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Post Info TOPIC: Wind


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Wind


Well this post isn't so much about the destination but the journey!  In late March we are finally going to pick up the fifth wheel we bought in early December and will travel from South Dakota to Portland, OR to pick it up.  We have traveled a lot but we have always been fairly low to the ground :) with pop-up campers and boats.  Our fifth wheel is a 38 foot Bighorn and we will pull it with a Ford F350 6.7l diesel King Ranch DRW pickup.  We have made many trips across the plains interstates (I-70, I-80 and I-90) and have encountered some strong cross winds!  My question is....with a fifth wheel in tow is there a rule of thumb for how much wind is too much?  Obviously if it is blowing us from lane to lane that is bad but I'd like to know that before I get out there!  Any advice will be appreciated!



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2015 Ford F350 King Ranch DRW

2016 Bighorn 3570RS



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I don't know that there is a cut and dried "formula" for that decision.  I've towed our 2010 Mobile Suites in a strong enough wind that I was just inside the center line with the truck and the trailer wheels were just inside the line at the edge of the road.  However, keep in mind that our Mobile Suites weighs 18,500 lbs, so a similar sized trailer that weighs considerably less will have more issues.  That incident for us was in Oklahoma back in 2011.  Since we don't travel as much as most RV'ers, I've not experienced similar winds since, even when crossing Wyoming a couple of years or so ago.

Personally, if I think I will encounter strong winds, we generally just postpone going on for maybe a day.  Not that I can't handle the wind, but I just prefer not to.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2017 Ford Expedition EL as Tag-along or Scout

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Terry, good point....just for reference our fifth wheel is a shade under 13,000 unloaded and has a GVWR of 16,000.



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2015 Ford F350 King Ranch DRW

2016 Bighorn 3570RS



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Ronjohn99 wrote:

 My question is....with a fifth wheel in tow is there a rule of thumb for how much wind is too much?  Obviously if it is blowing us from lane to lane that is bad but I'd like to know that before I get out there!  Any advice will be appreciated!


 

Having made numerous trips in high wind conditions - that is when the authorities have posted "high profile vehicle wind warnings" – my view is what is too much for some rigs and drivers is "OK" for others. It really does depend on the rig and comfort level / experience level of the driver.

That said, anyone, professional semi driver or just began the adventure RVer can have an issue.  

If there are "high profile vehicle wind warnings" - and a 5th wheel is a high profile vehicle - I would think twice before towing in those conditions.  I've done it without trouble.  But that doesn't mean it’s OK not to heed the warnings and make a change of plan as required.

Sometimes the rig and truck will be OK but the awnings may take a beating if the wind catches them the wrong way.  On a previous rig I had to put tie-wraps around the slide toppers because they were getting unfurled due to high quartering cross winds.  Our rig and truck were fine.  Others on the same road were "all over the place" and one lost the main awing. Just depends.

The overall rule-of-thumb IMO, if you’re uncomfortable and gripping the wheel, then the wind is too high for you and your rig regardless of the wind speed. If you see the pros pulling over, I'd do the same.  When in doubt, don't go.

Bill



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

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I agree with Terry and Bill…it depends on how much your rig weighs and what direction the wind is coming from. Our rig is about 23,400 pounds loaded and we've pulled it with first an F450 and now our RAM 5500HD. We've pulled in winds that I estimated at 30-40…and frankly I've never noticed that the rig blew around at all even then. 



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We have a unit which is 16000 lbs. and we came up I-95 this past week with winds in the 30's and gust up to 50mph. Not a problem but it would move us a little now and then when would be clearing trees and moving into open areas. Definitely only traveled 200 miles that day.

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2017 Vanleigh Vilano 325 RL  (Alias Sunshine)

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When the pros pull over.
When the state highway department says pull over.
When I feel uncomfortable....it’s sandwich time anyway!

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Winnebago TT 2101DS & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel w/MPPT, 2 Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, USF&WS, NPS, TVA, state/county campgrounds. 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.



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So many variables, but in general if the winds are less than 30 mph we don't have issues. 30-35 mph our decision to drive or not is based on the direction and what kind of highway we're driving. Relatively flat Interstates, we'll usually drive it, back roads highways with lots of twists and turns, no thanks. Over 35 mph, we don't drive in that very often, especially when they are calling for wind gusts of much more. So, those are our general "rules of thumb" but there are a lot of variables. Precipitation can cause a big variable, with rain in the forecast we don't drive in winds of more than 25 mph.

One comment, is that these are our rules of thumb now, almost 5 years into this FT journey, and BTW, we have almost the identical set up to Terry's rig with probably a little more weight in our truck due to the business "stuff" we carry with us. With more experience and knowing how our rig behaves in the wind, we have kept going in winds we wouldn't have driven in our first few months, but we've also changed travel plans more times than I can count due to wind. In fact, I'm not sure we've ever left AZ in March / April as we started north without at least 1 change in our travel plans, 2 years ago we had 3 changes to our planned travel days due to wind.

We use the "weather route" app on our tablet to see what the wind & precipitation forecast is to determine departure time and driving distance.

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The forecast? Worth little if anything at all.

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Winnebago TT 2101DS & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel w/MPPT, 2 Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, USF&WS, NPS, TVA, state/county campgrounds. 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.



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Agree somewhat with LarryW21 on forecasts.  They are good for a "general" idea of wind conditions, but if you've ever noticed signs that indicate high winds for a certain number of miles, that is an indicator that the "lay of the land" could channel stronger winds through those corridors that are labeled for high winds.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2017 Ford Expedition EL as Tag-along or Scout

Our photos on Smugmug



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One thing I noticed is with the axles flipped on our 5th wheel wind and passing semis do not affect it as much as before the axle flip.

I can only guess the increase in height from ground to the bottom of the 5th wheel allows the air to dissipate easier; little suction/little push

I once got 3 MPG fighting a headwind across South Dakota for 150 miles. I get 6-7 MPG under normal conditions.




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Well we made it back from Portland to South Dakota.  We took a southerly route and encountered some very strong winds coming through Wyoming!  We ended up staying an extra night in Cheyenne due to a wind forecast that had north winds at 25-35 with gusts over 50mph!  The forecast proved to be true and we were glad we were not on the road.  Thanks for all the advice, we now have about 1800 miles of fifth wheel towing experience  :)



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2016 Bighorn 3570RS

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