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Old 12-03-2015, 06:34 PM   #1
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Towing with ball only

This question is for the more experienced contributors.
Would you ever consider going to a straight ball tow in the event your WD /Sway control hitch failed and was unusable. In other words a travelling emergency where you are in the middle of nowhere.
What speed would you tow at and any other considerations.
I am considering buying a ball and receiver to suit my weight requirements as an emergency fall back.

thanks
Norrie
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:50 PM   #2
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

....we talking receiver?

What are the chances of your receiver? failing on the road with no damage to the trailer?

I do have a spare in the basement...only 'cuz the OEM was a bit on the 'iffy side.

What I did.....upgrade to a TowBeast and forget about failure....regular inspections required for ALL receivers.

Bob
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Old 12-03-2015, 07:06 PM   #3
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I think there are two areas of concern: axle and tire overload, and sway/stabiltiy.

I have weighed my rig on truck scales, including with and without the WD bars attached.
In my case, my rear axle is normally 200-300 pounds under it's rated limit. But it is over the limit with the bars removed.

Here are one set of example numbers:
With WD: Front=3040 Rear=3960 Trailer axles=5300
Without WD: Front=2600 Rear=4420 Trailer axles=5160

My tow vehicle's rear axle rating is 4200, so I'm 220 pounds over without the bars.

I don't worry about driving around the truck stop with this small amount of overload. I would drive at 25 or 30 mph without worrying much. I wouldn't drive at highway speeds.

If I was OK on all axle and tire ratings without the bars, then I would be guided by how stable it feels. I would probably not try to go over 55 even if it felt good.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norrie46 View Post
This question is for the more experienced contributors.
Would you ever consider going to a straight ball tow in the event your WD /Sway control hitch failed and was unusable. In other words a travelling emergency where you are in the middle of nowhere.
What speed would you tow at and any other considerations.
I am considering buying a ball and receiver to suit my weight requirements as an emergency fall back.

thanks
Norrie
Hitch receivers very very rarely fail. Do I mean never, nope, but it is so rare I think you are over concerned with the possibility. Personally, I have towed maybe 200,000 miles including north of the arctic circle on the Dempster highway and never considered hauling another hitch with me.

In an emergency, I would not have an issue with towing with a ball only, but only at reduced speeds, say 45 to 50 mph.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:17 PM   #5
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I have heard of the chain breaking on a WD bar before and have found the nut loose on the ball.

When I got my truck and trailer it came with WD but I have never used the bars, would just use the ball.

The truck is a Dodge 3500 dually so the rear end is locked to the pavement. I now use The B&W Tow & Stow and adjust so that the truck and trailer are both level.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:28 PM   #6
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Towing without a WD

With the 2500 diesel you are running, I would have no problem towing your 30 ft. trailer. Just take at easy and find somewhere to fix your regular rig.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:53 PM   #7
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Towing with ball only

We towed our new to us 75 Overlander 27' about 200 winding mountain road miles home without the WD Hitch it came with, antique tires and a stretch of 50 mph gusting side winds - top speed 60 mph using a F250 Diesel Super Duty and it was as if no trailer was back there.
Now that I know how to set up the hitch, and the missing pins have been replaced, we'll likely use it in the future. But good to know it's absence isn't a show stopper.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:02 PM   #8
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Prior to Airstream Inc. decision to go to multiple trailer delivery methods, the drivers delivering Airstreams to the dealers almost always towed ball only.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:01 PM   #9
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Towing with ball only

My experience with my trailer is that on the ball is safe enough up to about 60 mph.

That said, I carry an insert with a ball on it just in case my Hensley were to fail.

That said, sway oscillations don't really care what tow vehicle you tow with, a large tow vehicle will not grant immunity or safety when a trailer starts swinging. Know the limits of stability and don't exceed them.


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Old 12-03-2015, 11:07 PM   #10
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How about the thread about over stiff towing.
We plan on either using small bars or no bars as a rule.
I can take my setup to work and run it over the scale. I like the idea of measuring to see what the differences are.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:21 PM   #11
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We had to do something like this last spring, when we were camping (just prior to the weekend) in the Mojave National Preserve, which is pretty remote. No cell phone service. The lock jammed on the back storage compartment door, where most of our towing equipment was being stored, as we like to unhitch at our campsite and go off exploring in just our truck.

Fortunately we were camped next to a Good Samaritan, who learned of our plight and happened to have a spare hitch ball, and we were able to rig up some chains. We drove to the nearest RV service center in Pahrump, NV, a couple of hours away, by going very slowly on back roads. The roads through the Mojave Preserve are mostly rough, so the hitch uncoupling on the bumps and potholes was a possibility. We got to Pahrump on a Friday afternoon, and a locksmith eventually had to drill the lock.

The moral of the story for "middle of nowhere" campers is to carry some spare hitch parts, and make sure at least some of them will be accessible.

Also each state probably has minimum requirements for towing safety.
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Old 12-04-2015, 12:54 AM   #12
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You know, I own a truck scale, I am laying in bed in my Airstream not 20 feet from it right now.

I don't use it to set up my hitch, I adjust my setup until it feels really right going down the road, and this isn't the same setup I get by setting up with the scale "by the numbers".

When it feels right, it probably is, and feeling right is the goal right?


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Old 12-04-2015, 01:40 AM   #13
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I've seen the same thing. I set to what's recommended then adjust based on how the whole setup responds. Porpoising, wandering front end, or instability is an indication of not quite right, and usually means a bit more lift on my WD jacks to get the truck front end planted better.


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Old 12-04-2015, 08:25 AM   #14
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We are approaching 150,000 miles of Airstream towing experience. We have always towed with a Hensley Arrow. We have always carried a back up hitch which consists of a heavy duty height-adjustable hitch with three ball sizes including a 2 5/16" ball for the Airstream.

We carry this back-up hitch in case the Hensley should ever fail on the road. We had our Hensley fail in September of 2014 while we were traveling in Washington State. Fortunately, this failure occurred in a campground in Moses Lake, Washington when the roller bearing race failed releasing the bearings out on the ground. We had to stay in place for about a week to receive a new main hitch unit from Hensley in Michigan.

If this had happened on the road, we were prepared with our back-up hitch. We could have easily towed the Airstream to a safe location where we could complete proper repairs.

As far as hitch receiver failure goes, if this fails, your are totally out of business. There would be nowhere to mount the hitch bar. This type of failure is very rare.

Several years ago, the OEM receiver on our 2005 3/4 ton Suburban developed cracks in the in the mounting. It never failed, but we replaced it immediately with a proper after-market Class IV receiver. Below is a photo of the cracked OEM receiver.

Brian
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