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Old 09-03-2013, 03:57 PM   #1
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Another hitch question

The search for a tow vehicle is on, and I am trying to be as prepared as possible for hitting the road full-time. I have the trailer (which should weigh less than 4,000lbs) and let's say I have something like a Ford Explorer. What am I going to need by way of hitching gear? I wouldn't know a Hensley if I tripped over it, so could somebody explain what all needs to happen to make trailer and tow vehicle go down the road together? What are the advantages of one hitching/anti-sway contraption over another? Is it possible to get a tow vehicle that is "too much" for the trailer?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:59 PM   #2
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Also, what happens if the front half is heavier than the back or the other way around? What is an ideal tongue weight?
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:52 PM   #3
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The ideal tongue weight is 10-15% of the trailer weight.
You do not want the tongue weight to be negative. It will cause the rig to sway.
Now, someone will chime in here and say. If the tongue weight is negative it would be in the air.
Not if you are hitched, then load too much weight in the back of the coach.
Be mindful of how much you load into the coach and where it is placed.
The TV and trailer should set level when on a level flat surface. There are numerous weight distribution systems out there that will enable you to accomplish this.
The Hensley type hitches have a good reputation, but are very expensive.
I don't know if your trailer is a single axle or tandem axle. Single axle units tend to be more susceptible to sway and more sensitive to the front back loading. Since they are like a teeter totter in a sense.
Trust me. If you tripped over a Hensley hitch, you would know it. It would hurt like #%€£.
The TV should have a brake controller and a hitch rated for what you are towing. It should be equipped with a tow package, meaning transmission cooler etc. It should have tow mirrors and a 7 pin trailer plug. Along with the aforementioned WD system and sway control.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Trust me. If you tripped over a Hensley hitch, you would know it. It would hurt like #%€£.
I can confirm that. Also, when you release the hitch, take your hand out of the way. The Hensley is an awesome hitch, but sometimes I do feel that it is out to get me.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
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I do not think you are likely to get a TV that is too much for a 24' trailer and full timing. But you probably need to consider how much you will pull the trailer and how much you will be driving the TV without the trailer. And how much stuff do you want to carry in the TV.
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:37 PM   #6
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I found the writings of Andy Thompson enlightening when I had those questions. You can do a google search for him and towing or check out his Airstream Dealership page on the subject.

Can-Am RV :: Hitch Hints

Have fun
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aluminitus View Post
The search for a tow vehicle is on, and I am trying to be as prepared as possible for hitting the road full-time. I have the trailer (which should weigh less than 4,000lbs) and let's say I have something like a Ford Explorer. What am I going to need by way of hitching gear? I wouldn't know a Hensley if I tripped over it, so could somebody explain what all needs to happen to make trailer and tow vehicle go down the road together? What are the advantages of one hitching/anti-sway contraption over another? Is it possible to get a tow vehicle that is "too much" for the trailer?

Thanks in advance!
Hensley..... It's bright, hard not to see...don't trip.


You'll need a quality weight distribution hitch with sway control and trailer brake controller....and a tow vehicle.
We towed our 63 Safari 22 with a Reese straight line, with friction sway control, 800lb bars and Tekonsha Sentinel brake controller. A bit dated now, but worked well for 18 Seasons.
Point being... it don't need to be too fancy, just has to match what your towing.

The Hensley or ProPride will eliminate any sway, but you will have to rationalize the expense, weight and minor hitching difficulty,(easily learned).

Yes you can go overboard with a tow vehicle, to much, to stiff can do damage to the Stream. It can be "big"....just not stiff

Other opinion's abound., As you will soon realize.

Have fun....

BTW.....GREAT looking Airstream, 'ya done good!!

Bob
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:09 PM   #8
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Other opinion's abound., As you will soon realize.
Nope. We're all good here. You nailed it, Bob. No other opinions required! :-)
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:55 AM   #9
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Nope. We're all good here. You nailed it, Bob. No other opinions required! :-)

Ok, now never in a million years would I have expected a smart-a$$ comment would prevent a healthy hitch debate! :-)

Don't let aluminitus down!! :-)
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:32 AM   #10
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I went through the questions of hitches a few months ago...my head is still spinning.

After considering mountains and mountains of anecdotes shared on a few RV forums it can leave one quite dizzy....based on many of these anecdotes almost every hitch out there is sufficien and deficient....depends on the anecdote you come across...

This variance can be explained by a number of possible factors including but not limited to user error of different kinds, varying towing conditions, varying tow vehicles or trailers, tires, WD settings, etc etc...

There was less variance in reported results with the hensley or propride hitch systems....as stated earlier: "they have a good reputation"....based on my own meta-analysis of various reports by internet users, there are very very few quite unhappy customers that bought this type of hitch...only that in the beginning you gotta figure out how to tweak the WD jacks to "dial it in properly"...

One needs to explain how in such a review of anecdotes that these more expensive hitches seem to make consistently happier customers and the all too often report of "totally eliminates sway" and "there is nothing like it" and with almost zero reports of dissatisfied folks complaining of performance...as opposed to the perhaps more common reviews of various "issues" with percieved sway and other performance issues.

