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Old 07-22-2009, 08:50 PM   #1
NOAZRK2690's Avatar
2004 34' Classic S/O
Currently Looking...
Kutztown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 97
New site member needs advice

Yes, I am a new site member but have been Airstreaming off and on since 1956. Back in those days I was about 6 years old. My dd's first Airstream was a 1950 Flying Cloud 22 footer. Now days I am ready to retire as a full timer.

So, here's the scoop! About two weeks ago, I purchased my fourth Airstream. It's a real hum dinger, but I have a problem that you just might have the answer for. Here are the specifications. A 2002 Ford Excursion and a 2004 Classic 34 footer with a slide-out. The hitch came with this set-up but what a disappointment. Someone actually sold the previous owner a "Draw-Tite hitch with 10,000 lb. Reese spring bars and a Reese Friction Sway Bar. The bars fit so poorly in the hitch, that they have severely worn the hitch to the point where the heads on the spring bars are barely riding in the hitch. Getting the rig home on a 600 mile +- trip east on route I80 with this hitch abortion was a little disappoint and too exciting for me, that's for sure. At 65mph, when a truck passed or anything else pushed the rig out of a straight line up we were all over the road. The truck was bouncing front to back and side to side at the same time. The trailer tail end must have looked like we were spinning out of control.

Now, I now I will need to buy a new hitch. Is there anyone who would like to suggest a 1,200 lb. Reese with the sway control attached to the spring bars? Or, is there some other set-up that would be in that approximate price range that is better. Oh yea, about price range. I am very mechanically inclined and have set up trailers before. I would like to purchase a hitch on line. Are there any suggestions?


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Old 07-22-2009, 09:08 PM   #2
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1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,583
Hitches are a real 'can of worms' here on the Forums...everyone has his/her favorite brand,'ll get lots of 'suggestions'...

I picked up a new Equal-I-zer, 10K rated hitch last year for our 28 ft'er, being towed by a 2001 Excursion...

I love the way this hitch handles, and it's about the easiest one to hook-up and 'go', that I've greasy friction control to fool chains to count links or get 'kinked'...

there are several places on the Web that sell this type of hitch, and many include freight and usually no additional sales tax if you're in another state, etc...

I'd suggest you check it out during your search for a new hitch...!

Here on AirForums, you can 'search' for 'hitch' threads, and you'll be reading for hours....

Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:10 AM   #3
NOAZRK2690's Avatar
2004 34' Classic S/O
Currently Looking...
Kutztown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 97
Thanks for the site information. I'll search the "hitch" thread and try to find out more about the Equal-I-Zer.

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Old 07-23-2009, 06:46 AM   #4
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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There is a guy named Keith who has some Air Safe hitches at a good price. The last I check he had a new class 5. They are listed in the forums classifieds. I got one and am very satisfied with price and performance. Keith is knowledgeable and helpful when it come to hitches
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 07-24-2009, 04:27 AM   #5
NOAZRK2690's Avatar
2004 34' Classic S/O
Currently Looking...
Kutztown , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 97
Thanks for the lead!

I'll look for Keith's ad and check out the Air Safe hitch. Since I posted this thread, I have done a fair amount of research.

Everyone seems to believe it's best to stay away from the "Made in China" hitches and the people who have used a couple differant hitches never seem to have anything bad to say about the Reese dual cam. I have found a variety of hitch dealers on line and it's amazing how much the prices can vary for what appears to be the exact same hitch.

The Reese hitch seems to be advertised as a straight-line and a dual cam. So far, I haven't been able to figure out if these are two differant Reese models or if people just use two names for the same hitch. It looks like I should get the 12000/1200lb series. Since the plan is to full time, the 34' Airstream with a S/O and Excursion will probably be loaded pretty heavy.

"Rodger" has written an interesting article on A/F about the Ford Excursion and rear axle steering. I purchased my 2002 Excursion as part of a package deal with the Airstream so I'm still not totally familiar yet with all the options on it. At any rate, I would like to thank Rodger for his excellant article. As part of selecting a hitch, I certainly want to consider the need for radius rods and rear anti-sway bar. The Excursion has Load Range "E" tires.


The other interesting issue is rear w
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:55 AM   #6
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2006 30' Classic S/O
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Mohrsville , Pennsylvania
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Welcome aboard. I see you are from Kutztown. We live just west of you in Mohrsville, I am always glad to see another local Airstreamer.

Something else you are going to have to be cognizant about is tongue weight. You have a 34' with a slide. We have a 30' with a slide and the tongue weight is listed at 1050 Lbs. empty. The 34' is listed at 1150 Lbs. empty. I have a beefy TV and just upgraded from a class IV to a class V hitch receiver because the hitch pin hole was getting "egged" out and "clunked" every time we pulled out and stopped. The new receiver has made a world of difference in towing.

As mentioned before hitches here are like discussing religion, politics, and the "great pumpkin."

We have an Eqaul-i-zer Hitch and it has so far given us no troubles with either our '06 or '87.

On a totally different subject, once you get your rig in order check out Penn Wood Airstream Park, we'd love to have you visit. We are alos having an dorum rally there the first weekend in October.

Fall Colors Forum Rally
Carl, Elaine & Finn The Beagle
2006 30' Classic W Slide & Limited Package Katarina
2006 GMC 2500 HD 6.6 Turbo Diesel Crew Cab 8' Bed
AIR #14487
WBCCI #7429
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:11 AM   #7
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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Originally Posted by NOAZRK2690 View Post
....I purchased my 2002 Excursion as part of a package deal with the Airstream so I'm still not totally familiar yet with all the options on it. .... I certainly want to consider the need for radius rods and rear anti-sway bar. The Excursion has Load Range "E" tires.
The empty weight of an Excursion with full fuel should be around 7,500 lbs. The GVWR is 8,900 lbs, so that leaves 1,400 lbs for everything else (driver, passenger, cargo, hitch, and tongue weight).

Subtract at least 100 pounds for the hitch and 1,200 pounds for the tongue weight, you only have one or two hundred pounds for driver, pssengers, and anything else you would want to carry in the cabin.

I would suggest you were probably overloaded on your original trip home, thus the problems you were having. I weighed my Ex with the WD bars totally relaxed, and with only a 30'er on the hitch I was several hundred pounds over the rated axle weight on the rear axle. The lack of WD bars also lightened up the front axle by allmost 800 lbs when the tongue (dead) weight was dropped on the hitch.

You may want to run your own numbers on the Excursion - the Ex is a fine vehicle for towing with a very soft standard suspension, but towing a 34' SO is just a bit out of its league.


"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

WBCCI # 1113
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Trailer '78 31' Sovereign

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