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Old 07-31-2019, 11:44 AM   #1
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Airtug Trailer Tug

I would like this thread to be a place to contain knowledge about the Airtug Trailer Tug. It has been discussed in a few threads but needed its own.

First, I feel some background is required.

I am lucky enough to have a 28ft RV garage connected to our home in Arizona. The only issue is that there is not enough room in front of the garage to allow me to simply back the AS into the garage due to a 90 degree turn required and the lack of space for the AS and TV while connected.

So I started the search for a way to move the AS into the garage.

I initially considered the Purpleline trailer mover. It connects directly to your frame and engages the wheels to move your trailer. Research was difficult. I could find no reliable instance of these being used on an AS due to belly pan issues. Two dealers were willing to give it a try (Tampa and Scottsdale) but I did not want to be the first to try something like this, so we ruled it out.
http://www.purplelineusa.com/video-i...ler-movers.php

Next I looked at the Parkit 360 and the Trax 6000.
https://parkit360.ca/products/traile...-capacity-base
https://traxpowerdolly.com/products/product/31-tx6000

I decided to go with the Parkit360 because I could power it using my AS batteries. I really didn't want to maintain another set of batteries. The Trax required its own batteries.

We got the Parkit 360 and used it a few times with no issues. We then began to notice that the coupler to the trailer would move around when moving the trailer. Finally, it failed on me. I won't go into details here but it was bad enough that I decided that my life and limbs were worth whatever a safer mover would cost. ;-)

Parkit, however initially reticent, did take my Parkit 360 back, minus restocking and shipping fees. I was glad to pay them and kudos to Parkit 360 for doing the right thing for my self (and at least one other member of Airforums).

I was able to connect and commiserate with others through Airforums.com and found out about the Airtug. I heard from Kittmaster that Lewster uses them in his shop. Lewster apparently is moving Airstreams around quite a bit, so I decided to investigate more. Thanks to Kittmaster and Silvertwinkie I made the decision to purchase the Airtug.

Link to the Airtug Trailer Tug HD which I purchased:
https://airtug.com/product/trailer-t...ric-15000-lbs/

As of July 2019, I have only used it once, but WOW. It is a very solid machine and handles the 27FB much much better than the Parkit 360. More importantly, I feel SAFE using it.

It couples to the Airstream in the same way a TV would - no special adapters that require special implementation. It does have its own batteries but also comes in a gas powered version. I think the best feature is that is has multiple wheels to make sure everything stays safe. The two main drive wheels, a steerage wheel under the handle and then two forward "wheely bar" wheels (their term, not mine) that are there to keep things in order should something go wrong.

I purchased mine (inadvertently) without a trailer brake controller. This actually works fine as I move the AS around on flat ground and itself is able to stop the AS. If you have any incline at all, you may want to consider the addition of the brake controller. I know that Kittmaster and Sivertwinkie both have brake controllers on their units.

My Airtug did not come with instructions on how to put it together, but there is this online assembly and operations PDF. Thanks to Kittmaster for taking my call and walking me through the assembly, it is very simple if your the handy type.

Here is my link to the instructions. Note this is a copy of what they sent me, it may not be the latest:

https://bradschauf.com/airtug/TT-HD-...structions.pdf

Here are some photos of the Airtug as it arrived and a movie of me using it the first time:


Arrived on a pallet via a large truck


All put together and ready to use

Video of very first use - just moved the AS a bit.
http://bradschauf.com/airtug/airtug-first-use.MOV

Video approaching the garage:
http://bradschauf.com/airtug/garage-approach.MOV

Final result!


NOTE:
To those who may have the Parkit 360, the Trax or other movers - if they are working for you - GREAT! This thread is not intended to "put down" other movers, but rather to gather knowledge and discuss the Airtug.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:51 PM   #2
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Nice write up, thanks for sharing.

I keep saying I want something like this as I have some tricky turns when parking in my RV garage...
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:20 PM   #3
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Is there any experience with using the tug with a Hensley or Propride?
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbaugh View Post
Is there any experience with using the tug with a Hensley or Propride?


Great question! I personally don’t know. It it designed to work on a typical hitch ball.

I guess you could always remove the Hensley or Propide from the trailer? But from what I u defat and that could be difficult to do.
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:26 PM   #5
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Old 07-31-2019, 07:15 PM   #6
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I would like to start off by saying that this is in NO WAY an alternate dolly brand slight, bash, or negative post.....so I also ask everyone to keep that in mind when reading this thread.

I too had a parkit360 and had problems with it popping out of the ball hitch and other various issues. I also returned the unit for a restocking fee and shipping costs....which was an expensive lesson.

I saw the single post that Lewster posted of the unit he had from Airtug. I did some research and contacted the company and laid out my situation. Brad is the sales guy and I "think" the owner too...but don't quote me on that. We had a very lengthy conversation even BEFORE I put down a single dollar to purchase my Airtug. He explained how it operated and mechanical principles that I was interested in. I asked for custom wiring for my trailer that isn't the norm for how they ship it, they did exactly as I asked.

