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Old 10-29-2014, 10:33 AM   #1
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Equalizer Hitch: Necessary or Overkill?

Hi Airstreamers, I'm a newbie and novice that's really happy to be here. Just bought a 2006 22' International CCD from a local Airstream dealer. I don't take possession until next week but have a question before I do so. I am adding solar and converting to 6-volt batteries, so I estimate dry weight at well under 5,000 lbs. I'll be towing with a 2014 4WD short-bed Ford F-150 super crew cab with tow package that includes a tow/haul feature and anti-sway feature. The Airstream dealership is recommending I purchase an Equalizer (brand name) hitch at nearly $900 installed. My question is simple, is this necessary or overkill? Thanks in advance for any help -- much appreciated.
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:55 AM   #2
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Equalizer Hitch: Necessary or Overkill?

Given you're running a 1/2 ton truck I'd suggest you use a weight distribution hitch of some kind, especially with those heavier batteries up front.

Oh, and welcome to the forum! You'll find plenty of threads here on this subject, btw.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:04 AM   #3
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TR, welcome to the forums.

A weight equalizing hitch with sway control is a good idea. The price quoted by the dealer for the Equalizer is too high IMO (he has a captive audience).

Check Amazon.com for realistic prices for the hardware. You can install it yourself (not difficult) or have a local hitch shop install it for you.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:07 AM   #4
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A weight distribution/anti-sway hitch is very necessary for comfort and safety.
The brand /type is optional.
I have an Equal-i-zer, and it works fine, but has pros and cons. All brands/types will have good points and bad points, but will be functional.
Your options range in price from about $400 for a Curt or EazLift up to a $3500 Hensley.
No amount is too much to protect your new truck and trailer easily valued at $100,000.
If I were made of money and could get what I want I might get a $2,600 ProPride 3P.
When I bought my trailer the dealer was quoting the Equal-i-zer at $1,000. I ended up getting it free because I was very unhappy/dissatisfied/disgruntled and was about to walk away from the deal- I would rather have paid $1,000 than live through that day- it is a good hitch, though-
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
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You probably could tow without a weight distribution hitch, but that doesn't mean you should. Distributing the hitch weight from your trailer to your truck will improve the overall handling as you are towing. I have a similar rig (25' Safari towed with a 2012 4wd, long-bed F150 super crew with the tow package, anti-sway feature, etc). I always considered a weight distribution hitch a necessity, definitely not overkill. The cost of a good hitch setup is an important part of the package. You'll enjoy your new Airstream a lot more if you're more comfortable when you're towing it.

Although I'm still relatively new to the forum, I've been an Airstream owner for nearly 14 years. Welcome aboard. You'll find lots of good info here.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:21 AM   #6
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I would not tow your trailer for any long distance (and certainly not on the highway) without a properly adjusted weight distributing/anti sway hitch, even with my long-bed F-250! Your truck's anti-sway is good but make sure you get the added security provided by an anti sway hitch as well. The weight distribution feature will help to prevent under-steer.

You can probably get such a hitch installed by any "truck place" or hitch dealer. It's very likely that they will sell it for less than an Airstream or other RV dealer.

Everyone on this forum has an opinion on which brand hitch to get. Not surprisingly most people prefer the brand they are using.

Use the "search function" to do some research on the various hitch brands and you will likely land on one or two brands that you will want to see in person. Find a hitch dealer that sells these and pay them a visit.

A hitch is an important and expensive item in your Airstreaming arsenal and you don't want to make any hasty decision simply based on what your Airstream dealer is trying to sell you.

My dealer (Colonial) was excellent in every respect except that they sent me off with an improperly set up Reese hitch which I took to CanAm to get corrected. Since then I've been very pleased with the towing performance and can truly say that I have joined the club of those drivers who don't know that they are pulling a 7,000 or 8,000 pound trailer.

Enjoy your new life!
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:27 AM   #7
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Greeting from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

As to your question, no, it is not overkill. I would highly recommend a quality weight distribution/sway control hitch system. Most of the brands will fill the bill for your situation.

The primary issue is the tongue weight of the trailer pushing down on the rear of the tow vehicle. Without weight distribution to place some of that weight on the front axle of the tow vehicle, the front end will become light. This situation can significantly impact the steering and braking ability of the tow vehicle. this is especially true in wet or slippery road conditions.

I would not tow any 5,000# with a half ton truck without weight distribution.

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Old 10-29-2014, 11:37 AM   #8
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Welcome aboard!!!

We are all gonna die!!!! Ok, now that perspective is out there..

It really is ROCKET SCIENCE!!! However, it is worth approaching g with the wisdom already offered above.

You will not regret having this "feature". It is actually a safety issue and helps improve the tow experiences. After all, we should be living and having FUN !! When a hobby is uncomfortable it isnt as much fun.

Ok... There are YouTube videos you can watch to "understand" the whole process.

The dealer isnt hyping you. The hitch is NOT that costly. But setting up correctly takes experience and tools you may not be comfy with....yet.

Enjoy your life and new AS!!!
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:01 PM   #9
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You've all been very persuasive. I'll have the hitch installed.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRizzuti View Post
The Airstream dealership is recommending I purchase an Equalizer (brand name) hitch at nearly $900 installed. My question is simple, is this necessary or overkill? Thanks in advance for any help -- much appreciated.
Years ago, we got the same sales pitch for a FC20 and an equalizer hitch ...$1,000 installed. You can find the hitches for half that amount and install yourself in 1/2 hour. Then comes the tuning to match your trailer and tow vehicle ... the dealer will likely not do that for you ...nor install the hitch properly either.

Save some $$ and either make them adjust their price or buy elsewhere.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:16 PM   #11
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I tow about four thousand pounds without a WD hitch. If I go any higher, say five thousand, then a WD hitch will be in order. Either way sway control is necessary. I tow with a one ton, so your half ton really will be safer in all ways with a good hitch. Jim
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:53 PM   #12
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eTrailer.com has a 6000lb equalizer for $470. PPL in Houston as them for $448. This does not include the ball and you do need to order the Equalizer brand ball. The set up is not hard but it does take a little time. Read the manual carefully, find a good level spot and you won't have any trouble getting it dialed in. Setup is a one time deal unless you get another truck. I have had zero issues or problems with mine.
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