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Old 01-22-2003, 11:44 AM   #1
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Towing equipment basics

Ok - I need the most basic info. regarding towing equipment. The facts are:
1) Nothing came with my trailer and I don't have a tow vehicle yet (most likely will be a Suburban 2500, when I find it...).
2) I'd like to start looking for the hitch equipment now, but not sure what to even look for and what the different peices mentioned do.
3) I'm assuming when I find my Suburban it will have a hitch receiver, but that's it.

Any basic info. regarding what I need would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-22-2003, 01:41 PM   #2
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Towing equipment basics

Greetings Craig!

If you are considering one of the typical hitch setup such as Draw-Tite, Reese, ect. you can begin by looking for the following:

1.) Adjustable drop bar (9" or 10" for two-wheel drive 12" for four-wheel drive - - assuming Suburban)

2.) Adjustable Ball mount that is compatible with your drop bar.

3.) Load distribution bars that are appropriate for your trailer's tongue weight and that are compatible with your ball mount.

4.) Snap-up brackets for the trailer "A" frame (the devices that the load distribution bar chains are attached to).

5.) An appropriately sized and rated ball. Especially if you have a Vintage coach with the 2" ball, be sure that it is one of the more difficult to find 2" balls with the 6,000 lb. plus towed load limit.

6.) Sway control of your choice. My personal recommendation would be the Reese Dual Cam Sway control system - - I know many on the forum consider it old fashioned, but I have towed with it for many thousands of miles and am totally pleased with mine.

Kevin
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Old 02-15-2003, 11:51 AM   #3
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Question

As a newbie and getting ready to retrieve my "new" vintage trailer, I am also facing questions like these.

I didn't think about it before, but if my tow vehicle receiver (I think that's what the 2" square tube is called on the truck) is higher than the previous owners, then the hitch (supplied with the trailer, along with weight distribution arms/chains or whatever) would be too high, wouldn't it? On a 1960 24' A/S, could I tow it 5 miles to a repair place, and then buy a new "drop-arm" type hitch of the correct height? Wait a minute, how would I even know what height to buy? Hmm... Do I level the trailer, then measure to the bottom of the A-arm?

Thanks for everyone who has posted in each of the forums. I have been reading a ton, and trying to soak it in before leaving in two weeks.

Phil this time...Sue's in class.
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Old 02-15-2003, 12:08 PM   #4
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Towing equipment basics

Greetings Phil!

If your truck is a 4 X 4 you will likely need a 12" drop bar if it is a GM product or Dodge - - I don't know about Ford products as my experience has been with these two brands. It doesn't seem to make much difference wheter it is a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton - - the 12" drop seems to be necessary - - on the 1/2 ton there is one bolt hole remaining at the bottom of the bar and with the 3/4 ton the last bolt hole on the drop bar is utilized. If the truck is 4 x 2, you MAY be able to get by with an 8" drop.

The ball height will likely need to be between 17.5" and 19.5", and I suspect 18.5" will likely be very close to what you will need as that is what both my friend with a '60 Overlander, and I use with my '64 Overlander.

One way to approximate the drop that you will need is to park your truck on a level, concrete or asphalt pad and measure from the center of your receiver to the ground and then subtract 18.5" from this measurement to approximate your necessary drop. This should get you fairly close to the drop you will need. You might check with your trailer's previous owner to see if the hitch being included is an "adjustable head" or a "welded head". If it is a welded setup, you will likely find fewer hassles (in some places it can be very difficult if not impossible to find a welder willing to re-weld or modify a wleded head hitch) involved if you spring for a complete adjustable ball mount setup including spring bars and snap-up brackets as it can prove to be a bit of a headache to piece together the necessary pieces - - especially if you are unfamiliar with the brand/type of hitch involved.

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 02-16-2003, 10:46 PM   #5
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Measuring Ball Height

Level the trailer front to back.
Measure ball height necessary by measuring from ground to top of ball receiver on trailer.
Should be around 19.5"
I use Reese dual cam and saddle hitch, and I love it. It constantly works to keep you straight and level. I tow a 31 ft. with a 2dr Yukon 4x4 short wheel base and feel none of the sway, tail wagging the dog, sensation some have described with inferior hitch arrangements.
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Old 02-17-2003, 06:48 AM   #6
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Smile Hitch Height Answers?