I went with the electric 15K unit and it was even more than I expected. The control system on the unit is amazing, it is smooth, concise, and allows for a 90 degree turns with ease and overall amazing stability. The unit has an onboard charger to maintain the batteries. I opted for the "fixed" ball hitch vs. the auto pick up. Since I'm not using it for various brands and other trailers, it's one less thing to break and you can have a tongue weight of 1500 lbs vs 1300.

While this is a very costly investment, the viewpoint is that you're going to have to pay, whether it be now or later. For me, having the sense of security that the Airtug provides and ease of use is worth every penny that I've paid for it. I can't imagine "dropping" my Airstream because the dolly pops out of the ball hitch! Having this Airtug is like having a miniature V8 pulling it around.

The standard unit does NOT come with a brake controller, it is an option. IMO, you SHOULD have the brake controller added and wired in for safety's sake.....even if you never use it, at least it will be there for that one in a million event you'll never be able to anticipate.

I spoke to Airtug directly to inform them that they should be aware that anyone buying for their Airstream should be made aware of the option at the time of purchase.

I moved the 7 pin connector for an easier connection to the trailer from the default location which is fine as is, but I wanted easier access to it, so I moved it.

I will be writing up a procedure on how to modify the existing 7 pin wiring on the Airtug and moving the connector that I did for my needs that may make sense to you to do if you choose:

----> The brake pin is wired to the brake controller and also connected to the left and right brake lights.....why? So the spotter can see the brakes be activated if they tell you to stop.

----> The running lights are tied directly to the battery.....why? So when you plug in the connector, the lights come on showing the 7 pin is connected to the tug so the user and spotter can visually see it's connected.

Another option that is available is the caster tire can be changed from steel, to hard, to inflatable....each has its merit, it comes with the steel caster. That is something that can be discussed with Airtug based on your intended use area like asphalt, p-gravel, sand....etc.

If you're looking for a the top of the pyramid for a power dolly, this is it. Customer service is top notch and they truly built a solid product that will last for decades (like everything else, if you take care of it).

I, in no way, am connected to the company, no kickbacks, I'm just a truly satisfied customer and proud to sing praise to the company for solving our very difficult turn around situation.

Thanks for reading this long thread response, hopefully it helps you make an informed decision.

Greetz,
Chris
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Old 07-31-2019, 07:26 PM   #7
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I did also order a pneumatic caster wheel which works very well on my gravel driveway.

Kittmaster thanks again for all of the research and communication with Airtug!
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:32 AM   #8
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Great thread, Chris, thanks!

Peter
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:44 AM   #9
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What does it cost?

I am sure many are wondering...
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BambiTex View Post
I am sure many are wondering...
Prices are clearly marked on their website. Mine including shipping and the controller for the brakes came in around $4200.

Other systems are between $1500 and $2000.

IMO, safety is the paramount feature here, that alone is worth the price.

I'm sure there are many alternatives and different price points. I went down that road and paid an even higher premium when it was all said and done.

Hopefully this thread archives as it should and give everyone a straight line of doing it right the first time and remove the questions people may have by seeing it actually hooked up and being used by UncleBad and my photos of it hooked and wired to the Airtug.

As a final point, you shouldn't be buying based on price point, you should be buying on what works for you. You've spent even at the starting point of 60k and north for the trailer, does it really makes sense to squabble about $4000 vs $2000 for piece of mind and safety and reliability? That will be what perspective buyers will have to decide.

Hope this helps.

Chris
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Old 08-01-2019, 07:41 AM   #11
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I found myself in this camp mostly due to a catastrophic failure of my P360XL. It was rated at 15k and my trailer, worst case is 7k.


I had several options that I considered:


1) Buy another P360- they were very willing to work with me and provided a few options


2) I considered the TRAX dolly, but even though I was assured the motors and controllers were upgraded to accommodate larger rigs, it was still only formally rated at 6k (which I would be over at the start, let alone down the road).


3) Came across the Airtug thread and knew that Lewster was a no BS type guy, and if he had one, it had to be pretty decent.


The decision had to include a possible upgrade in Airstream trailer size in the future, and though Parkit clearly advertised units that could meet my needs, I was a bit gunshy given my exp. I could have gotten a smaller Airtug, and cost less, but what if I did get that larger Airstream someday? I have no plans to move and my lot line is what it is, so the RV has to fit in the space I have for it both now and in the foreseeable future.



If I went option 1 or two, who is to say in 5 or more years I'd be back to where I am today? Clearly my failure did not seem to be metal fatigue, it was just (and this is just my opinion) grossly over rated for what it was... Folks that know me, know I take great care of my things, and the P360XL was no exception. In no way was it ever abused or used roughly. In fact a few times I posted how it seemed to do well for what I needed-- until it immediately didn't, without any warning.



When I originally went to buy a power dolly about 5 years ago, I saw the Airtug and I was completely turned off because the thing costs for what need now and might need later, over $4k, and so I went with the P360xl (Parkit 360). It was about $1500 IIRC and it was rated for 15k, met my need now and into the future.


