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Old 01-27-2024, 08:04 AM   #1
Eggs Benedict
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Passport too front-heavy

Hello all,

My 2007 Passport had had the rear slide/bed removed and the opening boarded up when I bought it. It sits very front-heavy, and also seems to sit high. Hitch height is about 26" when it's hitched up level. Preparing to replace the (original) suspension and (old) tires, and adding an Andersen hitch, prior to summer trips. I tow with tanks empty and very, very little cargo. Nothing on the tongue except the two 20-lb propane tanks. It rides pretty stable without too much wind sway on current short trips. Can it get it a little less tongue-heavy when I change the suspension? Can a TT be lowered? Ground clearance is at least 8" higher than TV, and I don't see why the level hitch height is so high.

TIA!
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Old 01-27-2024, 08:13 AM   #2
chuckster57
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With the frame level on level ground the coupler should be about 19-22 inches off the ground. What tires are currently on it?
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2012 Copper Canyon 273FWRET being towed by a 1994 Ford F350 CC,LB,Dually diesel.
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Old 01-27-2024, 09:40 AM   #3
Eggs Benedict
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Originally Posted by chuckster57 View Post
With the frame level on level ground the coupler should be about 19-22 inches off the ground. What tires are currently on it?
Thanks, Chuck - it has 205/75R 14C. I'm concurrently perusing the "Tires" forum for advice on the replacements.
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Old 01-27-2024, 09:49 AM   #4
chuckster57
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The coupler is 26" from the ground when the trailer is level on level ground? How are you measuring?
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2012 Copper Canyon 273FWRET being towed by a 1994 Ford F350 CC,LB,Dually diesel.
Airlift 5000 bags, Prodigy brake control, 5 gauges on the pillar.Used to tow a '97 Jayco 323RKS.

Now an RVIA registered tech. Retired from Law enforcement in 2008 after 25+ yrs.
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Old 01-28-2024, 12:42 PM   #5
NH_Bulldog
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Adding my observation based on my current unit (Passport 240BH) from measurements when I set up my WD hitch. When level on flat ground, the distance from the ground to the bottom of the frame rails at all 4 corners is 21”. The distance from the ground to the inside top of the hitch coupler is 22”. My OEM tires are ST205/75-14D.

I do have to ask though; when you say that the coupler is so much higher than your tow vehicle, what is your tow vehicle?
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Old 01-29-2024, 07:01 AM   #6
Eggs Benedict
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Originally Posted by NH_Bulldog View Post
Adding my observation based on my current unit (Passport 240BH) from measurements when I set up my WD hitch. When level on flat ground, the distance from the ground to the bottom of the frame rails at all 4 corners is 21”. The distance from the ground to the inside top of the hitch coupler is 22”. My OEM tires are ST205/75-14D.

I do have to ask though; when you say that the coupler is so much higher than your tow vehicle, what is your tow vehicle?
Thanks! I'll measure today. Towing with a full-size Chevy van with new HD Bilstein shocks, but nothing added to the rear. I have to crank up the tongue jack nearly all the way to get the trailer level, but when I hitch it to the van, it pushes the rear down about 3". I am wondering if the long-ago removal of the rear slide from the Passport changed the balance of the unit enough that I should have the axle placement re-calculated. I'm planning to replace all the suspension parts before summer and am not opposed to having new attachment points welded on. Is that even a thing?
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Old 01-29-2024, 07:25 AM   #7
NH_Bulldog
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With the removal of the weight of the slide off the rear, it most certainly altered the weight dynamics of the trailer.

A few years ago, my brother drove 1,000 miles to pick up a bumper-pull toy hauler with his Chevy Tahoe. With no cargo weight in the trailer, it literally lifted the front end of the SUV so high that it wasn't drivable. He ended up going to a local building supply and buying enough concrete blocks to load in the cargo bay to redistribute the weight enough to get home. Once home and connected to his truck and loaded with two touring Harley's it rode fine.

In your case for the height, I would look at the axles and leaf springs and see if they are set up properly with the springs sitting directly on top of the axle tubes (did anyone add lift blocks to raise the trailer)? Next I would look at the axles themselves, I have seen units where the axle/springs have been flipped to raise the trailer. Is there any evidence that someone might have reconfigured the spring/axle relationship (moved from axles on top of the springs to springs on top of the axles)? Mine is set-up stock with the springs on top of the axles, but not all are built that way.

Lastly, as far as reconfiguring the axle positions closer to the front to rebalance. That requires a great deal of specialty knowledge and experience that few people possess. This is something that a properly equipped mechanical shop specializing in trailers would need to involved with. Any time you weld to a frame it adds a level of complexity and liability that only a few would want to deal with.
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Old 01-29-2024, 07:44 AM   #8
Eggs Benedict
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Originally Posted by NH_Bulldog View Post
With the removal of the weight of the slide off the rear, it most certainly altered the weight dynamics of the trailer.

A few years ago, my brother drove 1,000 miles to pick up a bumper-pull toy hauler with his Chevy Tahoe. With no cargo weight in the trailer, it literally lifted the front end of the SUV so high that it wasn't drivable. He ended up going to a local building supply and buying enough concrete blocks to load in the cargo bay to redistribute the weight enough to get home. Once home and connected to his truck and loaded with two touring Harley's it rode fine.

