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Old 11-03-2003, 06:04 PM   #1
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Question Newbie Towing AS Needs Assistance

I'm new to owning an AS and new to towing anything this big. I've read most of the posts and even more confused than I was before.

BASICS: 2002 F150 5.4 V8, Limited Slip (8600# tow cap)
2003 International CCD

Based on my truck specs I know I can tow my AS. What confuses me is all these types of hitches, connectors, anti-sway things and the like.

What do I really need to get started?

Any help is appreciated.


Jeff
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Old 11-03-2003, 06:22 PM   #2
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hitches

You can do a search on the topic and pull up alot. I'd also hit the websites for the Reese Hitch products and Hensley Arrow. They both have generic background info as well as details on their product. Basically you need the right hitch and ball assembly to move anything and weight of trailer/tow vehicle influence that decision. Next decision is if you want/need weight distribution bars to help take some of the weight off of the hitch/ball itself. Next decision to make is if you want/need an anti sway "accessory" to go with the setup to help prevent the trailer from fishtailing around in certain situations. I have the Reese hitch with equalizer bars and the dual cam anti sway bars. There are less expensive and more expensive setups. I'm happy with this one. Good luck.
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Old 11-03-2003, 06:33 PM   #3
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Jeff,
You will defintely need a WDH and a brake controller. I am using the Equalizer brand WDH, Reese Straight Line is a good hitch too. The Hensley's are great hitches I would have one if I had a brand new AS and was full timing. But they cost more the my AS did I use the Prodigy brake controler. It is a big improvement over the cheaper units. A lot of the guys swear by the Jordan. Never used one so I don't know. I do know that the Prodigy is a great unit for the money. I use it on 3 different trucks with 5 different trailers. And the Prodgiy is plug-n-play on the Fords. As far as sway control... that is a personal choice, I use it on my AS and popup, but not on my cargo or equipment trailers. At the moment (NO FLAMES PLEASE ) I am towing my 31' with a F-150 4.6 with factory tow package. It can handle it, but...I could and will be doing an upgrade soon.

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Old 11-04-2003, 08:51 AM   #4
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What type of grease do you use with your hitch? I was thinking of using stp oil additive or is that to slippery?
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Old 11-04-2003, 11:54 AM   #5
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Not a lubrication engineer but think the stp would not be up to the task. I use extreme pressure machine lubricant , wifes employer moved to Miss. several years ago and was not shipping the grease , open tubes subject to different shipping? little goes along way. When that runs out going to use synthetic amsoil.
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Old 11-04-2003, 12:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gene Wissink
wahoonc
What type of grease do you use with your hitch? I was thinking of using stp oil additive or is that to slippery?
Gene,
I just use good old axle grease what ever comes to hand down on the farm . With my smaller trailers I used to just use a piece of wax paper doubled over a couple of times, alot cleaner than the grease. A little grease will go a long way. Also as part of my yearly maintenance I will completely clean out the hitch on the trailer and the ball and start over, helps get the road grit out of it.

Aaron
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Old 11-28-2003, 11:13 AM   #7
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Brand new at this, really confused, and looking for answers...

I'll be picking up my '63 Globe Trotter in a couple weeks. Not sure of my tow vehicle, but it'll be either a late model Tahoe or Blazer.

I'm towing from Washington state to Illinois, and want to make it as cheap and quick as possible. We're getting new tires and greasing the axle, but my question is:

Do I HAVE to have a hitch equalizer, sway bars, hitch height accumulator, grease tube applicator, drag coefficient calculator... and all that other fancy stuff?

Or can I survive for now with just the stock GMC hitch receivers that came on the Chevys and a 2" ball from the local NAPA? I don't want to die in a fiery wreck just getting it home, but it's going to be a good 2 years until this aluminum heap is restored enough to use!

Any help is appreciated!
Brad
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Old 11-28-2003, 02:16 PM   #8
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Big Difference Between Tahoe and Blazer

Brad,

I've towed an Airstream a grand total of 6 miles so am not an authority. However, I do know the difference between Blazers and Tahoes. Go with the Tahoe. The newer Chevy Trailblazers top out at 6300 lbs if you have the best setup. The older Blazers tow probably 5000 lbs at best. Tahoes in any configuration should top these numbers. In theory I can tow my 4300 lbs dry weight Airstream with my Trailblazer (6200 lbs) but 6 miles never over 50 mph convinced me otherwise and I had all those bells and whistles hooked up except the electric brakes.
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Old 11-28-2003, 02:57 PM   #9
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Brad, I tow my 78 Tradewind with a Tahoe, and it seems to be fine. Of course, I always want more power, whatever I drive (More power! Uhh! Uhh!!), but in terms of stability and sway, it rides like a dream, even with abrupt-to-the-point-of-being-stupid lane changes.

I've got the Prodigy brake controller, which seems to be fine, although I've never used anything else, so how would I know? If you get the controller from www.rjays.com, not only are they cheap but they have plug and play cables to hook them into your Chevy (assuming that it has the factory tow package).

I have a Reese dual cam hitch, which I recommend.

