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Old 09-14-2007, 12:31 AM   #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, 01:28 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, 01:29 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, 05:35 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, 05:41 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, 05:41 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, 06:25 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, 08:23 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, 08:29 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, 09:08 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, 09:28 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, 09:53 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, 09:59 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, 10:39 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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Old 09-14-2007, 11:36 PM   #15
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Thanks for the replies. For those of you that were looking at my picture, my truck is an '06 Chevy Duramax HD2500 Crew cab. The bed height is pretty typical at about 17"-18", therefore the tailgate is that as well. I know that some of the newer trucks, like F150's have 20" beds, which would make the tailgate problem worse.

This pic is at the RV dealer when I took delivery. No, no antisway setup. They said I didn't need it cause of my 3/4 ton truck and longish wheelbase and the trailer is only a 19'. I did pull the trailer back up to Nor CA that night (500 miles over the Grapevine) and it trailered beautifully.

The ball mount is a Reese 10K that measures 9" from receiver pin to center of ball. Ball shank is 1".

As far as moving the jack or tanks, ...yeah... I guess I could do that someday. But why didn't Airstream think of that?? It's not a stretch to say that a large margin of people's TV's are trucks or Burbs with tailgates. I need about another 5" to clear the jack and that would put the tanks very close to the trailer skin. Besides, my battery box is there right now and takes up the whole space.

From some of the comments, I gather that the tongues on the larger trailers may be longer.
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Old 09-15-2007, 12:15 AM   #16
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hi tetstream

need evidence that little trailers need sway control?

here ya go....

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f238...rol-17986.html

IF you ever have a blow out or a trailer tire leaves the pavement...

OR there is the need to stand on the brakes....

wiggle may happen.

IF your only concern is tailgate clearance,

get a longer stinger/ ball mount made for the reciever...

about 50$ from a welder...

cheers
2air'
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Old 09-15-2007, 02:05 AM   #17
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AW, you guys have it easy. I tow with my '71 Buick cnvertible. My hitch shank elbows UP not down as with most pickups. It elbows up in front of the rear car license plate. So what you ask. Well behind the hinged plate is my gas filler cap and filler. Oh what fun I have trying to snake pump nozzles in there. Not all pump nozzles are the same. The slender ones I manage but the ones with the thick vapor emmision thingys on them are impossible.
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Old 09-15-2007, 04:11 AM   #18
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OK, now I'm scared....I have a Dodge pickup and it did not come with a receiver, just the cross tubing type bar. So, I got a receiver and welded it to the cross bar with what looked to me to be adequate bracing both front and rear.

Please forgive me, I'm new here, did not introduce myself, I'm Steve Huebinger, I'm recently retired, and live in Texas.

I just bought a '75 23' Safari, sort of a fixer upper, that we plan to take to Alaska next summer.

Although we plan to replace the Dodge before next summer with a more suitable tow vehicle (it's a short wheelbase, 1/2 ton, with the 4.7 liter engine), I did want to do some local shakedown trips when I get the trailer fixed up. Maybe I should reconsider.
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Old 09-15-2007, 06:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tetstream
... Would you use a ball mount extension ???
Hi tetstream: I would NOT use a ball mount extension with that very short [factory?] receiver tube you now have on your Chevy 2500. It looks very lightweight to me and the additional leverage of a ball hitch extension might rip it right off the truck. Now I don't know much at all about Chevys, but you might look into a buying and installing a beefier aftermarket Class IV receiver that bolts to your trucks frame rails. You may, or may not, be able to mount such a receiver assembly slightly more rearward on your frame rails to position the ball further back. And it might be sturdy enough to use a ball mount extension that you shorten to move the ball back only as much as needed (i.e., maybe a 6 inch extension cut down to 4 inches length). Good luck!
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:06 AM   #20
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OK, now I'm scared....I have a Dodge pickup and it did not come with a receiver, just the cross tubing type bar. So, I got a receiver and welded it to the cross bar with what looked to me to be adequate bracing both front and rear.
Hi Steve: Welcome to the forums. I own a 1992 Dodge 3/4 ton Cummins turbo diesel truck and had a small receiver tube welded onto the rear frame cross member. It began to tear off at the welds, so I removed and discarded it.

I replaced it with an aftermarket Class III or Class IV receiver assembly from Redneck Trailer Supply that bolted to my frame rails. Go here: Redneck Trailer Supplies - the leading wholesale distributor of trailer supplies hit Products then Towing Accessories and download those pages from their web site .pdf catalog. They should have one for your Dodge truck. Good luck!
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