Hey, thanks for your answers. I sent inquiries to the seller of the trailer and the truck to see what height their stuff is. The trailer seller is supplying a drawbar with weight distribution arms (don't know about sway control).

I sent the trailer seller this little drawing that I made in Paint to explain my question about the drawbar drop. Once I know what he is supplying, I can compare to the receiver height on the 4x4 I am buying. I drew this based on seeing some drawbars for sale at Farm and Fleet, but I know that an adjustable drop drawbar is different. I just cannot imagine that the seller has a fancy adjustable one.

If someone has a picture of an adjustable drop drawbar, I would be interested in seeing what that is.

Thanks again for your time and help.
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Old 02-17-2003, 01:19 PM   #7
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I have delt with these guys before (local to me) http://www.hitches-forless.com/
They have a good section that explains hwo different hitch systems work. Here is there section on weight distribution.
http://www.hitches-forless.com/WD/about_wd_hitches.htm
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Old 02-17-2003, 05:26 PM   #8
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adj. drop bar

phil and or sue

this is a pic of my adj. drawbar. the mudflaps are something extra my buddy fabricated for me.

john
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Old 02-17-2003, 08:39 PM   #9
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Towing Equipment Basics

Greetings Phil and Sue!

The photo below is of a typical Reese draw bar with a maximum drop of about 8". It is the one that I will be using with my '75 Cadillac and '78 Argosy Minuet this summer.



The draw bar above is a Vintage 1978 piece that has been with the Minuet since it was new, but if fell far short of being sufficient for towing with a K2500 series Suburban.

The view below shows the view of the Reese 12" Drop Draw Bar that was necessary to get the Minuet as near level as is possible with stock size draw bars. This setup is dropped as low as the bar will allow.



The photo below is a side view, and shows the two mounting bolts -- the lower bolt is something of a pivot, and the top bolt has a serated washer that allows the hitch head to be tilted to match the requirements of the trailer being towed.



This last photo is a wide view of the hitch setup on a '99 Suburban K2500.



Good luck with getting your hitch setup worked out!

Kevin
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Old 02-17-2003, 10:05 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Thanks for Added Info and Pics!

Hey, thanks lots for your help.

I looked at the websites that 59toaster provided and it explains quite a bit. I talked to the seller, and he thought that the hitch that he is providing should be about the right height.

I liked the pics attached.

That must be a Chevy 4x4 in John hd's pic (looks like it to me). I am getting a 92 K2500 pickup (4x4) and the seller said that the center of the receiver tube is about 20 inches+-1 inch. In the pic you attached, it looks like the ball is mounted dropped about 2" from the top of the receiver tube. If my truck is similar, then it might also need about a 2" drop. (Was that picture from your archive? There's snow in Wisconsin now in case you didn't know!)

The pics attached by Overlander64 really look like a BIG drop is needed for the Suburban! But I understand now why that is necessary: I don't want to drag the back bumper of the Airstream! And I now understand how the different heights are accomodated. (Thanks for the cold looking pics. Quad Cities? Like Des Moines?)

I appreciate the input from everyone, and the efforts taken to get the photos!
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Old 02-17-2003, 10:22 PM   #11
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Towing equipment basics

Greetings Phil and Sue!

I am located just about 200 miles Southwest of you on I-80. I live in a small town about 30 miles South of Rock Island.

I took the photos this afternoon - - had been avoiding getting out in our first major snow of the season (about 8"). It doesn't seem like much after the blizzards we had while I lived in western Kansas, but I am getting a bit out of practice in the snow coping skills. I am sure that my neighbors think of me as being a bit eccentric as the Suburban sits outside on the driveway and my two Cadillacs get the garage space ('75 Eldorado Convertible and '84 Biarritz Convertible).

Just as a side note, the hitch setup that I now have on the Suburban is the same that I used on a '95 Chevrolet K1500 Club Cab with Z71 package - - the necessary drop was the same for both vehicles when towing the '64 Overlander.

Kevin
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 04-19-2003, 11:36 AM   #12
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