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Old 01-03-2017, 07:40 AM   #1
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Need advice on the best anti-sway hitch.

We're going to order a 30 International Serenity this week. We'll tow it with a 2500 Sierra HD 4x4. Any advice on which hitch I should get. I want to hit the ground running and do it right the first time. It's also important to me that the rig sits level when it's hooked up to the truck.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:16 AM   #2
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Impossible question to answer. All anyone can suggest is what they have actually had satisfactory experience with. Can of worms being opening with cheer leaders and fan boys making their pitch. Good luck weeding thru the answers.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchormanQC View Post
We're going to order a 30 International Serenity this week. We'll tow it with a 2500 Sierra HD 4x4. Any advice on which hitch I should get. I want to hit the ground running and do it right the first time. It's also important to me that the rig sits level when it's hooked up to the truck.
Hensley and ProPride are popular (and good), but expensive. If you can afford it, why not. You will want anti-sway as well as weight distribution and a system that isn't too stiff which can create a rough ride for you and your trailer. There are lots of other brands out there (Eaz-Lift, Equalizer, Blue Ox, Reese etc.), each with pros and cons. Find an experienced hitch shop that can fine tune your rig with whatever one you buy. Good luck.
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Old 01-03-2017, 09:45 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forums and congrats on the new rig.

You may as well have asked "what is the best color in the world".

Or simply walked into the worst bar in your hometown, found the biggest, meanest guy in the room and called his mother something not fit to print.


The answer for your question is it depends:

Your experience with towing a trailer, any trailer.

You mention a 3/4 truck, have you driven one before or are you used to a sedan?

Are you truly comfortable driving a vehicle, or is it something you just grin and bear?


A full size truck and 30' trailer is a large vehicle. If one moves up directly from a small commuter sedan to this rig, there will be a learning curve. For some, a very steep one.

If one has never been truly comfortable driving any vehicle, adding a trailer can be quite a change and may never feel natural.

As for hitches:

Some will say you can use only a ball, some will say use a weight distributing hitch with friction anti-sway, others choose cam lock anti-sway.

Some will say you have too much truck and should only use a car.

Some say you must buy a Hensley Arrow or ProPride projected point type hitch to be safe.


I tow with a 2012 GMC Denali HD and use a Reese Dual Cam WD hitch with 1000 pound bars. We have over 60K on our 2009 27 FC and I am comfortable in most any towing situation.

The more you research on your own (free from simply the personal opinion of others), look at other rigs and develop an understanding of what is happening when towing, and drive test anything you can get your hands on before picking your final setup are the best things you can do.


It isn't rocket science, but if one doesn't have a lot of experience, it needs a little effort to learn.


Enjoy your new rig and happy travels.



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Old 01-03-2017, 10:12 AM   #5
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Great answers so far . . .

Welcome to the forum AnchormanQC! I assume you have perused the earlier threads listed in this forum:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238/

as well as those grouped in the Hitches sub-forum:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464/

As posted earlier, you have opened up a can of worms which has been opened many many times before.

My two cents for a 30' AS? Get the ProPride (or similar) as the projected point bonding of the trailer to the tow vehicle makes great sense IMO for controlling sway for such a long rig.

As Michael said, good luck wading through all the replies!

Peter



PS -- For our small one-axle FC20 we went with a simple Reese WD hitch, without sway control, as our tow vehicle has OEM SC built in. Our 25' in the 90's had a Reese WD w/ SC and it worked fine FYI.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:06 AM   #6
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:08 AM   #7
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I went through the same decision process with pretty much the same rig as you will have and wound up buying a Hensley.
I had had conventional anti sway hitches on our previous non-AS travel trailers we had owned.

Hard to say if it is worth the extra $$, and it can be a bit more tricky at times to hitch up until you have lots of experience with it, but the performance is fantastic - never the slightest hint of sway.

Some say that the newer conventional hitches are just as good, but I wonder if they have experienced the Hensley or Propride.

Certainly my previous experience was not comparable, and amortised over the 8 years that we have already owned it the price differential doesn't seem all that bad - I don't regret going this route.

If I hadn't tried it I would never have known and always wondered, so I decided from day one to do everything I could to try to ensure the best experience both in tow vehicle and in hitch selection.

Having said that, I certainly wouldn't be critical of the latest design conventional anti sway hitches such as the Reese, as I have no experience with them.

Brian.
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:13 AM   #8
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

I will not recommend any hitch system. What I will do is share my experience with my hitch system. I have had three Airstreams over the past eleven years. I have spent almost 1,800 nights in them and have towed them over 160,000 miles all over the United States.

I have towed my Airstreams with a 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe, a 2004 Suburban 2500, a 2005 Suburban 2500, and a 2011 Silverado 3500. From the first day I have used a Hensley Arrow hitch system. I bought the Hensley new, and have used it on all three of my Airstreams.

On the plus side, I have never experienced any sway whatsoever. On the minus side, there is a learning curve on hooking up with the Hensley.

Brian
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:17 AM   #9
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What is the "best" hitch is a subjective question. And as jdalrymple said, it depends on your requirements.

Weight distribution requirements depend on your TV and trailer. Some combinations do not need it, others do. Check your weights. I have seen reports that say even on HD trucks, the weight distribution is a net benefit.

Anti-sway. There are those who say a properly balanced trailer won't sway, so you don't need this. Or a heavy enough TV is sufficient to control it, again no anti-sway needed. Price of hitch - $0
Then there are the sway CONTROL hitches. Most use friction (a metal on metal brake) to dissipate the energy of a sway. If the brake dissipates enough energy, no sway. Lots of folks use these and are happy. Some, not all, require you to dis-engage the sway protection to back up. Price of hitch - $300 to $1000 new.
Sway ELIMINATION hitches. Hensley or ProPride. Pivot point of the trailer connection is projected via geometry about 43 inches forward of the hitch - near the TV rear axle. Basically, for the trailer to sway, the TV rear wheels will have to slide sideways. There may be a minor amount of sway allowed by flex in the trailer and TV tires or other suspension components. Price of hitch $2000-$3000 new.

