the spare seems to fit just fine; it's difficult to see in the picture but I think the diff clears the spare by just under 1 inch.

However, what's very noticeable is the noise. That big-rig highway "whine" is impossible to miss. Maybe some of this will go away as the tires age, but I'm unsure. In any case, take a look at the pics below and let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions about this setup. I've got a set of Sailun S637s on the way and I'm excited to get them on my fifth wheel and hit the road with the new configuration; more to follow.











 

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JD, I really like the looks of the new setup. (y)

FWIW, I do not have any road noise with my setup. Seems to me that it is a function of the tread design on the tire.

I think that between you and I we should be able to help out anyone that contemplates this mod to their trucks and save the a lot of a$$ pain. 馃殯
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks! Yeah, the XDS2 has a relatively aggressive tread pattern. I think some of the noise will go away in time; I was out this morning and it seemed less noticeable than yesterday. Or maybe I'm just getting used to it. After reading your thread I was bracing myself for a balancing/vibration nightmare, so it was an incredible relief to find that it rides so well. Your advice to find an installer with familiarity with 19.5s and a road force balancer was invaluable. In addition, I think a good additional criterion is that the shop be familiar with Centramatics. If they're not, it's likely their experience with 19.5s is limited to medium duty fleet vehicles where individual drivers' complaints of vibrations probably aren't given much weight.

BTW, the shop filled the tires to 80 PSI and I don't find the ride jarring at all; feels about like it did with the stock tires at the same pressure. I'm going to see what they feel like with the rears at 120 PSI when I take the trailer out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I swear, I really don't know where the weight comes from...





I ran the rear tires at 110 PSI on the way up here but after seeing that I'm now well over 8k on the rear end I am going to go all the way up to 120 for the trip home on Monday morning.

She sure is heavy but the truck handled her fine; I set cruise at 65 and had no problems maintaining speed all the way up I-87 from NJ.

The Vision Hauler wheels are rated at 9000 combined so that will be the limiting factor for this configuration, although any more weight and I will probably need to add airbags or helper springs. Might have to take a hard look at my plans to add another 600 AH of batteries, a generator, and 50 additional gallons of fresh water.

Probably going to replace the pin box with one of these to deal with the "chucking" on uneven pavement. Anyone got any experience with this stuff?
 

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JD, it will probably be worth your time to research the Michelin website to determine how much tire pressure to run with a given weight.

Although my tires are rated for 110 PSI, the Michelin site says that for my axle weights I should run 90 which I have done with great success. The reduced pressure may aid in ride comfort.

My rig tops out at 24.5K loaded and ready for camping.

I will weigh in later about hitches and what I learned about them as well.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
JD, it will probably be worth your time to research the Michelin website to determine how much tire pressure to run with a given weight.

Although my tires are rated for 110 PSI, the Michelin site says that for my axle weights I should run 90 which I have done with great success. The reduced pressure may aid in ride comfort.

My rig tops out at 24.5K loaded and ready for camping.

I will weigh in later about hitches and what I learned about them as well.
Thanks, I know I'm fine as per Michelin's specs but I'm just a bit paranoid. I'm not very sensitive to the ride quality (neither is my wife, fortunately). I guess it's fine at 110 since at that pressure it's good up to 9200 lbs or so and the wheels themselves are limited to 9000.

Definitely interested in your experience with hitches / pin boxes. I have the Demco 21k Autoslider hitch, FYI.

1080105
 

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i run the salun on my 5th wheel. you will love them
 
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JD, as it pertains to chucking, I swear I have tried everything such as:
Adjusting tire pressures on the truck and the camper
Adding/removing/moving weight inside the camper
Various fresh water levels from empty to full and everything in between
Black tanks empty to partially filled (my camper had two)
Ensuring that the entire rig was level and towed level

After doing all of this, I tried this pin box as the next step:
https://www.etrailer.com/Fifth-Wheel-King-Pin/Lippert-Components/LC369535.html

This pin box did help the chucking but did not completely eliminate it. So, onto the next stage.

I have talked to several folks including users, dealers, installers and experts on how to best deal with chucking after considering everything that I had already done

The overall consensus was this was the hitch to use to completely get rid of chucking.
BD3 Air-Ride 5th Wheel Hitch

This hitch is not recommended to be used with Trailer Saver Pin Box as they would basically be fighting each other. Just be aware this is one expensive SOB. I never purchased one as I just couldn't justify the expense of the hitch for the limited use of my camper. These guys make an adapter plate/pin to use with the B&W gooseneck setup that I have. After I retire and use the camper more toward being full time, I will buy one of these.

Hope this helps brother. If I can answer any questions just let me know.
 