In your case for the height, I would look at the axles and leaf springs and see if they are set up properly with the springs sitting directly on top of the axle tubes (did anyone add lift blocks to raise the trailer)? Next I would look at the axles themselves, I have seen units where the axle/springs have been flipped to raise the trailer. Is there any evidence that someone might have reconfigured the spring/axle relationship (moved from axles on top of the springs to springs on top of the axles)? Mine is set-up stock with the springs on top of the axles, but not all are built that way.

Lastly, as far as reconfiguring the axle positions closer to the front to rebalance. That requires a great deal of specialty knowledge and experience that few people possess. This is something that a properly equipped mechanical shop specializing in trailers would need to involved with. Any time you weld to a frame it adds a level of complexity and liability that only a few would want to deal with.
Thanks! I'm going up to visit the trailer today and will check all this out. I did think about adding weight to the back end of the TT. Where I live there are a LOT of trailer repair shops and fabricators, so if it came to welding, I'd consult a few of them before making a final decision, but there are specialized places to do the work.
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Old 01-29-2024, 08:33 AM   #9
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OK, we're talking about a 2007 Passport, right ???

WAY BACK in my memory, seems that I remember that era Passports having "springs UNDER the axle". Back then, many people had problems with the rear bumper dragging the ground on slight inclines (like a elevated ramp into a gas station). One way to "fix that" was to install skids or steel wheels under the rear bumper. That worked until you hit a bump that tore the skid or wheels off the bumper (a very expensive fix)....

Many people resorted to a "axle flip fix" by changing the axle configuration from "springs below the axle" to "springs above the axle"... That would gain about 5-8 inches of trailer elevation, solving the bumper drag issue, but doing that "axle flip" also DRAMATICALLY altered the trailer height when level.

Most people just adjusted their hitch ball height to get the correct ball height or, if that wasn't possible with the significantly taller trailer, they would adjust the hitch to "full up position" and simply tow "nose down"....

I'd urge you to first determine if your trailer was built with "springs under the axles" (I believe it was) as based on this photo from an old thread located at this link: https://www.keystoneforums.com/forum...read.php?t=351

All of the photos on page 2 are of a 2008 Passport. My best advice would be that your trailer axles are no longer "configured as OEM when they left the factory"... That would explain why the trailer tongue height is so much more than it "should be".....

In summary, I suspect that your axles have been "flipped" and with the slide removal behind the axles, not only is the trailer height altered the 5-8 inches for the spring placement, but possibly another inch or two by the reduced weight from the missing slide.....

Check your trailer springs, if they are on top of the axle beams, they are probably "not installed the way they were when the trailer left the factory"...
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Old 01-29-2024, 03:42 PM   #10
Eggs Benedict
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Dear John,

Thanks so much. This is gold. Read the linked thread with interest. I visited the trailer today where it's stored in my buddy's driveway (our HOA doesn't allow it stored at my house). Springs are below the axles, though the springs seem pretty flimsy. Corners of the trailer are 23 1/2" inches from the ground. The bottom of the hitch is 21 1/2" from the ground as it sits. The space between the tires is 17" (I made some cross braces for the wheels recently) and the wheels are centered in the "fender skirts", so I guess the axles are where they were originally designed to be. I haven't had trouble with it clearing driveway inclines, it just seems higher than it needs to be, and it seems if it trails lower, it would be less subject to wind deflection.

The rear bench and dining table were also missing when I got it. More weight from the rear. I think this trailer sat in someone's back yard with the slide out for years, serving as a hangout for grandpa to watch TV with his little dog (it has a dog door), until it got so much water damage that it was no longer usable. It was craftily patched together and flipped to an unsuspecting first-time buyer on craigslist (me). I did remove some other original equipment over time, like the TV antenna (obsolete), slide-out cooktop, and replaced the bathroom door with a curtain. So it has only lost weight since I got it. Maybe it is simply riding higher for that reason. I didn't think a few hundred pounds total would make that much difference.

There were several inches of rain last week. The trailer didn't have its cover on as I got crazy busy when I dropped it off last time. The floor was wet under the rooftop AC, and the floor has old damage there. So I guess the rooftop unit leaks into the interior. Possibly unavoidable due to the sheer volume of wind and rain over many days. Been thinking of replacing it with a more modern, more efficient unit, although it works just fine. So I guess I also have to investigate that before summer travels. Anyhow, I put the cover on!
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Old 01-30-2024, 07:55 AM   #11
chuckster57
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AC leak is most likely the gasket, or the mounting bolts loose. Take the ceiling assembly off and you can access the 4 corner bolts. Should be 3/8” and torqued to 40 INCH pounds.
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2012 Copper Canyon 273FWRET being towed by a 1994 Ford F350 CC,LB,Dually diesel.
Airlift 5000 bags, Prodigy brake control, 5 gauges on the pillar.Used to tow a '97 Jayco 323RKS.

Now an RVIA registered tech. Retired from Law enforcement in 2008 after 25+ yrs.
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