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Old 04-14-2006, 12:35 PM   #1
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Towing too High, Dealer Woes...

Your Advise Please: Towing too high
Greetings All:

I own a stock 2005 Hummer H2 that comes with Auto air leveling in the rear, I bought a 23' Airstream SE Safari with the Weight Dis hitch.
When first considering buying the AS, my dealer confirmed that I would be set up to tow, no problem.

My ball height for towing is supposed to be around 18 inches. However the AS now tows at 26 1/2 inches high, making the trailer tow too high.
My RV dealer where I bought the trailer states that they cannot find a shank that will clear my rear spare tire on the hummer and have the drop needed to bring the trailer to 18 inches, and that I would have to find a custom shank to make this work, and I was told I would be all right anyway the way it is, but I rebutted that the AS is towing too low in the rear, a speed bump would wipe out my plumbing, and that it places too much weight on the rear tires.

I stated that I would not have even bought the AS from them if they could not give me the correct set up, and that I want them to make it right. I am awaiting on their call.

Worse case, if I am on my own, who could help me get the right set up with a shank that will be long enough to clear my spare tire and a drop that will be low enough to tow 18''?

Thanks,
Hart
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Old 04-14-2006, 12:41 PM   #2
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Hart,

sorry to hear that the Dealer couldn´t help, but you are here on the forums and now you´ll get more help than needed, I am shure!!

Try to send an PM to Butterup, he is towning his 1977 Overlander with a Hummer 2, so maybe he can help you...

Hope you´ll find a solution!!

Bjoern
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Old 04-14-2006, 12:44 PM   #3
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Are you certain the ride height selector switch is in the normal position?

And everyone wants to know the name of the dealer.
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Old 04-14-2006, 01:04 PM   #4
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Yes, the ride height selector (which gives 2'' more of clearance) can only be engaged with speeds no more than 35MPH, and will not work when you are towing....

Since the AS dealer has not yet gave me an answer on how they will address this (if at all), I don't want to "finger" the dealer if they do come through.....
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Old 04-14-2006, 01:15 PM   #5
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Send "66overlander" a message and ask how he does it. Saw him last year towing with a H2.
Al
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Old 04-14-2006, 02:08 PM   #6
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Towing too High, Dealer Woes...

Greetings Hart!

The problem that you describe is one that several of us with four wheel drive tow vehicles have experienced. While I haven't had the issue with needing clearance for the rear mounted spare tire on my K-series GM truck-based tow vehicles, I have had the shank/drawbar drop issue on each of my K-series tow vehicles. I had the extended shank/drawbar issue with my G20 GMC Vandura.

Something that you might want to be aware of with the extended shank/drawbar that allows for clearnce of the rear mounted spare tire is that it may have an impact on towing stability (sway/yaw). My Vandura was bodied with the shortest overhang body available, and it still produced a very definite tendency for sway/yaw when towing. The final recommendation from the shop that finally diagnosed the problem was to relocate the spare inside of the vehicle and return to a standard extension shank/drawbar -- the switch virtually solved the sway/yaw problem. I don't know whether your trailer/tow vehicle might experience this issue with the geometry of the extended shank/drawbar, but thought that you might want to be aware of the possibility.

After trying three different hitch specialists, my Vintage Friendly Airstream dealer finally located a deep-drop Reese shank/drawbar with standard extension that works quite well (about 1/2" too high) on my K2500 Suburban, and was about 1.25" too high on my K1500 Z-71 pickup. The photo below is of the deep-drop drawbar as configured for my K2500 Suburban.





I checked the Reese web site, but couldn't find the precise unit that I have. I do know that it is a Reese with a rating of 1,000 pounds hitch weight with up to 10,000 pounds trailer weight when weight distribution is utilized.

Good luck with the resolution of your hitch issue!

Kevin
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Old 04-14-2006, 04:26 PM   #7
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Thank you all.
The H2 has a very short axel to hitch length. Except for the high towing situation, towing with the H2 has been a pleasure.

The shank that was originally used was 18' long with a drop of about 6''. For some reason, the AS dealer cannot find a 18'' with a longer drop of 12''.

I just received a call from both the AS Dealer's service Manager, and the finance person, and was assured they will set up my tv up correctly...
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Old 04-14-2006, 04:28 PM   #8
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hey, that is good news!

Enjoy your traveling!!!

Bjoern
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Old 04-14-2006, 04:30 PM   #9
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Towing a tandem axle trailer with the nose high will place most of the trailer weight on the rear axle and tires - overloading them. I suspect that a high nose height will also transfer weight to the rear, which can result in dangerous sway. You have already noted the low clearance in the rear.