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Of course, if you could just get your trailer set up right, you wouldn't need that expensive SOB of a hitch:)

I pull new campers everywhere and completely agree with your comments about all the different parameters that can affect how well campers pull and ride. I have to say, I really have made no rhyme nor reason of it. Of all of the 5ers I've pulled, I usually tend to pick Montanas. They're better built than most of the Forest River products hence fewer potential problems enroute. And they usually pull nicely.

But all that said, one 41ft Montana may ride really nicely then the next one may be a chucker. Most of them have the Lippert RotaFlex pin box. It usually seems to do a pretty good job on chucking but I just pulled in with a 41ft Montana with a RotaFlex pin box that was chucking pretty good. You never can tell until you hook onto one and pull it.

I've noticed some with the new rubber element leaf spring equalizers when coupled with a RotaFlex hitch works out to be a pretty good setup. Maybe the rubber element leaf spring equalizers would be a good addition to other pin boxes well.

Now I have to admit the only camper I ever pulled that I had to get out and say, "Wow, how is this thing set up" was actually a Forest River Sierra. I pulled it from Goshen, Indiana to El Paso, TX and at times I would literally forget I had a camper behind me. I can't explain the setup but evidently the weight distribution was perfect. It absolutely rode like a dream. Of course, it wasn't a toy hauler like many I pull. Those just suck when they're empty and there's nothing you can do about it. Just pump the air bags up and strap yourself in tight, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

And as much as I hate to rain on the Sailun parade, in 2.5 years of pulling new campers, which is probably about 100 units, I've blown precisely one tire, a 14 ply Sailun S637. It took out the side of a new triple axle 5th wheel toy hauler. So of course it was a hot delivery to a dealer in New Jersey. They were sure happy to see me! And most of the new campers have el cheapo Chinese crap on them too, with the exception of Jayco. All the Jaycos I've pulled had Goodyears on them. None of the cheapos have blown out, go figure. Just me, but with that beautiful new camper, I wouldn't put anything from Asia on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
JD, as it pertains to chucking, I swear I have tried everything such as:
Adjusting tire pressures on the truck and the camper
Adding/removing/moving weight inside the camper
Various fresh water levels from empty to full and everything in between
Black tanks empty to partially filled (my camper had two)
Ensuring that the entire rig was level and towed level

After doing all of this, I tried this pin box as the next step:
https://www.etrailer.com/Fifth-Wheel-King-Pin/Lippert-Components/LC369535.html

This pin box did help the chucking but did not completely eliminate it. So, onto the next stage.

I have talked to several folks including users, dealers, installers and experts on how to best deal with chucking after considering everything that I had already done

The overall consensus was this was the hitch to use to completely get rid of chucking.
BD3 Air-Ride 5th Wheel Hitch

This hitch is not recommended to be used with Trailer Saver Pin Box as they would basically be fighting each other. Just be aware this is one expensive SOB. I never purchased one as I just couldn't justify the expense of the hitch for the limited use of my camper. These guys make an adapter plate/pin to use with the B&W gooseneck setup that I have. After I retire and use the camper more toward being full time, I will buy one of these.

Hope this helps brother. If I can answer any questions just let me know.
Of course, if you could just get your trailer set up right, you wouldn't need that expensive SOB of a hitch:)

I pull new campers everywhere and completely agree with your comments about all the different parameters that can affect how well campers pull and ride. I have to say, I really have made no rhyme nor reason of it. Of all of the 5ers I've pulled, I usually tend to pick Montanas. They're better built than most of the Forest River products hence fewer potential problems enroute. And they usually pull nicely.

But all that said, one 41ft Montana may ride really nicely then the next one may be a chucker. Most of them have the Lippert RotaFlex pin box. It usually seems to do a pretty good job on chucking but I just pulled in with a 41ft Montana with a RotaFlex pin box that was chucking pretty good. You never can tell until you hook onto one and pull it.

I've noticed some with the new rubber element leaf spring equalizers when coupled with a RotaFlex hitch works out to be a pretty good setup. Maybe the rubber element leaf spring equalizers would be a good addition to other pin boxes well.