Remember, whatever you have now for a hitch will be glad to wait two years in the basement while you get the trailer fixed. If you cheap out now on the hitch, not only will you be biting your fingernails all the way home, but you'll have to buy another decent one two years from now.

-Don
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Old 11-28-2003, 04:22 PM   #10
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Newbie towing

Congratulations on what sounds like a wonderful purchase.
According to the 1963 literature, a 19' Globetrotter (2770#) could be towed by the "larger compact cars".
Now the larger compact cars circa 1963 were a lot larger than todays compact cars, especially if you get one from Hurtz or Ayviz, but I think you would do just fine with any full frame vehicle.
Be sure you get the brakes hooked up and working, but I think the weight distributing hitch, airspeed indicators, inclinometers and remote tire inflation monitors are too much at this point.
What if you decide in two years you need to upgrade, and all the hitch equipment you buy now is too small?
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Old 11-28-2003, 04:41 PM   #11
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Three different but all valuable opinions!
I'm leaning towards the Tahoe (though mom leased it and the prospect of adding 4000 miles to the odo isn't pleasant) based on what you said about weight, Davydd, but don't you think I'm safe with either since the '64 literature says mine weighs 2700 lbs?

Drboyd, I like your idea of getting a brake controller and stuff now rather than put it off... I'll mull that over. It's true, I don't want to be so nervous the whole way home that it's not any fun.

I guess in the end if what you say is also true, Markdoane, I may give my wallet a break and see how she behaves with nothing but what Jackson Center gave her to begin with. I will ask that the brakes are double-checked before I arrive, and I've already bought some temporary brake lights to get it home.

I appreciate these responses, you guys. What a phenomenal resource you all are!
Brad
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Old 11-28-2003, 05:00 PM   #12
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Don "drboyd" could edit this but let me get it up right away. There's an extra comma in that link. It should be www.rjays.com . I've seen RJays recommended before, so good call Don.
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Old 11-28-2003, 07:35 PM   #13
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Newbie Towing AS Needs Assistance

Greetings Brad!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

You are embarking on a rather long expedition at a time of the year when the weather can be uncertain at best. You will not regret having a properly adjusted weight distributing hitch even with a Globetrotter (you will want to avoid potential rear end damage that might result from towing with a "nose high" hitch that increases the likelihood of dragging the rear of the trailer on driveway dips and possibly even when crossing railroad tracks), and functioning brakes will be equally necessary.

My '78 Minuet 6.0 Metre is approximately the same size and weight as your Globetrotter (20' and 3,100 pounds fully loaded for vacation), and I wouldn't think of towing it the distance you are facing without my Reese Straight Line hitch that includes the Dual Cam Sway Control (for me this is true whether my tow vehicle is the '75 Cadillac or the '99 K2500 Suburban) - - it is the 500 pound version and it works very well with my Minuet. I only towed my Minuet once with just a weight carrying hitch behind the Suburban - - I knew it was there as there was a shimmy constantly evident as the weight carrying hitch was too high making for unstable towing (I was very glad to get it home on its first voyage of 200 miles and it didn't move until I had a proper deep drop draw bar and Reese Dual Cams). You will likely find that you will need a deep drop ball mount just to get the trailer level for towing (this has been true for both my K1500 Chevrolet club cab pickup as well as my K2500 Suburban so it will also likely be true for your Tahoe) - - so the additional cost for a proper weight distributing hitch shouldn't be extremely great

The only part of the hitch that wouldn't be the same for your Globetrotter as for a larger Airstream (under 31') would be the weight distributing bars and possibly the hitch ball - - the balance of the components are for all intents and purposes identical. The one thing to keep in mind when purchasing the hitch ball is that all 2" hitch balls are not equally rated. It can be somewhat difficult to find a 2" hitch ball with the 6,000 pound rating - - it isn't something that usually can be found at the discount retailers - - I usually purchase mine at either the Airstream dealership or from a shop that specializes in trailer repairs.

Good luck with your Globetrotter!

Kevin
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Old 11-28-2003, 07:36 PM   #14
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Re: Newbie Towing AS Needs Assistance

Quote:
Originally posted by Travel_RN
I'm new to owning an AS and new to towing anything this big. I've read most of the posts and even more confused than I was before.

BASICS: 2002 F150 5.4 V8, Limited Slip (8600# tow cap)
2003 International CCD

Based on my truck specs I know I can tow my AS. What confuses me is all these types of hitches, connectors, anti-sway things and the like.

What do I really need to get started?

Any help is appreciated.


Jeff
Jeff, it kind of looks like the thread took off and left you...
Anyway, you HAVE to have a class IV or V hitch setup, a head for that setup with what should be a 2 5/16" ball, electrical plug compatible with the trailer, and a quality brake controller.
You SHOULD HAVE also a weight distributing hitch, and a transmission cooler.
It WOULD BE NICE if you had a decent anti-sway device, and towing mirrors, so you can see the guy you just cut off...
As far as what brands, that is a matter of budget and personal preference, although I have learned you usually get what you pay for, and the more expensive something is, tends to be better quality and functions better.

Terry
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