First of I'm open to any comments and recommendations done in a constructive way, I'm posting this to learn more and avoid this from happening again.
Tow vehicle: 2001 F250 turbo diesel 6spd
Trailer: Dove tail 7,000 GVW, electric brakes and dual axles
Load: 1995 F350 auto
My friend ask me if I could pick this truck for him, he needs a towing vehicle and this one was a good buy since the tranny is gone, so my GF and him went to pick it up yesterday.
The night before I brought all tires to proper air pressure, fixed my trailer light/brakes plug, checked all lights, even bought the missing wheel lug nut for my truck (missing since I bought the truck). I knew the 350 was not an easy tow so I wanted to make sure everything was in line.
That morning I towed my race car to the shop, pick him up and off we went to pick up his new 350; little did we know everything was going to turn dark in 10 seconds. After fighting to get the 350 started for hrs, to at least have power brakes when loading it on the trailer, when we started to load the truck on to the trailer (parked in a odd angle) the trailer started to pick up the rear axle of my 250, slowly we got it on the trailer
I usually use 4 straps on my racecar or any other light BMW I tow, this time I used 8 straps; 3 in the front - 3 in the back - and 2 thru the frame from side to side, 2 in the front&rear with J hooks straight to the frame.
Coming out the subdivision there was a lot of hills and tight turns, about 10 miles of city driving all felt good, well nothing but feeling that my steering wheel was lighter that usual. We stopped for lunch and everything look like gold.
After lunch drove another 4 miles and jumped on the freeway, the plan, drive 50 to 55mph on the left lane all the way to the chop (1hr drive at 65mph). after 1 exit, the trailer started to sway a little, I look at them and say do you guys feel that, they say yes and at that moment I was fixing to pass an underpass with an accident on the right shoulder (2 car and 1 SUV), the SUV was almost parked over the white right line, so I started to move left within my lane bc the freewar was busy (no room to change lanes). And in between me asking them that, a semi passing me on my left, and passing the cars on the right shoulder I dropped the speed from 55 to 52mph, as I pass them I rev match downshift to 4th, then *** I pass the SUV the trailer multiplies the sway by 10, then the underpass just 30ft pass the SUV got the trailer to go side ways, the sway was big time, when it would go from left to right it would do it with such a violence that the my rear axle will move sideways, at this point I would counter steer to compensate for the axle sliding.
It was bad guys, one second the trailer would be in my left mirror completely lateral, and then the next second the same way in my right mirror; just like in this video:
So my GF how is a test driver, and holds a CDL license yell "Gas" "Gas", my friend yell "brake" "brake" I yell back I'm WOT it's not helping, when I felt that the trailer was going to end up rotating us over 40 degrees, I rev match downshifted to 3rd and gave it all it had, just WOT compensating with a lot of counter steering got the trailer to settle 50%, at that point every time I felt it reach the limit of moving left I would tap the brakes hard, and then when the trailer will swing the other way, and reached the limit will tap the brakes hard one more time; did that about 4 time 2 in each direction... Than finally got the trailer straight and was able to coast to the shoulder.
THANK GOD NO ONE WAS HURT
People just pulled over to ask us if we needed an ambulance, if we were okay.... I was shaking from head to toes, let me tell you that I've been held a gun point, I teach people how to drive on track, teach teenager car control, rolled over a car 5.5 times, but never gotten so scare.
I think the most scary part was that I've never encounter trailer sway like this, I was ignorant of what exactly I should do, what was going on in that moment, what cause it, and the worse, did I hurt anybody?
here is a pick of the aftermath:
My conclusion of what got me into this, and please feel free to add or correct me:
1. the steering drag link has a bad ball joint, it has about 1/2" of play
2. the combination of the little sway + semi + parked cars + coming out the underpass got the sway to get worse.
3. to heavy of a load for that type of trailer, a gooseneck should been fine.
4. should've move the truck further forward to add more tongue weight.
So, the tires are scrap now after drifting the trailer for about 1/2mile...The trailer needs metal fabrication type of repairs.... I need new straps and J hooks.... What else should I replace after an accident like this???