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Old 07-02-2016, 07:27 PM   #1
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1968 24' Tradewind
Hudsonville , Michigan
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Tow Vehicle Information Needed….

We have a 1968 Airstream Tradewind which weighs approximately 4,500 pounds. We have owned the trailer for 11 years and have always hauled it with a Chevy 1500 Suburban and a sway bar system. Our first suburban was a 2001 with the trailer package from the factory and this truck did a great job hauling the trailer with no issues. Two years ago we up dated our truck to a 2013 Suburban and have found this truck just does not work with our trailer. This truck is a 1500 also - but no factory trailer package so we had an air bag system installed. Still we have times that the trailer wants to fishtail really bad. We have experimented with additional air etc, but nothing seems to work. Are the newer Suburbans that much lighter weight? Do we need to go to a 2500? Does the factory trailer package make a difference? We just need some answers, before we put our truck up for sale to find a better option to keep us and our trailer safe.
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Old 07-03-2016, 11:47 AM   #2
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1990 32' Excella
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Don't know that much about the suburbans. First question is are you using a wt distribution hitch. If you are and you still have to use bags you have a problem. Anything you have to put bags on is not sufficient for the job you do with it. All bags do is keep the vehicle from collasping the suspension. It does not alter the fact that all the componants of the suspension are over loaded and stressed. The fact that you cannot get rid of the sway proves that. You can get expensive hitches and sway controll. But if the wt is not distributed properly it is not safe. Bags may lift the rear but unlike a w/d hitch it does not even out the load between all axles it only lifts the rear. You are still going to have more wt on the rear than it should have and the frt will still be light and will add to sway problems. Good luck and be safe.
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Old 07-03-2016, 05:59 PM   #3
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1968 24' Tradewind
Hudsonville , Michigan
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Yes - we are using a weight distributing hitch, it is the hitch that came with our trailer and same hitch we used when we had our 2001 Suburban.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:15 PM   #4
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Hi. What are the manufacturer's specs for your specific model/configuration Suburban? Perhaps you're closer to those specs than the older version? I also don't know if the frame/suspension has any limitations to consider. Just places to look - sorry I can't be of more help.
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Old 07-03-2016, 07:17 PM   #5
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1990 32' Excella
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Sounds like a trip to the scales is in your future.get the instructions for your hitch and follow all the set up. And check every thing. If you are with in the capacities of your rig it should level out. Check your trailer load also for balance. From looking on line the base model has surround a 5000 lb towing capacity. You need to get individual axle wts if it doesn't level out without air bags.this will tell you a lot.
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:19 PM   #6
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Longmont , Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redteddy76 View Post
We have a 1968 Airstream Tradewind which weighs approximately 4,500 pounds. We have owned the trailer for 11 years and have always hauled it with a Chevy 1500 Suburban and a sway bar system. Our first suburban was a 2001 with the trailer package from the factory and this truck did a great job hauling the trailer with no issues. Two years ago we up dated our truck to a 2013 Suburban and have found this truck just does not work with our trailer. This truck is a 1500 also - but no factory trailer package so we had an air bag system installed. Still we have times that the trailer wants to fishtail really bad. We have experimented with additional air etc, but nothing seems to work. Are the newer Suburbans that much lighter weight? Do we need to go to a 2500? Does the factory trailer package make a difference? We just need some answers, before we put our truck up for sale to find a better option to keep us and our trailer safe.
I'm no expert on towing, but I use a somewhat similar vehicle, a 2010 GMC Yukon (short wheelbase). I find this vehicle is very sensitive to the amount of weight transfer being applied by the WD hitch. My owners manual says to adjust the hitch to get the front wheel wells back to the same height they are with no trailer attached; I find that it feels better when I have the hitch adjusted tighter than that. I think it is better to adjust by weight (using a truck scale) that by measuring wheel well heights. I have weighed my rig several times and find that what feels best is in the range of getting the front axle 150 to 200 pounds more than what it is without the trailer.

I think your new vehicle has it's hitch receiver mounted higher than your old one. So you had to adjust your hitch for the new Suburban. You should double check your wheel well heights and/or weigh your rig at the truck scales. And try it with more weight distributed to the front axle and see what that does.
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:31 PM   #7
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Did you have the WDH hitch set up to your current truck or did you just connect & go? If not take it to an RV dealer for the proper set up as that may be the problem.
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:38 PM   #8
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Set your wd hitch up with the airbags at minimum pressure and air your tires up to max. You can play with the bags later. You definitely need to find some scales to dial it all in.
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:58 PM   #9
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I would start by ensuring the trailer is optimally set up, at least 10% total weight on the hitch coupler, no bicycles, generators, or anything on a rear hitch receiver, heavy gear carried mid-trailer and light gear at the ends, tires at full pressure.

Then the truck. Airs bags will look like hitch weight is being equalized but it might not be. Wheel well measurements may not be useful with air bags inflated, weight the truck before and after w.d. to see if load is being properly transferred. Many new trucks have soft passenger car tires for soft ride, they tend to flex sideways easily contributing to sway felt at the steering axle. A stiffer sidewall tire may be needed. Loading the truck heavy behind the rear axle can make it difficult to transfer weight. Weighing will also tell you if an axle is overloaded, compare to GAWR on the door jamb.

Then the hitch setup, fully one-third of the successful combination. Cannot advise without seeing it, research proper setup. What brand/style is it and w.d. bar rating?

We became frustrated with conventional w.d. hitches allowing trailer push when semi's pass and gusting side winds, bought a ProPride hitch and all trailer side movement issues are totally eliminated.
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:29 PM   #10
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Air bags add a different dynamic to WDH set up. My 2015 RAM has 4 corner air bag suspension. My AS is a 2016 25ft flying cloud delivered just a year ago. I knew air bags would play into a proper set up so I did extensive research mostly on this forum looking for the answer. I had purchased an Equalizer WDH online & as part of the purchase agreement the dealer agreed to install it at no cost to me when I picked up the trailer. My concern was the tech knowing how to deal with air bag suspension vs non air bags so I insisted to watch the set up.
The proper way for my truck is to turn the air bags off & do the measuring etc that way. He did not know that but agreed to reluctantly do it my way & guess what, it turned out perfect & when the air was turned back on the bags made a minimal adjustment. I've towed 7500 miles since without any sway & even tire ware. The point here is the set up is the most important part IF the tow vehicles, trailer & WDH are compatible.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:13 AM   #11
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2008 27' International FB
Oklahoma City , Oklahoma
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I tow a 27' airstream with 2011 Tahoe and haven't had any problems. My Tahoe does have the trailer tow package and 3.41 rear end but I don't think that would make any difference for towing your weight trailer. I set up the WD hitch for the front fenders to be approx. the same height with the trailer & WD hitch attached as when there is no trailer attached. I had to buy a longer shank for the WD hitch for the ball to be lower on the Tahoe.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:32 AM   #12
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1975 31' Excella 500
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There will be people that HATE what I am going to say, but it is true so I am going to say it.

Get a Hensley or a ProPride and never worry about sway again,,, ever...

Not exactly cheap, but a lot cheaper than a new tow vehicle.

#Justsayin..


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Old 07-04-2016, 03:35 AM   #13
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Saco , Maine
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See http://www.trailerlife.com/trailer-towing-guides/.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:41 AM   #14
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Another ~10% of trailer weight on the tongue ...
Then ditch the airbags and use a WD hitch or WD/anti-sway hitch.
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