Trailer Drift/ Sway and pulling to the side.

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by EDog88, May 6, 2021.

  1. EDog88

    EDog88 Bobtail Member

    May 6, 2021
    I work for WE and their internationals are quite used up. But for some reason there's just this problem I'm having staying straight down the middle of the lane. The trailer seems to wiggle a lot and I can't fix it. I see other drivers going past me almost effortlessly seemingly except for the occasional gust or something like that.

    The steering wheel seems off like it doesn't want to tell the trailer I moved it until later. Then it seems as if the trailer is not locked properly into the fifth wheel or something because it pulls me to one side even though I got it straight. I can fix it for a few seconds then it's just like hell for me.
    I'm either looking in my left to make sure it doesn't sway into the left lane or my right pushing the steering wheel either way makes it go the other way and ughhhh!!

    I know that when I took my dmv test this issue with sway wasn't really a problem... I'm blaming these trucks.
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  3. Frank Speak

    Frank Speak Road Train Member

    May 3, 2016
    Hot Springs, AR
  4. Brettj3876

    Brettj3876 Road Train Member

    Nov 18, 2014
    Canceling cancel culture/CCC
    If the roads are in crappy shape it will do it all the more. Just keep a very light pressure on the wheel and it should stay straight. The more you fight it the worse it'll happen
  5. skallagrime

    skallagrime Road Train Member

    Apr 10, 2012
    To see if its a perception (you) problem or actually is the truck, go measure outside to outside of your trailer tire axle
    Then measure the same with your drive tire axle
    They should be the same, if they arent, take half the difference and file that in memory, this is ideally 0
    Now on a good smooth road with low traffic and straight lines, set cruise to 55 or 60 and take the truck to the right white line, just barely let the drive tire ride the edge of the white line.
    With small glances in your mirror with your peripheral vision, checking that your drives are maintaining where they were (right at edge of white line)

    Is the trailer 4 inches one side or the other of the white line? If so it is dogtracking and youre not nuts. now, test the same on the drivers side, it will be slightly more difficult to find a straight long continuous line, but try it anyway.

    Frame of reference, those painted lines are 4 inches wide, basically less than 2 inches off tracking is what you want.

    You may find that you are just misreading the information in your mirrors and its tracking fine.

    One last thing on the steering wheel, dont hold it at center and expect that to be correct, on a flat road at 30 mph loosen your grip on the wheel, if it goes left or right a few feet instantly your alignment is off if it barely drifts right or left a bit then the truck stays straight (or even if it just gradually drifts one way or another) but the steeringwheel is ####eyed, the wheel in the cab is whats out of aligntment.
  6. Justin Sane

    Justin Sane Light Load Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    Not sure what youve got going on there but are you familiar w a dogpatching trailer. I call it dogpatching; ever seen a larger breed dog trotting along? It goes down the road sideways so its front and rear feet dont bump together.

    Trailers can be out of alignment causing them to go down the road in a sort of sideways angle. I hate getting stuck with these; you have to put the tractor on the right or left side of the road to keep the trl in the lane. Backing one of these into a dock can be a big pain also.

    If thats what it possibly is report it right away; record the # of the trl for yourself so you dont pull it again( as in you are picking up an empty; you can pass it by).
  7. Allow Me.

    Allow Me. Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    May 28, 2009
    Rancho Mirage, Ca.
    Have wifey drive behind you in her car. Much easier to see any problems from that view......
  8. Mike250rs

    Mike250rs Heavy Load Member

    Sep 24, 2019
    Raleigh, NC
    Put a FedEx sticker on?
    Vic Firth and Dockbumper Thank this.
  9. TripleSix

    TripleSix God of Roads

    Apr 10, 2009
    Copied in Hell
    Winner. It’s called “The Rookie Wiggle.” OP is looking at the mirrors, watching the trailer wag, and is trying to’fix’ this by counter steering. That only amplifies the whip effect. Stop sawing with the wheel! Hold the wheel as still as possible and make slight adjustments only.

    You will notice that most of the pickups pulling trailers and campers going really slow. That’s why. The rookie wiggle will eventually cause a loss of control. On slick roads, it is lethal.

    Luck in battle.
  10. wis bang

    wis bang Road Train Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Levittown, PA
    In a tanker it can kill. had to evaluate the wife half of a future husband/wife team. She did fine till the last trip a tall 8000 gal skin tank with 7000 gal of acetone and she noticed the jigggle. instructed her to just relax and let it jiggle, thin products need to move, let it and remember that it was also top heavy. If you fight that jiggle it can roll you over.

    Relax and keep it pointed down the boulevard.
    spindrift and EDog88 Thank this.
  11. Judge

    Judge Road Train Member

    Mar 19, 2014
    Newport, Ar
    Simple fix.

    Quit Looking Back.
    Problem Solved.
    tallguy66 and EDog88 Thank this.
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