Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-10-2016, 05:31 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
2015 16' Sport
Syracuse , New York
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 57
Images: 41
Towing Sport 16 without WD - Maybe?

Ok, I know this can be a touchy subject but I thought I would throw this one out there and see what discussion develops.

Before we start, a little about me. I'm not new to towing with quite a bit of towing experience (decades + 1000's of miles) with utility and travel trailers with and without WD. I'm a mechanical engineer with some professional experience testing military trailers.

I have a 2013 T-reg TDI (5000 lbs empty) towing an Airstream 16 foot Sport. The trailer is 2860 lbs dry, 3500 lb GTW and 350 lb dry tongue weight. I towed last year without any WD hitch without problems. Yes, the T-reg squats in the back a bit but the handling seems very acceptable, even in cross-winds that I've encountered during high cross-wind warnings. I keep the T-reg as empty of gear in the back as possible (maybe 150-200 lbs max). I'm surprised how stable this combination is when being passed or passing tractor-trailer and other much larger RV's.

I have an old Reese Strait-Line from our 1963 Airstream but it has 750 lb bars and I feel it's much too stiff for the new Airstream. Here are photos with the Reese installed.





Comparing our new setup (T-reg/16' Airstream) to our old setup (2010 Explorer/19' Airstream) The T-reg handles better without WD than the Explorer did with WD. The trailers are about the same weight and not too much different in length so I believe the primary difference is the tow vehicle (low profile tires, better suspension, shorter rear overhang, etc).

As I see it the trailer is short, the T-reg is stable - do I really need a WD hitch and/or sway control?

Thanks,
Matt
__________________

__________________
mhutchinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 07:01 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
Bruce B's Avatar

 
2012 16' International
Jamestown , Rhode Island
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,386
Images: 1
You are more qualified than I am based on your quick bio but...
We went in the other direction with our Bambi.
Started with an Equalizer and ultimately switched to a Hensley Cub.
The difference in the way the trailer tows is remarkable! We tow about 10,000 miles a year and I love the ppp hitch. The other advantage is the ability to dial in weight distribution with the jacks... It's not all or nothing, just the amount you need.
I've always wondered if the smaller Airstreams were in fact less stable towing than their longer siblings...that certainly seems to be the case when backing up!

Towing with the Hensley is simply far more relaxing than towing with the Equalizer no matter how I adjusted things on that hitch.

Can't say I'd want to tow without sway control or weight distribution...

Bruce
__________________

__________________
Bruce B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 07:15 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
SteveH's Avatar
 
2005 39' Land Yacht 390 XL 396
Common Sense , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5,311
My thoughts based on my experiences towing trailers since the 70's, I agree the 750lb bar Reese hitch is too much for your setup, and may even do damage to the trailer in the event of some severe angle driveway entrances.

However, It has been my experience that a properly sized and setup weight distribution hitch will always handle better than just a ball, no matter the tow vehicle size. My experience in this area is with a 17' Casita (very similar size and weight to your 16' Airstream) towing with two different 3/4 ton trucks, and smaller vehicles. Even the 3/4 tons drove and rode better with a small WD hitch while towing the Casita than they did with just a ball.

So, can you do it without a WD hitch? Obviously. Is it better with a properly sized and setup WD hitch? Yes, IMHO.
__________________
Regards,
Steve
SteveH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 07:32 AM   #4
Well Preserved

 
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,190
We have sold several of these little trailers, and WD and sway control on them ranging from nothing to a Hensley Cub.
Have you considered not using WD, but adding a friction anti-sway bar to it? Depending on how you load the car and trailer, it may be all you need. If you want to continue using WD, try to find something with 500 pound bars, which will be more than adequate. I seem to remember several years ago, one of the WD manufacturers offered a single bar WD system designed for small, light trailers, such as the larger pop-ups, to be used with smaller tow vehicles.

Something like this: http://www.reeseprod.com/products/we...Js3r0m2XWmdIti

Or this: http://www.amazon.com/Reese-Light-Du.../dp/B003VATKZC
__________________
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
Terry
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 07:46 AM   #5
3 Rivet Member
 
remphoto's Avatar
 
2015 16' Sport
Upper Sandusky , Ohio
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 205
We have been successfully towing our 16' Sport with a Honda Pilot (smaller and lighter than your VW) with no WD setup. We have never felt any hint of sway and the trailer tracks behind very nicely. We have a few inches of squat but is within the factory recommended squat limit as is the 4,500/ 450 TW limits. Also, Honda recommends not using a WD. Both our dealer and hitch shop did not think we needed one and recommended trying without first because of the ease in hitching, lower added weight, etc. YMMV.
__________________
2015 Airstream Bambi Sport 16J
Past Travel Trailers:
*1992 Dutchmen 30' Bunk
*2003 Jayco Designer Series 32' Rear Living
*2015 T@B Sofitel S (exchanged after 3 days for Bambi)
remphoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 08:20 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
AldeanFan's Avatar
 
1977 23' Safari
Niagara on the Lake , Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 653
Images: 3
I've towed several trailers from a 13' trillium to a 25'race car trailer, with several vehicles ranging from a Pontiac grand am to a F350 both with and without weight distribution. In every case the trailer felt more connected to the truck with weight distribution, as if the combination was one unit instead of a trailer pushing up and down and side to side on the bumper.
Even when I don't need to distribute weight I still use the weight distributing hitch.
__________________
1977 Safari Land Yacht
2005 Toyota Tundra SR5
2010 Ford Flex Ecoboost
AldeanFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 08:25 AM   #7
2 Rivet Member
 
2015 16' Sport
Syracuse , New York
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 57
Images: 41
To WD, or Not to WD, that is the question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by remphoto View Post
Both our dealer and hitch shop did not think we needed one and recommended trying without first because of the ease in hitching, lower added weight, etc.
We talked with the people where we bought our AS and they said the same thing.

