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Old 09-13-2007, 11:31 PM   #1
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short tongue -- Why?

Hey All -

Picked up my new 2007 75th Ann SE a few days ago. The tongue of the trailer is so short that my tailgate won't drop down on my truck because it hits the jack. I looked into a ball mount extension...which will work... but the load capacity is reduced at least by 1/3 with those things. I don't like reducing such things and adding another point of failure. My guess is that it'll make noise too.

Why would Airstream design such a thing? Seems dumb to me...because...who doesn't need to get into the back of their rig while towing ??
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:28 AM   #2
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FYI - I can't fully open my tailgate either and I have a 1965 Airstream. I also had a 1965 Aristocrat and couldn't open my tailgate with it either. Don't know why but it is pretty common.

Solution - Load truck first then hitch trailer
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Old 09-14-2007, 12:29 AM   #3
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WE have a 1963 Bambi and the same rule applies... so we reach over the back of the truck or unhitch!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:35 AM   #4
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Some hitch bars come with two holes and therefore you can choose of which one to use. That is what I have done. I do like the close hitch configuration. If you have a heavy longer trailer and potential sway problems there is a trade off if you want to move the hitch point back. Distance from the ball to the jack seem to be the same on my '63 and my '77 so it seems Airstream has standardized on that dimension. Suburbans with rear doors do not have the problem and there were alot more Suburbans used in the old days rather than trucks with tailgates.
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:41 AM   #5
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My tailgate opens. I've got a Reese Dual Cam HP hitch bar. What's yours? This hitch bar has two holes for the hitch pin -- I use the closest, tightest one too. Hitch specs say it's plenty strong even on the further out one. But you are right to worry about those darn Chev receivers:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ems-31857.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...tch-23424.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...les-34603.html
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Old 09-14-2007, 04:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tetstream
Hey All -

Picked up my new 2007 75th Ann SE a few days ago. The tongue of the trailer is so short that my tailgate won't drop down on my truck because it hits the jack. I looked into a ball mount extension...which will work... but the load capacity is reduced at least by 1/3 with those things. I don't like reducing such things and adding another point of failure. My guess is that it'll make noise too.

Why would Airstream design such a thing? Seems dumb to me...because...who doesn't need to get into the back of their rig while towing ??
Airstream didn't design the basic A-frame, physics did.

It's a great example of a "moment arm."

Because it's subject to the shock from the tow vehicle and roads, it moves vertically.

The longer it is, the more it would move. The more it moves, the more risk it has of breaking at the shell.

As it is, some owners manage to break them at the shell.

Therefore they must, be as short as possible.

Andy
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:25 AM   #7
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There is a solution, albeit rather redneckian (is that a word?) Go to your favorite truck parts shop, and get a tailgate for use with a gooseneck trailer or fifth wheel. The V area in the center of the tailgate will allow the gate to drop down on either side of the jack. This would work best on a pickup with no cap (topper), as the gap would loook decidedly strange if it had a cap.
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Old 09-14-2007, 07:23 AM   #8
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Another option is to move the jack rearward a few inches. Thats what I did on a flatbed trailer of mine.
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Old 09-14-2007, 07:29 AM   #9
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All this time I thought this was normal. If I use my load distribution hitch, I can lower the tailgate. If I use just a simple ball hitch, the 4" that it's shorter allows the tailgate to hit the jack. To my simple mind it was nature's way of saying "use a load distribution hitch, newbie!"

Zep
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Airstream didn't design the basic A-frame, physics did.

It's a great example of a "moment arm."

Because it's subject to the shock from the tow vehicle and roads, it moves vertically.

The longer it is, the more it would move. The more it moves, the more risk it has of breaking at the shell.

As it is, some owners manage to break them at the shell.

Therefore they must, be as short as possible.

Andy
I certainly understand this reasoning, and figured (Hoped) there was a real engineering reason, however, for the mucho $$$$ that Airstreams command, one would think that the engineers would beef-up the A-frame/shell assemblies to account for this functionality flaw. I mean, after all, these are recreational vehicles. You're gunna be getting in and out of the TV...a little or alot... and in an emergency too for gear, etc.

Would you use a ball mount extension ???
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:28 AM   #11
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I do not have that problem with my 250. I can drop the tail gate while hitched with the reese dual cam. Maybe you need a bigger truck ;-)
Any manufacturer that is in it for the money will make anything as small or light as possible to save money.

I just looked at your picture. I have way more room than that. I can go almost 90 degrees truck and trailer and not hit anything. It has and I was not in control. see my website.
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tetstream
I certainly understand this reasoning, and figured (Hoped) there was a real engineering reason, however, for the mucho $$$$ that Airstreams command, one would think that the engineers would beef-up the A-frame/shell assemblies to account for this functionality flaw.
Isn't it possible that different truck models have different height tailgates - thus length when open? I would also imagine the model of hitch being used plays a role in determining the maximum distance present.

How can Airstream design for every possible truck/hitch configuration? Especially if physics say a shorter tongue is better...safety first!

From your photo...it appears the tanks/cover are pushed forward quite a bit which in turn move the jack forward. Is the space between the tanks & trailer for a spare tire (like on my '64) or ??? Could you move the tanks & jack back any? Or move the tanks back and turn the head of the jack around to face the other way.

Shari
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:59 AM   #13
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The distance from the bumper of the TV to the ball will make the greatest amount of difference. My Reese puts the ball over a foot away. No problem with the tailgate.
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:39 AM   #14
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No Antisway in picture?

The significant thing about your picture -- do you have a bare hitch bar on the truck? With a ready-to-camp hitch weight of maybe 600# you wouldn't be overloading your rear axle. But going without antisway could really be a problem. It is said that anesthesiology is 99% boredom and 1% sheer panic. You enter that domain without the antisway. I have had my antisway save me only once (exactly 1 year ago) but it was well worth it!

There's no way to get around the weight distribution aspect of antisway (eg, Equal-I-Zer or Reese). But it will give you a bit longer hitch bar and might address your tailgate issue at the same time.
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