Light Trailer Blues


New Member
This forum is full of success stories of Frontiers pulling big loads. I'm pulling a light load, and I've got a problem.
My travel trailer is 14 feet long, and weighs only 1920 lbs. I bought it with the hope of pulling it behind my wife's Mercury Mariner (aka Ford Escape). In spite of the Mariner's 3500 lb towing capacity, the aerodynamic drag was too much. The Mariner is rated for a fountal area of 30 sq feet, I had 42 sq ft, so I could only tow above 50 MPH when there was no wind. That doesn't happen much in North Texas, so now I have a 2010 Fronty.

The Fronty is a great vehicle, and I'm enjoying it far more than I ever expected. The handling is great and the ride is far beyond the competition. At least, until I hitch up the trailer.

With the trailer, every last tar strip in the highway becomes a jarring experience. I have no complaints driving to work each day on a particular highway, but the same highway with the trailer is moderately punishing. A two lane back road with lots of asphalt patches is like being in a paint shaker. I know this isn't normal for a Fronty, so there has to be a way to do better.

What I think is happening is that my light weight trailer is bouncing up and down like a tin can on a rope and transferring all those impacts to the Fronty's frame. With only 240 lbs of tongue weight, there's not enough dampening in the system.

I'm wondering if extra weight at the rear of the bed would solve it. If so, how much weight does it take to dampen out the ride? Are people carrying extra ballast for ride control? What do you carry for that purpose?

The other possiblity is to add shocks to the trailer axle. I haven't looked into the feasiblity of that yet. Does anyone have any experience to suggest that would help if I did do it?

Anyone have any other ideas?