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Old 06-02-2018, 08:03 PM   #1
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Powhatan , Virginia
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New owner - how to get hitch

We are new owners of a 2015 Flying Cloud 27FB - bought it several weeks back from a private party. Just bought a truck to pull it today finally - 2018 4wd Ford F-250. We are new to RVing - sailed for a long time and switching over to land so not sure what we are doing as far as hitches go yet. Hopefully plan on taking some longer trips with the wife and kids, so trying to get everything set up right and safe.

The Airstream came with a hitch - a Fastway E2 trunnion equalizer hitch. That was obviously set up for the folks’ truck we bought it from that was much lower than the monster height of the 250. The top of the ball measures over 23” on the hitch in the receiver. Reading the forums, it sounds like it should be closer to 18”? So, either I need a new shank or a new WD hitch...

Reading in the forum, lots of folks recommend getting a dealer to set up a hitch. Problem is that the dealer is 70 miles away and the AS is sitting at a storage lot. I want to get it right for the family so I will pay a little more to buy from a dealer but not sure how to get the trailer there without a hitch (the one I have is too high)?? Do they sell me a hitch that is close enough so I can tow back the trailer for them to tweak?

I am also relatively handy (we used to sail so had to fix stuff all the time) so if it is not too difficult and it is safe, I could go the DIY route. Is it safe to just put a taller shank rated to a big enough number like 1500# and use the existing hitch?

Any other ideas?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-03-2018, 04:29 AM   #2
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Bushnell , Florida
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Sabarocks-

First of all, welcome to your new hobby! I’m sure you have the mechanical ability and patience to handle most anything that comes with Airstream ownership based on your boating background.

You can absolutely order a taller/longer hitch bar/shank for that hitch. Try a place like etrailer, and you’ll probably find the exact drop shank that you need.

You’ll find lots of hitch setup info on etrailer, maybe on that exact hitch. Use the fender well height measurement method to rough in your setup, then the 3 pass method on a truck scale for true dialing in. With lots to read on the subject on Airforums and YouTube, you’ll handle it fine. Also if you haven’t already discovered it, hitches, tires, tow vehicles, etc are like discussing religion around here, so get ready.....

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-03-2018, 04:35 AM   #3
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Mount Dora , Florida
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Lots of different opinions regarding hitches here.
You can get an Equal-I-Zer hitch from eTrailer for way less than you will pay at a dealership. My dealership set it up wrong at delivery, hopefully your guys are more competent. It’s not that difficult to follow the instructions and get it right, it just takes a bit of trial and error.
When I swapped from a Chevy 1500 to my current truck (F-250) I had to buy a shank, part # 90-02-4900, to lower the ball for level towing.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:54 AM   #4
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2019 30' International
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We had a dealer come pick up our airstream for some warranty work, the guy showed up in a single cab, not sure if it was 3/4 or 1 ton, dropped the trailer hitch on the ball, hooked up the chains, plugged her in, and drove away.

He had no sway control setup, nada, zilch.

I've had airstream dealers tell me that is often how the factory delivers them, towing them right on the ball, no sway control hitch.

I think your F250 would tow that airstream to Virginia Airstream, or a closer rv dealer, on the ball, no problem. I'd keep the speed to 50, maybe 55.
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Old 06-03-2018, 06:18 AM   #5
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Huntsville , Alabama
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Towed our 26U on F250 from dealership some 800 miles on the ball. Then put and Equalizer on myself at home. Is the WDH on F250 absolutely needed? Maybe, maybe not. While mine towed reasonably well there were indications of tiny sway (enough at times to flutter my heart) and it was not riding level (slightly nose down). But once WDH installed it made it huge difference - rides like a rock. If get one I recommend installing yourself. For me I had to acquire some new sockets, wrenches, etc. and took several hours (measure, measure and measure again). Did have to go to RV place to get the ball attached to the head, but they generally will do that for free if you buy something (always something you need, right?). The instructions from Equalizer were very clear and simple. Once done though, CAT scales showed the WD was dead on. And doing self install, I not only understand how it works but I have confidence it was done right and have the tools to adjust and tighten (yes, have to do that periodically). At first it may seem overwhelming, but really it's not that hard. Not only will you save $$ but you'll never question if a dealership did it right (a lot don't).
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabaRocks View Post
The Airstream came with a hitch - a Fastway E2 trunnion equalizer hitch. That was obviously set up for the folks’ truck we bought it from that was much lower than the monster height of the 250. The top of the ball measures over 23” on the hitch in the receiver. Reading the forums, it sounds like it should be closer to 18”? So, either I need a new shank or a new WD hitch...

Reading in the forum, lots of folks recommend getting a dealer to set up a hitch. Problem is that the dealer is 70 miles away and the AS is sitting at a storage lot.
Welcome.
Get ready to be barraged by people who's opinion is that you will die if you do not purchase a $3000 hitch. However, in my biased opinion, you have the parts necessary to start. The Fastway E-2 is the baby brother of the Equalizer, and operates much the same.
Many dealers won't install a hitch they didn't sell, so check before you drive far. But it's not rocket surgery, and Equalizer has great YouTube videos and an even better web site. Read, absorb and understand how the parts interact. I guarantee if you sailed a boat, you can install a hitch with your eyes closed.
Step one, put the hitch in your receiver and measure the distance to the top of the ball. Determine if the shank has enough holes to move it down into the 20" neighborhood. If not, shanks are readily available, and most are interchangeable between the makers.
If you do have enough holes, and a breaker bar and sockets for 1 1/8" nuts, have at it.
Step two, if the seller used that hitch, chances are he left the "L" brackets attached to the trailer tongue. Good. Your only experiment will be to determine how many washers to put on the rivet. It tilts the head and applies more pressure on the bars. Try 5. (You can buy washers at any place that sells hardened washers 1/2" hole.)
Let us know how you're doing.
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Old 06-03-2018, 09:25 AM   #7
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Swaying an issue

