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Old 08-08-2011, 04:12 PM   #43
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Old 08-08-2011, 05:55 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by dznf0g
?.. I believe you do not need the friction sway control with this setup. I'd remove it. When the cams are set up properly, they will perform the sway control you need, providing the cam surfaces are not excessively worn. ... It appears that after you remove the friction control "ball" on the frame you can move the chain lift ups forward some. Try to get the chains as vertical as you can. Your bottle cover may prevent you from getting the chains exactly vertical, but closer is better.
I agree with dznf0g on this. When correctly set up, you don't need the friction control, it may be counter productive to the operation of the cam system and it appears to be in the way of the proper location for the snap latch.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:17 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by palmtreegirl
...The hitch has a label that rates it at 10,000 lb trailer weight and the model # is 54980 or 55990 (rubbed off and can't tell) and under the 10,000 lb trailer weight it says 1200 lb but the rest is gone.
This means the hitch (receiver - part that is bolted under the truck) is rated to tow a trailer up to 10,000# and can support a vertical load (tongue weight) up to 1000#. Per the weight numbers you supplied, you are in good shape here. Look at what should be stamped on the top of your ball. I've see 2 5/16" balls rated from 6000# to 30000#. Yours is likely to be rated at 10000# but it's prudent to check. You definitely don't want a 6000# rated ball for your trailer.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:35 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by palmtreegirl
Sorry about that paragraph - it doesn't make sense to me either and I wrote it!

What I meant was this: the truck and trailer are attached and they are not in a straight line - the truck is pointing to the left as in going around a corner. What I was talking about was that in these two pictures, the part (not sure of the name) is not sitting in the saddle correctly (according to me) and this does not look right (correct) to me.
See my previous post about this. When the truck and trailer are in a straight line, the cam should be centered within the saddle. Any deviation from straight forces the cam up the leading or trailing slope on the saddle, increasing tension on the springs which try to pull the trailer back into line. If you back into a site and come to a stop so the the truck and trailer are not in line, you will see the cams positioned on the high spots on the saddle similar to your photos.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:48 PM   #47
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I don't think this is necessarily true. If I understand PG correctly the 1200 stamp is on the hitch head. This would be a tongue load rating for the head. Since Reese spring bars are interchangeable, any number of lower bar ratings could be in play.
I agree again... My old style Reese had 1000# spring bars, my new one came with 1200# bars. I felt they were too stiff and switched to 800# bars. I believe 600# bars are also available. The rating should be stamped into the bars. My 1200# bars measure just under 1 1/2" where they mate with the trunnions, the 800# bars measure 1".
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:14 PM   #48
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OK, I took a picture of the hitch as it goes into the truck and of the side of the truck (I don't know if that if helpful).
Sometimes photos can be deceiving... Your truck looks remarkably level to me contrary to what I expected to see based on your scale readings. That likely prompted the question about the air bags. It also looks like the PO fabricated a handle and mounted it to the top hole on the drawbar. That could be helpful if you remove and install the drawbar now and then. I also see quick links connecting the safety chains to the hooks. As others have already mentioned, these are a concern if they're inadequate.

Something like this might be a better choice.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:42 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by palmtreegirl
No, no airbags (air suspention for load leveling) on this vehicle - yes on my Navigator though. Still deciding if I should tow with it......smaller gas tank and burns premimum gas.....cha-ching.
Should you decide you want to tow with the Navigator you need to switch off the automatic leveling feature when you do the hitch adjustments. It is my opinion that once everything is correct you can turn it back on, but others recommend leaving it off when towing. This switch on my '02 Expedition is hidden, it is likely in the same place on the Navigator... Mine is located in the front seat passenger area on the right end of the firewall, more or less behind and to the right of the glove box. I have to reach up there and feel for it. When switched off, an annoying Check Suspension light comes on in the instrument cluster. I believe your Navigator is rated to tow 8300#.
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:49 PM   #50
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See Liz you are making progress....

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Old 08-08-2011, 07:51 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by YankeeDoodle View Post
Should you decide you want to tow with the Navigator you need to switch off the automatic leveling feature when you do the hitch adjustments. It is my opinion that once everything is correct you can turn it back on, but others recommend leaving it off when towing. This switch on my '02 Expedition is hidden, it is likely in the same place on the Navigator... Mine is located in the front seat passenger area on the right end of the firewall, more or less behind and to the right of the glove box. I have to reach up there and feel for it. When switched off, an annoying Check Suspension light comes on in the instrument cluster. I believe your Navigator is rated to tow 8300#.
Huh...Yankee, you're the first one to agree with me on this! I also believe it should be disabled only during hitch setup and adjustment. Contrary to the older auto level controls, which are basically just automatic air shocks, the newer systems are electronically tied to stability control systems and sway control systems. When disabled during driving, there could be negative impacts on electronically commanded accident avoidance systems during an emergency maneuver.
I've never fought that battle on the forum, as I thought it would lead to a quagmire....
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:29 PM   #52
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It's the add on bags that usually start the flames, air suspension should not be a concern if set up properly.

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Get your umbilical cord up off the ground....thread it through your tongue lock pin clip>>>

Have'n fun?

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Old 08-08-2011, 10:42 PM   #53
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Had It Weighed...Help Please

Greetings palmtreegirl!