Now I have to admit the only camper I ever pulled that I had to get out and say, "Wow, how is this thing set up" was actually a Forest River Sierra. I pulled it from Goshen, Indiana to El Paso, TX and at times I would literally forget I had a camper behind me. I can't explain the setup but evidently the weight distribution was perfect. It absolutely rode like a dream. Of course, it wasn't a toy hauler like many I pull. Those just suck when they're empty and there's nothing you can do about it. Just pump the air bags up and strap yourself in tight, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

And as much as I hate to rain on the Sailun parade, in 2.5 years of pulling new campers, which is probably about 100 units, I've blown precisely one tire, a 14 ply Sailun S637. It took out the side of a new triple axle 5th wheel toy hauler. So of course it was a hot delivery to a dealer in New Jersey. They were sure happy to see me! And most of the new campers have el cheapo Chinese crap on them too, with the exception of Jayco. All the Jaycos I've pulled had Goodyears on them. None of the cheapos have blown out, go figure. Just me, but with that beautiful new camper, I wouldn't put anything from Asia on it.
Gents I really appreciate the constructive input. As for the Hensley hitch, I have a short bed so I'm pretty much committed to auto-sliding hitches (I have the Demco). I know there are people who pull FWs with short beds with manual sliders who "never use" the slide functionality but the thought of crunching the cab and/or nose cap is just more stress than I care to deal with (on my very first day of ownership I had to use the manual slide functionality on the Blue Ox Super Ride before I returned it). One problem I have is that this is the only pickup+FW combination I have ever driven, so I don't really have a frame of reference for how these things should handle. To me it feels fine when the road is reasonably smooth but on elevated sections of road with expansion joints every couple hundred feet I definitely get a thrashing. I'll probably try the Reese 5th Airborne box and if it has no effect just file it under "experience" (that thing you get right after you need it). After spending $60k on the trailer, $15k on my inverters/batteries/solar (plus ~100 hours of work installing it), $4k on wheels/tires, I've unfortunately adopted the attitude of "what's another thousand bucks?"

@blythkd1 I hope my experience with the Sailuns is different from yours! I guess if they detonate on me I'll try the Goodyears.
 

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Oh don't get me wrong, I wasn't really plugging Goodyear tires, I just mentioned that when it seems virtually everyone else is putting on Chinese tires, Jayco is using Goodyears.

Why not go with Michelins? Or Bridgestones? What's another thousand bucks? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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2020 Chevy 3500 L5P CC LB SRW 2WD LTZ
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I know this is a little old but we have a 2015 Lifestyle 5ver. Built on from the same design at the old Carriage units. Sticker on it says 17025. We pulled behind a 2016 3500 DRW. It like to bounce us around everywhere. We go the Morryde IS and disk brakes. Smoothed it right out. They did a bunch of leveling measurements and told me that would be the biggest help to chucking. We have their pin box also. If $ don't matter its a good investment.
I am now switching trucks to a 2020 3500 SRW and am concerned about the pin being to heavy so the 19.5 have peaked my interest. I just don't have $4k to drop right now. Are there any in the 18" range available to increase the load rating?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know this is a little old but we have a 2015 Lifestyle 5ver. Built on from the same design at the old Carriage units. Sticker on it says 17025. We pulled behind a 2016 3500 DRW. It like to bounce us around everywhere. We go the Morryde IS and disk brakes. Smoothed it right out. They did a bunch of leveling measurements and told me that would be the biggest help to chucking. We have their pin box also. If $ don't matter its a good investment.
I am now switching trucks to a 2020 3500 SRW and am concerned about the pin being to heavy so the 19.5 have peaked my interest. I just don't have $4k to drop right now. Are there any in the 18" range available to increase the load rating?
"Normal" 18s go up to 4080/tire, see here for an example (and yes, they'll fit -- at least on the 17-19 trucks). My pin weight would put me over that; in fact, I think I'm getting real close to the 4500/wheel rating of the Vision Haulers. I'd definitely check your pin weight to make sure you aren't going to be outside of SRW territory.

There are some huge "not normal" tires for super single conversions (think Earthroamer) that can handle enormous loads but you're talking tire diameters of 40" or so, which is obviously impractical for a variety of reasons.
 

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2020 Chevy 3500 L5P CC LB SRW 2WD LTZ
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I had about 3800 on the dully pin for right about 8000 total axle. We are in the process of elimination of some items and I can shift some to the back cargo hold which should transfer about 500 to the trailer axles. They are good for 8000 each with G117 on 17.5". Now I just need to figure out how to get TPMS sensors to work with the factory system. Not looking good for that now.
Thanks for the link on tires. I will check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had about 3800 on the dully pin for right about 8000 total axle. We are in the process of elimination of some items and I can shift some to the back cargo hold which should transfer about 500 to the trailer axles. They are good for 8000 each with G117 on 17.5". Now I just need to figure out how to get TPMS sensors to work with the factory system. Not looking good for that now.
Thanks for the link on tires. I will check it out.
It sounds like you'll be okay on weight, but just remember you'll have half as many sidewalls to oppose lateral movement compared to your DRW. My 16-ply tires feel pretty good under the heavy load (even when getting pushed around by side winds) but I don't know if the same would be true on 10-ply tires. You're entering uncharted waters here; do me a favor and either reply with your experience in this thread or start a new one and tag me if you don't mind. Good luck!
 
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