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Old 01-08-2012, 09:02 AM   #1
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Rivet Proper tow vehicle/Trailer level when towing

I've been to two places (last one Airstream dealer) getting a willy nilly opinion on the setup for my Reese Dual Cam connection and wonder whether I'm treading on thin ice the way it's set up. The truck is a little nose high and the trailer is also 1/2 inch up in the front with the 9" drop bar. (my old Argosy rode a little high as well) What I notice is the rear trailer tires are 10 degrees hotter (using laser temp gun) than the front ones on the tandem axle and the SUV seems a little sensitive steering at 65mph. The Airstream dealer technician said he hooks up the trailer and uses the bars to raise the nose if it's low and it's good to have some weight on the rear wheels of the trailer for stability, (concerned if I have to swerve it could get ugly). The Reese dealer who installed my dual cams said measure the beltline moulding see what you get (1/2" difference) looks good to me, to close to spend $125 for a new drop bar. My thoughts are a longer drop bar with 12 holes to lower it 1 inch would level the SUV better and level the trailer, or am I to paranoid?
Any ideas beyond "well drive it and see what happens" like he told me?

Thanks
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:17 AM   #2
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Trailer should be level.
Vehicle should "squat" equally as measured from the top of the fender wells front and rear
before weight distribution and after weight distribution.

This means, if the vehicle is a little nose low before you hitch, it should be a little nose low after you hitch.

Speculating from the photo, I would say you need to do two things:
Drop your hitch head one inch.
Drop one link at a time until you get the nose of you vehicle down where it belongs. (Unless it rides nose up without a trailer, in which case you have vehicle suspension issues to contend with)

None of this is difficult. It just seems hard when you watch a dealer do it wrong.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
I've been to two places (last one Airstream dealer) getting a willy nilly opinion on the setup for my Reese Dual Cam connection and wonder whether I'm treading on thin ice the way it's set up. The truck is a little nose high and the trailer is also 1/2 inch up in the front with the 9" drop bar. (my old Argosy rode a little high as well) What I notice is the rear trailer tires are 10 degrees hotter (using laser temp gun) than the front ones on the tandem axle and the SUV seems a little sensitive steering at 65mph. The Airstream dealer technician said he hooks up the trailer and uses the bars to raise the nose if it's low and it's good to have some weight on the rear wheels of the trailer for stability, (concerned if I have to swerve it could get ugly). The Reese dealer who installed my dual cams said measure the beltline moulding see what you get (1/2" difference) looks good to me, to close to spend $125 for a new drop bar. My thoughts are a longer drop bar with 12 holes to lower it 1 inch would level the SUV better and level the trailer, or am I to paranoid?
Any ideas beyond "well drive it and see what happens" like he told me?

Thanks
IMHO...the "AS tech" has it bass akward. Weight forward=stability, within the tongue weight limits of the hitch and rear axle rating of the TV,(tow vehicle), and trailer being LEVEL.
He is right on tensioning the WD barz... more tension will LOWER the front of the tow vehicle and raise the tongue.
You need a trip to the CAT scales for a baseline.
A level rig with the proper weight returned to the steering axle is your goal.
You can find a wealth of info by using the "search" feature above.

Bob
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcamedies View Post
The Airstream dealer technician said he hooks up the trailer and uses the bars to raise the nose if it's low and it's good to have some weight on the rear wheels of the trailer for stability, (concerned if I have to swerve it could get ugly).
This so-called Airstream technician hasn't done much towing, and he certainly hasn't visited the Reese website.
Your instincts are right on target.
Spend the money for a new shank so you can get the tongue of the trailer where it belongs. You can't get the weight correctly distributed until you do this.
You will enjoy a safer, more stable ride, less sway, and less tail dragging in and out of the filling stations.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:16 AM   #5
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I don't have enough experience to suggest what needs to be done in your case. But, I wanted to comment on something I noticed from technicians. They usually display a casual "good enough" attitude when what the AS owner wants is closer to "dead-on right."

I suppose it might be because they aren't the one that will be driving, or maybe they don't even have experience towing a big trailer. But, I've seen that "close enough for me" kind of attitude a lot. Just about everyone with a big (and expensive) trailer wants the darn thing to be right, not just close.

In my various hitching and towing experiences this year though I did have one guy who would not let me leave his shop until it was "absolutely perfect." I learned then that it could be, and should be achieved, and it only takes patience and a little work (and sometimes a little money). But most people will get it to within an inch and declare victory. Move on to the next guy, I suppose.

Stick with it - - good luck!
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:32 AM   #6
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An unbalanced load on 2 or 3 axle Airstream's, sets up a sway.

Anyone that says more weight on the rear axle, did not graduate from 1st grade, and obviously has ZERO" trailering experience.

The tow vehicle should be level, as well as the trailer, even for a single axle Airstream. The underbelly can very easily act as an aircraft wing.

When a new rigging takes place, attention should always be directed to safety. That includes the 2 rigs being level with respect to itself.

One of the long term problems, comes with time. If the tow vehile and trailer have been the same for years, supposedly nothing has changed.

NOT TRUE.

If the rubber rods in the torsion axles have decided to deteriorate, then the ball height of the trailer has decreased. If that's happened, then the ball mount needs to be readjusted to match the coupler dimensional drop. Same is true if all of a sudden a huge payload will be carried in the trailer.

Good axles, bad axles, keep the trailer "LEVEL".

Torsion axle equipped trailers, "ALL" change ball height's in time, as well as loading. If they don't, then most likely the rubber rods have solidified.

Andy
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:57 AM   #7
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One of the more convenient changes we've made is to add Ride Rite Firestone air springs to our tow vehicle. This allows us to tune the ride height with a bicycle pump - handy if your load changes significantly due to changes in truck payload, etc. For example, heading out to Burning Man we're generally carrying 55 gallons of water in the back of the truck and a full tank in the trailer. On the way back we're way down on water, esp. if a lot of friends want showers . A little less air in the Ride Rites, and we're level again. Of course, some of us think we pick up several hundred pounds of dust in everything to compensate, but ...

- Bart
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, I am a safety nut, and when it's off it's off, and needs to be corrected, good enuf doesn't work, when it can cause an accident.
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