Am I missing something. The Air Stream is not the big of a trailer. Do people seem to have issues with Swaying? I use a Rhino Hitch, because I have various things that I pull and I can quickly change the height. https://www.rhinohitch.com/


This hitch is a beast! But, I can fit it on a couple of my vehicles and it has been wonderful so far. I've never seen anything I tow start to sway. I make sure that I evenly distribute my loads or come at least relatively close.



So what am I missing? I get what the purpose of the Equalizer is, but I'm just wondering who has swaying issues?


David


My Truck is a 2018 GMC 3500 Sierra HD Denali Duramax. I installed a leveling kit and did a few modifications already.....including AirBags to even out the ride.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWBishop View Post
Towed our 26U on F250 from dealership some 800 miles on the ball. Then put and Equalizer on myself at home. Is the WDH on F250 absolutely needed? Maybe, maybe not. While mine towed reasonably well there were indications of tiny sway (enough at times to flutter my heart) and it was not riding level (slightly nose down). But once WDH installed it made it huge difference - rides like a rock. If get one I recommend installing yourself. For me I had to acquire some new sockets, wrenches, etc. and took several hours (measure, measure and measure again). Did have to go to RV place to get the ball attached to the head, but they generally will do that for free if you buy something (always something you need, right?). The instructions from Equalizer were very clear and simple. Once done though, CAT scales showed the WD was dead on. And doing self install, I not only understand how it works but I have confidence it was done right and have the tools to adjust and tighten (yes, have to do that periodically). At first it may seem overwhelming, but really it's not that hard. Not only will you save $$ but you'll never question if a dealership did it right (a lot don't).
That flutter in your heart came from reading all the scaremongers on hitch threads. Unless you have XYZ hitch you and your family will be condemned to certain death. The slightest breeze or buffeting from a passing truck will scare the bejeezes out of you. In my younger days I drove semis and tanker trucks. Even they get pushed by the wind and buffeted by another semi passing them at a higher speed.
When I first started to pull our Air Stream and reading the hitch threads I was scared to death being on the road with the simple trunion bar hitch the dealer installed. Over time I realized to simply ignore the background noise and to relax. Although I am currently using a Blue Ox the trunion bar hitch worked just fine. The only reason I gave it up was that it does provide a stiffer ride to the AS versus the BO.
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:30 PM   #9
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Gig Harbor , Washington
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Welcome to the forum and family! I'm relatively new to towing and RV'ing and my approach was to do my research and then do some more research. I went with the ProPride and it was expensive, is it what you need? That's for you to decide when you look at the options, how much towing you're going to be doing, etc. Yes, there are a plethora of opinions on here and most or all have valid reasons why they chose what they chose. Some may have towed for many years and feel comfortable in any condition with whatever set up they have others want a level of comfort where they sway is the last thing they want to worry about. The latter was my case. I was in the position financially to spend more on a hitch and that was my choice after reading, reading and researching.

Do your homework, I believe everyones advice has some merit to it but it should come down to how you feel after doing your research.

See you on the road!
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Old 06-03-2018, 12:33 PM   #10
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@ reply #7 - For explanation of "sway," check out the articles here: https://www.propridehitch.com/about-trailer-sway/
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:19 PM   #11
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2015 27' Flying Cloud
Powhatan , Virginia
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All,

Thanks for the advice. After reading through this and doing a little bit more research into the 4900 shank piece mentioned below and it looks like I have a similar shank - Reese 3215 which is 12" also and I can move the hitch down one more set of holes. That will put the hitch ball top at about 21.5". Do you guys think that is too high to start with - is that what others have with the equalizer hitch and the 4900 shank? Not sure how much the truck will drop when I put the load on the hitch but my guess is it won't be 3.5"?

Breaker bars and another big old socket is going to be required. I have one socket big enough. Do you guys hold the thing on the hitch when breaking the bolts? They are a bear to get loose!

Regarding the need to have an anti-sway/equalizer hitch, I guess I just don't know any better. The sticker on our door says the payload is 3255 lb, so my guess is the back of the truck is more than capable of the tongue weight. So, if I can prevent any sway issues, I guess that is why the fancy hitch could help. I had a box trailer start to rock on my old Expedition and it scared the crap out of me. When in doubt, make it stout! (Though that Rhino hitch does look like a beast).

I will check out the YouTube videos as well for the E2 hitch as well for the setup if I can get the hitch lower on the shank. Before I mess around too much, anyone have any thoughts on whether I need a new shank to get the starting point of the ball lower than 21.5"? I found a Curt one on etrailer.com that looks like it would drop it down a further 1 1/4" to about 20 1/4".

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:27 PM   #12
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New owner - how to get hitch

Anytime you attempt to get bolts on the hitch shank apart or together with proper torque it is a lot easier to have it in the tow vehicle receiver. Mine requires around 250 foot-pounds of torque, and the only way to get that is to put all my weight on the torque wrench. No other way to hold it still and torque it properly.
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