Hindsight being 20/20, you absolutely get what you pay for. Basically most of the other brands out there are nothing more than fancy electric winch motors, built on a fairly consumer grade chassis. Not knowing any better, I made a call based on price and in retrospect, I could have gotten into a serious problem when I learned the hard way that there was a reason they were $1500 compared to the $4k Airtug


From what I understand, the Airtug was originally designed to move aircraft, some weighing far more than any off the shelf Airstream I could buy. The Airtug does not take much more of a footprint than my P360xl, but that is just about where the similarity stops. Ball mount area has rough 2-3" thick steel. Wheels galore for optimal safety and load carrying ability. It moves effortlessly left or right under load. It's got a hydro-static gearbox, that is very quiet and responsive and operates with the utmost of smoothness.



Bottom line, no one likes to spend thousands on accessories, but if you need a power dolly, you need a power dolly and you know why you need one. I fall squarely into that camp as there is no way I can get my Safari into the space desired with a tow vehicle or tractor.


In the end we all make the best decisions we can at the moment. If I could hop into my DeLorean, hit 88 miles per hour and go back 5 years, I would leave myself a note to add $2700 to my purchase and get the Airtug. Unfortunately, my flux capacitor is shot, so I'm out about $5700 for a solution that could have cost me roughly $4200, let alone the danger of breakaway in transit in both life and property.


I am also not trying to bash the competition in any way, but my exp has led me to this purchase and so far, it's exceeded my expectations. It's also made in Ohio (like my Airstream).


Thanks to Chris and Lew for getting me to this point!
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:48 PM   #12
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My Air Tug setup.
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Old 08-02-2019, 04:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
My Air Tug setup.
Is the motor quite? For the electrics, we obviously only hear the hydrostatic transmission as it transfers the motor energy to the wheels.

How many CC's or HP?

How long have you had it?

Thanks for posting your setup here....
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
Is the motor quite? For the electrics, we obviously only hear the hydrostatic transmission as it transfers the motor energy to the wheels.

How many CC's or HP?

How long have you had it?

Thanks for posting your setup here....
The gas engine is LOUD. I wear earmuffs (when I remember). It's very easy to use- electric start, kill switch, very maneuverable. It's 190cc, and this model can handle trailers up to 15,000 lbs. It's overkill for my 27', but I wanted extra capability. I've had it for 2 years and have not had any problems.

I have to make a zero radius, 90 degree turn to get it in & out of my garage, which requires taking the foot off the hitch jack. Otherwise, the foot interferes with arms on the tug. But that's an easy procedure.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike G View Post
The gas engine is LOUD. I wear earmuffs (when I remember). It's very easy to use- electric start, kill switch, very maneuverable. It's 190cc, and this model can handle trailers up to 15,000 lbs. It's overkill for my 27', but I wanted extra capability. I've had it for 2 years and have not had any problems.

I have to make a zero radius, 90 degree turn to get it in & out of my garage, which requires taking the foot off the hitch jack. Otherwise, the foot interferes with arms on the tug. But that's an easy procedure.
Thanks for the feedback!

8.75 HP engine, yeah, I imagine it would be relatively loud...but makes for another good data point for someone who decides if they want the gas or electric version.

I believe the 15k models are nearly identical minus the drive system i.e. electric motor vs. gas....that is something perspective buyers can inquire with Airtug in terms of footprint, weight, space etc for clarification based on their needs....

Best,
Chris
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:35 PM   #16
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So posting about a new add-on for the Airtug that I wanted to have.

The best safety feature is the wheelie bars that prevent climb up when a hard grade or lip is encountered....the wheelie bars just like on a drag racer keeps the tires to the ground even if the front end comes up.

On very rare occasions I've seen this happen to mine where the rear caster wants to rise off the ground under a graded area. I'm still 100% not worried about any failures because the tug just keeps it cool and I can back off and get a better start.

So in thinking, I inquired if the range of the wheelie bar height could be "lower" to prevent less lift of the rear caster wheel....well sure enough...Airtug whipped something up....

Installation is easy peasy: You simply remove the pins for the existing bars, slide them out, slide the new ones in and put the pins back in....done and done.

I've tested them and it keeps the tug to the ground...even over my tougher spots.

I've talked to Brad and he will make them available to anyone who would like them as an add-on. This is not a normal stocking item, but can be made ready in short order from what I'm told. Cost in the scheme of things is negligible...so you will have to inquire to find the parts cost and shipping to you.

They are worth every penny.

This is an added improvement and in NO WAY reflects any type of issue with the Airtug as is.....you can use the out of the box version all day everyday without this upgrade. I wanted it for my own reasons of ensuring all possible movement is accounted for.....nothing more.

Check out the pics and inquire with Airtug if this seems like an option that you'd like to have. If you already have an Airtug, these retro fit right into ones in the field.

Enjoy.

Chris
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