Thanks!
Matt
__________________
mhutchinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 08:29 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
 
2015 16' Sport
Syracuse , New York
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 57
Images: 41
Has anyone considered active sway control like the Dexter Sway Control module? This would be a much more capable system than friction or even Hensley sway control. Semi-trailers have been using this type of system for some time now tied with their anti-lock brake systems.

Sorry, I did find a thread - sounds like people were interested for a while and then went back to their Hensley's...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...le-114178.html

Thanks,
Matt
__________________
mhutchinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 08:50 AM   #9
Huh?
 
Ultradog's Avatar
 
1975 27' Overlander
Twin Cities , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 494
Images: 8
As you go down the highways and byways in your daily life you will see every conceivable kind of bumper pull trailer being towed.
Utility trailers, box trailers - many of them much larger than your AS , equipment trailers 1, 2 and 4 horse trailers, other brands of travel trailers, etc, etc.
As you pass them look at what kind of hitch they are using.
I'll bet about 95% of the time you will see a ball and nothing else. Then ask yourself this:
Are all those thousands of people just clueless or are Airstreamers kind of an overly cautious bunch who have more $ for gew gaws and doo dads than most people?
__________________
Ultradog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 09:15 AM   #10
2 Rivet Member
 
2015 16' Sport
Syracuse , New York
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 57
Images: 41
Goin' Down the Highway...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultradog View Post
As you go down the highways and byways in your daily life you will see every conceivable kind of bumper pull trailer being towed.
Utility trailers, box trailers - many of them much larger than your AS , equipment trailers 1, 2 and 4 horse trailers, other brands of travel trailers, etc, etc.
As you pass them look at what kind of hitch they are using.
I'll bet about 95% of the time you will see a ball and nothing else. Then ask yourself this:
Are all those thousands of people just clueless or are Airstreamers kind of an overly cautious bunch who have more $ for gew gaws and doo dads than most people?
I also notice TV/hitch/Trailer combinations. I think I've seen as many poorly adjusted WD hitches as as properly adjusted ones. I've also seen many people towing without WD.

One of the tech's I talked to when we bought our 16 Sport said they use the Equalizer w/ 1000 lb bars for "all" the trailers they sell and that's what they'd recommend for our 16 Sport. I think I know enough about structural mechanics to say that a 16 Sport chassis wasn't designed to carry that much load from the tow vehicle when going over dips (like the crazy one at the end of my driveway).

Matt
__________________
mhutchinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 09:40 AM   #11
Rivet Master
 
SteveH's Avatar
 
2005 39' Land Yacht 390 XL 396
Common Sense , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5,311
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhutchinson View Post
One of the tech's I talked to when we bought our 16 Sport said they use the Equalizer w/ 1000 lb bars for "all" the trailers they sell and that's what they'd recommend for our 16 Sport.
Matt
They do that for their own stocking convenience, and profit margin, not for any other consideration. The dealer would be the absolute last person I would want a hitch recommendation from, unless it from Andy Thompson who actually makes an effort to do it right. The vast majority of them want to sell the trailer, and get you off their lot as soon as possible. Been there, done that.
__________________
Regards,
Steve
SteveH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 09:58 AM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Road Ruler's Avatar
 
Currently Looking...
St. Catharines , South Western Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,364
Images: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultradog View Post
As you pass them look at what kind of hitch they are using. I'll bet about 95% of the time you will see a ball and nothing else.
A wise man once wrote that 90 to 95% of the rigs on the roads today are not set up optimally.
__________________
Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
Road Ruler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 10:45 AM   #13
Huh?
 
Ultradog's Avatar
 
1975 27' Overlander
Twin Cities , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 494
Images: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Road Ruler View Post
A wise man once wrote that 90 to 95% of the rigs on the roads today are not set up optimally.
I'll bet he had an AS.
__________________
Ultradog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2016, 11:07 AM   #14
Rivet Master
 
MrUKToad's Avatar

 
2011 28' International
Chatham , Ontario
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 1,372
Images: 17
Blog Entries: 13
I'd always recommend using a WD system, regardless of the relative weights of the trailer and the tow vehicle. It seems to me that properly adjusted, a system that evens out the load between the axles of your trailer/TV combination can only be a good thing. If nothing else, it's cheap insurance. Where you're looking at a lighter trailer then lighter, more flexible bars are obviously better than the more rigid variety.

A fellow down the road from me uses a basic Eaz-Lift WD when towing his pop-up trailer with his SUV, and I noticed that a local counter-top supplier here in town has a simple WD system on their utility trailer that's being towed by an F250.

Of course, this is only my opinion and shouldn't be taken as criticism if you choose to run without WD. I don't want to be accused of scare tactics again!
__________________

__________________
Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad

"You can't tow that with that!"

http://toadsoftowedhaul.com
MrUKToad is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Towing without a floor in place? horsedoc Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame 5 05-24-2012 12:59 PM
Maybe a dumb question (maybe not) kamadeca General Interior Topics 11 04-05-2009 03:16 PM
towing without load dist bars stp2136 On The Road... 4 02-22-2004 06:44 PM
Towing without walls Over59 Axles 4 02-21-2004 04:43 PM
Towing Without Brakes? MattyBoy Brakes & Brake Controllers 31 09-17-2003 12:08 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:14 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.