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Old 08-24-2017, 11:38 PM   #1
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Ford F-350 and 19' Bambi: WD hitch needed?

In order to accommodate an Alaskan truck camper, I'm considering a new tow vehicle for our Bambi: Ford F-350 Super Duty (not sure about gas vs diesel). Do I still need a weight distribution hitch? My guess is yes, but I'd be interested in any input. Thanks for listening!
-Jerry
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Old 08-25-2017, 03:01 AM   #2
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I have this combo, and have towed it both ways. The dealer set up the trailer for my Grand Cherokee, which I traded for the Superduty. Had them set it up again for the new truck. I really doubt that 800 lb tongue weight is going to lighten the load on that front axle by more than a few hundred pounds. I've towed tractors and cars on trailers that squat the rear end of the truck a lot more than the 19' and never used WD.

The ride is a little better with the WD, a little less porpoising over humps in the road, but otherwise no different. I use them on long trips but most of the time they sit in the garage. I always use the friction sway device. The truck has trailer sway control too.

Hope this helps. Not sure what the "truck camper" weighs; this may affect the decision. I lug antique car engines around but keep the weight over the axle where possible.
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Old 08-25-2017, 09:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ESCAPE POD View Post
In order to accommodate an Alaskan truck camper, I'm considering a new tow vehicle for our Bambi: Ford F-350 Super Duty (not sure about gas vs diesel). Do I still need a weight distribution hitch? My guess is yes, but I'd be interested in any input. Thanks for listening!
-Jerry
Ditto to Countryboy59's question, how much does the camper weigh, and what will be the total weight of the pickup and camper?

We have a Ford Transit 350 van and a FC20, and use a Reese WD hitch mainly to control hobby-horsing rhythmic bouncing on rougher roads [with 800 pound bars and the WD set very lightly]. IMO your rig would be fine without WD, as would ours.

Good luck!

Peter

PS -- Could you post a link for the camper you are considering? We have often thought that your setup would be the way to go for certain kinds of travel. Thanks
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Old 08-25-2017, 11:44 PM   #4
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Ford F-350 and Alaskan Camper

The weight (wet) of the camper is 2,000 - 2,250 lbs. Here's the link to the website:

http://alaskancampers.com

Thanks for your advice!

Jerry
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Old 08-26-2017, 03:59 AM   #5
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Wow, that's heavy! I'd be careful about using a WD to level that rig. You're getting close to payload assuming 800 lb tongue weight and 2250 over the axle. Might have to re aim the headlights .

Either engine has enough power to pull it.
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Old 08-26-2017, 12:13 PM   #6
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I've had a similar setup in the past. I installed air bags on the rear suspension and it made a huge difference in ride and handling.
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Old 08-26-2017, 12:22 PM   #7
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Hi

Something to consider about that camper, it's got a *lot* of rear overhang. Getting the hitch ball back far enough will be a bit tricky. On my current setup, the trailer simply would not mate up with that much overhang.

Once you do get the ball back further, things like sway get a bit more exciting....

Bob
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Old 08-26-2017, 01:36 PM   #8
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Bambi and Alaskan cab

That also occurred to me. I may have to go with a longer truck bed and shorter version of the Alaskan in order to avoid the overhang.
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Old 08-26-2017, 02:04 PM   #9
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The short answer is yes, you do need a quality trapezoid projection hitch to prevent sway. A ball mount will never prevent any sway. Having said that, it seems like driving a tack with a sledge hammer. However, you can still bend the tack. We don't want to bend the tack, or TT/TV either.
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Old 08-27-2017, 06:35 AM   #10
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Hi

Like all campers, you will loose a lot of the camera based features on your truck. Some are a bit silly others are quite useful. Replacing them all is possible. Integrating all that replacement work into the onboard system .... not so easy. I like the way Ford does the backup camera when hitching up the trailer. I also like the "full view" plot when parking. Neither one would be easy to adapt to other cameras.

Bob
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Old 08-27-2017, 04:52 PM   #11
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As a rule of thumb it's 350-500/lbs TW where a WD hitch becomes a requirement.

Misunderstood by most is this: TW is a static representation of a dynamic force. That's a lever back to TT axle. Force multiplies. (It ain't the same as cargo weight).

WD does make a rig respond better. Integrated anti-sway, a no brainer.

And I'll second guskmg recommendation of a Hensley or Propride.

A 4WD pickup is top heavy solo. Loaded with a truck camper this worsens. Let's not have the TT tickle the truck. It's the weak link for stability.

The trailer doesn't really need it. The truck REALLY needs it. Elimination of sway makes a long day much easier.

Have always admired Alaskans. Not something you see down here.

.
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Old 08-28-2017, 12:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Like all campers, you will loose a lot of the camera based features on your truck. Some are a bit silly others are quite useful. Replacing them all is possible. Integrating all that replacement work into the onboard system .... not so easy. I like the way Ford does the backup camera when hitching up the trailer. I also like the "full view" plot when parking. Neither one would be easy to adapt to other cameras.

Bob
Yeah, the camera is a HUGE asset when hitching, and it would be sorely missed! Haven't looked into tying a third party camera into the onboard system, but that's anyone's first choice. If going with an independent model, any recommendations are welcome (although that probably belongs on another thread.).
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Old 08-28-2017, 12:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
As a rule of thumb it's 350-500/lbs TW where a WD hitch becomes a requirement.

Misunderstood by most is this: TW is a static representation of a dynamic force. That's a lever back to TT axle. Force multiplies. (It ain't the same as cargo weight).

WD does make a rig respond better. Integrated anti-sway, a no brainer.

And I'll second guskmg recommendation of a Hensley or Propride.

A 4WD pickup is top heavy solo. Loaded with a truck camper this worsens. Let's not have the TT tickle the truck. It's the weak link for stability.

.
As to center of gravity, I'm hopeful the low-profile of the Alaskan will lower it to some degree. On the other hand, the consensus seems to be that a WD hitch would be wise anyway. Will my Equalizer still be of use, or do I need to step up to a Hensley/Propride? Also, what recommendations on setting up the tensioning on the hitch? If I understand him correctly, Guskmg suggests there can be a point of overkill.
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Old 08-28-2017, 05:13 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ESCAPE POD View Post
As to center of gravity, I'm hopeful the low-profile of the Alaskan will lower it to some degree. On the other hand, the consensus seems to be that a WD hitch would be wise anyway. Will my Equalizer still be of use, or do I need to step up to a Hensley/Propride? Also, what recommendations on setting up the tensioning on the hitch? If I understand him correctly, Guskmg suggests there can be a point of overkill.
Any WD hitch can be used, but only a Jim Hensley design "eliminates" sway. Other types resist it more or less.

Traditional point for COG with truck as delivered is at top of transmission at firewall. The camper will be at, and above that. A high COG is raised farther.

It's a fair-sized "sail area" along the rig as proposed. How much wind it catches from crosswinds is the thing. The sail area "above" the as-delivered COG is what to consider.

The rear of the camper (squared off ) is where the drag is highest. Turbulence between the vehicles is increased.

The faster one is moving, the sharper the forces involved. It comes down to the truck Drive Axle tires being able to maintain grip (slip angle).

No one would suggest the rig is dangerous, it's that the speed and force of a problem in maintaining lane-centered-ness can be faster and more difficult than one is ready for. Even with practice. Crosswinds natural or man-made are a bear. That, "wrong time & wrong place" problem.

As to hitch settings, it'll be more about feel than anything else. Won't take much, and I think it will be obvious. TV tire pressure is the other. Use a scale to set both. A baseline of numbers for future reference.

.
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