I have read through this thread twice, and have found so many similarities to the problems I had when trying to connect my '64 Overlander to my 1995 Chevrolet pickup with the Z71 Off Road package. Your Dodge pickup appears to have the Dodge version of the Off Road package which makes me wonder if some of the same factors may be present in your setup issues. The following is what I learned after months of fussing with my Z71:
  • The Off Road package raised the ride height so much that even the deepest drop Reese drawbar available at the time could only get the coach within 1.75" of level (nose high).
  • Further investigation revealed that the Henschen DuraTorque axles on my Overlander were well worn which reduced my hitch height by a little over 3" which only served to complicate an already bad situation.
  • Since the shop who was handling my work at the time told me that the axles had just assumed a natural "settled posture" and that there wasn't anything to worry about, I allowed them to custom weld a deeper drop drawbar . . . that got everything level, but the cost was far from reasonable for the custom work.
Since you have two tow vehicles that you are trying to choose between, my suggestion would be to make the decision about which one you most want to travel with . . . then focus your efforts on that vehicle as the hitch head and related equipment will require specific adjustments for each of the two vehicles meaning that it will be more complicated than just transferring the hitch head from one vehicle to the other. I also suspect that the Lincoln will need a heavier weight distribution bar than the Dodge to compensate for the Linclon's more subtle spring characteristics.

After three years of trying to make a tow vehicle with the Off Road package work with my Airstream, I would be reluctant to recommend one so equipped for the following reasons:
  • The Off Road package raises the ride height which complicates getting the proper hitch head ball height correct. In addition, this added height can also impact center of gravity and overall stability . . . there was a world of difference in the stability between the Z71 and my K2500 Suburban without the Off Road package.
  • The Off Road package also usually adds much stiffer springs and shocks resulting in a stiffer ride, and a stiff ride is something that an Airstream doesn't appreciate . . . with mine, I began to first see popped interior rivets, and then a crack began developing above the entry door.
  • With the Off Road package it is impertaive to be certain that the weight distribution bars are rated properly, particularly when towing with the Reese Dual Cam System. With my Overlander (6,200 pounds Gross with 775 pounds on the hitch), I initially had 800 pound weight distribution bars on the Z71 . . . but didn't get satisfactory performance from the hitch until I went down to 600 pound weight distribution bars. See this link for a disucssion of weight distribution bar selection.
I suspect that you may find that setting up your hitch will be less difficult with the Lincoln Navigator. Towing with your Lincoln's level-ride should not pose any problems. Some of my favorite tow vehicles have had factory level ride (Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs) and there is no problem so long as the factory recommendations are followed regarding hitch setup and hitching practices. Your Airstream will likely greatly appreciate the more subtle ride of the Lincoln . . . I know that my Overlander immediately corrected its rivet popping ways once the Z71 was traded for the Suburban.

My suggestion would be to also check the condition of the axles on your coach utilizing the information provided by Andy of Inland RV. If your axles are worn out or nearing that point, you can save yourself a number of problems by attending to any axle problems as that would bring hitch height back to near factory levels and insure a smooth, subtle ride for the coach.

Good luck with your hitch configuration!

Kevin
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:19 AM   #54
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64, I'm with you, but let's not overwhelm PG right now. If we can all teach her (I think) to set up the Dodge, she can set up anything she might need in the future. I also noted the POSSIBLE AS axle issue. From the pics it doesn't look like a ZZ Top low rider, but may be half way there. We do need a trailer level, ground to top of ball socket measurement in order to get the setup right. But facts are facts. We know she needs to set up a Dodge 2500 and possibly a Lincoln. We can work with that.
So many front end issues to deal with before we throw a whole set of variables in there. Right? Wrong?

I, personally, have no less than 4 shanks because of the many tow vehicle combinations I drive. From a 3" rise to a 9" drop, 1/2 ton - 1 ton. Since she presented with the Dodge, let's get her set then she can take the knowledge and GO FORTH!

Fair?

BTW, how are things down there in "Little Egypt?"
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:38 AM   #55
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WOW! Thank you everyone!

About the axles: They were replaced in 2009 - EZ Lube Axles and new brakes. New Tires in 2010 and as soon as they come, I'm installing Centramatic Balancers.

Today, I am going to fix the chain links and remove the friction sway bar. Because it is all hooked up and ready to take to the tire store when the Balancers get here I won't be moving the bracket that snaps up the chain unless I get really ambitious. I am also going to proceed with my other project inside the trailer (building a bench and new mini dinette) and look around at what can be moved for weight distribution.

I will report back this evening, at the latest, about what progress I have made and any observations I can report.

Kudos,
Liz
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:58 AM   #56
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WOW! Thank you everyone!

About the axles: They were replaced in 2009 - EZ Lube Axles and new brakes. New Tires in 2010 and as soon as they come, I'm installing Centramatic Balancers.

Today, I am going to fix the chain links and remove the friction sway bar. Because it is all hooked up and ready to take to the tire store when the Balancers get here I won't be moving the bracket that snaps up the chain unless I get really ambitious. I am also going to proceed with my other project inside the trailer (building a bench and new mini dinette) and look around at what can be moved for weight distribution.

I will report back this evening, at the latest, about what progress I have made and any observations I can report.

Kudos,
Liz
Awesome....No worries then! We do need to know, also, the distance from the ground to the top of the tongue ball socket with the trailer sitting level. This will give us the starting height relative to which holes in the shank to attach the hitch head. We'll want to be about an inch higher with the ball height than the socket height.
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