Here are a couple of U-Tubes on the Hensley/ProPride hitches on how they are supposed to eliminate sway.
Utube of Hensley Hitch

ProPride Example


Search this and other forums and you will find lots of people supporting each option.

You pay your money and take your chances...
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Old 01-03-2017, 11:38 AM   #10
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Need advice on the best anti-sway hitch.

2015 Silverado HD pulling 2015 30' Bunk. I use a ProPride with 1,400 pound bars. With a lot of experience with various WD systems and TV trailer combinations I would now only use the ProPride or Hensley system. There is just nothing as stable and easy to tow with. Whoops, my personal opinion of course.


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Old 01-03-2017, 11:41 AM   #11
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I will add one more option for you, the Air Ride. We have used the Air Ride along with the Equalizer WD and Sway. Our ride is smooth, no vibration or jarring from the trailer. The trailer rides smooth as well. Aside from the expense the biggest drawback to this system is the weight of the Air Ride.
I applaud your question, a good hitch system will keep you safe and give you a more enjoyable camping experience.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:00 PM   #12
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Equal-Izer has been good to us and easy to use.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:05 PM   #13
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The ProPride also lets you drop the tail gate with plenty of room and increases your back in turn angles and clearances.


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Old 01-03-2017, 12:37 PM   #14
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My Airstream is 1993 29' Excella fitted with a very early Hensley. I used to pull with a 2006 Ford Explorer. Had lots of white knuckle experiences going up and down inclines. Never had any sway at all, ever.
I now tow with a 2011 Sierra 2500 HD 6.0 liter. Hardly need to use any of the WD now. TV and TT run perfectly level. Still not a bit of sway. No more white knuckles down inclines. Love the combination a whole lot more.
My 2 c FWIW.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:01 PM   #15
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Greetings.

I've had two hitches but the ProPride 3P I highly recommend. It is not cheap but you may find one used and it and the older Hensley design are the best ones. When driving down the road the truck and trailer move as one on wind gusts, large trucks passing, etc.

P.S. It is true about the fanboys and their picks but you want opinions so you have to weigh your advice against your wallet and God given sense!
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchormanQC View Post
We're going to order a 30 International Serenity this week. We'll tow it with a 2500 Sierra HD 4x4. Any advice on which hitch I should get. I want to hit the ground running and do it right the first time. It's also important to me that the rig sits level when it's hooked up to the truck.
I have had a Hesley for years now. Fantastic and their lifetime guarantee is amazing. I bent a strut backing up ( I learned that I should remove them is the angle is acute) and they replaced it at no cost except for shipping. As well their customer advice department is most helpful. Great company.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:12 PM   #17
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I've been a member of this Forum for around a year, & my experience is that there are three topics that fall into the category of "them are fighting words":
1. Hensley & ProPride hitches vs. all others.
2. Half-ton vs. 3/4 ton trucks, & a subset of that category, gas vs. diesel.
3. Goodyear Marathon tires vs. all others.

That having been said, I shall boldly venture forth with some trepidation:

When we bought our 2016 AS 27, our local AS dealer recommended that we also get a hitch system, & they recommended a Blue Ox Sway-Pro (approx. $500), which we bought, perhaps naively. We were then unaware of the Air Forum. Had we been aware of it, we likely would have researched hitch systems & found the numerous people here who advocate for the ProPride (approx $2,500) or its alternate, the Hensley. So far, we've put approx. 16K miles on the trailer + Blue Ox, & that combination seems to work for us. I have yet to learn how a ProPride would be a substantial improvement; not that it wouldn't, only that I'm unaware how it would. (No offense intended to ProPride/Hensley users; I'm just expressing my ignorance.)

Our inaugural trip was from Seattle to the AS rally in WVA last July & & then roundabout back home, some 9K miles in 6 weeks. Especially on construction detour roads & other, less than ideal roads, we experienced a lot of bucking --- hobbyhorsing --- between the truck & trailer, along with a lot of items stored in the trailer (including its microwave, twice) having fallen on its floor plus several missing rivets. To obtain some relief, we bought an AirRide hitch (approx. $1,000), & that has lessened the "ride 'em bronco" action considerably.

The AirRide, to my knowledge, does nothing to redistribute weight or to prevent sway; it's simply a glorified air bag that acts as a vertical shock absorber between the truck & trailer.

The AirRide is attached to the truck, the Blue Ox is (permanently) attached to the AirRide, & the trailer is attached to (or detached from) the Blue Ox, a somewhat lengthy & weighty combination. The AirRide/Blue Ox combination has gotta weigh over 100 lbs, & I don't take it off the truck if I can avoid it.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:14 PM   #18
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Post number 9 is excellent, got me closer to being an advocate of these kinds of hitches.
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:37 PM   #19
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I highly recommend the Hensley but that is just me. Whatever hitch you decide on I would recommend a back-up camera for hitching up.Takes the stress out of the process.
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:45 PM   #20
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I think the best hitch is a PPP design, to reduce or eliminate sway. This is from an engineering perspective, considering how the linkages work and the hitch functions. It doesn't consider how well they perform at WD. No opinion on which of the choices (brands) is better than the other.

Those hitches are also the most expensive. Personal decision for each purchaser on whether it is worth it to them. Many different hitch designs can reduce or eliminate sway in a given situation, when properly set up, but only the PPP designs work to eliminate the potential for sway by applying cross loads closer to the rear axle centreline, instead of well behind it.
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