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Old 06-28-2015, 04:30 PM   #1
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1985 31' Excella
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New Tires, Batteries, Anti-sway

Hello,

I have a brand new (to me) 1986 Excella 31-foot trailer. I currently have it in the state of origin getting the bearings and brakes replaced and am on my way to pick it up over the 4th of July weekend.

I have been lurking around here for a while, but haven't made a post yet.

I have been running through the searches, but can't find a definitive answer. If I should post this in other various locations, rather than all in the 1984-86 forum, please let me know.

My question is this. Can anyone tell me what size tires to order to replace the old ones that are currently on the trailer? Also, does anyone have any experience or recommendation with the Greenball Towmaster tires currently on sale on Costco?

Also, I am planning on replacing the old batteries with a set of Optima Blue Top Type 27 batteries. Any other suggestions?

And, lastly, what is the preferred anti-sway system for this length of trailer?

Thanks for any and all input! Glad to be here!

Todd
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Old 06-28-2015, 05:44 PM   #2
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Todd, the Optima Blue Top I think is an AGM battery. Prior to purchasing that battery, you best verify if the charging system in your trailer can safely charge that type of battery. I would hate to see you ruin a battery. My thoughts are if an AGM is in your plans, you also need to replace your converter in your trailer.

Anti-sway with a load distribution is recommended. You will hear all kinds of recommendations with the limiting factor being your pocket book. I've used a Reese Dual-cam system and for the last 10 years I've used an Equal-I-zer brand hitch. Both are moderately priced solutions. There are better, but will be costing much more.

I really can't help on the tires since I'm not sure of your size. You might consider posting your specific questions about your model in this section because you will may get noticed by other users of your model trailer.

Please do not post the same questions in multiple areas of the forum.

Regards and welcome!

Jack
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Old 06-28-2015, 05:45 PM   #3
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Hensley Arrow, only safe way to go.
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:24 PM   #4
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I have a 1986 31' Sovereign that I have towed over 60000 miles in the last 8 years using an old school Reese trunnions bar hitch with friction sway control. Never a hint of sway, never a white knuckle moment despite a few evasive maneuvers and several full effort braking episodes.

Now, if I was to replace my hitch, I would have to decide between the Blue Ox Sway Pro and the Reese Dual Cam. Either would do a great job and are considerably lighter and far, far less expensive than the Hensley or the Pro Pride. Both the latter have sterling reputations but they weigh hundreds of pounds and cost thousands of dollars. In my case, I am just not willing to part with that much payload.

The dual cam, once dialed in, is quiet and easy to hook up - done it lots. I have no direct experience with the Blue Ox product but I have read some really strong reviews of it here so I would definitely scope it out.

My 31' tracks straight and true, is not noticeably affected by crosswinds and rides very smoothly. It is a joy to tow.

Mike
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:23 PM   #5
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Thanks, everyone, for the tips.

jcanavera, interesting on the AGM batteries. I have yellow-top Optimas in my VW Safare Kustom Kamper and have never had an issue. Quite frankly, I didn't know the charging system needed to be different. I'll do some more research before I buy. Thanks!

n2916s, philipsinewe, and jcanavera, thanks for the info on the sway bars.

I'll have to call the mechanic to check on the tire size. I didn't think about taking a pic when I was checking it out and purchased before I dropped it off to get the bearings replaced.

If anyone has had any experience with the CostCo Greenball tires, I'd be very interested in your opinions.

Once again, thanks for all the info. This forum seems like a great resource for all things Airstream like theSamba is for VWs.

Todd
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:39 AM   #6
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Good Morning, I believe I have decided on the Blue Ox. The Hensley seems excellent, but is a bit out of my price range.

According to specs from the Airstream documents, my trailer has an 800 lb tongue weight. This is before being loaded, I assume. Given this, and having absolutely no experience with anti-sway hitches, I assume I should go for the 1000lb tongue weight Blue Ox, as the next lower model is 750b tongue weight.

Am I thinking right here?

Thanks again for your help.

Todd
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:27 AM   #7
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Busolov, did you check the Aframe for a past WD/anti-sway system?. There may be evidence remaining.

What TV will you use? Your 2500 should be adequate with the proper setup of the WD system of your choice. The 1000lb is the choice.

The AGM's are a good choice depending on what you do with them. Boondocking?may be need a different charging setup.

I do not have experience with Towmaster, so no comment here. Just get a spare to match.

Good luck, and welcome to the Forums.

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Old 06-29-2015, 07:34 AM   #8
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Todd, the issue is that you have a single stage charger which could be an issue since there is no float charge. I know from practical experience that I have ruined a set of standard batteries due to water loss when the trailer was plugged in at home for a few weeks. My thoughts are that an AGM being sealed will not react kindly to a single stage charge over a period of time. The standard low maintenance battery will allow water to be added to offset the loss created by the higher than float charge that the single stage charger provides. I get about 3 years out of my batteries, but I just buy standard deep cycles. I don't boondock so my dependence on the battery is to operate the hitch jack, basic lights when unplugged from the campground power. I've heard from others that AGM batteries give you the best life with a 3 stage charger which will provide that float charge once the batteries reach full charge.

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Old 06-29-2015, 07:43 AM   #9
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New Tires, Batteries, Anti-sway

Todd, I think you are on the right track on the hitch. A good WD system with built in sway control. There are stand alone sway control system but those sometimes need adjustments for road conditions or when backing. Stay with an integrated system that doesn't need adjustments or disconnection when you are towing. I think Blue Ox is an integrated system. I know the systems I have used that I described in my previous post are integrated.

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Old 06-29-2015, 08:29 AM   #10
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Hey, Sid,

I didn't see any evidence of past sway systems on it. The owner's said they had a hitch, but it doesn't look like it made any alterations to the tongue. I'll be ordering the 1000b blue ox today.

All, the tires on it, that look pretty old, are H7-15LTs, so if not the original, I think they are getting up there in age. A new set of Greenball 225 75R15LREs are on the way. They're getting good reviews on the CostCo site and have a sale running, so they are worth a try.

Jack and Sid, thanks for the info on the AGM batteries. I'll be living in it for a week up near the storage area and my land, so I'll check out the charging system and install a new one before the batteries if needed. I will definitely be boondocking as my land, which it will mostly be used on, currently has no amenities whatsoever. I'll probably rig up some solar while I am out there soon.

These forums are a wonderful resource and I'm glad it is out there for us new guys.

Todd
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:35 AM   #11
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1985 31' Excella
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Oh, the TV will be a Chevy Z71 with a tow package. I know it will pull a 10000b sailboat, so I feel pretty confident for the first 80 mile leg. If there are any issues, I will adjust.

I almost said "I honestly don't know what kind of TVs they put in the trailer, but I know there were a couple of small flatscreens." Then my brain finally translated the acronym. Heh.
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:45 AM   #12
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Reese SC would be my choice after the Dual Cam.

As to tires, quality 15" would be Yokohama RY215.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philipsinewe View Post
Hensley Arrow, only safe way to go.
Mildly agree and mildly disagree-
Yes, Hensley, or even better ProPride are the best, but others aren't unsafe.
I agree with jcanavera on Equal-i-zer and Reese. I use an Equal-i-zer, and I have used an Eaz-Lift in the past with excellent results.
The trailer you are buying may have already a weight distributing/sway control hitch with it. Who knows? It may even already have a Hensley.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:14 AM   #14
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I would steer clear of the Green Ball tires and go for Michelin or equivalent quality. The trailer most likely has 15" wheels and 225/75R15 tires. You may want to get 16" wheels to get a Michelin LT tire.
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