You must purchase a deep draw bar... or have one made. This should not be too expensive. For example: http://www.equalizerhitch.com/produc...tech_specs.php
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Old 04-14-2006, 06:18 PM   #10
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H2 Towing Options

HHP,
You have a few options for towing your Airstream with an H2, besides having a custom welded hitch made or having a custom Hitch shank made. If yours is like mine, the top of the 2" receiver will be about 25" off the ground, yet you want the top of the ball to be about 18" off the ground. This is a sizeable drop. And since you have the Rear Air Suspension like me, you will find that it pumps right back up to initial height after the trailer is dropped on the ball and the truck is turned on. You can't take any advantage of rear squat for leveling the trailer.

First off, Reese makes an extended 6" drop shank (#54990) that is 14" long. This 6" is supposedly from the top of the 2" receiver opening to the ball mounting surface on a trunnion bar head. Assuming you get the shortest ball you can find, this will give you about a net drop of about 4" from the top of the 2" receiver to the top of the ball - not really enough, but the extended length will buy you room for the sapre tire.

Or you can do what I did and get the 8" drop shank #3344 from Reese (it wasn't labelled Reese when I got mine last year, but now apparently is - I think mine is a Draw-Tite). This one is not as long (11"), but it is 14" tall and will drop the top of the ball about 7". It will locate the ball closer to the rear bumper, probably below your spare (my H2 still has the inside spare, so I don't have this issue). On the surface, this seems about perfect, and it would be if you didn't have to use weight distribution (a must for the H2 above 500 lbs. tongue weight). The unfortunate thing is that as you apply weight distribution, it actually torques the hitch upward in the receiver. In my case this actually raises the ball about a inch, which means I still tow the trailer a bit high in the front (maybe 1" to 1.5" high). So far however, I haven't dragged the rear bumper. I have taken my rig across the scales like this and like this there is about 400 lbs. more on the trailer rear axle than on the front, but both are well within limits. I have decided that this setup is OK for me. Plus this shank is just long enough to slip set on EnKay Rock Tamer mud flaps on the shank. These are a must for towing with an H2. The short overhang and large tires can throw big rocks at your trailer. The EnKay's are adjustible and stop all such rocks.

In reality, you can use any 2" solid steel shank you can find that is rated for the appropriate trailer and tongue weight and has the correct hole spacing for your weight distrubtion hitch head. I think on the Reese Head and many, but not all other brands that spacing is 1.25" from center of hole to center of hole. I found one more on the internet, which was made by Curt Manufacturing (interestingly it is not on the Curt web site, but is on someone elses web site) provides up to 14.5" drop. I called Curt Mfg. about it and confirmed it had the correct hole spacing and did provide that much drop, but was not long enough to slip my Enkay Rock Tamers on, so I didn't pursue it any further. See #17125 on this page:
http://www.truckandsport.com/content...T/product.html

Also, be careful with advertised drops. Some list the numbers for "round bar" setups. Typically they allow a little more drop that a trunnion setup (I'm guessing 3/4"). So an 8" drop for a trunion setup might be an 8.75" drop for a round bar setup.

Good luck! The H2 is an awsome tow vehicle.
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Old 04-14-2006, 07:57 PM   #11
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By the way, before you question my math (8" drop shank + 2" ball = 7" net drop), I get close to 7" drop because of the angle I have the Trunnion bar head bolted to the shank. It is tilted back somewhat to get the trunnion bars the correct distance below the tongue. As the head is tilted, the top of the ball drops a bit. I assume that if I had it bolted straight up and down, I'd only get 6" of drop.
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Old 04-14-2006, 08:08 PM   #12
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HHP,
By the way, if you do go the route of having a custom shank made, I'd like to know the details (dimensions, price, etc.). While I feel I am OK to tow with my current setup, it'd be great to get the trailer totally level. I just don't know where I'd find a reputable welder I'd trust to do the work. I suspect that welding up a 10000 lb. shank is more than a beginning welder should undertake. I have no idea how to determine if a welder is qualified to do this work or not.
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Old 04-14-2006, 08:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander
HHP,
By the way, if you do go the route of having a custom shank made, I'd like to know the details (dimensions, price, etc.). While I feel I am OK to tow with my current setup, it'd be great to get the trailer totally level. I just don't know where I'd find a reputable welder I'd trust to do the work. I suspect that welding up a 10000 lb. shank is more than a beginning welder should undertake. I have no idea how to determine if a welder is qualified to do this work or not.
I would think that if you went to a shop which can fabricate a hitch, such as the one which made the hitch for my 1977 Lincoln Continental, they could make the drawbar or direct you to someone who could.

Bill
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Old 04-14-2006, 09:48 PM   #14
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Hello HHP,
Get out that yellow book and make some calls to welding and fabrication shops ,get a feel for them ,ask around as you are doing here. You will need a custom setup drawbar ,you do want the trailer level .Tires loaded equally ,and you will be happier with it in general I think.Also that super short rear overhang is a towing advantage ,hitch is closer to the rear axle than on most tvs. Should tow very well.

Good luck! Scott
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