This distinction could be explained by a number of things (including some combination of):

1) of course the hitch could simply be mechanistically superior and indeed eliminate sway as advertised
2) sunken cost fallacy or cognitive bias - ie the very high cost creates a bias in the reviewer - to admit that the hitch is not really different is to admit that they blew a big wod of cash
3) sampling bias - perhaps a number of unhappy customers stay silent and do not report results on the web in forums for whatever reasons including but not limited to reason stated in #2 or perhaps there are fewer owners of the PP type hitches and thus we are not showing the would be number of negative or less than stellar reviews of such systems?

As I considered all of these types of things, I was reminded of my area of pharmacy and placebo research...we have shown in research that the nature of the placebo can have a big effect...2 pills are better than 1, 4 better than 2....red bettern than blue....an injection better than a placebo capsule...the more expensive the placebo the more "effective"...the more novel in general the placebo the more effective.

If I assume that the difference I percieve in the hitch reporting is a form of placebo (ie "percieved sway perhaps could be subjective") and the difference in reviews is perhaps a large degree do to possible different forms of bias...this plays well into the placebo narrative...why?

Because the hitch system offers a novel approach to the system, it is much higher cost, and you get alot of assurance/reassurance from the owners, who are ready to help you on the spot when getting it all set up.

Because of these attributes, it is reasonable to entertain this notion perahaps.

I did for a while...but started to tame it down in my own thinking...one forum member made the good point that in response to #2, one can also point out the all too often willingness of people who spend big bucks on various items, including airstreams appear to be a group willing to give honest reviews of poor quality results despite having paid big bucks...arguably, one could say that if paying big bucks and there were noticeable sway just as much as say another hitch, then they would be even more likely to report it....

I have no idea....alls I know is that the reputation of hensley and propride is stellar...something kinda rare on the old interwebs it seems to me...that is at least remarkable...

I think there could be various explanations besides the hitch being clearly much much better at play...but after my own review, I decided that given the evidence I have to glean, considering even the limitations as such, it was at least compelling a narrative to strongly consider one of these hitch systems - given that I could afford it, it seemed wrong not to consider them.

If my budget was more tight, I may give serious consideration to an alternative...ensure proper setup (this seems critical) and simply keep a keen eye out for performance results...if good in your case in various conditions, then roll with it...the only risk here is that if you buy it, deem that the performance is not up to par for what you are comfortable with personally, then you "wasted" money on that personal research...BUT...given these alternative hitch systems can be bought for much much less, it is in my opinion not horribly expensive research and you have a decent chance perhaps of the hitch working out for your needs.

DISCLAIMER - these are the ramblings of a non-expert internet skeptic, non-engineer, pill pusher...I only offer it as my own process of analysis on the topic.

I have not yet recieved my airstream delivery yet and thus cannot review the propride hitch ill get as of yet...but be sure that I will be quite vocal about any negative results and share accordingly...

Good Luck
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #11
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Ok, now never in a million years would I have expected a smart-a$$ comment would prevent a healthy hitch debate! :-)

Don't let aluminitus down!! :-)

"Nothing is more disappointing than unappreciated sarcasm."


"We are here on Earth to help others.
What the others are here for, I've NO idea"
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:16 PM   #12
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Thanks for the help, y'all! Sometimes a basic primer (what is an anti-sway doohickey) is needed before launching into brand loyalties.

Pharmgeek - lesson learned: two placebo hitches are better than one actual hitch
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #13
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"Nothing is more disappointing than unappreciated sarcasm."
Preach it, brother! :-)
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:54 PM   #14
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Thanks for the help, y'all! Sometimes a basic primer (what is an anti-sway doohickey) is needed before launching into brand loyalties.

Pharmgeek - lesson learned: two placebo hitches are better than one actual hitch
Aluminitus - I almost feel like this link should be a sticky:

http://www.timberman.com/RIG/trailer...omparisons.htm

I don't know the author but he or she did an outstanding job in my opinion. This is over 10 years old so you could add two more columns (at least) including one for the Andersen and another for ProPride which is an upgraded Hensley design (and the hitch I chose based on my goals and understanding of what I read on the interwebs).

The Andersen looks very cool and was tempting to me - there's a LONG thread in AirForums about this...

You can see Sean's view of the ProPride vs Hensley Arrow in a 13 minute video I really don't recommend here:

I respect Sean, LOVE his product and appreciate how helpful he has been to me personally figuring out nuances about the hitch I don't understand. Great product, great service. But this video is almost like a "religious war" about two very similar sects (presented by one of them). Still, somewhere under all that heat there are moments of light worth knowing about.

I'm puzzled as to why hitch discussions are frequently like "religious wars" but there it is...

I personally wish I had the chance to try the PullRite - basically an upside down 5th wheel (not really...) but it is no longer manufactured for my TV (2013 Chevy 2500 Duramax).

Hope the links are of some value.

There is no "best" hitch (or TV or TT or tire, etc.). It's critical to know what YOU'RE trying to accomplish in YOUR budget with YOUR specific weight parameters. Then you will know the best hitch for you...

Good luck!
(And get the ProPride :-D )
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